I keep trying to make sense of the last couple of weeks to no avail. With everything KR told me and then the unfavorable Social Security decision, I kind of lost it — paranoia and suicidal thoughts that bordered on serious “plan-making.” This resulted in another 5 day stay at the local crisis stabilization unit. After 7 years of refusing psychiatric medication, I finally broke down and allowed them to try me on a low dose of an antipsychotic medication called Latuda. This is the first medication I’ve ever taken in which I have to eat at least 350 calories. More stress over eating and food. I’m still panicked with every dose, paranoid about the thing that’s supposed to help with the paranoia, not to mention I feel like I’m simply substituting a prescribed medication for the self-medicating effects of alcohol. I thought the goal of sobriety was to actually “cope” with reality “sober.”
I’m told it’s not the same.
Yet, nothing feels “real.” This feels like some crazy nightmare from which I cannot awaken or like I’m reliving a past nightmare because truly I am. History is repeating itself. I still feel lost. My emotions are raw. I fluctuate between feeling perfectly capable of handling what I need to get done and doing it, one moment, and feeling like an emotional, helpless mess, the next, or worst still, contemplating every possible outcome should I make one choice or another to the point of feeling frozen in fear to do anything at all. All the while, everyone’s asking, “Are you okay? How are you doing?” And all I can answer is, “I’m fine. I’m doing good.” The funny thing about pretending everything is okay is that once you’ve mastered it, there’s no turning it off. That mask goes on without even thinking about it.
“Grow up.” Why is this so hard? Why can’t I just “human” like everyone else? KR made this observation. So many people over the past two weeks talked to me about going back to work. “Just get a job.” Of course that’s the answer. I’m not stupid! I know I have to get a job. I know I have to support myself. My irrational mind says that I would rather starve to death and be homeless than work a job that I felt wasted my time. My time is my most valuable asset. I can’t imagine having enough time to work a full-time job and do everything else I do on a regular basis. Memory serves to remind me of the sheer chaos of working even a part-time job and trying to manage the rest of “life” at the same time. This is precisely one of the reasons why I’ve had 4 suicide attempts in my past! Maybe it is petty and childish, but the thought of working again fills me with dread and despair should I consider compromising something I find so dear — my time. Yet, I feel I have no real choice in the matter, as if proving I can face this fear and handle it all is my only option, regardless of the outcome.
Choice — my counselor said I never took back my “choice” after the rapes. I would argue I never had a choice to begin with. Choice implies one has the conscious ability to make good decisions, and I don’t think I do. I only have brief moments of conscious awareness. I’m lucky, very fortunate, if I can remain present long enough to make a decision or accomplish anything more than what I routinely do. Forcing me to remain present longer than I’m able only creates more dysfunction to the detriment of my “self.” My personality seems to morph into whatever the person in front of me needs, like some screwed up mirror. Half the time I don’t know whether or not what I’m feeling is mine or the other person’s “stuff,” the dilemma of overly sensitive empathy. Again, why can’t I “human” like everyone else?
Is it any wonder why I value my time alone?
My fragmented “self” seems to capture bits and pieces of each interaction with others. Every part of me is in constant chatter, differing opinions making it very difficult to concentrate. Some screaming at me, some tantruming, a few encouraging, others pouting, singing, or carrying on conversations of their own — it’s all I can do to keep from yelling back at all of them, “Shut up!” I recognize that their anxiety is my anxiety, and it’s best to treat each with the same care and compassion that I would another “real” person. Stress in my life makes this much, much worse! Yeah… all of this is going to make working a true pleasure <sarcasm> — just like last time.
I know the risk in sharing with anyone, especially anyone in the mental health field, about such things as this. “Do you hear voices?” is a common question I get asked, one that I never know how to answer. When I think “voices” I imagine hearing a voice, audibly, outside of myself; so in that respect, the answer would be “no” because most, if not all, of this takes place inside my mind. When asked, rarely do I give too much detail because, well… stigma. I don’t know what’s “normal” for other people, but this is my normal. Part of my fear of medication is that it will take away these voices, for lack of a better word, and take away my creativity along with them.
That’s why I guard them with my life.
And then, there was tonight. My counselor said I remain in this relationship with KR because it’s the easy thing to do. I guarantee you there is NOTHING easy about staying! The past 3 years of this relationship have grown intensively worse (obviously the past 4 years for KR); yet I don’t feel like I have a choice but to stay, frozen in fear of leaving because I know how bad it is to be homeless with no way to support myself. I’m fucked no matter what I do. There are no easy choices here, and I resent anyone telling me otherwise.