I have registered for the NAMI Walk. For anyone who doesn’t know, NAMI stands for National Alliance for Mental Illness. I’m trying to raise money, and all of it goes to NAMI! As I don’t know a lot of people in real time, I thought that I would reach out to those of you who followed my blog. All of you would understand the toll mental illness takes on the person suffering and the surrounding friends and family members. You don’t need to pledge much to sponsor me. Every little bit helps! If you’re willing to donate to this awesome cause, please visit my NAMI sponsorship page HERE. Thanks, everyone!!
“Self-hatred is only hating a thought you have about yourself, and thoughts can be changed.”
I miss Jay. These songs are dedicated to him. I hope he comes back. The monkey has totally taken over his body.
Every few days, or at least once a week, a search pops up in my WordPress stats. It says something along the lines of “Meagan struggling with bipolar”. Sometimes my last name is included, sometimes not. To the person or people who keep entering that search, let me clear something up:
I DO NOT HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it is just incorrect. I have borderline personality disorder. While it is sometimes originally misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder, it is NOT the same thing, and I don’t have it.
I haven’t written anything in a few days. I thought it had been more like two weeks, but my last post was Friday. I’m not doing too well. I’m not sure how I got through this weekend alive. Huh, that actually has two meanings. Not only did I have thoughts about killing myself, but I was put in a situation where I had the potential to be raped, tortured, nipples cut off, blood written on the wall, and then my throat slit as I’m left to bleed out on the floor. Sorry, that got a little icky. I’ll post about that later today – maybe. Back to the topic, I am feeling flat. I was feeling sad and on my way to hopelessness. I think as a way to protect myself, I’ve just had to shut off my feelings. Feel numb. I have no release. Well, there’s one but I had hoped I wouldn’t go back to that. Too late. If I didn’t have that little release from time to time, I think I may have driven off one of the many mountains around here. I almost did on my lunch break yesterday. Instead, I went back to the hotel to try and shut up the fucking monkey that’s been cleaving to Jay. It didn’t work as well as I had hoped.
This morning seemed to start off better, but who knows how the day will progress? Each day these past couple weeks have been like walking through a minefield. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. The worst part is when I’m made to feel that I’m crazy for thinking I’m walking through a minefield – “No need to walk on eggshells” – and then a mine EXPLODES without warning. One that’s about twenty feet away that I wasn’t even looking at. And, of course, I am the one to take the impact, but I must do it without complaint.
Yeah, things are seeming pretty crappy right now. Every second I’m awake is like drifting through life while trying to balance on the edge of a razor blade. All I can do is keep going. I know that things will get better. It’s just going to be shit until it gets there.
Crazy Jay would like me to ask everyone to take a little time and read his blog, and then comment on whether or not he actually has mental issues. He used the word “crazy”, but I didn’t want anyone to think I was being insulting. His most recent blog post is right here and is in response to the post I just wrote entitled Don’t Forget You’re Wearing Pink Glasses. I’m not really sure why he needs this reassurance that he IS crazy. All he has to do is read over his past blog posts. WHOOP WHOOP!
Crazy Jay and I were talking last night about mental illness. He has been having a hard time lately dealing with the merry-go-round of thoughts that is speeding faster and faster in his head. And it doesn’t help when all the intense, ever-changing emotions are thrown in there, too. What a lovely little cocktail of craziness. I told him that I thought he wouldn’t struggle so much and he would have an easier time accepting things if he did some research on his handful of disorders (PTSD, Bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder…and maybe more). I have told him in the past it would be beneficial if he did some research and learned about the issues he has. I have noticed that he will either change the subject, or give reasons as to why he can’t/won’t/doesn’t feel like looking these things up online. I called him on it, and he said that he feels like if he better understood PTSD, bipolar, and BPD, he would just use them as excuses for his behaviors, feelings, thoughts, perceived weakness, etc.
It all suddenly made sense. Jay has been telling me that he thinks I use my BPD as a license to do and say whatever I want, regardless of who it hurts. Now, a lot of times when I do something crazy, I WILL mention the BPD. I’m not using it as an excuse. Just an explanation. Someone “normal” could look at my behavior and wonder what in the world is wrong with me. I’m glad to at least have an answer. LMCAO I know the reason for my nutty, irrational, erratic behavior. It’s my mental disorder. That may not even be correct. It’s my PERSONALITY disorder. I’m not sure if those two are the same thing. Anyway, I was telling Jay that it was irresponsible of him to know that he had these issues and disorders, but to not really know ABOUT them. One with mental issues knows that there are things going on with them, but they can’t adapt to a life with mental illness if they don’t know what part of their thoughts and behaviors are considered “normal”, and what parts are considered “crazy”.
If a person knows that they have weaknesses, it doesn’t make sense to try to live your life as if there is nothing wrong. It just flat out will not work. You will become frustrated and begin feeling hopeless. I know that I did. Before I accepted that I have borderline personality disorder and all that entails, I felt like nothing would ever get better. Not only would things not get better, but I felt like it was all my fault that they didn’t get better! I went through each and every day feeling like a piece of shit. I knew by other people’s reactions that what I was doing was hurtful and wrong, but I was unable to change it. I thought that by my sheer will power I could change my thinking patterns and my behavior. When I couldn’t MAKE myself change, I sunk into a deeper depression and became suicidal. Now, don’t get me wrong. Each person is responsible for their actions. If they behave in a way that is unacceptable to society at large, it is up to them to do what they can to better themselves and correct their misbehavior. I am responsible for using the skills I have learned in dialectical behavioral therapy. I know that one of my weaknesses is that I shoot off at the mouth whatever I’m thinking (unless I’m in work mode, then I’m a doormat). I am responsible for being careful of what I say and how I say it. Acknowledging ones weaknesses, disabilities, deficiencies, etc. does not mean that that person is not responsible for what they do and say. Having a mental illness does not give one a free pass to be an asshole to everyone they meet.
Compare the mental limitations to a person with physical limitations. If a man has a severe back injury, he needs to keep in mind that there are certain things he just cannot do without doing further damage to himself. He can’t go around lifting heavy boxes. He may be restricted as to what weight lifting exercises he can attempt. He may not be able to spend hours bent over a sink full of dishes. People with physical handicaps know what their limits are. They are aware of their restrictions. Though they can’t use their physical disability as an excuse for bad behavior. A paraplegic can’t roll over a young child’s toes with their wheelchair and then say it’s ok because they can’t walk. A person cannot use their limitations as an excuse, but they must be aware of them in order to live a productive life.
I was explaining it to Jay like this: Having a mental illness/personality disorder/mental issues/whatever is like seeing the world through pink-tinted glasses. As long as you keep in mind that you are wearing pink glasses, you will know that what you see and what you take in may or may not be reality. If you’re wearing tinted glasses and look at the clouds, just remember you’re wearing those glasses. You don’t look at the clouds and think how awesome it is that all the clouds of the world are pink. You KNOW that you are seeing things through a slightly skewed perspective, and you can adjust your thoughts/beliefs/feelings/actions accordingly. If you go through life wearing these bright pink glasses but not acknowledging that you are wearing glasses, the things that you perceive as reality will not be the same reality as other people see.
As a person with a mental illness, it is important for me to remember that I see things through a different filter than everyone else does. What I see may not make sense to another person. What I see probably won’t be what someone else sees. And that’s ok. It’s ok that I don’t interpret things the same way as everyone else. It’s ok that I may feel things more intensely than other people. It’s ok that I am more sensitive than most people. What is NOT ok is for me to ignore these limitations and challenges that I face. It is NOT ok for me to forget that I am seeing the world through a filter. It is NOT ok for me to think what I am experiencing is what everyone else is experiencing, and therefore I am excused in behaving poorly or in a hurtful way. I need to remember that I am wearing pink glasses, and stop thinking that the sky is purple, or the clouds are rose colored. As long as I keep it in the forefront of my mind that my perspective is a little bent and change my behavior accordingly, I might just be able to get through each day without dropping bombs on the person and dog that I love.
Lately Crazy Jay and I have been getting into daily fights. About silly little things. It seems to Jay that I am constantly attacking him. Constantly slicing at his heels. Constantly making nasty comment after nasty comment. It seems to me that Jay is taking something benign I say and twisting it so it sounds nasty in his head. It seems to me that he is trying to pick fights over every little thing that’s said. Then, when I try to explain that I didn’t mean it the way he was taking it, he gets mad and tells me that I’m invalidating him and telling him how to think and feel. I’m pretty worn out. I’m emotionally exhausted. He says it’s killing him and he can’t take it anymore. He tells me that I hold him hostage with my feelings and emotions. That I hold him accountable for hurt he did not inflict, and am constantly ruining his day by “insisting” on taking things the wrong way. I feel like he is doing the same thing. He tells me that my attitude shows that I think I am the most important person, everyone needs to understand me, and I do not need to be held accountable for my actions. I feel like he is doing the same thing. He tells me all the time that I am misinterpreting things and taking them wrong, but gets mad when I tell him the same thing. He feels the need to take everything personally (even political events that unravel on TV), but gets mad when he perceives me as doing the same thing. We have been going round and round and round again for weeks now.
I came to a new understanding while I was driving home for lunch today. I have been wondering why he has to make everything such a big deal. Why he has to blow everything out of proportion. Why he can’t be more understanding towards me. That’s when I remembered: He has been. He has been more understanding of me than anyone could be expected. At the beginning of the year, he endured months on end of me being ruled 100% by my emotions. He endured the constant verbal attacks when I didn’t know why I was angry. He endured the long crying fits and the not-so-secret cutting I was engaging in. He endured me yelling at him and taking everything wrong. Even when it was a compliment meant to make me feel better, I found a way to take it as an insult. He sat quietly while I went through six to eight months of up and down roller coaster emotions and sheer insanity. He didn’t know from one day to the next if I may try to kill myself on purpose, or if I may cause serious damage by accidently cutting into my skin too deep.
Take it back even further, to the beginning of 2011. I was sure I was a psychopath, and acting without regard to anyone’s feelings. I was purposefully hurtful to the husband who stood by me. I would TRY to lash out at him. I would TRY to push his buttons. I was sure during that time that I was going to divorce him. I don’t even know why I thought that. I flirted with men and dressed in a way that I had no business dressing. I went to see the Chip and Dales dancers perform.
Through all of this, Jay just loved me. He may have lost his temper every now and then, not that he could be blamed. He may have been drinking more than he should, not that he could be blamed. He slept in a separate room at my request. He left me alone while I was home at my request. He never once left me. He loved me. He knew I was going through a crazy time. He knew the person he saw acting this way wasn’t the woman he married. He knew I would come back.
Jay loved me steadfastly the entire time, and all the while HE was battling demons of his own. He has bipolar disorder. He has PTSD. He has borderline personality disorder. He is the adult child of an alcoholic, which I understand can affect a person’s thoughts and personality. He loved me even better than a mentally fit man could have. He was more patient than a man without all his difficulties would have been. He stuck with me when everyone else around me was dropping like flies. He showed me love when no one else would.
After going through at least two years of me bouncing around, totally off my rocker, his cracks have started showing. He used to be very good at containing his crazy side. Not so much anymore. But who could blame him? At this point in my life, I am in a relatively good spot. I am more self-aware than ever before. I am more stable than ever before (not that that’s saying much). I am more positive than ever before (again, not saying much). I know that I am blessed to have the husband I do. Especially after all we have been through. I think it’s my turn, now. It’s my turn to stand by my crazy-ass spouse and show him how much I love him and am committed to him.
I know that it’s going to be difficult, especially as I still struggle with controlling my emotions and I no longer have the benefit of Dialectical Behavior Therapy or individual therapy. I know that I am going to have to swallow hurt after hurt. I know that I am going to have to overlook things that I would get yelled at if I did. I know I am going to have to forgive and get past a lot. I know this is going to be incredibly difficult. This may be one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do, but that is how much I love Jay. I know that I will fail at this, most likely miserably at first. But with the help of God (because I sure can’t do this on my own), I will steadfastly show Jay love the way he showed me love. I know I am going to be with Jay till one of us dies (and I know the other will follow shortly after), so I am going to do what I can to bend and twist so that those days can be good. If both of us are constantly letting our crazy emotional side take over, our marriage is going to be miserable. I’ve had my fill of crazy days. I had at least two full years of them while Jay held my hand and whispered that he loved me. I can do the same for him. I love you, Crazy Jay. We are twisted fingers, deep divers and schlieren. Apparently I’m also your wench who needs to fetch your grog, whatever that is.