Saturday, February 01, 2014

I Hate Mental Illness

Please don't read this if you can't handle me expressing my emotions and thoughts. You'd think that would be a given, seeing as this is my blog and all, but if you're only here to tell me more about why I suck or how I should be able to fix this, please go away. I'm in a very dark place right now and the fact that I'm still being this open to the public means I'm not suicidal and that is a very good thing. 

I don't want to be mentally ill.

I hate it so much. I hate that my life is so affected by it --every facet, every relationship, every moment of my life is tainted by my mental illness. It's there, constantly, beating me up, telling me I'm a failure at everything I do.

Yes, I have written about how I was grateful for it, but only when I'm in a good place. I'm not in a good place right now.

When I think I've found a way out, I fall right back in again. "Oh, see, look! It's just PMDD! You're fine, Cheryl, just track your cycle. Take some herbs! Eat your veggies. You only feel this way once a month."

And then, YANK. "Just kidding! You're psychotic all the time!"

Being rejected for having a mental illness is really hard. Watching yourself do and say things that aren't normal is hard, too. It hurts to be this way, it hurts to see myself so ugly and wrong. It hurts even more when I know how I should be different, even while knowing it might never be possible.

I mean, is it my mental illness? or my personality? Which part of me is truly me? Which part of me is out of my control? What can I truly change? Where is that line? Where is the boundary between Cheryl and chemical imbalance?

Watching people react to my mental illness is so hard, too. They don't know where that line is, either (how could they if I don't even know?!), between me and my psychosis, so they get uncomfortable. It's hard to deal with someone who is crazy. They offer advice the best way they can, but they are not therapists, even if I treat them like one, and it's not fair to them. Not fair at all! Other times I'm told to suck it up! Life is great! Stop being so depressed! Forgetting that I have DEPRESSION.

So, I'm going to find myself a psychiatrist. I'll get back on the medication. It's what I must do for me and for my husband and especially for my children.

I hate the medication, though, because once again: is it me or my mental illness? Is the medication helping me be me, or is it making me into another version of me? Which medication works best? Which one will bring about the best outcome without hurting me further?

I know medication can be a good thing, but I know why people hate it. It's excruciating to think that people might/can/do only love me when I'm medicated. That people will only accept me when I'm another version of who I am, but who's to say that the medicated version of myself isn't the real me? What if it is? What if it isn't?

Because I've been on medication that wasn't me. I've been on medication that made things worse. I know what it's like to be on both sides and I'm telling you, I'm not sure which side is better.

Medication means money. It means spending A LOT of money. It means frequent doctor visits because they can't stand the thought of actually giving you more than 3 months worth of refills. It means finding new doctors and therapists because your old ones move or you move or you get dropped by therapists (yes, my therapist dropped me without a word. It was really hard. How's that for a self-esteem booster? Not even my therapist likes me).

So, it feels like I'm always having to find new doctors and I'm always trying to convince them to please, please, yes, I'm sick! Help me! Perhaps I could have 6 months of meds this time? Maybe?

Can you see why people with mental illness in this country just go off meds and then go crazy? Can you? It's because our systems are so broken and so fixated on the way non-ill people react to things. By the time I find a new doctor, go through ALL of my history AGAIN, convince him/her to try the medication I truly think will work for me, get the run-around, get prescribed something besides what I wanted, get the prescription, pay for it all, try it for a few months to discover that it doesn't, in fact, help (go figure), go back, try something new --I'm exhausted. My body, right now, is clenching up at the thought of even making a phone call. Will I ever find a doctor that I will actually love? Who will actually be able to help me long term?

That's why I go off meds. And then crash, burn, and go back on them. It's a horrible cycle and I need to stop it, but I seriously don't know how.

So, off I go this week to a doctor. I am sick and I am in need of a physician.


sariqd said...

We're all multi-faceted, right? So my thought is - meds do not make you a different person (and vice versa.) They just round out, push back, magnify different aspects. Finding the balance is pretty much a life-long endeavor for everybody, and you're doing the best you can. If anybody is being critical or telling you what you need to do, they just need to check the mote in their own eye first.

♥ - Prayers going out for you and your family. If there's anything I can do, I hope you'll let me.

Tangela Jensen said...

Hi Cheryl. We have never met, but you know my husband from Blackfoot. Anyways I just wanted to send my love as crazy as this sounds I needed this post. Not that I love the fact you are in a dark place but that you're open about it. I have a mental illness too. Severe Anxiety Disorder. This post is a mirror of what I was thinking about tonight so thank you for being open and I will keep you in my prayers

Stephanie said...

I understand.

Michelle said...

I know words won't help, but I just want to say them anyway. The REAL you transcends all of this, Cheryl. The real you is someone who is good and desires good and always has.

I'm so sorry it's so hard. My therapist friend and I talk often about how sometimes we're just floored that God would send us here to experience these things. But the fact that you do experience them to me means you are mortal. The older I get, the more I realize how mortal we all really are.

Sending love and prayers your way (and I'll add you to my fast).

Birrd said...

I love you. I admire you. I am praying for you to find a great doctor and a medication that helps you feel like yourself.

Tammi said...

Dear Cheryl, I happened to be searching for info on our son's situation (misophonia) and stumbled across your blog. I just wish I could write you. I believe that God directs our steps and for His purpose. I wish I could share our family story and also my complete understanding of what you're talking about and going through here on this blog and in your life right now. I totally understand. Please hang in there. And when you feel you are at "rock bottom" and no where to turn, just know that God, who IS our Rock, has got even at "rock bottom" He's there!!!! How do I know? Because I've been there, several times. It took the sudden loss of my only sister (22 yrs old) in 1997 to learn about clinical depression. It's real and it really hurts! Hang in there...and just know that even though it seems like we are supposed to "walk in the light as He is in the light" there are times in our lives that are Very very dark...BUT God usually allows the curtain to be pulled over our eyes to heighten our sense of hearing...He's got a special message for you. "What I tell you in the darkness, THAT shout ye from the rooftops when you are in the light." (I just paraphrased that scripture) but it has meant a lot to me. When He allows us to go through the dark storms it is usually to give us a special lesson for us to share with someone else to help them. So keep hanging in there, and I will pray He will lead you to the best doctor soon!! <3 Sending hugs from your sister in Christ.

MamaMia said...

This might sound silly and unhelpful but sometimes I feel like depression helps me feel joy and happiness in ways that other "normal" people can't feel. When I do feel peace, joy, and happiness after a dark spell or even for a brief moment amidst the darkness, it feels so wonderful. I feel so grateful for those often fleeting moments of bliss. I bask in it for as long as I can. There is "opposition in all things" for a reason. Because I feel depressed frequently, when I stumble upon happiness, I can feel all the depths and levels of it just as I have felt all the depths and levels of sadness. I'm sure you've had these thoughts before. Reach down deep and search for that small flicker of light to fuel you through this. Even the smallest of candles can help you see through the dark. Love you. Thinking of you...

Catherine Caballero said...

We had fun getting to know your family a little bit this summer. I loved talking to you and just seeing the mother and person that you are.

I have also often wondered is this me or the meds? Yet, just as someone with diabetes needs insulin to survive I need my medication to function. Just being suicidally depressed or way out there psychotic are not options I can live with. So I happily swallow my pills, grateful to have them. Me or not Me? At least it is the me I (and everyone else) can live with.

I'm sorry you are struggling to find the right medication. That is really hard. Don't give up! Keep trying until you find what works for you.

Rebekah V. said...

I feel like the older I get the harder it becomes. I have a diagnosis of pmdd and the truth is that it doesn't only effect me once a month. The older I get the more variable my cycles become and the more crazy I am at unpredictable times. I just got back from a family vacation where it is a miracle that I didn't alienate every person in our extended family and every person in my immediate family. It culminated with me crying hysterically in the parking lot of disney world, paralyzed by despair and alone in the happiest place on earth. it was totally rad. I want to do that again. Anyway. I am just telling you all of this because even though I have absolutely no idea how to deal with this reality in my life and it feels so illegitimate and embarrassing and scary so much of the time I reallly like knowing that there are people like me out there. I really liked you when we met. I mean really thought you were such a cool person. And I can imagine you freaking out and yelling and screaming and crying and saying horrible things at me and still sticking around because I like you. I have a few people in my life who stick around through it all and still love me but don't really understand. well I understand AND you can't get rid of your loyal blog follower. peace out. drop the mic.

Cheryl said...

Working backwards:

You are amazing and I've always admired you, ever since college and especially when I invited you into my home in CA. I agree that it's so freeing to know that I'm not the only crazy person out there going through all of this, you know?

I desperately need to find the right meds for me, for sure! And the right kind of doctor. I have to admit that it's hard for me to see you as someone who suffers as I since you were so calm and put together. But then again, you take your meds! Ha! Maybe if I took mine... ;)

I think you are spot on. It's not silly at all and I agree --knowing the lowest of low, it's really wonderful to recognize when we have happiness. Even, like you said, just glimpses of it. Love you so much.

I'm so glad you found me! Thank you so much for your words of comfort. I love your faith so much and it brought tears to my eyes when you were describing God as the rock when we're at rock bottom. He is! And I love Him with all of my heart. Thank you again for finding me and for commenting (and your comment on the misophonia post --I'll need to do an update on my son, soon. Thank you for asking!)

I love you, too. <3

Thank you. I know you understand these feelings more than you should have to, and I'm grateful for your friendship. Thank you for reminding me that I am more than my mental illness... it's so hard, you know? Love you.

Thank you <3

I'm sorry you are struggling, too! Your comment brought tears to my eyes because I do know who you are and I appreciate that you would reach out to me. (((hugs))) to you!

Thank you so much for saying that we are all working on the balancing. I think that's so true and I forget that just because I struggle with mental illness doesn't mean I wouldn't still have struggles if I didn't and all that crap. You know? I will let you know. You're the best. :)

Emily Pugmire said...

I know this is a little late, but just wanted to send some love to you. Maybe you're feeling much better, but if not, just keep hanging in there.

Arlene Neilson said...

Just wanted you to know that I love you! Lots!

Holly said...

I randomly came to your blog tonight and scrolled through a few posts. I had to stop and comment on this one.

I'm glad you went out on a limb and posted this. This is exactly what I feel like all the time. I'm glad you were brave enough to post it because there are people who need to read this. I wish more people could understand that this is real and we can't just "buck up and be happy!"

I hope you find medication and a therapist situation that works for you. I only tried medication and therapy once and it was a disaster. So I just deal with it. Not very well though. I too, would love to find just the right help. Maybe someday I'll get to experience happiness again.