Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Introducing: My Crazy

What makes me qualified to speak as a disFunctional? Well a normal dysfunctional person has one or two quirks but is pretty stable and normal. A disFunctional is all quirks and problems, but can appear stable maybe even normal, most of the time.
It’s hard to talk about mental health problems. It’s a sensitive issue that affects all of us in vastly different ways. It’s not something that most people are comfortable chatting about by the water cooler, or discussing at the dinner table. Everyone is aware of mental problems and we all like to think we are sensitive to other peoples needs. But how many of us are brave enough to tell our own stories? Or is airing our mental dirty laundry and exercise in masochism? I’ll have to remember to ask my shrink.

When we get sick we often find solace in getting a diagnosis because once something has been identified and named then you can get down to fixing it. It’s like having a cold for three weeks, finally going to the doctor and finding out you have bronchitis, and that’s why the OTC cough syrup isn't helping. Then they give you the right prescription and you are on your way to getting better. That’s not what happened with my mental health. I really, really, really wish it had been that quick and simple.

The diagnosis itself isn't even straight forward for many of us with mental health problems. Often we fit the criteria for a few different disorders, or match up with some criteria but not all for others. It’s hard for the doctors making the diagnosis and harder on the people being treated. It’s hard to explain to you family, loved ones and even coworkers what is wrong when you don’t even really have a firm answer yourself.

My personal brand of crazy is like mental herpes, inflammatory, painful, makes me socially awkward and I worry it’s contagious so I shut myself off from others. It flares up without warning but also can lie dormant for long enough for me to start believing I might be OK or normal than BAM! Mental herpes! My crazy is a collection of a few different mental “quirks” that all coalesce into a mental rash on my well being. I first sought help in university for Bulimia Nervosa, and found out I was also severely depressed and had problems with anxiety. So not only was I put in the eating disorder category I also had other problems to tackle at the same time. Unfortunately I’m and overachiever and a procrastinator so I worked really hard for a couple months, then just crammed everything down deeper and pretended that nothing was wrong for a few more years. This was exhausting and My Crazy stayed in the dark corners of my mind, feeding on negativity and eating my self esteem. My Crazy grew fat and multiplied, and my self worth disappeared.

If you ignore your health problems long enough, they don’t go away, they build and multiply. So for me 2012 was the year it all came to a head. My physical health crashed, I got sick often, headaches, pain, nightmares, and insomnia all started building. I started having panic attacks, I was irritable and exhausted all of the time. My productivity was shot and I loathed myself for not being able to be the person I though I should be. I reached out for help and after a few false starts I finally found a counselor I could work with, my family doctor started to listen and things started looking up. Then I snapped. It didn't seem fair. I was working so hard to get better, I was going to my appointments, taking my meds, reading all the books and I still wound up on the floor of the bathroom at work, vomiting my guts out and crying hysterically. I had let My Crazy fester so long that when I started to chip away at it Crazy exploded with a vengeance.

So here I am now, still trying to piece myself together after My Crazy blew my sense of self and happiness apart. Trying to pick up the pieces of me worth saving and letting go of the diseased bits. So that is why I started this blog, I want a reason to focus on getting better. Part of that will be working on my resolutions. I'm not aiming for prefect, just better.

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