Tag Archives: crazy brains

Moments of Sanity are Followed by Days of Anxiety

Earlier this week I went to an event called Paint Nite with my co-workers. We went for team building, which worked fairly well. Personalities in the work place are often different when you take the person away from work. People who do not get along while at their jobs, can learn to become friendly when they are able to show their true personalities outside of the office.

While I was rediscovering my love of painting, I also got to learn more about the women I work with. It was a good experience for this week. I have managed to rediscover old passions, and begin to create new positive relationships. This is often a difficult thing for me to do.

While I tend to be a very outgoing person, I do live with anxiety that causes constant fear. People often think that I fake my disease in order to get out of doing things. Today for example, I overslept, which caused and anxiety attack. While I had just had my medication refilled, it did not help in the way which I needed it to, so that I could go to work. This of course upset my boss. So I have spent the day feeling horrible because I couldn’t drive to work. Which in turn has just managed to increase my anxiety. With few ways available to decrease my anxiety, I am now writing and hoping that I will be able to explain how this disorder affects me.

I have difficulty at times, because of my anxieties, performing tasks which most people rarely have difficulty performing. I can’t drive sometimes because of this, and that often leads to me staying in my house all day without even opening the front door to check the mail.

This makes working a regular job extremely difficult sometimes. Uncomfortable conversations, and difficult personalities also increase my anxieties at work. While I can generally push through these problems, I occasionally have an anxiety attack while at work. However, in situations like today, where I woke up having an anxiety attack, it can affect my ability to even make it to work.

I love my job, and my biggest fear at this point is that my mental health will lead to me losing the job. I can’t afford for that to happen, nor do I want to stress about the possibility. However, it is a very real possible outcome. Trying to work outside your home, when you live with a disorder that makes it impossible to simple tasks, is very difficult. Trying to explain to your managers that you are crazy and that sometimes you need people to understand that, is a difficult conversation to have.

I don’t like feeling ashamed of any part of what makes me who I am. In the conversations where you must confess to your boss that you have to take medication so you can function like normal people, and that sometimes it doesn’t work, well the other party tends to have a lack of understanding. I think this is because it feels shameful to tell people these things. Also, when you feel ashamed of something, it makes it much more difficult to express with any accuracy what you need to be able to say.

I don’t like having to use my disorder as an excuse. I hate when it causes me to lose trust, or friends. It’s the worst when it affects my ability to go to work, or preform to my personal standards at work. I don’t ever want my crazy to be the reason I don’t succeed. However sometimes, there is nothing I can do to fix myself and I have to take that day and put it in the lost cause category. I hope that I can find some common ground with my female coworkers, and as I try to take each day at a time; I will be able to gain more control over my anxieties. And that those anxieties can give a greater understanding of mental health to those that I work with.

So today I embrace the crazy, because it got me first. I’m not backing down. I won’t let it win. In my new life this is unacceptable.


Mental Health Awareness Month

So, this is May, which means it is Mental Health Awareness Month. So my message today to all of my readers, is be aware. Well, not just be aware, if you are one of my readers you are aware. Be willing to listen, be willing to understand that you don’t understand. Be accepting of the fact that sometimes all you can do to help someone is just to exist in their vicinity and not judge them. Just be there.

I would suggest any reader who doesn’t personally have some sort of mental health problem to explore their own minds. I mean by this to think about the times when you have been sad, and pretend for a moment that you had to live like that every day, this will help you gain insight. Remember when you were nervous about something and pretend that you are nervous about everything, but you don’t know why. This too will bring you closer to understanding. Remember a time you were angry and you almost lost control, now imagine that you had no control, and that scares you all the time. Understanding can be found in these moments of reflection. They will not make you understand exactly what it is like to live in the shoes of someone who suffers from mental health problems, but it will bring you to a place which will make it easier for you to be supportive of those people in your life who suffer from crazy brains.

I plan to post more this month, if I can. However, I encourage you all to make friends with someone crazy. And if a friendship has been broken because of the crazy, I encourage you to make steps towards mending it.

Embrace the crazy! Love those who have already done so. And try to forgive those who do things which you do not understand.

You Say it’s all in my Head?

So today at work I had an interesting conversation with a coworker about mental health. During this conversation I was informed that mental health problems were all in people’s heads. That the solution was just to relax and be stress free. Now I give this person major props for being “stress free” since he has a baby on the way and a 3 year old at home, but really how do I do that?

I know I have a disorder, and it’s not because someone told me that I did. I went looking for answers because I knew that how I was feeling wasn’t “normal.” I fought for a long time to not be medicated, because I believed that I could just get better if I believed I could. What happened was I got worse. Even during times of medication I still have bad days, weeks, and sometimes months. This to me shows me that it’s not all in my head.

Now I know that medication is not a cure for my condition, it is just a way to help control it. Medication, doesn’t always help, but it’s there, and does make a difference. When I am not on my meds I completely lose control of my world. I can’t function around people and have to be alone, which just increases the problem. Even medicated, I have days where the anxiety is so overwhelming I can’t drive, or leave my house. I have tried calming music, and relaxation exercises, for me they don’t help. The only thing that helps me calm down during an anxiety attack is reading. While this is great at home, it isn’t practical for use while at work or many of the stressful situations which I find myself in.

To “get better” I would have to completely change my diet, no caffeine, and of course no smoking. I would also have to avoid all of my stressors. Well the first part, is doable, difficult, but doable. The second part is impossible.

I have anxiety attacks for no reason all the time. However, I also often manage to stay very calm and collected when in stressful situations. There isn’t one set way which my anxiety presents itself, it likes to surprise me. Because of this disorder, simple tasks can become unbearably difficult. I would like to say that I am able to be a do it yourself kind of girl, I used to be, but now simple things can send me into panic. I couldn’t tell you why hooking up my TV could cause me so much stress, I have done it a hundred times before, but some days it does.

If this were all in my head, then I would expect the task to be a problem and then stress out about it. In my life it’s the opposite. I want to hang a picture, an easy task, but when I can’t find my hammer, suddenly panic, and for no reason. I will stand there knowing that this feeling has no basis, and no reason to be in my life, but it is still there. I try to breathe and figure out the task, but often I have to call a friend for help. It is embarrassing.

There are very few people who would choose to live like this and those people have other mental health disorders. I don’t like that I have to take medication to be around the people I love, but I have accepted it for now. One day, it might change. I know that tomorrow I will again return to a job, which is not meant for someone with my particular problems, and I will do what I have to in order to get through the day. I don’t know if I will have a break down in the next hour, or the next week, but I can guess that it might happen.

I am in a stressful place in my life. I live with a condition, which makes that stress worse, but the point is that I live. I am who I am, and I try to embrace the good, the bad, and the crazy. Sometimes I’m just fine, but that can all change in a moment. I don’t have to like it, but I do have to live with it, so I might as well accept it. This does not mean however, that I drop anchor and live out my days hiding in my apartment. I embrace the crazy, but I embrace my ability to challenge myself and my crazy brains. I will push myself forward. These are the things about me that are all in my head. I think it’s good that in my head I can make the decision to stop moving forward and give up, or keep living.

It’s not always easy, but not one of us was promised at birth that life was easy. We complain that it should be, and often we want it to be. I just want it to be a little easier at times. A little less stress and worry, a day without anxiety, and a night where I can actually sleep. That is what is in my head. The anxiety is in my chemical imbalance, and my heart murmur. If I could put it in my head, then I could chose to forget it. I can’t. It is part of me. Even if it is all in my head, it is part of who I am. As I grow as a person, this will always be an aspect of me, even if I find a cure.

Like Attracts Like

So in my life I have discovered that the people whom I get along with the best, tend to also be crazy. I believe this is because that those of us who have mental health disorders tend to understand others with mental health disorders. We don’t expect these people to always act “normal” and we don’t need to find the root cause for their actions. We just accept it. You’re crazy and so am I, any questions?
These friends which I have, all know their diagnoses, and many of us who have gone through the process of getting a diagnoses understand the meanings of most of the common disorders. We know, or learn which kinds of crazy mesh with our own. Two people with anxiety disorders can be easy friends, because they understand what it means to be anxious and have no clue why you are. Other disorders that are easy for those with anxiety to understand, in my experience, tend to be depression and obsessive compulsion.
Often people have multiple problems, like anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, these tend to go together and can be easily understood by those with anxiety or PTSD. While all these disorders present differently in each person, there is a common understanding for those who have experienced one or more of the mental health disorders. Of course this is not true for everyone, in my experience like truly attracts like.
I have had several roommates with mental health problems from bi-polar disorders to anxiety and depression, and those of us with a similar disorder tend to have an easier time getting along. It isn’t always perfect, sometimes one person’s anxiety will set off another’s, but in the end there is a mutual understanding. Just because I act crazy, doesn’t mean that’s who I am all the time, and I cannot always control it. People who don’t have anxiety, and never have, don’t understand it.
For my best example of how like truly attracts like I will use my friendship of 12 years to illustrate this idea. When I first met this friend she and I had never been officially been diagnosed. I was 19 and thought that I was just angry and depressed. By the time I was 21, I started to understand that I was having anxiety and became medicated for the first time. While my friend has only been medicated and officially diagnosed for about 2 years, we both shared this experience. Like me she had always had anxiety problems she did not know what symptoms were actually part of the disorder.
My official diagnoses came about 3 years ago. I was given a diagnoses of Axis I Anxiety Disorder, with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Traits. My friend has a diagnoses of Situational Anxiety. We have the same medication, although at different doses, and we never have to explain the fact that I’m freaking out right now because of my crazy. We rant at each other when we are having issues. And through all the ups and downs I have experienced with my mental health problems over the years, we understand each other, and apologies for acting “crazy” are never accepted. If an apology is given, it is brushed aside as if one of us had just said the sky was blue. She knows that when I have my freak out moments, I don’t expect her to find a solution to the problem, she just listens. This is the best thing for me, and I expect many people with my particular disorder feel the same.
While it may seem difficult at times to find someone who truly understands our particular crazy, they are out there. You find them everywhere, at the gas station, the library, college, high school, or at a bar. We are out there among you, and if you look you will find us. Learning who shares your kind of crazy is important, because without the support of those who truly understand what it feels like to go through the day to day of living with these problems, we all get worse. Imagine it being like someone who loves only opera dating someone who only listens to hip-hop, the relationship would be hard to make work. When we share our crazy, beautiful friendships and support systems come from it.
So embrace your crazy. Embrace that sometimes there are people who will not get it and never will, but remember there is someone out there who understands. Even if this is the only place you find that at the moment, it’s a start. All journeys have to start somewhere, and living with crazy brains is one journey we should not have to travel alone.