Tag Archives: diagnosis

Where Do We Start… and End?


It has been a long time since I felt comfortable to be myself around someone new. I finally found that person, but things got strained and difficult really quickly. I will not lay the blame on him, I believe that this is mostly my fault, however I will say that it usually takes more than one person for conflict to arise.

He was super sweet and waited almost a month to finally meet me in person because I have been sick, and well I still am. That is one of the problems. I was having a good week when we met and our first date was fun and our second date lasted 40 hours. Then it was back to work, stress, and then my stomach problems came back.

Now I haven’t been talking much about my recent sickness. That is maybe because it isn’t a recent illness, just the most recent flare up. I am in the process of getting a confirmed diagnosis for gastro-paresis. If you don’t know what it is, it sucks. I am sick to my stomach all of the time, I can hardly eat and all kinds of social and environmental factors play a part. Basically to not have a flare up I have to never be under any stress, ever, at all. Now having my diagnosis currently of and anxiety disorder with OCD personality traits, this is a flat out impossibility. I can’t go through a day without something stressing me out, and it is usually little things. Like my computer not working right, or traffic being bad. Normal everyday stress that for a normal person is a minor irritation, takes medication to control not just for my brain, but also for my stomach.

When I get stressed, I get sick. This causes more anxiety, which causes more sick, and the cycle continues. The only way out is to get away from my stressors. Sometimes that means I can’t drive. Other times, well it is impossible. People have to work, but for someone like me the simple act of walking into a job where I might get stressed, so I might get sick puts me on guard, makes me nervous, and eventually leads to where I am now. Trying desperately to prove to my employers that I realy have a disease, and that I’m not making it up.

Now where does the boy come into all this, well we had so much fun the first two weeks we hung out that y stress went down and I started to get better. Then I got stressed out at work, and I vented to him, and we had a couple bad nights and things got awkward, and now we don’t know how to talk to one another, and he wants to be just friends. While there is much more to this, and will get its own post, I will say that it was bad timing. Today I needed desperately to distress after being confronted with the very real possibility that I may soon be unemployed, and I thought he would be the perfect fun relaxed person to distress with. Instead he tried to help me in another way. Which caused me to get upset again and I was ultimately unable to explain things the way I wanted, which again leads me here.

I truly appreciate it when people try to give me advice about things I struggle with. However, let me get through the emotional moment first. Now this could be a moment or a few hours, depending on my percentage of bad brains that day. And this is changing too. I never thought that someone could recover from mental illness, just learn how to live with it. Now I believe that for someone us it changes over time. Which makes sense why my greatest shrink refused to give me a diagnosis. But I got one anyway, and it has changed. I have gotten both better in some things and worse in others. Which equals a whole new diagnosis, and while I know it’s not bi-polar, I’m pretty sure I know what it is, and it isn’t one that I want to fully embrace yet.

I do know that I have been sick, and alone and this makes me depressed. I stress out to the point where I have dissociative anxiety attacks, something I haven’t done in years, and this scares me too. It is scary to know that you live with something that can only be controlled to a point. Something within you that you fight every day, just to make the rational choice and not the impulse that will just make things worse. I don’t always win, but I feel that on the ones I used to lose I’m gaining decent control. Others I am still working on.

I don’t know if I can save my job. I’m going to go to the doctor and try to get into a specialist ASAP for my tummy problems. I am going to consider increasing my anxiety medication for a short time to help with the stomach problem as well. It is very convenient that I’m prescribed something which is given for both disorders. And I’m going to talk to my crazy doctor about my depression problems and the disassociation and see if there is anything that can be done there. I’m not keeping my hopes up that the boy will come around, but I hope he keeps reading this, and will see that I am taking his advice to heart, that I’m reaching for the bootstraps, and I’m doing the best I can. I hope everyone else sees that too.

I don’t want to go through this alone, and I know there are a few of you out there who are there for me both in my personal life and in your comments, and I thank you. This is another long journey, and I can’t do it without support.

So embrace the crazy you have today, even if it is different than it was yesterday, and especially if it rambles along as much as this post.

Bad Brains


So I haven’t posted anything new in a while, and I feel like I should explain why.

At the end of last month I was told I did not have the right to write about mental health. I was also accused of being an addict because I take medication for my anxiety disorder. The combination of these two things threw me into a total crazy brains period. I got complete writers block and I have hardly been able to write a word for the past three weeks.

Now I know that I shouldn’t let other people get to me that much, but I began to question everything about myself. I learned some things from this three weeks of extreme crazy. The first being that I can write about whatever I want. I also learned that while I depend on my medication I don’t want to be on it forever. Finally and most importantly though, I learned that I am not an addict. I am a person living with a mental illness. I can live without medication, I am not afraid of being crazy, I am not afraid of my emotions. I choose to manage my disease in a way that is socially acceptable, and I am taking steps to reduce the use of medication and go back to managing my anxiety in more healthy ways.

Exercise, beating out a song on my guitar, drawing, and most importantly writing. I am a writer, and if I remember to use the tools I have as an emotional outlet then I will be able to live the life I want and not be blinded by other people’s views and interpretations of me. I have to do things my way. We all have to do things our own way, if we don’t then we don’t heal.

In conclusion I hope to be posting regularly again in August. I will be in Europe for the next two weeks, and I’m not sure how much opportunity I will have to post. Thanks for reading.

“Hey Baby, What’s Your Diagnosis?”


 

 

            At one time it was common to hear: “So baby, what’s your sign?” as a pickup line.  As we move into a future where more and more of us in Western culture are in or have been in some sort of treatment for mental health, that line will soon be a thing of the past, replaced with “What’s your diagnosis?”

            Gone are the days where being a Libra, Taurus, Cancer, or Pisces has much meaning anymore, if they ever truly did.  Made more difficult by the fact that whoever is in charge of such things changed the dates of the Zodiac signs so that nobody knows what their sign actually is anymore.  We are moving toward a future where we pick our mate not by their star sign, but instead by a compatible diagnosis.

            The American Psychological Association has a category for almost any quirk of the personality these days.  So since we are all crazy, we need to find the crazy in others which complements our own.

            For example I am diagnosed with an Axis I Anxiety Disorder with Obsessive Compulsive Personality traits.  So what disorders complement my own?  This is much more difficult than learning that as a Libra I should avoid dating an Aries, Cancer, or Leo.  While astrology can be fun and the Birthday and Relationship books are frighteningly accurate, they haven’t helped me find my soul mate, only confirmed after the fact that who I was with was a bad match according to the stars.

            My diagnosis in some ways also makes dating hard, as I turn into a mutated version of myself, amplified in all the wrong ways.  It’s like being the Hulk except it’s not incredible.  It is actually rather mundane in explanation, although I have been told it can be frightening to witness.  And while I do not grow to incredible size, my voice does, and instead of my skin turning into a bright green only my eyes shift into a brighter green.  All of this is because one of my anxiety symptoms is impulse aggression.

            So when I get attached to someone I often turn into a nightmare, and while someone might wish to date the Hulk, I do not like the idea of losing control and becoming HulKatie.  At this time, I have found it better for everyone that I don’t date.  You never know when the green will spread to my skin and I will grow from my 5 foot self into a massive and destructive form bent on smashing everything.

            So how do we date in our overly diagnosed, overly medicated, and overly stimulated society?

            Well there is online dating.  This gives us a chance to get to know someone in the absence of actually having to see them in person and open our mouths in order to have a conversation.  I have tried this method of dating, much to my own failure and quit almost as quickly as I began.  The reason being that while it is easy to type a message about yourself and what you like, to me it lacked substance.  And while I actually met two people in person, it was glaringly obvious to me that our online personalities and our in-person-alities don’t often match-up exactly how we think they do.

            Nice, smart, caring, giving, and intelligent online and groaning, grunting, incomprehensible animal in person.  This isn’t true for everyone, but it is hard to show all of your personality on the internet.  It’s hard enough the traditional way.

            So after failing Online Dating 101, I went back to the bars and coffee shops.  However, much like the online world people act differently when they are single than they do when they are dating.  I think this may actually come from our lack of asking that basic question: “So what is your diagnosis?”  I’m not saying to run screaming into the night when someone says anxiety, depression, PTSD, or bi-polar, but this will at least be a better ice breaker than “What’s your sign?”

            This question gives us the chance to break down walls which could otherwise take months or years to knock down or climb over.  You then get to start with an open and friendly conversation, without being afraid to speak candidly.  Tell the cute guy at the bar that in the event of your dating you might turn Hulk if he smiles at you the wrong way when you have a paper do for school, or that you might smash a beer bottle on the floor if he calls you crazy.  We already know that not everyone we find attractive is right for us, why not cut the bullshit and be honest from the start.  Ask questions like “Do you identify more with Jekyll or Hyde?” or, “If you were a serial killer would you be more like Dexter, or Ted Bundy?” 

            Then after starting the conversation, we can arm ourselves with information to make informed choices rather than those fueled entirely by bar banter and physical attraction.  This way if you Hulk out on someone, they were warned.

            Now go forth and change the way we date, and let me know if your personal crazy has ever had an effect on your romantic relationships, either positive or negative.

 

 

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