A Broken Mind

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Maybe you’re wondering what it’s like to routinely take medication for anxiety, adhd, and depression regularly and then forget your routine for two days.

Here’s a hint….don’t wonder, don’t be intrigued, because this hot mess is NOT pretty.  Let’s just take a little looksy at how this lack of important medication affects my different “issues.”

My diagnosis of Adult ADD – Inattentive Type makes most people assume that without medication, I must just struggle with paying attention to details and remaining focused for longer periods of time. They think “oh she just zones out” when she forgets her dose. And they’re right if they think that, but they forget the other parts of ADD that can show up. The impulsivity that sometimes manifests itself in vastly different ways: mouthing off or spending money. The inability to properly handle and express my emotions…or hell even coping with those emotions at all. The irritability that comes from dealing with the after-math of my impulsivity or harsh tongue or emotional meltdown or rageful blow up. Those people with their assumptions haven’t been there when I can’t sort my feelings and take it out on a wall (silver lining – I get to brush up on my dry wall skills.)

The fact that I’m diagnosed with major depressive disorder doesn’t mean I sit around and cry all the time. It means I might cry a lot more than normal, but I might also not know why. Lacking medication to stabilize the chemical imbalance in my brain means that I could feel nothing at all, I could feel everything at once, or I could feel angry. Angry that I’m sad. Angry that I’m attached to a stigmatized diagnosis. Angry that people think that I’m depressed because its hereditary. Sure, it can be, but my depression isn’t anyone’s fault, especially not mine, and especially not my parents. I am the product of an amazing up-bringing by caring, loving, involved parents. Sometimes depression just happens, because of a gene carried throughout time and may lay dormant through generations. I guess the cosmos just assumed I’d be able to handle the imbalance. Thanks, stars! And dammit, I do handle it well, especially since I not only do medication therapy but also CBT. I make it and when I can’t, my family holds me up.

Medication for a panic disorder probably makes people think I’m a Xanax junkie. I’m not. I have a fast acting medication, yes, but I opted for the longer acting, less addictive option. And I don’t need those all the time. Rarely, actually. I am lucky to say that the SNRI that keeps the above mentioned chemical imbalance balanced, also acts on receptors that enable me to handle myself in a surprise moment of perceived lack of control. In reality, I am in control of my life in every aspect. But, in those haunting little moments that hang in the balance (that sometimes sneak up behind me to scare me in a moment of assured comfort) I remember that sometimes the things I’ve endured have made their way through the walls to remind me that I can’t do it without support.

I guess it is a big deal. Such a big deal that my therapist made me set alarms today and show her. No more broken mind.

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Look at me, I’m not untitled anymore!

“I find I am distracted! I am stark raving mad!” – Henry Fielding in The Intriguing Chambermaid (1734) 

I appreciate your initial use of this phrase, Mr. Fielding. I don’t know who you are, but I now know that google knows you as a pioneer of this phrase (that seems to sum up part of my not-so-interesting life.)

I’m not stark, raving mad – I prefer to own up to the phrase stark raving PLAID, as in I’m so gay I must be wearing plaid…because ya know, us lesbians like our plaid, our tools, and our subarus.  Actually, I don’t drive a subaru; I drive a truck. Soooo, maybe I’m a little more gay than I thought. And please, before you lesbians that don’t identify with my cargo short hammer wielding genre of gayness, realize that I am being purposefully ridiculous in labeling and stereotyping.

I’m also not just stark raving mad about plaid, I’m stark raving something or other for a lot of things. Maybe a little unhinged, a smidge quirky, a lot of opinions rolled into a nice little southern belle without the hair and makeup and that scary looking dress. No thank you, I don’t do lace and such. Ask my mom…she knows.

I mold minds (by teaching, not brainwashing of course). I’m an atheist and simultaneously obsessed with Catholicism and its mysticism. I’m the trupe that feels bad when an automatic door opens and I don’t go through it. Seriously. I sometimes whisper “I’m sorry” or if I feel real guilty, I go in the door and back out. I don’t split poles when walking with friends. I’m easily distracted – my psychiatrist diagnosed me with adult ADD (among a plethora of other fun things), and my therapist and physician both whole heartedly agree. This is lovely, because I’m much more focused, much more productive, and much less irritable anxious and stressed now that I take medication.

Among all my quirks and oddities, I’m just me. I’m learning to love myself despite my downfalls because at least I’m passionate. I love my job. I love my home and the people in it. I love the lifestyle I lead and the people that make me proud to identify as a member in the lgbtq community. I’m a big mouth piece for taking away the stigma of mental illness.  I’m a supporter of equality for all, no matter your sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, zip code, religion, etc.

Most of all, I’m just stark raving about this life I walk through. I’m grateful to the mother who loves me, cares for me, and normally realizes that something is up with me despite our 9 hours apart. I’m thankful for my father, who forged a relationship with me after my parents divorced and who has always stood beside me even when I’m wrong.

Enough of the sap, I’m getting teary eyed and smiling at the same time while sitting here waiting for L & T so I can go home… People will think I’m real unsteady if I’m crying and smiling at myselt in a hospital atrium. That would be just so stark raving mad.