So we all know I’m a little cooked in the head and that I take a lot of drugs to keep me functioning in society but guess what? I’m not the only one! *shock horror, there are more like her!* and a whole bunch of them have agreed to be featured right here on my little slice of the internet to help try kick the stigma that surrounds mental health issues. Because for some reason if you have diabetes and do something or take something for it that’s okay but the moment you take something for your mind (the most important damn bit of you) you’re an outcast and there’s a stigma to it. I call bullshit! People are just too scared to admit that life isn’t all peaches and rainbows. So here I am, a grain of sand in the ocean but I am sure as fuck going to try because if at least ONE person walks away from reading this realising they aren’t alone and they have nothing to be ashamed of then we’ve succeeded.
SO… To start off this Friday Feature we have Tracey from Our REAL, real life.
My claim to fame.
I honestly haven’t a clue. I’m 39 and beginning to get to know myself after a lifetime of a pretty impressive dissociative disorder. I’ll have too get back to you on that one.
I’d like to say though, that when I was little I was convinced I was a fairy and that I could do magic… When I look at my kids, I think I was right.
What makes you so special?
Geez! Out the starting blocks with a ripper! You know that most mental illnesses come with low self esteem as a key defining symptom yes!?
Uhhhhmmmm. I’m a liver. I would say survivor, but now days that puts me in mind of living in my past day to day. And for the first time in my life, I don’t anymore. I live. And I can attest to the fact that it’s pretty damn good too LIVE, vs surviving for so long.
When were you diagnosed?
I had my first diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder ten years ago in 2005. It happened about the same time I had my Epilepsy diagnosis. My BPD diagnosis came with a Bipolar diagnosis. I was so out of it on the meds I was given at the time (literally, I was almost totally non communicative for over a month) and so miserable that I asked no questions and just drifted about with the diagnosis hanging over me. It was just another excuse to hate myself more. Time passed and I stabilized. But as no one had really done a heap of explaining what it all meant, I took myself off my meds and moved on with the business of trying not to be the “crazy bitch” (yeah, been called that more than once)
Fun fact. Bipolar and BPD patients REALLY should never stop taking their meds without professional advice, guidance, help, support and at the very least, the knowledge of your nearest and dearest. They are your safety net. I promise, you don’t see it happening when your world starts sliding again. They do. And your self loathing would probably be thrilled to help you ignore all the signs anyway. The people who love you do see them.
Many years on and off antidepressants, and wrestling with trying to live a seizure free life and function normally on my epilepsy med’s (which happened to be really wrong for me, caused blurred vision and permanent shaking and seemed to provoke seizures, instead of staving them off – more fun facts, GP’s are not specialists. Seek specialist help for serious shit – Lesson learned) I eventually ended up back in hospital recently after a failed suicide and was re-diagnosed with BPD and this time, with Bipolar 2, OCD (Obsessive compulsive disorder), ADHD and GAD(General Anxiety Disorder)
Pretty messed up huh? If you think that, I won’t be phased. I’m learning the fine art of not giving a fuck. I’ve spent my whole life apologizing for who I am. I don’t need too anymore. As long as I’m being the best person I can be and focusing on growing and raising my own bar, then I’m doing a stellar job in my own eyes.
This last paragraph was unthinkable to me three months ago. But with the right folks on your team, it’s possible to walk through life without the black dog tearing at your heels and dragging you down.
Do you take anything for it?
Yup. I’m currently taking 600mg of Epilizine daily. This helps with both my seizures and generally mood stability too. It’s working really well, I’m seizure free now for nearly three month for the first time in years. The only down side is really quick weight gain. I’m watching my eating carefully, but have still packed on weight. Hoping I can come down in dosage soon. And then Lilly Flouxitine, as an antidepressant. I have been on it many times over the years. It does it’s job well. My psychiatrist has opted to just stabilize me at first and let me spend a good few months in therapy sorting through my past before she changes anything up, or adds more med’s to try and help manage my other issues. The ADHD and OCD can be medicated, and she is certain the GAD will abate slightly as I work through my stuff.
I’m no fan if being a legalized druggie (in my eyes). But honestly, I know now what my unmediated mind is capable of, and it’s not a great place to be. So I’ll just suck it up and know that for now, both myself and my loved ones benefit from me ignoring the frustration and disappointment I feel at knowing I can’t do this life thing without meds.
Any special coping mechanisms?
Blanket forts, tea and colouring in. When I get down or scared, I hide. It helps. The world will still be there when I’m ready to come out. I’m deeply grateful that I have a husband who supports these quirks and will leave cups of tea at my fort entrance and be on standby for bottomless hugs and wet shirt shoulders when I need a good cry.
Recently I’ve started meditation again after many years of not. And exercising again. Both help day to day, but if I fall in a hole, it’s time and tea….
What does the number 9 smell like?
Amazingly, completely unlike 3 pm on Wednesday afternoons!
What colour is Tuesday?
It’s a stunning acid green. We all know Monday is an asshole, so Tuesday is always beautifully turned out in my favorite colour for me.
If you could give someone out there ANY advice, what would it be?
Sjoe! A few things.
1. You’re not alone. Even when you are SURE you are, you’re not.
2. You’re beautiful and valuable. Reminder yourself of it daily by acting on those two things. Be beautiful, let your heart shine out at others. Give love, and add value. Expect nothing in return. Someone else’s happiness is a wonderful reward.
3. ONLY do the above, if you have put yourself first. DO NOT let yourself get depleted to the point where you cannot love yourself at all.
4. If you cannot find anything that makes you feel joyful, talk to someone. Anyone you trust, but talk, isolation is dangerous when depression sets in. If that feeling persists, seek professional help. There a free government clinics that will help if your finances do not allow. Often, a lack of financial stability worsens our outlook. Try not to let it stand in your way or create a vicious cycle. There is always a solve.
5. Be kind to yourself. It teaches you to be kind to others.
What saying get’s you through most days?
“I luss you mommy”
The mere fact that I nearly took myself from them because I had unmanaged chemical issues, makes me grateful daily for each moment I have with my beautiful children.
Tea or Coffee?
Tea. Earl Grey.
What does it look like to you (draw a picture – or google it if you “can’t” draw)