Thawing Out

A year and a half ago, something terrible happened to me.
It’s not the first time I was sexually assaulted. Hell, it wasn’t even the first time I was raped but it was the one that really and truly bothered me.
With the others I was able to remove factors and protect myself. Build walls. With this one I would pretty much have to remove everybody I loved from my life, change all of my social life I’d been building for most of my adult life.
So, I did the only thing I knew how. The only reaction I had learned from childhood. I froze. Emotionally I shut it down.
I gave a stiff upper lip and kept going with life.
Sure it got to me from time to time. When I saw my rapist out on the town I’d panic. When I had to tell new partners I’d get upset. When it came close to the one year anniversary I struggled but for the most part, I kept it together.

Something has happened recently though. I’ve found a safe place. A truly safe place. Now I’m thawing out.
I’m feeling everything that most people would have felt right away. I’m feeling that now.
The constant panic. The need to hide from everything. The recurring nightmares and insomnia. All of it and more. Now. A year and a half later.

I’m scared all the time. If I have a moment when I’m not scared, I’m angry.
I’m scared I’ll lose friends over this. I’m scared I’ll lose that social base I love so dearly, the one which has become family.
I’m scared it will happen again, sometime down the road. I’m scared he’ll do it to another girl. I’m scared my silence this long means he already has.
I’m angry he did this to me. I’m angry he has memories of my body I don’t. I’m angry I’ve already lost friends and family over this. I’m angry I have panic so bad I miss work.
I’m angry that I get messages from people saying they wish they were brave enough to come out with their stories too, because that means there are so many more women out there with stories like mine and that is NOT ok.
I’m angry that I’ve always been so very strong and now, because of one night, one persons selfish decision, I feel weaker than I ever have before.

I’ve faced a screaming angry father when I was a child, I have over come addiction, I took on mental illness and I can’t make eye contact with an unknown male. I can’t use a bar bathroom without having a small panic attack.

This is my thawing out process. I’m told it’s normal. To me it’s terrifying.

9 year old Happy Tears

I have borderline personality disorder and bipolar. I don’t hide it. It’s part of who I am but by no means all of who I am. I feel that being open about having mental illness will help destigmatize it.
Just think, if you’re a super awesome person, people like you, you do good things…AND you have a mental illness, people will start to realize that maybe it’s not all “one flew over the cuckoos nest”.

Any way, I didn’t always know I was sick. Most people get diagnosed between 25-30 but with more knowledge being out there, diagnosis is coming earlier and earlier.
Before diagnosis, I knew something was wrong with me but I didn’t know what. I was angry all the time. I mean, rage out angry. I did things I couldn’t explain which hurt myself and others. I didn’t like this person but I didn’t know how to stop.
Diagnosis wasn’t a magical turning point either. Things got worse before they got better.

My family bore the brunt of it all. They were where I felt most comfortable to be myself and myself wasn’t pleasant.
I yelled all the time. It was my manner of communication. My poor children could do no right and were constantly afraid of me.
When I wasn’t yelling, I was sleeping. God, I could sleep like I was training for the Olympics.
The poor babies got used to mommy being absent in one way or another.

I started looking for help around the age of 18 but I didn’t get diagnosed till I was 27.
Ten years of not knowing what was wrong and another four years of trying to figure all of this out.
It was rough to say the least.

I’ve started to get my feet underneath me in the last 2-3 years. I’m starting to understand my triggers much better. I’m balancing my need for social with my families need for me, much better.
My kids are better behaved. I don’t know if it’s because I’m more understanding or because they know they can actually do right now so…lets do right. Either way, I’m yelling much less (if at all) for so many reasons.

Today my youngest did something which would have made me blow my top for sure.
I had a headache and I resisted the urge to sleep it off in my bed. Instead I went downstairs where my son was playing video games and chatted with him till I nodded off.
When I woke, he was gone. Not from the basement, from the house.
I tore off and went looking for him.
He was at a friends house where my eldest had a sleepover last night.
He was still in his pjs and he had invited himself over.
So far he’s committed three household infractions
1) Tell people where you’re going
2) Get dressed before you go out
3) Don’t invite yourself over to somebodies house

When we got home I sat him down and talked to him. I didn’t yell, I just broke it down calmly.
This might not seem like a big thing to some people but it’s huge in this house and it’s been a regular thing for about a year now.

When we were done talking my son said to me “I’m glad you’re not mean mommy anymore”
I hugged him tight and explained that I was sick for a very long time and being sick made my temper hard to control, but I’ve gotten better for them. For my boys. I got better so that I could be a better mommy.
He hugged me tighter and started to cry. I went to comfort him and he told me “These are happy tears, mommy”
I kissed his head and cried with him.

After that moment, he proceeded to get excited about chocolate milk and guacamole.
He is now downstairs playing with his brother innocently oblivious to what kind of mark he made on my heart and my recovery today.

What seems like a little moment to him is huge to me. I will never forget this.

If you’re struggling with mental health issues, please read this and know you can get better, you can be the person you want to be. This is NOT who you are. You are wonderful, loving, fun, and unique.

A quiet moment with my youngest

A quiet moment with my youngest

Hello…is it me you’re looking for

Well hello again.
It’s been a while. So much has happened.
The geeklings and I moved back to our home town. My brain went snap where we were living and we moved back to where I/we have family and friends to support us.
We attended our first ComicCon (OH MY GOD!!!)… I know right. We were dressed like The Doctor 9, 10 & 11. We got our picture taken with and by Geek God Wil Wheaton (we kinda got tweeted BY Wil Wheaton which made all our lives, frankly)
I also got a Serenity poster signed by Nathan Fillion & Jewel Staite. I got my photo taken with Nathan Fillion, Jewel Staite & Gillian Anderson.
Somehow I managed to get my photo taken with Nathan Fillion without crying, visibly shaking or being removed by security. I’d call that a big ole win.

My fella and I tried long distance and it didn’t pan out. I thought I was dealing with it well but apparently and according to my current manic state, I am not. I’ve started going crazier than a shit house rat and…well….that’s where I am. Out a lot at night, subjecting the poor city to crazier and crazier versions of myself. Before you ask, yes I am still medicated and yes I have another doctors appointment. I don’t know why it’s not under control. It’s been catalyst into the stratosphere of mental health issues and I’m struggling to keep what little control I have on it.

Something I AM doing with it though is writing. Nothing cohesive, more like little blurbs here and there. Individual little thought bubbles that come out of my crazy mind. I’ll post the more public appropriate ones here (read: the ones I want people to know about)

So, that’s where we are. We had our first ComicCon, our Geek-Mitzvah if you will. Some super awesome stuff happened while we were there. Sat in on some amazing panels, got pictures with cool celebs (Wil & Nathan were the coolest, Jewel is a total sweetie and gives great panel), I’ll totally Con again. I kinda want to pursue my dream of being an actress now. If for no other reason than to act in a Joss Whedon project and then Con for the rest of my life. I would totally panel & sign autographs still Cosplaying cause I’m a nerd like that. *sings* To dream the impossible dream.
I’m still crazy, maybe even crazier than before… But I’m trying to be creative and not terribly self destructive with it… We’ll see how that goes.

Ya… Capt. Tom out!

Photo Courtesy of Wil Wheaton

Photo Courtesy of Wil Wheaton

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It’s Time

Four years ago… Or was it five now? I really don’t know, time is pretty fluid for me…. I had a mental break down.
I’m not talking about one of those Real Housewives ‘lay in bed for a weekend with a martini in hand and lament about first world problems’ kinda mental breakdowns. I mean a real, spend close to a year freaking the fuck out about everything and then spend another year getting used to real life again, kinda mental break downs.

Thing is… This wasn’t my first snap from reality. Or my second. In fact, I had mini snaps from reality on a semi-regular basis. Somewhere near the bottom of this mental breakdown (no I never ended up in the hospital somehow) I ended up with a diagnosis or two. They were BiPolar and Borderline Personality Disorder. I could only process one at that time though due to the crap storm going through my head. So I took my BiPolar diagnosis and my prescription and I proceeded on with my life. Poorly.

I continued to make bad decisions and didn’t take my medication as I should. My life continued to be a hail storm of mental illness based chaos and finally it happened. I got tired. I am tired. I’m tired of being sick. I’m tired of being overwhelmed. I’m tired of looking back at the last 3/6/9/12 months and saying “Oh for fucks sake… What did I do this time.”
As far as I’ve been told over the years I have Borderline Personality Disorder, BiPolar II, Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Addictions issues, Eating Disorders and Self Harm issues. My brain is a pinata of crazy… Just hit that shit and see what falls out. I am tired. So I am finally really perusing help. I want to start properly managing my issues.

Seems like such an easy thing to do, I know but that means addressing them and coming to grips with the fact that my brain, the singular organ that keeps me alive and makes me who I am to my very core backfires on me on such a grand scale. It means admitting that this will never go away. I will never be “normal”.
I’m not a big fan of conformity normal but I may never be able to hold down a job or even be able to have an argument with a romantic partner without flying off the handle in a spectacular fashion. It means that I will always have to make sure that when I’m stressed I’m not overspending, over flirting or doing something equally stupid because my brain doesn’t process like other peoples. This is a lot for one person to face and I am just now, really facing it and really ready to get the help I, my family and my close inner circle of friends deserve.

Getting help also means that I am facing playing the “meds game”. What works, what doesn’t and what side effects I will have. I will likely end up in therapies (plural) and we get to see how all of that affects my brain.

I have decided to add this journey to my blog for a few reasons. The first being, mental health is so very misunderstood and I believe the only way to really start to understand it is to bring it out of the shadows. To speak up. Anyone can suffer from mental health issues. From situation depression to a myriad of issues such as myself and let me tell you this much, just because you can’t see it, just because they don’t look sick, doesn’t mean they aren’t and don’t deserve as much care as somebody laid up in a bed somewhere. Please don’t mock or tell us to “pull up our socks” or “just be happier”. Thats like telling a cancer patient to “just be healthier”. It’s not going to happen just because you suggested it and in doing as such you’re actually making the situation worse because you’re reminding us of something we should be able to do and can’t.

Another reason I’m doing this is for myself. As I mentioned earlier time is fluid for me. I made the decision to really start perusing this path to mental wellness two and a half weeks ago (I think) and I want to keep track of it the best I can. I think this will be the best way to do it.
I know this is supposed to be a geek blog and there will be that too but the geek are supposed to be intellectual… So lets be smart about this and talk. Talk about mental health. Only by talking openly and candidly can we break down the walls and end the stigma.

Thank you