Yesterday I talked to Bryn on the phone, and I was telling her how small my past made me feel, and then I allowed myself to get angry, because angry is easier to deal with than sad if you let it temper you instead of burn you from the inside out. I know I’m just a nerd with a journal, and so do my other friends. In terms of Argo’s feelings about me, I just need to stop participating, because when her words get under my skin, the worthlessness loop starts running and Boo Radley has nothing on me… and not because I feel like I need to be a hermit out of fear. I feel that I need to be a hermit because I don’t deserve happiness.
Or, as I so eloquently saw it put on Facebook today, never go looking for happiness where you lost it. This insistence that I am some sort of dark character has got to go, and that won’t come from continuing to worry about my relationship with Argo and how to make things right, because her mind is made up. What’s done is done, and I can change her mind as easily as I can change my eye color… and yes, I realize that I could get different-colored contacts, but it would be as fake a fix as believing that though there were lots of fights between Argo and me, eventually she’ll see that there were also a lot of good things and those good things will carry the day. Because what I realized is that as much as I care about her, I don’t trust her as far as I can throw her, and I’m sure the feeling is mutual…. although I am sure she trusts me a lot more because I’m so much littler and therefore she can throw me a lot further. 😛
So I reached out to Scales, Pri-Diddy reached out to me, and I’m looking forward to seeing Nate and Emily again as well. My sister is coming to visit on the 29th, and she arranged a free day so that we could actually spend some time together outside of all her meetings. I want off this roller-coaster of emotion, and I’m trying. I’m looking for another therapist since Vesta does not take my insurance. I created a profile on Match.com (one of the free ones… I’m not ready to talk to anyone… just baby steps into the future as opposed to giant steps). It really got to me that Scales could see that I wasn’t ready for the future. She wanted to date me, and almost said so, but for whatever reason, decided not to… and I believe that it was because I was still so interested in processing the past rather than moving into my future….. of which I am quite tired, and yet caught in, because my personality type is just that. Figuring out the future by analyzing past mistakes, and not knowing when to stop. It doesn’t help that I’m an anxious person on top of all this INFJ, but even if I wasn’t saddled with mental health issues, I’d still be me.
Rule No. 1: Learn to tell the difference. I am not Sally Field from ER, nor am I Ted Turner. Sometimes I feel good and productive. Sometimes I want to crawl in a hole. I take lamotrigine (brand name Lamictal™) to make sure my lows don’t go too low. My highs are limited to being awake for a long time. That’s it. I got nothin.’ In the bipolar spectrum, I mostly just need depression medication to leave the house. Because of this, I also take escitalopram (brand name Lexapro™), which is just a basic depression drug that’s been used since, I think (and you’ll have to check me on this), George Washington was a boy. Again, keeping my lows from going too low.
I care about everyone and everything in the room and am powerless to fix any of it, but I will take on as much as I can until I can’t breathe. Being in crowds is physically taxing because there’s no way to escape the noise of other people’s problems. For this, I take clonazepam (brand name Klonopin™). I used to only take benzos as needed during a panic attack, but a low dose every day seems to work much better…. mostly because I’m not already in the middle of a panic attack and THEN taking something for it. Ounce of prevention, pound of cure, etc. Benzos are known for high addiction rates, but the dose I’m on is so low that I don’t even notice much of a difference when I don’t take it, so there’s no reason for me to exhibit the drug-seeking behavior of someone who’s been without it.
I also used to take gabapentin (Brand name Neurontin™), but when I left Vesta I didn’t have any refills and I didn’t think it did anything. Maybe for you, it works. For me, it says “does not work” right on the bottle.
I lump these together because at this point, I’m not sure which is which. Most of the symptoms I face are also on a trauma checklist… it’s hard to pay attention to the future when the tapes of your past are so ever-present in your mind… and yet, I still work in piles, I’m still habitually late when I overload myself with appointments, and ADD medication works on me. It doesn’t make me happy that it works, because I lose all appetite and start looking like a ten year old, but it does work. I was not diagnosed with ADD as a child, and I think I would have done much better in school if I had. I certainly kicked some ass in college…. but to be fair, college is built for ADD. There’s no daily homework. You just show up and take a test every few weeks. Remembering to turn in homework every day (even if it was completely finished and at home) ate my lunch.
In terms of crazy meds for ADD, I’ve tried them all- Ritalin, Ritalin XR, Adderall, Concerta- except Stratera. No, wait. I tried it for a week. Every time I’ve been on a norepinephrine booster that wasn’t a methamphetimine made me jittery, nauseous, forgetful, and forgetful. The best analogy that I can come up with for the difference between Adderrall and Stratera is that Adderall is pure cane sugar, and Stratera is Splenda. They both do the same thing, but in different ways… therefore, everyone’s reaction to them is going to be different. For some people, Splenda is a wonderful thing, but I need real sugar.
Or, at least I did. Now I manage my ADD by making sure that I sleep a lot and am therefore very conscious and alert all day…. especially with a borderline case like mine, I don’t have to medicate it unless I want to… and I don’t. I’m done with having no appetite and I’m done with people knowing I take it and offering to pay me for it and not taking no for an answer until it is very clear that I am going to lose my mind if you ask me one more time.
I’m laying it all out here because as you can see, none of the problems that I’ve got mentally are ever going to stop me from being my personality type. I am still the overthinker, but perhaps my mind would be occupied with much larger things than it is now. Mental health is a lot to manage, especially when people think you’re lazy and you’re actually struggling to keep your head above water… and anxiety triples the negative perceptions other people have about you, and I truly believe that the normal, non-depressed person does not have a frame of reference for it…. which is where the lazy and the “snap out of it” comes from.
I’ve also always been a dreamer, looking out the window, but unable to see the future… just turning the past over and over in my mind…. starting in about 7th grade. In sixth grade, I wanted to be a professional trumpet player, and I could see myself on The Tonight Show Bandstand as clearly as I see the iPhone in front of me. And then I met a narcissistic sociopath and I couldn’t dream into the future anymore, only about how to rework the past, because it had to be solved somehow. That’s where the psychotherapy comes in. There’s nothing that was done in my past to create a chemical imbalance, but knowing the difference between healthy and unhealthy reactions is exactly where the rubber meets the road.
I don’t want to live this life anymore. I want a different one. Nothing means more to me than my mental health, because my dreams are too big to sit dormant forever. Ministry is a second career for a lot of women, and I am at least learning to dream that far. I’m going to wear it like I “stole” it. Nerd with a Journal doesn’t have to mean Boo Radley, but no one is going to do this work for me, and that’s the hardest part of all. Can’t I just hire someone and they’ll let me know when my brain is ready?