Sunday, May 29, 2011

Talking even when it's scary

I'm mentally, physically, and intellectually tired.  I'm tired of...I don't know.  I guess I'm just tired of not feeling okay and working so hard to feel it.  When I was 12 years old I went mute, pretty much for a year.  I had a few bouts of muteness here and there before and after that major episode, but I don't know why I went mute.  I don't think I did it on purpose.  I just sort of lost the ability or energy or need to speak.  I basically shut down completely after I moved away from Maggie and Tim's foster home.  I haven't been mute since I was 13 years old, but somewhere deep down I feel the silence seducing me whenever I'm stressed.  It's always there, pulling at me.  I don't know why.  Maybe it's mental illness but the only mental illness with this symptom that I can find is selective mutism and that doesn't really fit.  Why does my brain always want to shut down?  Why are simple things so much harder for me than they seem to be for other people?  I don't know.  Group therapy is nearly impossible for me, but after two months of it, I'm beginning to be able to share in the groups.  I'm going to the program four days a week and therapy with CT once a week.  I'm exhausted.

I've started attending the recovery group in my program.  I didn't choose this by choice, and I was a little apprehensive at first but it's okay.  Most of the people in this group are substance abusers.  I'm the only one in the group for self injury.  This is the first time in my life that I've been able to be open about cutting myself. I've hidden it for years, until I couldn't hide it from my girlfriend anymore.  I managed to hide it for years, cutting only in places I knew she wouldn't see and explaining away old scars.  Luckily I don't scar very easily and I learned a neat trick when I was bitten in the face by a dog when I was a kid.  If you pop open a vitamin E capsule and rub the oil on your wounds, you can almost prevent and cure scars.  I had 16 stitches in my face and you cannot even tell today.  But that might also be because it's covered by some acne scars now.  So I've been very good about hiding my habit since I was a kid.  My cutting got worse and worse to where even friends were noticing and I kept having to come up with lies.  "Oh, I cut myself on some chicken wire." or "I cut myself hanging reed fencing."  Those were the only things I could think of to explain the nearly parallel lines on my skin.  I always cut myself horizontally, and usually on my legs, but sometime I run out of room and cut on my arms or hands.  I'm pretty sure people knew I was lying when I came up with those lame stories, but most people are never brave enough to call me out on it, fortunately.  I've become less and less careful about where I cut myself but it's not really intentional.  Sometimes I don't even realize what I've done until after I've done it.  I dissociate when I do it sometimes so I don't realize I'm doing it or I know I'm doing it but I don't really have the consciousness to really think about it until after it's done and then I feel really crazy and stupid.  This is the first time in my life since I was 10 or 11 that I've been able to talk to other people about what I do to myself.  My anxiety when I talk about it is almost unmanageable, but I pushed myself to do it even though my automatic response is to deny, make up excuses, and go mute.  I opened up about it in group on Friday.  I talked about cutting myself at 3AM on Friday morning and I talked about Maggie trying to talk to me through my email chat before I did it.  I was near a panic attack with anxiety and then I began to cry in front of a room full of people, both older and younger than me, as I talked about it.  Everyone was really supportive.  I actually felt much calmer after the group.  I was able to participate in more groups after that on Friday.  It's taken two full months of an all day program, but I'm starting to actually participate now.

I was really upset last week because my social worker in the program told me I had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.  I was open to it at first but after researching it, I became really offended.  While some of the criteria fit me, a lot of it doesn't.  I wrote out this long essay about why it was an inappropriate and unhelpful and potentially damaging diagnosis for me because my insurance will not cover it.  I discussed each of the nine criteria and explained how they did or did not fit me and why.  I gave it to the nurse to give to my doctor on Tuesday.  On Friday I requested to see Dr. Patrick because my medication increase has caused extreme itching and I crave salt so badly that I literally poured some in my hand and licked it off over and over again.  GROSS!  The craving got to a point where I just couldn't resist the urge no matter how gross it was.  I had to get a blood test and depending on the results I might have to stop taking Lamictal because it can cause a dangerous rash and something called salt wasting.  I also talked to him about what I wrote and the borderline diagnosis.  He said that my social worker was wrong, he never diagnosed me with that and agreed that it didn't fit me.  The DBT clinic he wants me to go to in August is called the Borderline Personality clinic, but it's not only for people with BPD.  He has diagnosed me with severe depression and complex ptsd.

So I'm doing better in a lot of ways, but I still don't feel "better" whatever that's supposed to feel like.  One minute I'm learning to accept that I'll never have the family I dream and the next I'm in pieces.  I'm really tired of people deciding they don't want me anymore.  I don't have the brain power to articulate just how much it hurts to have your family tell you they don't want you anymore.  Those of you who have families, imagine your mom and dad deciding they don't want you anymore and not really understanding why.  They don't claim you anymore and don't want you in their lives anymore.  Then imagine that happening to you over and over again your entire life.  I would rather lose a limb.  I would rather have cancer.  I know that some of you understand how this feels.  For those of you who have overcome this, how do I keep surviving this?  How do I survive surviving?  I don't want to survive anymore.  There has to be more to life than just this.