Poll: What is wrong with me?

After a week of severe pain and going to work with a fever, I was finally told that I “look like death” and bribed into going to the doctor.  So I went to Urgent Care (cause it was Saturday afternoon by the time I got around to going).  They sent me to the ER because I needed imaging done and looked too hellish to wait until Monday.  So I got the kind of “cool” ultrasound that would make Scott Walker proud, told that I had fibroids and an infection, given antibiotics, and a ridiculous bill.  I took my pills and followed up with my doctor.  I was miserable for many days.  I was tired, depressed, confused, and feverish.

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So that was many weeks ago.  However said pain has not gone away.  I went back to doctor and was told “There’s no reason for you to still be experiencing pain.”  And I was sent on my way.

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So, since there is no reason for me to still be in pain and everyone keeps telling me this is in my head, I’m left wondering what the hell is wrong with me.

After consulting with my circle of people (which happens to include many therapists of different orientations as well as people who read too much), my options have been widdled down to:

Factitious Disorder
Conversion Disorder
Existential Crisis (Samuel Beckett style)
Hysteria (a la The Yellow Wallpaper)

To help you along, my symptoms include:

Feeling that someone is stabbing a knitting needle through my left ovary
Exhaustion
Ennui
Self-Loathing
Staring blankly at things without realizing that people are talking to me
Desire to read a lot of Murakami

dying2

Your input is appreciated.

Reflections from inside Rape Culture

A few weeks ago I started, and never quite finished, a post of a few of the more amusing moments I’ve had in therapy.   Those ridiculous things that I deal with that are so obviously answered, yet depressed people can’t even form into questions.  But then on my drive home today I was musing about a few more of these and I remembered a less-than-funny bit of my therapy in high school.

Throughout high school I was in theater.  I was a kickass techie, propmaster, and all around killer crew kid.  Up until I got a job and had to cut back, I spent pretty much all of my after school hours in tech, or waiting around for tech to start.

Some days we would wait around the school for an hour or more waiting for things to start up.  Or there would be nothing for us to do, so we would just hang around outside the actual theater.  Of course, there were all kinds of other kids doing this as well, or waiting for other things, rides, sports. whatever.  All things were good.

Except this one kid…

During my freshman year in high school, we would hang around, waiting for the backstage area to open, waiting to be told what to do, waiting for rides, etc.  There was this one kid who wasn’t in theater or anything.  I never had any idea what he was always doing around after school got out, but he gave me the creeps.  He had some distant acquaintanceship with one of my friends, so he would hang around us.  But, ugh, he gave me the creeps.  He was always standing too close.  Make too personal of jokes at me.  Asking other people weird things about me.  Offering me and no one else rides home.  To the point that he was following me around the school.  If I left to talk to a teacher or use the computer lab away from my friends, he would be right around the corner.  When I told him to stop or leave me alone, he would laugh.  If a friend told him to back off, he would laugh.  It got to the point that I didn’t want to leave the green room or stage area.  I knew the director always had a fit if non-tech or non-actors were back there, so I always made up a reason to be back there or took a friend if I had another errand to run.

I was 15.  I had no idea what else to do at this point.  I was in therapy, so I told my therapist what was going on.  I told him that this was making me not want to go to tech crew.  Well, rather than figuring out what action to take and what to do, my therapist decides to tell me “Oh he’s just interested and doesn’t know how to show it.”  He tried to convince me I was being insecure because of depression.  That this was just a kid with a crush.  When I continued to tell him that it made me REALLY FREAKED OUT and HIDE IN THE GREENROOM, he advised me “Well if you’re not interested, just don’t pay attention.  He’ll eventually move on.”

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Well, let’s just talk about how much better that all made me feel.  I should apparently be flattered that this guy is following me around and being super inappropriate in all ways.  But it’s only because he has a crush.  I shouldn’t be scared or creeped out at all.  I’m just insecure.  Great.

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I feel 100% positive I’m not the only person who has gone through something like this and gotten this type of advice.  And I wish I could even say something about how this therapist was a horrible, sexist, asshole.  But, truth is, he was wonderful in many ways.  He helped me through that first episode of depression and get my head back on track.  The horrible thing is that this is such a natural response to the issue I brought forward for so many people.  What should I have expected?  What could he have said?  Shit, I would have been fine with “I’m sorry, that sucks and it sucks that people like that exist.”  Just to know that this wasn’t something I should expect or something that is okay for people to have to deal with or something that is somehow a positive because it means I’m attractive.

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This is just one day-to-day example of rape culture.  Luckily in my case, nothing horrible happened.  I made it through the show season by hiding and using the buddy system.  The school year ended and I actually never saw the kid again.  Never asked what happened and never wanted to know.  It was nice, after that, to be able to stay after school and walk around freely, not worrying if someone was following me.  Not feeling uncomfortable, hiding, or pulling another friend away from their business so I could pee.

I’m sure someone out there can tell me I was/am overreacting or making something out of nothing.  But here is the truth:  I was freaked out and uncomfortable.  I felt unsafe.  The adult I trusted enough to say something to diminished and even normalized it.  It’s not normal.  It shouldn’t be normal to feel like that.

My depressed brain and why it sucks

When people write or talk about their depression, they’re usually reflecting on it.  They’re talking about how much it affected them, what they learned, and how they recovered or coped.  That is mostly bullshit when you are in the midst of depression.   I’ve had episodes of depression since about 13.  I’ve definitely learned some ways to deal with this and, for the most part, I accept that it happens because my brain likes to fuck with me randomly.

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I do not believe in the psychoanalytic mythology that I have suffered some deep trauma that leads me to self-sabatoge or avoid pleasure, or whatever the fuck those assholes insist is wrong with me.  At least not any more, any worse, or any deeper than what everyone on this planet experiences.  When I meet the person who has not experienced some major loss in their life, the person who has never experienced at least one shitty relationship, the person who is at complete peace with their family history, or the person whose coping skills are perfect and adaptable enough to get them through every adjustment and distressful aspect of life, I will bow my hat to them and wish them luck with the rest of their life.

But coming from this very moment of being depressed, I can tell you this: everything is hard.  Getting out of bed sucks.  Walking the dog is excruciating.  Strangers talking to you feels like the world is ending.  Getting work done seems impossible.  Eating anything more than a bag of chips or a box of cookies feels pointless.  You know you shouldn’t isolate yourself, but being social makes you want to cry or throw up.  Even being with the people you love sucks.  I don’t want to be talked to or touched.  Everything everyone does feels like an attack.  You don’t see the point of working or accomplishing anything because you never feel accomplished.  And, for me at least, the worst part is knowing that there is no reason for any of this.  Knowing that, if you could get your head back together everything would be okay.  But your head won’t let you see that.  One of the more insidious parts of depression is it sometimes comes when everything else is going well.  I’m three weeks from completing coursework for my doctorate.  I’m a few weeks from defending my dissertation (hopefully).  I matched at a fantastic internship.  Shit is good, but my brain is stuck in “feel like shit” mode.

My Brain is Full

Don’t worry.  I’m not going crazy.  I’m still able to function at work and getting stuff done.  It’s harder, I won’t lie.  Sometimes I need to lay down, cry, and watch MonsterQuest for a few hours before I can even gather the strength to work.  I use my coping skills, but even that is hard.  They do help and I need them, anyone with similar issues knows that learning the best ways to cope may be the only thing to get through.  Relaxation, distraction, self-care (and all of its glory).  I take mental health days.  Completely indulgent days where, if I feel like it, I eat pizza and ice cream, watch documentaries, and complain to my best friend over facebook about my life.

^My last ditch coping mechanism.

^My last ditch coping mechanism.

This blog is a coping skill for me.  I rarely talk about stuff like this, but it helps me vent and get shit off my chest in other ways.  That is why I don’t really care about gathering followers.  I actually get kind of anxious when people start to follow me and see views spike.  I think someone is going to figure me out, think I’m crazy, and be like “WTF is wrong with this chick?” or worse, “why is this chick in child development?  She’s way too fucked up to let her work with kids and families!”  But the I think of Marsha Linehan ( ❤ )  who, at the peak of her psychological fame, wrote  an open letter discussing her personal history of depression and suicide attempts.  Then I’m all like, fuck you guys.  I’m awesome.

See, I’m already starting to feel better.  I hate my self a little bit less now.  Still thinking about gorging on chips and queso and watching MonsterQuest instead of finishing the diss or putting together the two presentations I have this week, but I don’t want to cry and my dog is laying on my feet to show he loves me no matter what.  🙂

Stupid, annoying contentedness. Where is my misery?

I have a bit of a backwards relationship with my moods and motivation.  Having dealt with depressive episodes in the past, and reflecting on them now years later, I’m almost hoping for another depressive, apathetic period of my life just to get me off my ass.

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Being enmeshed in the academic world, and being the awkward, recluse that I am, I’ve discovered that the only time I want to work to impress people is when I’m miserable.  When I’m tired, beaten down, and out of shits to give, I’ve discovered, is the only time  I can make myself work to the point of impressing people–and the academic world is all about impressing people.  I do my best work when I’m exhausted and pissed off.

As I have come to realize, after having a few weeks off work classes and training, is that when I am happy and myself, I could give a shit about the competitiveness of the world.  All I have ever really dreamed of is a little townhouse/apartment in my neighborhood with a little yard, and a couple of beagles with boyfriend.  So, when I am fully within my personality, fully myself, I only work so hard as to achieve that.  It doesn’t take much to achieve such humble dream.  So yeah, I may be lazy.  I am an underachiever compared to what I’m capable of.  I blame my dad.

Hyperbole and a half did an amazing illustration of my head.  But I would have to add the end road of Motivational Hate.

Hyperbole and a half did an amazing illustration of my head. But I would have to add the end road of Motivational Hate.

However, occasionally  shit hits the fan in my life.  I either get overly annoyed by the people in my life who see my underachievement and believe that is all I’m capable of, or talk out their ass and I get so pissed I have to prove them wrong.  When I get depressed, I also tend to get insecure.  As any insecure weirdo knows, the only way to relieve that (without therapy and self-understanding or an internal sense of confidence) is recognition from people you respect.  So, when I get depressed, insecure, self-loathing, ya know all that fun stuff, I tend to work harder to impress those people to get that recognition.  I become very productive when I’m depressed.   If I am feeling confident and content with anything in life, I really don’t give enough fucks to put effort into work.  If I’m annoyed at any one person, no matter how meaningless their existence, I will spend hours at a time proving them wrong, even if they will never see or understand the final product.  And then I’m all like–

download                                         ^The only emotion I really strive after.^

I tend to wonder, if I was not as unhappy as I was in high school, would I have taken AP classes, enrolled in college classes, worked 40 hours a week, etc.?  Or would I have just happily wandered into drama club and never come out?  It’s an odd question, how worthwhile is your misery?

I don’t really know yet.  But I’m hoping to get really miserable and insecure before I go into these internship interviews.  Anyone wanna volunteer to just degrade me for the next 5 days?  Or I could just read listservs about gun control and Sandy Hook, those usually piss me off enough call upon my intelligence.