For the record, I have made it through the E’s on PA’s blogroll. I need to remember that when I start again it will be on the first F.

I am at a…well, can’t think of any poetic phrasing but basically I need to make a decision.

I have quite a lot on my mind that I need to get out because I think the thoughts are starting to form their own thoughts. So here is the problem. If I spew everything out right now it will make for a very long post. Like, a post of epic proportions. Do I save you, dear readers, from an utterly time-consuming read that may or may not be rather dull? Or do I use this blog to its fullest potential as a free place for my thoughts?

With the fear of sounding snobbish, I’m going to have to claim the “It’s my blog” and “I do what I want” phrases. Please feel free to skip this post or stop reading if it gets too dull. For once my feelings won’t be hurt. However, if you would like a real indepth look at Ari, here we go.

There may be parts of the post that are triggering or TMI. As I’m going to be freewriting I’m not sure where it will take me. I will use by typical *** warning to denote those areas. Please read the warning before you read the section.

I hate cooking. Well, that’s not entirely true. I sometimes like cooking. But most of the time I do not like to cook. I think I could enjoy it, but I am usually too lazy tired to cook, or do any kind of chore for that matter. Today I’m being lazy by most standards, but doing pretty good for mine. Chicken and ramen – simple but better than yet again eating out and depleting the bank account.

Ugh, money. What another issue. Friday my husband and I got into yet another argument over money. I was pissed because he wouldn’t let me buy a $12 refill for the Wallflower my coworker bought me for my office (kind of a useless gift if I don’t refill it). Then the next day he asked if he could  buy a $700 camera. He didn’t, but that’s beside the point. I brought the issue up. He said he couldn’t rationalize spending $12 for something that would last two months. I argued that he was being unfair, and that he considered the things he wanted to buy more important than the things I want to buy. He agreed that that’s what it sounded like but didn’t bring up any solution. So we go back and forth. It kind of becomes a blame game of who is being less sensitive. He claims that he buys things for us, and that he just bought me the leaning bookshelf I’ve been wanting for a while. At that point I just completely shut down. I understand now that Wallflower refills are not a big enough deal for a massive blow up. At the time I was pissed. He failed to grasp my problem. I want to be able to spend my money. I know it’s our money, but I’m sick of asking for permission to buy things and then feeling guilty if I spend money. I need some control and recognition that I am an adult. After a hot bath in which I resisted temptation, he had also had time to cool down and (finally) came up with a solution. I now get $100 a month to spend however I want. (He wanted to give me $200 but I decided $200 might be too much a strain on the account).

Insert over-educated Ari analysis: Could this have possibly been a manifestation of BPD? Was I using Black and White thinking–looking back I can now see that I was putting our entire relationship into that argument. That if I didn’t get my way then, then I never would (which is usually my mindframe when we argue). It was also that impulsive anger that comes out of nowhere. Let me explain. I don’t get angry, or rather I don’t show when I get angry. Usually I hold it in until I can safely take it out on myself. My husband seems to be the only person I can kind of explode on. Not really fair to him. Not to mention after the argument (after every argument!) I went into I’m a bad person mode. Anytime he gets angry with me I feel like I’m a bad person. Damn my perfectionist personality!

As I said I took a bath. ***POSSIBLE TRIGGER*** I took a knife in with me. Months ago I bought a knife my husband didn’t know about and hid it in my underwear drawer. (Haha, drawers drawer). Eventually I decided I was done cutting and put it in the knife drawer. BIG mistake. My husband found it and asked why I felt the need to buy a single knife. I’m not sure how I did it but I explained my way out of that one. Fast forward. Last argument we had (before the Friday one) I went into the bathroom and cut myself. I then hid the knife back in my underwear drawer. My husband doesn’t know about it. As a result of the cold weather, I was able to wear long sleeves everyday, both inside and out. Anyway, this time I took the knife. BUT I DIDN’T USE IT! A small victory, but a victory nonetheless. Well, my husband doesn’t see it that way. Like an idiot (or an unconscious passive-aggressive move?) I left the knife in the bathroom. Completely forgot about it. Then I’m laying bed and my husband comes out of the shower all withdrawn. So I pester him to tell me what’s wrong. “Why is there a knife in the bathroom?” It didn’t matter that I didn’t use it. He was pissed that I thought about it. I told him it was like a security blanket. He didn’t understand. And of course he couldn’t understand how he wasn’t enough. I can’t even understand how he isn’t enough. But I have a theory on the “Knight in Shining Armor” metaphor that I will discuss some other time. The knife is still in the bathroom. I should move it so there isn’t a constant reminder that it’s there. You’d think at this point I’d put it back in the knife drawer. But I’m not sure I’m ready to give up that security.

***END TRIGGER***

This section I’m going to talk about a panic attack. If reading about panic attacks triggers you, please skip this paragraph. I really am losing my mind. I took a group of my (15!) students to a conference. Yeah, holy shit. It was stressful, especially after I damaged a university vehicle (yikes). We got there on Friday. By Saturday I was ready to strangle half my children. I went to a session on mental illness cause I was like, my people! Big, big mistake. The workshop was given by NAMI members (nothing against NAMI. I actually think it’s a great organization. These presenters did not represent that) who were also mental health consumers. Both had bipolar disorder. One was clearly either entering or leaving a (hypo)manic state. I could not for the life of me follow her train of thought. The presentation was disorderly and rushed. And all it was was them sharing their personal stories. I am in no way saying they should not be allowed to do that. I am saying conference attendees should be warned, especially since that kind of workshop is likely to attract other mental health consumers! I ended up being extremely triggered, having a huge panic attack (with no one to help me come down). I had to sit somewhere by myself, take deep breaths, and feel like an utter failure as an advisor. I was useless for the rest of the evening. I at least have the relationship with those students that once I said I’d had a panic attack they were totally supportive. My graduate assistant totally stepped up to the plate. Sunday I had a mental health hangover. Yuck.

And of course this panic attack and the depression I was dealing with and then the mess of a missed dose, I’ve been thinking about mental illness a lot (please note that the face-lift for this blog came after all this). At what point do we accept what our family and friends say about us, and at what point do we go with what we know assume about ourselves? I told the ADD guy (read therapist) that he would not get an accurate appraisal from parents. And I was being honest. The minute either one of them heard ADD they’d be like no you don’t have that. My father understands depression, he doesn’t understand the (hypo)mania or the (what I’m pretty sure are) mixed episodes. My mother accepts it–I think–but we don’t talk about it. We don’t talk about a lot of things. I’m pretty sure both of them would be like, she was a good kid, can’t possibly have ADD. Never mention the fact that they barely paid enough attention to me to understand any of my issues, or even realize I had them. (Sorry some bitterness came out).

I had a conversation with my grandmother the other day, who has been the biggest critic of my diagnosis. The problem lies in the fact that my grandmother only sees one definition of bipolar. My aunt has bipolar I and (I think, not sure if this diagnosis was ever reversed) schizophrenia. So she was hell on two legs for most of her life. My grandmother’s argument is “but you were such a sweet child”. I finally disclosed to her that I suffered from  major depression from 5th grade on. And that now if I go off the anti-mania (not a scientific term) drugs I flip out. I don’t think I’ve convinced.

But dammit, why do I have to convince her? I mean, of anyone she probably knew me best as a kid. But I was still pretty closed up. I learned early on that expressing emotions was a bad thing. And I was, am, rather emotional. So I hid in my room. The only manifestation of all my feelings occurred in my imagination and in my journal. The journal doesn’t lie, even if my memories do.

But why do I even care about all this? I’m supposed to be fighting labels, remember? Unfortunately mental diagnosis seems to be the one label I can’t live without. Let’s explore this. By having a label you belong to a community. In a community you are recognized. You don’t have to hide behind false facades. People accept you…kind of. See the problem with communities is that once you belong to one you are expected to behave a certain way. So if I don’t fit the bipolar, borderline, ADD diagnosis to a T, I feel like I’m looked at sideways. Like I only kind of belong. I’m used to that feeling but it sucks. It sucks not to have any real peers. And if I don’t fit the label, can I possibly fit the treatment? Am I doomed to be forever wandering?

Ugh! It’s all so confusing! Bipolar, borderline, ADD–what do they all mean anyway? And yet here I am clinging to them. I’m I looking for excuses. Am I just some horrible person who can’t figure out how to fix myself, so I use mental illness as a scapegoat? Am I looking for special treatment? What exactly am I looking for anyway?I asked my coworker about registering with disability services in HR. I wanted to know what I’d gain. Apparently nothing. Some protection against being fired, but then there’s my dirty laundry for anybody to see. So irritating. So what exactly am I looking for?

Myself, obviously.

Ah, there it is. There it always is.

Looking to be unique. Special.

Let’s not even talk about identity! I am unique. Unique in the fact that there is not one extraordinary thing about me. Utterly average. And if I’m so average, just a number in the crowd, do I have any kind of identity?  Further proof: My identity is never constant. I’m constantly changing my mind about who I am. And maybe that’s the reason for the diagnoses. Maybe it’s because–as unstable as mental illness is–having a diagnosis provides some stability.

And that, my dear readers, is what it all boils down to.

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Comments
  1. Lil says:

    You are unique – you are the one and only Ari there is in the world, and that’s a truly wonderful thing. One of the things I hate most about BPD is that I feel constantly struggling for self and indentity. So I relate. And it seems like there’s a lot of positive thought process happening in this post, even though there were some issues going on. Good for you.

    • arifaery says:

      Thanks for that, Lil.

      I’ll try to reply when I’m feeling a bit better. Cuz right now I can’t even think anything good about me. I guess I’ll explain more in my post I’m about to write…

    • arifaery says:

      I’m in a better mood now. Thank you Lil. Sometimes it takes someone else to point out what you pretty much already know.

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