After noticing a ridiculous mistake i made in making my first blog, i will be moving my blog to my new WordPress page
I also now have a twitter account and Facebook page for my blog.
After noticing a ridiculous mistake i made in making my first blog, i will be moving my blog to my new WordPress page
I also now have a twitter account and Facebook page for my blog.
Due to my mental illness and the fact that I live in quite an expensive little island, I moved in with my mother about five years ago. I had just broken up with my boyfriend and needed someplace to go, so I moved in with her and we live in an apartment. When I first moved in I was working nights and she was working days. We hardly saw each other. Then I went to night school and, again, we hardly saw each other. After I finished school I saw her everyday. We spoke to one another. We had conversations. It wasn’t my mother though.
Growing up my mother drank several times a year, maybe. She never got drunk, but rather just sipped wine, slowly, while relaxing. After my father and her separated she had to work really hard to support me and my brother. She’d work 9-12 hour days. When she came home she drank a glass of wine. She did this for years. No big deal. When I was in college and directly out of college she upped it to two glasses of wine a night. Again, no big deal. I moved out for many years and when I came back she turned into a very different person. She used to be happy and optimistic and human and now she is the opposite of all thos things. She was always a martyr and she was always worried about the worst case scenario. She kept those qualities about her and they are magnified 100% by her vino and Ativan, for her self-diagnosed anxiety disorder she happened to get one day.
I have nothing against people putting whatever they want into their bodies, but if you are an addict and you are hurting me, I sure as fuck am not going to be cool with what you’re doing. My problem is I am stuck with her for a while, until I am able to live and work for myself. She is the worst kind of drunk. She pisses all over any happiness or good energy she can. Her once warm and inviting face is now cold and dismissive. Our conversations are her trying to micro manage my life because she thinks I am incapable of living. Our conversations are her going off on a tangent on how hard it is to be a mother, a person, an employee, a member of society. Our conversations are her insulting me for being anxious and depressed, her insulting me for not being strong like her, for being a burden to her, for not working. When she drinks she doesn’t care if I have a mental illness that a judge agreed made it hard for me to work. She doesn’t care that I have tried so hard and come so far. She thinks I’m selfish even though I never ask her for anything. She thinks I’m incompetent even though…well, I’m just not. I can’t really say specifically why, but take my word for it. She has no faith in me and she actually used to like me.
I realized about three years ago that my mother doesn’t like me . I realized two glasses of wine turned into almost a box of wine a night and that made her mean. I would try to have conversations with her. Most of the time we ended up arguing. Most of the time I ended up crying in my room. Even though I was thirty-three, I felt like I was 16 again. No matter what the argument was about it would always turn into a personal attack against me. I decided that she gets mean after three drinks, so I would not talk to her after that and I would hide in my room.
The past two years have been absolute chaos. She drinks even more now and really there is not a time when she is home, awake and sober all at once. I try to be there for her, but she’s always putting me down and saying really cruel things. I try to make her happy, but she seems mad if I am happy. All she does is sit on the couch, chain-smoke and watch HGTV. The only conversations we have are about her job because she has absolutely no interest in or ability to remember what I say. For the past month I have been interning and she just caught on last week that I was doing this because she had a snow day and wondered where I was. I had told her many times about what I was doing and how excited I was, but those were just noises coming out of my mouth. She’s ridiculous. She makes me afraid that I will be stupid one day. I know I don’t drink, but I think about what it is going to be like when I am ninety-five years old and I start forgetting things. It just bums me out to think about.
She is not a loud or crazy drunk, so that is good. She doesn’t hit people or drive…except that one time I was in the hospital and I needed someone to come and pick me up. She showed up reeking of alcohol and it was the scariest ride home. I don’t understand how they let me go with her. I had no phone, no wallet and no money, but I would have slept in the waiting room if I knew she was drunk. She is no longer my emergency contact. She’s not even in my phone as “mom”. I believe that was the only time she drove drunk, thankfully. She doesn’t throw shit or scream. She breaks a lot of shit by falling/walking into everything, but, it’s not on purpose.
About a year ago we got into an argument. At the time I was going through a very depressed and very anxious time that I am still recovering from. She knew I was feeling really bad and was having panic attacks a lot. It started by her asking me one day to give her a haircut. She asked me this at a time I didn’t feel well. She was drunk and she can’t sit still when she’s drunk. It was also 9:30 pm, and I was really trying to just relax. I was really anxious. I had cut her hair a million times before, whenever she wanted. I didn’t have a problem with it, but this time she got mad at me when I said I didn’t feel good. She said I was selfish and when I told her I felt anxious she said that was bullshit. She called me a baby, and I ended up having a panic attack in my bedroom. A half hour later she knocked on my door, after I finally calmed down, and insisted I come out of my room and speak to her. When I came out of my room I stood there, like a broken person, with my shoulders slouched over, my head down and my face stinging from my tears. She asked me if I “seriously” wasn’t going to cut her hair, with an attitude. After saying such mean things to me she thought I would want to cut her hair? “NO!” I said and she grew even more angry. She asked me if she should find another hairstylist then. I was so frustrated at this point that I thought (and still do) that this was the perfect solution, so I said “Yes. Please!!!”. she said fine. The next two days I avoided her. When she came home from work I stayed in my room. When she was in the kitchen I could go to the bathroom without her seeing me and when she went to the bathroom I had a two minute window of opportunity to get food and a drink.
Unfortunately, Saturday happened and we had to run into each other. The first thing she says is “So, are you going to give me a haircut now?” I was still upset that she was so focused on her haircut that she failed to acknowledge how depressed I was. Even when I told her that was the reason why she dismissed it and insulted me. It didn’t dawn on me that she was drunk and had no real grasp of what actually was said, in case you are wondering why I was so upset. I do get smarter as the story progresses. So, there I was thinking she didn’t care how hurt I was she just wanted a hair cut. Her asking me that question set me off. I flipped out. “how can you insult me so much and expect me to want to be with you?” I yelled. She responds by telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about and she didn’t insult me and I’m acting crazy. I told her I was crazy and I was feeling crazy then and she should respect me and my time and my decisions. She said she didn’t have to respect them because I wasn’t doing anything. “Do you really want to put scissors in my hand right now?” I asked her. She just started bitching about me. I walked away with her yelling.
I went in my room again, back to my own depression. I was really sad and I remember watching I Heart Huckabees and trying to relax. I was really anxious thought. I had a bad head ache all day and my eyes really hurt-from crying, I thought. She banged on my door later that evening, once again, insisting I come out, but this time she made me sit next to her on the couch. I squished myself so far onto the other side of the couch. I couldn’t bare to get yelled at again. I was having a really bad time. I was depressed. I had no self esteem or strength to protect myself. I just wanted to make her happy so she would stop hurting me. I sat there awaiting what she was going to say to me. As soon as she opened her mouth I felt this huge pressure on my heart. She did not want to talk things out, so we can move on, not that I wanted to talk, but her objective was not honorable or kind. Her objective was to make me feel guilty. Her objective was to, unfairly, attack me when I was vulnerable. She attacked me for being unable to work and mentally ill. She said I was weak and ungrateful and she kept calling me names and accusing me of being this awful, selfish person. I asked her to stop saying mean things to me. She kept yelling questions at me and insisting I explain exactly what, where, and when I felt like she had been mean. When I started to answer I remember taking a breath so I could speak calmly, but I didn’t answer in time and she started telling me I was an idiot because I can’t even answer any of her questions and I was wrong. My brain was overloaded. I started feeling dizzy. My heart was pounding and I was breathing fast. It started getting hard for me to respond to her because I couldn’t breathe. I begged her to stop, but that only pissed her off more. As she continued to sit there, ripping apart everything about me I continued to grow more and more anxious. I was hysterical, crying and my head was pounding. My sight started fading away. I get ocular migraines sometimes when I have panic attacks. As I sat there blind, crying and having a panic attack, my mother cackled loudly and said in the most demeaning voice I ever heard ,“you’re pathetic”.
As soon as she said that I stopped crying, I snapped right out of my panic attack. Who the fuck acts like that? Who says that? I was in complete disbelief that she was so heartless. I wouldn’t say that to someone. That’s not how you act. It was that moment that I knew she didn’t matter and that she was toxic for me as a person dealing with mental illness and me as a regular human. Nothing about her was good for me. Until she told me I was pathetic I thought she mattered.
I didn’t feel I had the right to be upset because she was not crazy or loud or dangerous . There are babies and children and teenagers and women and men getting beat by a drunk right now. That is wrong. That is intolerable. People have it so much worse and I’m have the audacity to bitch about my feelings getting hurt? I thought I couldn’t get mad because I am luckier than some, because I’m an adult, because she was using words and actions to hurt me. But I talked to my therapist and I learned a few things. Lucky for me (not him, though) he is a recovering alcoholic who also had alcoholic parents. He told me about Al Anon. he told me it didn’t matter if my mom was loud or drove a car or how many glasses of wine she was drinking a day. He said she is an alcoholic if she is affecting me the way she was, if she was behaving the way she was. He told me I didn’t have to be some abused child to be hurt by someone else’s drinking.
He explained the basic to me, which seem so clear now, but I was just so depleted, mentally, that I could not understand why things were happening. Why was she always yelling at me? Why was she always being mean and hurting my feelings? It’s because I was there. It was because I fought back and tried to defend myself when she accused me of being a shitty person. I know enough not to get into a discussion with a uber-conservative, homophobic, racist bounty hunter who guards the boarder between ‘Merica and Mexico on the weekends. Arguing with people is just irritating to me and can easily be avoided by talking, being empathetic, being aware, and coming to a conclusion, but it takes both participants to do that. When I walk down a city street and get screamed at by a drunk, homeless woman for not listening to her talk about Jesus, I would pay it no attention, and yet I come home and take it seriously. I was taking what she said seriously and I was responding.
Most of my frustration came from the fact that she had become a recluse who had stopped cleaning the house and going food shopping. We always both shopped for ourselves, but she started eating all my food, without asking or telling me. It doesn’t sound like a big deal until you factor in my anxiety disorder. It takes me a week to work up to going grocery shopping. It is my least favorite thing to do. I have a panic attack every time I go, so I try to plan everything out so I have food for at least 2 weeks. Also, I am receiving money for food via SNAP, and I’m trying really hard to eat better and more often. So, the food thing just gets to me. The thing that pisses me off is that three years ago she completely stopped cleaning our apartment. I don’t know why. I guess that’s when she gave up. Besides emptying the dishwasher she does nothing, but spill wine and ash trays and food and whatever else is around. She stopped being organized, so there are piles of bills and mail everywhere, boxes on the living room floor, Christmas presents from two years ago, etc. so, I clean, she makes shit messy and then goes on to bitch at me because I forgot to change a toilet paper roll or me waiting an hour to do my dishes cause I’m watching tv. I’m not even saying I’m not guilty of being completely lazy some times. I fail to see the importance of forgetting a mundane daily task that results in no injuries, but she turns it into a whole ordeal and accuses me of never doing anything. That’s when I fight, because I don’t understand how she can sit there, after a year of not doing anything, but the dishwasher and say to my face that I don’t do anything and I’m not grateful because she is the one that cleans up after me. It’s unbelievable and I kept falling for that bait.
The day she called me pathetic was the day my mind went blank and when it popped back into focus, my empathy for her was no longer there. I stopped feeling sorry for her. I stopped trying to grasp at any glimpse of a normal relationship. I was done. Tapped the fuck out. All I could think was, “dude, you’re just a dick”. I stopped seeing her as a mother or a friend or even a decent room mate. I had no choice, but to live with her. I saw her as just this negative and bitter drunk who complains on the couch all day. For the past year I have been trying to deal with this the best and healthiest way that I can. I saw how it was affecting me, with my depression and anxiety and had no choice, but to turn off my empathy to save myself.
There are times where we will be talking and she is just negative and complaining. I’ll tell her she’s too negative for me and leave. She will attempt to get into an argument and she will insult me and she will complain about how hard her life is and that I am lucky I don’t have her life, but I now just walk away. She will continue to ruin holidays for me and my brother and she will continue to make my apartment smell like a bar. These are all things that are not going to change, so fuck it. I’m not wasting my emotions on that. I only talk to her when she is coherent and nice and the second she gets negative I tell her that I’m not having it and leave. I let her bitch at me and I talk to her, but there are limits now. Limits that are decided by me. It’s not perfect, but it is not terrible.
My therapist has talked about Al Anon many times, never pushing it on me, but I never felt right about going to those meetings. I know it’s really awesome that there are a group of people that feel like me and that I am not alone, but something about it just reeked of overkill. I have no idea where I got any of my preconceived notions about Al Anon, but some how I pictured a combination of a room full of people bitching and a cult. I hate to say that because I support Anonymous groups and I support people going to them, but in my heart I thought it was a cult of sad people. I know that’s not true, but I still had this weird feeling. I figured why not look into it on the internet, so I did, and I am now 100% sure it is not for me. I’m kind of bummed about it really because I thought it might be good for me. I just could not relate at all to their philosophy. It went against everything I think or want or know. I am an atheist and have no problem substituting the word “god” with “Chimpanzees”, but the entire theme of there rules is about you giving power to the higher power and having that higher power take away your flaws and make you feel more at peace, spiritually…I just can’t do that. I don’t believe in any higher power what-so-ever. I believe in luck and I was lucky as hell to be born, but I am my higher power. It all stops at me. No magic, no fairytales, just my brain. Look how much my brain has come through for me when I was feeling awful. I know it is, biologically, the cause of my illness, but it is also the cure. I don’t leave shit up to luck when it is action and work that gets a job done. And I work to get rid of my flaws, I don’t wish them away. If you watch only one documentary about how the brain works you cannot dismiss the beauty, awesomeness and power of the brain. Until I see evidence of something cooler I will stick with there not being a higher power. My entire world philosophy is based on logic and being a good person. Logic helped me get over agoraphobia. Logic helped me feel safe. Logic has talked me out of further anxiety and depression so many times I can’t even count. Logic saved my life and is continuing to persevere. I’m not giving that up right now.
As, I said, thing’s are not terrible now. I emotionally detached. I had to realize that I don’t deserve to be picked apart and insulted. I realized I am not that horrible and that I had to protect myself. I just don’t put up with it.
And I never cut her hair again.
The first person to say something ridiculously stupid to me was my grandma. When she got word I was being treated for depression, her first thought was “it’s cause you don’t eat breakfast”. She said it with the love only a grandma can have. For twenty years I have dealt with Depression. For fifteen of those years I also dealt with anxiety. In this time I have heard such an astonishing array of immense advice and attempts at consolation. It seems like society has not received the handbook on what not to say with people that have a mental illness. Maybe that’s a good thing because I enjoy being stunned by a person’s ignorance or their over-active imaginations.
“Think positive”, “you have no reason to be depressed”, “get over it”
I just love these “think positive” people. These people cannot be more detached from reality. “Be the change you want to see”. oh-fuck off with that. Tell that to a 12 year old child working as a sex slave. Tell that to the homeless guy standing on your street corner. Tell that to a woman with Brain Cancer. There’s being positive and being irritating and these people are just irritating, whether or not I am mentally ill.
And let’s see…do I have a reason to be depressed? Nope-just decided to pick an ailment and this one looked so damn appealing, and I’ll get over it when I’m good and ready.
The things people say can often be hurtful and damaging to ones’ ego. I’ve heard people say that it might be more difficult to deal with the stigma than the actual illness. That’s probably true. I wonder what it would be like if I only had to deal with my mental illness. The people that say these things to me do not mean to hurt me, but I am used to it. It used to sting in the beginning. I had to stop caring. I lowered my standards of people and have come to expect the kind of stupidity that is involved with this. I don’t know if losing hope in humanity is a good way to deal with my mental illness, but it seems to be working so far.
I also get asked the most personal questions in public. A few years ago I was hanging out at my beach with a bunch of people and my friend (who knows my history) loudly said, “Have you ever cut yourself?” as he grabbed my arm to see. “you don’t say that in public!” I yelled while laughing. I was with people that knew about my illness and realized how inappropriate of a question that was, so they went on to yell at my friend for the next few minutes. That was kind of a funny moment, but you will get asked all sorts of annoying questions at school, by friends, by teachers, by coworkers, by everyone. Because so many people are just not ready to grasp this is a biology problem, they will ask you questions about your past and present out of curiosity, not realizing they are about to touch on some really hard subjects, not knowing that they could be asking you some really dreadful things. But fuck manners: “were you abused as a child?”, “were you raped?”, “have you ever tried to kill yourself”, “are/were you a drug addict?”, “are you dangerous?”, “have you ever hurt anybody?”…where does one begin?
“ Thanks so much for asking me such things at Rico’s Birthday party. Well, yes I was terribly abused as a child, physically, sexually and mentally. It was a complete nightmare and I have PTSD from all the nightmares. It’s quite serious and extremely difficult to talk about. And yes, I have tried to kill myself, glad you noticed. It was several winters ago. I was so depressed I didn’t leave my apartment for weeks at a time. I couldn’t eat or get out of bed and I felt so dismal and hopeless. I felt like such a burden to the people I love so I slit my wrists. My mother came in to find me covered in my own blood with a razor in my hand. She called 911 and I was ok. It was really traumatic for me and my family. I was hospitalized and then relapsed, which is when I turn to crystal meth. That was a horrendous 6 months where I ended up on the street sucking cock for drugs. I lost 30 pounds and only got better because they sent me to jail for stealing a car when I was high. I’m not really that dangerous…until I snap, that is. Then my mind turns into a boiling pot of rage. I see red and all I want to do is destroy everything in my way, so I just start smashing or shooting or stabbing until I black out. Thank you so much for listening, everyone. Let’s bring out the cake and sing “Happy Birthday” now shall we?”
There are comments made about me or my illness that’s have only been effective at insulting me. The beloved comment that it is “all in our heads“, this mental illness thing. The fucked up thing is that this comment is true. It is in my head. It’s in my brain. In fact, no other body part of mine has contributed at all to my mental illness except my pesky brain. There’s parts of my brain that act differently than a normal brain. Could be I have some glitches in my head and some miscommunication and lack of understanding between certain parts of my brain. It’s all in my head. Exactly! (and my DNA). I have yet to comprehend what “in in your head” even means. Am I imagining something? Am I making something up? Have I been hypnotized? Cause if there is a way I could be “in my head” I’d kinda like to switch the gears, so it works out in my favor, instead of me being miserable all the time.
And there are people that just seem mean, saying things like “I was sad when I was younger, but I didn’t have time to be depressed”, “I just started exercising and thinking differently and I feel awesome now”, or “I am depressed, but I still manage to…” These are all things that will imply you do not have the strength to get better, they will imply you have the luxury of being depressed, they will imply that getting better is easy. But the one thing most comments like this have is that they all run on the presumption that everyone is equal, that mental illness is felt the same was by every one, that everyone has the same pain. It is a bullshit statement and I do not respond well to these comments. I’ve grown tired of hearing this. And it’s not people just saying this to me, about me. People are saying this about people…anyone, a co worker, a friend, a family member.
I have also had the pleasure of having my life analyzed and ripped apart by friends or family. I have to answer to normal people: “how much water do you drink a day?”, “how often do you exercise?”, “ are you eating enough veggies?”, “how many grams of sugar do you eat a day?”, “you don’t eat sugar substitutes do you?”, etc…I have been ripped apart…my lifestyle, my food intake, my clothing, my lack of religion, my thoughts. I am not this analyzed by my therapist. It’s ridiculous, and I never really answered any of this seriously. I think the first time I heard someone speak after my diagnosis I stopped being serious around people. I have a doctor, I have a therapist, I comply and do things that I believe will make me feel better. I do this on my own terms and at my own pace. I don’t need any extra help with this from people with no experience.
There are times when a person says the wrong thing, but it sometimes makes you happy due to your relationship with that person. One of my best pals gave me the greatest advice ever. “You better have your own back cause no one else ever will”. he said this in the middle of a depression while I was having a panic attack. He also suffers from mental illness, so he knows what it’s like, which makes it ok to give me some of the most negative-sounding advice. He said it because he believes it to be true and he knows I love honesty. He also knows that I am not normal and that I get inspired by thinking I am alone against the world. He knew my brain would latch on to that dismal advice because of the lack in humanity…just the fact that he said it was enough to make me happy. What a weird thing to say. I painted a picture of a heart and wrote that quote in it. It’s brilliant!
Then there was the time when my best friend in the world wrote a short email about how I shouldn’t have to be sad or anxious cause she thought I was awesome. Again, this is honesty, almost a selfish letter, saying “it’s not fair that my friend is sad.” She was right and to know that I have a best friend who will always think I’m awesome was a nice thing to hear.
Being told crazy stories also comes with the territory of being mentally ill. If someone knows someone that did something crazy they must tell you. And they won’t be pleasant tales about so-and-so’s uncle who was diagnosed with Bipolar, found the right medication, participated in therapy and is getting along famously. You will be told gory stories of suicide attempts, of drug overdoses, of friends who self harm…I hear some real dark shit. And I kind of don’t know how to react, but there’s a sick part of me that is interested. I don’t know the intentions of the storyteller, but they always seem to mention that the people they are talking about are “crazy crazy”, so they are “not like me”. That part is always annoying to me. The people they are talking about are exactly like me. They just took another route. People always think everyone has choices, they think that when a person is most depressed and vulnerable that they are going to make a well-informed choice about the route they are going to take. I understand why people want to share dramatized and personal life stories of other people when they were at their lowest. I think it’s stupid, but people do that. What I don’t understand is why they are so willing to do it in front of me because if I was going through hard times I would be the person people talk about.
So, dealing with this is just fantastic. Not only do I get a mental illness, but I get the job of fighting the stigma…hip hip fucking hooray!
There have been many studies recently related to face book causing depression. They state that the constant comparison of one’s life with another’s is depressing. They also state that people that stay on Facebook for hours and hours at a time are more likely to be depressed. This makes sense because people with mental illness tend to isolate. They also tend to feel more comfortable at home on their computer. With the internet comes a bunch of resources and people you can find and share experiences with.
A Normal Morning Waking Up to Facebook:
I am woken up suddenly by panic. I lie there, paralyzed for a minute to 5 hours. I sit up and have my first cigarette and pop on face book, as I realize I feel too depressed to do the simple tasks I have to do that day. I feel horrible about myself as I take my first look at my face book feed…Susan’s been at work for 4 hours and is grateful she works with such lovely people. Jen is still on her trip-around-the-world vacation and just walked to the top of mount Fuji. Mia just posted a quote from Rumi about if you love the earth you will be given happiness and is feeling “inspired” about her new day. Mary and Vin just got engaged. Sheila just posted a picture of a sonogram. Layla is going out dancing tonight with her friends and she’s not having a panic attack. I, basically add “and is not having a panic attack” to almost everything I read. I used to do it out of bitterness. Now I just think it’s funny.
Anyway, that is what I could be seeing daily and comparing myself to. That was, at a time,, something that would at least make me feel inadequate. I did not hate or dislike any of these people, but I started getting annoyed, which made me feel really bad. These were/are my friends-how dare I get annoyed by them.
Despite all the negative things I have read about Facebook and depression I have not heard any solutions other than “do not use face book”. I do not like being told what to do, so I recognized all the problematic issues, made some changes in the way I used the computer and Facebook and it doesn’t depress me.
Here are 10 steps to overcoming Facebook Depression:
1. Be friends with the people you know and care about. There is no need to be friends with that person you hung out with once, two years ago or the kid that sat in front of you in second grade…unless their posts are entertaining. I find that only being friends with the people I am actually interested in is just a better way to be in life and on Facebook.
2. Use the “hide” button in your news feed. This does not delete a person. It is reversible and the person does not know. If you are prone to jealousy and comparing yourself, this is a logical option. My news feed is filled with positive and weird people doing and thinking positive and weird things.
3. Start unhiding the people you truly love and care for in your news feed. Be happy for them because you know you don’t want them to be unhappy. Tell yourself this. Tell yourself it’s ok for others to be happy.
4. Join or “like” groups about things that interest you and make you happy. Whether you collect toy trains or like to dress up as famous historical figures, there are groups and pages for everything, even if you hate the sun. You can also join groups about mental illness and other life events where you can learn and hear other peoples’ experiences.
5. “like” everything funny. I like comedians. I like funny tv shows, peter griffin is my friend, I like goats that sound like people. Most funny people and things post funny things on an hourly basis. As these things start showing up in your news feed, you will be looking more at random pictures or articles than actual friends…it’s just good to laugh.
6. Remember, in America, one in four people have a mental illness. Unless you only have ten friends I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’s statistically impossible for you to be the only one that suffers and/or lives with mental illness. Don’t think you are the only one who is suffering in your Facebook world. People just don’t like to make that public knowledge, so they post other stuff.
7. The thing I realized about the people that seem to brag as opposed to just sharing information is that the braggers are insecure, need constant attention and need other’s to recognize how awesome they are to feel awesome. Some of the people that you may think have it all together may be putting on the normal person show. You may be comparing yourself to something or some one that doesn’t exist. Here is a great blog from The Huffing ton Post, called What Bragging on Facebook Says About Us.
8. Limit the amount of time you spend doing certain things on Facebook. After you interact with all the people you would normally interact with, don’t do that thing where you just linger and scroll down your news feed, just getting a few words and pictures here and there. Go to the groups and pages that you like. Maybe participate in the group discussions. Make new friends. Spend time with the things that interest you and make you feel better. Instead of spending all your time on Facebook, join an online support group or start a blog.
9. Do not take Facebook seriously. This is not an accurate perception of reality. People put out what they want others to see and even then things could get lost in translation. People are not trying to hurt any of their friends.
10. Do not trick yourself into thinking you are having real human interaction. It has been a great substitute for being that live far from each other and family members, but try to engage in real human interactions. This does not even mean you have to leave the house. Everyone has a cell phone now and everyone can make a phone call to anyone in this country for a pretty cheap price. Call people to see what’s been going on. If you can make it out go out and be with your friends or strangers. People are social animals. It is not our nature to sit on a computer to interact with other humans.
There are a lot of misconceptions about Mental Illness in the world. If you take a look you will realize that most of these perceptions have been portrayed in the movies and the media over and over again. Some are just things you may have heard yourself from the people around you. These are problematic for the mental health community as they constantly affirm the myths and society looks at mental illness in a very narrow way. I also found that most of the myths on the websites and organizations were similar and not very interesting, so I added my own. The first ten myths are from the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the second list of ten are mine…
Top Ten From NAMI
Psychiatric disorders are not true medical illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. People who have a mental illness are just “crazy”.
FACT: Brain disorders, like heart disease and diabetes, are legitimate medical illnesses. Research shows there are genetic and biological causes for psychiatric disorders and they can be treated effectively.
People with severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, are usually dangerous and violent.
FACT: Statistics show that the incidence of violence in people who have a brain disorder is not much higher than in the general population. Those suffering from a psychosis such as schizophrenia are more often frightened, confused and despairing than violent.
Mental illness is the result of bad parenting.
FACT: Most experts agree that a genetic susceptibility, combined with other risk factors, leads to a psychiatric disorder. In other words, mental illnesses have a physical cause.
Depression results from a personality weakness or character flaw, and people who are depressed could just snap out of it if they tried hard enough.
FACT: Depression has nothing to do with being lazy or weak. It results from changes in brain chemistry or brain function, and medication and/or psychotherapy often help people to recover.
Schizophrenia means “split personality” and there is no way to control it.
FACT: Schizophrenia is often confused with multiple personality disorder. Actually, schizophrenia is a brain disorder that robs people of their ability to think clearly and logically. The estimated 2.5 million Americans with schizophrenia have symptoms ranging from social withdrawal to hallucinations and delusions. Medication has helped many of these individuals to lead fulfilling productive lives.
Law professor Elyn Saks is an expert on mental health law. For years, she was known as a legal scholar. Then Saks made it personal. In her 2007 memoir, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, she revealed that she had been battling schizophrenia for decades. Saks received a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” in 2009.
Depression is a normal part of the aging process.
FACT: It is not normal for older adults to be depressed. Signs of depression in older people include a loss of interest in activities, sleep disturbances and lethargy. Depression in the elderly is often undiagnosed, and it is important for seniors and their family members to recognize the problem and seek professional help.
Depression and other illnesses, such as anxiety disorders, do not affect children or adolescents. Any problems they have are just a part of growing up.
FACT: Children and adolescents can develop severe mental illnesses. In the United States, one in ten children and adolescents has a mental disorder severe enough to cause impairment. However, only about 20 percent of these children receive needed treatment. Left untreated, these problems get worse. Anyone talking about suicide should be taken seriously.
If you have a mental illness, it will go away. Being treated for a psychiatric disorder means an individual has in some way “failed” or is weak.
FACT: A serious mental illness cannot be willed away. Ignoring the problem does not make it go away, either. It takes courage to seek professional help.
Addiction is a lifestyle choice and shows a lack of will power. People with a substance abuse problem are morally weak or “bad”.
FACT: Addiction is a disease that generally results from changes in brain chemistry. It has nothing to do with being a “bad” person.
Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) formerly known as “shock treatment”, is painful and barbaric.
FACT: ECT has given a new lease on life to many people who have severe and debilitating depression. It is used when other treatments such as psychotherapy or medication fail or cannot be used. Patients who receive ECT are asleep and under anesthesia, so they do not feel anything.
From NARSAD Research Newsletter, Volume 13, Issue 4, Winter 2001/2002, Page 28.
Questions and Myths That I’ve experienced and heard.
If you have a mental illness you are ill equipped to deal with tragedy, such as death, divorce, etc…
Fact: Some people with mental illness will be able to handle a tragic situation because they have learned coping skills to alleviate the anxiety and depression.
If you have a mental illness you cannot help others.
Fact: Many mentally ill people have a lot of knowledge and experience. the majority of peer counselors have a mental illness. Most therapists have a mental illness. Most people that work and volunteer at mental health organizations or with mentally ill people are mentally ill. Our experience has made us all teachers, with a lot of experience and a lot of ideas on how to make the system better.
“How can you be mentally ill when you seem happy and normal?”
Mentally ill people do have the ability to be happy. We can be spotted having fun and that does not at all dismiss the fact that we are mentally ill. Also, if there’s one thing mentally ill people know how to do is fake “normal”.
“Wow can you be mentally ill when you don‘t look like most crazy people?”
Fact: I am what mental illness looks like. I dress appropriately, wear a little make up, and pick out my favorite converse to wear that day. Someone’s outer appearance does not have to match the mental illness. I came across an interesting blog on the subject called “But You Don’t Look Crazy”
“Aren’t you embarrassed by the fact you are mentally ill?”
Fact: NO. Despite the stigma, despite the people who have misjudged me or verbally hurt my feelings, despite feeling completely lost I am not embarrassed. When I started talking openly about my mental illnesses I found out that many people I associate with and have worked with have either gone through the same situation or they have a spouse, child, sibling that has or is dealing with similar issues. By speaking of my own illness I opened up a dialogue about how we all cope with mental illness and bad times. Not only is it an emotional-bonding experience, but it also creates a support group of people that are willing to go out of their way just to make things a little better and have your back if you need it. Shame is worse than the illness. Do not give into it. I’ll feel shame the day my therapist feels shame about his diabetes.
“You are just over emotional.”
Fact: Actually, what’s happening is that my amygdala is either too large or it’s having problems connecting properly to my frontal lobe, so it basically just tells my brain to panic. my depression is a bit trickier as there are many different theories, but call it what you will…
People with mental illness want to be left alone.
Fact: although this may appear to be the case, it usually isn’t and the person ends up suffering alone. When a person feels so low and disconnected from the world it is difficult for him/her to make a simple phone call to a friend. Everyone needs support, even if it’s just a 20 minute phone call. If you care about someone who has a mental illness and know that they are going through a tough time, call him/her. Invite him/her out, even if he/she refuses 30 times in a row. Just being there is enough sometimes. Most people do not like feeling alone.
“You need to be saved”
Fact: this one can actually be split into two completely different sections.
A. “you need to be saved…by jesus christ, our lord and savior”
Fact: This happens and it’s weird. I have received “holy water” from a family member. She didn’t specifically say why, but I have a feeling I know why. About 7 years ago I had a therapist. During my first visit he got hung up on the fact that I was an atheist, said I had a bleak vision of the world, and told me I wouldn’t get better unless I believed in god. No one needs to change their religion if they are mentally ill. If you are lucky enough to find solace and comfort it going into your belief system, that’s wonderful, but don’t blame your belief system.
B: You need to be saved by…me. If you date me I will fix you”
Fact: Not only is it so dehumanizing being told you are broken, but what person is so self involved and cocky to think he/she could fix me? People with mental illness are not broken people, they are regular people that just happen to have to deal with a couple obstacles. In reality we would have to fix you and your views on mental illness.
“Oh My God, you’re on Klonapin? I took that once at a party and I couldn’t walk for hours”
Fact: Many people that take drugs are likely to dabble in psychotropic drugs at some point. People that have no mental illness will respond differently than a person who is under a doctors care and using that drug to alleviate symptoms. Also, what else did you take it with? This comment upsets me a lot because the person is under the assumption that people have the same reaction to this drug, therefore I am walking around like a zombie cause that’s what he/she did.
People with mental illness are weird, strange, or eccentric.
Fact: There may be some truth to this, as normal people bore me, but there are definitely more normal, mentally ill people than myself out there. I just don’t prefer normal.
I never knew what it felt like to have a mental illness until months after I was diagnosed with several types of depression. I can tell you that I was a teenager, going through teenage drama. I was sad one week in High School over something logical. My reaction was to be logically sad. Another reaction was to be a teenager and to something slightly illegal for the first time in my life (shoplifting), but my friend and I got caught. Our school got called and advised our mothers of what was to happen next. I have never been the same. That is not to say I am not mentally ill, because I am, but that week put into effect a parade of foolishness that I wish I had never been a part of.
Before I get into that let me explain a little about my life until then. It was awesome. I had a sweet life. My family was working class, sometimes living week to week, but I never felt poor. I was a wild child, a curious child, a nice child. My parents had big families and I had tons of cousins. I also had many friends who’s families I considered my own. When I was three my brother was born with a disability. When he had to go into the hospital for medical procedures I would stay at my friends houses’ and I got lots of attention as well as had many adventures. Then when my brother and I were associated with the Special Olympics training I got a whole new family. I had so many interesting people in my life and I never was neglected or abused. I was always a bit quirky, but people liked that about me, too. I had a nice life. My parents separated when I was thirteen, but they never fought or put me and my brother in the middle of anything. It was quite amicable and I knew they weren’t happy anymore, so I had no objections. My one objection was that I had to go to a therapist to talk about my feelings. This boggled my mind that I was supposed to talk to a stranger about my feelings, when everyone knows my feelings. I was/am a very expressive person. People know how I feel as soon as I feel it. There is no reason to get strangers involved when I was actually happy about the whole ordeal. I was young and my mom brought me to see this man anyway . I remember him being so condescending to me. He told me he liked my sneakers and I was so mad at that. He was one of those people that tries to relate to children in the hokiest ways. I was shocked he didn’t have a backwards baseball cap on. He cut my first session short because I went mute on him. I never said a word in the few sessions I went to. After I stopped going I realized that this was all because I was supposed to be sad about my parents splitting up. I wasn’t sad, but I felt like my mom and the therapist wanted me to be sad because that is the normal reaction. I felt like I was being told how to react and that my feelings were abnormal. That might be the only slightly irritating month of my life. Nothing bad happened to me until I was 16.
When my friend and I got caught shoplifting, at age fifteen, it was the first time I ever shoplifted. The funny thing is we managed to steal a couple hundred dollars worth of clothes and were on our way out when we wanted to grab a snack from Woolworth’s. I wasn’t thinking logically. You never win against the house, so we never should have gone for 5 wins in a row. When they caught us we were brought in the back and they called our parents and the police and our school. We wouldn’t be arrested if our parents took us to the school psychologist. I wish I had been arrested, but I wasn’t. I was entering a new phase in my life filled with diagnosis’s, medication, psycho babble and people judging me.
That afternoon I was in my High School, in an office I never knew existed, behind a door I never noticed. I had to go in it with my mother. My mother said I was depressed. The psychologist agreed and said I was acting out. I wasn’t paying attention much until I started hearing words like “suicidal” and “hospital” and “depression”. I don’t know how it happened but I ended up in the emergency room. By the time the doctor saw me I was depressed and pissed. I had a very long day and I wanted to go home. I gave the doctor an attitude and I managed to get myself admitted to their psych unit. I was pretty confused and upset. The next day I saw a psychiatrist. From what he had read of my family history and what my mother and school therapist said he had decided that day I was Bipolar. He told me to take a pill and I took a pill. I felt depressed for the first time after about a few days of being on medication. It was just an anti-depressant, but it made me have mood swings and I would be hyper one minute and depressed the next. I felt horrible, but me wanting to stop my medication made them want to just give me more.
For the next two years I went to a bunch of psychiatrists and psychologists. I was given many labels: depressed, bipolar, borderline personality, anorexic, bulimic, body dimorphic, etc. I saw the whole things as a joke. During a stay at the hospital I had attending an art therapy class. I was very artistic and creative, but I lacked (and still do) the ability to draw things realistically. The other thing I have struggled with my entire life has been drawing people. I love to paint and draw, but you would think I was blind if you saw a picture of what I thought a person looked like. So, in this particular art therapy class we were supposed to draw ourselves, without being abstract. I knew I was screwed, but I tried and the whole thing turned out horrible. I was tall and skinny and yet I looked short and fat in the picture. I also looked like a dude since I did wear baggy clothes and have a short haircut. I tried to explain to the lady in charge that I had to do another one, but she gave it to my doctor and he thought I thought I was ugly and fat. My appearance was the last thing I was concerned about, but they didn’t listen. I was also accused of being sexually abused due to something…I don’t really know where one would get that, but I ws told it was my behavior. I remember having to defend someone. I remember a psychologist trying to talk me into abuse and want to hypnotize me. My reaction was nothing short of explosive. Perhaps they forget that we were in New york. Perhaps they failed to notice I have Italian blood in me. Nobody, under any circumstance, ever f*cks with my family! I won’t hurt you, but I will channel my inner “godfather” and threaten you, and you will believe me.
I was on almost every medication they had out at one time or another. Then one awful day I saw a psychiatrist that told me he took my blood work and it tested positive for Bipolar. I did not know he was lying. I did not realize he said “bipolar” because that’s what the majority of my family has. He guessed and I was screwed. I started taking lithium so I wouldn’t experience the “highs”…what highs? I have no idea. Since I do know people that are bipolar I know what mania looks like and I didn’t understand why they said I was experiencing highs when I told them I wasn’t. they just assumed I didn’t consider them highs. It was a catch 22. The medicine I was now on made my hands shake. It made me feel extremely hyper and my teachers were constantly accusing me of being on street drugs, which I hadn’t done at that point in my life. I couldn’t concentrate in school. I was several months away, but I just couldn’t do it. Between the medication and the teacher’s treating me like a mentally ill freak was too much for me. I just wanted to go to college, so I dropped out with two main goals. Not taking medication and getting my GED and going to college.
I was successful in both. I was a punk, but I was a geeky punk. I loved the library, so I started reading everything about mental illness and everything about medication. I remember I would sneak into school in the morning because my photography teacher allowed me to work in the darkroom and then I would go to the library and research. I started to hate my psychiatrist. I didn’t see the science in psychology. It was all a bunch of assumptions and the medicine could not be proven to work since mental illness cannot be proven in the brain. I decided to wean myself off of my medication because my doctor would not help me. Then I had a theory, and although it may not be the ideal theory, and although it is illegal and involves marijuana, it may put some people off. It is what happened, though, and is part of what happed, so I am including it, but NOT PROMOTING it. You see, it was the mid nineties. Medicinal marijuana was a topic that the media and society really started thinking about. I knew it helped people with major illnesses like MS or with the nausea from chemo therapy, but I never heard of mentally ill people using it, so I read up on it. Since I was coming off an anti-depressant and lithium I new I would feel bad and assumed I would need something healthier to go to while I stopped my medication. I had never smoked, but my friends did, so once I had enough evidence where I thought it was a good idea I called a friend and started smoking marijuana on a daily basis. There was just no comparison between the medication I was on and marijuana in my mind. I also decided that if I have to take a dug for my illness it will be one of my choosing.
While just smoking marijuana I was able to have a full time job, a life, and get accepted into college after I took my G.E.D. On Lithium I couldn’t handle a few hours in High School, but I was now feeling and doing very well.
After a semester of community college I attended a school 8 hours away from my home. There was some law and order living on a campus, but I was free for the first time in my life and it was great. I majored in Music and was surrounded by music and art and science and literature all day. It was heaven. There were times when I was depressed. It might last a week or two and I was depressed and I thought maybe I was more depressed than average. It really wasn’t until I got to feel my depression after being off drugs that I was able to understand my emotions in comparison to others and to what I think is logical. My depression had no logic and that was enough for me to realize that my brain is not right. I feared the words “mental illness”, but my brain was just not logical, so I was ok with it. I did not seek treatment because I always felt better.
It wasn’t until my senior year that the worst thing that my life fell apart. I don’t know exactly how long it took me, exactly, but I started having theses really bad experiences where my brain would feel out of control and I would be deathly afraid. Afraid of what-I don’t know, but it soon became clear I was afraid of my own mind. Even though many people in my family also have panic attacks, it took me a while to realize this is what was happening. At the time, I knew that the safest place to be was in my apartment. I slowly stopped hanging out socially. I slowly stopped going to concerts and to see scientists and other people give lectures. Suddenly I stopped going to school and could not leave my apartment. I was always having a panic attack. Even at home I did not feel calm. It felt like I was a walking panic attack. I was going insane, so I went to a psychiatrist because I could not deal with what I was going through. I wanted to drop out for a semester and go back the next year, since my boyfriend still had a year left and I wasn’t leaving, but that proved to be impossible as I just got worse. I was given a prescription for Xanax at my first appointment. I was so desperate I would have tried heroin. I needed a quick fix. I though I was going to die. The Xanax helped for a day, but as I continued taking it, my anxiety kept coming back. The doctor kept upping my dosage until I felt the same kind of fear, but now as a drug addict. My anxiety was not any different and I did not feel better. I would wake up having panic attacks and I would sit on the coach watching tv and drawing for hours until I was calm enough to move. I was never relaxed and it was horrible. I was too embarrassed to tell friends why I couldn’t hang out. A couple of people that were extra close to me and my boyfriend did see it and they were ok with coming over to hang out. I even felt comfortable enough to try and go places locally. These two people did not mind if I was afraid to leave the apartment and they were ok with me having to leave places when I couldn’t stay. It would be so easy for me to say I lost my friends because I was agoraphobic or anxious, but the reality is I didn’t tell them, so they had no other choice but to assume this was a decision of mine. The two friends that stood by me were there by chance. They were the two people my boyfriend and I hung out with on a daily basis, so they saw me change and they adapted, as well as allowed me to feel comfortable trying things.
Throughout my experience with anxiety and agoraphobia, I never stopped trying to do things. At my worst I would still try and drive two hours to see a band play because to me the only option was not living like I was. I had to get better, so I tried and failed over and over again and my failure became my depression. I hated myself. I hated that I was on medication and not getting better. I hated that this did not make sense. I lived like this until my boyfriend graduated and then we moved to my mom’s house back home, so we can find an apartment. When I saw a psychiatrist where I lived he took me off the Xanax. He said I was on way to much and he switched me to the lowest dose of Klonapin. I began to feel slightly better, but that meant that my brain would wait for me to be somewhere already and then freak out. Since I was pushing myself so hard to be normal, I became depressed with each failure. My boyfriend and I did find an apartment, but after 8 years of dating we had to call it quits. He started calling me “crazy” and “stupid” when we fought. He was not a dick, but he just had this underlying way of making a point to bring up the fact that I’m crazy.
After I got over our break up I started feeling this freedom again. I got a job and I just started doing my own exposure therapy. There was a point when my anxiety was non existent. A time where it ceased to exist in my world and I was at peace with everything. I went to school and got a better job, but that made me anxious. Going to worked slowly grew into something I feared. I would have to wake up 5 hours before I went in so I could have time to relax. I was waking up with the worst panic attacks, and even days I didn’t work I was paralyzed in my bedroom, having panic attacks. After a year I quit because I couldn’t take it. I was afraid I would go back to the way I was. More than anything I wanted to be normal and to have a job, but I no longer think it is worth the risk.
I am anxious and I now sit through my anxiety, but sometimes it is just to scary to leave my room. Of course, I haven’t given up. I am just trying to go in a different direction right now. I am volunteering at a mental health organization. I have an opportunity to help people that are like me or worse off than me. I am working with mental health care coordinators, assisting them and eventually people that need assistance with certain things or just human contact. If I like this the internship could turn into a job. Most of the people that volunteer there have a mental illness and most of those people go on to get paid for what they are doing and happen to love working there. I think it is a perfect place for me. I will also get to learn more about advocacy because the one thing I know that is wrong with the mental health system is the fact that people are often left out of the discussion on their own treatment. People need to be heard and the mental health system is terrible dehumanizing people to the point where they have given up. Hopefully I will help these people.
So, that’s the short version of the chronicles of my demise, completely lacking in horror, trauma, abuse or even a mental illness that is more entertaining to read about. That’s not to say my life lacks excitement and idiocy. My life is much like a circus that I have yet to adapt to so I go my own way and do my own thing, and I watch people, but I don’t understand them. And the people I do understand and love are all freaks like me, but you can have fun when you are mentally ill. You can still enjoy life and live it. I would never say this if I was depressed or anxious, because it’s insulting and undermining the severity of mental illness, so I would be better off saying that life is a bunch of moments. You can be depressed one minute, but happy the next. One bad moment should not affect the good moment. You can still gather good moments. I am not better or cured, nor do I think I ever will be, but I really have no choice but to live and gather good moments.
It was Game One of the 2000 World Series. It was not just a World Series, but a Subway Series. New York Mets v. New York Yankees. It was me, my boyfriend at the time, Joe, his older brother, Anthony, and our best pal, Jack. We had our usual bleacher seats and we drove six hours from college to go. This was in the beginning of me having panic attacks.
When we left our college town I felt anxious. I was almost positive I would get anxious there, but it was a Subway Series that my Yankees will win and I felt a need to be there. I told myself they wouldn’t win without me there. I acted like I was ok because if I started talking about it I would feel worse, but I was not ok. My hands were numb. My heart was beating out of my chest. I was holding back tears. We stopped at Joe’s brother’s house to pick him up and we hung out for a while and then left for the game. As I got into the car and we drove to Yankee Stadium I started feeling trapped. I was trapped. For the next 3-4 hours I would be trapped. I was ok tail-gating and I did not partake in any alcohol or drug consumption, for fear of being out of control. I ate a hot dog while waiting on line. For some crazy reason I blame that hot dog. It was a perfectly brilliant dirty water dog and I did not feel any sickness, but that was the last thing I ate, so…I blamed the hot dog.
We walked through the corridor in the outfield. The panic hit me like a ton of broken bricks. The lights were so bright. The field was moving right in front of my eyes-getting bigger and smaller. We had to walk up a twenty degree incline (steps) to get to out seat. I was dizzy and had to hold on to my friends. This entire time my mind is just repeating “don’t freak out. Relax, don’t panic. Don’t. stop!” and I tried so hard. I sat there for the first inning and I could not focus. All I could think about was how fucked up I was and that I was going to end up crazy and never snap out of it.
After the first inning I had to get out of there. I knew I couldn’t leave the stadium without being able to re enter, so I had my boyfriend walk me to the inside area where I could sit down near a wall and he got me a drink. He was visibly pissed. I felt so guilty. Then we heard the crowd go nuts. Something happened and we missed it. I didn’t care, but he did. He looked at the floor, trying to figure out what to do. He was mad and I was hysterical crying. Then my other friend came out to ask what was wrong. I said I’m ok, but I’m having a panic attack. He had dealt with mental illness himself, so he reacted the way I would have preferred my boyfriend to act. He didn’t make a big deal. He wasn’t mad he was missing a good part of the game. He asked me if he could do anything and I told him that I’d really like it if him and my boyfriend would go back outside, because I really wanted them to see the game. I told Jack I would feel horrible if they missed the game and because I was not in any real harm I needed them to enjoy the game as much as they could have. Could my boyfriend have been nicer? Yes, but it must be really difficult to date a person who is freaking out of a regular and increasing basis. I understood his anger and because of that I became very guilty. Unfortunately, he would use this against me as well as the fact that I am “crazy” to hurt me and win every argument we had.
When Jack and Joe went back to the game I sat there a little relieved, but I was still crying and scared. I noticed two cops near me, pointing at me. I called them over because I thought they would think I was an incoherent drunk. I told them I was having a panic attack and that my friends were in the bleachers and they would be checking on me. They asked if I needed an ambulance and I asked if it was ok if I just sat there, or if there was somewhere else I should go. They said I could stay near them, like I was and both of them, shockingly, were kind and talked me through breathing and telling me that I was safe and they would get a medic if I felt bad.
All I had to do was wait till the ninth inning and I was golden. One of my friends would come out to check on me in between innings to update me on the game and just be there for me. When my boyfriend came out he stood over me, pissed and speechless. I couldn’t even deal with that, but I didn’t have it in me to stand up for myself while hysterical and freaking out, so I didn’t say much. During the game I was seated by a hot dog shop that had the game on, so I got to watch it. The Yankees hit a run. Then the Mets. Then the Yankees and Mets again and again, until it was tied. The golden ninth inning came and went as the teams were tied. I became more anxious and I know I went crazy because I just wanted the Mets to get a run and win, so I can leave.
The game ended in the twelfth inning, with the Yankees winning 4-3. It was probably a great game, but instead I had a panic attack for 5 hours straight. As we drove away from the stadium I felt this huge weight lifted off my shoulders. We went back to sleep at Joe’s brother’s house. By the time we got back I was back to normal. I was scared about it because that was the most intense anxiety I ever felt in my life. I still felt bad, but what else could I have done really. I didn’t ruin anyone seeing the game.
That was the worst panic attack in the worst possible place at the worst possible time…and that was just the beginning. I was not yet agoraphobic. I was only beginning to understand what was going on. I knew this night that my life would be different. I knew that my entire life would change for the worst and it did. I don’t know if I gave up or gave in or did the best I could, but I feel like I did the best I could with the resources and knowledge I had. At least the Yankees won that game and the Series. My anxiety didn’t seem to affect the Yankee players and for that I will be grateful.