I used to be insane, or maybe I was just a little crazy. Whatever, the label doesn't matter. What matters is what my behavior back then brought me to experience.
I had been on various medications. I'm pretty sure the doctors were experimenting most of this shit out on me. For real, who the fuck gives a 19yr old single mother on welfare lithium or klonopin and depakote and God knows what else cause I sure can't remember. They kept me pretty doped up. I couldn't feel anymore. I suppose that was a good thing. I was after all a single teen mother on welfare alone with an infant to care for and NO support system what so ever. Who wants to be present for that?
My symptoms included, checking doors and windows several times a day and night, often causing me to not be able to sleep at night because I was so scared someone was going to break in. I also obsessed on my baby daddy. I followed him if I could and sat outside the place he was with his child in my arms or in a stroller. I just stood there staring and stewing. Sometimes he would talk to me and I would get crazy bitchy on his ass. Hmmmm I wonder why, but I wont go into that just yet. This is not meant to be a bitch fest post. I also cried a lot. I felt down and didn't see a positive future. Some times I would get a burst of energy and feel like I was ok, I would clean my house an take my kid to the park and do normal happy things. That never lasted long.
So those were my symptoms and those fuckers put me on those strong drugs messing with my still growing body and mind. Am I upset about that? Yes I am. If they had simply put me in a therapists office and allowed me a safe place to share my life I might have been just fine. You see the real problem was never that I was crazy or bi-polar or whatever other messed up label they wanted to stick on me, it was just that I had a very hard life. One of the worst kinds of lives a child can have, riddled with sexual abuse, animal killing, physical and emotional abuse, forced to take part in adult acts with many adults, being told twisted lies of what should have been safe and sacred to any child, and the worst of all having no protector, no one to stand up for me and say NO MORE. It took me being old enough and big enough to be free of all that. It just seems so obvious to me now that if they had just asked me ANYTHING about my history they could have understood why I was a little unstable.
My suffering and symptoms continued into my 20's until I got a job at UCDavis and finally got off welfare and was able to afford "real" medical insurance. I had a panic attack at work. It was actually one of many but this time someone else noticed. I was unable to hide it and the cat came scratching and screaming out of the bag. A co-worker found me curled under a chair in a office that I thought was never used. Apparently people used it for breaks. She says I was not responding to her and had a glazed over look. Something must have triggered my memory of abuse and my mind chose to go bye bye for a while and my body did what it knew to do when the mind went bye bye and that was to hide. Its amazing what muscle memory can do for a person.
"When you're being hurt curl into a ball, they can hit less area if your in a little ball." This is from the mind of the victim, by no means do I think this way now.
So lets move on to the more pleasant point to his moment of sharing. I was given a real therapist. I was given regular sessions with her. We discovered together that I was in fact NOT bi-polar or any other diagnosis related to some kind of physiological malfunction. No I had post traumatic stress disorder. I had seen such horrific things and survived such horrible physical abuse that my mind was tormented with it all. I need to learn new ways to cope, not be drugged up.
The therapist immediately put me in a (then) new group session with specific therapeutic coping skills lessons. It is called DBT or
It says in most places it works for people with borderline personalities but back then it was experimental so anyone who was half way functioning in the real world was able to be in the class. YaY for me being half way functioning. I really did win on this one. This course save my life. It showed me an entirely new way to see life and view my past and deal with situations that otherwise would have put me under a chair or sweating and shaking in a closet.
One of my favorite techniques from the sessions was to not place any judgment or opinionated labels on anything or anyone. You would start out simple. On your lunch break, sit outside and just observe the clouds or buildings. Make mental notes of what you see.
the clouds are white. the clouds are moving westward from the wind.
the building to my left is black, It has 10 floors. It has windows. One window is broken.
Yes I know this sounds a little idiotic. But to the person who is overwhelmed with judgments and poisonous mental history being able to just be and see without placing judgment helps so much. I use this technique to this day over 10 yrs later. I still have the signs of panic attacks rise up in me. But I keep them at bay with this technique.
I'm walking into a crowded room full of people I don't know. This is a source of stress for me. Without DBT I would turn and run. But now, I walk in and to myself say,
" that person directly in front of me is wearing a blue shirt with stripes, he is a man, he has a mustache......etc" (this thought process stops my other thoughts, of "is he a child molester, is he going to rape me in the parking lot after this meeting......etc")
I focus on these little facts until I feel completely ready to take part in the occasion. I am walking and moving through the crowd and just stating facts to myself.
I do all of this now without even thinking. I have wonderful and healthy friendships, I don't allow unsafe people in my life, I have no drama, I am happy and secure.
I seriously advise anyone who might need this course, take it. You can order it on line and do it yourself, or see your therapist.
Dear So and So...Proving A Point
5 years ago