Posts Tagged ‘Schizoaffective Disorder’

“Sometimes the glue that binds us together can be the same glue that rips us apart.”

Tim Lundmark

This thought came to my head this morning while I was in a deep reflection on my current mental status. February begins tomorrow and this just happens to be the most evil month. This has never been a very good month for me in the past and is usually when my winter cycle comes to a damaging head. I am not sure why this is the case. My “cycles” can be rather predictable. I tend to cycle with every changing of the seasons like clock work. Spring and summer bring mania psychosis, while fall and winter deliver depressive psychosis. This usually doesn’t just hit right away it is a gradual fall from grace, usually two to three months in the making. When I think about this it makes me sad because this means I am only “normal” one maybe two months a year if I am lucky.

The way my mind works is there are times when it is clear and I am high functioning (the one or two months.) When I hit this point I am at my greatest. I am present in the moment and I am receptive and give out understanding and love. It is during this period I am unable to write poetry, but I am able to write my “Dylan Thomas” books. In time my mind slowly starts to worsen, and as time progresses I start to fall apart. When a piece of my sanity falls off I quickly grab it; throw some glue on and stick it back into place. This is fine and I am sure perfectly normal, but it seems as time passes more and more pieces fall off each day, to where I spend all my psychological energy just picking up the pieces and trying to put it all back together. The end result is I run out of glue giving me no means to put the pieces back together.

It has been a really tough go as of late, but I feel lucky I was able to have a relaxing weekend. I had to take Friday off because my son didn’t have daycare, so I ended up having a three day weekend. Although this weekend was relaxing I still wish I had more time off, because I don’t feel ready to jump back into the daily grind. I am not prepared for this; I am having trouble gluing myself back together. I worry I will not be able to do this. I have thought about talking to my boss about what is going on. I need the comfort of knowing that if I end up in the hospital I will not lose my job.

It felt good this weekend because I relieved much of the pressure inside of me by just going with things. I just went with it, and this may have been a mistake. When I talked with my mother and sister they thought I was on drugs. I think this is just further evidence I shouldn’t really share the truth with what is really going on. My symptoms are still pretty intense and I feel myself sliding further away from sanity. I wish I could log on here and just go off about all the things I am feeling and thinking, but my family does not think this is the appropriate forum for such things, yet It felt good posting my last two pieces. I have received many responses from people who have felt or who are going through something similar to what I am dealing with. There encouraging words and their ability to relate to my plight made me feel a bit better about things. It felt good knowing I could put my words out there like that and have an emotional impact on another person. This simple thing is what motivated me to become a writer in the first place, so this is awesome.     

I am so embarrassed with what is really going on in my head I do not feel I would be met well if I went into everything that was going on inside of me. I feel if I were to just jump on here and free write it may end up making me feel a little bit better, but then everything that I am will be exposed. It is this exposure I am afraid of. It is the rejection I am afraid of. No one is ready for what is going on. I feel if I were to just grab somebody on the streets and put my mind inside of theirs they would kill themselves in less than a week. They wouldn’t be able to deal with it. I suppose like anything else you just get used to it, but I am sick of being used to it. I am so tired of the pretending. What was great about this weekend was I let go and stopped pretending.

I realized after looking over some of my comments I received that I have picked up many Christian readers. I am so appreciative of their readership. I enjoyed reading their comments and wondered if my exposure as of late means something or not. I am afraid once I do a piece which is anti-religious I will piss them all off, and lose their readership. I feel I am at a crucial point in my spiritual journey, and I do not want to hold back my feelings on this topic. If the God of the Bible exists I need to work through my anger towards him, but at the same time I have found that Taoism is giving me a level of spiritual peace. Needless to say I am concerned about this.

I only have thirteen hours left to finish my book “Trapped Within My Illness.” I have to have the manuscript submitted by the end of today to meet their open submission period. I am so excited about this project and I really want to get it out there, but their response time is six months and I am unsure if I want to wait that long just to get the rejection letter. I want to put it out there, but wonder what the point is in that. I am embarrassed to say I have sold zero copies of “Yin” and “Yang.” I really think this one is better than the last three that I wrote. I blame my lack of sales on the fact I haven’t done any readings, if I submit it to this publisher I can’t do any readings until after I get the rejection letter because then I can just self publish.  

To sum the whole thing up I am just not ready for today. I am not ready for tomorrow and the start of February. I am working hard to glue my mind back together. My symptoms are getting worse, and although it was liberating to just let loose I still have other things going on which I am embarrassed to talk about. I just hope I make it through this month. I really just need this to stop because it is getting to the point where I just can’t fight it anymore.

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It is amazing to me how the smallest thing can finally sever the last thread of sanity which is holding me together. For the last few months I have been struggling with some moderate to sever MI (mental illness) issues, which seem to be getting progressively worse. It has been difficult keeping everything looking nice and wrapped in a tidy little bow. How does one hide such intense turmoil without it spilling out unto the world?

Until about a few weeks ago I have done a great job hiding my issues, but then the irritation kicked in. I get so exhausted holding it together and as a result I get irritable. I get irritable because I cannot deal with the pressure anymore. I know at this point I can’t completely shut down to the world so I get irritable. This irritability only makes the situation worse. It is like I am on the outside looking in. My irritability is usually followed by a complete mental collapse. This collapse is almost entirely done internally, which writing is my only outlet.

I haven’t been able to write a quality post in some time, and my outlet has always been poetry yet my psyche is not allowing the words to come. I am being denied the one channel which keeps me sane. I think this has been the longest writer’s block I have been through. I am still writing but it just comes out as shit. I am stuck inside my head and I am lost within it. I cannot get out and it is getting crazy as fuck in here. I just want to get out. I am a prisoner in my own head.

I was doing my best to hold this fucked up mess together, but a situation which happened yesterday just caused me to crack. I feel completely unable to keep it together. I need to quickly put this broken doll back together before it’s too late. I cannot see my therapist until February so I have to just keep all this shit inside. The most fucked up thing is I cannot even articulate what is exactly wrong with me. I just know the deep depression and psychosis is here, and I need to battle it. It just gets so tiring fighting this bullshit all the time. I hate being good and then slowly transforming into mental breakdown. This has been the cycle my whole life and I need to ask myself how long I can continue this predictable scenario.

What sucks the most is my family gets dragged into this mess. This is by far the most painful thing about this. I can deal with my inner turmoil because Lord knows I have been doing it my entire life. I feel as if they would be better off without my bullshit fucking up their lives. These are innocent bystanders who get dragged in the mud because of my issues. I infect them with my disease and I wish they knew how sorry I am because of this. I can’t very well sit them down and explain daddy has issues and he is so sorry he can’t be a good father or husband. I just feel so ashamed. I feel so alone.

“Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m schizophrenic, and so am I.”
Oscar Levant

Due to the shooting in Arizona; schizophrenia has become a hot topic. It is sad that this illness is brought to the forefront in such a negative light, all because of one person. I am certain many people out there believe those who suffer from schizophrenia are nothing but raving lunatics walking the streets talking to themselves while wearing tinfoil helmets to shield the government from stealing their thoughts. I think this is the image most Americans think of when they hear the word schizophrenia. Yes there are some of us out there, who unfortunately may fall under this generalization, but for the most part this is simply not the case, and in my opinion is a form of discrimination. These types of sweeping statements are the same as saying “all Muslims are terrorists.” Yes there are those who deteriorate to the point of madness such as Jared Loughner had, but this one man does not define how everyone else with this disease acts. There are many high functioning schizophrenics out there who work have families and contribute to society. It is sad that as a society, those of us who suffer from mental illness need to still carry that stigma around with us.

I know society does not deal well with mental illness. There are so many uneducated people out there with discrimination in their heads. I can tell you a personal story of such discrimination. I was working at a company which shall remain nameless. I was employed there for a while, and I was excelling at my job. I would go out to lunch with my co-workers and shoot the shit. Business was good, and there were no complaints against my job performance. I shared a cubicle with two other guys and we worked together to make sure projects were getting done. We were all in the cube one day when the topic of mental illness was brought up. They were talking about how those who have bi-polar disorder are drug addicts and completely useless to society. They went on to say how they are all violent criminals who are completely out of control. At first I bit my lip, just hoping they would go on to the next topic. About twenty minutes into MI (mental Illness) bashing I final had to interject. I told them their comments were offending me since I am bi-polar (diagnosis at the time but later changed.) I told them I am able to contribute to society and I am by no means violent or a drug addict. The cube became awkwardly silent and rather uncomfortable. They apologized for offending me, and I accepted. We went back to work with no other issues. Two days later I was “laid off.”

Schizophrenia is a progressive brain disease where as time passes symptoms of this disease seem to get worse and worse. I am only thirty-one years old so I am in the infancy stages of my illness. I am able to manage it properly so I can function within society.  My doctors have done a great job with managing my symptoms with medication. I have a job, which suites my illness perfectly allowing me to be a productive member of society. I am able to be a husband, father, and friend. I still have episodes where I fall apart and need daily living assistance, but I am able to get out of my head and find sanity. The progressive part is what scares me though. I am afraid of where my mind will be in five or ten years. I worry about slipping so far into my head I become completely detached. What scares me is I won’t even know what is going on. The shitty thing about this is I cannot control this inevitable outcome. I just need to have hope and faith I will always be high functioning.   

With all the negativity going around about this illness I thought I should speak out about it. Yes there are those who completely lose touch with reality. The sad part is they can be reeled back in with medication along with the proper support system. This shooting in Arizona could have been avoided if Loughner’s friends and family had been monitoring him more. From interviews I have seen it sounds like his friends knew he was off his rocker, yet stood by and did nothing. There are millions of us out there who suffer from one form of MI or another, yet I feel that we hide it in shame. Many of us are high functioning adults who seem in control of our illness.

I am not embarrassed or ashamed of whom I am, and I am not embarrassed or ashamed of my illness. I am proud that I am high functioning considering my diagnosis. I am proud I can hold down a job and raise a family. I may have a mental illness, but this illness does not define me as a person. I need to learn to live within my limitations and accept who I am illness and all. I wouldn’t need to hide or be ashamed if my illness was MS, but for some reason I should feel differently because it is MI? I think people hide their MI like a dirty little secret because they are scared of being judged. Does anyone else hear how sad that sounds?

Do you remember the feeling you had after watching movies such as “Shutter Island,” “The Sixth Sense, or “The Others?” This feeling where the whole story just seems to flip on you, where everything that was is now wasn’t. These types of twists are mind fucking adventures, and I love them. I remember thinking to myself after watching “Shutter Island” that nothing of this magnitude could ever happen to me… I was wrong.

I just discovered the greatest mind fuck of my life. My wife made a comment on a post I did last week where I said I was basically kicked out of Crown College. My wife sent me an e-mail and said I was never kicked out of that school so why would I say that? I sent her an e-mail back going over the situation which occurred and questioned her memories of this situation. She then informed me I dropped out because my mental status had worsened to the most dangerous of levels. I immediately told her to stop messing with me, and relayed that this is not a funny joke. She proceeds to tell me she is not joking, and is indeed very serious. This was my Shutter Island moment.

I am really bent by this because I have no recollection of what she is talking about. I literally have no memories of this scenario she had laid out, and what’s worse is my reality which once was is now wasn’t. One of my symptoms of my mental illness is memory loss and or confusion with my thoughts. My thoughts can get jumbled and I will interpret what I hear or see differently than most. I know I have had issues in the past where the combination of dreams, media, and real life get melded together to form an altered reality. I am now in a state of what is, and what is not. This causes me to blur these alternate realities together where I cannot tell one from the other. Perhaps I was in such a state and took memories from my dreams and supplanted them into what I now know as reality. This is really twisting me up inside because this calls to question how much of my memories are even real memories, or which ones were supplanted into my mind. I then need to question the reality I am in at this moment while I am writing this. Is this what is, or is it what is not? Is what I remembered from yesterday what is, or what wasn’t?  

I try not to think of this very often because frankly it is mind numbing. I enjoy this topic on a philosophical level, just not on a personal one. It is as if I am looking at hundreds of puzzle pieces from many different puzzles mixed together. I then have to somehow put these pieces together to form one puzzle. This is hard to explain if you have never experienced it or lived with someone who has, but it’s almost like déjà vu, but what you think you have already done before, really happened on television, in a movie, a dream, or something that has happened to someone else. It is almost as if this cross fires my brain into creating something that is not.

I have had this fractured memory in my head for seven years. This means for the last seven years I have been living a lie. I want to sit down with everyone who is close to me and unload my memories to see what is and what isn’t. I am haunted by not knowing my true reality. I wish I knew the exact reasons my mind created this alternate reality in my head, and was strong enough to have me forget months of my life. I was in a panic and called my therapist a few times to get some advice on this. She finally called me back on Friday to council me. I laid out the situation to her, and explained I was in a panic not knowing what is real and what isn’t. She told me this scenario was normal for people who reach intense mental breakdowns, and often causes the subject to create false memories.

I felt better after the call to at least know what I was experiencing was normal on a mental illness level. I am still left wondering what reality is, and which other of my memories are not real. I suppose I will only be able to find the right pieces of the puzzle by checking with those who are close to me regarding memories I have. This still does not cure the way I shape reality. I think what it comes down to is I will always be in a state of what is not, but I suppose since this is reality to me, then what is real is; so I shouldn’t worry about it.

I have found myself in hot water as of late over a post I did two weeks ago. This will now be the sixth or seventh time I have written something I have either had to take off or offer apologies for expressing myself. In looking back I suppose I understand, but at the same time I do not want any kind of censorship over this blog. I write from the hip and yes sometimes I do not think when I click the publish button. Is this a bad thing, or does it make for better reading knowing the author is pouring his soul out to the world without being fake.

My two most recent bad posts came from something I wrote about my work. I really vented on that post, and pissed people off. When my boss informed me I was in trouble I immediately took the post down. I have apologized, but I can tell she is still pissed. I can understand and I do respect her feelings, and I feel bad I have hurt them. My only hope is that I do not remain on her shit list for to long. I did learn a valuable lesson to never post anything about work. I have written eight posts about things going on at my work, and I went through and deleted all of them. I am a little bummed about this, but at the same time I want to keep my job.

My other issues come from concerns my wife has shared with me. She does not agree with me writing posts that highlight my mental illness. I respect and understand her points, but I disagree. My mental illness is very much a part of me and is who I am; I don’t feel like I should hide it. One of the things I pride myself on with this blog is I am real. What you read is what you get. I hope my readers can tell I am being honest. Most of you are complete strangers who have chosen to read and in return I share my life with you, and a big part of my life is my struggle to deal with my mental illness. I do not want to try to hide it. My hope is a reader may stumble upon my blog one day and see there are others out there struggling with the same issues. I hope they may be able to relate with in either themselves as the sufferer of mental illness, or a loved one trying to understand the complex minds we have. Having a severe mental illness is a tough thing to deal with, and it is comforting to know someone is right there with you struggling with the same or similar issues. In our society mental illness is looked down upon, and those of us who suffer from these ailments need to basically hide who we are. This can become extremely exhausting.

The last thing I want is to have to think twice before I hit that publish button. I feel it takes away from who I am, and what I choose to show the world. I do not want this to become a blog where I need to do a lot of thinking for in order to produce a post. Everything I write comes directly from my mind and is honest and genuine. I want this blog to be fun for me to write. I enjoy capturing a thought or feeling and just ride the lightning. In my opinion this makes for enjoyable reading.

I will try to write posts about my struggles perhaps to just myself. I can always publish it as private, so only I can see them but really then what’s the point if I do that? I ask you the reader to give me feedback. From my personal posts do you judge me as some sort of crack pot? Or do you just take it for what it is a personal place to express my inner most thoughts without the fear of judgment. From my previous post on asking what my identity is I gathered from the feedback that my identity is just being myself. This is what I want to show my readers the good and the bad that encompasses who I am and what I am feeling whether it be a mania, psychosis, or depression. This is just me. This is what I want to show my readers. I want to show the window into the true inner me mental illness and all. I have chosen to out myself to the world. I do not think there is any way to go back now. I will touch more on this in a post later this week.

I have been diagnosed with almost every single mental illness you can think of. Currently I am unaware of what my exact diagnosis is. I have referred that I have a mental illness, but not exactly what I have. I will explain in this post. For many years I had the label of schizoaffective disorder. My med doctor and therapist at that time agreed on this diagnosis. My current therapist thought otherwise when she started seeing me. We have only talked once about possible diagnosis, and her thoughts were bi-polar 1, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), and severe anxiety. Like I said earlier she has yet to give me her definitive diagnosis. I think her diagnosis fits with how I feel, but I may add ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder.) I have an appointment with her this week; I think I will ask her again. I would really like to finally have an answer to what I suffer from. I think mentally if I know what I suffer from it would help me cope. Today I am going to focus on my OCD, and perhaps this entire week choose a different aspect of my illness. This does make me feel a bit vulnerable, but it is not like my readers think I am normal anyway.

My OCD is not the type where I need to do everything in threes of such; mine is a tad different. It is complicated, but I will do my best to explain. I am a man of routines. They define my life in everything I do. If I need to deviate from these routines I am spun into intense anxiety and panic which triggers me to become agitated, angry, and triggers psychosis. This cycle of madness never changes. If there is a part of my life that is void of routine I become scattered brained and lost. An example of this lost feeling is doing laundry. I have a routine where I sit in the man room and watch football Saturday and Sunday. As long as I am down stairs watching football I can breeze through the laundry. I check the laundry every eighth commercial. If I am not doing this I cannot remember to do laundry.

When I go to places I visit often I need to park in the same spot. If I am unable to park in this spot I will either leave or get spun into that panic and agitation. I have battled this a bit where I have been able to broadened my routine to include a few different parking spots within a small region from my original spot. This has helped me a bit. I do have issues with things being dirty. I get into a funk when things are not perfectly clean; being that I have three children this is impossible to achieve. I have battled this by tuning my senses off to what the house looks like. If I notice any filth I again get panic and agitation. I try to stay away from cleaning that one spot up, because then I need to clean the entire house. I can never get it perfect enough, and this throws me into a psychosis.

I need to have a coffee before and after work I put a chew in at exactly 8am and another one at 2pm when I am at work. I then need to smoke at the exact same time everyday. When I am driving I need to smoke at the exact same location. I have to take my meds at the exact same time everyday. There was just recently an episode when I was not able to do this and it totally fucked with me. I had a therapy appointment and it happened to overlap with a time when I take one of my night meds. I forgot my medication at home, and I was a complete mess the entire therapy appointment. I was freaking out. When I got home I went to take it and my wife tried to talk me down from this obsession. I immediately became agitated and angered. This caused an argument, and I eventually agreed to do differently. I was not able to sleep at all that night, and it triggered the depression I had last week. This was part because my routine was interrupted and part of lack of sleep. I do not blame my wife for this, because she was just trying to help me.

The final aspect may either be a result of my OCD or is a part of my bi-polar 1 disorder. I get these ideas in my head of things I either need to buy, or things I need to do. Once I get these ideas in my head they just continue to replay over and over again until I am actually doing them or I have bought the item. The longer I go without satisfying this need to more psychotic I become. These thoughts completely consume me. Like I said this could be a component of my hyper-mania. I suppose I could ask my therapist this. This is just a few examples; There are many more routines or obsessions and compulsions I have. If I were to address every single one this post would become a novel.

All I know is whatever this is it consumes me in everyway possible. When I am deviated from my routines it destroys my mental state. I would prefer if everything in my life was a routine. I think I would function so much better. There are many aspects of my life that does not revolve around a routine, and this tends to cause issues because I am just off in la la land doing whatever first comes to my mind. This thought or need then ends up consuming me until it has been done, so I suppose even my non-routine essentially transforms into an obsession. I am also not sure if these things I get in my head that must get done is a result of my bi-polar 1 or a component of the compulsion aspect of my OCD. I do know that none of the current medications I am taking help me with this, at least none that I am aware of. I am sure if a component of my medication treatment was removed these symptoms may increase and become worse. The best coping method I have found is meditation along with counting beads in twenty-six intervals using my meditation/prayer necklace. If any of my readers suffer from OCD and have found methods to cope and battle this I would love to hear about them.