Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Mental Illness’ Poster Child?


my workplace cheering section: katniss, my red dress moment, katniss
yes. a stupid fictional character gives me the strength i need to get through the dark days

If you’ve ever come across any of the blogs I’ve run since 2000, you’ve been exposed to my flavor of crazy.

If you’ve been a part of my ‘real’ life since… oh, I don’t know, BIRTH?, you’ve lived with my flavor of crazy. Whether you knew it or not.

I’ve had a few people tell me that they knew something was wrong with me, some called me broken, some told me flat out that they thought I was crazy.

Well, guess what? I am.

For those of you late to the party, or too lazy to go through the archives, my official diagnosis is Bipolar 1 with Borderline Personality Disorder plus some anger/rage and anxiety issues on the side.

Because being bipolar doesn’t suck enough.

I do write a lot publicly about the depression portion of the bipolar roller coaster. It’s the part that consumes me. It’s the part that I need to work through. It’s the part that I need to survive.

I just came out of one of the worst cycles I’ve ever had in my entire life. Like I was hours from going to the ER and getting admitted to a psych ward. A few people know that, a lot don’t. If I were the suicidal type, I wouldn’t be here today. That’s how bad it was.

Let me repeat that: If I were the suicidal type, I wouldn’t be here today. That’s how bad it was.

I got through that part of the illness relatively early. Before I even knew what bipolar was. When I still thought it was all in my head. I’m glad. It’s not the answer. It’s NEVER the answer. But holy mother-of-fuck, when those voices start telling me to do it, to end my suffering, they make so much sense.

At any rate… the reason I’m revisiting this topic yet again is simply because I’m pissed off. (What else is new? Right, Peanut Gallery?)

I had my first CrossFit work out on Monday night. It was hard, but I survived it. I know it’s what I need to do. It’s the necessary evil I need to face if I want any hope of surviving the GORUCK Challenge. It is what it is.

I was expecting the endorphin rush. I was expecting… something positive.

What I got was the fast lane to The Ick. It couldn’t have even been an hour before the depression came on. Strong.

I made the decision Tuesday morning to cancel Wednesday’s workout. I told the trainer that I needed to see my doc before I continued. When she pushed, I came clean about the bipolar and the depression. I CAN’T go back to that dark place. I WON’T go back there. I need to know what caused it.

I was told that it was because my insulin was out of whack, that I have a shitty diet, blah, blah, blah, blabbity, blah, blah, blah. I was expecting every word of it. I’m not stupid.

However, I’m on some serious psych drugs over here. I’m not sure what they’re fucking up, but my first instinct is to run to my drug dealer and get a handle on whether or not any of this is due to side effects. The bipolar has to come first. If it’s not treated correctly, the rest of my life is shit. I was told that I should go see my GP first. Maybe even my cardiologist. Diet and more exercise is the answer and my drug dealer was going to be useless. Oh, by the way, here are some books on Paleo you need to read. They’ll cure ALL your problems.

I had well meaning friends try to tell me it was a problem with the workout itself, that I should try yoga or something like that.

Nope. Ain’t gonna happen.

CrossFit will get me through the GRC, so it’s that or nothing.

I was prepared for nothing and then I started to google “depression and exercise”. Turns out, it’s fairly common.

SO glad to know I wasn’t alone.

There’s a bunch of things that could be the cause. Some people get lucky with anti-depressants. I won’t be one of those… a-ds trigger the mania. (Mania is just as dangerous as depression, but a hell of a lot more fun.) Maybe it’s insulin. Maybe it’s cortisol. Maybe it’s caffeine. I don’t know. There are a gazillion variables and everyone reacts to different chemicals differently.

But you can bet your ass I will know what caused it.

I don’t want to be like all the people who had to walk away from stuff they loved doing because they couldn’t handle going off the deep end after a workout… but if I have to be, I will. It’s that simple.

I came across the blog entry I posted yesterday about someone else’s experience with depression.

All of my struggles yesterday were documented on Facebook… from the sadness about having to cross the GRC off my bucket list before even attempting it, to my anger at the trainer, to the blog entry, to the google search results.

The reactions were insane.

People were emailing me and messaging me and posting publicly that they were happy I was letting them know they weren’t alone.

It’s crazy (ha!) that the simple act of just standing here admitting how amazingly fucked up I am makes people feel better. It makes me feel better, too.

I never meant to become the poster child of mental illness to a select group of people…

But I’m kinda glad I am.

No one should have to go through this alone.

News flash: Your friends and family DON’T understand. They CAN’T support you. They can try, and maybe they’ll help a little, but unless they’ve been depressed, the odds are pretty decent that they may do more harm than good. (And I don’t mean “boo-hoo, I got a c on my paper” depressed. I’m talking “I can’t get out of bed, I want to die” depressed. There’s a BIG difference, Sparky. Like crack in the sidewalk vs Grand Canyon different.)

If my standing out here, screaming “HEY! LOOK AT ME! I’M BIPOLAR!” makes other people feel better about themselves, then I’ve done what I can. I’m not an advocate - I don’t want to be - but I want my experiences to help someone out.



Or you can call and email me. Whatever works.

Posted by Matty on 12/05 at 05:26 PM