So, just one more for today. I’ve been working (trying to at least) on this invitation card design all day. It’s for a non-profit I’ve volunteered for in the past. I’d promised to get it in last Monday but because of my little incident, I couldn’t . There goes the flakiness I was talking about.

Anyway, I AM getting it done now. How’s that for cognitive and behavioral restructuring?

The title of the invitation is:

“Down With Wage Theft FIESTA!”

Pretty cool, huh? Yeah, I figure if I’m doing things like this, I’m still maintaining. I’ve gotten a referral for group (DBT) therapy because I requested it, and I’m waiting on that now… Haven’t heard back from the psychiatrist though and probably won’t considering what the receptionist told me. Blegh. “You have to go to the ER. We don’t handle emergencies.”

And my mind has been racing all over the place. And family got together, just my little family of four, but when we get together we sound like ten. So I’m super hyped still and in my hyped state I wrote a WHOLE BUNCH of posts that have become a little series now. heehee

I’m titling this series, “Borderline Girl Songs” because these are songs that have always reminded me of my mental struggles and kept me company in some way or another.

Now I know I shouldn’t be listening or reading anything triggering right now (oops already did accidentally). However, even though this first song I selected, “The Outsider,” by A Perfect Circle may be an angry song, it’s actually a song that has often  motivated me not to commit suicide, or so I think.

Oh, Maynard you can make me swoon by listening to your crooning and/or your yelling voice all day.

Enjoy!

*I suppose to or should I add a trigger warning here?*

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Life is beautiful, it’s precious, it’s [insert other euphemism]. It is the only one we know we’ll get. So why waste it? Why throw it away?

Sure, there are tsunamis that claw over, killing hundreds of people and hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes all leaving ravage in their wake; there’s disease and famine, and worst of all, the man-made stuff–if you don’t count some of the natural disaster stuff being partially an effect of some of the man made stuff.

But still, why throw it away?

I have often wondered “How does one get to that point?” of taking your own life, of constantly being bombarded by thoughts of suicide. I wonder about this, even when I myself have been there countless times. So I can only imagine how incomprehensible it maybe for someone who’s never dealt with chronic depression and chronic thoughts of suicide like I have.

I say take this as a trigger warning, please: I will refer to suicide a lot in this post. Read the rest of this entry »

*possible trigger warning in which P whimpers like a blind, bald baby mouse*

The community hospital I go to doesn’t have very good services for some things. For others, it’s fine. But that first therapy appointment I had was a HUGE dissapointment. I had wanted to write about it. It was only twenty minutes and they could only schedule every 4-6 weeks. yeah, that’s not gonna help!

I’m not having very good nights. Suicidal ideations are reaching what I like to call “worrisome, realistic peaks” which for me are not merely suicidal thoughts I can brush off, but rather urges, URGES SO STRONG you thingk you just may this time.

There have been many triggers I HAVEN’T been avoiding obviously… And I need to be more careful. And that’s on me, I know…

But there were two triggers I had no control over. I had two very disturbing dreams about L last week, just a few days ago. Well, one was about his godfather. And I’ve had a few dreams about him since his passing almost two months ago, but the last one I had last week was the worst. In my dream I was at his apartment, only it wasn’t his apartment–he was living with all these other people–and I was trying to dump out some cocaine I’d found in his room. I was so angry at him. I was furious, “You’re doing this shit again L, really?!” I yelled. Things were said. I ended up taking a bump from the bag before I flushed its contents down the toilet. Then when I got back out, it was no longer his room; it was a hospital room and he was nowhere to be seen… A nurse was there making the bed. That’s when it got disturbing. I couldn’t understand what the nurse said. A lot of crazy shit happened afterward. It was just messed up. I woke up with that shivering feeling. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t until later that evening.

And I don’t know why thoughts of my hearing keep popping up. Maybe it’s ’cause I was taking that Wellbutrin that I kep thinking was messing with my tinnitus. If you go COMPLETELY deaf P, what’s the point P? You were a musician. Why does everything you love destroy you in the end? Oh don’t give me that Beethoven bullshit! First of all, you’re not Beethoven! No where near! And even HE wanted to do it; he too wanted to off himself. Remember his Heilenstadt Testament–it was basically a fuckin’ suicide letter to his brother. That’s why you’ve obsessed about it so much.

Last night and the night before I just sat from 1am until around 3 (I don’t remember), but I sat there on my bed crying and thinking about all of the pills I had in my possession. I was taking inventory. Will this be enough? I’ve never wanted to go out on pills. I’ve wanted some more distant, more quick way of doing it… I don’t know what I’m thinking.

I just looked at the left over clonazepam from last year, the hydrocodone, the zolpidem/Ambien, and one of those Pretty  Little Demons wouldn’t leave me, kept egging me on.

Just go P. Just go and do it once and for all. It’s got to end. It’ll end anyway, sooner or later, so why not sooner? YOU WON’T LIVE WITHOUT MUSIC! YOU JUST WON’T! What kind of life is that? That’s not. It’s not getting any better P. Fuck it all, it’s not. All these years and you still deal with this? This suicidal ideation. This other shit. What is it with you and death anyway? YOU LOVE IT! YOU WANT IT! You want to–you-I want to want to so bad. There’s the three bottles of pills, the rum and wine in the kitchen and a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in the bathroom to chase it with…

Then the other me, what I call the “REAL” me fights back.

No, no no. You’re so fuckin’ wrong! SO FUCKIN’ OFF! FIRST OF ALL I’VE TAKEN YEARS IN BETWEEN WHERE I PUT MUSIC ASIDE AND I WAS OK. You, YOU, P, were meant to live, to do, to CREATE, to LOVE. You’re so strong. You’re not deaf, not completely, not yet, maybe never even will be. NO no no. You’ve been loving yourself so much lately. Look at all that you’ve accomplished. Just one more day. Remember, one moment at a time. You were born to live. To live, to live. To TRHIVE. You’ve gotten this far, there’s no fuckin’ way you won’t go farther! If you’re going through hell, just keep on going remember? This is just a feeling, just a thought. It too shall pass. Think of your family. They love you. You don’t want to hurt them. Sleep my love, lay down and feel the soft things, call little Luna to stroke her if you have to… 

********

I just need to go somewhere. I want to tear my skin off completely.

I don’t think I’ll be able to finish that Hulk review, I mean Avengers or whatever, or anything. It’s absurd anyway, though that IS what I write, what I tend to write–absurdities.

Then I think of all that I have to do, the immigration shit, the two restorations which is the least of it. Finding work! HA. That’s a joke. Then my dad criticizes and complaining about the financial situation day and day out. ANd he keeps asking me if I could be his right hand man. I’m ALWAYS helping my mom because she can’t seem to do anything for herself….

I’m tired of that shit. I just want out. I want independence. I’m tired of the constant crying. Are these epsidoes getting worse with the years?

Just go to bed, just sleep. But I keep waking up. The restless legs things is just so much worse. My legs flail all over theplace.

My dad asked me if I’d been sick last night because he noticed I wasn’t right today. I didn’t say much. I didn’t say shit. I think he’s in fuckin’ denial about a lot of things like he’s always been. But maybe I shouldn’t push him away. Poor papi, I can’t blame him.

So hospitalization came to mind.

I’ve never been, not even when I had the monumental mental breakdown in 2008 and my brother called a psychiatric clinic on me. When the receptionist asked my brother if I was a “threat to herself or anyone else?” he said “no”, but the truth is I WAS.

It’s not like those places make you feel any better. NAAAH. They don’t. Do they? ESPECIALLY not a dreadful, overcrowded ole county places. That’s were they put people who’ve been arested and shit… I don’t mean this as offense to arrested people because I could be an arrested person too.

NO, then they won’t let me out, right? What’s it like at county psych hospitals? I mean, it’s kinda REALLY fucked from what I’ve seen and heard. I pass by there all the time on my way to my other doc appointments. What do they do there anyways besides drug you? I want to be drugged though. ha. Like that Ramones song. I sure as all fuck “want to be sedated”.

Could it be the added stress of these last few days and the recent change to fluoxetine/prozac and that I decided I wasn’t taking bupropion/wellbutrin anymore.

Night before last, I came very close to cutting. I just scratched thighs with nails all night to release some of that tension, well then I did some other little things I won’t talk about. I wasn’t drinking thankfully. I don’t do that now. I just couldn’t manage any mindfulness.

Should I call my psych instead? But then she won’t call me back until Thursday. Even if she calls what can she do? This reminds me of the story my dad tells when my mom wouldn’t leave her room for months so they called a priest on her. A PRIEST!? A PRIEST ON THE POOR GIRL (My CHILD MOTHER)! Know what priest said? “Girl needs a doctor.” Turns out she had the post partum, but no one knew that then.

Fuck all this man. I’m good. I’m good. I’m good. No, no, I’m not good but I WILL BE GOOD. I’m going to maintain. I know I can!

This is quite possibly the most ridiculous post I’ve ever made.

*le desperate, confused mouse cries*

*********************************************************************************************************

“Face your life
Its pain,
Its pleasure,
Leave no path untaken.”
~ Neil Gaiman in “The Graveyard Book” ~

You know you’re borderline when you can not only relate to a comic book character that has of-the-charts anger management issues, but you suddenly feel deeply connected to this character as though he may be your long lost soul mate.

You wish he were real even, because then you wouldn’t feel so damn lonely. You imagine that the two of you would make the best of friends, so long as you’re a good dozen kilometers distance from each other when one of you ill perceives, imagines or exaggerates a slight and transforms in a fit of rage.

And you then imagine that the two of you, best mental friends forever (BMFF), would be able to stroll down Central Park sit down on a park bench and laugh and laugh and then SUDDENLY cry together, a long, hard cry.

As you sit there crying with Bruce, Bruce crying with you, Dr. Bruce Banner-Hulk suddenly hugs you and you hug him back, gripping tighter. And between sobs and drools, you cradle Bruce’s head, begin to stroke his hair and spit out, “I know man, I know what it’s like. I know exactly how it feels to wake up naked after a rage and feel confused and lost, not really remembering what happened, not knowing where the hell your clothes went or where the hell you are or if you’re still you or that dreaded other. I know Brucito querido. I know, oh dear god I do… And when you tell them not to push you there, not to take you back to that place you’d left because you fear you’ll loose control again if you go, fear what can happen if you abandon your new-found zen, you say, ‘DON’T, PLEASE‘. But you’re shoved inside a room, shoved between the wall and the Black Widow and her gun. Her tantalizing eyes intoxicate you and pierce your soul. Funny, because NOTHING can pierce you! Not even bullets! Not even the fire of bombs or radiation or torpedos! You say, ‘Please don’t. I’m done with that shit. Fuck off! I’m not going back there. I’m not allowing myself to go back to that level of rage. I’ve left all of that behind.’  You plead so much because you fear the other too, more than they do. See you’ve even tried to KILL the other, too keep him back at bay but he is YOU and he will NOT let YOU kill HIM  because your’re always angry anyway you say; you’ve merely learned to teeter on the edge of anger, learned to deal with that, to let the currents of anger swish you like seaweed swishes in the crystal blue. And then, SUDDENLY, it’s too late. You think you had it in your palm but the anger grows too big to hold: it takes control. POP POP–your muscles tighten; your veins flood; your fingers curl, only they’re more like claws than fingers now, and your bones pop. Everything swells! And you find yourself naked again, shaking your head in dismay, shivering body, fearing what you’ve done, hating yourself! Hating what you’d become even if only for a moment! So when everything around you begins to come back into focus, you grab the nearest person and demand, ‘Did I SMASH anything? What did I SMASH? Was it WORTH SMASHING? What happened? Answer me! Please!’ I know. Yo lo se querido Brucito… yo lo entiendo…”

This is exactly what comes to mind when I think of the Hulk as seen in the latest film adaptation of The Avengers, released this weekend but long overdue, anticipated for over five years.

The Avengers

A Brief Review and a Character Study

(minor spoiler alert)

********

 Joss Whedon, screenwriter/director, did it right! Whedon pulled off a REAL believable non-cartoon, no bullshit Hulk in The Avengers (2012), what director Ang Lee’s disproportional body-to-head, Eric Bana-faced Hulk (2003) failed to do while flying across the Rockies and being shot by jet missles; what Edward Norton was left hiding in shame from in Louis Leterrier’s 2008 Hulk–ugh, and his overuse of the clichéd one liner, “Hulk SMASH!”

Yes, WE KNOW the Hulk SMASHES. It’s what the Hulk fuckin’ does! We get it! Thank you Joss Whedon for not having Mark Ruffalo or his animated counterpart speak such ugly words, not even once throughout the film. Thank you for handing that down to Captain America, who towards the beginning of the last, epic fighting scene turns to Hulk and says, “Hulk, you can smash now!” That’s how you slip those words in, by handing them over to another character: it builds irony.

In fact, thank you for not having Hulk speak at all with the exception of growls, screaming and that one time  when he finds Loki in Tony Stark/Iron Man’s mansion and Loki’s mocks him by calling him a brute and claiming, “I am a GOD”. Only then does Hulk reply with a quick smashing and a, “Yeah, a puny god” remark. This should be taken as a serious lesson: DO NOT INVALIDATE or UNDERVALUE HULK FOR HE IS BORDERLINE.

So thank you once again Joss Whedon for keeping Hulk’s angry vocabulary nearly absent while maintaining a complex character. Bruce Banner’s “I am calm” and “I am ok” vocabulary is layered and intelligent. Ruffalo does an excellent job of charming the audience almost as much as the charismatic Robert Downey Jr.

This is the thing, Whedon aims to excite and entertain us with bombs and explosions à la Michael Bay style–and that’s what summer blockbusters do, that’s how they still manage to cash in–BUT unlike Bay’s sole eye-candy (think Transformers), Whedon does so with thoughtful, well-crafted artistic flavor. He does so while tending to character development. And if there’s anything I learned from my own film obsession and my film studies classes is that a good film need not have an amazing plot, or a sensible plot even (look at Easy Riders, 1969) if it has good character development.

So yeah, this 2012 Avengers Hulk is the REAL DEAL HULK. This is what I like to call, the BORDERLINE HULK, the way Hulk should be! This is the Hulk that will live up to his true comic book origins.

Hulk is and always will be about the loss of rational thought our primal, basal reaction to stress can leave us with; it’s about human anger. Hulk, however,  is the epitome of human anger response gone to extreme proportions–gone wrong, gone dare I say “disordered”.

And to portray him in a whimsical somewhat childlike but not one-dimensional manner (with few exceptions) says something about the quality of this film.

There was just the right amount of sarcastic wit in this film, a bit of cheese but not over-the-top cheese. Yeah, there was cheese of all flavors. Enough cheese to fill up a school bus full of melancholically manic mouses, but not so much cheese to make them all throw up out the windows. And for good measure, there is a pinch of darkness in the film. Mouse likes darkness more than cheese flavor and variety even, but not more than coffee.

The Hulk in an ending scene from The Avengers 2012. Look at that face. Is that not the face of a hurting borderline? And isn’t that gorgeous, realistic 3D animation?

********

We first see Bruce, played by actor Mark Ruffalo in Calcutta, India working as a doctor. He’s in this small, crowded shanty home caring for two sick boys when an impovershed girl runs in begging for him to help her dying father.

Of course this is all a lure, a lie the Black Widow also known as Agent Natasha Romanoff played by the sexy Scarlett Johansson, has created. The Black Widow has sent out and paid the little girl to deliver this deceiving message in order to trick him into joining the Avengers crew.

As fans may know already, Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson is the man in charge of getting all of these amazing superheroes (and demigod Thor) in a round table for round-house kickassery; they must save Earth from Loki, Thor’s adopted brother who’s filled with jealousy and has completely lost it, oh, and those evil creatures from Thor’s neighboring planet who are aiding him.

But the Hulk is reluctant at first, more so than pompadour sporting Captain America who also doesn’t want part in it and feels confused in the twenty-first century (with good reason). See, Bruce Banner/Hulk has taken a lot of shit from people, even more shit that Captain America has. That’s why he’s run off to India before they have to drag him back in to re-enlist as an agent (or a weapon of mass destruction depending on how you view it).

In the first half of the film Agent Romanoff/Black Widow tells Banner he must help because, “This is the Tesseract. It has the potential energy to wipe out the planet.”

Of course Bruce Banner is so self-doubting, so impulsive and quick to judge that he automatically assumes they only want the HULK side of him and completely disregards the fact that they need his scientific knowledge too. Black and white thinking ya’ll.

That is not the case, however, not yet, not until things have gotten really bad, not until that gigantic metal-covered slug teleports in from Thor’s neighboring planet and starts flying over New York City, killing hundreds and causing mayhem. (Why is it that every time something comes from another planet, it just so happens to land in New York City? Except for in Distric 9, good movie by the way–great social and political commentary.)

So when things get real bad, they will ask for the Hulk. But before then, when Black Widow is begging him to join because Loki has gotten the Tesseract–the energy thingy that could kill all living things–Banner replies to Black widdow, “What does Fury want me to do, swallow it?”

No Bruce, Fury merely wants your scientific genius for now! Jeez, they’re not all out to get you!

Remember what Captain America says, “We’re not your enemies Bruce!”

You sabotage yourself querido Brucito!

But you will help save people too querido Bruce, you will.

*********************************************************************************************************

Next

Part II: Why Bruce Banner/Hulk is suicidal and how the Mouse’s agressive vs. quiet borderline personality disorder (BPD) type and criteria matches up with his.

Why Hulk is indestructible but mentally vulnerable.

And…

Movie was great but why the hell aren’t they more like this second photo? Seriously, Scarlett is lovely and all, but she isn’t the only one with an ass.

Avengers, fo’ real.

Don’t remember where I found it. Sorry original artist. If I find your name I’ll post it.

*********************************************************************************************************

DISCLAIMER: By poking fun of mental health issues, I am not trivializing mental disorders. I’ve lived with a number of them most of my life, so I have no wish to trivialize and further stigmatize my own mental struggles as well as those of others. I am making fun of how others trivialize and misinterpret them. I’m merely a mental humorist and a poet (aw sheeeit, note what I just did there?). Besides, I just have to laugh a hearty laugh before I finally put the barrel in and pull the trigger. Also, this is more of a character study than a full film review.

Oh, one more thing: the “you know you’re borderline when…” meme was taken from Jaen Wirefly, LMSW & Nut Job’s blog. She has a great blog about borderline personality disorder, loads of humor too. Check it out, it’s a no bullshit, good information blog. If you don’t click, just remember I can go She-Hulk on you any moment.

“May is Mental Health/Borderline Personality Disorder awareness month.  😉

I’m on the border y’all.

Not only am literally on the border (Texas borderlands) but I’m also on the border mentally.

It’s “official”.

It’s set on paper with nice black ink–though not in stone or anything–but it was kept from me, KEPT FROM ME!

Kept from ME by my own therapist, my Young Therapist.

Guys I’m going to warn you. Before you go any further with this post, know this: I’m actually going to be serious for a moment and I’m going to be saying some things that are not easy for me to say. I’m going to say some things that may be triggering to some of you. AND, I’m going to be serious without cursing! (Yeah, I know!)

Here’s where I bore you to death or at least until you’re nearly as suicidal as me. *trigger warning*

********

Let me explain, I suspected it ever since Young Therapist let it slip that her dissertation/PhD concentration is on Borderline Personality Disorder. In fact, I suspected it long before then. I suspected it nearly two years ago when I started with her and she gave me these handouts on dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). When we began, I’d get packets–one after another. I’d get a new packet every week and now I have a damn book’s worth of packets in a folder. A chapter on mindfulness, a chapter on progressive muscle relaxation and diaphragmatic breathing, a chapter on DEAR MAN, another on Cognitive Restructuring of Mental Distortions and Distress Tolerance and the list goes on.

One day I asked Miss Young Therapist about this Dr. Marsha Linehan who was the author (you could read it on the fine print on the bottom of the handouts). Young therapist answered that Dr. Linehan was pretty much the mother of dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) which is primarly used on borderline patients.

“But just because I’m giving you these packets P., doesn’t mean I’m saying you’re a borderline patient.”

That was, until I had my last session with her on Wednesday this week. The first half hour or so we did the usual, “How are you doing this week? Wha’ts going on? And this and that.”

I’d brought my “release of information” form signed for her so she could send my files to the new therapist I’ll be seeing at the community clinic. I was waiting for her to bring up the termination thing and sure enough she did.

“So, this is our last session,” she sighed, “is there anything you want to say?”

“Yep, it is.” I looked intently, sighed, then looked away towards my wheelchair where I’d placed my folder. “Oh, I brought the release form signed. I went to the clinic and found out the name of my new therapist and got the fax number and everything here for you.”

I pulled it out of the folder and handed it to her.

I went on and told her that I’d like a copy of the two reports she’ll be faxing in to them–the “Termination Summary” and “Intake Evaluation Report”–because since it’s a community hospital she can’t just send it directly to the therapist. And I added that since it would have to go through the medical records office which can take over a month, she might as well give me a copy of each just in case.

“Yes, of course, I’ll give you a copy when we head out.”

I wasn’t lying about the medical records office. They’re terrible! But, I did do something with double intention there. I wanted to get a hold of my records without being too obvious about it. I know right? Why couldn’t I just upright and tell her I wanted a copy? Why was I so nervous about that? It’s the dynamics I tell you, and my own anxiety and hesitance.

We went on to discuss what I’d benefited most from and she asked what I thought I’d become better at handling. I mentioned some of the mindfulness stuff and managing my anger. She said that I was one of the most “committed clients” she’d worked with as well as one of the clients with the most extreme life stressors. “You’ve had to deal with more than most people. And you’ve done extremely well considering that, I think,” she said.  She went on with the whole patting me on the back, flattering, and good job thing. I don’t doubt she was being honest though. She genuinely seemed pleased with my overall progress.

When we went out to the front desk and I paid her my dues, she wished me luck with the new therapist again and said bye. I thanked her and then just stared at her for a minute.

“Yes?” she asked looking confused.

“Um, aren’t you going to print out the Termination Record so I can have a copy?”

“Oh, oh, right.”

I don’t know why, maybe I’m just overly critical, but I once again felt she was holding back on me. She could’ve honestly forgotten but I don’t know.

Anyway, she printed it out and handed it to me and said, “If there’s anything you have questions about, about what’s on here, feel free to call me.” She gave me this look I can’t describe. It’s was a sort of apologetic look.

“Ok.” I looked at the paper and said, “This is just the termination summary, can I get the intake evaluation report as well?”

“Uh, mmm, I don’t know, I’ll really have to ask my supervisor about this P. Sorry.”

Again, I felt a little put off. But oh well, I figure I’ll call in a week and ask for her supervisor and try to get it directly from him.

*******

When I was in the car I began reading the termination summary, and read something that shocked me a bit it. At the end of the report, it read:

Diagnosis:
Axis I
296.32 Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent, Moderate

Axis II
301.83 Borderline Personality Disorder

Axis III
Disease of the Musculoskeletal System and Connective Tissue: Osteogenesis [Imperfecta] <–She’d left out the imperfecta part.

Axis IV
Occupational problems
Economic problems
Problems with access to healthcare services

Axis V
GAF Current: 75
GAF Long Term: 55

What shocked me was the Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis. But why? I had suspected it even though she never told me, ever, and even though I’m not big on holding to a diagnosis. What I mean is, I take a diagnosis with a grain of salt, a BIG grain of salt. They are merely there to draw a delineation the person’s major mental problems and a course of action.

BUT, then again, I contradict myself, because a part of me was and has been desperate, yearning even for some sort of label. With that I would have proof! I know, me wanting a label sounds shocking in and of itself! See I’d gotten a bipolar label after my monumental mental meltdown in 2008. That was the first time I’d seen a mental health professional in my life. And I got diagnosed only after the second session.

I’ll tell you though, getting something on paper felt like a relief then. It was a validation. I could no longer tell myself (even though I still do): “See P, you’re just making all this up. There’s nothing wrong with you. All of humanity is insane anyway! And you, you’re just weak! You’re just crying over nothing. Go on, cry like a baby over nothing. Always have! The baby you’ve always been. You can stop all this, you know? You’re just making it up anyway. They were right about you, your family and everyone! You and your antics and your dramatics. That’s all it is! There’s no such thing as mental illness girl! Yeah little, stupid, little selfish girl. You don’t need their help. You don’t deserve it either. Just straighten up and quit the crying! Quit it! Quit hitting your head against the wall and get that damn razor out of your hand!”

So you see, getting it in paper meant that I wasn’t just being dramatic as I’ve always been called. I’ve held my little BP label as a trophy even, in a sort of twisted way but I don’t think people can truly understand what I mean until they’ve been there in front of that psychiatrist or therapist looking like hell (oops, just a little curse).

Then, I didn’t stick around with that first psychiatrist in the spring of 2008.

“I hate them all! Nothing but drug dealers for the Big Pharma Co.s, nothing but pill pushers. They don’t care about you.” And then I caved and went back to another and then another and another all in the span of a year.

I eventually landed myself in one of the university psychiatrist’s hands by pleas and begging of my first therapist.

“Please go. Just try it,” she’d say.

So I went.

****

You? bipolar? I’m not sure. No se. Vamos a ver. I doubt it. But I’ll have to see more of you to be sure. Nos daremos cuenta con el tiempo,” he said.

He was an old Cuban man and I hated him the instant I saw him (not because he’s Cuban yall; I’m Colombian remember, so there’s a lot not to like there 😉 I kid). I just got a terrible vibe from him. I didn’t trust any psychiatrist then (am still hesitant) and I sure as hell didn’t trust some old mangy one covered in liver spots.

“I don’t think I’m going back there,” I told my first counselor/therapist, the one I was seeing at the university’s psychological services center (this is not the same place where Young Therapist works. Young therapist works at the College of Social Sciences in the Psychology  department).

“P. you really should go see a psychiatrist to help you stabilize those mood swings,” the counselor said. “Look if you don’t want to see that man, there’s this really good psychiatrist, just came back. She was going to retire but decided not to just yet.”

Needless to say she finally convinced me to go and I returned.

An awkward moment occurred when I went to see this new “good psychiatrist” and Dr. Cuban Liverspots said hi to me when he was marching with his coffee cup on the way to his office, right next to new “good psychiatrist’s”! Well, turns out this was the third or fourth psychiatrist (I honestly don’t remember how many I’d seen by then) and she said that I did not have bipolar (BP). But she didn’t say what it was that I did have. If it wasn’t BP, then what I wondered. I never asked though. I guess I can be passive in that sense. The only thing I knew, is when I went to the cash register to pay, the bill read, “Major Depressive Disorder” (MDD) and “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” (GAD).

At least I got my answer, I thought. That’s when the alphabet soup of my psychological disorders got spicy. I now had a gumbo soup of disorders.

Then this! This Borderline Personality Disorder. It sounds so macabre! So fantastical. So unreal. So STIGMATIZING! I’m sorry to break it to you guys, my dear BP internet buddies but my belief is that as stigmatizing as BP is (and it really is), the BPD label is ten times more. Why? I’ll explain in part two.

****

“What?! You got that borderline personality disorder!? What is that? Is that like when you have multiple personalities? OH MY GOD, you got multiple personalities P? You gonna go Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde on me P?”

“No! Come on! I don’t have multiple personality disorder, that’s not even called that by the way; it’s been updated by the APA. It’s now called dissociative identity disorder, Dee-Eye-Dee (DID). I’m just me, the one and only PAZ. I’m still the melancholically manic mouse, only now I fit the ICD and DSM and [insert random acronyms for other diagnostic manuals] criteria of a borderline meloncholically manic mouse. I’m a borderline melancholically manic mouse  is all. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a very unstable environment though my family was always tightly knitted and mostly very loving. Maybe it’s because I’ve had to deal with a lot of traumatic events, especially in my childhood so I’m somehow ’emotionally scarred’. Maybe I regress to childhood if you were to ask Freud, though the behavioralists wouldn’t agree. Maybe my brain does fire off too quickly, and if that’s the case, the pharmas are more than happy to hear. Maybe my limbic system has a malfunction and thus, my amygdala is hyperactive or hypersensitive; maybe it’s a genetic mutation like my malformed bones and that’s why I’m so quick to rage. Or maybe I was conditioned to rage by my mother’s rage and abuse. The behavioralists would agree with that one. Maybe I do have a shortage of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin or GABA or some other neurotransmitter. Maybe I don’t, but maybe I do, and maybe I have all of the above or none of the above. All I know is I have the emotional stability of a five year-old. I guess it fits my toddler height.”

Really, how do you explain all that? It just makes my alphabet/acronym soup spicier and more foreign than a crunchy Samosa plate served with dhaal soup.

Mmmm. Samosa.

********

Alright, some of you may know what this is already, this BPD and BP and Axis I and Axis II nonsense, but to those of you who don’t and are interested, let me explain what some of this is  (it’s a good thing I’m a nerd that’s into psychology and I have several books on it).

When I got home, you best believe I dug out those books from my book shelf.

First, the various “Axis” levels go like this:

Axis degrees are used as intersections of a person’s main mental problems in order to diagnose a mental disorder. Each Axis affects the overall diagnosis as each affects/intersects and correlates with the other.

Axis I: clinical disorders.    
Symptoms that cause distress or significantly impair societal or occupational functioning such as anxiety disorders, major depression, bipolar disorders, etc.

Axis II: personality disorders and mental retardation disorders. (now why’d they have to dump me in with the mental retardation folks? It’s just like they did when I was in PE class in middle school! P in PE with the retarded kids.)
Chronic and enduring problems that generally persist throughout life and impair interpersonal or occupational functioning.

Axis III: general medical condition.    
Physical disorders that may be relevant to understanding or treating a psychological disorder.

Axis IV: current psychosocial and environmental problems.    
Problems (such as interpersonal stressors and negative life events) that may affect the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of psychological disorders.

Axis V: global assessment functioning (GAF).
The individual’s overall level of functioning in social, occupational, and leisure activities. (Now I’m not going to go into detail with this one but if you want more info go here. You probably won’t though since no one clicks my links. hehe

****

Then there’s the Borderline (BPD) diagnosis. I had already known about BPD but again, I thought if anything I fit more into the BP criteria (tell me if this is getting confusing). I could just relate to those who have BP, who I’ve  talked to either face-to face or in online forums. The BPD people folks though, I said to myself, are said to be manipulative and I’m not manipulative, no, no I’m not. Am I? No. I’m not.

I’m not going to talk about the major depressive (MDD) diagnosis because that was a given for me.

So a very, very short description of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is that it is essentially a disorder of extreme and pervasive emotional disregulation characterized by impulsivity and instability in moods, relationships and self-image. (Karen Huffman)

None of this is catch all, you see. We are still people with unique personalities and cultures, histories and separate though connecting lives. We’re individuals, even those like myself who now have had the personality disorder diagnosis slapped on.

****

I cried uncontrollably for about two hours Wednesday night. It could’ve been PMS and a thought about L. I don’t know why I didn’t get so worked up about the other diagnosis (Dx) in my past. Then it dawned on me the more I thought about it. Could it be that  it’s because I think it’s actually the most accurate Dx I’ve had to date? And then, could it be that this has made me subconsciously think about all of the things I’ve been through, all that I’ve done? All the extremes in my life? I mean, all the psychiatrists never saw me for who I was. They never saw me more than twenty minutes at most and once every month or two (again, at most).

Young Therapist did see me for who I was, at least partly. She saw me for an hour every week for almost a year, then every two weeks for another. And she had me do tests and talk about so many things which I never did with the others. Young Therapist actually saw me cry. I cry a river damn near ever day when I get depressed but I don’t cry in front of people! And Young Therapist saw me get shaky to the point of telling her I had to puke, to the point of having to put my arms down and sit on them. Young Therapist, if anyone, would know how to diagnose me. So maybe I cried because I got the sense that not only did I get diagnosed with a very severe, very misunderstood and stigmatized disorder (albeit relatively treatable), but I felt for the first time they got to the core of me. Maybe, I was also crying out of relief.

In order to qualify (ha,  “qualify” like a merit) as having BPD in America, you have to fit at least five of these within your problem scheme. Here are some of the criteria according to the damn (oops) DSM-IV:

  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

Ok this one got me. I don’t think I make frantic efforts to avoid any kind of abandonment. Do I? No, you don’t P. But maybe I fear it so much I’m in denial? Maybe P, maybe. Or maybe this one just doesn’t pertain to me. Remember, it’s not a catch all.

  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

Yes. Yes. Yes. That’s definitely me. Just this week I said, “Damn you WordPress. You suck! Why do I bother with you,” then, “Oh Dear WordPress. Don’t leave me. I love you. You’re the best. What would I do without you?”

  3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

Yes. Maybe. Yes. No. Maybe. I’m the best! I’m the worst! I’ll talk about this later. What do you mean by this anyway? Of course I have an identity! It’s not disturbed. Ok. Hmmm. Maybe. I don’t know. I change my mind about what I think about myself, what I want to do with my life and many people do that right? Yes P, but not at such extremes. I doubt what my strengths are. Am I good at writing? No! But I love writing. I’m good at it. Yes? Should I stick with editing video then? But I want to write documentaries and dramatic films. I like to draw too. Could I write comics? Who am I kidding, I’m not an artist. Should I be a therapist? Yes. Yes! I’m so wise, so loving. I want to embrace everyone. No! You’re a misanthropic nihilist. Nothing fits. Am I splitting? What about the web design thing you were trying to do, and what about the multimedia journalism masters at UT? What about the Latin American Studies masters you’d thought about too P? What about your music P? What about your photography P? And what about your poems P?

Yeah, I’ll have to get back to this one later.

  4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

Yes. I’m a highly reactive and highly impulsive person even though I tend to over-think things before I do them–so in that sense I’m not impulsive. I hesitate too much on doing them, say choosing a college degree or buying a flavor of yogurt or talking to someone I find attractive. My impulsivity in other aspects, however, has gotten me in trouble and put me in dangerous situations. I’ve done drugs. Many. I did cocaine with L. I was always a bummer, never a buyer. I bummed drugs off of people whenever they were offered, so I never considered myself a “real” user. I was a functioning alcoholic or as the AA people would say, I am an alcoholic in recovery.

I’ve also had phases in my life where I binge eat, particularly to deal with stress. People with BPD, especially young women tend also have a comorbid eating disorder, most notably bulimia nervosa. Though I’ve never been bulimic per se, I have always punished myself in some way or another after binging. My weight has also fluctuated drastically throughout my life. Right now I’m more on the healthy weight to slightly-underweight side.

Sex. That’s a difficult one. I was a shy, late bloomer, a wallflower. But I knew a lot about sex at a very young age. Growing up with an older brother and always hanging out with the guys, you find out about porn early on. Then I lost a close friend because of my impulsive sexual behavior. However, I’m still extremely shy, self-conscious and have issues about my body so I’ve turned down many sexual encounters due to the fact that I have terrible anxiety about it. I’m really short, have brittle bones (some of which are a bit disfigured), use a wheelchair and I always felt no one would find me attractive. I mean, really, who would find a girl in a wheelchair attractive, I’d tell myself. There are ignorant folks out there who still refuse to believe someone like me could have a thriving sexual life.

Who would find a midgety, malformed mouse attractive? So when I found out that I was found attractive indeed, when I was put on the spot, I often backed away. I’m very impulsive sexually though so there’s a tug of war going on in my head. “I can’t but I want to so bad”. Once I get comfortable enough, I’m very impulsive with sex so much so that L and two male “friends” of mine who used to called me a nymph. That’s when the alcohol and drugs come in to play as well.

Oh, and I’m also bisexual, though I mainly just identify as queer and don’t tell people I am. I guess I’m still in the closet about it.

  5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

Triple yes. Though I’ve never really attempted and don’t think I make “gestures” of my suicidality to people. In fact, I try to hide it as much as possible. I don’t talk about my suicidal ideations or depression, the only exception being the therapist and even then I’m very vague about it.

As far as gestures… I don’t know. Maybe I make them and don’t realize it? There was, however, one time when I got in a huge fight with my brother not too long ago and I became a “maniac P., you’re acting like a manic! Chill! Chill! What are you…? Oh, f****, hi officer. No, no she’s alright. No, I don’t think I need to take her to the ER. She’s my sister. Yes. She just needs to sleep. I just need to get her to bed. No, I got it. Ok, yes, I’ll see if I take her to the nearest ER. I’m just getting to my apartment right around the corner. I will call them once I’m there, yes. Thank you.”

A cop had pulled us over because my brother wasn’t watching the road because he had to pull me back as I was trying to jump out of his car while screaming, “LET ME OUT”. Maybe that’s a suicidal gesture? I’m not sure. I don’t recall much of of it since I felt out of my body. I only remember sitting on the curb of some parking lot near his apartment complex that night crying and shaking uncontrollably and then, eventually, getting picked up by my dad who later said I couldn’t make a coherent sentence. Very impulsive indeed. Oh and that’s another thing with BPD. Borderlines supposedly have a tendency towards depersonalization  and derealization as well as transient psychotic or psychotic-like breaks under crisis situations, something I’m very familiar with.

Self-mutilation. Yes. I’ve never been much of a cutter, but when I have, it’s been extreme. I’m going to leave it at that. And I’d banged my head against walls ever since I was about ten or eleven or younger even. When I was in middle school, I got into the habit of scratching and slapping and punching myself and pulling bits of my hair. So triples yes on that one too. This is embarrassing guys.

  6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).

Yes, it’s one of the things that got me the initial Dx for bipolar. There’s something that should be said about this one though, because unlike the criteria, I usually don’t just have these episodes for only hours or days thought that is the case sometimes.

  7. chronic feelings of emptiness

Not as much as years back. It fluctuates for me. The way I see it: I fill up and then I drain, I fill up and then I drain.

  8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

Yes to the power of ten. I’m a recovering rageaholic too. When I was a kid, I threw a butter knife at my brother over a simple remark he’d made and smashed all the plates. It hit him in the forehead. Fortunately, it was only a butter knife and my weak hands couldn’t throw hard enough for a blunt force to seriously hurt him. And these types of violent outbursts were not at all uncommon for me. I have dozens of similar stories ranging as early as when I was four.

  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

Yes. People are after me. I make terrible, mean comments on WordPress and that makes everyone get offended and so on and so forth. I have dissociation episodes galore. Where am I? Are those shadows moving? Are they people? Am I there and not here. I’m outside of myself!

********

Ok, I’m going to leave it here for now, but I plan to write more about BPD, what I think of all of this and all of the psychological research I’ve read about it as well as the co-morbidity of BP and BPD.

Hey? 🙂 You there?

See, I bored you to death. 😦

*Le mouse sigh*

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Resources

Handbook of Personality, Third Edition: Theory and Research edited by Oliver P. John, Richard W. Robins, and Lawrence A Pervin

Psychology In Action, 6th Edition by Karen Huffman

PsychCenteral

Mayo Clinic

National Education Alliance Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA BPD)

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Institute of Mental Health

About.com, Borderline Personality Disorder Guide

Wikipedia, Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD Today – DSM-IV TR Diagnostic Criteria

NaPoWriMo Día 17: He

April 17, 2012

He

He, my muse.
I his.

His ease of inspiration
is thwarted by the need he feeds.

He, always
drunker than he lets on.

I will not.
I will not.

I, sallow,
now sail farther than my ship allows.

I am his muse he says,
his easel, his canvas, brush and paint.

HA! What will he do
when I’ve smeared off his page,

washed out, leaving it empty like
the glazed gaze washing over me now?

His embedded emerald eyes reveal
a touch of grey marble beneath,

a bit cracked like thunder
and clouded, darkened with the gods and demons.

All those deep pangs they release
on our frontal lobes when we elope.

I will no longer.
I will no longer.

I will not lie in
the blanket of his fever.

I alone hold enough fire to
light the darkest hour of night.

And damned be that evasive smile!
And damned be my indecision!

Voices echoed. Heidi calls again.
We, we, we, we, we. A screech!

Lost in his mental Minoan Crete.
He! He! Damned, depressed poet!

Glad to burn out his body
for a few years of continuous intensity.

I will not.
I will not.

He and his Dionysus
He and his courtesies

I must leave.
I will not. I will not.

I will not rot.

© PAZ

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*********************************************************************************************************************

Is it cheating if I picked up and finished a poem I’d started and dropped two or more months ago?

BAGH. It’s all over the place.
Blegh, it still feels incomplete like it always will, like his fuckin’ life.

Today was a long day. Not bad, not good, just long.
*le sigh*

Buenas noches

All former, pitiful, bloody content in this post has been removed and swallowed by one of my pretty little demons.
prettylittledemonringleader

My left arm which is the one I write and draw with is still broken, so I can only make due with the remaining useful arm. He’s a little angry that I had to render him so poorly though, especially because he’s the ring leader of all of my other pretties.

He says he’s not interested in buying anything either, this includes salvation–so don’t offer–unless, of course, it’s a sexy little thing.

Kudos and thanks for reading.

Until whenever…

Oh god, am I still alive?

February 25, 2012

Dear God/Universe,

I sit here groggily in this pale Saturday afternoon sippin’ on my cold coffee. It’s just the dogs and myself today. All’s quiet and lonesome. But little Luna, the cutest and sweetest little bitch ever, is laying beside me, leaning her furry back against the desk, taking care of my emotions–and she’s doing a better job than I am. She kept me from crying my half paralyzed eye out. I know, it’s not the soggy eyeball that’s paralyzed; it’s the muscles connected to the eyelid, but  whatever, same shit. Anyway, you should know she also kept me from gauging it out like ole Oedipus there.

God/Universe, I know you know I love you but why do you do me this way sometimes? Are you trying to get rid of me? Why so soon? Why so often? I no longer shout mean, spiteful names at you. I try to eat healthy (when there’s food to do so). I try to eat even when I don’t want to, and that’s often these days. I actually prefer fruits and veggies. I finally got myself in a city-based physical therapy program, and I’m still in psychotherapy. I take my vitamin B12, my Caltrate, my psych shit and my fish oils. I rarely drink sodas. I try to eat as little processed food as I can. I’m not even taking painkillers right now! And I promised I wouldn’t get rid of myself but then you go and whack me repeatedly from behind? What in the fuckin’ fuck?

I thought we were cool man. It’s ok though. Really. I won’t resent you. And you don’t have to answer the first question, but at least tell me if you’re ridding yourself of me. If you are, do it quick. I’m not up for another slow death and resurrection. Tell Zeus to get his lightning bolt ready or something. I know it’s partly, ok mostly, my own creation. But come on! And I know you also know that I’m in pain here and I can try and negate it all I want but it just keeps tagging along. I thought I’d remind you in case you forgot.

My arm? No, that’s actually not hurting now. The recasting was done a lot better this week. Nice fella, the casting tech/nurse/whatchumacallem. And the face is slowly waking up, enough for a half-assed smirk. But this damn eye… I just… ugh. I’m seeing blurry here.

God/Universe, I do want to thank you for all of the patience you granted me with my brother this week. I’d like more of that. I had stocked up on a lot of it during the holidazzzee but I feel like I may run out soon. I have to admit though, we did a hell of great job on that video. I’m not too happy about the sound quality of the voice over in that last sequence, but fuck it. Everyone loved it! And we didn’t even have time to really polish it with finishing touches–no color correction or anything. We’re geniuses! Well, not really but you spotted me with some ideas on that one. You really did. Too bad I don’t get to see him often, and when I do, he usually just gets a hold of me to get something like get help with editing a video he desperately needs to turn in to angry clients. But I can to do the same, so no blame there. The important thing is we got it in and they were happy (better be too with all that work we put in). That’s the thing about my bro and I. When it comes to creating shit, our minds sync up. Too bad we both have that perfectionist tendency and he’s got the OCD thing going. Regardless, Universe/God, I thank you for that.

There are just a few things I wanna request though. I know you saw it coming. So if my brother asks for another editing favor, can you get him to pay me next time (granted there will be a next time)? I know, but I already asked him. I just thought maybe you’d remind him every so often when I’m not around. I don’t like doing too many reminders. It’s cool this time. I’m glad I can help. It made me feel less useless actually. But next time, just a little at least? You know my desperation.

Also, if you send me work, please have them pay too. No more freebees. Fuck that I can’t get a Social Security! Fuck feeling helpless! No more. I will work, regardless of what “the law” says! The fridge is empty and my momma, eh, I’ll write you another letter about her later. It’s not really so bad, I mean, I just need to stay busy so as not to be tempted to burrow back under the covers and stare at the faceless ceiling all day. But how? I couldn’t even add twenty and forty-eight the other day. I swear I’ll do my part about the work though. In fact, I’m watching a tutorial on how to interview a client. See! I’m watching as I type this request with one hand, well I’m not getting much our of it but… I’m going to watch it again… I’m prepping up for motivation and some concentration.

I just… I’m nervous about making this website for my dad (another free job), and I’m anxious about making it at all in life. I mean what the hell? What I even mean by that? Am I still alive? I don’t feel it. Aside from the innermost ache, it’s all still a bit numb, most days. There’s a tingle of life, yes, a little. But not today, not most of these days. You know how fuckin’ shitty this immigration situation can be. Can you grant me something for that? Anything? I don’t want to have to marry L. I don’t. This week, I saw these cool pro-bono-ish lawyers at the university and they gave me a similar prognosis as all other immigration lawyers do. So I really would hope for more encouragement if I weren’t already so vapid.

God/Universe, one more thing, can you tell the Sun to stop calling in sick? It’s getting really heavy and burdensome in this in this stifled city. No, the air is fine, more than fine, but it isn’t enough. And can you tell Karma (if it really is her) that I’ve had enough of her this month? I think she’s overstayed her visit for the year and has given me more shit than I’d like right now. I just don’t think she believes me when I say I’m sorry for any harm I’ve done on this earth and to any living being in this lifetime or any past lives–if, indeed, there were past lives.

And I promise, I won’t write you anymore sappy letters. Ok maybe I will, just not this sappy. I also promise to keep this blog free of too many lengthy or cheeky posts. Just, please help me out here. At least enough for me to focus on this tutorial? (Heehee I accidentally typed “titsoral”. Why do I want to giggle like Peter Griffin? Am I really that childish?)

Anyway, I don’t call on you much, if at all. And I don’t really think I’m useless per say–even with this temporary one-handedness I have going here–but at least, with your help, I can convince myself that I’m not.

I realize acceptance is best. Can you help me with that too? Pleeease.

Love,

PAZ

p.s. I once heard that this little earth I’m on is just another cell in your body. But I happen to know it’s just another subatomic particle full of energy, pirouetting in your endless anatomy. So I’ll understand if you don’t reply.

p.p.s. Kisses.