Friday, October 22, 2010
Asking for Help is Not a Sign of Weakness
When I was growing up, any illness was met with anger and impatience, as if we got sick just to bother people. A headache could be met with a growl and eye rolling. Something more serious could be met with mockery. At the age of 6, I was taught to make myself vomit so as not to bother someone who was busy with her cleaning.
This has stayed with more even more than I realized. I am a good nurse to Marcy when she is sick, but mostly I am good at getting her things. Not so great at the bit of babying that we all need sometimes (though I have improved a lot in that area). When I myself am sick, I just get mad. I have a hard time allowing for the healing. This only makes things worse.
Especially things of the mind.
Rather than admit that I am as bad as I am, I put on a good show.
I have repeatedly told Marcy, "I just don't think you hang out your dirty laundry."
But this was really just a cover for shame.
I am ashamed that I suffer.
This, of course, makes the suffering worse, because I attach all sorts of stories to it about self worth and gratitude and on and on.
But I suffer. My emotional pain becomes so great that it turns into physical pain. Though I have never been actively suicidal, death sometimes sounds like a relief and the idea of it lurks around corners, on busy streets, near water's edge.
Since I started dancing, my symptoms have gotten worse. I've written here that I attribute this to a greater awareness, and I believe that. Now that I have tasted such joy, I can no longer numb myself so easily and that means I am also tasting bitterness more acutely.
On Wednesday, I think I hit my bottom. I will not go into the gory details; those are for Marcy and me alone.
But by the middle of that day, when the worst of my Storm had passed, I realized that if I truly love Marcy and our life, it was time to fess up.
I am ill. I need help.
It is imperative that I treat this, for a while, as my Main Job in life. So we are structuring a detailed plan, including more Mass (it helps me), more Reiki (ditto), better sleeps, better food, but also, we are investigating a specific type of therapist for me -- one who practices Dialectical Behavior Therapy*, a therapy that has proven to be truly efficacious in the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder.
(*I am currently making my way slowly and carefully through this workbook.)
I do not like labels and I am not considered "severe" (partly evidenced by my willingness to ask for help), but you can read symptom lists and check off every single one only so many times before you admit, oh, maybe this is me.
BPD is also referred to (and I think much more accurately) as Emotional Regulation Disorder. There are neurological, genetic, and environmental components that create this disease.
Some psychiatrists and psychologists also think that Complex PTSD and BPD are pretty much the same thing. There is a TON of crossover and the same therapies tend to create wellness.
And then there is the P Word -- Pharmaceuticals. I am willing to try them for the first time in 16 years. The first and second time I did this (many years ago), they made me violently ill, but I am desperate. We asked a friend, and the words "side effects" came up. I did some more reading, and for now, the horrible nature of the side effects really outweighs the benefits. For BPD, they usually put you on at least three things, and then that doesn't even necessarily really help. I am not willing to do that to my body yet, as I believe very strongly in the power of my mind and other therapies.
But the important part of that paragraph -- the really big change in my thinking -- is that I am even willing to consider that road. Just not yet. I want to give other things time and effort.
The fact that I am willing to come out to friends and to ask for help and to find a therapist...this is Big Growth for me.
I refuse to just stick my finger down my throat and act like everything is okay so that no one is bothered or uncomfortable.
Nope. Time to rely on the love of others. Time to show myself compassion by saying, "I am in pain and I am in trouble."
No more hiding what is really happening.
My (and your) life depends upon it.
(I'll keep you up to date on progress and what we try that works, etc.)