Monday, June 20, 2011

I Used To Run All The Time...

This past weekend I went and spent a few days at Mim's. I got some alone time with Em and Jorg, and some time with both of them together, and some time with just Mim, and it's just what I needed most.

Mim and I talk about a lot of things, and most of the times we dig around into our current psychological states, and on occasion we have epiphanies, or else Mim comes up with the most perfect analogies. It's less expensive than therapy, and makes me cry just as much.

So let me tell you what got me crying this weekend:

I was a really freaking brilliant kid.  I had quite an ego about it, too, until seventh grade, when one of my classmates told me I was a jerk about it, and I toned it down. A lot. But seriously. I had more potential than anyone else in my classes, and I was going to go somewhere. Somewhere big. All my teachers knew it.

And then shit happened. My whole life I've been dumped on by a long list of bad circumstances. I'm not saying this to get sympathy or anything; I'm just trying to give some background for the analogy Mim came up with.

This weekend I was crying because I felt like I had failed, compared to what I was supposed to accomplish by now. I should have a doctorate degree. I should be doing research and teaching college courses and publishing papers and being generally awesome.

You wanna know something about Bipolar Disorder? I have a genetic predisposition, but if I hadn't been subjected to long periods of intense stress and such, I wouldn't have ever developed the disorder. The sucky thing is, once it develops, you're screwed up for life! Yippee! I am. I have a good job, I really do. But I do have to admit, it's usually the same thing every day. Unless something breaks, there's no challenge. But the thing is, I don't know if I could handle a more challenging job. And I certainly couldn't handle working many more hours than I do now. And it's all because I'm a total nutter butter.

Anyway, as I was crying at Mim, she reassured me with a little story:

Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved to run. She could run almost as soon as she learned to walk. She could run faster than any other kids in her neighborhood.

As she was growing up, she kept running and running, and eventually when she joined the middle school track team, her coaches knew she would be groomed for the Olympics.

The problem was, as she was growing up, she practiced as much as much as she could, but she never seemed to make as much progress as she should have, because she was repeatedly maimed (it doesn't really matter how or by whom at this point) throughout her whole life.

The amazing thing was, even though she never did make it to the Olympics, she was still a star athlete on her college track team, and was a good, strong runner for the rest of her life.

The end.

Mim is good at making up analogies (although this one is a little longer, so does that make it an allegory?).

It made me feel a little bit better. A little.

Still...sometimes I feel like I've disappointed a lot of people, including myself.

The most frustrating thing is that lately, I feel like I can't think. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around things like easy math, or I'm having to re-read a paragraph when I reach the end and realize I have no idea what I just read. My brain feels fuzzy. It's a side-effect of the antipsychotics. It's been coming on very, very gradually.

My psychiatrist left the clinic where I saw her, so I need to find a new one. I hate finding a new one. It's like a total crapshoot whether I can find one who is completely understanding and sympathetic to my situation, while simultaneously being a really good doctor and willing to listen to my questions and suggestions. Once I find a new one, maybe I'll discuss trying a different antipsychotic. The problem is, the last time I tried a different one I felt like I was on meth for a week...

Anyway. That's what's bouncing around in my head today.


S said...

Boy, can I ever relate to you... I just spent eight months chasing around a psychologist to do testing to see if I suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (a lot like Bipolar, but without that major high - most BPDs are cynical for their "base" moods. Turns out - I just suffer from dysthymia (depression that lasts a long ass time) and major depression (doesn't last as long but definitely more severe). Hearing a bit about your past, reminds me a bit of my own - and it's definitely always a crapshoot to find another person that's like your current one. Mind you, I can't wait for mine to retire in the next month ... she's a bit of a ... bitch, shall we say? At least you can cry about it and talk to someone about it, that's always great. I liked your friend's analogy too.

Anonymous said...

oh, hon. it's hard as all hell to shake the feeling of failure, even when confronted with all the things you've gone through, gotten over and won at in spite of it all. the only thing i'll add to the great allegory you told is this:

in spite of all the fuzziness and the fear that you're just a charlatan who's seconds away from being exposed (that's my particular manifestation), somewhere down there, you know how tough you are. this is something the man tells me all the time: "you are so, so much stronger than you will ever give yourself credit for being."

it applies to you, too. thinking of you...

Anna W said...

See, this is why I love having this blog. It's a great support system when things aren't going my way. It's also nice to know that I'm not alone...

Kim said...

Finding a new psychiatrist is painful. I'm in the middle of that journey right now as mine left private practice. It takes a lot of trial and error for a psychiatrist to get to the good stuff and I don't have time for the trial and error. You don't either.

You're not a failure. You have an amazing life that you lead. Truly.