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Living with a Diagnosis (or Even More Than One)

Daily Struggle with Diagnosis

This picture is NOT mine.

When the thought(s) for this little blurb first came to you, I was going to talk specifically about living with more than one diagnosis. Then I began to think that one diagnosis could feel the same way for person A as having six diagnoses can feel to person B. When it all comes down to it, no one diagnosis is greater than another. I am sure right now you may be thinking, “bullshit, many things are far worse than others like a broken leg to fractured leg or terminal diseases, ASDs, stunted mental development, etc.” Truthfully if I was a reader and not the author of this piece that would likely be my first thought(s) as well. But? This is what I mean, a diagnosis in itself (“giving the problem/ailment a name”) does not determine how it feels to each individual that may be given the diagnosis. Susan could have clinical depression but find that she still manages to do pretty well day to day. Then there is Ellen, who also has clinical depression and finds that she can hardly manage to fight herself out of bed every morning. Teresa also has clinical depression but also has “x” other diagnoses as well, and she finds that she has symptoms similar to Susan and Ellen. This could go in for millennia, I am sure, but in hopes of not further muddying the water, I would like to simply move forward and hope that this makes as much sense to you as it does to me.

The main point I am trying to make is, although some may deal with a diagnosis or diagnoses quite well, it does not mean the same diagnosis or diagnoses may not feel debilitating to another individual even in the exact same circumstances (personal history, career, education etc). I live with multiple diagnoses and so this will be coming from my personal view point and that of the ailments/issues/struggles etc that I feel and deal with on a daily basis. I find that I struggle more now as I am trying to delve into self exploration and realization, which I am sure is to be expected, but it’s more of a struggle of “what is real” vs. “what’s caused by (insert ailment).” Personally, I truly feel I've gone bat shit crazy some days because of one or more of my ailments. 

So, a little about myself. I am currently 32, female, in school part-time, work part-time, and I have multiple physical and mental diagnoses. From this point forward I will either call the disease by its name or I will refer to it in general as “ailment.” My physical ailments are as follows: herniated, torn and bulging disc(s), fibromyalgia, arthritis, carpal tunnel in both wrists, chronic migraines, obesity, and I believe that is it. If I find I forgot something I will add it in later. My mental, this is the fun one, diagnoses are as follows: PTSD, bipolar 2, depression, anxiety (generalized and social), and borderline personality disorder. Again, this is the best to my knowledge and if I forget something I will be sure to add that in later also. I have to admit this is kind of a flush effort as I am hoping by writing this up, maybe even updating on the piece from time to time, that I will further my journey and find some answers. Answers to the questions I have now, will have, and may never know till I have them. I hope to gain some clarification and I also hope to use this as kind of sounding board for myself as I do not talk openly (completely) with anyone. I’ll get more into that later, likely with a current or recent example to explain. 

So with all that being said, I shall begin somewhere. Most recently I have been feeling alone. Terribly alone at that. This is with some of my most loved companions. My lover and my cat who is like my child are my rocks, my go-tos when I’ve just had too much or just need to feel loved, or anything really. These are the “company” I want unconditionally, but I still feel alone. I feel trapped in my own mind, my own thoughts and the vicious cycle that I know is irrational but I still cannot break free of it. My thought process can be so self-negative, outlandishly ridiculous, insecure, self-deprecating, destructive, insane, just a scary place really. Everyone is out to harm me in some way if I let them by being too friendly, getting too close, caring too much, whatever. I can’t talk to anyone because they would see just how crazy I really am. I know “x, y, z” is/are not true, but I simply cannot stop thinking about it. I cannot stop making up scenarios in my mind to justify what I know is just myself attacking myself. E.g. boyfriend doesn’t text me back in over an hour (not a normal occurrence as we pretty much know when we are free to chat and when we are not) he must be cheating, this is why he wanted to know what time “x” was, this is why “this,” this is why “that,” it has to be “whatever”... and it just goes on and on and on. 

Then Ruby kicks in. Ruby is what I will be calling the rational side of my brain/thought process or what I call “real brain” or rb (so Ruby *insert smiley here*). You know this is not true because “facts.” You know you only think this because “Iris” (irrational brain). You have no reason to think that because “reasons.” Then it literally because an argument between Ruby and Iris. Ruby will state a fact that when I am not in a negative head space I know and believe and Iris will rebuttal with something negative playing on my own fears and insecurities. Hell, the greatest weapon against any person is themselves. No matter how intimately we think we do or do not know ourselves, when it comes to what would hurt you the most, no ones knows or will ever know that truth like you would if yourself. Typically, this kind of thought process will spring up, run its course and I muddled through it. Much like an anxiety attack or mood swing. I kind of let it happen, own it, and move on from it. But I want to share that thought so maybe I can work through it somehow. I do not want to share it while I’m having it because in my heart of hearts I know I am wrong, I am irrational and it’s not the right time. I want to talk about it later, when I have run through the whole thought process, thought about what made me think like that, own it (good, bad and ugly), process what I can of it and what I can take from it to make a constructive discussion. I don’t want this to be an accusation as my thoughts are not my feelings. I do not truly believe what I thought was what is true. But I do want to discuss it to let someone “into my world.” Like “Hey hun, this happened earlier and this was the whole dispute I went through in my head and this is how I feel about it," "This is what I want to do in the future, this is what I think I could do to combat that negative thought tor to stop it before it comes.” I guess I want someone to see the 90 million lane highway that is my brain. I want someone to step into the ball of yarn I am trapped in every second of every day and maybe even help me identify, untie, whatever some knots, so I can stop thinking so much and just be. I want to let someone in, so I don’t feel so terribly alone. My thoughts are literally my abuser. They alienate me from others, they control me, manipulate me even, scare me and hurt me in so many ways. I am my own abuser. But how do you get help when you can’t let anyone in? You can’t let anyone in because you are embarrassed. Your thought process is flawed and you know it and if you let them in, others will know just how flawed it is too and will want to stay away and make sure others do too. If you let them in they may think you are truly insane, like you think of yourself at times, and may get you committed somewhere. They may see so many negative things, negative things that are you and this would in turn have any number of negative side effects from one to infinity. So you can’t let them in. Which means you are alone, so terribly alone trapped inside your own thoughts.

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