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Is it introvert vs. extrovert, or empath vs. narcissist?

Are you depressed, or does the oversaturation of tragedy you are exposed to everyday make you feel overwhelmed with sadness because you have a heart?

Do you have anxiety, or do you get so nervous you freak out when things get potentially weird quickly?

Are you paranoid; or are are you aware of the fact that you live in a dangerous world, and you should always be alert to protect yourself, especially if you are a female?

I rarely hear a person say, “This is my weakness. I have to try harder than most others to do this.”

I mostly hear, “I have/am (insert label or diagnosis here). I can’t do that.”

Will I make my daughter with Cerebral Palsy in her legs join a kickball team? No, that would be ludicrous. But will I ever tell her she can’t play kickball because of her CP? I definitely would not. Kickball isn’t her strength, so we focus on her horseback riding lessons instead.

My other daughter has always felt uncomfortable in large social groups. She’s not socially impaired, she’s at her best in closer settings. She has the opportunity to be enrolled in an online school and she is excelling there. I learned the bent of my child, and I worked with it.

People are over labeling themselves They are being prejudice not only against the other labels, but also categorizing themselves because of it. I know, because I was diagnosed with bipolar level II, manic depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I was in a car accident when I was 20 that left me in a coma for two weeks and I awoke with traumatic brain injuries.

Even though I healed, I didn’t realize it. Any failure, or misjudgement was because I was brain damaged. Actually, I was just being human with a lot of life challenges. I was advised to not pursue a lot of areas of interest for me because, well, I couldn’t do those things anymore. I missed my job.

My life was very chaotic for a while. I moved around a lot. I quit jobs too easily. I stayed in relationships too long. I had a temper. For all these reasons I was convinced I was emotionally unbalanced. It must be chemical. So, like a good insured American, I went through the pharmaceutical experimental cocktail nightmare.

The light turned on for me that I was mostly doing this to myself when a friend from work noticed that I had become different than when I first started. I used to be full of energy and pretty sharp when I first started a month ago. Now, I was absent minded, and sluggish. She asked if I was put on any medication recently. I was, and kinda a lot. A month before our talk, my son was killed by a hit and run driver when walking home from work. A week later my doctor doubled my dosage on all of my head prescriptions. I started sleeping 12 hours a day and I was a mush brained idiot. My friend’s observation made me do some research. Seroquel does indeed inhibit mental functioning, and that increases over time.

The day after I talked to my friend, I had unexpectedly run out of my Seroquel. The pharmacist said it would be a few days before insurance would cover a refill. Weird, I thought.

I woke up the next morning, one full day off of Seroquel, bright and early. I was awake like I hadn’t been awake in longer than I could remember. I was also in great gastric distress. Withdrawal from Seroquel is physically the same as heroin withdrawal, but it was worth it. Upstairs, I had me back. I could memorize cocktails, names, what was said a moment ago, and bartending was easy again. I was on high energy and upbeat most of the time without most of my medication.

Then I thought about things from a different perspective. What if the reason I couldn’t succeed in Administrative Support was because receptionist is a painfully BORING job? What if  it wasn’t that I couldn’t handle retail because I couldn’t handle people? People are absolutely horrible when it comes to working in retail. It’s a gig that can turn Snow White cannibal.

I’m not spineless. I’m a people pleaser. It’s not because I’m codependent. It’s because I truly enjoy people when they are happy. I’m aware of this tendency in me. I make sure to not hurt myself in the process of helping others. It’s not my job to heal everyone’s hurts, but I will help anyone I can. I will always try to be nice. It’s not as easy to be nice all the time as it is to just be a bitch. Kindness is a powerful strength. I like it that I’m kind.

I still have times where I lay awake crying for hours over everything that ever happened in my son’s life. But it’s not chemical. It is real. There are still dark places in my head that I can  get to. When I thought I would never leave the snake pit in my head, I didn’t. When I gave myself permission to be a human being and make mistakes like everyone else, then I could console myself. I still have some lingering regret, but it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with me. Regret is a there for a reason. It is a true lesson hard won. If we seek revenge on ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made then we will never heal our wounds.

Don’t get me wrong. I still believe in better living through chemistry. I drink coffee every morning. I still use a bit of lamictal to keep the edges smooth. However, using meds to avoid fixing the real problem isn’t healthy. Using diagnosis as excuses only suppresses an otherwise capable person from a self validating experiences.

I decided I definitely wasn’t crazy or brain damaged anymore. My life was crazy, and I reacted accordingly.

I talk too much. I cus too much. I love too quickly. I hate on myself. I scream. I fart. I lust. I freak out. I regret. I cry for hours. I lose sleep. I oversleep. I don’t eat enough. I eat too many sweets. I think too deeply. I care too much. I don’t care enough. I dance in place even when people are watching. I probably wear too much black on top of it all…

Diagnosis? American Woman.

 

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