A blog about whatever randomosity my fevered mind conceives.

Down the rabbit hole, around Wonderland and back through the looking glass… Part 3

A continuation…

(Part 1)

(Part 2)

I really did have a point when I started this piece… I’m just taking a twisty, back-roads route to getting there, as per usual. By now, most of you should be used to that, I suppose (tee hee) and I thank you for bearing with me.

In order to properly explain the ‘point’ part of my tale, I needed to take you on a bit of a journey through my special little mind; I’m not sure that it would have made a lot of sense if I hadn’t. Hell, I’m not sure that it will make a lot of sense now that I have, but no point in quitting at this juncture, right?

I never would have guessed that a day would come when I felt comfortable enough with my past to talk about it openly; I used to be terribly ashamed of much of it you see; but I find myself very much at ease with my history these days, and this serves as further proof (to me) that I’ve dealt with it in an adequate way. In fact, I find it a lot less nerve wracking to share my past than to share my fiction; my true writing is still a source of anxiety for me you see. That’s a different kind of anxiety however – the normal kind that no man or woman on this planet gets to live entirely without. It’s like sadness; we all have sadness, but there is a vast sea of difference between melancholy and depression; a little sorrow and nervousness from time to time helps us remember that we’re human, and appreciate the better moments/days in our lives all that much more.

Before I finally get down to the meat of topic, there is one more detour I’d like to make…

On Monday, TheOthers1 of Honesty wrote a piece (A Little Respect) that was on my mind last night as I lie down to sleep. In the article, she talks (quite eloquently) about prejudices, snap judgments and being type-cast (for lack of a better phrase) by others. The reason this was resting so heavily on my mind last night is because of how well this ties in with the topic of mental illness. If you’ve been down this path, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, but for those of you who haven’t, let me explain…

I wouldn’t wish a separation of mind and self on my worst enemy (if I had one) because it is the closest thing to hell on earth that my very imaginative mind could possibly imagine, but those of us who’ve found ourselves trapped down the rabbit hole – no matter what we do, or how hard we work to fix ourselves – will never be washed entirely clean of the stigma that comes along with that little vacation.

It’s hard enough in the beginning of a fall through blackness to find medical assistance that doesn’t just lead to making you feel worse; there are some rather disgusting misconceptions about mental illness floating through many a doctor’s head I’m afraid; but there comes a time when you might have no choice but to seek medical attention.

If I could give one piece of advice (based on my own experiences) to anyone currently suffering in silence, it’s that there is no shame in asking for help. This is your universe; live in it, rule it, control it any way you see fit, and do what you can to be happy, no matter what anyone else says or does.

If you find yourself in need of medical help, don’t give up if the first source seems like a misguided twonk. If you don’t like your doctor (or their attitude) seek a new one… seek ten new ones… twenty; however many it takes to find yourself in the care of someone who treats you with the dignity and respect you deserve. I wish someone had given me this advice back in the day. Hell, I just wish I knew anyone at the time that could have assured me that I was not alone, but – to (again) quote a wise man I once knew – “You wish in one hand, I’ll shit in the other and we’ll see which one fills up first.”

I was never big on doctors, and that might be at least part of the reason why it took me so long to ask for help when I fell. If anything, the experience left me even less trusting of the profession, but the me of today knows that an entire group cannot (should not) be judged for the actions of a few. I have a great doctor now; one that actually meets my eyes when we speak rather than staring down at their clipboard; but I went through a handful of them back when I was falling apart. Of course, back then I was skittish and mousey and filled with guilt and self loathing, so I wouldn’t have stuck up for myself even if I had known then that I had the right to do so. It seems I put up with a LOT of being talked down to – or talked around – without ever being met with the least bit of respect. I always felt like a little insect whenever I went to the doctor’s office, which was a terrible feeling, especially when it took so much out of me to ball up the courage to go in the first place. On top of that, it still kind of irks me that not one of the doctors I dealt with back then mentioned ‘natural’ ways to control my disorders; they all wanted to push the drugs.

Bygones; it is what it is. I dealt with things my way, and I’m a better person for it (I believe).

Once I got better, however, I still had many difficulties when it came to doctors, and it is only rather recently that I’ve finally managed to find one that doesn’t make me want to poke them with pointy objects. (If you’re suffering now, do NOT let what I’m about to say scare you off seeking medical help!!) You see, there is a mark of ‘mental illness’ on my medical records now, and it follows me around like a mean-mannered stray mutt, nipping at my heels now and then just to remind me it’s still there. This used to bother me, but of late I’ve started finding it rather amusing. It was like my having once been to Wonderland meant that I could no longer suffer from ‘normal’ ailments. It took me three years to get diagnosed with a heart murmur (even though there is a long history of such things in my family) because every time I brought it up to one of my doctors, they passed it off as ‘anxiety’, LONG after my last anxiety attack. My last attack (and it was quite mild) was closing in on four years ago; my last attack on my medical records is closer to six years ago; but still this was the conclusion the professionals chose to jump to because it’s in my file.

Also, because I have that nasty little gremlin in my files, when I got pregnant with Kara I was forced to undergo a minor psych evaluation; just to make sure I wasn’t a danger to myself and/or others. This one pissed me off, but I endured. The following day however, I found a new doctor and our first conversation was amusing…

I walked into his office with my arms crossed defiantly across my chest, and said, “Look; I know my file says I’m crazy, but let’s just get that little bit of ugliness out of the way. I was crazy, but I worked my ass off and now I’m about as sane as anyone else. I’m sick to death of being treated like a nut job, and I demand to be treated like a real person. If you can’t promise me that right now, I’ll keep doctor shopping until I find someone who can.”

He laughed at me; not a mocking sort of laugh, but a gentle chuckle. He invited me to have a seat and I had the first real conversation with a doctor that I’d ever had in my whole life. He explained that his wife had had a very similar experience to my own, and that she too had fought to reclaim her life by natural means. He actually apologized for what I felt was mistreatment at the hands of others in his profession, and pointed out that it was impossible for someone outside the circle to truly understand the situation.

I would not be exaggerating to say that I love the man. He always treats me like a person; not a file; and he listens when I talk.

The point of this detour is that there are doctors out there that will do the same, so if you’re not happy with the treatment you’re getting, go demand better for yourself. Remember that you’re paying these people; they work for you, so don’t put up with being treated with anything less than you deserve.

Okay, now – at the risk of completely undermining the sanity I’m claiming – it’s time to get off the side roads and back on the freeway. Dreams… that’s what started this whole thing, so prepare yourself; we’re about to slip down the rabbit hole for one more tour of Wonderland before we get back to the healthier side of the looking glass…

To be continued…

(Part 4)

{P.S.: gypsy116 of Through my eyes; Adventures in Borderline Land writes a blog that must be visited by anyone currently suffering from their own version of mental-hell. This girl shares her experiences so honestly as to be an inspiration to others going through similar situations, and she’s far better at describing the inner chaos than I could ever hope to be. There is something magical (I truly believe) in just knowing that you’re not alone.}

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10 responses

  1. Pingback: Down the rabbit hole, around Wonderland and back through the looking glass… Part 2 « My Own Private Universe

  2. such a journey – wow – thanks for sharing hon x

    April 11, 2012 at 8:20 am

    • Hey you! Good day! xx

      April 11, 2012 at 8:35 am

  3. Pingback: Down the rabbit hole, around Wonderland and back through the looking glass… Part 4 « My Own Private Universe

  4. Pingback: Down the rabbit hole, around Wonderland and back through the looking glass… Part 1 « My Own Private Universe

  5. gypsy116

    Thanks you 🙂 Its always nice to hear that I make a difference, but I definitely needed to hear that today 🙂

    April 11, 2012 at 6:42 pm

  6. gypsy116

    This might be a little weird but whatever. When I commented before I really wanted to say more but couldnt find the words. I just received a comment on my blog that basically said the same thing as you did above, not exactly of course but it made me feel the same as what you said about me, and all of a sudden the words came to me, so Im going to steal part of my response and put it hear, because its what I meant to say in the 1st place, sorry if thats weird or doenst make sense.

    Your comment made me want to cry. I often feel like what I say doesnt matter, or people are sick of hearing me complain, or whatever, so to hear someone say that I actually help. I actually do what I set out to do means more to me than you will ever know. I write to vent, I write to help me, I write to let people know that they are not alone, I write to give people who dont understand a glimpse of what living with mental illness is really like. I write for a lot of reasons but I always have a hard time seeing the purpose in my life, but when I stop and think about it, I want to change the world. Obviously I cant actually just up and change the world but I always think that if my words help just one person to understand, help just one person to not feel alone… then my life does have some purpose, my pain does have some purpose, so thank you for letting me know that I do in fact make a difference.

    April 11, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    • Okay… I just read this on my phone, and even though I was done with the computer for the night (getting geared up to watch some playoff hockey) I HAD to come back to respond..
      What you do by talking so honestly and openly about your struggles, your wins, your losses and your enduring nature is amazing. If I’d found just one person like you back when I was living in hell, it would have meant the world. Never underestimate how much you do for others with your words, and never undervalue what you do for yourself by continuing to vent your emotions through your words. You’re an amazing person with a generous heart… don’t ever forget that, because I am quite certain that you touch others every day in ways that you might never completely understand. You ARE changing the world.

      April 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      • gypsy116

        Ok, just made me cry a little again, good cry 🙂 I have no words, just thank you, its so hard for me to see it myself, this means a lot to me 🙂

        April 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      • I’m glad 🙂

        April 13, 2012 at 10:59 am

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