Time to Break The Wall of Silence
I am feeling verrryyyyyy vulnerable but I know that I am amongst friends so it is time to talk because I am processing a lottttttttt of information but I am committed to authentically facing the challenges and joys in my life. Here goes: We have finally arrived at an official mental health diagnosis and it is a bit much to take in. Here it is: PTSD/anxiety disorder/adult ADD/bipolar disorder. I hit every single hallmark for all of the above. Damn dirty over-achiever lol. While there is some relief in having terms to place on the manifestations -racing thoughts, the panic, the inability to concentrate, the need to escape, the triggering of fight/flight responses, the anger, the highs, lows, in-betweens and bone-crushing exhaustion – there is also a good amount of apprehension. That age-old question of what now and how will this affect my ability to achieve the big things I want to do with my life rises up from the deep. Panic begets panic and looking inward for too long causes implosion on my part.
Soooooooo. . .I choose to look outward; to help where I can, to know that I am worth doing the me-work that will establish better balance and well-being. I know that the gift of mental illness is that if I am self-aware, it teaches me to actively practice self-care. I have lots of thoughts and a few fears tonight since each diagnoses manifests worry or angst in me in a different fashion.
PTSD: manifests itself in alarm, easy startling, a fight response when others enter my personal space uninvited
Anxiety disorder: manifests itself when least expected and is lower if I know that I only have to get through ____ amount of time in a given situation and then I either won’t have to face it again at all or won’t have to face it anytime soon. Ramps up if there is a stressor that I have to endure regularly. Still, I believe that exposure therapy is sometimes helpful.
ADD: Manifests itself by scattering my thoughts, affecting my short term memory and making long periods of intense concentration impossible because I just want to escape. Necessary tasks are more difficult due to the inability to concentrate.
BIPOLAR DISORDER: Manifests itself with high and low energy. During the highs, my energy and mood are boundless. I am able to multitask well during those periods. During the lows, the muscle pain is very palpable, exhaustion reigns and it takes everything I have to be any modicum of productive.
Welcome to my world. Yet I’m here. Learning. Working. Making a difference and hoping that sharing honestly not only helps me to understand myself but for others to understand that facing life with a mental illness does not mean we are weak but rather that we are courageous as hell.