Archive for Mental Diseases

Day 20: “Misdiagnosed Mistress”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 13, 2011 by Veronica Graham

The bar I work at is full of Irish employees and I am not one of them.  I am the “American Girl.”  The work hottie I like to stare at was there today and definitely lifted my mood, but getting in trouble for every tiny misstep was starting to wear on me… “Why are you sitting?”  

“I’m not sitting, I’m leaning!”

“Lazy American.”

What the hell?  All the Irish employees take cigarette breaks together, laughing in their thick accents and after work, they sit together like the cool kids.  I picked out the other American employee, Phil, who is also picked on by these Irish, and told him, “We’re going to be our own group.”  

“What do you mean?”

“We’re the losers here and we need to stick together.”  He gave me a funny look, so I added:  “Because we’re both actually the coolest ones here- they just don’t know it.  We do, so we only hang out with each other.  The cool ones.”

Pathetic argument, yes, I know, but how else was I supposed to justify following him around all the time?  I’ve always had this uneasy feeling when I’m alone and I wanted a friend in my work loserdom, one that wouldn’t leave me for the cool kids.  

In my years of trying to figure out what was wrong with me, I was in rehab when I was 18, NA and AA on and off when I was 19-25, diagnoised with mild depression at 17 , and then finally diagnoised for bipolar disorder when I was 24.  I walked into the psychiatrist office at 24 told her that, “My mind races, I smoke weed, was addicted to coke, and I just can’t get it together.”

Within 5 minutes, she said, “Oh, I’m so sorry, Honey.  You’re bipolar, but don’t worry, we’re going to fix you.”

I was prescribed with seroquel (sleep), klonopin (for anxiety), and 2000 mg  a day of depakote (for my bipolar disorder.)  I stayed on this chemical romance for three years until I was 27 when I noticed my hair started falling out, the only side effect that I was warned about was getting fat.  I didn’t get fat- I was still hot. 

I freaked out.  FREAKED OUT.  I ran to “The Friend’s” house and asked him to look at my head, “AM I GOING BALD??!”

The look on his face said it all, but he added, “It’s THINNING… Not bald, thinning…”

There was a bald spot right above my forehead to the left.  I couldn’t deny it.  I ran to Kimmie and asked with tears in my eyes, “AM I GOING BALD?”

“Bald is such a harsh word…” she said.  

I went back to the psychiatrist to get on a different medication.  She put me on a 150 mg of wellbutrin (an anti-depressant)  An ANTI-FUCKING-DEPRESSANT for BIPOLAR DISORDER?  It didn’t make sense, there was such a huge difference between the dosage of the two medications, I was convinced I was her guinea pig!  I was not going to be ANYONE’S little PIG!!  I decided to get off of medication all together and told Kimmie, “If you say to get back on medication, I will do it. I promise.  Just tell me when you think I’m going crazy- even just a little bit, I’ll pop whatever pills they tell me I need.”  Needless to say, it never happened.  I was better without the medicine than ever before.  

A mutual friend of Kimmie and mine:  Rachel, a petite, freakishly smart psychologist that looks oddly similar to Rachel Berry from Glee heard my stories of being diagnoised with bipolar disorder.

Rachel scooped up her scrambled eggs at La Madeline and said, “Oh, Veronica’s not bipolar.”

“She’s not?” Kimmie asked.

“Nope.”  She took a drink of her orange juice.  “She has borderline personality disorder- text book.”

“She has what?”  

“NOT multiple personality disorder.  Borderline.  Borderline- it’s different.  Behavorial, not a chemical imbalance.”

So, what did I do-  I looked up the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. There it was: Textbook, just like Rachel said. 

My fear of abandonment: Last time Kimmie and I were in New York, she left for a few hours to visit her sister and I was convinced she had returned to DC without me.  I started making plans on how to get home by myself by the time she walked back into our hotel room. 

Promiscuous Behavior:  Umm.. I don’t think I need to go in depth with this one.

Black and White Thinking:  “I’m right, you’re wrong”  always.  

Impulsive:  Might have once told a cop to go “F” himself because I wouldn’t sign a ticket for littering that ended up landing me a night in jail.

Have trouble controlling anger:  See above.

Suicidal thoughts/attempts: May or may not have jumped into the Potomac River once to be rescued by “The Friend’s” brother, another gracious soul in my life that I haven’t yet had the oppertunity to talk about.

Have temporary episodes of feeling suspicious of others without reason (paranoia):  Like the time I thought Kimmie was sleeping with Iago and other boyfriends, even though I was around them ever waking hour and she couldn’t help but express her disgust about nearly all of them.

That silly little saying, “The truth will set you free” is completely true for me.  It’s easier for me to grow and know WHY I’m sleeping around like I’m working for Heidi Fleiss and overcome this problem of mine than to constantly get misdiagnosed over and over again.  

What I’m wondering is this:  Why did a friend that I rarely see diagnoise me so easily when high school friends, family members, and pyschiatrist were not able to?  Or was it that they were too quick to come up with some sort of diagnoisis for me- YES, You’re an addict!  YES, You’re bipolar!  YES, YES, YES- that they couldn’t see the forest for the trees on what was really going on with me.

The fact is:  I’m better now than ever before, Phil might disagree since he’s dealing with the brunt of my work lonliness insecurities and forced to be a part of my “club,” but without medicine and KNOWING what is wrong with me- or at least part of what’s wrong with me, I’m able to recognize it, deal with it, and grow from it.  I’m not Tom Cruise, I think medication is good for some, but in my case, it nearly drove me off the edge.  Now that I know, I need to dig even deeper, in the coming days, I plan to contact childhood physicians to see what triggered this behavior to see where this all began…     

Here’s to 346 Days, Veronica Graham, Don’t leave me!.. just kidding.. kind of-