It’s a real thing.
That’s what I have to say after discussion of literally any aspect of my mental or physical illness. It’s a real thing, I promise. There are more issues than I’d like to admit but like I’ve said before, this blog is about honesty.
Here is a list of the real things that I battle everyday—
Dermatographia– a condition also known as “skin writing,” no joke. It means that if I scratch any part of my skin it will become a big red wheal, like a bug bite or a hive. It’s a histamine reaction that ultimately means I am allergic to touch. There is an artist somewhere in the Ukraine, I think, that uses this condition to make art on her skin. Not to throw shade on anyone’s art but I think she’s even more batshit than I am. Those marks itch. Like a lot.
If you ever meet John ask him about the start of my Dermatographia. I became convinced that there were some kind of bed bugs or scabies in our apartment. I dragged our comforter down the hall and nearly lit it on fire. It was the microscopic pictures that did it. John says I was muttering about tiny dragons in our bedding.
Also, if I’m really stressed out, my lips swell up like Angelina Jolie’s. So, if I want big sexy lips all the time I guess I should just start living in that 7th grade gym flashback. Shudder.
ADHD- Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. This one is technically undiagnosed but the evidence is rather persuasive. My mother is a special education teacher and can spot a kid with ADHD a mile away. This may or may not have to do with the years she spent raising me. One of my biggest ADHD trademarks is my ability to concentrate or obsess on something for hours, and the subsequent irritability that comes from being stopped. That and the near constant revolving songs, pictures, and monologues in my head. It’s a whirlwind in there. Oh, I also have some pretty spectacular impulse control problems. Which leads to some fairly embarrassing moments. Oy.
AvPD– Avoidant Personality Disorder. This one is probably the worst. It’s a “Cluster C personality disorder” which sounds scary until you read what A and B are like. I’ll stick with my quirky Cluster C disorder, thank you! Avoidant Personality Disorder is a pattern of social anxiety, social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy and inferiority, extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation, and avoidance of social interaction despite a strong desire for intimacy. Yep, that’s about as fun as it sounds.
What this has resulted in for me is an extreme form of “ghosting.” Ghosting isn’t nice, so it’s definitely not my favorite part of myself. Basically, once I feel that anxiety or disapproval in a relationship, I will literally disappear. Literally. This is a behavior that my husband calls “rabbiting.” Because I see a person that makes me uncomfortable, my spine perks in fear, and I duck into the nearest rabbit warren, usually a merchandise display of some kind. Especially when I worked in retail. Sometimes it worked. Usually, it didn’t. Which left me hiding in stacks of books or clearance sweaters like a whack-job. It could be worse, I could turn into a maniacal sadist like the guy on that one star trek episode of Black Mirror. Small favors, right? Besides, it’s gotten better with meds. Even better with diet.
Sidenote: This is one of the things that made me seriously fall in love with Jenny Lawson and her writing. She also has AvPD, and her zany hijinks are pretty much my everyday. Her bit on surprise funerals is one of my favorites.
UPDATE: After SEVERAL visits with doctors, psychiatrists, and a sweet new councilor named Jack– we have discovered that I don’t have Avoidant Personality Disorder but rather a unique constellation of other forms of batshit including Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Agoraphobia, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. According to Jack, the last two are why I hide in public places. And why I hate bridges. (Technically, almost all of these are co-morbid with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Something I am still trying to decide if I need to come to terms with or not. I think I will have to face it sooner or later. But more on that later…)
With this update I’d like to add another real thing I deal with–
Side Effects- After being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I started the long process of finding the right medications. One that I am still on, by the way. And while almost all meds have worked for a short time, they inevitably turn on me in one way or another. Whether it’s my skin blistering into a horrible rash, nearly passing out from fatigue, or hormone changes that destroy my sex life/give me false pregnancy symptoms. (Now, even my doctor admits that the rarer a side effect seems to be, the more likely it seems to happen to me. So I’m weird. Don’t be afraid to take a new med for your own chronic batshit. Each of these meds made my life better before they made my life hell. For you, it could just be better.)
Obesity- Okay, no one asks me if this is real. In fact most people are ready to point it out to me. Sometimes very loudly in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, or in the waiting room of my son’s pediatrician, or really any kind of health related room where people are forced to stay for more than a moment, especially the examination room. (Okay, it’s not that bad. It just feels like that somedays.)
Now, I am not disabled obese. Other than my heel spurs, it doesn’t affect my mobility in any way. (I do have to drag my pants up my butt a lot, though. Not a lot of jeans for my size actually fit properly. Usually I wear some fun hipster suspenders to deal with that, or leggings. Oh, boy do I love leggings. Or I skip pants entirely and wear a dress.)
No, I would say that my obesity only affects me physically in that my body is a not unpleasant apple shape, a large bosom tapering down into a belly and then finally a not big enough butt. (Remember what I said about the pants? Don’t worry too much. My thighs do a good enough job keeping them up.) My blood pressure is a little high too, but that could also be a continued side effect of the preeclampsia I had with my son. I would like a little less chin like most women my age or older. But the chin was a free with the birth of my son kind of deal. So, I don’t begrudge it that much.
No, the real problem I have with my weight is how it affects the value of my words. It’s a horrifying but all too true problem within our society. The higher my body mass index goes the less weight my words have in the world. So, most of the time, if I want to lose weight, it’s just to gain legitimacy. That’s kind of f’ed up, don’t you think?
In this world, past a certain weight or size, and you literally lose your worth as a fellow human being. People begin to explain things to you as if the stored fat in your body is smothering your IQ. (This is my whole problem with the Biggest Loser tv show. Beyond the unsustainable diet practices, the whole premise about “losing weight and finally starting your life” is ungainly. I’m sorry but what were they living before? Because no matter how much validation you give them now that they are skinny, they aren’t going to get those years back. And surprisingly enough, they were actually a person before you told them they were. Rant over.) Believe it or not, I’m just a tight size 16. Does that make my words any less true?
The good news, literally all these problems are helped by my LCHF diet (in tandem with my anti-depressants too, of course.) The diet helps my blood sugar, which helps my mood, which prevents the emotional eating (the lack of hunger helps with that too) and stabilizes my focus and impulse control.
Now I just have to continue avoiding the little prince’s delicious cheesey poofs. One day at a time, folks. One day at a time.
UPDATE: The LCHF diet has come and gone and come again in my life. I put this on my Bipolar, my med side effects, and my pocketbook. Pasta and bread are just so much cheaper than meat. At the moment, months after writing this initial post, I am so far off the wagon. But I use my off the wagon time to remember how sugar can effect me negatively. The strange and painful aftertastes, the side effects that offset the high. I’m sure that I will be back on the wagon shortly. Hopefully, only a little muddy for the wear.