I’m about to get really real here…
I hold myself together really well and because I can pretend that everything is fine, I often convince everyone that everything IS fine, including myself. Jerah is doing really well. It’s been two weeks since he came home and I can count on one hand how many small blips we have had. He is TONS better than he was at the beginning of this year. It is not Jerah that I am pretending is fine. It’s me. I have been dealing with an undiagnosed mental health disorder for most of my life. Undiagnosed not because of any doctor or therapist, but because I always fake that everything is fine.
Everything is NOT fine. I have ADHD or Bipolar Disorder or Cyclothymia or something else. I have a telehealth appointment this morning to talk to someone about it.
I have been feeling really unraveled. And yes, I have been through incredible changes this year. 2020 has been a nightmare with shining glimpses of the work of God showing up to give me hope in the darkness.
My dad sent me a link to an article a few years ago. It was about the Rosetta mission. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3621548/We-got-nick-time-Rosetta-s-duck-shaped-comet-67P-continually-tears-apart-reforms.html The headline says “Rosetta’s duck-shaped comet 67P continually tears itself apart and reforms.” And I sat stunned, rereading the headline because… I related to it so deeply, I felt kinship with this duck shaped comet. I feel like I am continually ripping apart and reforming only to rip apart again. Continuously for most of my life, starting in my teenage years, becoming very pronounced and almost violent in the tearing apart through my 20’s and 30’s. And now in my 40’s I feel like I am continuously trying to keep myself from tearing apart.
For me, tearing apart is when I make some rash permanent decision based on temporary emotions. When I was younger, in my 20’s, that meant huge break ups every four months. New guy, new girl, didn’t matter, just needed someone to love me. Then I would start to unravel and they would be like “Whoa, I didn’t sign up for this!” And I would break it off, and explain to everyone who knew us that he or she was crazy, stupid, a cheater, a liar, whatever worked to make everyone else think that they were the problem and not me. I got really good at choosing people who were expendable. I would go into relationships knowing that they were not going to work out, and that we would rip apart spectacularly. It would give me drama, chaos, attention… and it would hide my unraveling. I could unravel and blame it on the relationship.
That continued into my 30’s, but now add on quitting social groups, jobs, friendships… I have so many “sets of friends.” Because of how I am… because I go in strong and be everything to everyone and make myself useful and be funny and be a great friend or employee, and then at some point, the unraveling starts and I would just rip everything apart, blaming the relationship or the job…
I realized this cycle during early recovery. I have blamed it on various things over the years. “I have abandonment issues, so I leave people, jobs, situations before they can leave me.” Except I really don’t have abandonment issues. “It’s my addict personality. All or nothing!” (And that one, is maybe a part of it. I am always working to find balance… I do have this tendency towards all or nothing). “I’m pregnant, that’s why I am acting so crazy.” Or “I am a control freak and when things don’t go how I think they should, I can’t cope!” Then in my 40’s as time stretched on into my mid to later 40’s I started having hormonal stuff, menopause. So when I unraveled and trashed relationships or started acting really unlike myself, I could blame the hormones. The problem is… the ripping apart thing has been there for a very long time. Whether or not I was pregnant. Even when I started to learn that I can’t control any one else. And well before the menopause hormones.
Right now, I am doing all those things that they tell you to do for your mental health. I am getting up at the same time every day. I am “going to bed” at the same time every night, but I do not fall asleep well and I don’t stay asleep. I am spending time outdoors. I am taking a walk with my fast walking Just Jerah every evening. I am doing creative things I enjoy, when I force myself to do them. I don’t have a desire to do any of these things. I believe we call this behavioral activation in the therapy world. DO the things and then the desire for them will follow… it is one of the treatment ideas for getting out of depression. It isn’t working.
So, here I am, feeling the unraveling start yet again. When I feel it, I have this urge to push it over the edge… I have the urge to run with it and let the destruction happen. I also now have a thing I did not have before. An urge for self-preservation. These unravelings are how the addiction happened. I was tearing apart more and more and it was happening more frequently. And as I ripped apart, I started wanting to be completely ripped apart so that I couldn’t reform again… because I was so tired of it. So I started running with a guy in an outlaw bike club. Started doing harder drugs every weekend with him. Started doing meth. Meth took over the unraveling for me. I am allergic to opiates, but during the meth addiction I would do heroin, trying to overdose. The boyfriend during the worst of the meth addiction was violent. He pointed guns at me a few times. I would walk up to the gun, looking him in the eye and yell “PLEASE DO IT!” I would call him names and try to make him angry enough to pull the trigger. A couple times he did pull the trigger… not to kill me… only to scare me. But I wanted to die. I wanted the ripping apart to be done.
Once, early in my addition, when I was still with the motorcycle guy, before CPS took Jerah, I was in the laundry room at 4 AM with motorcycle guy’s loaded .45 in my mouth, and Jerah got out of bed (which he never does, still doesn’t get up in the middle of the night) and wandered in to the laundry room. He saved my life that night. I was going to end it. Him coming in there at that moment made me think about what would happen to him… no one else was home. Motorcycle guy was in jail on an open murder charge. How long would it take for someone to find Jerah alone with his dead mother? And that snapped me out of it… that time. This is what I mean when I say “making permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.” I have felt like my emotions were dialed up to a 10 all the time while the rest of the world sat comfortably at a 5.
Fast forward in my recovery: I worked on letting go of control. I worked on changing my automatic negative thoughts (I do love some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT). I went to school and became a therapist (Masters of Social Work). I have worked on mindfulness and being still. I understand the power of positive thinking. I started going to church again and I love Jesus and I spend time in the bible. I pray. I take care of my home (I never used to… I used to live in filth). My life is better than it has ever been. My job is chaos, which probably helps my rapid mind. I never stop thinking. I am always pondering, wondering, trying to fix something, trying to figure out the why of things… and now I am home. With Just Jerah. He isn’t as much chaos as my work is, though he does keep me on my toes. And while I am here… at home… happier than I have ever been, the unraveling starts again. I start getting angry at nothing for no reason. I sit up at night, insomnia. I start playing online lotto. I start buying all kinds of things I don’t need. I start political arguments on social media and start blocking long time friends over their stance on the mask wearing issue. How ridiculous is that? Until those posts, the public displays of my unraveling, I tried to keep it under wraps. I kept telling everyone I’m okay, things are good, God has a plan.
This time, during this unraveling, Jerah is in a really good place behaviorally and is really a joy to be around. This time, I have so much good in my life that I am reaching out for help. I am recognizing that I have something amiss, maybe chemically, within me… I don’t know. But this destruction cycle has to come to end, and not the kind of end I had been trying to force it to in the past. I do not want to die. My brain tells me that it would be easier to check out now, because continuing this way, unraveling every six months to two years… it’s getting harder and harder to reform afterwards.
It is time to end my kinship with Comet 67P. It is time to seek real and lasting help. It is time to stop pulling the thread when I start to unravel. My telehealth appointment is at 10:30 AM. I have about a half an hour before I click on the appointment link. Let the reforming commence.