Daily Archives: August 9, 2014

Ninth Circle Of Hell

End of the beginning today. Bex set off on her trek back to the UK. Her bus was late. I don’t even know if she got to Chicago safely. It’s nerve wracking when you care for someone and have no clue if they’re okay.

Saying goodbye was hard. There were tears. Lots of tears. So much so I got lost coming back because I was panicking in traffic and my kid was crying and I was crying and…I ended up an hour out of my way, panicking because my gas gauge is broken and i was praying my math on the gas mileage was correct. I was breaking out in hives, having heart palpitations, even light headed. This is why I don’t do unfamiliar places or heavy traffic. It’s not avoiding the situation, it’s avoiding the response my stupid nervous system has to it.

Finally got home. I was never so happy to see this armpit town. I needed my safe zone so I could mourn the departure of my best friend ever. It worked out far beyond my wildest expectations. We were still laughing, snarking, and finishing each other’s sentences right til the bus pulled out. It was like an amputation.

Got home just in time for a visit from my dad’s clan. Thankfully it was brief. In my current mind state, I just want to be with my kid in my safe space and await word. I won’t relax totally until I know T-Bex is safely back in her residence. I say residence because her “home” is here with us.

There’s the family you’re born into. Then there’s the family you choose. Spook and I have chosen Bex.

I’ve been trying to work off all my nervous energy with housework. I can’t seem to take my mind off Bex tho. I keep expecting to see her over on the couch clicking away on Milton. I put dishes away and sadly tucked her tea mug into the cupboard. It was so sad. I need to go get something out of the room she was in but I haven’t worked up the will to do so. It’s too heart breaking. I miss her so already.

And no one understands how huge that is for me. I’ve never connected to anyone that way before. I am tearing up even as I write this because all my life I’ve been told how difficult I am to get along with, to live with, and yet…Bex and I had zero problems. Zero. We just connected and meshed. It’s alien trying to return to “before” when it was just me and Spook because Becca made us a family, albeit an untraditional one. The locals seemed to think we were a couple which I find amusing. She’s asexual, I’m pretty much straight, it’s just not like that. It was a meeting of the minds and spirit. Everyone else I  had to resist shoving out the door. I wanted them to leave.

Today I wanted to surgically attach myself to Becca to keep her here and claim her as a growth or something that I would die without. This, too, is not like me. I’m a very independent person and a total loner. But I guess that’s how it is when you find someone who isn’t obtrusive or absorbent of your need for space. Others smother me.; Becca let me be. I need that desperately, as does she.

I never thought Id mesh with anyone.

But I finally did. And now I just want her to come back as soon as humanly possible. Her home is here.

That’s what I’m going to use as motivation to do battle with the inevitable seasonal disorder and its depressions. Just a new chapter. Not the end. Light at the end of the tunnel that’s not an oncoming train.

Now…I’m going to lose myself in kid and cats (though knowing Hemlock was Becca’s favorite makes seeing him hurt a little.) It’s been a very very long week and I have more than earned some sighs of relief and tuning out.

I feel selfish for thinking of myself when Becca’s journey has barely begun. I can only hope for the best and wait (with bated breath) to hear from her.

So much ass trash is waiting.

Doctor, Doctor

I swear, it’s getting to the point where half of the contacts in my iPhone have the initials MD after them.

Now that I’ve been thoroughly violated at the GYN’s office, the next step is a pelvic ultrasound at the hospital. This is a lovely procedure in which I get to lie down with a full bladder and have my insides examined while trying NOT to pee all over the bed. Then I get to go back to the GYN, who’s a pretty nice guy, to find out the results.

For what it’s worth, he doesn’t seem overly concerned with what he saw on the CT scan, which is a big relief right there. I’m sure he’s seen enough ovarian cysts to know what’s dangerous from what’s just extraneous tissue. I may still have to have surgery, and the word ‘cancer’ was mentioned as a possible cause; but common sense tells me that if no other structures are involved and nothing else but the kidney stones were seen on the CT, I should be fine.

In the meantime, I see Dr. Awesomcsauce on Monday. I must have been nuts to agree to a 9 AM session because I really don’t do mornings all that well, but it’ll be interesting to see what kind of juice drink he brings in this time. Once it was kale mixed with mango, pineapple and God-knows-what-else…..it looked awful, but smelled a whole lot better than it looked. Either that or it’ll be Diet Coke, which tickles me not only because that’s my beverage of choice too, but because it’s funny to see a tall, well-built man chug a 1-liter bottle of diet soda. I’ve made him spew it across the room on a couple of occasions, which is even funnier. (I, on the other hand, only drink water during sessions because Diet Coke makes me burp.)

Then there’s the matter of finding a new internist. After being asked which of the new doctors I wanted to see—an exercise in futility since I know nothing about any of them—I finally had the office manager hook Will and me up with one of the resident physicians, who I won’t even see till January. His name sounds Indian, so I hope we’ll be able to communicate. I also hope he won’t change any of my meds around…..they’re working just fine, thank you. At least the psych stuff will stay with Dr. A, and Will’s cancer treatment will continue under the watchful guidance of his excellent oncologist, Dr. Wonderful.

I’ve almost got to feel sorry for this new doctor who’s taking us on. We’re both complex patients with multiple issues, and as a resident, he’ll need to be up to the challenge. I still hate to face the fact that we have to change doctors after 22 years with the same one…..even though he could be an asshole at times, at least he was OUR asshole, and we knew what to expect. Still, I hope this new one’s not an asshole.

Such is the life of late-middle aged folks with lots of medical problems. I used to be somewhat contemptuous of people who went to doctors all the time; I thought they were hypochondriacs who just needed a swift kick in the posterior. Well, karma is a gold-plated bitch, and now here I am, with three doctors and I’m supposed to be seeing an endocrinologist as well. Good times!




Is it a Mental Illness or a Mental Disorder?

bb wpA few months ago, someone told me that autism was not a mental illness and that when people call it that, they are wrong. Today someone challenged me again that autism is not a  mental illness, but a mental disorder.

Is having a mental illness such a bad thing? I have bipolar disorder and it definitely is not something I would wish on anyone.  However, I believe that mental illness is considered such an awful thing because of the stigma and because people are just not educated about it.

I have a problem with the two people who were so adamant about  autism not being a mental illness.  I knew it was in the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), but I did some more digging. I thought that maybe mental disorder was not the same as mental illness. Well, I found out from several sources, that it is.

Merriam-Webster defines mental disorder as “a mental or bodily condition marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind, and emotions to seriously impair the normal psychological functioning of the individual—called also mental illness”

Wikipedia defines mental illness as “A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a mental  or behavioral  pattern or anomaly that causes either suffering or an impaired ability to function in ordinary life (disability), and which is not developmentally or socially normative.”

American Heritage defines mental illness as “Any of various disorders characterized chiefly by abnormal behavior or an inability to function socially, including diseases of the mind and personality and certain diseases of the brain. Also called mental disease , mental disorder .”

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) lists mental illnesses  “Find out more about a specific MENTAL ILLNESS: Anxity Disorders, AUTISM Spectrum Disorders, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Dissociative Disorders, Dual Diagnosis: Substance Abuse and Mental Illness, Eating Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Schizophrenia, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome”

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation‘s list: 1-in-4 of Us Live With a MENTAL ILLNESS: ADHD | Anxiety | AUTISM| Bipolar Disorder | Depression | OCD | PTSD | Schizophrenia | Other Illnesses

Psych Central has autism listed under “Symptoms and Treatments of Mental Disorders.” I have already determined that the term mental disorder is synonymous with mental illness.

National Institute of Health: There are many different MENTAL ILLNESSES, including depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,  AUTISM, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Each illness alters a person’s thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors in distinct ways.

The Social Security Administration lists  mental disorders: Organic mental disorders; schizophrenic, paranoid and other psychotic disorders, affective disorder, intellectual disability,  anxiety-related disorders,  somatoform disorders, personality disorders, substance addiction disorders, and AUTISTIC DISORDER and other pervasive developmental disorders

Friends of Mental Health/Advocacy: There are many different MENTAL ILLNESSES, including depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Each illness alters a person’s thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors in distinct ways.

Internet Mental Health lists Autism as a Mental Health Disorder

Top 10 Mental Illnesses And Their Myths lists Autism as a mental illness

List of Mental Disorders and Conditions lists Autism

DSM-5 List of Mental Disorders under heading mental disorder ( neurodevelopmental disorders)

Teen Mental Health lists under mental disorder (developmental disorders section)

Mental- of or relating to the mind Source

Disorder- to disturb the regular or normal functions of Source

Illness- an unhealthy condition of body or mind  Source

Developmental- of or relating to the growth or development of someone or something Source

Mental illness, mental disorder, developmental disorder.  As a parent, what term would you rather have your child called?  Think about it- How much of your answer is determined by stigma and society?

“It is easy to see why families whose members are afflicted by autism might hope to recategorize the condition.”  However, embracing the mental illness label would be more humane.  Insisting that it is not a mental illness is insisting that that is shameful.” Psychology Today

To put it more harshly, If someone does not think or want autism to be called a “mental illness”, I suggest they call Wikipedia, Merriam Webster, the authors of the DSM 5, NAMI, Psych Central, The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, and NAMI to argue their point. Maybe instead, they could help erase the reason why they feel it should be called a mental illness or mental disorder.

It is not that autism is or isn’t a mental illness or mental disorder that bothers me. What bothers me is that people think it is so awful that their loved one is labeled as having a mental disorder or mental illness.

Note: There were a few places I did not see autism listed as a mental disorder or mental illness.  Some say that it is a developmental disorder. However, I found autism listed as a mental disorder of mental illness in the majority of the places I looked. 

If you want to describe your child as having a developmental disorder:

Developmental disorders is a group of PSYCHIATRIC conditions originating in childhood that involve serious impairment in different areas. There are several ways of using this term.[1] The most narrow concept is used in the category “Specific Disorders of Psychological Development” in the ICD-10 These disorders comprise language disorders, learning disorders, motor disorders, and AUTISM spectrum disorders. In broader definitions ADHD is included, and the term used is neurodevelopmental disorders.  Yet others include antisocial behavior and SCHIZOPHRENIA that begins in childhood and continues through life. However, these two latter conditions are not as stable as the other developmental disorders, and there is not the same evidence of a shared genetic liability Source

On Filling Time

When at first, my world was flat / I unfurled my hands like flags / and stroked old sketches into bloom...

Mental Illness is a Myth

My aim in this essay is to raise the question ‘Is there such a thing as mental illness?’ and to argue that there is not. The quote above are the first words in a thesis by Dr. Thomas Szasz titled, “The Myth of Mental Illness.” You may be surprised when I tell you that Szasz […]

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