Just who are the crazy people here?

What is ‘crazy’ anymore? Or even ‘disturbed?’

I recently came across this comment on a friend’s Facebook page:

“I’m so happy Trump beat Clinton otherwise at this point everyone on planet earth would be nuked. We still may be, but there is a chance and she trafficked children from Haiti. He sucks; she is an absolute Monster!”

This person is a practicing pediatrician.

She is also what some in the neurodivergent community would call a ‘normie,’ i.e. someone at least assumed to be unaffected by mental illness due to their job and their social presence in real life.

I’m using politics as a measuring stick here (advisedly), but there are so many other ways one can demonstrate that despite outward appearances, they believe some pretty outlandish stuff.

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This was almost mainstream thought in the 60s

When I was much younger, the rage was fluoridation and the fear that America was being poisoned by this monstrous plan. Fluoridation was a major plot point in the movie ‘Dr. Strangelove.’ There was just enough doubt about the science to give the whole movement the patina of legitimacy.

Today you see it with Hollywood stars like Jenny McCarthy and Charlie Sheen who lead the anti-vaccination movement, whose crowning achievement seems to be that whooping cough and mumps are making comebacks in the United States after having been all but eradicated.

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A two-fer: Jenny McCarthy and Alex Jones. Need I say more?

There are many other examples out there – so many it would take a book the size of an old Encyclopedia Britannica volume to list them all.

And yet, these people may be publicly chastised but still humored in a way that makes them legit dangerous to the public good.

But if you start talking about the real harm of psychotropic medication and question the legitimacy of therapeutic techniques, you will still be marginalized. After all, you’re attacking one of the most lucrative businesses and one of the most entrenched professions in America. And who listens to ‘crazy’ people anyway?

So my head spins because I want to know things about psychiatry, but I want to guard against looking only for data that supports my own biases. My research has only just begun, but I just have to trust myself. I remember being quite concerned as the parent of an autistic child of the whole ‘vaccinations cause autism’ movement of the 1990s and early 2000s.

I became convinced in the end that the cause was more environmental than through inoculations but one thing I also became adamant about is that the whole ‘curing autism’ movement was way off base. My son was fine the way he was and didn’t any treatment regimens of oils, behavioral modifications, vitamins and the like to be ‘normal.’

For instance, if the belief that leading Democrats were sex trafficking children at a Washington DC pizza parlor is ‘normal,’ than normal is highly overrated.

They say I’m irrational, yet I trust science. They say I’m antisocial, but I believe in intersectionality. They say I suffer from depersonalization and ‘splitting’ yet I desire meaningful friendships. They say I could be dangerous, but I haven’t thrown a punch since the seventh grade.

Sometimes I wonder who the real ‘crazy’ people are.

Posted in advice, bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, children, ImNotAshamed, mental health, Normies, shame, society, stigma | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

My intro in this week’s BPD Newsletter in The Mighty

Community Announcement:

Hey BPD fam!

Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month is in May and this year we want to make an extra effort to humanize and “put a face” to the condition. We will be creating graphics that feature real people from our BPD community, so we need your photos!

If you’d like to participate in our photo campaign, please email a photo of yourself to mentalhealth@themighty.com. I’ve included some guidelines below for submitting photos. We will email you if your photo has been selected!

Photo Submission Guidelines:

  • High quality photo of you (by yourself) from the waist up
  • At least 1280 x 640 pixels
  • Needs to be submitted by April 24!

Thanks so much for being in our community,

Juliette

Associate Mental Health Editor

Sarah

I’m Keith Gottschalk and I started contributing to The Mighty last year because I felt the issues facing middle age people who receive the BPD diagnosis later in life need to be addressed.

I was 54 when my psychiatrist, finally putting the puzzle pieces together, took down her DSM-V, turned it to the diagnoses of BPD and asked me, “Of these nine attributes, how many do you believe you exhibit?” And that’s how I received my diagnosis.

I’m not alone in taking the long and winding road to this diagnosis. There were times I remember saying, “I’m through with therapy – it never did me any good.” But I urge you to stick with it. Now that I have the correct diagnosis, it’s time for me to enter a new stage of therapy – to address BPD head on and get a game plan for the rest of my life.

I looked for a therapist who specialized in BPD and I would suggest you try to find one if you can. But even if you consult with a BPD specialist, understand that even though they have training in your condition, every one of us presents differently. Often I find myself asking my therapist, “Does this make sense to you?” This may seem akin to over-apologizing, but don’t be afraid to ask. Validation for people with BPD is critical.

Above all, be patient with your therapist and yourself. You may have to unpack the experiences of a lifetime before your therapist can suggest therapy strategies. This is what my therapist and I are doing now, and it is liberating. You are the sum of all your major life experiences, especially those of your formative years. These must be dealt with.

There is no quick fix for BPD in therapy. I’m glad I didn’t give up. I hope you don’t either.

Best,

Keith

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Escape is impossible

My psychiatrist has recommended upping my daily dose of lamotrigine 50 mg.

Why not? At my age I have been a 40-year experiment in the various effects of psychotropic medicine. What’s one little uppage of the dosage?

She made this decision after noting that I was going through some harder cycles with anger and anxiety. I made it clear that things were worse, but not dangerously so, not at all. But I was worried.

My supervisor had been detailed to the front office for 120 days, giving all of us a precious break from her Trumpist politicking and insufferable micromanagement. We have worked far more effectively and harmoniously without her than we ever did with her. Nevertheless, she’s supposed to come back on May 21 and I am at a loss on how to prepare for the eventuality.

See, her going a way was a bad thing for me because she was coming back. I tried not to let myself get too comfortable with not having a nervous breakdown every time she summoned me or walked in the room or I had to open one of her emails. In this case, I take solace from the fact that it’s not just me – the entire office, to a person, feels the same way. That makes it just a bit easier to accept, but just a little.

But I think I have grown too comfortable, especially because of the rumors she might stay in her detailed position, but it seems that that will not happen.

I had a very angry reaction at one of her interferences two weeks ago. She refused to let the writers of our newsletter use the term #metoo to encourage women who have been sexually assaulted to come forward. Instead she insisted on them inserting an impossibly long and cumbersome line blaming the media and certain politicians for the whole movement. If that sounds incredible, then you don’t know our boss.

So, I got angry and was calmed down by my co-workers. Afterwards, I felt stupid as usual, getting angry over something that did not concern me and I could do nothing about. But then it hit me – if I reacted that way with her at a distance, what happens when she returns?

The fact that politicking in our office is disallowed will not stop her, I’m sure, since she thinks she is above obeying what she will undoubtedly see as restrictions on her free speech rights.

So, what to do?

Avoidance will only get me so far until it is questioned. I can go back to diversionary responses or play Colonel Hogan to her Klink (see: Hogan’s Heroes for younger people). But having tasted the sweetness of not having to deal with her shit, I’m afraid I just won’t be able to last very long without an outburst.

And I don’t think lamotrigine, or even opiates, could keep that shrew off my nerves for too long. Perhaps thorazine, but then I could not work at all.

I am really worried about this. Every time I look at the calendar, I count down the days.

15210530_essay-about-running-away-gif_3c5ad85_mRight now, every little thing is annoying the shit out of me. I feel like just running – getting in the car and pointing it a direction and just driving. I have a wallet full of credit cards and an idea of a beach, but of course, I can’t. I have a passport and would love to find a quiet place in the moors in Scotland to contemplate my existence but again, there’s enough of my rational mind holding the reins to stop that.

And I hate it that I’m just not. . .quite. . .unbalanced enough to go off on a manic getaway. It always seems to me that I’ve spend a lifetime of trying to be a good boy and play by the rules and still, I have had to eat a mile of shit regularly from several people in my life, mostly work people but also, it seems, the rational mind. I remember the very very few times when I did just ‘get away’ (once to Disney World for a get together of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 fans) with wistful nostalgia.

I’m too old, I have too many responsibilities, I won’t get away with it. Other people somehow manage to do it (even Walter White’s phony ‘fugue state’ escapade) but not me. I always must stay within the lines and play by the rules and worry what everyone thinks of me. And I hate enough to cheer death when it comes.

Drugs are not the answer. There was a time when I felt that if I got the right anti-dep I would reach a state of blissful co-existence with the world. Pill after pill and nothing except side effects and flat affect.

I need to escape, and I can’t.

Being trapped in your head and your physical world generates emotional pain beyond measure. I’m not asking anyone to feel sorry for me – I write this for those who are going through the same thing, so they do not feel alone. Feeling are wasted on me because I have no way to process them anymore. If someone compliments me, I don’t feel I deserve it. If someone criticizes me, I spiral into rage and self-hatred.

And I tell myself, that if I do leave, I must eventually return to the exact same situation that made me flee in the first place.

There is no escape. Well, there’s death.

I have fought through four decades of this illness and tried to do the right thing. I meant well, even if it didn’t seem that way. And now here I am at 55 wondering what the hell I fought for.

Posted in anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, death, depression, Distractions, donald trump, existential dread, Facebook, fear, getting old, paranoia, self care, work | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Podcast 3: Emily Sheerer Cutler

 

Podcast 3 is up at this link in Simplecast29572520_195356037733039_1117267505933566834_n

Interview with Emily Sheerer Cutler of MadinAmerica.com including two personal segments. Emily is concerned with the civil rights of people who are regarded as having mental illness. She opposes instances of forced commitment of people and holds that many aspects of society directly influence the development of Borderline Personality Disorder and other personality disorders. Two segments from me – over anxiousness results in injury prior to podcast and I fly off the handle in typical BPD fashion over an perceived slight on Facebook – resulting in another round of apologies from me. Podcast 48:09

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Podcast 2 one more time!

 

In case you haven’t checked out my podcast, here is the link I did with Alex last weekend. I have another extra-special guest I will be interviewing this weekend and the podcast should be up later afternoon Sunday (US EDT). Oh, by the way, that’s me in the 4th grade trying to look very serious and coming off looking angry at the world because of a crooked tie (which I did). Good God, the hair!

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Poem: to my once and future supervisor

I have never really written a poem before. Until now. I was reading about a poetry class handling a slur a student wrote into their poem. And something came over me and I wrote this in James Dickey style (with a nod to e. e. cummings as well). It took five minutes. I don’t know if it’s any good but I like it because it comes from somewhere deep inside of me that needs to express itself. I know that sounds like literary mumbo-jumbo but I really feel this way, Maybe this is the way I get it out. I don’t know. I’m taking a chance, but here goes:

To my Boss from the guy with BPD

Please don’t.

I need to get out of here if you do.

I think you’re a nice person, someone who means well, but I can’t abide

Can’t abide

Your bigotry

It’s not my problem that I may explode, others say that

But I know even if I get angry, it’s for a good reason

Even if I can’t display my anger in a socially acceptable way.

I punch

Walls, chairs, doors, myself

You don’t need a blade/to self harm

So let me not hear your words ringing in my ears as I make an excuse

To leave.

I must use the restroom but really I will

Go outside and hyperventilate

How can you think that? How can you say that?

I will never know. I don’t want to know

But I need to protect myself from your words

Before your words trigger actions

So I am a ‘snowflake’ but a very angry and destructive snowflake
You cross me at your peril/although I do not want to harm

I avoid I avoid I avoid. And I hate myself for it.

Excuse me for living.

I need to keep my dignity.

Posted in Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, fear, Poetry, PTSD, work, writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Podcast Ep. 2

29572520_195356037733039_1117267505933566834_nLink to Podcast Episode 2

OK, still a little rough on the production side – been a while since mixing from a board. Interview with Alex who has BPD and wrote a piece on her condition at Medium.com. Show elements: This Week in Mental Health and Personal File.

This is Alex’s follow up article

Posted in Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Podcast, self care | Tagged , , | Leave a comment