Friday, March 9, 2012

Not Crazy

I am 28 years old.  I have found a psychiatrist close to home whom I genuinely like. I trust her- not an easy feeling to come by for me.  She has assessed me over the course of many visits.  Up to this point I have tried more drugs in my forays to the hospital than I can keep track of.  I am settled groggily on an antidepressant, an antipsychotic and an excessive amount of anti-anxiety medication.  I am addicted to the latter two and feel hopeless about ever purging them from my bloated body and blackish mind.  This kind and gifted woman has assured me that we will find the right medications and that I won't have to go back to the hospital in order to do it.  I remember her words from my passenger seat in the car and hold onto hope for the first time since I lost my mind.

At my next visit, I ask my husband to come in to the office with me.  I want him to write down the new medications I will be taking and the plan that will be put in place for the various titrations.  As we all sit and talk this over I realize that besides the obvious, I have no idea what is truly wrong with me.  I don't know what she writes in her notes- my file is getting fat already.

I ask her what her scribbles say, what my diagnoses are.  She is taken aback, having thought that I would have known.  I do not know that I have Major Depressive Disorder with brief psychotic features and suicidal tendencies, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder with Agoraphobic tendencies, Acute Stress Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Severe Dissociative Disorder, Depersonalization Disorder and Adjustment Disorder.  Most of these labels, these curses, are not something I am familiar with. I knew I was depressed and nervous, but now I see my new life, after falling apart, as a massive ball of string that will never be unraveled and then re-skeined.  I feel hopeless and overwhelmed, yet there is a peace that comes with knowing that my label is not "crazy". There are words for and order to my issues and I know that together we will pull at this mound of fibers until it loosens some.  In this lifetime, perhaps I will see the end to the task, or at least learn to weave my own patterns, make my own fabric with which to adorn myself.


With every diagnosis comes a prognosis, for better or for worse. With any one of these psychiatric disorders, the prognosis can be near to full recovery.  Truly, these disorders are not a sentence. With a lot of work, one can begin to arrive back in the world, be it within a year or many years. For some, all hope is lost and these disorders become disease and the future is grim, indeed. 

Now I take medication for depression, which is well controlled, as well as the anti-anxiety meds, simply because I cannot get off of them. My body is severely addicted to this drug. This summer I plan to implement the help of a natural-path to finally get this drug out of my system without debilitating withdrawals. I am very hopeful. 

For me, it was important to understand what I was up against.  My doctor warned me that people can get obsessed with their diagnoses and create a further vacuum into the abyss that these disorders can create in conjunction with a hyper-vigilant mind. I took this to heart and waited until I was more steady before I looked up the meanings of my disorders. 

I guess I wish to carry that warning through to anyone who might be reading this as they are just beginning their journey with medications and doctors. Find someone you trust and let them do their job. Keep yourself informed about your meds and treatment, but don't over do it. Words are powerful and what we say to ourselves is taken literally by our brains. Educate yourself, but don't buy into your lot as hopeless. I am extremely functional now and have been for many years. You can be too.

Here is an excellent webpage with clinical descriptions of these disorders and more:

Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse, PTSD, Anxiety, Self-harm, Cutting, Depression, Survivor, Survivor of childhood abuse, Postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis, OCD, Recovered memories, Repressed memories, Spousification, Stockholm Syndrome, Suicide, Teen Suicide, bullying, drug abuse, incest, memoir, Attachment Disorder, reactive Attachment Disorder, Physical Abuse


  1. Cairn,We have only met a couple of times. I am a friend of Roger's through the VSO. At first when I started reading your blogs, I found myself thinking, this is really personal, heavy stuff, and wondered why anyone would want to share it on FB no less. As I have continued to read them I want you to know how much I appreciate your strength and honesty. Your willingness to share your struggles with all of us is quite amazing! There are so many people, having gone through what you have shared with us, would have simply become helpless victims. I admire you for your strength and support you in your quest to overcome. Leading up to my cancer surgery there is a prayer I would pray many times of the day, and with your permission I would like to share it with you. "Thy Name is my healing oh my God, the remembrance of Thee is my Remedy, the nearness of Thee is my Hope and my love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor, both in this world and in the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All Bountiful, The All Knowing, The All Wise." Jay B.

    1. That is such an all encompassing prayer- so beautiful to my sou. I will commit it t memory. I like that for me, it applies to all spirituality. Thank you for sharing your survival story, even if ever so brief, with me and especially how you were able to get through it. know my stories talk about things that are negative and sad, but you have assessed the real purpose well which is that I am trying to let people know we can talk about it, we can find resources and we can finally start to dig our way out of the rot that is this dis-eased state of pain and disfunction. All told- this is a story about success and glory in the end. Thank you for taking time to write and to share your beautiful soul. :) Cairn

  2. I haven't read your blog for awhile. I have to mentally prepare myself before I even READ about your early life- your first life if you will. But this morning Im so happy that I pointed and clicked-at a random entry by the way, I've missed a lot in between- I can only imagine how powerful your blog is to others with similar diagnosis. As a survivor of anything that is potentially terminal, all you want to hear about are the survivors and how they did it. Your regimen of anti's is nit unlike so many in this world who have been through far less. I know it feels terrible to continue to put synthetics into your body daily. I can't wait to hear about it when you can cut down on your meds. I'm sure all of your readers will be feeling your intrepidation as you do. Much love...cousin Jen

    1. *trepidation - I need to work on my blogging reply skills. <3

    2. Oh Dear God- yes, you of all people would understand what it feels like to poison your way out of illness. So weird.

      I am glad you picked up on the message of this post. There is hope- always. Change and growth can be at hand-always. I hope so very much that overall I am getting hat across no matter how difficult the story is.

      I would say that by April, i will begin the journey with the meds. Every year so far I have had to do something in the spring that takes a lot of energy and time in order to adjust or exchange or unload a med. I can do this!

      Thank you for reading and supporting. i know it's hard.
      Love you!