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I Don’t Want to Lose Me

I’ve denied it for years. YEARS.

“It won’t happen to me. I’ll be careful. I’m not the same.”

I blamed it on stress. Anxiety. Things being tense at home.

“It’s not so bad. It’s not that bad. I’m OK.”

Fact of the matter is, I’m not OK. My mood swings have gotten impossible lately and worse as I’ve gotten older. Lucky me, I drew the mental illness lottery for my genes. My grandmother, my mother and my aunts…all have symptoms of mental illness. My dad told me that, as long as he’s known my mom, she’s always had the signs…it just got worse over the years as the stress added on and she grew older. Because if an illness goes untreated, it doesn’t just go away.

It festers.

My mom was 22 when she met my dad. I’m 24…almost 25.

It’s not just my mom’s side, though, god bless ’em, they’ve hit the jackpot when it comes to this. My dad’s older sister has been in and out of hospitals basically her whole life…but it was her dad that really fucked her up when she was younger. The fact remains: She needs medication.

The fact I’ve been denying…

I need treatment.

I’ve never been more terrified of anything in my life. For the past few years, I’ve told myself that I don’t need treatment…I’ll be OK…I can handle this.

I can’t. I haven’t. I just get worse.

I don’t want to lose ‘me’. I’m terrified of treatment not helping, or getting the wrong treatment that leaves behind a piece of me without me even realizing.

There is so much I want to accomplish in my life. I have to learn to live with this if I want to do that. I have to find out my options and stop denying myself a normal life.

Unfortunately, receiving medication doesn’t alter my genes so the chances of me having my own child is slim to none…because there is no way I’ll be responsible for passing this on.

I might take you along this journey because this blog? My friends? My lifelines?

You are the only thing that reminds me, everyday, of who I am. And who I want to remain.

I don’t want to lose me…which is why I have to do this.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • LivingWicked September 2, 2009, 1:19 am

    You know where I stand on this.

    I got your back like a bra strap.
    .-= LivingWicked´s last blog ..Just Be a Kid =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 1:21 am

      I know.

      Just…don’t let me get lost.

  • Caroline Lewis September 2, 2009, 6:57 am

    Get the help you need. Research everything. Seek second opinions, and find out WHAT you can do for your own child, if and when you want to have one . . . which might be the thing that no one did for you. I think that it all comes down to working closely with your medical care providers. If you do decide to share that journey, I’ll be reading.
    .-= Caroline Lewis´s last blog ..A Family Reunion . . . errr . . . union is coming! =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 9:30 am

      Thanks.

      You better believe I’ll be doing all the research I can. I’m not letting this beat me.

  • inkpuddle September 2, 2009, 7:32 am

    Do what you gotta do to take care of yourself. Taking the plunge is scary, but I think you’re making a good move. Deep breath, and lots of luck finding an approach that fits your needs.
    .-= inkpuddle´s last blog ..Of toenails, self-confidence, and how mani-pedis make stuff better =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 9:30 am

      Thank you. I appreciate it!

  • Lauren September 2, 2009, 7:51 am

    As long as you do your research, ask questions the whole time, be involved in your treatment, you won’t lose yourself. I’m “blessed” with mental illness genes as well. There was a time in my life that I sought out treatment as well, but I just I wasn’t really involved in my own treatment. I stayed with doctors and therapists I didn’t like. Fast forward a year and I was on 4 different medications, therapy twice a week and a prescribing shrink once a week. I had no idea what the hell I was doing or what was going on. I was numb, in a drug induced calmness. I thought I lost myself. Then I woke up one day and was like “WTF am I doing?” and weaned myself all those meds. And stopped seeing those doctors that thought pills solved everything and never listened to what I was actually saying.

    But your right, mental illness can’t be untreated, even the smallest genetic case. It definitely festers. But this time around I didn’t just take what they gave me, I questioned it. So now me and my (new) doctor are doing a treatment (and not 4 different meds!) that is so much better and I don’t feel like I’m losing myself at all, if anything the new treatment helped me find myself b/c it help clear the constant sadness that was taking over.

    I wish you luck and even though we’ve only just been acquainted, I would love to hear about this journey and give any insight that I can.

    <3
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..game on. =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 11:17 am

      Yeah, that’s my biggest worry. Not being able to say that it’s wrong…or not KNOWING that it’s wrong for me, ya know?

      I’m glad that you’ve found the right treatment for YOU.

      <3

  • Patrick September 2, 2009, 8:45 am

    It’s a big step admitting you need a little help out there- I’ll be there no matter what you decide to do.
    .-= Patrick´s last blog ..Remember When Silverman and Kimmel Were F*cking Matt And Ben? =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 11:17 am

      Thanks. I appreciate it.

  • Squish September 2, 2009, 8:50 am

    I like you. I’d be sad if ‘you’ was gone. I *will* throw a very loud hissyfit if I start to see ‘you’ leaving. But I want you to be the best you, so I am with you. <3

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 11:24 am

      <3 Thanks love.

  • justjp September 2, 2009, 8:51 am

    I agree with Patrick. Big Ups girl, big-ups.
    .-= justjp´s last blog ..5 things you didn’t know =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 11:30 am

      <3

  • Sarah September 2, 2009, 8:57 am

    Therapy ROCKS. I seriously heart it. I’ve had lots of different psychologists and counselors throughout the years for various issues. It’s great to have someone to talk to when things get rough. Let me know if you need any help with anything 🙂
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..24 Hours of Booty =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 11:30 am

      I’m glad to hear that…Hearing good things about it helps me. It’s mostly the fear of the unknown.

      Thanks love.
      <3

  • Mike September 2, 2009, 8:59 am

    My sister was born with a genetic condition called cruzons. It means her bones in her skull were fused from birth, as well as some odd joint configurations (no third joint in her thumbs, for example). She had to have dozens of reconstructive surgeries, including peeling off her face, cutting her skull off, smashing it to bits and reconstructing it.

    When she was four, she went completely blind because of the complications. She cannot hear without her hearing aides because of her narrow ear canals due to the deformations.

    She had to have surgery to correct her spine which left her in agony for months.

    Her early life until she was 16 or 17 was spent in hospitals.

    When she was 20, she went to university 4 hours away from home, by herself. She lived off campus, got to school, went grocery shopping, all by herself. She now lives in Virginia, is married, volunteers for a suicide hotline and sings in a choir in D.C.

    Here is the point. Your issues while real, are readily and easily solvable, even if you think it is scary.

    If you want kids, and they have this issue, then it can be easily resolved, especially if you resolve them early. It just takes that first step.
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..A reminder of youth =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 11:41 am

      Thanks for sharing your sister’s story.

      I know that I just have to take the first step.

  • shine September 2, 2009, 9:23 am

    It’s never the wrong decision to get help when you need it. Be strong, you’re doing the right thing.
    .-= shine´s last blog ..Some people just shouldn’t date. =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 11:41 am

      Thanks hon.

  • Svaha September 2, 2009, 9:31 am

    It can get frustrating trying to find the right therapist (I think sometimes it’s easier to find your SoulMate than a good therapist). Don’t be hesitant or embarrassed to say “Sorry, you just don’t ‘feel‘ right.” I’ve had therapist I didn’t like, but I could tell they were helping. But there were quite a few I kicked to the curb quickly because there was no way I was going to spend one more hour of my life locked in a room with them, never mind an hour a week for who knows how long.

    I’ve never been big on the meds. Lot’s of people push them hard, push what’s new, push multiple doses of conflicting meds, blah, blah, blah. But – there have been some that have helped. Some that have ‘helped’ my brain/body kick start itself into working on it’s own again. And just because yours is genetic doesn’t mean a low-dose maintenance med might not be all you need to really help.

    And I’ve found that with the right therapy and meds you can start to recognize your mental state better and gauge the changes. I still have my moments and episodes, but I can tell when they’re starting and when I’m in them. And for me that helps me feel like better in tune and able to ‘control’ things better, better being a very relative term.

    Good luck, stay the course, do what feels right – even if you feel crazy for feeling it!

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 11:43 am

      Yeah, I’m really not big on meds…which is my biggest issue I think. I don’t want to feel like I’m losing control…because the fact that I need treatment alone IS something that is out of my control and I hate it.

      Thanks honey!

  • tinyshrimp September 2, 2009, 9:50 am

    I know that you will get through this. I’m here for you whenever you need me. *hugs*

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 10:37 am

      xo

  • LA Cochran September 2, 2009, 10:27 am

    There are many ways to get help. Explore them and decide what’s right for you. I think you are wise to seek help when you feel you need it. BIG *HUGS*
    .-= LA Cochran´s last blog .."Why don’t we live together, only the two of us, we’ll learn to trust" –Barry Manilow =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 10:36 am

      Thanks 🙂

  • Lemmonex September 2, 2009, 10:28 am

    Don’t be a hero…with the right treatment you can feel so much better. It can be scary to face, but you will kick yourself for waiting so long.
    .-= Lemmonex´s last blog ..Same Old Song and Dance =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 10:36 am

      I was kind of kicking myself last night.

      I’m going to make that call today.

  • Nanea September 2, 2009, 10:58 am

    You are very, very brave.

    I don’t think you’ll lose yourself, because it is clear that you are militantly on your own side. A very good and courageous thing.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 11:43 am

      Thanks. I’m trying.

  • Liebchen September 2, 2009, 12:35 pm

    Good for you for recognizing all of that. Is it scary? Of course. Do you have friends that will be here so you don’t get lost? Without a doubt.
    .-= Liebchen´s last blog ..Maybe the New Year should be celebrated in September =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 1:14 pm

      <3

      Thank you.

  • Cute~Ella September 2, 2009, 12:37 pm

    This is the first step down a long and hard road. I commend you for taking it and admitting that you need help at this time.

    A word if I may – because I lost a friend over this part – don’t find a “yes” person to be your therapist or doctor. Nothing good comes of it and no actual progress is made.

    I have also discovered in getting my own help and watching others, that the real them comes out…and it’s beautiful.
    .-= Cute~Ella´s last blog ..My dress and a bonus =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 1:09 pm

      I appreciate it. I’ve had too may people be the ‘Yes’ person in my life and I know how destructive it is. I would expect nothing less than a challenge from my therapist.

      Thank you 🙂

  • Jaime September 2, 2009, 12:40 pm

    When I realized that I needed help I was off-the-map scared. I thought for a long time that just knowing that I needed it was enough to help me get my life back together, that I could be proactive about it and it wouldn’t get worse, and that I wouldn’t need to see anyone or take any medication because I was aware of it.

    But that’s not how it goes.

    I was afraid to even talk to my doctor about it, because I didn’t know what it was going to do to me. I didn’t want anything to change who I was inside. I didn’t want to become a drone, a zombie. My mom has a history of drug dependence and alcoholism, my dad has low grade anxiety, my sister has a panic AND a personality disorder. I thought all this made me a prime candidate for being sent to the hospital.

    It came to a point where I was dangerous to myself. I wasn’t leaving the house unless I had to go to work. I wouldn’t try new things or even do a lot of things I’d done before because everything spurred anxiety, which made me upset with myself and I became severely depressed. The only person I would listen to was my panic stricken, borderline personality ruled sister and some druggie friends I had from work. I started smoking pot every day, did E a couple times, and after I felt like I couldn’t get any lower, any more scared than I already was, I had a pregnancy scare. Because of stress, drugs, and anxiety I hadn’t gotten my period in 4 months. I took three pregnancy tests, three weeks in a row, and got negative results. Just wondering if I COULD HAVE BEEN pregnant, while I was smoking pot as much as I was, scared me and I stopped smoking it. I thought that would make me feel better, but it didn’t.

    I ended up being at work one night, at my new awesome job just farting around on the internet, when my left arm started feeling weird. Then my little finger and my ring finger. I started to panic. My heart was beating weird. I had all the symptoms of a heart attack. I had Alli drive me to the hospital, I was seeing stars and sparkles at the outside of my vision. ER diagnosis? I wasn’t dying. My heart was fine aside from some irregular rhythms caused by an anxiety attack.

    Throughout all that time I had good days. I had days where I felt like the sun was shining just for me, and I thought that if I had these good days it meant there was nothing wrong with me. But for every good day there were three or four bad ones.

    I guess what I’m trying to get at with this novel of a comment I’m leaving is that I was scared too. I went through a lot of self imposed stress and anxiety before doing something about my problems because I was scared. I was scared of being someone else. I was scared of feeling different. I was scared of being normal. You name it, I was scared of it. So it’s OK to be scared. It’s OK to be nervous. But in the end you have to do something about it because life is so much easier once you’ve taken that first step. It is a sickness, and it’s not just going to go away.

    I know everyone else is saying the same thing, but I’m here for you. You have every possible way to get in contact with me. If you need to call me or text me or email me or IM me, don’t hesitate. I’ve been at the bottom looking up, I would’ve loved to have had someone to reach down and help me pick myself back up. I would’ve loved to have known someone who’d been there, living proof that everything was going to be ok, tell me that after taking control of her life she felt more like herself than she ever had. And that’s how I feel. Yeah, things are still bad sometimes and I have to work at it every day, but the degree of bad is much more tolerable and I’m more equipped to handle the every day in ways I wasn’t before.
    .-= Jaime´s last blog ..Writing Every Day {NaBloPoMo 2} =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 1:13 pm

      I said it in my vlog…I’ve watched you grow in a lot of ways and this was definitely one of them.

      I’ve had anxiety attacks before…and they suck. I just let them go though…

      I know I need help. I know it’s fucking terrifying but I need to do this.

      But the truth? I couldn’t do it if I thought I was alone. So thank you.

  • MinD September 2, 2009, 12:41 pm

    A huge step is recognizing that you do need more help that you’re currently receiving, so seeking that treatment is a gigantic part of it all. And I’m sure so many of us are here to help you in whatever ways you might need, even if it’s just a virtual pat on the back.

    My aunt has been in and out of mental hospitals, so I worry about the same thing sometimes, on the days where I’m a broken down mess. And someday, I might have to seek my own treatment or help in getting by. I hope I’m as strong as you are if that day comes.
    .-= MinD´s last blog ..Perhaps. =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 1:14 pm

      It is TERRIFYING. I’ve seen how my grandma is when she doesn’t take her medication. I see how my mom is now that she’s gone untreated for 25 years…

      If it comes to that point, seek help. Seek encouragement and hopefully, I’m going to get stronger so seek me if you need to.

  • phampants September 2, 2009, 12:51 pm

    I’ve been there before. It’s hard. Sometimes you just need to do what you need to do. We’re here for you
    .-= phampants´s last blog ..ET09: Ethnography of a Train Station =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 1:10 pm

      Thanks Pham

  • David September 2, 2009, 12:56 pm

    Not sure exactly what the mental illness is, but I’m guessing bipolar since you mentioned mood swings becoming unbearable. Whatever it is, the good news is that there is help for mental disorders and the first step to getting that help is admitting you have a problem. So pat yourself on the back for that! That takes a lot of courage to not only admit you have a problem, but to have the strength to say that you need help and actually seek out that help.

    If you ask me, you are well on your way to getting this under control. Just remember, that everyone reacts differently to medications. So what may help one person, may not help you. But hang in there and work with your doctor to find what works for you so you can spend less time fretting about this and more time enjoying life. Good luck!

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 1:10 pm

      I’m not sure if there’s any bipolar in my family…The diagnosed have been Paranoid Schizophrenic and Manic Depressive so I’m hoping that I lean more toward the second illness…

      It took me a very long time to even ADMIT that I might have the same issues…let alone seek help.

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment!

  • Ev`Yan || apricot tea. September 2, 2009, 1:55 pm

    I found your blog through 20sb.

    What you’re going through is something I know VERY well. Mental illness runs very deep in my family, on both sides (my mother & father), & the potential fear of becoming like my schizophrenic, paranoid grandfather scares the hell out of me. I’ve learned to accept that their blood runs in my veins, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to end up like them. I can make the choice to rise above it… & I think you can too. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t look too deeply into your family’s ties with mental illness. You don’t have to suffer… you don’t have to make that agreement. You can choose to make your life different. Easier said than done, I know. Having someone hold you accountable will keep you grounded. I’m so thankful that I have my husband & my sister & mom to help me.

    As far as treatment goes… I was diagnosed with having simple anxiety disorder. It was a tough, tough time for me, as I was having panic attacks daily & feeling like I couldn’t go certain places to see certain people. As it progressed, I felt like I was starting to have social anxiety… & the moment I realized that I was scared to go see my mom was when I KNEW I needed help. At that point, I tried everything: therapy, meditation, change in diet, deep breathing, book reading, & other methods. Anti-depressants was my LAST resort, & the best damn decision I have made in my life. It took a LONG time for me to feel confident within my skin just knowing that I was taking “happy pills” but eventually the vanity fell away & I have made peace with my decision (it’s been almost 2 years since I’ve been on pills). My life is back to “normal”; I no longer have anxiety & I am now doing things that I couldn’t do before, like going to the movies, traveling to see my mother, & sleeping through the night.

    My comment is getting long, but I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. & also, don’t be afraid of getting treatment, or being on pills. It’ll help your life for the better! You can rise above whatever you’re going through. If I can do it, you can, too. :]

    I’d also like to suggest a website that helped me TREMENDOUSLY when I was going through anxiety & depression. http://depressionforums.org/ It’s an amazing support group that deals with all kinds of mental & health illnesses, even eating disorders. You can talk to people who are going through the same things as you, & uplift others through their healing. It helped me a lot, & I think it has the potential to do the same for you.

    Take care. =]
    .-= Ev`Yan || apricot tea.´s last blog ..apricot’s closet: august wrap-up. =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 3:47 pm

      I really really appreciate you taking the time to write this out. It’s amazing hearing these stories and knowing that I’m not alone…which is/was one of my biggest fears. That I’d wake up one day and be alone.

      I will definitely check out that group as well.

      I really appreciate it 🙂

  • Just A Girl September 2, 2009, 2:02 pm

    I had to face that a couple years ago – when I started having panic attacks and SEVERE social anxiety (like Jaime, I didn’t leave the house unless I absoltely had to), that was it for me. But fortunately I’d been the therapy route for a long time and kind of knew what to expect. And my doctor listened to my concerns about medication and helped me find one that would stabilize me without numbing.

    I think it helped a lot that I kept a notebook before my appointment where I wrote down things I was feelings, so I could accurately tell the doctor “I felt angry this day and hopeless this day, and I didn’t sleep that night or that one.” It gave him a clearer picture of what was really going on beyond “I just feel bad.” Maybe try that if it helps you get a grip on your feelings. I know you already write for that reason.

    I love you lady.
    .-= Just A Girl´s last blog ..Love Letters =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 3:51 pm

      That might actually be a good idea. Because I go through so many emotions…Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of them.

      Unless I go back and read my outbursts to Courtni on chat.

      I love you too.

  • Anon September 2, 2009, 2:31 pm

    I have depression and have found antidepressants to be the most effective treatment for me personally. That and talking to someone who understands, like a therapist or family member. Exercise is good too.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 3:53 pm

      Thanks. I appreciate the comment and am glad that you are getting treatment that works for you.

  • Rachel September 2, 2009, 2:43 pm

    I’m so proud of you for admitting that you need professional help. There can be such a stigma attached to mental illness so for you to put this out there and ask for help is amazing.

    I want you to know that you are most certainly not alone. My mom is a counselor for a clinic in DC that works with severely mentally ill patients — schziophrenics, bipolar, schizo-effective. Most of them are homeless and have co-occuring issues, like HIV, drug abuse, and Hepatitis. I myself have seen a therapist off and on for 8 years, so I’m well-versed in mental illness. You referred in a comment reply above to there being a diagnosis of Manic Depression in your family. That is bipolar disorder. Manic Depression doesn’t exist in diagnostic language anymore; it’s bipolar, so don’t be afraid of that as something “new” in your family. Also, the right pyschiatrist will listen to your fears of “losing” yourself and not overdose you on meds. There are so many amazing newer drugs out there that will not put you in a stupor. But if you start taking meds under a doctor’s supervision and decide that they’re not working or you’re feeling overdosed, don’t do what another of your commenters did and wean yourself off of them alone. Stopping those kinds of drugs on your own can have some serious side affects and should be done carefully and with the advice and assistance of your doctor.

    Good luck to you. I’m behind you 100%. And if you’re worried about the genetic issue, you can always adopt.
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..The Tango!! =-.

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 3:56 pm

      I’d already decided to adopt long ago…but a part of me thinks I won’t be a good mom.

      Thanks for taking the time to write out the info…It’s been a while since I’ve kept current with my psych so I wasn’t aware that Manic Depression/Bipolar were the same.

      xo

  • Anita September 2, 2009, 3:33 pm

    See a doctor Sweets. Get a professional opinion.

    And know that you are loved beyond meassure.

    xoxo

    • PrincessQ September 2, 2009, 3:56 pm

      xoxoxoxo

  • miss rambles September 2, 2009, 4:59 pm

    you do wot you gotta do to keep you healthy!

    speak to a doc, get ALL the info you can and it may surprise you

    we will all be here for you!
    .-= miss rambles´s last blog ..jst a thought =-.

  • L.L. September 2, 2009, 5:47 pm

    Please get help and don’t be ashamed to do so… you have so much to be happy for. Don’t wait.
    .-= L.L.´s last blog ..An update for Baby Vanessa =-.

  • Walter September 2, 2009, 9:48 pm

    Let’s get something out of the way. My ‘tough love’ is often enough confused with being an asshole. I’m really not. So…Sorry?

    This isn’t supportive, motivational or congratulating you on your bravery to post your life experiences.

    I feel kinda left out because I don’t have anxiety problems, that I can think of anyhow. Aside from some insecurities about my weight, I’m happy with who I am. If I did have problems, I wouldn’t take pills. I wouldn’t go to a shrink. My problems are dealt with in two ways: my friends and loved ones being there for me, and withdraw into myself so I can resolve the issue personally. With my own willpower.

    Some may need meds or some other form of help. Usually fixing whatever problems I ‘think’ I have can be easily dismissed with looking at other people.

    I live in America. Not in some third world country where people die every day from starvation and disease by the thousands. Not in medieval Europe where I would have to work and slave all day in some field in order to provide food for my family.

    Those who are blessed are cursed with the burden of ease. (That’s a good one, I think I’ll write that down and use it later. You can quote me on that.) Get over it.

    (maybe I am an asshole…)

  • Cassi September 5, 2009, 12:18 am

    I have been dealing with Mental Illness in my own life (myself and much of my family and friends) for many many years. Email me if you want to talk. I am an open book.

    And as goofy as it sounds to say it… the first step is admitting you need help… truly, and seriously it is the most important.
    .-= Cassi´s last blog ..Some smacking and a little weeping Dear So and So Friday!! 🙂 =-.

  • The Sarcastic Soprano May 11, 2010, 10:20 pm

    I totally relate to this. Mental illness also runs in my family and my husband’s family. I hate meds too because I always seem to get the worst side effects. The most effective treatment involves counseling in addition to meds (who knows if you even need the meds!). I hope you can find somebody good to talk to (if you haven’t already) and maybe that is all you need. It sounds like you are already self aware and thats half the battle.
    .-= The Sarcastic Soprano´s last blog ..My Plantar Fasciitis Story: The Early Years =-.

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