Today I am going to go see a psychiatrist. The medical group I work with made it very difficult to get this appointment. I was interrogated by multiple people and it was very obvious that if I didn't answer in a way they liked I was going to be locked up whether I like it or not. Self-harming is illegal, you know. It's pretty terrifying to me that I have to be careful in how I word things or I won't be coming home today. The terror is enough that I kind of want to cancel the appointment and continue to hide in my house forever smoking pot. At least right now I don't have to worry about someone else deciding they know what is best for me and forcing my lock-step through their program again.
For me the institution and the group home and public school were all pretty much cut from the same cloth. Obviously there were degrees of seriousness for how they slapped people down for stepping out of line. For the whole god damn rest of my life "help" means people doing things to me against my will. That is what help is. It doesn't matter if I am crazy or sane, it doesn't influence how people treat me. Do you know what does influence how people treat me? How much they actually listen to me before they start acting.
I don't know how to make any part of my life or experiences or needs or whatever into brief little sound bites that keep me out of trouble. That is a lot of what other people seem to have that I don't. It's not that no one else had anything shitty happen to them. It's that no one else seems to have diarrhea of the mouth and the compulsive desire to tell everyone in the world, "My dad raped me and I still can't sleep at night because of it. It's not so bad really. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a world where I don't wake up at 3 am unable to go back to sleep because I am no longer stoned and I can't bear the nightmares. Luckily I went to bed at 7 last night. I got in a lot of sleep. It seems to be the only way to hack the system.
I am afraid that if I tell the truth today I won't be coming home. I have responsibilities. I have people to care for. An institution isn't a "break" it is a horrible rending and tearing of not allowing me to have contact with the few people in the world who love me and are nice to me. Please God, I never want to be in an institution again. Never. Never. I am really afraird of talking to a psychiatrist today. I know that if I'm honest about how I have been since April they will talk to me about my "options" by which tell me what they are considering forcing me to do. Because the minute I walk into this doctors care I no longer get to have the final say about my mental health.
I feel like I am about to puke on the floor. I have six hours of terror to get through until I meet this doctor. How this goes depends on the psychiatrist I see. If this is an open minded person who believes there are many roads to an acceptably good life, I might get some actual help. If this person believes that all people must be like _____ or they need "help" I might be walking into an actually dangerous situation for me. And I don't know in advance what kind of person this is. And dear god the power she will weird. I'm actually more scared because it is a woman. Despite the fact that every sexual assault was perpetuated by men, I still feel much more terrified of women. Women are meaner. Women hurt other women and girls just so they get the rush of feeling bigger. I have some issues with women.
I am aware that the most likely result of today is that I will come home with a prescription of some sleep and/or anxiety medication. I'm willing to bet money that the doctor will be fine. That I will talk about my horror story of a life, say that I self harm in limited ways because of a life of horror and right now the pressure is simply too much for me to cope with "healthy" coping mechanisms on my own and I need help. This doctor would probably be ok with drugging me into a zombie state for the rest of my life if I need that to stop being angry all the time. I don't want that either.
What do I want? What do I hope for? If I don't know I can't ask. I want to sleep better, longer, and in the middle of the night rather than through the evening. I miss Noah on nights I go to bed with Calli. I want to be able to control my anger. I want to not hide at home because I am terrified people will dislike me and be mean to me. I am so afraid of people being mean to me. Sometimes I think I have picked the wrong friends groups.
People I know hurt my feelings a lot. I'm really over sensitive. I try hard to keep it as just my problem because I know I am over sensitive. But that means I don't go out. Because people hurt me casually without noticing. I notice. I stop going out. This is the flip side of "blunt". An awful lot of things that people say attached to the phrase, "I'm just being honest" are awful. Awful. Awful. "I don't think you are a bad person or anything, I just think it is a sign that you have no respect for yourself if you have slept with so many people." I don't think that is true. If it was true, thank you for telling me that you think I treat me like a piece of shit because I don't have the same attitude about sex that you have. Obviously us whores are lower life forms.
I do speak negatively about women who have sex with the guys I sleep with. Not to put them down, but rather I refer to us collectively as whores. I've noticed lately that I am inadvertently thinking negative-ish things about women I really have no negative thoughts by. Especially over the past three years, I just don't have negative thoughts about the women Noah sleeps with. D is not a whore. She's a very nice lady who sometimes sleeps with my husband when the idea of sex makes me cranky. The only exchange is stress relief. That's not being a whore. It's being an unconventionally awesome friend.
I have some mixed feelings about sex. I can't imagine why.
That last sentence makes me smile. People like to talk about the things that are important to them. Most people seem to find books, movies, their kids, their jobs, and their hobbies to be the extent of what they do with their talking. I'm important to me. Trying to figure out how to hack my system and behave how I want to behave is my hobby. Other people seem to not have the road blocks to existing that I have. I can get things done. I can be productive. I can even seem happy. But I have to rig the game.
I can visit with friends. I can deal with all the stuff that needs to be done to keep two little kids growing like weeds and healthy. I can't go meet new people by myself. I can't handle things that feel high pressure. New people are terrifying. New people represent this constant low level risk of nastiness. Either I will be stupid enough to say something about myself and they will be disgusted and not like me or I will be stupid and comment on their life choices in a way that is inappropriate. The internet is not doing wonders for my social skills.
There is a local meet up group for home schoolers. Sarah tried to go to one of their events yesterday and missed them in the crowd. The organizer sent me this email asking if Sarah is.... part of my family? Because then she can just be accepted into the group instead of being a provisional member. They've met me and the kids and if she's attached to us she is obviously not a predator or creepy person. They don't have to meet her first if she is attached to us.
That honestly makes me feel weird. I told her, "Yes Sarah is part of our family. I'm sorry we don't get to more events. That is when the baby naps. We are hoping that now that she has crossed into toddlerhood that naps will drift and we will be able to come to a lot more events." That's a good way of not sounding like a crazy fuck up. "Actually I usually skip your events because there is this one cunt I am afraid of meeting up with and it keeps me at home shaking with terror." You know that friend who dumped me with the nasty dear Jane email? She's active all over the bay area with anything vaguely crunchy and parenting. I don't really want to run into someone who will tell me that I am such a bad parent she doesn't want to know me.
All of these things are related and combined in my head. People are terrifying. At any random moment people who are staunchly my "friend" will turn on me and start telling me how bad or gross or wrong or... something. I'm inappropriate. I should be kept away from decent people because I am so bad bad bad. That's why I am so afraid of the institution. It feels like just one more way that society wants "people like me" to be eliminated. If I can't control myself well enough to pretend that I am just like everyone else they are going to put me in a place where I will god damn get control.
It's hard to explain to people what the institution was like for me. You can't go to the bathroom without permission. You can't eat without permission. When food is put in front of you, you are required to eat all of it or you get punished. A lot of the girls in psych wards are there for eating disorders. As a result every person there is given the same food and you have to eat every bite whether you like it or not. I was told very clearly that if I refused food I would be strapped to a table and a feeding tube would be inserted. That was what I was told when I said I didn't want to eat the scrambled eggs because they were too soft and I thought they tasted bad. All of my life I have hated scrambled eggs that were too soft. I like them burned. I like them absolutely hard. The institution made them really runny and slimy in a huge batch. They wouldn't even microwave the fucking things for me to cook them more. The employee told me that I had to eat all of it or I would be forced to eat through a tube. When I started eating with tears running down my face and I was actively fighting my gag reflex... the employee smiled and called me a good girl.
That's fucked up. I'm sorry. That is not about helping me be "better". That is about helping to break my spirit and force me to conform to someone else's idea of being a good person. Seriously? My mental health is related to me being able to choke down under cooked eggs? Why in the fuck was that important? Why was that a battle? Why did I have to eat or risk more invasive medical procedures? Why should I believe anything other than Western Medicine is Evil. Giving that much power to people is wrong. No one should have been able to do that to me.
I'm sorry, but suicide and self-harming should not be punished the way they are. Do you know why people are punished this way? Because it is disruptive to society for people to be unpredictable. People who commit suicide or self-harm are likely to be different and cause waves. We certainly must stomp that right the fuck out. No disruptions of routine. Everything.Must.Flow.Like.Clockwork. Or you are bad. And we will force you back into line.
You can't eat when you want to. You can't go to the bathroom when you want to. You can't sleep when you want to. You can't play games when you want to. You can't listen to music when you want to. You can't decide who you talk to. You can't decide what you eat. You can't decide what clothes you wear. You can't decide how to treat your body--your decisions are substandard.
That's what an institution is like. You are expected to slowly shuffle from activity to activity (eating is an activity) exactly how and when they say. You cannot question anything. You cannot have a body that likes to eat every four hours instead of eating at 6:30, 12:30 and 6:30. You cannot have any privacy in your head. If an employee (it probably is only supposed to be the therapists, but the orderlies are assholes too) decides to start interrogating you about what you are thinking you had better have an acceptable answer.
When I was institutionalized the story was that I had a rough life but no one knew what that meant. They knew I moved around a lot. They knew that my brother had been hit by a car. There was some vague talk that maybe some sexual abuse had happened. I hadn't told anyone about being raped. Not by anyone. I went into the institution and was told to lay out all my secrets on a table for them to judge and decide about. Of course I didn't tell them shit. They were forcing me to eat runny eggs and walk from room to room under their command. There was no safety. There was no room for me to exist at all. I'm just glad it was only two weeks.
I can play the game if I have to. Of course I can. I wouldn't be alive and outside of jail if it wasn't true. But I break the social contract in a lot of ways. A lot of ways that are easy to ignore when I am at home by myself in the garage. No one will hurt me here. No wonder Alex's therapist said I am like the crazy ass Vietnam vet who stockpiles food and ammunition. I don't think our larder is especially bursting with stores and I don't own a gun. But I do very careful limit how much I deal with people. I only invite a few people to my house and I don't go out often. You never know who is going to be nasty to you.
I remember not caring about the fact that people judged me badly. I mean, I can deal with the random public and I do. I go to the grocery store and have pleasant interactions. I can take my kids to the zoo or museum and we do fine and have fun. I can't go to a big party with a bunch of "friends". I can't go meet a medical practitioner because this person will abruptly have "authority" over me.
I'm tired of feeling like I am wrong or bad just for existing. For saying the things I say. For taking up the space I take up. Even if I do go to an event I feel this constant pressure to sit in a corner and not say anything awkward or uncomfortable. This is hard. If someone says, "So what have you been up to lately?" it's a huge anxiety bomb. Well I've spent most of 2011 having a mental breakdown and I wrote about it on my blog extensively. Want to hear about my long list of rape experiences? No, no one wants to hear that. But it's what I want to talk about. So I stay home by myself and I write. I can't offend anyone if I am writing alone in a room.
Cue chorus of snickers. Ok, if people are offended by what I write when I am alone in a room I don't feel much responsibility for that. Stop reading then you stupid asshole. No one is dragging you to a computer and chaining you there until you read all my inane drivel. My whining. I'm not feeling good about myself today. I'm really afraid of this doctor. I'm really afraid that this doctor has the power to say, "You know how hard you are working on being a stable mother? Well... someone like you shouldn't have had kids and we are going to protect your kids from you." I have to be careful what I say in front of this doctor or I risk CPS. I'm afraid that it doesn't matter that I only self harm behind closed doors away from my children. I'm afraid I am going to be told that someone like me is too toxic to share the same air. It's for everyones good that I be removed from the home.
I was often taken away from my family as a child "for my own good". I was always sent back after a while because there aren't enough tolerance for me anywhere else either. Difficult. That's me. Always have been. Always thinking I get to have an opinion and preferences. Always thinking that it matters what I want. Stupid me.
There are few things in my life more terrifying than the institution. I know it would be a different one this time. A "better" one. It wouldn't really be better though. It would just be the system trying to convince me that as long as they don't force me down on a table we are all doing what we want to do. It's a lie. Me doing what I want to do involves hiding in my house and beating my head on the concrete floor when I can't handle the anxiety. Ok, that's not really what I want to do. But I prefer beating my head at home to beating my head in the institution and I wouldn't stop just because they told me to.
In fact if a group of doctors told me I had to stop or else... all of a sudden my skull would be covered with scabs because I would do it a lot harder. Or else what? What are you going to do to me that is going to be worse than what has happened to me? Do I really need more people hurting me? Do I really need more people trying to impose their will upon me? That is how to make me a healthy person? For yet more people to try to control me when they don't know what happened to me?
Coping mechanisms can be good and useful and necessary at one time and become less good over time. Self harming has kept me able to function and go about life. It *is* a stress relief. I have done a lot of good in my life. Why is any of it negated because I had to self harm in order to have the focus to work? Why? I can see telling me that there is a better way and offering me other options. That's awesome. I want to have other fucking options. I'm tired of my head hurting. But I can't just find this self control out of thin air. I'm out of will power. There isn't enough lemonade in the world.
I don't self harm every day. Unless you count pot, which is kind of a weird thing for me. On days when I am stoned I don't self harm at all. I haven't beat my head against the floor in almost a month, actually. Not since the day of the party. That morning I lost it and I haven't since. Having all those people come over was... challenging. It went well and everyone had fun. I still spent most of the time freaked out waiting for something awful to happen.
Since then I say, "Sarah I need to tap out" and she says, "Ok!" and I go sit down and smoke and think for thirty minutes. Then I'm cheerful again.
I want to work with a psychiatrist because I don't know much about mood stabilizing drugs. I need to learn.