Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Label Not Easily Shaken Away

I'm a tad obsessive compulsive (so is my brother and sister). Throw in a little paranoia. Add a mix of delusion. Yes, I have all of these, but I am coming to the conclusion that I am not schizophrenic, or schizo-affective as my doctor likes to label me. I was just a drunk whose excessive drinking exacerbated these symptoms. I drank extremely heavily for most of my adult life. I was talking to my father and his friend, Charlie, about this last night.

"I don't think I am truly mentally ill," I told them. "I was just an alcoholic."

"Yes, you are," my father said, rolling his eyes. "You are crazy."

Charlie just sighed. "Here we go again," he muttered under his breath.

"Why do you all want me to be mentally ill?" I asked, confused. "I would think you all would be happy if it was just my excessive drinking that caused all my problems."

"Just like a diabetic, you have to take medications for your problem," Dad said, crossing his arms defensively as he sat back in my lazy boy.

Whatever my problem is, my mind feverishly thought.

"Since I've gotten sober, I am and feel so much better, though."

"It is because I am making you take your medications," Dad replied with a scoff.

I took the pills my father gave to me. Charlie walked out to his car to bring in a beautiful new blanket he had bought for the bed in my computer room. I was overjoyed to get it. He had washed it and dried it, and I slung it over the bed and tucked it in, carefully replacing the pillows in a pleasing fashion. The blanket was so soft it felt like silk.

They finally left after my father was certain my many pills had dissolved in my stomach. I balled up on the couch thinking long and hard with Maggie at my feet. Once labeled mentally ill, then you are always considered mentally ill I mused. There is no cure. No panacea for what ails you. It is always a curse and burden to carry like Atlas carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. You have to be a pretty good actor to live up to the role you must play in my family as well. If I suddenly become independent and of a well mind, then it would upset the careful equilibrium we have established with me within my family. Lords knows it would be a travesty for me to have any independent thought and feelings not colored by my label, mental illness. I felt like some modern day Frankenstein -- a monster to be coddled and feared. Kept in this glass house, fearing to throw a rock of dissension and freedom to escape. The fear of those glass shards cascading down around me from my broken reality was enough to make me go to sleep tired and believing again that I was mentally ill. I give up. I am tired of fighting. I am a quitter. Call me crazy if you will.


Beautifully Profound said...

I don't think you are a quitter. Your dad is just short sighted I suppose. You need to do things for you and not worry what other people are going to think. Even your family sometimes. You need to live your life and not let anyone lord over you. You don't really seem like the type that likes that sort of treatment.

Glad to hear Joyce is back home. You're a good friend and that pie looks damn good. Pecan pie is sooo yummy.

Thanks for the well wishes too. I appreciate em' immensely!

Again I am honored.

Ohhh and it snowed up here, the weather channel said something about a big storm possibley 6-10 inches which may mean a whole heck of a lot more for us because I live like 10 minutes away from Lake Ontario so we get the dastardly "lake effect snow". I will take some pictures at some point for you as I know you would enjoy them a lot more then me!

Take care and have a good day.


impromptublogger said...

I don't think you are a quitter. I am beginning to believe too that you aren't schizophrenic. However, I have a feeling that you are bipolar since I've noticed how often you are up or down.

And unchecked manic states DO sometimes cause hallucinations. You were self-medicating yourself with alcohol (as many with BPD do). That would be a good combination for schizophrenic like behavior. If you don't agree with either your father or pdoc (who you said are buddies) find another shrink to get reevaluated. Often times BPD is diagonosed as schizophrenia and vice versa.

Kelly Jene said...

You aren't a quitter, you aren't a mental illness, you are Andrew, my friend. Nothing can ever change that. I know I'm not your father and I have no influence in your life. But you can be who you are and not live under a label. Hugs my friend.

Anonymous Boxer said...

Impromptu makes some good points.

Don't ever quit on yourself, Andrew. We're all given labels by society, which I hate. But the only thing we can do.... is "fight" those labels every day by getting back up..... and getting back in the "ring".. of life.


Cheryl said...

I agree about seeking a new diagnosis. Seeing a new doctor. It seems like the prudent thing to do. I know you live in a small town, so I imagine you might need to go out of it to find someone new. Something to think about.

How's your day been? I have a lot of blogs to catch up on before I can write.

CJM-R said...

Andrew, I agree, I hate labels as well. I work with young children and teens labeled mentally ill at such an early age. Sometimes, the labels change. You said it yourself that diagnoising a mental illness or a disabiltiy is not an exact science, even though the medical profession would like us to believe it so.

I try not to give you advice because I know you have your therapist for that, and I understand your options are limited in your small town.

Just be who you are, because you are a good person with a wonderful creative streak.

I won't call you crazy or a quitter. You are on the road to self discovery.... like all of us.

AlabamaGal said...

Just be yourself.
That is my only advice. :)

I don't think you are a quitter at all and I don't view you with a label. Being a paraplegic myself, I don't much like labels because they seem to try to corner somebody into a typical role and everybody is an individual, not a label. We all have strengths and weaknesses just in different ways.

I like you for who you are and the way you see the world and the way you give me a glimpse of the world through your photography and writing.


Leann said...

No one should be labeled and you yourself have said in your bio that you refuse to be labeled.

I don't know what to think as I don't know enough about the disease to state an educated opinion.

simonsays said...


Try and have a better day.


forsythia said...

Andrew, please do not give up. Yes, you're tired, but please just be tired for today.

Believe me. I am not just a sweet-little-old-lady-well-wisher. Oh, I'm that, too. I wish you well. A person VERY close to me has struggled with the same problems. Since the age of two, I think. OCD, paranoia, hostility, anxiety, bone-crushing depression, highs, lows, alcoholism. This person is in her early 40's now, and still struggling. She doesn't like the "cocktail" of pills she is supposed to take. But this condition has given given her an edge. Wisdom, empathy, depth, creativity--sometimes. At other times, she's an enigma to herself and those around her. I've already said too much.

I know this much: she is, and must be, in charge of running her life. Her medications and strategies for dealing with this "gift" are for her and her therapist to work out. She's gotten tremendous help from her AA group.

April is not the cruelest month. November is.

Oh, hell. You've guessed by now. This is our daughter. My husband once helped save the life of a co-worker because he recognized the signs. He also knew who the guy's doctor was. He sent a fax to the doctor. Result: the guy called off his date with death. November is bad for this guy too. He recently asked how our daughter was, because November is bad for him, too.

Sorry for running on.

Thank you for the note about "One plus two." So many blogs; so little time.

You're right about the house.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Orange who?
Orange you sorry
you made it
so pumpkinesque?


I hope that you feel better soon..these are the times all your loyal friends want to scoop you up and carry you along until you're feeling better!