Hi. I’m the A.D., and I’m bipolar II co-mormid with Attention Deficit Disorder. I hear that’s called “Hyperactivity” disorder these days, but I don’t have that, so I don’t like including that word.
<everyone>: Hi, A.D.
There, now that we’ve got the trappings of A.A., I feel like I’m starting this blog in a socially acceptable way.
I’m starting this blog for a couple of reasons:
1. I’m starting a new med and reaching out to people more than I have in the past, and the first thing I learned is that telling people about my life tends to scare the living fuck out of them. These are people who’ve supposedly known about my life for a long while, so this is leaving me rather confused.
I’m the kind of person who doesn’t keep a diary, but can be extremely eloquent when writing to other people, so how better to harness that dynamic but to be the anonymously ill writing for a faceless audience? I sure as hell can’t tell this to my friends, even if we’re all in agreement that I have a decently large network of very good people who know about my illness and try to support me. So instead, I’ll talk to you.
2. I just came across The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive, and it annoyed the fuck out of me that the first thing she writes about is her experiences with the British NHS. Me, I’m an American, which means that the collective reply from my health system is, “Fuck you, you’re on your own.” At least, until you’re healthy enough to afford what we have to offer, or at least, healthy enough to find what scraps of social support remain on the table.
3. I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to Someday When I’m Not Here. That’s not to say that I’m suicidal, or thinking about it. That’s saying that I’ve sometimes been far enough in the pit to know what suicidal tastes like. As I’ve been thinking of it, “not being suicidal” is a nice fence around my depression, and sometimes I lean on it, and every time it’s supported my weight. But someday I’m afraid that I’m going to try to lean on it, and I’ll immediately topple over backward into whatever’s on the other side.
But I don’t seriously think I’m going to off myself. Not if I’m laying odds on it. I think it’s a lot more likely that I’ll wander in front of a bus when I’m not paying attention, or that I’ll just disappear one day—either the victim of violence, or just so far up my own ass that I stop connecting with the people who pay attention to me. In some ways, that’s a damn shame, because a nice solid suicide attempt is one of two methods to actually get governmental assistance, for a short time at least. The other is to commit a crime and go to prison. Until then, fuck you, you’re on your own.
I have a shrink, and I’ve been working with her for nearly 20 years. The only reason I can afford her services is that we’ve been bartering my geek skills for brain work. I’ve had other shrinks, of varying usefulness. I’ve tried a dozen different meds. Right now, I’m taking 225 mg of Effexor and 40 mg of Ritalin, and I started 5 mg of Abilify a few days ago.
I’m an Ivy League grad, with most of two graduate degrees that I didn’t quite finish. I bill out at $100 to $125 an hour when I’m able to work. I’m a freelance writer with some decent bylines and a book under my belt. Last week I was homeless, and as I write this, I’m in danger of becoming homeless again this week. I have two dollars in my pocket and something like that in my PayPal account; my bank account has been overdrawn for two months.
I’m pretty much scared shitless of my future and barely tolerating my present, and that’s pretty much the constant.
Maybe you’re someone who’s got what I’ve got, or you know someone who does, or—most likely—you don’t exist and the most regular readers of this blog will be the Google spiders. (No, really, the search engines are called spiders. I’m not schizophrenic.) In any case, it’s a useful exercise for me to imagine you’re there.
I might come back to write more later. Or I might disappear from here for months at a time. We’ll both see as we go.