Hey everyone, it’s been a while since I posted any personal content and I wanted to share where I’m at in my life.
In my Home Page, I talk about having depression and anxiety but as time went on, those diagnoses no longer seemed to fit what I was feeling. I was disassociating almost everyday, my moods were no longer constant lows, I would sometimes feel on top of the world and powerful, to the point where a friend described my behavior as intense. Both my counselor and primary doctor recommended I see a psychiatrist.
The psychiatrist diagnosed me with Bipolar 2 disorder and Depersonalization Derealization Disorder or DDD for short. For those who don’t know, Bipolar 2 is similar to Bipolar disorder, except the episodes of mania and depression only last for maybe a week at a time rather than for weeks. This definitely explained why I would occasionally have half a week of feeling like I can do anything and then a few weeks later I would feel empty and numb.
As far as DDD goes, it was more confusing to learn about considering this is a recently discovered disorder. As I progressed along my depression journey, I found myself often apathetic but I didn’t realize I was apathetic to the point of detachment. I would talk to the doctor and tell them about some pretty awful things I’ve experienced and they pointed out that I was talking as if I were just stating facts and that there was no emotion behind my words. I shrugged and said, “it is what it is” but according to my therapist, using that nonchalant phrase to dismiss a lack of feelings is not a great way to validate experiences.
Before medication, I disassociated a LOT. Half the time it wasn’t even triggered by anything, I could be putting on makeup and feel my mind separating from my body or be driving and suddenly feel like I was playing an arcade racing game, my mind now in the backseat. In these times, my body goes on autopilot and it feels like I am simply an observer in this person’s life; I don’t feel as if I am connected to my body.
I did learn that before I disassociate, I usually experience what my counselor and I coined as “fat fingers”. When fat fingers starts, my fingers will feel heavy, like each finger gained a pound, and if I squeeze them, I can hardly feel the pressure. The sensation will spread to the rest of my hands and lo and behold, I’ve suddenly disassociated. This tell is really useful because when I feel it happening, I can start attempting to ground myself to stay actively in control. Interestingly enough, I experienced fat fingers a lot as a kid so I must have been disassociating back then as well.
I also learned that my disassociation can be triggered by yelling, I discovered this in a class when the professor started yelling to prove a point. I desperately began drawing in my notebook, hoping the quick motions of pencil on paper would keep me in the driver’s seat. No criticism to my parents, but they yelled frequently as I grew up and I never handled it well, I would sneak into the bathroom multiple times a day so I could cry. To avoid suspicion, I would only give myself a minute to feel and then splash my face with water and act like nothing happened. My body must have started detaching from my mind in order to protect me from the frequent pain.
The past few months, I have been trying new medications in order to help stabilize my mood and it was a rocky start at first, with me falling into deep depressions and missing working for a week and a half straight. I’m happy to say with a few more adjustments, I am much better now and much more stable and in control.
In terms of body image, I’m also improving! Most days I like what I see and I think part of it has to do with my participation in a study called “The Body Project”. This group was not only centered around body positivity but also gaining skills to combat poor self talk. We discussed how society has a “body ideal” that isn’t realistic for really anyone, yet we still feel pressured to reach it. We built each other up every week and practiced re-framing self talk or asking why we even believe things like “I would look better if I were a size X” and “I would have the perfect life I were thin”. It helped me to appreciate my body and the journey we have been on, slowly making our way to acceptance.
I can’t say I completely ignore the scale but for the most part I do, instead I focus on how my body feels and looks and how I feel about that rather than I how I feel about how much gravity is keeping me down. If I think I look hot, if I feel like a bad bitch, then I am set and feeling great about myself.
I was recently home for winter break and as I sat there with my siblings, talking about the show we are watching or arguing about what game to play, I realized just how much they mean to me. I know I get annoyed with them after too much time together but they honestly mean the world to me and I appreciate them so much. As we talked and they told me about what was going on in their lives, I was so proud listening to them and acknowledging the people they are becoming. I honestly teared up one day as we watched a movie together, realizing how these moments are fleeting and how I’ll miss them when I’m older. Then I told myself to stop being sappy and wallowing
My goal for this year, if you didn’t listen to the podcast, is to become more in touch with myself and who I want to be. I am doing things and wearing things that I like, no matter what people say about it. I want to live more according to my values and speak up for myself rather than stay silent and let things I don’t agree with happen. I want to grow into my most authentic self and simply do what makes me happy. I know that sounds generic but honestly I have spent so much time being unhappy with myself and in general that I think I need this and besides, who cares? It’s what I want to do so I’m doing it.
I’m sorry if you want more content from me and I don’t post enough, I only like to post when I have something to say and don’t want to write just to write. If you got to the end of this, thank you! I hope you stick around as I continue on my journey to self-acceptance.