I will do almost anything to stay at home. Granted I have a few chronic illnesses that keep me in but it is mental illness that is the real challenge. Mental illnesses, plural, and phobias, to be more exact. Bipolar Disorder, Asperger’s, OCD, Emetophobia, Claustophobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Agoraphobia. And I do what mentally ill people do. I isolate.
Life can be lived through the ethernet. Luckily for me and many others. One can stay in the apartment for days. Today, however, I had to go out. My husband asked me to check the car. And there was shopping to be done and a trip to the post office required. Shit! Forgot to take major meds last night and was not in good shape yesterday either. Dreading going out! A one mile errand for me is like a trip to China. First off, take the missed meds. And make the preparations to go out, hiding money in case of a mugging, packing a phone, emergency meds and emergency numbers for my husband, etc., etc., etc.
Then comes the moment of truth, going out the door. Meet a neighbor and surprised that could handle her in my fragile state, and was, in fact, good with her. Not always the case. Helped a new neighbor and walked out the door into the street. A man coughing. He may vomit. Terrified of vomit and vomiting. I search out the streets and buses for people who look sick or sound sick, coughing, etc. The origin of this phobia– an alcoholic father who was often sick, but knowing that does not help matters. Make it past the coughing man and note his location to look for vomit on the way back.
Then there are all the unknown. This is New York City after all. Dirty, smelly, overstimulating, overcrowded, noisy New York City. People approaching you for good causes, bogus causes, begging, anything is possible. It is not like I am a newcomer here, having lived in New York City for six-plus decades and worked all over the city for three of those decades. Until I couldn’t any more.
Someone once asked me what was there to be afraid of? What could possibly go wrong? Oh, wrong question. I could easily rattle off twenty-five scenarios of disaster and then some. But this morning surprisingly and unusually, am happy to be outside. Greet my Indian newsstand lady friend and my friendly Hispanic super next door. All goes smoothly. The clerk in the post office ends on a kind note after my botched addresses had to be fixed. It actually, and can’t believe I am saying this, but, it actually feels good to be out. Give a beggar a dollar and talk to him. Feeling good outside is a rarity. Perhaps it is the missed medication. Secretly I still believe the medication takes away something good in me. Still suffer from the delusion that all ills come from the medication, though “know” I cannot function without it. Actually perhaps it is doubling up on the dose that helps. Perhaps I should be on a higher dose of the anti-psychotic. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…
Trip over. Glad to be back home. Didn’t feel faint until back home. One of these days will venture out to shop for a new pair of jeans. One of these days…
(For more writing on battling mental illness please see my e-book, “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things” on Amazon. Also available on Smashwords, iBooks and Nook.)
August 21, 2014 | Categories: Anxiety, Asperger's & Autism, Bipolar Disorder, Depression and Mania, OCD, Uncategorized | Tags: Agoraphobia, Alcoholism, Anti-psychotic medication, Asperger's Syndrome, Battling mental illness, Bipolar Disorder, Confessions, Emetophobia, Errands, Feeling faint, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Isolating, New York City, Overstimulation, Psychiatry, Psychology, Recluse, Solitude, Vomiting | 41 Comments
Bipolar 1, OCD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. These were the labels awarded me when a major breakdown at age 28 literally catapulted me into therapy. Later came yet another label, Asperger’s Syndrome. In crisis, I was given a choice: medication or a mental hospital. I chose medication.
At this point my life began. Having left behind a trail of failed relationships, I started my quest for love, this time by journeying within. For many years, I lived in a world of delusion and psychosis. Somehow I managed to keep working my job in a university library.
All along the motivation to get well arose from a partly delusional, somewhat complex, unrequited love for a woman at work. Heretofore, heterosexual I learned that I was bisexual. A surprise. Much more importantly, I learned that I had severe problems with my own identity. I was very split by Bipolar Disorder. So split I felt like two different people. Before loving anyone, I had to overcome major problems with closeness due to Asperger’s Syndrome.
I thought I had found someone to love but love was not to come until I struggled through 7 years of hard therapeutic work. I had to start from scratch. When love came, it came in the form of a man. He became my husband of 25 years, Thomas.
My book, “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things“, chronicles the journey just pre-breakdown through psychosis, towards some semblance of sanity. It closes with my finally finding love. And though it starts off with insanity, it addresses the very human problems of intimacy and fear of closeness. Meant to give hope to the mentally ill and help enlighten their therapists, my saga may help those of the sane world who have issues with love and intimacy, not just the mentally ill.
Available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, iBooks, and Smashwords, for $2.99, my book explains what it feels like to be Bipolar and on the Autism spectrum and explores the phantasmagorical mystery of love.
One review on Amazon.com by a psychologist:
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What an honest, open recounting of one woman’s significant and complex symptoms of mental illness. An excellent book to help therapists gain a better understanding of how their clients experience the world. Ms. Stockdale’s willingness to be so vulnerable enables readers to join her in her journey toward understanding herself and overcoming many challenges. This is an important addition to the fight to overcome the stigma of mental illness. Sharon DeVinney, Ph.D.
July 1, 2014 | Categories: Asperger's & Autism, Asperger's and Love, Bipolar Disorder, Memoir Book Reviews, Segments and references to my memoir, Uncategorized | Tags: Asperger's and love, Asperger's Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Battling mental illness, Bipolar 1, Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and Love, Bisexuality, Book reviews, Clinical Social Workers, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Issues with intimacy, Issues with love, Love, Memoir, Mental illness, Psychiatric memoir, Psychiatrists, Psychiatry, Psychologists, Psychology, Romantic love, Stigma of mental illness, Therapists, Therapy | 19 Comments