psychiatry

Before the Diagnosis

IMG_1696.JPG It started out before in a nice little high school in the suburbs. This high school may have been one of the best little high schools anybody could go to. The white students could go there without trying to hard and the Asian students could go there just to raise the average test scores – even if they weren’t from the area. It was a school you went to that meant that even if you weren’t trying so hard, you could still take a couple of AP classes to get into UGA. Even if you weren’t in public school, there were millions of private, Catholic schools you could try and they would help you too from trying too hard.

Everyone started their relationships in high school. I was the only one who hadn’t. I was behind and upset. Not only that, but I also had periods. Periods that made me need birth control. If you don’t know about birth control, it basically is involved with easing the pain of periods. For me, it was a method of controlling pain of a condition I would later learn to call Endometriosis.

I became depressed on this medication. I shunned all my friends. I stalked. I hid in the bathroom during lunch. I was bullied for being sensitive – for potentially hurting my own friend with Bipolar Disorder. I didn’t know I was pushing her away as a confirmation bias of BPD. I thought about mental illness only cause all the girls were mentally ill back then.

Everyone was cutting themselves in high school. I would find myself sitting with some of the girls I did not know very well and staring at their wrists. One girl had bright red welts on her wrists. Another friend of mine had a friend who cut herself all over her body and her boyfriend from Spain was worried about it. We all tried very well to hide our jealousy – we all too wanted to be the girl with a loving boyfriend from Spain.

I guess when I got on my birth control, it was a confirmation bias. I fell in love with the depression I had on the pill the way you fall in love with an affair or chocolate. I let myself be depressed. Sure, I had the chemical help of Ethanyl Estradiol, but I made it my own mission to wallow in my depression as a way of telling the people who wronged me that I was oppressed. So when I went off to college, I was not prepared.

I don’t know if you ever met someone who pretends to be confident while being secretly insecure, but that was my roommate. My roommate was a beautiful, black girl with big curly hair, a great body and cat eyes. I kept telling her that she was the real life equivalent of Beyoncé. Unfortunately, things got so wrong. She thought I was racist.

Was I racist? I fell into Conservative politics the same way I fell into Depression – possibly making me racist at the time. I’m sure you don’t sympathize with me and perhaps you are picturing me the same way you would picture your current Conservative politicians, but I do not fit into the stereotype of the Conservative. I will be spending the other few posts on this blog demonstrating to you that I inherently lack an identity to begin with as well as how my identity has fallen apart over time as result of mental illness.

My roommate and I grew apart. She was sexually confident. I was mortified and wanted to go home to the comfort of my cats. She talked about me to my roommates, ones that were afraid of her as well as eager to please her, thus making me more isolated then before. I went for help at South University only to be denied help – by a CL who was afraid of my roommate and by a Resident Director who was simply too lazy to move me into another room.

We had one conversation together with my CL. She won that conversation, making me cry and admit that I was probably too mentally ill to relate to her well. I was still on birth control at the time, pills my gynecologist insisted would not cause Depression, as well as probably having been gaslighted by my roommate. My only option was to forfeit my sense of ethos in the conversation. She felt happy at the result of triumphing over our conversation.
I, on the other hand, ended up believing I was crazy. I walked into the counseling center of South University and did not come out – instead I went to a mental hospital.

Looking back, I can see that the complication of being a teenager and the side effects of birth control led me into believing I was depressed. Was I really depressed? I think to answer that question, you need to understand being a preteen and a teenager as a complicated time that is defined by college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT, sex and friendships. I do know that I believed I was depressed. Perhaps then I drew myself into this situation.

I had a desire that night before being institutionalized, while watching Girl Interrupted, for myself to go crazy. To be allowed to be crazy and to get treatment for the “crazy.” I think when it comes to psychosis, whether it’s induced by a mental illness or not, we need to allow ourselves to get help when we need it. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be ashamed by what happened. Unfortunately, I was terrified of being put in a mental hospital. That meant I had failed to be the responsible student, loving daughter and caring friend that I was meant to be. Ironically, many of the people I met at the hospital were young. I will go into my experiences at the hospital in another post.

Ultimately, I do think that teen mental disorders are a complicating time of hormones, situations, and perhaps biology. I do think that teens should seek help when they need it. It’s just that I received the wrong help (Which I will explain in a following post.) I still have anxiety about that time and I think we can learn from my pre-diagnosis that teens experience a lot of anxiety about how they are feeling – not wanting to concern their parents, burden their friends or alert their teachers. Yet it’s the way we respond to that help which we can change. We don’t have to be alarmist in every situation. I understand that in some situations that immediate response is necessitated but ultimately if we don’t force people to go to mental hospitals, we can allow them to get help on their own turns. We should move away from forced institutionalization for children under age 18 so that they will seek help and be met with less worry and scare. That’s just my two cents. Thanks for reading!

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