Maybe you should think of a career change

I work in the Communications sphere. Even I shake my head at the thought that I should be in this industry. I’ve even had people suggest I consider changing my career.

Growing up I didn’t learn how to talk to people. My opinion didn’t matter. I was a beneath dirt. I always thought that when I escaped that place that I would shed that skin and grow another one that was alluring to all with its diamonds and perfection. I didn’t. The pain and torment would follow. It was a stain I couldn’t get out.

Physically escaping didn’t make the fully capable person and for a good 10 years, my husband woke me up in the morning, packed my lunch, got my clothes out in the morning, helped dress me, brushed my hair, bathed me – he did it all. I was so broken I couldn’t do anything for myself.

I was terrified all the time. I feared any communication with other people. A neighbour waving to me had me breathing heavily and angry at myself for scurry away before any words would need to be exchanged.

I spent years and years watching people and trying to mimic them. I still do this. I would muster up the courage to speak, ‘that steak looks good’. My husband would smirk and point out the insincerity. I just couldn’t even make small talk. Imagine a five year old girl hiding behind the leg of her mother’s long flowing skirt, too shy to reveal herself.

People who know me now would never believe how bad the anxiety was. I push myself and have worked out that if you employ a goofy and stupid always personality, you can laugh off any time you sense that someone thinks you are odd or stupid.

I wasn’t like a prisoner in that home – I was a prisoner. People thought I was a freak. They had me trapped.

I jump hurdles every day at work to fit in. I get stressed out if anyone closes their door to have a conversation because it’s clearly about me and how bad I am. I can’t take criticism – in fact I severely melt-down and try not to let it show by going into the bathroom and hitting my fist against a wall. I’m not good with communicating with others and I flip out very quickly. I do my very best but sometimes your best isn’t enough and they can tell you are faking it.

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The Nigerian Prince

Today I met the psychiatrist I had given the title, Nigerian Prince. A Nigerian psychiatrist that was going to be my savior. He was going to ride in on his white horse and help this damsel in distress.

It all went down a little differently to this though. I spent the night before tossing and turning and unable to sleep. I was nervous about meeting my new psychiatrist.

The whole consult was spent with him on one side of the table and me on the other – very principal-office-like. He never smiled. We went through the complicated history of my medicine. He didn’t seem to have read the referral notes.

He then starts digging into the past. The broad strokes of it all weren’t good enough though, he wanted details. Details that I’m not even okay thinking about. Thinking this man was going to help me I spewed out the ugly words.

After that he sees marks on my arms and suggests that maybe I’ve done this for attention.

I then got to spend the next 15 minutes crying while he typed his notes without saying anything to me or even looking at me.

At this point I still had faith that he would help me but this idea shattered violently when he told me his plan moving forward.

The plan involved taking me down to the minimum dose of everything I was taking. He could then see what – if anything – the lamotrigine was doing. He seemed convinced it wasn’t doing anything and he had ideas of getting rid of this drug completely.

We would go down in Prozac only because one of the rare symptoms of Prozac is seizures. Didn’t matter I just been striped of 225mg of Venlafaxine which has a higher risk for seizures.

These changes would come with withdrawals. Withdrawals I would just need to suck it buttercup. I’d already tried the reduction in Prozac and it didn’t go well. I was suicidal and I’m not sure how I have kept my job.

I spent $600 to bring up things I didn’t want to talk about, be treated like I was an attention-seeker and freeze in fear at the thought of the experiment he wanted to undertake.

Nobody is listening to me …

Case closed

‘Abby, Bruce is scared of you. You do remember threatening to cut his throat, don’t you? He wrote to me and informed me he was closing your case file’

A psychiatrist who put my life in danger can close the file and walk away. I can’t. I am stuck in the hell he has created for me through his incompetence and neglect.

Not only can you die from seizures but you can receive permanent brain damage. I also had a suicide plan, had bought rope, carved into my legs ‘Sorry’, had picked a location to hang myself and came up with a plan of calling the ambulance immediately before so that no children or community members found me. I couldn’t bring myself to hang myself in my house as my children and husband would have to live with that reminder.

I’d decided that my camera would go to my beautiful friend Bec, all my clothes to be donated and my husband and kids to have whatever they wanted to feel close to this selfish weak girl that would abandon them.

I’m still living in crazy-town. I want to cry because nobody is listening. They just aren’t listening or maybe they think, oh it’s just another BPD patient banging it on.

It’s really hard to believe them when they tell me I’ll feel better soon when I’ve been hearing that for the last six months. I never got the help I needed until after my second seizure and the help I was given was to cold turkey from 225mg of Venlafaxine. Not the best way to spend your Christmas and I’m still feeling it.

I’ve only recently busted out of the Palace (my name for Chisholm Ross Centre) – an emergency hospital ward to keep you from hurting yourself or others. I gave a lot of Dharma wisdom to patients, something I really enjoyed. I came out okay and the days following I crashed.

I’m not good at trying to put myself back together but when the people who are supposed to help you don’t, it means that Buttercup it all rests on your shoulders.

I’ve been a shitty Buddhist

I’ve been a shitty Buddhist

For some years now I’ve identified as a Buddhist but for the past six months I am not proud of the things I have done.

I’ve just gotten back from the 2017 Australasian Festival. This year was the Vajrapani Empowerment and teachings on the stages of the path to enlightenment with Gen-la Kelsang Jampa. This probably doesn’t mean much to you all but this was a very special festival. I rang in the New Year surrounded by my spiritual family, at my spiritual house and making prayers to Mother Ayra Tara.

Every single person I spoke with, at the festival, had an incredible story to tell of how they came to be a part of the Kadampa family.

The festival had me thinking of my origin story. I came to Buddhism some years ago as an extension on the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program I was doing. In typical Abby fashion I wanted to get to the top of the class and be cured within the month.

I went along to the Erindale class where I sat and heard the following quote that changed my life.

“Where would I find enough leather
To cover the entire surface of the earth?
But with leather soles beneath my feet,
It’s as if the whole world has been covered.”
Shantideva: A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life

So many things bother us—the peeps, mostly.

We blame other people or the situation for getting it wrong. We eyeball the hell out of what we think is the cause of our disturbance, we usually set out to try and fix it. We attempt to change the other person’s behavior or the situation into something we consider right, or at least something that will not bother us.

As we all know, we can’t control anyone else’s behavior, and we can’t make another person want to or be able to change. But we can always make the choice to shift our attention inward, to focus the lens of curiosity onto ourselves.

As I prayed to Ayra Tara and made offerings I thought back on the year 2016. I’d let my anger, jealousy, hatred take over. It was a fucking shit year but I should never have let go of my faith in Buddha, Dharma and my Sangha. Never. These things only make me stronger.

I sat in that temple on the verge of tears. I was home. I was surrounded by family, I was safe and in control.

I’ve been a fucking shitty Buddhist and without sounding like a total wanker; I will strive for enlightenment for all sentient beings. I won’t stop until I achieve it.

 

What’s the etiquette to being a crazy bitch?

I paced the aisle of Kmart. Why can’t I find the fucking rope. It shouldn’t be a hidden item. I was frantic, hands shaking and muttering to myself. Then, my eyes zeroed in on the blue multi-purpose rope sitting amongst its friends and screaming at me to pick it up.

The same aisle has a set of box cutters. I bundle a pack of them up under my arm to accompany my rope. Rushing to the checkout and my eyes hit a shelf of soft pink. Zali would love that. It gets added to the bundle.

I’m nutty but not normally this nutty. This is the result of going from four green and yellow Prozac capsules to three. It was suggested by my shrink as he thought this was the reason for the seizure and now headaches, pins and needles and joint twitches. This suggestion only after chasing him for six weeks. The receptionist always assuring me that I would get a call-back in relation to a pretty serious side effect. I’m told to reduce the Prozac and promised a call to follow up on how the decrease went. A phone call I never got.

So here I was rope and box cutter weighing up what I should do. Should I hurt Bruce really badly or should I head to a bridge, tie the rope and hang myself from a bridge. I wasn’t afraid of any of it and it seemed like a very logical thing to be weighing up. Feeling pressured I shrugged, walked home with the intention of sleeping on it.

The next day I made an appointment with Bruce. I had decided I’d have both. I had decided that while I didn’t want to kill him I wanted to hurt him and make his life difficult. I had thought of a pencil through his eye so that he’d have to listen to me. I then though, no, a superficial but still serious cut to his neck. I had gotten to the point where I was angry that I was paying him a lot of money for him to ignore me. I’ve often felt like the invisible girl that is always in the way. Bruce was going to pay for his failings as a psychiatrist and for every single other time I’ve been hurt. He’d bare the brunt of all those before him.

My appointment with Bruce was happening within a week but my GP ‘needed’ to see me. Down to my three Prozac I was not doing well in convincing her I was all good. Before I know it I’m telling her everything. She rings Bruce although she thinks that because I’ve never been violent that she didn’t think I’d go through with it. Had a fucking knife. Had an appointment. Was crazy as fuck and that’s the point she chooses to believe in me.

I don’t go see Bruce. He thinks I should because he’d like to debrief about it. I threatened him with a knife and this still seemed to be a joke. I would’ve gone through the motion. Would have hurt him. Next day and I’d turned my attention to topping myself. I couldn’t see the point. I couldn’t see things getting better and I’d had enough of fighting. So what were the rules for ending your life? Long sappy letter expressing my disappointment in the world. I figure that nobody listens now so why would they take note of what I had to say. I figure carving the words I’m sorry into my leg a few times was adequate.

I knew the method but where. I would never leave my children or husband to find me hanging from a beam in my garage. What’s the rules about this? I wanted somebody who was used to seeing this type of stuff but not too used to it to stop me. The hospital. Second floor balcony. My rope around my neck. My rope around the railing of the balcony.

What does a person wear? This led to the all-consuming question. Would I wear my glasses or not. I know, pretty stupid. I eventually got to the decision of without. Wearing glasses I can see every wrinkle of skin. Every imperfection. Without glasses the world was a soft blurs of light colours. It was beautiful without glasses. Without glasses was the way to go.

I won’t detail the rest of the journey but I’m now A-Okay. It was a case of Abby was safer on Prozac with the risk of seizures than without the full dose. I need medicine to be okay. It’s upsetting that I do but it’s more upsetting to think of the hurt I would put my husband, little boy and little girl through. I’m going to work hard this year and turn things around. I have some goals and have a rough idea what I need to do to achieve them.

Things an 8 year old shouldn’t go to school and present as news … OMG!

My son loves YouTube. He can get lost for hours letting the auto play take him on a journey. For a long time he has been desperate to make a movie and upload it. Eagerly he wrote a list in his messy but still legible writing.

A couple of days ago Michael and Rory recorded a movie showing people how some new, geeky card game based on Star Wars characters.

For the last few days they’ve been editing the file. Its school news day and Rory is preparing his speech. He plans on talking about this YouTube video. He plans to tell everyone the purpose of the video, why he and his dad created one and chicks totally dig a boy that’s made a YouTube video.

‘So, did he tell you about how his news day went?’

‘Um, no. Did he tell you?’

It was at this point I learnt that Rory went to school and talked about my mental health issues and what it’s like to live with someone with these problems.

This is fantastic and all but a fair chunk of the presentation was spent talking about how mummy uses a blade and cuts her skin. She even writes words when cutting into her skin.

A whole classroom of beady eight year-old eyes attentive and hanging on every word and desperate to understand something that just doesn’t make sense.

‘They all had questions’. He then continued by boasting that it was the most popular news item of the whole year. Everyone wanted to know more.

Upon asking why he had abandoned his original plan he told us that the content of the YouTube video might have gone over their heads and that it didn’t seem appropriate. It might’ve scared some of his classmates. The kid is seriously fucking with me, right?

I’ve spent the last 24 hours hoping I never have to look his teacher in the eye ever again. OMG. I wonder how many parents had that sometimes-people-are-just-sad conversation. Regardless though I am very proud of how mature he is and how he is working to normalise these things. But, for fuck sake that was insane.

If you see me hiding in a shrub you’ll know Mrs Hadobas is close by. OMG.

Crazytown now has Netflix

I visit Crazytown often. My passport is swollen with stamps from my many visits. Crazytown is just my word for being really depressed.

According to my GP, who nearly fell off her chair in laughter, I’m not just a little sad.  I’m clinically depressed. Her face now stone and emotionless, people who are just a little sad don’t do the things you do’.

I always have a feeling of emptiness, anxiety and pessimism but Crazytown is usually when I’m thinking of stabbing my shrink in the neck with a box cutter because he didn’t listen to me.

Crazytown is me finishing work for the day and having no idea what happened during the day. All I can tell is that I haven’t had a productive day.

There is a man in black, known to many as Death, who lures me with promises of nothingness. He whispers to me that he can take the pain away. He smiles. He wants me to follow him. I think endlessly about how I can gain his approval and join him. He promises to love me if I come with him. He promises not to judge me. He promises me warmth and safety. It’s an obsession that he promises will solve all of my problems.

Crazy town is like a dark fog. I can’t see anyone else and they can’t see me. I’m scream but nobody hears. Maybe nobody cares. Nobody understands. Nobody feels the pain. But the man in black does.

Everyone tells me living is the best revenge but I’m not really living. I’m getting from one day to the next. They’ve already won. I’ve already put up the white flag but they are still firing at me with machine guns even though all my flesh has been damaged and torn. I’m already on the ground but they can’t stop firing.

‘You just need to’. In Crazytown this is a common phrase. As I approach each person they point their finger at me and tell me to just stop being like this. Stop it. Be normal. Are you even trying?

Every single day I try not to be this person you all see. I’m desperate to be someone else. It’s almost like I’m too stupid to learn.

People who love me get frustrated. I get frustrated. I don’t choose to be some whiny little bitch-tits emo.

I want the world to be full of yellow dresses, talking cartoon characters, icecream mountains and a house made of gingerbread. Until Willy Wonka sorts this out though, I curl up on my lounge with the television on in some hope of distraction.

The more I fight against death though the stronger he gets. He wants me and he is only just warming up. Fancy that, he wants me. Every single time I’m in Crazytown I have to wonder if I have the guts to fight the man in black off.