I guess you could say I was destined to be this way. Mental illness runs rampant throughout my family, typically impacting the women. While the men were narcissistic alcoholics, the women coped with unhealthy strategies. Self-harm, substance abuse, eating disorders… you name it, they did it. Naturally, no one was ever formally diagnosed. My motto is if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck? It’s probably a borderline. Coming from an Italian background didn’t help. Therapy was non-existent, self-help was considered pathetic, and medication your doctor gave you was a weakness. Even if you did do these things, they were held against you in heated arguments at Sunday dinner. If your Sunday dinners don’t end in hurling insults at each other, did you even hangout with family?
When doctors ask what’s wrong, I start out by asking how much time they have. Then we dive into the family background, and notes are furiously taken. Then after what seems like days, we get to me. Keep in mind people, attention must be on me at all times. We’ll get to that later though. We go through my history, and eventually the doctors look up in awe. They legitimately ask how I am still alive, and how I function. I shake my head and ask, “You tell me doc.” I joke with them, as I feel a constant need to keep it light so they don’t try to send me away. That’s a fear that never leaves my head. My joke for every doctor is that I’m a genetic clusterfuck, carefully designed to house all physical and mental ailments that have plagued my family for generations. They laugh, then notice I’m dead serious. We stifle the awkwardness with more laughter.
In all actuality, my parents had no right to breed. I mean, look at my charts. I shouldn’t exist. My existence is a constant state of pain, anguish, and suffering. Yes I am dramatic, but I would challenge you to spend one day in my head. It’s miserable in here. I like to say that my own brain hates me. It does whatever it can to drag me down into the depths of hell, and boy does it want me to stay there. Everyday is a struggle to get out of hell, and at least into a purgatory-like level. There I can at least kick my feet up and enjoy a mimosa.
No, I am not here to throw a pity party for myself, though don’t tempt me with a good time. I am here to challenge others to look through the lens of mental illness. If you don’t have one…. well, I will refrain from saying anything. That’s a different blog post that I’m not sure I’ll ever tackle. My point is that in order to understand what others go through, you need to see through their eyes. I will share these posts so that you can get a peak into my world. If you want to open your mind and explore an alternate reality, one that affects nearly 6% of the US population, then congratulations! You found me. Come take a walk on the wild side my friends, and join a borderline in their exploration of self.