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The Truth About Me

I know this isn't expected, or funny, or about my writing, but I've been thinking about it alot since I signed up on meetup.com, and its on my mind now that my first meeting with the Writers Group is 3 hours away. Most of you know that I have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, and if you've been on Twitter later in the evenings you've seen how hilariously crazy I can get. And I like it, when I'm not writing. I love saying funny things back and forth between tweeps and laughing my butt off. But thats only a small part of what goes on inside my head. This is the story of when I had my first full blown panic attack, and I haven't been the same since.

It was at a viewing for my then fiances, now husbands, grandmother. I’d never liked funerals, the dead bodies meaning nothing to me compared to the souls that housed them. My parents always kept me at the back away from the coffin, but this time they weren’t there, this time everyone was right by the body, and I hated it. I began to tunnel, huddling into my own body, hoping it would swallow itself up and take my mind with it and away from this rigid, cold flesh. I hardly heard a word, my mouth clamped ove the screams that wanted to escape, and my fiance knew I wasn’t well, so he was able to get me out as soon as it was ‘appropriate’. I began to shake in the car as he drove, and the farther we got from the body the worse it became until I was finally in full pseudo seizure mode. My whole body flushed, I couldn’t speak, I was in danger of breaking bones and it took hours and a shot of something that didn’t work to try to relax my muscles and calm me down. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning after almost 12 of them shaking, my muscles tired themselves out, and I lay there in that hospital room, staring at the wall, unseeing.
And thats when I broke.
I had to quit my job as a tour guide at my favorite job because at times, I could barely finish my sentence and I’d race to a place to hide. I had to drop out of college because my mind would race so fast I would whimper, I couldn’t concentrate and my grades plummeted. I’d had mild depression before, but after that night it took over me. I became irrational, hateful, and so so sad. I began cutting, drinking excessively and taking unprescribed medications to sleep for the days I couldn’t and then sleeping for days afterward. During my wedding a month after that episode at the funeral I had to tunnel myself through the ceremony, concentrating as hard as I could on the words and my groom. I steeled myself during the reception and we left early. But after that, my panic attacks only came more frequently, though none have been as bad as the first. I wanted to kill myself, wanted for this all to go away and everyone I loved forget the horrible effects I'd unintentionally forced on their lives, on their hearts and minds and personalities. Things got so bad I was admitted into acute psychiatric care three times in as many months.
After being diagnosed with Bipolar and given a slew of medications, it only got worse. As it turns out, I’m freaking ADHD, with maybe a touch of Bipolar, but we didn't find that out until just a few months ago. The depression has gotten better, as has the concentration, though the meds wear off halfway through the day or sometimes don’t work at all. Through these last two years, however, I’ve since developed a social phobia, from the shit my friends, my parents, even my coworkers and bosses put me through, telling me I’m being dramatic, stupid, this illness doesn’t exist. One by one all my friends from Real Life dumped me, and now I no longer have friends, other than the wonderful people on Twitter, who can't see me, who can't tell when I'm truly at my worst because I can control what they know. I can’t work anymore, the thought of messing up and being told I'm a bad person like the boss from my favorite job too much. I get shaky at the thought of going back to school, where I used to flourish but now worry I won't be able to keep up, though I miss it. I write my stories and blog and stay in my home for days at a time. I only go out for something to eat if I absolutely want to or have to, and then it takes me hours to get up the nerve.
Hardly anyone knows what I go through, what we who suffer from these illnesses of the mind must work through. People love me, roll their eyes and laugh when I say or do funny shit, but when it comes to the dark stuff, the painful stuff, the normal ones just don’t know. And they never will understand our fears, because sometimes we don’t either. I see the hurt and confusion in my husbands eyes when I get bad, when I want him to hold me one moment only to get disgusted with myself the next and shove him away. But he tries, so hard, the most patient man I’ve ever known. I've wondered, at times, when he’ll give up on me, when I’ll go through completely with the half-assed attempts of giving up on myself. I'm fortunate enough to have gotten better, and these thoughts don't come nearly as often as before.

But even with all of that, I've become extremely self aware. I know now when I'm being stupid or when its a panic attack, when I truly feel angry or if its just me being irrational for no reason. I can tell my husband, my parents, when I know I'm being irritable and apologize ahead of time, tell them I'm trying to control it, tell them I'm aware. I've learned so much about myself, some welcome, some I don't like and I'm working on. With every pain, hardship, and loss of reason I suffer I become better, and sometimes a structure once sturdy must be torn down before it can be rebuilt, stronger and longer lasting than before.

Somehow, I felt it was time for you readers to be aware about me too.


  1. CLK says:

    I'm new to your site (and to your twitter list; I'm @ckopphills, btw). I don't know what to say that won't sound a bit lame or trite, but I really did want to let you know that I am in awe of your bravery and honesty, and I wish you the best as you work on your novel! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I imagine that can't have been easy.

  2. Thank you, CLK. Yes, it is hard to talk about it, but sometimes... sometimes you just have to. And I was ready to do so, so I did. This is who I am, and while I'm broken, I believe every piece of me is beautiful in some way.

    Thanks for reading, and leaving me a note. In a silly or trite way, it makes me feel less alone.


  3. RKCharron says:

    Hi Brittany :)
    Thank you for sharing such a personal post.
    Though you may have broken, you are stronger mended. You have a wonderful partner in life who is supportive and loving and that is a big help as you face your daily challenges.
    I empathize with your situation. Someday I will tell my story which is similar to yours, but without that special someone to be there for me.
    Love & Best Wishes,

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