730 Deep Breaths

A 730 day journal- documenting the life of a woman with mental illness.

The Skeletons in my Closet

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Now, I won’t bore you with the hours worth of stories I have to tell you.

Instead I will explain these skeletons in bullet formation.

Just to verify, the skeletons in my closet are the past traumas of my life which have equated to a mentally ill (as of now) 22 year old.

  • PTSD: No I am not, nor have I ever been a soldier. Everyday citizens can develop this too. Mine resulted from a 3 year long relationship filled with physical/mental/verbal/sexual abuse, over 19 ‘other women’, and nothing but disrespect. When I sleep I see flashbacks of him choking me, or raping me, or slamming my head against my car. He haunts me. Sounds make me feel like he is near me, I panic when the tiniest thing brings me back to those moments. It is a period of my life I would love to forget. This is the biggest skeleton in my closet.  Welcome to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: My parents were over-cautious when I was growing up, and to make things even worse my mom is far too attached to her children. Growing up, I feared just about everything on God’s Green Earth and if my mom left my side I would have a complete anxiety disorder. I was held too close to her as a baby, that when it came to be alone- I panicked. Welcome to Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
  • Panic Disorder: At some point in my life-my anxiety turned into panic. I went from sweaty palms and slight discomfort, to days straight of vomiting and several trips to the emergency room.  It’s almost like I just couldn’t handle life anymore. I wanted to curl up into a ball and be completely left alone. Welcome to Panic Disorder.
  • Vomiting: When I was young, and newly diagnosed with anxiety, my biggest fear was school. I was new and it overwhelmed me. Once diagnosed, the doctors suggested my mom stop coming to my rescue and checking me out of school every time i panicked. The recommended making me work through it myself. My mom then explained this to my teacher so she wouldn’t cave and let me sleep the day away in the nurses’s office. I remember feeling abandoned. Panicking alone and knowing that everyone had teamed up against me to ignore something they couldn’t understand. The only way I knew how to convince my mom I was really sick and not anxious, was to vomit. I remember at 10 trying to gag myself with my fingers so I would throw up and finally get to go home. I quickly realized I couldn’t, I don’t have a gag reflex and I could never force myself to throw up. So, instead I forced my brain into thinking it was ill and in return I would finally throw up. Soon it was just something that happened, something I could no longer control, and it started going hand and hand with a panic attack. My teacher as cruel. She mortified me in front of all the other students. She would tell me to get over it, I better not dare go to the bathroom to throw up… and twice she was able to keep me in the classroom so long that I vomited on myself. That in itself fueled my anxiety about going to school. Welcome to vomiting.
  • Agoraphobia: At age 20, I moved to New York and begin working at a hotel in a state park. I fell in love with my job, but quickly learned who to avoid. A co-worker of mine soon began physically assaulting me, sexually harassing me, and threatening my loved one’s lives. I forced the company to investigate him, and after month of torture I was promised a new location and was told they would not be pursuing termination of said employee. A week later, my phone calls started being ignored. Because of the trauma I endured at work, I am not phobic towards work. Even filling out a job application can send me into a 3 day long panic attack. Welcome to agoraphobia.
  • Acute Stress: Due to the fact, that I am agoraphobic and can’t work, I now have a year long battle with the United States Government for Disability. I am approaching them with an illness that they don’t technical believe exists. I will be forced to prove that mental illness exists and is worthy of government assistance. Until then- I have no income, no health insurance, no support. Which means I am unable to heal or get better since I don’t qualify for Medicaid, and can’t afford health insurance, let alone my medications, therapy, medical tests, blood work, or a vehicle to take me to any of those places. Welcome to acute stress.
  • Insomnia: My night terrors from PTSD and my medications have led to an erratic sleep schedule. I fight to fall asleep just so that I can remain healthy. I have binged on no sleep for days at a time. It is exhausting, stressful, and my lack of sleep causes me anxiety. It is a never-ending cycle. Welcome to Insomnia.
  • Depression: I am not really sure how someone is supposed to deal with anxiety, cope with abuse, recover from rape, have no money, have no form of health care, have no hope, have no friends, and fall victim to your own mind…. and yet still rise above depression. I think this disorder is a given. Welcome to depression.
  • Eating Disorder: This is a new one for me. And in all honesty, I may be overreacting. I don’t binge or purge but I get stuck in ruts of anxiety where I will force myself to continue avoiding food, or almost find myself smiling at the fact that I am throwing up. I watch myself wither away after 7 days of panic, and somehow I feel mortified and accomplished at the same time. I can spend 3 months gaining 30 pounds and lose it all within a few days with the help of my anxiety. Basically, I fear my potential. I fear my mind. I fear that this could become a reality for me. Welcome to eating disorders.

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