Beyond Lady Pandora – Episode12a – The Men In My Life – Beyond Lady Pandora
I cannot seem to put my memories in order and that is really frustrating for me. I want to put them in order so that it makes more sense but I just can’t. I keep thinking that if I go through it again, I can put them in the right order but it just seems impossible for me. My memory is problematic in that only remembering certain moments means that I know approximately when they occurred but not exactly. Sometimes I know that one thing happened before the next but in other cases, I only know they happened around the same time. Too, memories come in flashes. I’ll remember something for awhile and then I won’t. Sometimes, I see or hear something and then, suddenly I remember something but it’s not always all of the memory. Sometimes, it’s only part of it. The frustrating part is that I recognize this and I want to put it in order so that it makes sense but I cannot. Part of me wonders if I could even handle it if I could, would I uncover some piece of the puzzle that was far more awful than anything I remember now.
People wonder how I have been able to function until now, how I’ve raised two children, how I have worked and to be honest it has been incredibly difficult. It has been stressful and frustrating. The one peace has been my children. That part has never been hard. Why? Because they have been my focus since the day they were born. They are my heart, my soul, my reason to be. Taking care of them, watching them grow, and protecting them gave me focus and a love that I had not even believed in anymore. A pure and true love that is unparalleled. Nothing compares to being a mother.
Work, that has been difficult on me. I am driven to succeed and I have the intelligence to understand things and people on a deep level, I studied people just to learn how to function to some extent amongst them. My memory, my changes in personality, it makes me look stupid. It makes it appear like I have trouble learning, which I do not, I just don’t always remember and it drives me crazy because I should. People think I’m acting like a different person, changing, but I’m not. I’m still me. Then, they assume I’m a liar because that would explain my absence of memory, but I’m not. It’s infuriating. I should rise through the ranks easily, I should be at the top of the pile, I should do extremely well but I do not. I am limited by this very thing that protects me from falling apart all together. I must be content with being tolerated which drives my anxiety horribly because I rarely believe anyone likes me in the first place beyond my kids. I cannot develop proper friendships like other people because the longer people spend around me, the more they realize that something is off. People fear what is different, they do not trust it, and I get put into that category. I’ve tried every way I know to overcome this and I just cannot. It breaks my heart but at the same time, I really do not know how to interact with people successfully and it stresses me out badly.
I was born into a family of people that did this to me. They created these issues and I will live with them forever. They can be treated, maybe made slightly better, but the fact is that I cannot function without these fragments of myself and I cannot function properly with them. So, this is who I am. I just do my best. I try to swallow my frustration and sometimes, I cry. I am not consistent, I cannot be consistent. Consistency is one of those things appreciated and seen as necessary. Those who are inconsistent are considered a mirage of not nice things. Those with anxiety, PTSD, and personality orders are largely unable to be consistent. Those with all three, well, I’m just fucked. laughs. Try as I might, it’s just not going to happen. The only thing consistent about me is my love for my children, my love of my fiance, my sense of right and wrong, and my respect for the law.
I’m not sure if putting a name or label to my issues is good or bad for me. I suppose it is both, a double edged sword. It is nice to have a name for these things and to have them acknowledged as being real by someone other than myself. It is nice that this offers a way to provide me with some level of relief from them. On the other hand, it provides scary labels for others who hear them, words that evoke fear and worry in those around me. Of course, this is just who I am, who I’ve always been. It’s not like these words in any way change me but for those who hear them, it does. Perception is everything. While truth is my focus and what I judge on, the truth of a person, labels are what affects general perception. When I say something like that I have multiple personalities and hear voices in my head, people instantly think of schizophrenia or of movies like cybil. People think of worse, movies that featured killers and insane people wandering talking to shadows. They see danger. They do not see someone merely striving to live, to make it in a world created for the psycho-typical, the mentally normative. They do not see someone who merely wanted love all of their life, who wants nothing more than to have friends but has no idea how to achieve it. I am difficult, I take effort, and that for the most part makes me problematic. I see beyond the illusions people create within time and I do not ignore what I see, I call them out on it. I do not put up with mean girl crowds, I find people who choose to be stupid or ignorant in a time of great knowledge unbearable, and I always fight for the underdog. I shrink from confrontation until I can take it no more and then I let loose with a tongue sharper than knives. I know what to say to cut to the quick because I seek the truth in those around me. I pay attention. I am socratic by my very nature. I come off as egotistical at times to some because I am judgemental but I am far from it. I judge because I know. I know the dangers of ignorance, of illusions, and I will not be party to them. I know herd mentality and I’ve no wish to fall prey to it. People are dangerous. So, while I want to be amongst them, I also respectfully fear them and what they are capable of. It’s funny, isn’t it? People in general fear my issues and I fear them. The truth is, they are far more than dangerous than I am, here in the raw, accepting of who I am. It is those with things to hide that do the most harm. I am, at the least, sincere. I respect the law. I ignore the flash and glitter of humanity for what it is, paint on rust. I’m not impressed by jobs, money, cars. What I want to know is how do you treat people, especially the weak and helpless. That is the measure of a person. I don’t care if you have power. I care what you do with power.
As a woman, certain things are simply for difficult for me. I’m not talking about it being due to any physical restraint but due to the perception of others. Women are far more likely to be disbelieved by medical doctors about pain, discomfort, or physical ailments of any kind. It is still to this day generally accepted as fact that women do not deal with pain as well, are more likely to feel pain is worse than it really is, or for their pain to be purely psychological in cause. This is of course bullshit but many of us have experienced it first hand. We are just not taken seriously. We can handle the pain of giving birth to children but god forbid we say we have pain beyond that. Many doctors will barely give you the opportunity to even tell them what you are experiencing, most of those who do won’t look further, and most of those who do look further won’t look beyond the obvious. If the first bunch of tests show nothing and they do look further, they’ll stop after a few. If they don’t find answers quickly and you push to be heard, you’ll get sent to mental health. If you already have a mental health diagnosis, well, then you really are hooped. If depression or anxiety are involved, which sometimes cause aches and pains in some patients, then that will be assumed to be the cause. There are numerous cases, including mine, where the real causes are found years or later once they become chronic and often permanent or worse, are never found until autopsy. Many women suffer a lot and having a mental health issue makes it far more likely that you will end up suffering physically as well. If you are not a woman of means, you are furthered limited. These are facts that women accept and fight against, struggling to get proper medical care.
I had one doctor in Canada when I was pregnant after my sons, who told me that the twins I carried were dead. You see, I had come to him multiple times because I was so sick I couldn’t hold down water. I needed help. He examined me and told me they were unfortunately dead and he scheduled a DNC to remove the bodies. I was crushed. When I went in for the procedure, in tears, they began my IV with the drugs they use before checking me based on the doctor’s notes and diagnosis. He had after all checked for heart beats. They had begun drugs to put me to sleep as well. As I was slipping from reality, I clearly heard a nurse say, “Oh my god! They are still alive!”, I tried to move but I couldn’t. The other nurse said, “It’s too late now, do not tell her now! The drugs are in her.” I passed out before I could speak. I woke up knowing what they had done. No one bothered to check. I wanted to die but I couldn’t because I had two children. I had trusted the doctor and he had been so annoyed by the fact that I kept coming back to him so ill that he had made a mistake. He was not thorough. The nurses were not thorough. I have experienced that annoyance and that level of throwing a pill or a diagnosis at me more than once from doctors but that was the worst. That broke my heart.
If you suffer from anxiety, in many cases, you find it difficult to advocate for yourself or to push to get the right care. You can see the problem here. Many doctors, even in gynecology, are male. If you have been raped, this can be an awful experience. I am 46. Only one gynecologist ever bothered to ask me if I had been raped before examining me so she knew how to go about the examination and she was of course, female. One doctor in 46 years, of any kind, has taken into account the fact that 1 in 5 women have experienced an attempted or full out physical rape and that it might affect us during such an intensely invasive examination. Think about that. Mammography, standing naked in a gown with your breasts pressed up into a machine that places force on them. Laying on a bed with your legs in stirrups, spread wide, as someone explores you inside. For a traumatized, abused woman with mental health issues arising from said trauma, the health system is a horror show. It does not treat you like a human being, it takes nothing into account, considers nothing, and does not communicate well. Great doctors are rare and overwhelmed by numerous patients seeking them out.
The administration in health care does not help. They want things to go faster, more in and more out, fuck doing your job properly and well. Time limits, numbers of patients that far exceed ability. The focus is on the money, not the patient and great doctors are forced to fight against this. It’s a broken system that only works for those who are well. Funny, isn’t it? They are there to treat the unwell but in 45 minutes to an hour, once every couple weeks to once every few months, and diagnose conditions that may arise. It’s no surprise that doctors and nurses are completely overwhelmed, burned out, and rushing patient care. What I cannot understand is, who the hell thought this was a great idea? You know very well it was not a good doctor who came up with this mindset or a nurse, just some idiot executive with no clue who never got his hands dirty working with actual healthcare and real patients. It’s frustrating. It needs to change.
Now, you may think I must be part of communities for mental health and I am not. I specifically have avoided such things until diagnosis because I did not want to be swayed. I wanted my diagnosis to be real, accurate, I did not want to answer things based on what I heard from others. I mean, if I’m not diagnosed correctly then I cannot be treated correctly and I cannot be helped effectively. That is not what I need. I want to heal so much as is possible from my experiences and since I was kept from help from so long, I really want authentic help. So, I have been careful to keep authentic and as open as possible about myself. In fact, I gave my therapist the name of my podcast because I really believe that you cannot fix what you do not understand. My autobiography is in part to help me heal, to know myself and in part to share with others in the hopes that someone else might find hope in my story because I’m not dead. I’m not wandering the streets screaming at shadows. I still have hope and my life is pretty good. There are good things to live for.