Tuesday, October 31, 2006


So I've got an appointment next week to meet with a psychiatrist at the Hallowell Center, where I've been going to get tested for ADD. Apparently I have it, and pretty bad, too. We'll definitely discuss medication; I don't know if it will be Ritalin or what. I currently take Paxil, for panic disorder, which I had at a disabling level before adding medication to the therapy I was undergoing.

Paxil, of course, is a relatively new drug, and while it's helped me out tremendously, I think there are a lot of unknowns. Going off of it can be flat out horrible and I've heard staying on it long term can cause flashbacks and other strange problems. I've noticed lately I am remembering bits of things that happened to me long ago, and also fragments of dreams I can remember having, but can't remember when. It's unsettling, when I let myself think about it. Mostly I push it to the back of my mind, because I know I'm going to talk to someone who knows about this sort of thing.

But I wonder -- if I cure the ADD, will I finally be a "success"? Will I find the focus and will to write the book? Or will it shut off all the thoughts that constantly race through my mind, and therefore the source of material for it? I've thought in narrative passages for many, many years. I walk down the street writing stories in my head about what I'm doing, what I've done. Where I'm going. This used to cause me to walk into traffic, but I'm more careful about that now. But because of my lack of focus and poor organizational skills, most of these thoughts go unwritten.


Then there's the whole stigma attached to mental illness. I'm choosing to look at my ADD, anxiety, and dysthymia (diffuse low-grade depression) as something akin to diabetes or, I don't know, IBS, only instead of my pancreas or my lower GI tract being wonky, it's my brain. But this is a relatively new thought for me. I have a couple of good friends who've had issues with panic disorder, serious ones, and one saw a resurgence recently and said to her husband something to the effect of "I'm sorry you married a crazy person." Despite all her efforts to not think of herself that way, this is how it came out.

I, too, for many, many years have secretly held this judgment about myself: that I am damaged, somehow. Not top-shelf. And therefore undeserving of a relationship because I don't want to inflict myself on others. And I thought I didn't want to date anyone with similar issues, because I felt like they too were somehow tainted. At the same time I know some of the ways in which I am damaged came from my environment and while I know it doesn't work to blame your past or the people in it who hurt you, my work on that isn't done yet. Nor is my work done on resolving how terrible I feel about the pain I caused others. And, let me tell you, some days I feel pretty fucking terrible. I suppose this sort of work is never done.

I don't feel bad about myself today. I didn't feel bad about myself yesterday. And hopefully I won't feel that way tomorrow. Hopefully I'll contribute to mental illness becoming a less stigmatized term. I know that I'm more emotionally intelligent than the majority of people my age. And I know I'm moving in the right direction.


Anonymous Thursday said...

Find me someone who isn't, as you say, damaged in some way or who hasn't inflicted pain or hurt on others and I'll tell you, they're not normal or human.

4:45 AM, November 01, 2006

Blogger xianfern said...

I started taking prozac after my second child was born.. it's even hard for me to type that here because in the back of my mind I'm wondering who's going to read this and judge me.. but whatever, I don't give a shit. If someone thinks that mental illness is in someway a "dirty" disease, or a sickness that shouldn't be talked about, then I'm sure they need more meds than me! We are all damaged, in some way or another. We're just lucky to know it, and smart enough to get help for it! Keep your chin up sistah!! You should feel good about yourself everyday!! :)

6:17 PM, November 01, 2006

Blogger McPolack said...

Thank you both, ladies, for your insights and thank you xianfern for sharing about the Prozac and right back atcha on the feeling good about yourself everyday!

8:01 PM, November 01, 2006

Blogger Cuarentayuno said...

What you describe is a lot like internalized homophobia...

8:18 PM, November 01, 2006

Blogger McPolack said...

wait a minute, c...are you gay?!!! Oh, I don't think we can be friends anymore.

9:01 PM, November 01, 2006

Blogger Teri said...

the ladies have said it well above. what occurs to me is that you are so in touch with yourself, and so damn smart. so you fit a certain profile; big whoop. you have gifts: intelligence and good humor among them. work on what you believe about yourself. i really think that's where it's at.

you are loved. xo

11:37 PM, November 01, 2006

Blogger christhadasister said...

I think everyone at some point in their life should be on some form of medication- knowing it is the difference.. I was on paxil for 5 or 6 years. When I stopped taking it, I was under the watchful eye of my doctor- you have to carefully taper yourself off of that drug, because there were times when I let my prescription lapse and MAN did I pay for that!! But it helped me out when I needed it (truth be told, I should probably still be on some form of AD, but am in denial- something else I should be seeking counsel for!:) Take care! Great meeting you on Sunday!

12:18 PM, November 02, 2006

Blogger BadThing said...

I stumbled on your blog and really appreciated your posting. I was recently put on anti-depression meds and I couldn’t help feeling a bit of a freak myself for having to rely on them. Thanks!

1:21 PM, November 17, 2006


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