On 22 November 2016, completely living my life unaware, I collapsed at a friend’s wedding. Then I wouldn’t stop fainting sporadically. Many days after and after many trips in and out of hospitals, I was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder, I was suffering from Complex PTSD, Anxiety Disorder and Clinical Depression. I was 23 years old. In 2019, in therapy, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.
On most days I try to “positivity” myself away from the constant negative voice in my head, but positivity isn’t my thing. I really lived my formative years under constant, unnecessary trauma. I didn’t have the bliss of positive memories to build up my serotonin reserves. Happiness just doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to work hard for it. I don’t mind this, on most days.
I tell myself I am not my diagnosis, but on days when I feel the crippling and uncontrollable sadness and heavinesses, at least 3 times a year, on the days my brain tells me life isn’t worth living, on those days I feel chronic pain all over my body and I’m convinced I have some terminal sickness, it just hurts all over, I am DEFINITELY my diagnosis. Did you know depression hurts? It literally brings physical pain.
As a depressive, I have to deal with adulthood, unequipped with the coping mechanism most people see as normal, just regular stuff everyone goes through, but my resilience is none existent and I have to dig deeper than most, and I fall farther than most, just to get myself out of it. I got married, started and failed businesses, and relocated countries twice, all life-changing stuff. When my juice runs low, I really can’t self-talk my way out of it. Every life challenge ravages me, leaving me weaker. Do I think I’ll live till my ripe old age or I’ll give up? Ask me again when I’m not in the throes of it.
I’ve used medication up until a few months ago, but I wouldn’t go back to it. I don’t think I’ll survive the experimentation of finding the right cocktail of drugs. To further help my pain, I have experimented with Marijuana, LSDs and any readily available addictive on the market. But the only thing I can afford to be addicted to, is my pain.
Anxiety isn’t as simple as, “I’m worried I won’t get the job so I can’t sleep”. I’m constantly attuned to how every single thing or person around me is out to harm me. A bad day isn’t just a bad day. It’s a sign of how terrible my life is about to go. Anxiety rules every fabric of my life. I’m worried about the past, I’m afraid of the future, and I don’t know how to be present in today, so I escape. I dissociate so effortlessly I’ve mastered the art of daydreaming while looking like I’m present. My listening skills are in the gutters because of how well I tune out.
CPTSD is the constant nightmares. It’s bad enough I can’t forget or move on like my family and friends joyfully tell me to, but I am haunted by my dreams. The one place every human gets solace from after a long day. I am still being bullied in my dreams every other night, I have been raped again and again and again in my dreams. I am constantly running away or being chased by monsters conjured in my mind. I am crying in agony in my dreams so I wake up sad, I can’t even remember the dream. But the sad feeling stays. Whoever said joy comes in the morning did not have a grasp on everyone’s reality. Everything is a trigger. A touch, a smell, a face, a sentence, and I’m transported back to that day like it was happening again. The emotional pain is just as overwhelming as the first time I experienced it. Only this time it’s a mere reminder.
CPTSD means I have memory impairments. I can’t remember people, or situations, where I left my keys. I sometimes really can’t remember the things that happened too if you ask me to recall them. I slowly watch myself become dumber and I don’t mean this in a self-deprecating way, I’m not the prodigy I was when I wrote my final university project at 18 arguing about why more women are needed in politics passionately. I don’t know where my brain has gone. This gives me anxiety for sure. I’m not even 30.
BPD is the negative pattern of behaviour I have developed to cope, it’s now become my personality. It wasn’t who I was, or whom I wanted to be as a doe-eyed child, but it’s whom life has shaped me to be before I left teenage hood. Every day I have to choose which narrative I want to follow, whom I want to be now because the regular normal me that wants to respond to situations will definitely mess it up, because I am deeply convinced I am not loved, I am not enough, I am damaged, I’ll never be happy, and I will rather die than be alive going through this miscellaneous circumstance. So I react from this mindset. It’s either I’m healing, or I’m a bad person. There’s no in-between.
FND means when I go through immense emotional stress, I’ll faint again, or experience momentary paralysis, where I can’t move my limbs. Talk about “fight, flight and freeze”.
Everything is stressful because the default mode in my brain is to rather die than participate in anything. No sympathy or validation can out-talk this fault in my brain. It’s always there.
Many people live with this nihilistic mindset and refuse to do anything meaningful with their lives. Everything is dark and pointless. Me, I know I have to live somehow.
I am actually convinced I’m not a real person. I’m an experiment of pain but also survival. After 23 years, after the diagnosis, I did stop asking “why me”, and believed everything happened for a reason. That reason is not fully clear yet, but it’s definitely not to be found in hiding my story or minimising it to fit the discomfort of people. That is asking me to have some shame. And shame is what got me to where I am today. I can’t hold shame while holding on to my life. I am aggressively giving myself grace, and kindness, for the steps forward, and backwards.
I am determined to be the most healed person that ever existed because that’s the only way I can make sense of what I’m going through. If I don’t heal then I’ll die. Because then I’ll just be pain. There’s no story there. There’s no glorification of it. There’s no honour for the battle I have been fighting. I can’t live for myself. I am not important enough. I have to live for the greater cause of humanity. Because I’ll hack it. And I’ll release the hack for those coming after me.
Today I’m terribly exhausted. But I’m here. And I choose to live despite. I’ll keep choosing to heal despite the pain.
2 responses to “I AM MY DIAGNOSIS”
So raw…thank you for sharing
Thank you for reading!