I know some of you still erroneously think I'm brave or something, but you don't see anything more than I tell you, and even though I've been way more honest than many of you will ever be about your lives (since it's going into a book, geez, it'll be out there anyway, right?), here are some details I haven't shared yet.
Now, keep in mind as you read the bullet points below that I am still an intelligent person capable of learning to effectively communicate and that it was my choice to share my head so that those of you who are caretakers and parents for people like me can understand a little more what's going on in our noggins. Also please keep in mind that I was born like this, grew up with this, and was forced to hide it and fake being 'normal'. If a messed up neuroatypical like me can successfully tackle life, I have faith in the rest of you hanging in there, too. The fibro is a given and I cinched that because it's pretty severe, but what carried the weight of the disability case was my 'mental illness' that I didn't even know I had.
This is straight from my disability papers, documentation of notes over time as noted by a panel of judges-
- 2007- Axis I clinical disorders of adjustment disorder with anxiety, axis II deferred but with narcissistic feature, axis V GAF of 60.
- 2008- depressed mood with congruent affect, Asperger's, GAF of 50. Note by panel "These impairments are not slight and have more than a minimal effect on the claimant's residual functional capacity found below. Consequently, they are "severe", as set forth" etc.
- Long paragraph detailing exactly what I cannot handle in a work environment "and she lacks the capacity to respond appropriately to supervisors, coworkers, and usual work situations on a sustained basis." All my symptoms, both physical and mental, were considered consistent.
Ok, bottom line is I am autism spectrum with some personality and mood disorder issues that sometimes drop me into a 'needs supervision' category, meaning that I compulsively swing with my moods and obsess about death a lot and have a really weird sense of humor and barely hide my inability to play well with others, if I can hide it at all. Wow, I sound like twitter...
There are a LOT of us out there. We are not alone. Not all of us wind up on our faces in a legal hearing about our impairments and come out weeping and feeling like a total failure like I did because that happened after all the effort I put into being smart and strong and independent. I failed to hide it better. I failed to pass for normal. I. Wept. I was very sternly taught (with excessive punishment) to hide all that stuff, and I got so good at playing the survival game that I wound up wobbling my way into a degree, through a few jobs I never got fired from, and even still married after 23 years AND raising a stepkid to boot.
Mental illness isn't the end of the world. Being a mood swinging self harming on the edge of suicidal emo and/or death goth isn't *bad*.
We are different.
And even though it doesn't feel like it 98% of the time, we're ok. We really are, because we care about other people even when we suck and act like we don't, we cry when life hurts even when no one ever sees it, and every single day we make the decision to be here, and that makes what we do in the world around us that much more important, because being here means we change history.
It's easy for me to go get lost in minecraft or whatever else I'm writing on or stuff around the house, but while I'm thinking of it, I just want to let you guys know that if I can so utterly fail as a human being (I turned down an interstate drug run offer from a drug lord, not because I could lose my kid, but because sooner or later I'd logically wind up in jail, so I'm the first to admit I'm not the best mom in the world) and still turn out ok, you can too.
Much love. 💟💓💗