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Anatomy of a Breakdown September 23, 2010

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in Delusions, Hallucinations, Involuntary Committment, mental illness.
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Looking back at my diaries of 2 years ago, I again became enmeshed in my identity crisis.  It reminded me of how difficult it was to lose who I was. And to find out that who I was wasn’t exactly pleasant.

Before I became psychotic, I was Kathy 1.  Then, when I became psychotic, so many things about me changed that I lost my identity as Kathy 1.  While I was psychotic, this change from Kathy  seemed a very natural turn of events, since my delusion had included my belief that I had always been someone else.  According to my delusion, I was, and always had been, a mermaid named Pangea. For 48 years I just never knew it.

During my psychotic break, Kathy 1 was no more, wiped out of existence, replaced by an entirely new personality: Pangea the Mermaid.  Transfering my identity from Kathy 1 to Pangea was easy. It was an act initiated by me. It was an act controlled by me. I was drawn in gradually over a four month span of time into my new identity as Pangea. My final act of recognition of this sea change was that I planned to change my real legal name to Pangea.  But before I could carry out my plan, I was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital.

When I was hospitalized, the staff began the long process of stabilizing me.  Part of that process was administration of medication that pushed me out of my delusion that I was Pangea. Logically, removing Pangea from the equation should have left me back at identifying with Kathy 1.  Unfortunately (or not), this didn’t happen.”

It’s difficult to put into words, but the person who was Kathy 1 had certain thought patterns, certain ways of doing things, certain tastes in clothing, hair styles, and expressions of who she was, as well as a much faster speed of thinking, and other brain-related characteristics that made up her very soul. Her very existence.  Those characteristics are gone.

There’s a void where my identity is supposed to be. I try to feel a familiar pattern of thinking or feeling or being and there’s no familiarity at all. Zero. I have no idea who I am. It’s as if I woke up in someone else’s brain. I have no reference points.  I’m in a strange place and can’t find my way back to who I was before. But then do I really want to return to that person?

Through counseling, I learned to analyze  all of the little choices that Kathy 1 made in her life that brought her the total control that she was looking for, which ultimately led to her complete break with reality.  Little things and big things loomed in my head.  Overall, I realized that my efforts at control not only led to my complete break with reality, but in the process had turned me into what I would term a “flaming bitch”.  I had attempted to control virtually every facet of my life down to the last speck of dirt in the house to the greatest extent possible.  Everything was always about me.  It was embarrassing to come to this realization at the age of 48.  How horrible, how narcissistic. It was depressing to consider all of the wasted years, all of the misery, that I had inflicted on people, including those I loved, through the years.  Was there anything I could do to make up for my past bad behavior?

I need to find out how to get me back to who I was before- only nicer.  And if I can’t do that, then I need  to figure out who I am now. For lack of a better word, I’ll call myself Kathy 2.  I need help to discover who she is.

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1. Renee (laRose) - October 11, 2010

I can remember a time just after or before not sure I had my second child. Sitting in front of the mirror trying to figure out who was looking back at me. The person looking back at me from the mirror was unrecognizable and I cried all the more, not knows who I was or what my purpose what in that mirror. It seemed to be the body I was in but not, even to day when I look in the mirror I am surprised at whom I see. In my head there is a very different person looking back into the mirror. I have even sketched this person in my sketch book. Until I was 18-19 I don’t remember having this conflict after my first episode in 1974 and then again in 1975 each both in the fall, November around finals week. I did not have this identity crisis. Although there were other issues, like the dreams, or nightmares which ever you want to call them. My youngest daughter has them, she calls them night terrors. My granddaughter is now displaying similar behavior. If my mother was still alive I am sure she would say my granddaughter is the exact clone of me at three years old. I see the behaviors in my granddaughter but my daughter does not want to hear it, as it may be possible I was a bipolar child.
What is different about me than most is my episodes only happen every 2 1/2 ears or so on the odd years, 1975,1977,1979 1981, 1983 then there was a brief respite and 1985 we moved to North Dakota, where my husband father would die in the next six months. The first 3 months were nothing but rain and I did not eat much with the IBS and arthritis, I was miserable and lonely for my family and my husband was grieving loss of job, and his brother and pending death of his father. My oldest daughter was unhappy in school and struggling.
Today I look in the mirror and my face is still the same, I accept the reflection as me, but still don’t think that the reflection is who I really am.


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