Here Be Monsters

You know that thing on olde timey (yeah, I said “olde.” I’m going for a specific aesthetic here.) maps where the cartographer drew a giant sea serpent or flaming octopus or some shit with the warning, “Here Be Monsters”? This post is your warning, only “here” is my head and the “monsters” are various forms of mental and physical illness. If you don’t want to hear about it – and I know a lot of people don’t – turn your boat around and sail on back to Magical Glitter Pony Land, or wherever it is that icky sickness doesn’t exist.

Still here? Nice. You’re either brave, stupid, morbidly curious, or awesome. You can actually be all four if you want. I won’t judge.

I’ve realized that I don’t have that filter that most people have that keeps them from saying certain things that apparently aren’t supposed to be said. I end up saying them on accident and then stress myself out by overanalyzing what I said and who I might have offended, so I thought, fuck it, if I’m going to say this shit anyway, I might as well say it on purpose. I’ll still stress out over offending people, but I’m sort of cutting out the middle man.

So here’s the list of actual diagnoses I’ve gotten from various doctors:

  • Bipolar II
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Bulimia (Yes, fat people can be bulimic)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (Which is way more than just arthritis)
  • Aortic Valve Regurgitation (Not as gross as it sounds)
  • Diabetes (Thanks, Prednisone!)

Plus, I’ve recently learned that a some of my organs are fucked up on the left side of my body and no one knows why. Seriously, the left side of my thyroid is deformed, I have this pathetic little shriveled left ovary, and my aortic valve (which is on the left) is bicuspid instead of tricuspid, meaning it doesn’t close all the way and has to pump twice as hard, so I always have a high heart rate. Fun.

I self-harm. I binge. I’ve recently learned that there are names for some of the things I do. One is called excoriation or dermatillomania. It’s the urge to pick or claw at your skin. I mostly go for the scalp because it’s easier to hide. I haven’t done it in a while. Mostly because I cut my hair really short and my RA meds have thinned out my hair, so it’s really hard to hide if I do any real damage. I also have a spot on my left hand that I favor. I either use the sharpened corner of a fingernail or something like a push pin. The result looks like a cat scratch. There are three cats in the house, so it doesn’t stand out. The other thing is called diabulimia. I had no idea this behavior had a name but I’ve done it – not in a long time – but I’ve definitely done it. Basically, chronic high blood sugar can make your weight drop. It can also kill you, but hey, no one said eating disorders were rational. A person with diabulimia knows that a binge on sugar and carby things may help them lose some weight. Why am I admitting to this? Because part of keeping myself from doing it is being honest about wanting to.

Diabetes was (surprise!) not a product of my weight. I was fat with perfect blood sugar for years. Unfortunately, I’ve been on high dose Prednisone for much longer than I should have been and it has totally fucked my endocrinological system. Living with RA is a bitch. I can’t really describe it, but I’ll try. Have you ever sprained anything? Knee, ankle, wrist? That swelling and excruciating pain when you try to move the joint…imagine it all over your body. Add in being so tired that sometimes you can sleep 18 hours straight and be ready to go back to bed two hours later. Then there’s the meds and all their side effects, like insulin resistance, hair loss, weight gain, feeling like you’re wearing a skin suit full of bees, etc. It fucking sucks.

I’ll go into more detail in later posts (I know you can’t wait) but that’s the basic summary. I’m fucked up. You’ve been warned.

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