Recently Gage had to be hospitalized in a psych unit. And people who read about it on Julia's blog used it to hurt him. Adults actually deliberately hurt a child because of an illness. When I first read this, I wrote to Julia that I'd highly recommend blogging about this part of Gage more anonymously, because of the many, many bad things that have happened to me whenever I've not been anonymous.
And then I started thinking. I'm an adult. I live with a debilitating illness, but I do it well. I manage my symptoms, I am in control of myself, and I have built a very careful structure around myself to support me when I can't. I've done things in the last year that I'm still amazed by. Taking myself off (with the doctor's help) of my not-working-great antidepressant and signing myself into the hospital to trial the unknown was the bravest thing I've ever done, quite possibly will do. And I'm very proud of myself for having done it. It was the scariest risk I've ever taken with my health and the pay-off is a woman who is finally, for the first time ever,
I realized after what I wrote to Julia that I've resigned myself to living this secret life. It's not the best thing, because it is beneficial to have people who know and who can support you. But for so long I've refused to think about what a world where I could be me, illness and all, would be like. But then I thought about it, and I realized that the consequences are not just for me. If I keep this mental illness of mine secret, what am I doing for all of those that follow me? That world of openness can exist, but it has to start somewhere. If I don't help people see that mental illness isn't scary and dangerous then how can I expect that Gage will live in a word that is a bit different when he is my age? I live like this because after they quit shutting everyone with serious mental illness up for life, most people remained silent. They (and I) have for decades put on a mask for the public, pretending to laugh at jokes about psych meds, "craziness", mental illness, "retarded", etc., when those things sting every time.
I picked the name "Just Me" years ago because it's something I find myself saying over and over. I knock on doors, and when the patient knows me I say "hey, it's just me. Ready for some therapy?". I call myself that hundreds of times per day.
But today it is time you know me as a person. I am Jen. I am 34. I live in the northern part of southeast
Because of some weird twists to my care and allowances that are made for me, I won't say precisely where I am treated. However, since I was really diagnosed I've been treated mainly at
I live, as described before, in a very tiny (1300 people) town in the midst of nowhere. I work for a company based far away, and have never even met a single person from my company and probably never will. I own a small home which I bought in 2003 while interest rates were nice and low. I have 2 cats, Anna who is 15 and a spoiled brat, and Noah, who is 7, the funniest cat I have ever encountered. Noah is one of 2 cats I adopted together in 2002, and the adoption of 2 random cats was a factor in my diagnosis. The other one died a year ago.
I have a very scattered family. I have 2 brothers and a sister. One brother is a half-brother and I haven't seen him since he was 4, 9 years ago. One of my greatest hopes is that when he turns 18 in a few more years he'll seek me out. I work miles from where he lives and I often wonder when I'm in the city if I'd recognize him if I saw him. I live close to my mother. I haven't seen, spoken to, nor heard from my father in 12 years. My extended family is extremely scattered, and while a core group has kept in touch, others I haven't seen nor heard from in almost 25 years. Most of my extended family is on my father's side, but they all keep in touch with my mother and with us, rather than him. My father is truly horrible person. It's sad because meds would make him so much less awful but he'd never admit to having a problem. I grew up extremely close to my maternal grandmother. I think in some ways I was the daughter she wanted desperately and gave birth to, only to lose her a few days later. I still miss her every day and she's been gone for 16 years now.
What else? I'm not going to post a real picture of me, although I do plan to change the picture with my profile soon because I'm sick of it. You did get to see me from the neck down in my new pajamas last week I believe. I'm 5'3", probably most aptly described as a little chubby now, which is hard to even imagine since I've gone from a size 20-22 to a size 12 in a year. I have brown curly hair that is just below my shoulders. I wear glasses and a left ankle brace that mainly looks like a mismatched sock.
I am, and will remain, Just Me, but now you know who I am as well. Hopefully eventually my article will tell the professional world about me. That scares me slightly, more because my employer doesn't want my contracts to know anything about my illness (they only know I have depression themselves, but they don't want the contracts to stress abve about it or something), but I have a right to be me, and it's time to take that back.
Again, I am Jen. hello.
(This post will disappear eventually; I don't want my family finding this blog).