Why is my life about coping with chronic illnesses?

I frequently ask myself this question: why is my life about coping with chronic illnesses?

My senior year in high school 1998, I contracted Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes, or insulin dependent diabetes. Before you conclude that I was an overweight sloth who never left his couch, think again: I ran varsity cross country plus track and field. I wasn’t a star runner but I wasn’t coming in last every race either. I made conference honors once. I was 5′ 10″ 155 pounds (unfortunately to date I’ve gained a few extra 🙁 ).

Type 1 diabetes is a royal pain in the ass. I’m fortunate to be on pump therapy, which allows me a greater degree of freedom in my daily activities compared to someone on regular, lenti, or ultra-lenti insulin given intravenously. Still, my days are always locked into times when I MUST eat, times when I should have a snack, and juggling how much insulin to give myself with each meal. It’s actually come to the point where I just eat the same meals constantly, so I can maintain good control of my glucose levels. For the most part my diabetes is under control and I’m not suffering from any related side effects.

After I learned about my Type 1 diagnosis, I was shattered. Why did I have to get this disease? While classmates were celebrating their senior year, going to prom parties, and planning their future, I was in and out of the doctor’s office learning how to inject insulin into myself and getting educated on good diabetes control. I busted my ass in high school at everything I did, and felt getting diabetes was a huge slap in the face. At the time it felt like an insurmountable roadblock standing between me and having a decent life.

More than anything, I wanted someone to explain to me what the greater purpose of being saddled with this disease was. To date I have never heard a good explanation. F*ck God, he doesn’t work in mysterious ways. I hardly even think he/she exists. There, I said it.

Then I learned about my Borderline Personality Disorder. I exploded one night late in my Junior year at college and had to be put in the looney bin for a week. At first, learning about BPD gave me some moments of clarity: it explained my moods, depression, hopelessness, and inability to have normal relationships with people. In some ways it was a crutch that released some of the pressure building up behind my “why can’t I be normal?” valve.

Unfortunately for me, my symptoms have only slightly improved . Sure, I don’t try to harm myself anymore, but it has come at the expense of taking 4 different psychiatric medications for more than 10 years. If I so much as spend 5 days without one of the meds, I go into withdrawal and become completely useless. My previous blog below is an attempt to explain why I peed on the window of my apartment sleep walking due to Clonazepam withdrawal. Peeing on the window? At 32? Really?!? Is this what my life has deteriorated to?

BPD has also further complicated my relationships with family and what few friends I have. I’m partly lucky that I live far away from those I know best in my life, because that allows us plenty of breathing room and time to ourselves. My parents have had it with my BPD and don’t even speak of it anymore. They complain that they are old and tired. Tough sh*t: part of the reason I’m so miserable is because of the way I was raised. Like most psychiatric conditions, BPD comes from both genetic and environmental causes. They’re as much to blame as the sh*tty genes I have floating around in my body. My friends, well, they really don’t know the whole truth and even if they did, they wouldn’t understand.

When I combine my diabetes with my BPD, it’s easy to see I have a lot of excrement on my plate to deal with. I fight both conditions all the time and I never seem to get ahead. I’m almost to the point that I want my psychiatrist to hook me up to a machine and shock the hell out of my brain to get rid of it. ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy) may sound dramatic but a few brief moments of extreme discomfort to alleviate a lifetime of mental anguish sounds good to me.

As a result of all this, I am constantly trying to find the deeper meaning of my life. Old friends from high school – some who just skated by and hardly ever cared about a thing – are now happily married and have beautiful children to raise. One guy I knew in high school who was notorious for cheating on tests is now a millionaire and president of his own company, living in a seven figure beach house with 3 cars and a boat parked at the marina nearby.

Why in the f*ck can’t that be me? I can guarantee with 100% certainty that if he – or anyone else excelling as an adult I know – had the same diseases I have, he’d be shaving in the YMCA at 5 AM in the morning and asking for quarters on the corner. Then again, maybe their families would be more supportive than mine is and take better care of the children they are responsible for putting on this earth.

I see NO greater meaning to diabetes and BPD. It confounds me that I have to deal with the both of them at the same time. Sometimes I never leave my bed. Sometimes I feel like eating a handgun. Other times I get so mad that I break things, yell obscenities, and become destructive. Don’t worry, almost no one ever knows because I live alone in a quiet apartment house. I have no wife or children to care for so the stress is all on me.

Looking forward, I turn 33 this year. I’m actually doubting my qualifications to be married let alone raise children. Diabetes and BPD? “NO THANKS” says any potential partner, I don’t want my children to go through that hell, nor do I want to put up with a BPD spouse that will fight with me to my dying day. Not worth it.

My point exactly: NOT WORTH IT. Life with BPD and diabetes is almost pointless. I’m just waiting to die. Maybe then I’ll get some answers.

Sleep Walking and Urinating – What’s next during my Clonazepam drought?

My often fractured yet constant need for sleep has produced all kinds of interesting experiences. One time, after drinking too much, I woke up and vomited all over the floor for about 3-4 minutes. I immediately fell back to sleep and had a big mess to clean up the next day. Some nights I go to bed at 1:00 AM but don’t actually fall asleep until 5 or 6 AM. I frequently get up to use the bathroom and roll around in bed until my brain finally permits me to rest. Also, as recently as two months ago, I had a “Sleep Terror”. I was having a nightmare and suddenly sat up and screamed louder than I have ever screamed before; so loud in fact that my voice went hoarse for the rest of the day and I tasted blood in my mouth. My cat wouldn’t come near me for 2 hours because of what she heard.

Friday night’s event, however, was something quite surprising and new. I awoke stirring in bed reacting to an odd dream that was proving difficult to remember. The bits and pieces I did recall involved me getting out of bed, peeing on the window, leaving it there, and then returning to bed with my foot soaked in my own urine. Slowly, as my head began to clear, my worst fears were realized: indeed, my foot was slightly wet, there was a puddle next to the window and splash marks on the wall. This wasn’t a bad dream at all, it was pure reality!

How on earth did I manage to get out of bed, walk to my window and urinate on it? Was I in a trance? Do I belong in the looney bin now? Was this the start of new BPD problems involving bad thoughts and pee? 🙂

After mopping up my mess, disinfecting the area, throwing my pajamas in the wash, and briefly consoling myself, I sat down at my computer and did some desperate Googling regarding sleep walking.

I was happy – in a relieved way – to discover that this phenomena was not something rare or cause for alarm. In fact, after reading a few medical web pages I learned that adult males experience sleep walking in roughly 2-4% of the population. The urinating part wasn’t as common, but it was mentioned on several of the pages as an additional disorder/symptom. In extreme sleep walking cases some men have engaged in physically violent behavior, gone outside to mow the law, or attempted to have sex with their sleeping spouses.

Sleep walking in general is most prevalent among children under the age of 12, particularly boys but also girls in smaller numbers. Multiple forum sites had threads written by worrying parents regarding their son or daughter getting out of bed and urinating somewhere other than the toilet and then having no memory of what they did. Obviously the first few times this happened, the parents were cross with their children for the “I can’t remember it” excuse. After 5 or 6 instances, however, these parents realized there was something else going on. Fortunately, they were reassured by fellow forum posters answering the thread that almost all children outgrow sleep walking once in their teenage years.

Still, this whole “foggy dream becomes reality” experience I had was upsetting. I’m not 12, I’m 32! I continued researching sleep walking in adult males and specifically sought out mental health websites. These sites were more informative about the causes and treatment for this condition.

Most of the time, sleep walking is the result of bad sleep habits. If you find yourself going to bed at varying hours throughout the course of a week, you’re more likely to experience parasomnias (abnormal sleep behaviors with physical movement) and/or somnambulism (sleep walking). Less common causes included stress, alcoholism, use of anti-anxiety medication, and personality disorders.

In my case I was neither drunk nor sleeping at an odd hour. I wasn’t overly stressed either. So that left personality disorder, ie. my BPD and anti-anxiety medication, ie. my Clonazepam, as the likely culprits. Well, that pretty much explains why I peed on the floor.

Thinking over the events of the days prior to my “sleep-pee” disaster, I noted that my BPD was generally “normal”. I didn’t have any rages or abnormal depressive episodes. My Clonazepam regimen, however, WAS out of whack. I’m desperately waiting for my medication from the USA to arrive in the mail, and have had to ration out my Clonazepam as a result. I was down to half my usual doses and was experiencing withdrawal symptoms during waking hours. I also found it difficult to get to bed, which meant the dwindling supply of medication in my system was affecting my sleep.

Given all the evidence at hand, I’ve concluded lack of Clonazepam is the problem, plus just a bit of my BPD. 🙂 I would hate for my Friday night experience to become a regular occurrence, so I’ll be checking my medication package’s tracking number on the hour to see when it arrives. Once I’m back on my usual dosage, I think I won’t be urinating inappropriately any further. If it does continue, however, I’ll be writing a very depressing blog entry and putting my psychiatrist on speed dial for a desperate pep talk.

Util then, take care of yourself and ALWAYS keep track of your medication supply. Why make life any more difficult than it has to be? Treat your BPD and yourself responsibly! (…and pee in the toilet, that’s what it’s for…).