Call Me Crazy? No, Thanks.

I thought I was overly emotional when I watched this particular show, but I recorded it to watch when I was lying in bed recovering from surgery.  I didn't feel like watching it for a long time, but maybe two weeks ago I was folding the laundry on the bed, near the television where I'd decided to record MANY shows where I thought I'd be lying in bed just watching television recovering (didn't happen), I decided to see what it was all about.  It was called Call Me Crazy, and I had heard it was supposed to help with breaking down the stigma of mental illness.  Jennifer Aniston directed or produced or was involved in some way, that's how I found out about it.  I'm a big celebrity follower - yes, I admit it - if a celebrity is doing something, wearing something, saying something, breaking up, making up, showing a "baby bump" (can't a girl eat a piece of cheesecake these days and just walk to her car without being accused of being pregnant??), I will be the first to know!

So, I have no idea why I had been avoiding it, but I had.  I dreaded it, I did NOT want to watch it.  I think deep down, I really don't consider myself any different than anyone else.  I don't FEEL mentally ill.  Why is what I feel or do or say or think anything different than anyone else?  How are THEY different than ME?  I don't like thinking that way.  I don't want to be different, I don't want to admit it.  I convince myself I'm not mentally ill, yet take all of these pills at night.  My husband watches me, they're all lined up on the counter every night, and I make excuses.  "Oh, those aren't ALL for my mental health, it's also allergies, and for sleep and for constipation..." which is true, but I'm trying to keep the focus off of the biggest reason I take medication every day, I know I am.  I'm very embarrassed, even to my husband, who has taken me to the psych ward, gone to counseling with me.  If I can't admit it to myself, how can I expect other people to accept it?

So I'm watching this show, and it's five stories, I think - different types of mental illnesses.  Yes, there was one where a woman had bipolar disorder - SO not me.  I don't have those extreme ups like she did, and while I'm sure others do, I couldn't relate.  But...I could relate to how all of the mentally ill people FELT about their illness, how people treated them, how they felt about what people thought of them, and especially, ESPECIALLY what they thought of themselves because of their illness.  How they were unsure of their futures - could they be successful?  Yes, I HAVE been successful while having this mental illness, I'm just in limbo now.  It was heartbreaking, and I don't think there was a single moment of the show where I wasn't crying, tears running down my face, I just wanted to lay my head in my pillow and cry and cry.  Wow, just thinking about it right now I can feel the lump in my throat and I'm trying not to cry.

Maybe some people embrace their mental illness, is that possible?  I see where some people have NO TROUBLE just telling people what they have, what they take, it's part of who they are.  Yet that's not me.  I've never known anything other than who I am and how I've felt, so normal?  What is that?  That isn't what I feel, who I've been, what I am?  Yes, there have been times where it has been hard to function, impossible to function, and I realize that is NOT normal. 

I think, overall, I am just so healthy, am I right?  Am I wrong?  My blood tests come back with everything SO GREAT - blood levels - perfect.  Sugar level, cholesterol, fat, vitamins, everything, all in range.  Blood pressure - low and normal.  Heart rate - same.  All of the normal indicators would suggest I'm very, very healthy.  Yet...I just had a hysterectomy, but I got RID of that problem.  Check that off the list!  I've never had a problem with dust or dirt IN MY LIFE!  Now all of a sudden it makes me very ill?  I ran out of Singulair (it's now a generic, I can't remember the name), and didn't take it for just one day, and the lawn care company showed up that day in a big dump truck of dirt for the garden beds and I have no idea what else, I wasn't outside.  They were here for about four hours, I didn't go outside, but later my silly dog went out and rolled around in the dirt in the beds and came in covered in the stuff.  That night, I felt very sick, like I was going to throw up.  I thought it was because I ate raw cookie dough - I had made Mark a Texas shaped cookie cake for his birthday, and in the process ate a lot of the dough, but I've done that since I was a kid!  But I knew if I didn't fall asleep fast, I was going to puke.

The next day - omg.  I was SICK.  Horrible headache, it felt like I had a head cold or something.  I actually took hydrocodone my head hurt so bad.  Once the headache subsided I realized...oh, this might be allergies, but wth, what is it?  The FREAKING DIRT??  Seriously, I played in dirt when I was a kid, who hasn't??  Why didn't I get sick when I was a kid?

Mark came home from work and stopped at the store to pick up my prescription.  I took one right away, one again that night, kept using Symbicort for this stupid asthma I "supposedly have" and need to "trust my doctor I have", and sure enough, the next day I was much better.

So he said, "Wow, you are just a really sick person, aren't you!"  I am?  I don't think I am.  I think I am a very healthy person!  I make sure I eat vegetables, fruit, very lean beef or chicken, exercise when I can which I can't for two more weeks, am I overall a sick person? 

I think I'm a healthy person.  Yes, I have a mental disorder, but you know, I'm FINE.  It barely exists, it is just kind of there, I know nothing else.  I'm allergic to dirt, and well, exercise, exercise induced asthma.  Kind of sounds princess-y, doesn't it?  Allergic to dirt and exercise?  Ha!  Doctors will tell you to stay away from dust, lecture you like you're a smoker or something, but no doctor in the world will tell you not to exercise.  They will pump you full of enough drugs until you're able to move and not sniffle or cough! : )

There are people a lot worse than I am.  I have a few issues I'm getting under control, but overall, yes, I think I am a VERY healthy person.  I much as I can control, right?


susie said...

Have you seen Silver Linings Playbook? I loved that movie.

KansasSunflower said...

No, but I want to!!! : )

jenji said...


I saw Call Me Crazy too and it was very, very well done. I think what really stood out for me was the teen whose mother was bipolar and the comedian with pervasive depression. I could really relate to having bipolar disease, but what really caught me off guard was my relation to the daughter, as my mother also has bipolar just like I do, however she wasn't dx'd until 5-6 years ago, wherein I was dx'd about 13 years ago. But I have never let this illness define me. I don't go around broadcasting my condition to others. Some of my friends know and some of them don't. Hardly any of my family knows aside from Mom. It's not that I don't trust them, it's just that there's no point in telling them about something that doesn't define me. It's something I have, not who I am. I should think if I were diabetic I would find more friends and family knew merely by some of the food choices I would make in a group atmosphere, but even then, I wouldn't be prone to broadcast it. I share when it's relevant.

When I was first diagnosed I thought about this "illness" and what it meant to who I am a lot more, but over a decade later I rarely if ever think about it aside from taking my medication on time and allowing myself to care for myself mentally/emotionally so as to better balance my condition.

I thought Silver Linings Playbook was a powder puff attempt to look at mental illness. I really didn't care for it at all.

Marya Hornbacher wrote a great book called: Madness: A Bipolar Life, which was really, really well done and what really helped me come to terms with my condition was Kay Redfield Jamison's writings, particularly The Unquiet Mind. If you haven't read that book, go and get it. Seriously. It's outstanding and so eloquent.

Have you gone to an allergist and had skin testing for allergies? I should think that would tell you definitely yes/no as to whether you're allergic to dirt or not. I mean, if it's not a definitive diagnosis, it could be a food allergy. We are more prone to food allergies as we get older. I used to have no allergies although, now in retrospect I realize gluten was a big issue for me all through my childhood and adult life up until 4 years ago when I cut it out completely, but I also became allergic to shellfish in my early 30s, seemingly out of no where. Do I ever miss crab meat. I'm salivating just thinking about it- some days I think I'm gonna go get some crab with a bottle of Benadryl in tow.

Anyway, have a good day and yes, you are not sick, you have a couple of conditions, but they don't define you.


susie said...

It's out on DVD. You need to purchase it for frequent viewing.

KansasSunflower said...

Jenji, it's the strangest thing, whatever I've seen, you've seen! That part was really sad - the girl with the mother who was bipolar - I'm so sorry you had to endure that growing up. It made me think...what kind of mother would I have been had I had children? Maybe it's best things worked out the way they did. I think I identified the most with the first girl - who had schizophrenia, not because of her mental illness, but because of the way having a mental illness made her feel about herself and how she felt everyone around her felt about her. That whole part broke my heart, and yes, the depressed comic. Depression, that severe - wow, just take a limb from me already and give me my life back, you know?

Yes, I've had allergy tests and know I'm allergic to "mites", such as dust, but it's progressively getting worse. In Chicago, there can be...days when dirt or dust is in the air, you can feel the grit in your mouth, does that make sense? I have no idea if that is a dust mite, but when I unpack boxes, I get those horrible cold symptoms, and that's dust, so isn't that the same? I need to ask my poor abused doctor, not the allergist/pulmonologist/asthma doctor I had in Dallas who diagnosed me, but my family doctor here. I trust him more for some reason. : ) Who gets allergies and asthma in their 40's when they've never had it before? Isn't it supposed to go away, not show up? And so weird that you developed an allergy to shellfish in your 30's? These things are rare, right? We're getting childhood issues now instead of our childhood issues going away? I wish I was also getting younger along with it! : ) The crap but not the perks!! Why do we always want and crave what we can't have...: )

I've read an Unquiet Mind and loved it, but for some reason I can NOT place what that book was about! I'll have to dig it out of my unpacked office and read it again - thanks! : )

KansasSunflower said...

Susie - thanks! I'm going to watch it - I've heard a lot of good things about it! And I love Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper! I've been curious about this true story that the director or screenplay writer wrote the story about - his son, I think? I'd love to hear the real story behind it, after I see it of course. : )

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