Ending Summer 16: Strokes, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Tig Notaro
Eclipse season has ended, bitches. Like the rest of the collective internet sad girl clique who follow whitewashed astrology and buy overpriced crystals stolen from other countries, I, too, kept an eye on the eclipses. Eclipses are meant to bring big shit. Big news, big events, life-changing even. So the first one happened on Thursday, 9/1/2016, and I felt chill. For awhile. I thought God was doing me a solid.
I was wrong.
A week later, my father had a stroke. On Wednesday, 9/7/2016, I came home from work, promptly took off my pants and got stoned. As the warm feelies crept up my legs, I got a Facebook message from my stepmom. She said my father had paralysis on one side of his body. So there I was, stoned, in my underwear, and learning that my father is having a stroke.
Long story short, my dad is okay. It’s pretty fucking scary to see your parent go through some shit when nothing has ever really happened to them. I think that we operate on the idea that we are still kids to our parents until something happens to them. I had like 4 breakdowns. Most of which happened in the same clothes over the course of several days.
Let’s rewind 3 days before this.
I’ve been paying out of pocket for my therapist because insurance sucks. So I learned that my insurance might cover my sessions, but my therapist has to select a diagnosis for paperwork purposes. She brings in a shiny, laminated packet and asks me to look through and pick a diagnosis. She says,
“I was thinking of one of the personality disorders.”
To which I reply,
I read through the mental disorder packet, which looks eerily similar to a Vietnamese restaurant menu. It’s like I’m picking a fucking rice plate with a side of sociopath. We pick a diagnosis, but I can’t help but wonder why she suggested a personality disorder.
So I go home, and I go on a very long, exhaustive Google search on all the personality disorders the same way I obsessively investigate the online lives of Love & Hip Hop stars. At this point, I’ve ruled myself out as a sociopath, narcissist, and a bevy of rather juicy, psychiatric conditions. I find “borderline personality disorder.” If you google it, you’ll find a lot of shit like
“a serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of ongoing instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning”
“a serious mental illness that centers on the inability to manage emotions effectively”
“10% of people who suffer from borderline personality disorder commit suicide”
“BPD has a suicide rate that is 400 times the national average”
Well, that’s not banging.
There are 9 symptoms of BPD and professionals will use these 9 symptoms to determine whether or not you have this condition. I’m going down the list, and I’m expecting to miss some. Lo and behold, I hit all of ‘em like the jackpot. So at this point, I’m like, “The bitch is crazy. I’m that bitch. I’m the crazy bitch.”
What’s up bitches, I’m crazy! I hate that word, “crazy,” because it dehumanizes mentally disabled people in so many ways. However, in this case, I’m taking that word back, because I’m a crazy bitch.
I wait a day. I see how I feel. I call my therapist. I tell her I think I have BPD. She confirms it. I feel relieved. I feel happy. There’s something going on with me and I know what it is now. There’s something going on with me and it’s not my fault. That break happens for a day or two.
Then it sinks in. How sick I really am.
I descend into the deepest depression I’ve ever experienced. Nothing brings me joy, not even my fur babies. Not even my partner. Not even my father walking and eating on his own again. Not even the news of Max B getting released from prison early.
People with BPD have brains, like all humans, except some of our brains can’t regulate emotion. Like physiologically cannot. I’ve seen the brain scans. The shit is real. I have extreme difficulty managing my emotional reactions when I am hurt. To most of you, this has come off as moodiness, sensitivity, anger, as it does with most people with BPD.
The times I got into fist fights in public, screaming matches, broken shit. The times I threatened people, all the relationships I severed. My friends have come to appreciate the angry parts of me. I turn it into a joke — my anger. But that humor shit melts away when you realize your amygdala isn’t poppin’.
I couldn’t bring myself to eat, get out of bed, go to the bathroom. I felt as though I was being struck by lightning over and over again. I knew I wasn’t doomed to a shitty life, but I knew what was in store. Healing is always the most painful part. I always said I didn’t know how to contain all my feelings and now I know all of it — is real. I am sick, like real fucking sick.
I stay at home a lot. I decided to watch a comedy, kind of like a Big Mac to a person with nutritional issues. I glaze over Amy Schumer and Katt Williams and onto someone I’ve never heard of before — Tig Notaro. She’s different and makes me laugh. I feel laughter again. It feels good. I watch all of her shit. I start her show, “One Mississippi.” The first few scenes show her flying back to Mississippi to put her mother to rest.
This is when I realized just how depressed I was.
Tig has C-diff, which is an intestinal disease. She keeps having to go to the bathroom as she goes to say goodbye to her dying mother, who is on life support. So there she is, alone, sitting on her mom’s hospital bed, watching her take her last breath. But that’s the thing, she takes like 3 last breaths. Meanwhile, she has to go to the bathroom. So she is torn between going to the bathroom and sitting next to her mother and said death rattle.
I find this fucking hilarious. I release an inappropriate amount of uncontrollable laughter. My partner is horrified. I’m fucking laughing as I type this because it’s the funniest shit ever.
Yeah, I am clearly depressed.
Over the next 2 days, I consume every bit of Tig’s comedy as I could. I learned her story and how she got diagnosed with C-diff, said goodbye to her mother, and got diagnosed with breast cancer, all within a few months of each other. I felt peace, knowing that my shit was fucked, and it’s okay. I’m not hopeless. I can get treatment. I can laugh at it, too.
This bitch isn’t crazy, but she’s been through some shit. And she’s laughing at how absurdly fucked her life is. This white lesbian bitch is saving my life right now. She stood in front of a crowd of people a week after her cancer diagnosis, and said “Hello, I have cancer. How are you?”
And I love it. I love every second of it.