About the Author

Hello!

You can call me Pandora, should you wish to assign a name to me. If you’re new here, then I am pleased to make your acquaintance πŸ™‚

This blog is about my experiences with various mental illnesses, and my (attempted?) recovery from at least some of them. I started it in May 2009 with the intent of trying to spot patterns and triggers, but it’s morphed into something much more than that – it’s a living, breathing (well, almost) record of some of the most difficult periods of my life, and how I’ve shocked myself in managing to come out of them alive.

When I was 13 or so, I was diagnosed with major clinical depression, which was later complimented (!) with a side order of anxiety (general? Social? Both?). I’ve been in and out of mental health systems (NHS, private and voluntary) multiple times since then, and I’m in my late 20s now.

At the age of 25, as well as serious depression and anxiety, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder with psychotic and dissociative features, with a possible differential diagnosis of bipolar disorder, type II. However, in 2011 – under a different psychiatrist, and with some input from a CPN – it was determined that either I’d recovered (my view) from borderline personality disorder, or that I never had it in the first place. Instead, my primary diagnosis is bipolar affective disorder, type I, with psychotic features (upgraded to type I due, I suspect, to my experiences of dysphoric mania. Unfortunately I’ve never had the thrill of a euphoric one). I also have a diagnosis of complex post-traumatic stress disorder, resulting primarily from child sex abuse.

Despite seeing some improvement in my psychological condition in parts of 2011, I know that I am not (and probably will never be) free entirely of some sort of mental health difficulties. I still can’t work, as to do so I need to be assured that any period of stability is going to be long-term, and as of this writing (July 2011), it is far from that. I have periods of hopefulness, and alternately times of great existential pessimism. Sometimes they coincide with ‘episodes’, and sometimes they don’t.

I’ve been through a lot of therapy, and (as of late-2011) I’m intending to go through at least six months more. The process, coupled with the right medication, has helped me a lot, but there is a long way to go.

A few things that require my attention here:

Nothing on this blog is concise, especially my reviews of therapy sessions. My aim in going into such anal detail has always been entirely personal; this blog is essentially a diary for my own benefit, and I want to remember nuances and dialogue wherever possible. However, to my surprise, it seems that some people actually enjoy my endless rambling. Maybe you will too, and maybe you won’t – either way, I appreciate your visit πŸ™‚

I swear a lot. I am also endlessly guilty of crass hyperbole, gutter humour and even criticism of (my) mentalism. I need it to be known, though, that of course I have absolutely no prejudice whatsoever against anyone with a mental illness. It’s simply in my nature to self-deprecate and rail against political correctness (lefty as I may well be these days). Sadly mental illnesses are still highly stigmatised in society, and even though I’m routinely guilty of making self-directed off-the-cuff remarks, I do try to help break down bigotry as much as I can. I am, essentially, a fairly normal woman, living with something much more normal than many people acknowledge. I hope the blog demonstrates that, at least a little. Whatever the case, I am not ashamed of having mental health problems.

This blog is only written anonymously to protect those discussed herein. Because I come from an abusive background – child sexual abuse, the product of a domestically violent marriage, psychological trauma thanks to some dick of a boyfriend, paternal neglect, yadda yadda, blah blah – the personnel concerned, most of whom are still alive, require the protection that only anonymity provides. I have been accused of hiding behind the cloak of the internet due to feeling shameful of my situation, or not having the courage of conviction, or whatever – but none of this is true. I can’t make you believe me, of course; I can only reassert that the simple truth is that I need to protect my friends and relatives.

This page is deliberately fairly vague and dispassionate, probably because I think most people who will want to read this blog will already have found their way here and don’t need to read endless reams of bollocks. However, if you’d like to read the original, more in-depth (and probably out-of-date), ‘About’ analysis, click here.

If you’d like to know more about the woman behind the writer, check this out.

I do not exist in a bubble, much as I sometimes might like to, and thus often write about those that exist in my social group. You can read details on my life’s ensemble of characters here.

And if you get sick of me (“oh yes!”), head over to This Week in Mentalists, the best place to connect to mental health blogging and media coverage. As its Editor, it is indeed another baby of mine, but it’s written collaboratively so you can escape me easily πŸ™‚

Anyroad up, folks, thank you for reading. Please do comment on any post or page – I love hearing from readers. Bye for now!

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35 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. SI,

    I am so sorry that your latest session went so poorly. If you felt comfortable with it I would like to read your latest post.
    di

  2. I am very interested in following your domain – please email me a password so I can indulge :$ I just stumled andyou seem to be pretty amazing, I love reading people’s life storys and yours seems like one I would enjoy…

  3. I ran across this blog using stumbleupon (yey stumbleupon) and read a bunch of the posts… I rather like it I must say… and i agree with you on many things and share a number of opinions and views and what not… just wanted to wish you well and say that I liked it, mostly because I most likely wont be coming back (I’ve got my own issues, and as much as I’d like to keep reading I know I should just avoid facing my own issue (yeah I know that ‘they’ would tell me how wrong it is to think like that))

    … after staring at this for a few minutes I realize that posting something saying I’m never going to be back is just silly… I just got a kick out of it, so hopefully you will too
    -lemming

  4. Blimey, I feel right at home. Looking forward to reading more. I’ve been very lax recently.

    One thing, your seven points struck home. They all fit, if gender-shifted, scattered over various abusive parents, etc. But I’ve not suffered 3. Grimaces, and sends all the sympathy I’ve given to various extended family who have suffered 3.

    Also, interesting to read yet another example of the sexism of psychiatry. There is a downside to being a man though – they diagnose very quick, and you don’t get any therapy (even useless therapy) in my experience.

    Take care, D (abysmal) – and I’ll no doubt irritate you with all the Norn Ireland fiddle players of the last century whose playing I love at some point!

    • Thanks D. Irritation by reference to NI fiddle players is always welcome πŸ˜€

      I agree – there is sexism in psychiatry, but as you note, it can manifest against men as well. I think maybe they’re simply misanthropes that put me to shame…whatever the case, me no like them 😦

      Sorry to hear you’ve had a similarly shite background. It can’t have been easy for you 😦

      But I love your blog. It is the first one I’ve ever read that has the sickeningly verbose me running for a dictionary at times, which gives me some intellectual stimulation in this perpetual existence of desultory nothingness πŸ™‚

  5. I’m terribly sorry that you are experiencing such suffering, pain and frustration. I too have experienced some of the abuse, suffering and depression that you have. I found my way out of the dark night of the soul and I’m sharing this via my blog and podcast. If you would like to check it out here is the URL and do hesitate to ask for anything I can give to help.

    -rob

    http://www.aquietmind.com

  6. My daughter is intelligent, has a wicked sense of humor like yours, sought help but was miserably let down by the mental health industry in the States. Stories like yours are so painful to read but they are everywhere. Psychiatrist throw meds at symptoms and therapists talk in circles. Rarely is Borderline Personality Disorder treated with targeted drugs – instead drugs for bipolar or schizophrenia are used, no doubt with fingers crossed behind the doctors’ backs. Have you tried EMDR? For victims of abuse, it is often very successful. It retrains the brain to “re-route” reactions, the triggers that are so painful to live with. You need to heal that abused little girl.

    • Hi Pandora, I met you thru Alizah Byran and enjoy your blogs. May I ask if you take anything for insomnia, as i also suffer from the same, chronic insomnia for years, since 2003…..I have been awake since 11 pm last evening, beyond exhaustion, I cannot take naps during the day, sleep will only come and only for a little while on 300 mgs of seroqel (bad drug, causes diabetes, severe weight gain) and an ambien with it. Am looking for other alternatives, as without sleep, I once went into a state of mind and had to be hospitalized for a “manic” episode duuring which I thought God was talking to me thru tv,, radio…..that two friends who had recently passed away were talkng to me thru the chirping of birds, etc. I am now diagnoswed w/major depressive disorder….and have been searching the internet for a psychiatric drug that will induce sleep. ty for your blog ?

      • Thanks for your kind words Cindy, great to have you here. Insomnia is truly dreadful. When I started this blog – as the title attests – I hadn’t slept in months, and was losing my mind (even more!). I haven’t found a perfect medication yet, but the best so far is Zopiclone. Are you in the UK? If so, you should be able to get it from your GP; just tell him/her that you haven’t slept in a long time, and need some temporary relief. They’re not meant to give it to you on a long-term basis – it creates dependency and loses its effectiveness – so what I do is take the minimum possible to sleep and don’t use it until I’m next at the end of my tether.

        If you’re in the US, I believe that Zopiclone (or, more accurately, a slight variant called Eszopiclone) is marketed as Lunesta. As far as I can tell it’s essentially the same thing.

        Other options are Temazepam (didn’t work at all for me, but does for some) and Nitrazepam (I had variable results on this) and, I suppose, good old Diazepam. But Zopiclone has by far been the best for me personally.

        Hope that’s of some help. It really, really sucks, so I hope you’re able to get some relief soon.

        Thanks again for commenting and hope to have you back soon πŸ™‚

        Pan ❀ xxx

  7. Hi Pandora, I just found your site through StumbleUpon–only joined it today and already hooked!–and just wanted to say how AMAZING your blog is. I’ve only read through a few posts so far but am totally under your spell, you write with eloquance and flair. I can’t wait to go through all your archives.

    I’m sorry to read what you’ve been through but you are an absolute star to face it and deal with it head-on like this.

    Take care

    psychspaghetti xo

  8. Mental health issues are very important in my family. We have depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety (PTSD) from the long wars, and just plain old alcohol problems. I am convinced my family has bad genetic material for so many of us to be this messed up.

  9. Just run through this blog… and no, this is not a bot trying to spam here. I’ve just read this “about the author” and I think you’ve gotten a new reader πŸ™‚ can’t wait to know something else about you, Pandora (and sorry if I sound weird… I just wanted to say that this is interesting)

  10. My family and I recently tried that herbal sleep aids and to our surprise, they actually aided us amazingly. I’d recommend them forevermore. Good luck Pandora.

  11. Hi Pandora, fellow Irishman here (I’m from Co Glaway) — have been reading here for about a week now, I’m totally addicted. I’m sorry for your horrendous experiences but admire your determination to healing via therapy. I have no experience of trauma or significant mental health probs but have gained alot of insight from this blog into these areas. Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work! Take care for now.

  12. Hi there,
    Not sure how exactly I found this blog (think it was through Twitter somehow) but having read some of the information above it’s reading about myself for some of it. I feel a lot of the things that you seem to (from what I’m gleaning from above); I just lack any proper diagnoses or reason for my mental illness.

    Just thought I’d say hello and that it is already beneficial to me to see that there’s other people out there in the world and I’m not alone.

    -tta

  13. Great description, especially the part referring to gutter language, insomnia, clinical depression, bi-polar disorder, childhood abuse, dickhead boyfriends (boyfriend earlier, Lucky Ex-Husband Number 2 later), and of course sci-fi (What IS it about neurotic/mentally disturbed insomniacs that induces the watching of Doctor Who? There may be a blog there for me hmmm).
    Also, DIG your header graphic. Just decided to use a new theme which I detest because I can’t use my own graphic skills -which do appear on my ‘hidden’ bi-polar crazy woman blog.

    Want to say that your point of being purposely vague on people’s names, etc is a good one. One of the 9000 reason my sister and I don’t speak (and never will again) is that I mentioned her by name; once regarding her behavior when my father died -oh and her having a different one which SHE instigated the search about and dad never knew but she was keeping from her kids. the other one was her big-ass fake tits, nose job and cheek reconstruction…so she could be prettier for modeling.
    She didn’t know I had a blog…until one of her ‘best’ friends found it and pointed these two tidbits out to her.
    Actually… I don’t regret it. Totally understand not doing it though. Smart girl.

    So I have some more reading to do here. And am happy to have found your blog.
    Rock on with those meds girlfriend! Goddess knows I do πŸ˜‰
    ~Miss R

  14. hello pandora,ive been reading yr blog which i do find helpful and inspiring,to describe myself am a woman in her late twenties living in NI.nobody wishes to listen to me and my so called problems and truthfully i could understand that.because of the nature of them and how they manifest and take over my life.you see i have such a major history of abuse,physical,finanicial and verbal both my parents really fucked me up and to this day i could never forget what they did and didnt do.it has not been easy and as living on my own for the past 6years has been difficult largely because i spent most of that time on a self destruction path ending up in relationships that were really wrong being with ppl who did drugs,yet despite this i still worked kept a hse but some things gave way and are now lost gone forever.

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