i scream in my mind all day
August 6, 2010 12:58 PM   Subscribe

i feel like there are two of me and i am constantly fighting myself it is exhausting (big ol' long crazy post inside)

i feel like there are two of me and i am constantly fighting myself
it is exhausting

one side of me, let's call her Roxie, wants to smoke cigarettes, drink liquor and beer, stay up all night writing poetry and music, performing said poetry and music, painting, drawing, creating, emoting...perhaps being wild, but being glorious in her wildness.

the other side of me, let's her Edie, thinks that Roxie is crazy. Edie wants to go to bed at night and get up in the morning for work. ideally, edie would get up and work out early in the morning before work, so that there is time after work to do chores and maybe read a book or watch a movie or do some crocheting. edie thinks it's important to have a car that is in good repair, to save money, to dress fashionably yet in a classic style, to eat good foods like salad and vegetables. saving for the future is good.

these two sides fight each other constantly in my head. eventually, Roxie will beat Edie down to the point that Edie just gives up. Then I smoke cigarettes, stay up all night getting drunk and being wild and crazy (up to and including hitting on boys that are not my SO). Roxie is very convincing that I am the best thing in the world and no one can hurt me and screw all those bastards anyways. then i crash down, i feel ashamed, and then spend then the next few weeks being hypervigilant and hypersensitive about my actions, thoughts, and feelings - being on the lookout for roxie. i feel like i'm barely holding myself together and can't do what i want. i just want to scream cry or smoke cigarettes. i've even started thinking about cutting myself, which is nice big brand new thing for me. this who cycle goes through maybe a few times a year. since i drink way less on a regular basis than i used to, i am much more aware of when i start ramping up to a manic phase i guess. (that's why we're trying abilify). when i am manic tho, the Roxie side of me is very convincing to me and i think to others, but i realize now, b/c they've said so, that they don't know what to do with me when i get like that. i've made other posts on here under my real account and people have commented that i sound hysterical.

I've been in therapy for about two years now and I've learned a lot about myself. however, Roxie is getting harder to control. she makes me feel like use people as objects when it's convenient to not have to deal with my feelings. yet some of my best experiences in life have been when i've been on a "roxie" kick - getting up on stage and reading or singing to a incredible crowd...sometimes the memory of that just makes me stop and think "man, that was really good."

so enough about my not-really-personalities....i constantly feel like i am on the verge of hysteria. that i am barely holding it together. i've started abilify and ativan which help me sleep soundly and i don;'t feel groggy. together they definitely turn the noise down so i can try to get some stuff done. we're going to revisit meds for ADHD in a week or two since i'm still having trouble getting my focus on.

it's like there are two yowling cats in my head, hissing and spitting and yowling. i do exercise at least every other day, even if just a half hour of intense stuff or an hour long jog/walk. i've been trying to get thru david burns Feeling Good, but the exercises leave me spinning in circles.

i'm just starting to feel like i am quite literally, crazy. that i don't know how to feel, i am afraid of any emotions i do feel because they seem out of place, like i am transferring them from some other source of hurt and pain.

i've tried MoodGym and it helped me see their warpy thoughts but i have trouble finding my own. i do write the exercises down from Feeling Good and sometimes i'll feel better for about 10 minutes before Roxie comes in and says it's all a load of bull.

see, rambler...anyways...i'm just starting to scare myself and feel like i have no control. it's so hard, so hard to resist the bad side and it makes me anxious and pull away from my boyfriend and everyone and i just sit and stare at the computer all day at work, brain fog, you name it.

part of me feels like i belong in a hospital for a short stay. i 'm just not sure i have a good grasp on self observation anymore. i feel like i'm just clambering for attention but i'm not...i just can't deal with this internal fighting anymore. it is making me so unhappy and ruining my life. i've tried real hard to pull up the bootstraps and that has gotten me so far. but now the rest...i think i need serious serious help.

i have an appt with a new therapist on Monday. (my current therapist only has day time and that's just not conducive to my work schedule anymore).

tl;dr questions:

- can i tell my therapist it's ok to interrupt me? i am a rambler. a bad one. i'll just start telling stories. my old therapist was really into my background and i'm so sick of the introspection.
- this roxie/edie thing: is it normal to feel like there are two of you? i have felt this way for years, for as long as i can remember, and the longer i go, the harder and harder it is to not succumb to Roxie. i am at risk of losing my job and my relationship. i feel like i'm just barely holding on to sanity. ps i don't really hear voices...it's just easier than saying "my negative bad self" and "my boring responsible possibly happy one day self".

ps this is a sockpuppet account because my real account has my real name attached to it and i don't want anyone to find it.
posted by inmyhead to Human Relations (18 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Print your question and hand it to your therapist before you start talking; those two personalities totally jump out from your writing. Roxie as described seems so real that I want to ask her how she intend to support herself while she is doing all that fun stuff.

Best wishes to you and come back to the thread to let us know how the visit to the therapist went. We care.
posted by francesca too at 1:16 PM on August 6, 2010

Response by poster: francesca too - printing out is a good idea. will do.

kanata - psychiatrist for meds. went the GP route before and that was awful.

IFDS,SN9 - the pdoc and i could never find a stimulant that worked for me. then we tried staterra and vyanase, just made me feel like a zombie. so far, abilify and ativan are calming me down enough to get something done in the morning at work. before it wears off and i'm back to coocoo. at least i can be more articulate about how i'm feeling these days. sigh.

and my pdoc is very cool, easy to stay in touch with, so there's no wacky meds changes without consult.

other info - female, 30, on and off various meds under dr's orders over last two years. have been off meds for 3 months until started abilify and ativan weds.
posted by inmyhead at 1:44 PM on August 6, 2010

I'm certainly far from a qualified professional, but my simple comment is that you are exacerbating and empowering these conflicting impulses by naming them and treating them as separate, legitimate personas.

People and personalities are inherently complex, evolving, reacting. All of the impulses - and especially, the choices made as to how to respond to them - add up to "You".

Good luck.
posted by keasby at 1:51 PM on August 6, 2010 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I just want to second what IFDSS#9 said. It's what I came in here to say. You might want to stay away from the uppers, which can make even a perfectly level headed person act manic. As for the thing you said about having the best memories coming from when you're in a self destructive mode, I can relate. The key is to live long enough to be able look back from a place where you can say, "Man that was crazy fun, there's no way in hell I'm doing it again, though."
posted by dortmunder at 1:51 PM on August 6, 2010

Best answer: I think the whole "there are two parts of me" thing has been going on in humans for a very long time. Hence all those stories and pictures with a little angel whispering in one ear and a little devil whispering in another. We humans tend to feel pulled in different directions and sometimes we can end up feeling severely jerked around and kind of abused by the struggles.

That said, those struggles do seem to be more severe and problematic when people have suffered by having trauma histories and when people have bipolar type syndromes. Good for you for trying medications and by all means make your therapist work for you. You're his/her employer and if he/she isn't doing a good job helping you, by all means give feedback on what's not working, and if it doesn't improve, fire them and find one who's a better fit.

Sometimes when we're caught in one of these epic struggles between different sides of ourselves, it feels like we've got to choose one. The question you're struggling with is should I be Roxie or should I be Edie? It's not the right question in my opinion - don't become either. These are both just parts of your personality. It's wonderful if our different sides can cooperate and work together, but don't be fooled. You are more than either one of them.

Obligatory Disclosure: I am a mental health professional, but I'm not your mental health professional. Please continue to advocate for yourself in your work with your providers.
posted by jasper411 at 2:07 PM on August 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I am totally not qualified to answer the psychological/psychiatric aspects of your question. But I just wanted to say, because you sound so scared, and because I really like the way you described this (and can totally relate to a lot of it) that the internal conflict part is totally normal. (Or, you know, "normal.") It's only the extent of it, and your behavior and thoughts of hurting yourself, that are "abnormal." Which of course you know already. But don't think that normal people don't have these conflicts between two (or more) aspects of themsleves.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 2:18 PM on August 6, 2010

Best answer: Certainly you should keep seeing your doctors and therapists and so on, so this is not to belittle what may be an ultimately medical issue that attitude can do little about - but just to expand on what keasby mentioned above: YOU are the only one making these choices. YOU are "roxie" and YOU are "edie" - in fact you defined them to start with.

Whatever you decide to do, whatever consequences it leads to, whatever good or bad experiences you gain from it, are all the result of one human being - with many impulses and emotions and influences, certainly, but only one life. What matters is making choices and taking responsibility for those choices, as part of a single story. So living wildly has up sides and down sides, and you have to take those seriously. It can be lots of fun, but it takes a toll and has risks. Likewise, living the quiet life can be boring, but have long-term benefits. So probably you want to seek the happy medium, find a way to let yourself loose now and then, without worrying that you'll be overtaken by uncontrollable impulses.

Building up two extreme possibilities as the only options seems like a recipe for disaster. You don't have to choose between two false personas. You're a complex person who enjoys a night on the town sometimes, even though you want to be successful and reliable. This is a workable goal. I know people who have done very well for themselves who at one time or another did some pretty crazy things, and most of them don't regret having a few adventures "in their youth" or whatever.
posted by mdn at 3:09 PM on August 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: During the time I spent trying to quit smoking (which inevitably meant not drinking = I am way less interested in drinking when not smoking for some reason) I felt like I was on a roller coaster of being two people.

I really get what you are saying.

It was, in my oppinion, the fact that I was addicted to smoking that made the "other" me beat down the happy, healthier me. Sometimes every couple of months - but sometimes this went on every other day. For two years.

I wanted at times to simply smoke again as though it were okay and just stay there, without thinking about it (as before). But for some reason it wasn't possible.

So, the happy, healthy not-smoking me (who also ate healthier, went to the gym, worked on art work, who payed attenton to things and listened to people and was truly engaged in her life) would be overtaken every now and then by this relentless asshole whose whole mission in this world was to get me to smoke (you know, not just smoke, but everything that by then went along with smoking for me. Things like semi-ignoring my bills, being angry and snarky, if not darkly sarcastic, even fatalistic, all in what seemed like a "wonderful" way whenever I was craving badly and about to relapse).

This is the thing: the fact that I became like two people made me realize that I was trying desperately to allow the other (healthier) me to develop (independantly of the unhealthy me) while being unable to simply quit smoking because, of course, it's an addcition.

It's great that you are in therapy as it's obvious they can actually help you, where here all we can do is offer you the fact that we "get it"and tell you why.

But I will add that in the end I just had to decide something. But more than that - stop myself (last thing in the world you want to do when you are about to give in to something hard-wired in your brain) and see that smoking wasn't going to return me to anything, nor was it a destination to someplace else. Cold hard reality.

Meanwhile, I now sort of knew this "healthy me" from all that time being on a rollercoaster, and more and more I craved that.

I hope this helps. Good luck to you.
posted by marimeko at 5:20 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

You sound like a friend of mine that has DID. Not saying you do, just saying that whether you do or not this is something that can be worked out in therapy. You may need a therapist trained specifically to work with it, tho.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:47 PM on August 6, 2010

Best answer: Roxy and Edie need to stop fighting and realize they need each other. They need to work out some sort of mutually beneficial compromise. Edie can explain that it's not in Roxy's best interests to neglect the longer term effects of her actions while Roxy can tell Edie how to have more fun in her life.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:15 PM on August 6, 2010 [4 favorites]

It's not clear to me from your post--have you been diagnosed with bipolar disorder? If so, you need to talk to your doctor about a mood stabilizer. The atypical antipsychotics, benzos, and ADHD meds should really be later add-ons. IANAD, but IAAMD--manic depressive, that is. I have taken many of medications you list, but only as adjuncts to lithium and/or lamictal.

(If you haven't been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I agree that you should print this out and show it to your therapist. I am loathe to play armchair psych, but your whole post--from the ideas it presents to the way it is written--screams mania to me.)
posted by cosmic osmo at 6:47 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

What cosmic said. You've been in treatment for 2 years, during which you've repeatedly experienced uncontrolled mania that clearly effects your functioning and your doctor want to prescribe you a stimulant?? Time for a second opinion stat.

If you have a mood disorder trying to control it with talk therapy or life philosophies is about as useful as trying to control it by only putting your clothes on in a certain order each morning. You need a proper diagnosis first.
posted by fshgrl at 8:53 PM on August 6, 2010

Are you Catholic or were you raised Catholic? I just blame my similar problem on that.
posted by thorny at 10:01 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

I suggest you talk with your psychiatrist about these issues, in addition to working on them with your therapist. I think it's important for your shrink to know about them, to have a full picture of where you're currently at, to accurately diagnose you, and to provide you with the most appropriate meds.
posted by exphysicist345 at 12:58 AM on August 7, 2010

Response by poster: to answer some questions, if any of you check back:

my pdoc as well as my gp think i have Bipolar II, with the fast cycling.
my old therapist, pdoc, and gp all think i have Generalized Anxiety.

they are all pretty sure i have attention problems, altho whether it's due to depression or bipolar or what, we don't know. went the whole thyroid and other med issues tests, nothing there.

yes i was raised Catholic. i am pretty sure that screwed up me (hello guilt!)

i am currently on Abilify from my pdoc. he wanted to try lithium but said i need blood work so let's see how the one without blood work works out.

i will print this out and show both to new therapist and pdoc. i see him next week to follow up on meds.

thanks again. i'm feeling a bit better now, for various reasons, but hearing back from all of you has also helped.
posted by inmyhead at 5:57 AM on August 9, 2010

Response by poster: so just an update for anyone reading this in the future.

new therapist is pretty awesome. also knows my former therapist.

new therapist (let's call her Dr B) says that since i am creative anyways, it seems like it was a good narrative choice for me to name the selves i feel in order to get a handle on them. she echoed what many of you said about it being normal to have that internal conflict.

i did print out this and some of my other questions which she said she will read.

she said that i ultimately seemed very frustrated and feel trapped by both my job and relationship and that i need to work on ways to get pieces of the life i want where i am right now. that seems very reasonable.

she did say i seem to have a lot of b/w thinking but that's something we can work on. she said she's not too into rehashing the past (like my past therapist, part of the reason why i left) unless it is obviously a stumbling block to my current issues.

so my issues with guilt and abandonment will certainly come up, but she said we'll work on resolving them with a mind to the present.

she likes the Feeling Good handbook and is also down with giving me assignments either from there or just writing out some thoughts on something since i am a writer anyways, but i tend to ramble. so she wants to give me things to write about that focus on an aspect of an issue.

i feel much much better, both for having a therapist i feel more comfortable with and for feeling less keyed up, both to the meds and my session with her.

she likes the idea of AskMe since it sort of gets people to journal when they are having an issue, which i never really thought of it like that.

so thanks mefites - i feel like strangers on the internet sort of carried me along until i got into see her.

(if i do get a specific diagnosis, i'll try to post back. she's not sure of anything after one meeting of course, except that i do seem very anxious.)
posted by inmyhead at 8:34 AM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: also, i realized i marked a lot of best answers, but they were all the ones that really rang true about needing to meld my two sides - and i guess that is part of maturing. knowing how to have fun but still support your life and live a good long one.
posted by inmyhead at 8:38 AM on August 10, 2010

Wow, haven't read all of the comments yet but nearly sounds like my life! I'm 32, 3 kids, attractive (god bless, STILL!) and I have struggled with these feelings for as long as I remember. ~The good vs bad ME.~ The DAILY struggle to find the balance in life is not only affecting me, but my husband and children. The stain & struggle coming to a head lately and I am at the end of my sane fibers which are fraying under the pressure. I used to get away with whatever my good or bad self felt like but now as I am getting older it just becomes more clear there is a problem. I'm not a silly teenager or wild-child in her twenties anymore and my antics are no longer being tolerated. Outbursts are now "symptoms of a mental illness" rather than a premenstral phenom from the hot yet witty trophy wife. Ouch, I know. Hurts to hear it. I have a young teenage son now and I'm getting it all thrown right back in my face as he is rebelling. Double ouch. I lived half my life in the "escape and be fun and free" the the other half GUILTY for it and feeling like I've neglected responsibilities, my kids, and I spent my "good" times trying to be the best mother, housekeeper, cook, volunteer, friend to my friends, and great mom that I can be. I used to think my drastic change in behavior was going unrecognized and my kids love the fabo-mom and ignored and forget about the crazy mom that occasionally surfaced in a fight w my husband or after a cocktail hour with friends. (aFTER cocktails could be heaven or hell depending on emotional state or fight w hubs.) It is SO not their fault. I understand that and try to keep them far from the crazy-me. They don't deserve anything but the fabo-rockstar-always there mom I usually am. WHY must I constantly battle this little devil on my shoulder?! Why am I always guilty for my breaks or overwhelmed by lack of a break! I just want balance and peace. It seems like even when I am in the peaceful and drama-free state I get the worst of the worst thrown at me and I'm unable to cope (at least inside even if I'm faking it for kids sake outside!?) I have a good, smart and loyal husband but he doesnt give a lot of attention. It makes things worse, given my neediness. Yeeep, IDK wtd anymore. He has started to indicate that he is also over my unpredictability. We have been in love/hate for years since I was 19 yrs old! We always come back the next day after a fight and we both know we are in this for life bc we truly do love and care for eachother and our family, as nasty as we can be to eachother at times, is our anchor to the earth. Sorry, I totally went off on a tangent! It was just so refreshing to hear a woman who battled a "bad-ass" vs "good girl" alter ego switch like myself. Maybe some complex people are just not understood. I do make-up, real-estate, play MEAN poker, read, shop, and scrap-book randomly-OF COURSE, nothing ever consistantly. But sometimes facets of oneself can make for an interesting mix...? I love that I am complex and interesting but HATE that I am all over the place most of the time. If I had a day of peace I think I'd just cry from the relief of it! I'm overwhelmed 95% of the time. 3 kids 2 1/2, 9 and 15. If there were 8 of me I don't even know if I could pull it off with 100% success! Am I nuts? Sometimes I think those who are not a little nuts could NEVER deal with what I'm met w on a daily basis..lol.
posted by Jsky at 1:48 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

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