High functioning, my ass

The whole concept of “high functioning” is a load of horseshit, as far as I’m concerned. To survive my upbringing, I had to be high functioning. My father doesn’t believe in mental illness, as if its an abstract concept like the fucking Easter Bunny or Santa.

My parents have always been…overbearing. Well meaning, of course, but overbearing nonetheless. So when I was 13 and they found my suicide note draft, they freaked. I lost all internet privileges, like a punishment. I was thrown into therapy where the therapist told my parents everything (in hindsight only did I realize the rules she was breaking). The meds I was on were only for a month before my dad pulled them because “they aren’t doing anything”. Those couple of months were hell. I went into 9th grade with an unhealthy view of mental illness. The husband (then 15 year old boyfriend) was getting it all dumped on him. When we broke up, he told me he couldn’t handle that anymore (which was fair), and when we got back together he told me that if I “did that shit again” we’d be done.

So I learned to hide my pains, I got very good at it too. My personality developed to become aloof over the years and now I am what doctors describe as high functioning. I don’t mean to be. There are plenty of times I want to tell the world whats going on in my head, but simply lack the courage and the communication skills to effectively do so.

Days like today, being a high functioning mentally ill person is difficult. I don’t know what I need, let alone how to ask for that from the people who matter.

My dog has severe separation anxiety. We’ve tried just about everything. When he ate the door (yes, he ate. the. door.) we realized the only thing left (besides day care, which we can’t afford presently) was kenneling again. We hate doing it, and last time we did, he continuously broke out. I expressed our issues with the MiL. Her response floored me.

Maybe next time he’s having an allergic reaction, you should just let him go. Or have you considered taking him back to the shelter?

1. He’s literally deathly allergic to bug bites. And anaphylactic shock is not a pretty way to go.
2. We’ve had him for FOUR years.

Has she lost her mind? That was last week. No, I haven’t forgiven her for that. Later in the week, I went to visit my friend. Her father overheard our story (I was updating her, dog is doing great in a kennel, by the way. We reinforced the parts with zip ties and try to limit length of being out). He said that maybe I should take him back to the shelter if I can’t be home enough for him. Dog is home by himself about 5 hours a day, 4 days a week. It’s not like I’m always gone. So these things have been on my mind. These are not the bad things.

So two days ago, dog wakes us up licking like crazy. When we get up, he’s covered in the worst hives I’ve ever seen on him and a lump about the size of a golf ball. We dosed him with Benadryl and kept redosing for the next 36 hours. I took him to the emergency vet because his bug bite episodes usually only last 8 to 12 hours. It turns out the low amounts of Benadryl we had been giving every meal for general allergies hid the fact he’s got a mast cell tumor which got angry and would cause alaphylactic shock and death if left untreated. (My gut told me this when I woke up in the morning. I hate being right) I immediately scheduled surgery (for tomorrow) and the vet told us that she’s worried it might have spread to the lymph nodes. We’ll be doing a fine needle aspirate of it tomorrow at surgery time.

Husband posed the question, “At what point do we say enough is enough?” Not yet.

This is his third mast cell tumor. He’s going to be 7 in May. Chemo isn’t something we can afford. And after the comments thrown at me last week… Its just a lot to process. Add to this, when I told the MiL (She stopped in last night for a week long impromptu visit), her response was “Oh…” as if I was doing the wrong thing by operating. I’m feeling a lot of negative things right now and I’m having a hard time articulating them. I stressed myself into a migraine.

I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m worried. I feel guilty for knowing I can’t afford chemo should he need it. And I am having a hard time putting all this into proper words. I feel alone in wanting to protect my animals, the only ones who have stood with me 2000%, the ones who prevented me from killing myself several times. I feel lost.

But because I’m “high functioning” no one can tell exactly how in distress I am.


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