Person: Is this on? I hate talking into these things. OK, I'm sorry, I agreed...
Interviewer: Just pretend it's not there. Here. I'll move it. Better?
Person: Yeah. Thanks. OK. I'm only talking about these things so other people who might suffer ...well... go through will know that they're not alone. There's hope out there. I went through it and I'm still here. I survived the depression. I was sick. I'm not totally cured, but I can deal with it, yeah? Why you so interested in this?
Interviewer: Research. I dunno. It's interesting. I think everybody is a little crazy, I mean, they might have...
Person: Ha ha. It's OK. You can say it. Crazy. There. I did. Big deal. Well, some of us a little more. Funny thing about you is that you just think you're crazy. You act like you are. You're really very normal and grounded. But love us crazy women! The more insane we are, the more you love us. I know that about you. So maybe you are crazy. Yeah?
Interviewer: Thank you, but let's talk about you. Um, can you talk about yourself for bit? Describe your disorders, history, etc?
Person: Yeah, in what sense?
Interviewer: When you recognized you suffered from some disorders?
Person: In my late teens I was diagnosed or should I say, misdiagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, anxiety, aggressive behaviour and some mild form of schizophrenia. They told me that I was sick. That something was wrong with me. That I was fucked up. Opps! Can I swear? OK. So I just hung around with the most fucked up people I could find. Big mistake there.
Interviewer: How about relationships?
Person: Ooooh. That's a tough one. My current boyfriend is great. We've been going out for a while and I am really in love with him. But it's taken a while to get to that point, you know. To love somebody who cares for you and doesn't judge you. He's understanding, strong and caring. Best of all is that he's really patient with all my, yeah well, you know, episodes. All my life was a series of bad relationships, really unstable. Lots of pain and hurt. People really abused me and I let them do it out of self-hatred.. I'm still trying to deal with it, you know. It really messed me up.
Interviewer: I'm sorry.
Person: Why? It's not your fault. Yeah? Relationships. Hmmm. I had really difficult time trying to get close with people. Even people I was dating. You know, you're together with somebody but not really that close.
Interviewer: You mean, um, sexy stuff?
Person: (Laughing) God! You ARE crazy! (Coughing) No. Kidding. I mean emotionally close. Letting people inside. I think that emotional connection is more terrifying than sex. I mean, come on, sex is sex. Trusting people is very hard for me. I'd often just, how do you call it, evaporate myself from the world.
Interviewer: When you were depressed?
Person: Yeah, it was a way for me to deal with all the irritability and anxiety I went through. I'd just shut myself away for weeks. I wouldn't talk or see anybody. I would just close myself off and sulk. It was really unhealthy. And then there were times that I would just go out and do all these impulsive things like going on shopping sprees. I'd buy all these clothes and jewelry which I couldn't afford. I'd have a lot weird impulses. I mean, I bought this really expensive drum set one time when I thought I was going to start a band with a friend. It cost so much but I wanted it. I had to get it. Later, when I set it up in my tiny apartment I realized that it was big mistake. Too loud. Too hard to play.
Interviewer: What happened to it?
Person: I returned it. I'm not a drummer. I did play piano when I was younger.
Interviewer: Maybe you should have picked up harmonica or something.
Person: Yeah, how about singing? That's free.
Interviewer: Um, what about, I mean, can you talk about other self-destructive behaviour? If you're comfortable about it.
Person: Yeah, well, I was addict. I was on drugs when I felt sad. I'd go for days just bingeing and bingeing. Food, too. It was just a way for me to substitute my addictive personality. When I was sad, I'd know exactly how the drugs or eatting an entire cake would make me feel. Usually sick. But sometimes, good. I still have an eating disorder but I've learned to control it. I don't do drugs anymore. I would stay up for days or be asleep for days. It got me into a lot of trouble. I did some really bad, I mean, yeah, it wasn't healthy. Some of the people I called my friends were just using me to score stuff and try to use me, yeah, it was bad. I looked and felt like shit.
Interviewer: Do you drink now?
Person: Not really. Just the occasional wine. And cigarettes, which I am going to quit very soon. My boyfriend doesn't smoke. I eat healthy and exercise. I take care of myself.
Interviewer: Good. What about spirituality?
Person: Oh, and I do yoga. I'm trying to get my boyfriend to do yoga with me but he calls it new age yuppie aerobics. I like it. It's really good for my body and head. I journal, too.
Interviewer: Can you go into detail about your, um, episodes?
Person: OK. The really scary thing is that I was prone to have very bad tantrums. I still do once in a while but I can feel the moods changing. It's terrifying because you really can't control your moods and anger. You end up lashing out on people and that loss of control is the worst. I remember I was cooking breakfast with an old boyfriend and he messed up the eggs and for some reason I just freaked out on him. The more he tried to calm me down, the more angry I got. I smashed all these plates and then remember just locking myself up in our bedroom for days. I felt like killing myself. I thought about it. I've tried, yeah, I mean, the anger bursts were always there in the back and I was afraid that they'd come out and I'd hurt the people close to me. Once I blacked out while trying to hit some guy who I thought was, well, nevermind... I don't want to talk about that.
Interviewer: Sure. Understood. Can you, um, tell...Um, what kind of thoughts would go through your head during these episodes?
Person: I don't know. First, you just freak out and have no thoughts. You're out of control. It just comse gushing out. All the rage just sort of has a life of its own. When I get in those moods I don't want to deal with people out of fear that I might unleash the bad side. I don't want them to see that bad side because then they won't like me anymore. So these freak outs would just sort of take over my body. I'm not proud of some of the stuff I did and said. Then afterwards I would spiral into these really bad depressive bouts. Have all these confusions about who I was and what I was doing. I'd just sink into that really bad feeling that I was flawed, defective, unlovable.
Interviewer: I love you.
Person: I know. I love you, too.
Interviewer: I'm sorry. Continue talking. But I'm glad we got that on tape.
Person: Ha ha. Thank you. So that low-self esteem depression would always follow after the rage explosions. Always. I'd tell myself that I was worst person on earth. Sometimes, it would shift and I would praise myself as the best. It was really weird. The range of hate and praise. Really extreme, yeah? But those are times when I would evaporate from the world. Just kinda disappear.
Interviewer: Were these voices in your head?
Person: What? Like psycho dissociate disorder? No, no. I don't suffer from that. I meant the own voices of self-doubt and low self-esteem. That's worst than anything else out there. So that's why I did a lot of drugs and drank like crazy. Also, the, yeah, lots of guys I'd, yeah, hook up with. I'd also find the most abusive man out there and get involved with him without really knowing him. I felt so worthless that I believed that these abusive people were the only people that would be with me. That's very unhealthy. That was really stupid of me doing that and not being smart about it. I've been... yeah, nevermind... I think self-doubt is very damaging.
Interviewer: What about therapy or medication?
Person: I didn't really find any help in either. Since my early 20s I'd been to so many doctors that I could talk my way around them and the drugs never work. Now that I'm in my 30s, I've chilled out a lot. I'm not saying that they don't have their place. Some people can find a lot of help in therapy and meds. It's just that those were not really meant for me. I just hated it when some people would tell me that it was just a hormonal thing or that i should just "snap" out of it like it was something that you could wave a magic wand over. I lost a lot of friends that way. But then I didn't have that many real friends back then except for my sister.
Interviewer: Can you recommend folks what to do if they suffer from what you went, um, I mean, go through?
Person: Depression and mental illness is really a lonely thing. Just know that a lot of people, a lot of women deal with the disease. But you can learn to live with it and heal the wounds. But don't look for answers from others. You have to seek your own salvation.
Interviewer: That's very Buddhist of you.
Person: Is it? I did read a lot Eastern philosophy and tried meditation, which helped a lot.
Interviewer: I hope you're better now.
Person: Sure. Much better. Once I cut out the toxic lifestyle and abusive relationships, I'd started to fall in love with somebody I'd forgotten. Myself. I don't want to sound all new agey self help. I actually find that literature pretty stupid.
Interviewer: What if you are friends with a person with these disorders? How can you help?
Person: Whew! You're in for a trip! Just kidding. That's sweet of you to ask and care. Just be there for them when they need you and when they want space, give it to them. They need it. Respect their space. It takes a lot of patience. My boyfriend is really an angel for putting up with all my mood swings and depression. But Iput up with his band practice and poker night. Right? Ha ha. So just know that those people need to trust you. Don't force big things on them because that might trigger something you don't want to see. I know it. Why all the interest in my psychological history these days?
Interviewer: Thanks for your time.
Person: Thank you. I don't know why you're going to transcribe this.
Interviewer: It's interesting. Just trying to understand, um, some behaviour. We'll transcribe this so we can help people.
Person: People who try to help people are a curse.
Interviewer: Um, why?
Person: If you leave people alone, they'll figure it out for themselves.