Autopilot – schizotypy driving

So I’ve mentioned my autopilot quite a few times. And with good reason. It’s the thing that lets me have a relatively normal life. But it’s also the thing that makes it difficult for me to get help when I need it. Most people have them, we would go nuts without them as our brains can’t handle the vast amounts of  information we’re experiencing every minute. But it’s a fine balance.  Here are a few pros and cons of having an autopilot in my life.

Autopilot Good

  • Makes it difficult for people around me to see that I have schizotypal personality disorder, not too fond of preconceptions within the area.
  • Lets me do lots of things without thinking about them, and in a seemingly normal way. Not cognitively difficult tasks, but simple things.

Autopilot Bad

  • Makes it difficult for people around me to see that I have schizotypal personality disorder, meaning that my close family have a hard time seeing the danger signals and knowing when things are bad and I need some help getting help. Because for me it’s seldomly bad enough and it’s down prioritized in a busy life with job, kid, social life etc. Which is not good. I’m not great at putting my own priorities first.
  • When all everyday things just work out, I take on too many projects. That stresses me. And like sleep deprivation, stress triggers schizotypal symptoms to escalate.

So like many things, it’s complex. You need it, and then you don’t want it to take over too much. And like many things, awareness changes a lot. Being aware of my autopilot makes me more aware of my symptoms, and just that reflection in itself helps me to me more aware of my situation in general and take better care of myself.

 

 

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Mother’s day – parenting with schizotypy

Waking up – Mother’s Day

Having kids and schizotypy can sometimes be a challenge. Today it was mother’s day. A day filled with Hallmark cards and filled chocolates. But not for me. For me it was waking up to the smell of fresh coffee in my own bed after having slept a full night with no kids. Followed by Eggs Benedict (our style with salmon, roe and salad) with homemade Hollandaise outside in the sunshine. And some great gifts; my daughter had chosen a pretty dress for me and a large canvas. Seeing as it was unusually warm today, the kids jumped out of their clothes and donning nothing and a diaper set to work painting. The result was a beautiful canvas titled “The Robot Roberto”.

Kids, parenting and mental health issues

There is a lot of tabu about having kids and having a mental health issue. And I must say, that the media  often portrays borderliners, schizophrenics and the rest of us in rather odd ways. Some things are recognizable, some are caricatures  or simple just misconceptions. And when it comes to parents with mental health issues, we are often thought of as irresponsible and extremely unstable.  Another reason why I’m anonymous. Society is just not good at handling well functioning and ‘un stereotypical’ parents with mental health issues. Having schizotypy does not make me a worse parent, it makes me a very reflective parent who sometimes has ups and downs in terms of what my emotional life can and does and is.

 

Cold and indifference and love

The complexity of emotional coldness is heart wrenching. When I was pregnant with my daughter, before my diagnosis and medication, I was sure that having here would pop the bubble of indifference. This fog that engulfs me when I’m not feeling well. When I was 14, I called it ‘the dollhouse’. A pseudo reality.

But her birth didn’t pop the bubble, and the shame of not feeling the overwhelming first love with your newborn grew. Thought I had postpartum depression at one point. But after I got some help, had a brief stint in hospital and got my diagnosis or box, acceptance kind of gave me peace. At least it gave me something to work from and and that allowed love to grow. Perhaps I was young and thought love had to be a certain way. Perhaps I was naive. Perhaps a lot of things. But now the love for my children is immense, and grows day by day. My understanding of what parenting is has also changed, become more nuanced, more complex and deep. And that also helps grow our relationship and love.

Autopilot

My children don’t notice that I’m different, my autopilot is too good for that. So most people don’t know the difference if I’m in a bad period because I compensate and rationally analyze how every situation should be according to the norms. The norms are my guide, and I NEVER cross that line even though it is tempting. Because I am not so sure that I could get back in the other side again. So for the sake of my family and myself, autopilot me is what keeps me out of the sad statistics and in a normal and fulfilling life. And in between the more and more rare periods of bubbles, I am truly happy. Something that I wish for everyone, but especially mothers today.

So all mothers in my segment, chin up – it’s ok. We’re all different. And we all experience shame and confusion and sadness as well as the good – that makes us human and ok.  And trying and loving is all that matters. Cheesy but true. And Happy Mother’s day – we all deserve Eggs Benedict in the sunshine!

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A night alone – and still no sleep

Still no sleep?

With schizotypy you need to sleep. And copious amounts. So while the family headed to the countryside yesterday,  I stayed in the city to fix some things in the apartment. And to sleep. I’ve had both kids alone during the night the previous two nights and I was really looking forward to sleeping. And to sleeping in – perhaps even to ten! But of course my body is wired to Little Children Time. The parallel universe where this time zone prevails has no mercy. And I woke up twice during the night and at six this morning. Wide awake. With no chance of sleep. There is probably some  natural law that dictates that when you want to sleep badly enough, it’s not possible.

Supplements and Teeth

I’ve tried taking magnesium supplements before sleeping, sometimes that helps my sleep quality. But mostly it’s little F’s teeth that are killing us. He’s (ONLY) halfway through. Just great. But I suppose once he’s got 20, he’ll settle down and sleep. As will the rest of the family. And we all know that sleep does things to the schizotypy box.

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The Great Enemy – too little sleep and a diagnosis

I started this blog post at 2.30 in the middle of the night, a night where my youngest wouldn’t sleep. Seems like ages ago, but actually, it was only last night. Now that the daylight has come up, and I’ve had my first flat white, the coffee is working and I’m a new person. Well almost, because anyone who has a schizotypal personality disorder will know that losing sleep is one of the worst things that can happen to escalate symptoms.And my youngest seems to be perpetually teething and waking up constantly.

This sleep thing is actually  double sided for me. When my eldest was little, she had everything that would make a child wake up during the night and cry. Some nights we were up 30 some times. I’m not exaggerating. I counted. That loss of sleep, and never getting 5 consecutive hours, was what made me go and submit myself to the hospital.

That awful situation had a silver lining, because I got my diagnosis.  Which to many might not be a great thing to get. But for me, it was something I had been waiting for for years. I always sort of knew that I was different, and wanted a box to put it inside. Now that I’ve got my schizotypal personality disorder box, I’ve got a frame from where to work with myself. But as most psychiatrists will tell you, you are never 100% inside a box. Not one box. As every person and experience/disorder/whateveryouwanttocallit is different.

So to not experience too many of the dark and negative sides of my diagnosis, I need to sleep as no sleep brings the negative symptoms, which are not my cup of tea. Give me the positive any day. But not the negative.

So get some sleep! (note to self)

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Schizotypal body awareness challenge

My body awareness is awful. Really, really awful. Having schizotypal personality disorder, or actually something just outside that box, means that my relationship with my body fluctuates. Sometimes, I’m in control and feel at home in my body. Then, I’m in total balance. Which is my goal.

But when I’m not, it can get so bad that my hands (legs, ears, pinkies etc.) don’t feel like my own and I can’t recognize myself in the mirror. That’s when the whole seperate reality starts kicking in. More on that in a different post. I’m so used to it that by now I don’t think too much about it, my autopilot just takes me for a spin and nobody ever notices what is going on inside my head.

SO what can you do to ‘feel’ your body? All sensory experiences are options, which is anything that primarily involves the body and not my overactive brain. My brain tends to hijack these experiences as well though, food for example is not purely sensory but also a subject for highly analytical brain activities. So I’m making a list of positive experiences and will work my way through it:

  1. exercise – the hard kind that will hurt a bit and make you taste blood. Ok, maybe not every time, but that’s the gist.
  2. massage – by having someone else touch your body, to me it seems more ‘real’
  3. meditation – goal is to get rid of the thoughts and focus on bodily experiences
  4. sex – don’t suppose I need to explain that one, but practice helps

Challange: get brain to not participate analytically in any of the above activities

Will keep you updated as my experiment progresses.

 

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