Driven by a desperate need to define myself, I began writing Broken on 7 March 2015 hoping to find an answer to one question: Who am I? What emerged was a 90,000 word macabre memoir that explores the psyche of a thirty-five-year old woman who survived a number of traumatic events back to back. The events went on to build and shape her mind around multiple psychological disorders she didn’t know she had. Until very recently, she thought she and her childhood, were quite normal. Broken is the process she undertook to discover her mental illnesses and the severity of her mental conditions.
This is my story and I have chosen to share it with you for a number of reasons. First, psychological speaking, this is all very cool. Second, my children have suffered from my conditions and my only goal is to help them and undo the damage I have caused. This ties into my third reason: I hope others can learn from my experiences and seek the help they need for the sake of their children. I wish for others like me to know there is hope—so they tell me—and you are not alone.
I don’t quite believe that myself…that I am not alone. But, for the first time in my life, I want to.
I currently have no diagnosis, but the doctors around me have developed predictions based on years of experience. Nothing is certain yet. I am waiting to speak to a therapist in May. Truth is, as early as eight years old, I learned to become so withdrawn and emotionally detached, that no one—not my parents, not my friends, not even my husband who has known me since I was twelve—had any idea that there was anything wrong with me. They thought I was…different…unique…unusual, but had no idea about the secrets I hid from everyone.
My smile and eagerness to laugh hid the truth too well, and my mental health comes as a cold shock to everyone who learns of it. Most of my family still doesn’t know that there is something wrong with me. They see me as being withdrawn and suddenly shy without understanding why. Broken shows the process, breaks it down, and explains the depth of the nightmares I live beneath my smile.
Even now, I’m calm, quiet, and smiling. This is the truth of what I am. On the outside, I’m logical, but passionately eager to play make-believe. Some liken me to a child and admire my ability to have preserved my playful innocence. That is part of my condition…or maybe its me. I don’t know anymore. So much of what I am has been influenced by my disorders that I don’t know what I am anymore. On the outside, I smile often and laugh loud. In my head, I see a naked girl. She is curled up on the cold steel floor and she is screaming. The Death Men are there and I’m fighting a war only I can see. I’m alone and I can’t tell the difference between the worlds in my head and this world that you see. To my right, Bergen stands guarding me.
My name is Angela B.Chrysler and I have ROCD, PTSD, Egomania, CEN, and BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). I may also be borderline Schizophrenic. The doctors I have spoken to are very certain I have these conditions. More tests are needed. I am so emotionally detached, that I behave as a psychopath—the ability to bi-pass one’s emotions. I am incapable of feeling guilt, hate, anger, grief, jealousy, embarrassment, sympathy, or comfort among several other emotions. Some of these emotions I haven’t felt in more than fifteen years.
Despite not feeling certain emotions, I am very empathetic. I am told that this is part of BPD. I am told about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I have no idea what this is. I am told it is one of the hardest things to accomplish. I am not allowed to research any of these conditions or terms until after my diagnosis comes in.
This is the road I am about to begin and I am recording it all in “Unbreaking Me.” My most recent thoughts on this are recorded in “My Blog.”
“Broken“ is my story. It is how I came to be what I am. They say “write what you know,” so I have decided to write about this. Above all, I am a writer and part of my therapy is to write.