Due to a glitch in my insurance and the Latuda company’s lack of medication, I went about a week without it. Might have been more. I have been back on it for 4 days now, but have fallen into depression. I wasn’t sure at first, but after sleeping 20 hours a day 3 days in a row, I think that qualifies as depression.
And the crying.
I hate the crying.
The welling up of tears for (seemingly) no reason. The way they fall unabated, no amount of logic stopping them. They just turn on and off at their own whim.
What am I sad about? Nothing. There is no precipitating factor here, merely biochemical.
Deep inside my colorless cocoon, I have a vague sense of other lives nearby.
I slither through their reality; where is my own? Surrounding myself with the darkness of my depression.
My mirror’d existence bursts into color, fireworks exploding with energy that drains my body, but never my mind.
Having Bipolar Disorder 1 is, quite literally, opposing colors of my brain. I see auras anyway, but during a manic episode, the colors scream off my body, tsunamis of energy crashing into my brain again and again. Voices screech… or whisper… I, never knowing which will be next… raging about how I look, feel, need to act, need to fly, need to find this or that, things that are elusive even after hours of mentally and physically searching.
Exhaustion never comes.
When the electricity finally dissipates after months of zapping me, I collapse into that dark world once again, struggling to keep breathing and not smother myself with the thought that this will go on forever.
Reaching outward, always outward, needing several hands to keep me alive, I am fed my medication, waking only to swallow, then sleeping yet another 23 hours.
Writing is my emotional gauge. By how many words I write in a day, I’m able to see where I stand psychologically.
Not writing for days, weeks, months… I am in that dark place and need help. Too often, because I am alone, I do not recognize the need for many weeks and, by then, am buried by the pain.
However, when I write 20,000 words in a day… several blog posts for me, blog posts and essays for work… long emails to friends and family… run-on sentences with divergent topics… it is they who sense my need for help and their well-rehearsed phone calls are made to see who can get me to the doctor the fastest.
Walking the tightrope, umbrella in hand, I teeter, side to side, always searching for that inaccessible balance.
“45” is what I call POTUS, the 45th president of the United States, that horrid man who squats in the White House tweeting (LYING) about random topics to divert our attention from the fucked up bullshit he does that will, PLEASE GODDESS, get him impeached.
I am watching the Women’s March on Washington and while I had learned about Intersectional Feminismpreviously, seeing how women’s lives overlap with race, religion, genders, abilities, histories (jail, being on welfare, etc.) and more, live right in front of me, is profound.
And then, as I am writing this, I see that intersectionality itself has been a controversial part of the Women’s March! Well, the organizers made it clear, to me at least, that intersectionality is a major part of the event.
It did not come without conflict, even causing white women to stay away from the March after they felt left out of the planning and implementation of the event.
“Intersectionality simply means that there are lots of different parts to our womanhood,” Brittney Cooper, an assistant professor of women’s and gender studies and Africana studies at Rutgers University, explained. “And those parts — race, gender, sexuality, and religion, and ability — are not incidental or auxiliary. They matter politically.”
So, reading about intersectionality in general and the March in particular, I am learning the history.
Crenshaw also pointed out that she came up with intersectionality to address a specific legal problem: As she put it, “To capture the applicability of black feminism to anti-discrimination law.” An example she frequently cites in explaining the need for intersectionality is the 1976 case Degraffenreid v. General Motors, in which five black women sued General Motors for both race and gender discrimination.
I know that understanding where intersectionality comes from gives me context from which to pull.
I was raised completely different than who I am now. As a young girl, I learned the ways of the white, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied and middle-class world. Yet I am a super-fat mother & grandmother, a femme Dyke, Cubanx/Latinx (knowing virtually nothing about my culture), mentally ill, disabled, a-theist, sex worker, non-TERF feminist who loves a Muslim man and who learnt Spanish as an adult. I don’t know how I would figure out my intersections without all those labels… and the ones I forgot to list.
Watching the end of the March’s rally, I am incredibly happy to see the wide variety of women represented , many of whom do intersect with my identities.
I’m sure the arguments for and against the Women’s March on Washington are being formulated or written about even now, but I am extremely pleased… more than that… excited, energized, inspired… by the speakers, poets, musicians, singers and leaders who were on that stage today.
It seemed to take forever to get control over the hallucinations and be able to sleep, and when I did, I slid into Depression mid-December. The fight to find balance between soaring highs and plunging lows has eluded me. Just when I think I am finding stasis, I slip by it and move to the next level of distress.
And here we are, mid-January 2017, and I am, once again, having hallucinations, staying awake for far, far too long.
Will I never find balance?
I’ve had increasing hallucinations for at least 2 weeks now. They aren’t terrifying yet, but they are on their way there.
Today I was visited by a bat!
Fucking thing was flying around the room then dove right for my head. I ducked and covered myself, but, of course, it wasn’t real, so if someone had been watching, it would have given them a hearty laugh. Other visual non-existent treats have been my clothes on the back of the door lifting off and swaying back and forth a couple of times and nondescript somethings sitting on the dressers or on my bed.
(I feel like a crazy woman sharing these things. How can I talk about what is going on so casually? I think it is just getting to be so normal, I am more shrugging than freaking out about it.)
The auditory hallucinations have returned, my hearing all sorts of crazy noises from windstorms to doorbell chimes. And the incessant whispers, always just out of earshot and too low for me to understand, but they are not happy noises. “Ominous” is the word I would use to describe them.
Oh, the goddamn tactile sensations. Again, feeling like I have bugs crawling on me. Not lots so far, but just enough to make me slap myself periodically.
Not smelling anything (yet) – olfactory hallucinations – but those are probably what’s up next on the Manic menu.
Writing writing writing
And so I write. Here, in my work blog, in Facebook. The words tumble out of my fingers even when I am meditating trying to sleep. I cannot keep them still as they search for a keyboard upon which to create.
This is the part of the Mania that keeps me from telling my doctor or taking more Risperdal because the deliciously creative period would be fleeting and, right now, the negativity of hallucinations is balanced by the verbosity of my words.
I feel like cutting my tongue out. I swear someone is using a course-grit sandpaper, rubbing it over and over and over, while I sleep.
What’s sucky, too, is the Tardive Dyskinesia is doing overtime even while I am awake. Unless I am purposefully monitoring my tongue and jaw action, my tongue is scraping across my molars or my front teeth. Continuously.
Thank the Universe no one is noticing (probably because I am in the freakin’ house!), but even working on the phone, talking sexy, no one has noticed a difference. After a call longer than 30 minutes though, my jaw and tongue are sore (muscle sore) from trying to do two things at once: trying to keep getting the guy off and try not to make it sound like I am licking the phone. (Whereas upon reflection, that might not be such a bad idea.)
I am lost over what to do about the TD. I would need to cut down or quit the Wellbutrin and I feel so, so much better on it. The prospect of stopping it terrifies me. (And the TD might not go away after stopping the medication anyway!) I see the Psych in a week and will talk to him about it, but the decision is 100% mine about what to do: stay on it OR go off of it and try yet another medication that might cause TD even worse, and possibly permanent symptoms, than this.
So, I still have hallucinations, minor visual ones, not scary. But for a couple of weeks now, I have been having visions… premonitions are what they feel like.
I meditate and have vivid images cross my mind. They are different than the fleeting, wandering thoughts that float around inside my head during meditation. These are more solid than vapor-y… and so, so, so real. They come with emotions, sometimes intense. So far, all good, but I am a tad nervous about seeing scary things; trying not to focus on them, though.
They do not only come when I meditate, but they seem to come easier at that time. Sometimes I am in that half-asleep place, going to sleep or waking, and they appear, too.
I saw a dear single friend of mine sitting in a library and a woman came to sit by him. She was dressed modestly, something that is important to my friend and struck him immediately. I saw them meeting, marrying and having a family together. All within moments. It was so real I almost reached out to touch them.
I’ve seen my grand-babies, growing through their lives… specific activities that I’ll leave a mystery for now.
I’ve sat in a meadow touching a rainbow.
Google-ing visions with bipolar disorder, one gets “schizophrenia.” Eek! Really? I see the Psychiatrist in a couple of weeks and will ask him what might be going on.
Until then, I’ll take what I see, write the visions down and not worry too much about this new phenomenon in my mental illness.