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.
Yesterday was so awesome. Filled with energy and no hallucinations. I took two short naps, but didn’t take my Risperdal until 2am because I’d moved into a new day without seeing it happen and I was still wicked high on energy.
From Awesome to Terrifying
Well, I did have a few images/tactile sensations trying to invade around 8pm.
After I took the 4mg Risperdal at 2am, I was making my bed after having done the laundry during my frenzy and when I bent over to put the sheet on the back corner, some-one/thing fucking kicked me onto the bed. I thought I was being robbed! I fell and whirled around and nothing was there. I rubbed my ass it hurt so much. I started crying, got back up, put the sheet on and moved to grab the pillows off my chair and some-one/thing grabbed my upper arm; I could feel the fingers digging in. No one/thing was here. These were, by far, the most aggressive hallucinations I’d ever felt. Scared the bejeezus out of me. I put Bear McCreary’sOutlander music on and quickly jumped into bed and under the covers. I breathed with Raya Yarbrough as she sang the Skye Boat Song and eventually fell asleep.
Today, however, has been entirely different than the delightful highs of yesterday.
I seem to have an emotional mechanism… a gauge, if you will… that can instantly detect where my emotions are at any given time. Today I woke up feeling… sad? Dejected? Off?… I sighed knowing today was going to be tough. And it has been.
I have struggled to type. Normal words come out spelled as a homophone of themselves. “Brake” comes out “break”… “flee,” “flea.” Frustrating as crap having to go back and edit over and over… not something I often have to do.
I did take calls, but could feel that too-fast mind on overdrive and had to really harness the energy so I didn’t talk over clients. One caller in particular spoke at a gentle pace and I could feel myself tromp tromp tromping on some of his words (and I could feel his frustration as well), so I was really strong with my voice and stopped doing it. The call went smoother and he was very happy in the end. (It was less than 15 minutes long, so I only had to control myself for a mere few minutes.)
I’m overwhelmed and need to lay down. Do I take my meds and sleep? Do I just rest for awhile? I cannot even make a simple decision like: Should I drink water or Diet Coke. (No comments from the peanut gallery with your opinions!) Back in awhile.
I went and cried in bed thinking about today.
As the sun went down, I began to break apart more. Tears, laughter, morose, frustration. A couple of the guys annoyed the fuck out of me so I decided, with check-in, that I was a tad over-reacting and best email with them in the morning instead of tonight. Apparently I shouldn’t have screamed my head off in anger (in my room) when I was called “Sweetheart” in an email.
Oh, and the news. I am not supposed to watch or read the news. I am even trying to stay out of Facebook a lot so I don’t get dragged down by the horrible things going on. But I caught a whiff of the tragedy (understatement) in Aleppo and went to read what was happening. I have barely stopped crying since. And then all the Trump shit? It’s just too much. Too, too much.
Reaching Out for Help (Again)
When I had my second “break-down” in 1998, my dear friend who introduced me to the Internet (on New Year’s Eve 1994), along with my two lovers at the time, took me to the doctor where I was diagnosed (finally) with Bipolar Disorder 1 and put on a cocktail of meds that began my life of being medicated to keep me sane.
So tonight, as I felt my mind was disintegrating, I called my friend who understands in more ways than most in my life. She listened as I explained what was going on (hallucinations, physically shaking with electric energy and occasional jolts, crying, laughing, anger, despair) and she helped me decide to see the doctor again tomorrow instead of next week. No suicidal ideation at all, but the feeling like my mind is going to spill out of my ears onto the floor is so enormous, I am sorely tempted to go to the hospital, but know all they would do would be put me in and I don’t want that. (For me, the hospital represents HELP!… a long-ingrained midwifery belief.)
I am just going to watch something inane and work on my Picture Files.
I promised those in my life: NO NEWS & CALL DOC in the morning.
I have no hallucinations this morning, but am filled with energy. I am a Kon Mari fool, pulling out drawers, yanking out things to throw away, wiping them down with baby wipes. Putting things back in neatly. Moving on to the next. And the next. And next.
I hope when I come down I don’t find I’ve thrown the wrong things out. (I did that once before… threw out a slew of eye make-up… from Sephora, no less. It still stings.)
It feels so good to be full of energy after yesterday’s suck-fest.
This is written all over the place. I should have put times on paragraphs. I will try to do that from now on.
10/1/16, sometime early evening
Today is bad. A terrible struggle. I am in an intense place of self-loathing (as you can see by my previous post). And there was that time (a few hours ago) I screamed at the woman in the Pharmacy line and had to be escorted out of the store.
The Family That Ignores One’s Mental Illness
Tomorrow is my sister Amy’s birthday. She died of an overdose to opiates, with a side kick of 4 Fentanyl patches on her side and torso, 5 years ago. My mom was very upset, so I went over to talk about things… including memories. Amy and I had a contentious relationship from day 1… we were 18 months apart. The last years were not pleasant with her, so consoling mom wasn’t an easy task in this frame-of-mind.
My family has barely an inkling of my mental illness. We are a Sweep-Nasty-Things-Under-the-Carpet kind of family. I don’t hide it, but when I say something they don’t want to hear… oops! Gotta get dinner going. Or, did you see that Trump said <whatever fucked up crap he says>?
Even though my mom knows I am in a Manic place, she kept telling me to be quiet, don’t talk so loud. My family’s going to Chinese dinner tonight and I was told I had to go, no choice in the matter. “Do it for mom, Barbie!”
When I tried to explain the BP Mania I am having, in many different ways and words, they looked at me blankly. I finally said, “I have horrible diarrhea,” and there was a collective, “OH! Well stay home then!”
How Do I Function This Way?
I went to go pick up the 1mg Risperdal from the Pharmacy and, waiting in line, a woman annoyed the crap out of me. I have zero clue what set me off, but the next thing I know, I was screaming and a friendly face from behind the counter came out to help me calm down, got my meds for me then she walked me to the car. I was sobbing with shame by then. She hugged me gently and kindly.
I got home and opened the bag and no Risperdal. I thought my head was going to explode. I thought, “Well, I am going to take 4mg again and call him and tell him I am just going to take the 4mg a day and be done with it.”
The past few days, I seem to be doing well during the day, then tumble into the crap hallucination stuff over an hour or so’s time in the late afternoon, so I thought maybe taking 2mg during the day and then 2mg at night might work. I actually think I was far worse today doing that. Now, of course, there is the: what do I do tomorrow? Wait until I collapse in craziness before taking the 4mg? Fuck. This sucks.
Watching Shakespeare in Love for the 800th time. Good non-thinking, not scary movie that is about writing (one of my big three, along with baseball and anachronism), that make perfect movies and books.
Swatting at Hallucinations
Yeah, a (not real) roach jumped from my side table to my arm and I screamed and threw my Ramen in the air.