The Woman Who Played With Matches

Tuesday was a big day. The Blackberry – now dubbed BB4, because I’ve determined I’ve doomed any inanimate (and potentially animate) object I name, arrived. And I struggled at every step getting the damn information transferred.

A compulsion dragged me into two different pharmacies in town, in search of a replacement Sharpie pen. I obsessed about it. I couldn’t continue writing in my journal without it. The writing wouldn’t look right. I saw the hideous tag of $9 and change for two. And I decided that day that my sanity had a price.

I continued with my regression therapy experiment by listening to The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails. The album as a whole. Still nothing but lyrics. I can’t ever remember where I put my phone and my cigarettes. But, I’ll never forget a single lyric from any of those 14 songs.

All day, obsessions. These obsessive, intrusive thoughts snagged and snapped at me.

You lose everything remotely important. Check your bag for your pens. Your cigarettes. Your phone. Check again and make sure you see it. Did you put it back in there? Check again.

The world whizzed by me. And the music blared:

“Need you.

Dream you.

Find you.

Taste you.

Fuck you.

Use you.

Scar you.

Break you.”

Eraser

C L I C K .

– – – – –
“Fine-ally!” I seriously thought my bladder was going to literally burst inside of me. I pulled myself to sitting on the beige bench seat, all the way in the back. My heavy sandal fell off of my foot and landed directly on my copy of The Downward Spiral. I plummeted at freefall speeds. And upon impact, BANG! I was fiercely sobbing, van door open to a busy, boiling hot highway.

I rustled myself out of that van, and into that rest stop. I lit up a cigarette in a stall (back when you could smoke almost everywhere), and continued to sob.

“What the hell are you causing so much fuss about?” I heard from the stall next to me, “Me and your dad will buy you a new one when we get there.”
– – – – –

My father wouldn’t let me have anything that held any value. I didn’t even carry a wallet until I was 18. I didn’t carry a purse until I was 21. Why have these things without valuables. He insisted that I’d lose it.

When I did lose something, I’d never hear the end of it. Things I’ve come to realize can be easily replaced. A pen. A hat. The trouble is that these things never were replaced. If I lost something, and I loved it, it was gone forever.

Gone forever.

“Everyone I know, goes away, in the end.” Trent purred.

I was eager to get the key into the lock. I couldn’t remember the last time I had to go so urgently. I threw my bags on the sofa as I rushed through. I shedded my coat onto a kitchen chair and turned the corner to the bathroom. I walked up to the toilet and –

The seat was up.

Why was the seat up? I was the last one in the house.

A cloud descended upon me. A dark, nasty, vile cloud filled my head with heavy, smokey noise. It seemed a man had been in my house. And seeing as how only two men have a key to this house, and know the odd work hours I keep, that narrowed it down.

I take my father at his word. The man doesn’t lie. He would just avoid the subject.

That knocks it down to one.

“Confront him.”

“Wait! Don’t! Confronting a potential liar gets you nothing but more lies. Provoke him into exposing himself.”

I fired off a text, “Someone is busted.”

Normally, there is a lag time between fifteen minutes to three hours between texts. “I’m just so busy with everything going on! I’ll go to text you back and something will come up.”

More excuses. I don’t expect to take precedence every day. Just one day would be enough.

Immediately, a call shot to my cell. I nonchalantly answered the phone. At first, he carefully poked around. “Who? What do you mean? What happened?”

We didn’t speak while he was coming home. Unusual. He was only quiet when he was either alienating someone or plotting. I had him cornered.

When he arrived home, he put on a great show. He anxiously scoured the house looking for clues. In paranoia, he wedged himself between the fridge and the wall to boost himself above the drop ceiling. It was quite the farce.

He made a mistake. My husband, a man who is not guilty of anything and deeply crippled by anxiety, would not have given up so easily.

He was chipper when asking, “Would you like to take a walk over to the store for freezer pizza?”

I was bitter and suspicious. He hadn’t regarded me in that way in nearly a month. Each revision of behaviors became more noticeable. He eagerly set up the stroller. He made a pass of the exterior of the house for good measure. Only a pass. It was anything but thorough.

“So who do you think it could have been?” he uneasily questioned me.

Fishing.

“Anyone.”

“Like who.”

“Everyone and anyone who could gain access to our house. Whether it be by force or key.”

Some more silence.

He rattled off a few very unlikely people. Forced. Any shift away from focusing on him. The insinuation was nowhere near vague. If there was something to hide, I’d find out. I made that unmistakably clear.

He trotted through the store. Suddenly, necessary items considered to be superfluous became important. I begged him for toothpaste when I had thrush. I knew it would clear faster. But, though we had just gotten paid, there was no money available.

He was overly enthusiastic about everything. At one point, he went to the Digiorno pizzas, and exclaimed what a great price they were. I had done so three months ago, and was shot down, claims they were still “too expensive'”, and returned to the same nasty, three, overcooked Tombstones.

Fake. Appeasing me. Buying my distractions.

I glared as he rushed through our taxes without complaint. We have never done our taxes so late. Never down to the wire like this.

Irresponsible. Careless. Uncharacteristic.

I fished through his cell phone for clues. He’s clever. He would have erased any tracks. He’s too paranoid to let anything revealing slip.

I have my reasons.

The Rage

Even with the ever shifting moods of bipolar disorder, there remains two constants. Irritability and reactivity.

Countless times, I have relayed that to others. The potential for emotional reactions is a constant. These are the two trumpeters that herald an oncoming episode. Consider it a precursor to the earliest of symptoms on either side of the mood spectrum.

The Rage, as Clown on Fire termed it in his post On Mental Health: Rage, can be seen across the board as a nearly translucent thread that tethers the symptoms of this disorder together.  From mania to depression, these two symptoms are ever present.  They are the flint and tinder that spark the fire to fuel these episodes.

I am no saint.

The last few posts have been a testament of my failings to maintain my own grace and good intentions.  It is a demonstration of how one simple provocation can cascade into a series of outrageous and vindictive actions.  I can justify it all I want.  “… had it coming.”  “… should have known better.”  But, the simple fact is that the provocation may have had good intentions with terrible wording, and I was in no place to be receptive to it.

Who becomes the victim to The Rage?  Is it shared amongst those who were foolhardy enough to stand in my warpath?  Or is it, in actuality, me who suffers?  There is no consensus.  Any opinions would be just that, opinions.  The Rage is entirely subjective between victimizer and victimee, and even those who stand by the wayside to witness it.  To determine who takes what role is like splitting hairs.  It is my stance that we are one in the same when it comes to vindication and the crusade for justice.

With exception of course.

The Rage is something for me that is not confined to hypomania, as expected.  Anger is an emotion that can perpetuate itself, once set into motion.

In hypomania, it is obvious how anger comes to surface.  Dysphoric hypomania is notorious for unearthing the deadliest of firestorms.  I find myself going on a warpath, slaying everyone who I determine has wronged me.  I feel justified, without rationalization, and perhaps even complete conscious awareness, to execute the worst of all of my behaviors.  In hypomania, if you’re not with me, you are against me.  Sometimes, it turns to paranoia, where I am in the mindset that people are against me.  But mostly, it is a matter of drawing lines.

The Rage exists in depression.  It is something that stems from the original, seemingly benign irritability.  However, it has a different function.  Many people have cited that the opposite of love is hate.  That is certainly not true.  The opposite of any emotion is apathy.  But, in this sense, anger is a life preserver that keeps me from slipping under the surface.

Have you ever found yourself suddenly driven by vengeance, resentment, or bitterness?

The Rage stands as a driving force when the world around me is grinding to a near halt.  It becomes the glass cannon.  As long as it can keep the muzzle aimed away from myself, I can keep from sinking. However, it is glass, and it cannot remain as it is forever.

Once the cannon turns on me, as it eventually does, there is no way to escape the constant barrage of blows it can dole out at me.  I made the cannon.  This glass cannon knows all of my secrets, and is well equipped to take me down and out, for good.  I become hoisted by my own petard, a victim of myself and the very mechanisms I’ve created to ensure my own safety.

When everything lay in ruins, when the episode has subsided and the smoke has cleared, I am the only one remaining to survey the damages. I have no blame, no rationalizations.  It was me, and my gun.

Believe me, I am far from trigger happy.  Luckily, I fear the consequences of my actions more than am I compelled to carry out certain atrocities and revenge.  And I am not typically compelled to carry out dire actions.

But, there are moments where I am beyond my own control.  I often crusade in the name of justice, and often compelled to make an example out of someone.  The same as public executions.  Just like in the days of old when a faction would put the severed heads of enemies on spikes outside of a fortress.  It stands as a warning.  Do not cross this line.  Or else.

That is when the worst of these impulses are carried out.

Otherwise, it is reactionary anger.  I am curt.  I am passive-aggressive.  If someone is too close, I will self-sabotage by driving them out.  For their protection, or my own?  Maybe both.

But at the end of the day, when I look in that bathroom mirror, there is no one to answer to but myself.

Quiet Desperation

Warning: This post covers sensitive subjects and strong themes that may contain triggers. Reader discretion is advised.

This is the cage I built for myself.

Feral beasts are dangerous business. Clever, tricky, and adapted to escape at all costs.

Be still. It may not see you.

Still, silent in the brush. It obscured any vision. Each breath more shallow, as I dared not inhale, lest the beast’s minions catch the sound. One fatal mistake. One stirring.

Run like hell!

A jump and a sprint, I was dashing off into the great beyond. Dozens of faces, so many places, a blur, while I disguised myself among them. I’m okay. I’m fine. Each tortured response beckoned the minions closer. How can they possibly hear me when I can hardly hear myself?

And I fell silent. I no longer possessed meaningful words, delicate prose, or any of the everything and anything I’ve been revered as.  They were carried away, the winds encircling my disheveled being robbing me of them, and corroding the sharp edges.  Running.  Focus on running.

Crowded towns grew thinner, and passing remarks couldn’t have been louder than a faint whisper.  Sparse landscape, withering, yellow, knee high grass.  Plain sight.

Blistered feet and lungs ablaze, each passing breath more laborious than the last.  I pressed on.  The grass gave way to shifting sands, a sea of desert.  I slipped and skidded, dune to dune, determined.

If I can remain on my feet long enough, I will outpace this.

Every ounce of focus dripped into the concentration it took to remain on my feet, to drag the air into my lungs, to keep myself steady.  The sea of sand was merely a mirage as I kept my sight ahead.  Rock.  Steady, solid, crags awaiting my arrival.  This is where my feet took me.  My safety, solitude amongst these rocks.  I scaled them with delight, my anxiety eased, all of the heavy burdens lifting.  The top was in sight.  I pulled myself to standing.

To precariously perch on a cliffside.  Frozen, despairing, I peered over the edge, just long enough to peek at the crashing, foaming water beneath me.  Was it took late to retrace my path?  One backward glance.  All I saw were shadows rushing me.  With one incredible thrust, I was thrown from that ledge into free fall.

The wind screamed in my ears, filling my head with all of the sound in the world.  One voice stood out in high contrast, seemingly pressed against my eardrum.

The Voice murmured, “Helpless.  On your way down.  You destroy everything you touch.”

Tumbling mid-air, disoriented without a sense of up or down.  I dropped in free fall.  Slam!  – The water became a wall against my back and knocked wind clear from my very soul.  My body had become leaden and weak from the desperate flight.  The sea was the color of ink, waves licking and thrashing my now ragdoll body.

And the sinking.  No flailing and gasping.  No fight.  Just sinking.

——

I waited, ear poised in wait of the closing door. Patient, still anticipation. Another few minutes past, I went to the window. The car was gone. In a moment, I’d be free.

I would be released from the constant, throbbing ache. The very same sore that punctures like soul like cigarette burns through paper. Liberation would come from the nervous pacing, anticipatory anxiety of living within the ever-looming, glaring shadow of bipolar depression. Released from the twisting tendrils born from a withering mind. From my silent desperation.

Solace in a blade.

Necessary evils.

Necessary evils.

Is your love strong enough?

It rang out clear as a bell and filled my otherwise unoccupied room. Everything I loved and hated, all together, all at once, surrounded me. Everything I adored and despised, one in the same within me.

Like a rock in the sea.

The blade edge pierced the flesh of my ankle. The flash of pain merely dimmed the torrent inside of me. A momentary distraction. I’d retrace that line, pressing harder, digging deeper.

And I will answer to no one.

Am I asking too much?

Yes. Always.

First blood. It rushed to the surface, red as fire, trickling from my veins. It was a delightfully horrific sight. A witness to all of the agony released. Blood letting.

Is your love strong enough?

Once. Twice. Again. More. More. Another! I want to drive it all out!

Five distinct slices in all. I heaved an enormous sigh, and lit a cigarette. I sank like a stone. The chase was over; the thrashing and flailing finished. I surrendered myself to the undertow, and watched almost indifferently as the surface faded to black.

Maybe I’d just disappear
If I can’t keep my head above the tide

Please, anyone?
I don’t think I can
Save myself . . .

A Spectrum of Depression

Blank.

Each time I go to write, I get a blank.  Is it a blank, because I feel as if I don’t have anything important to say.  Or is it a blank, because if I make a certain statement, then it is real.  It becomes something tangible in this world, not only for me, but for others, and I will eventually have to come nose to nose with it.

I’ve grappled with this before.  Making certain admissions.  I do not lie as much as I turn a blind eye.  I rationalize.  I attempt to will it out of existence.  But, it is just not that easy.

Simply – I am in the midst of a depressive episode.

Why was that so hard?

There is a certain hesitation for me to use the word depression.  It is not a word that I use loosely; others use it as a part of their regular vernacular to describe sadness.  Depression is not sadness.  Depression has a depth beyond that of sadness, loneliness, isolation, self-loathing, or any other word.  No amount of words arranged in any way can accurately depict depression, and do it any kind of justice.

The hesitation to term it as depression stems from the idea that, if it doesn’t feel like the worst I’ve ever felt, then it’s not depression.  I have faced more gruesome depressions than this one.  With the admission comes a certain fear.  If I am to term it as a depressive episode, then it really will be such, in the worst sense of that word.  It could worsen the episode itself by acknowledging it.

Blank.  Again.

I have found it so interesting that Bipolar Disorder has this grandiose spectrum to encompass so many different types and symptoms.  However, they are exclusive to mania.  Depression is just depression, and it by itself is MDD, or unipolar depression.  Except, now psychologists are starting to recognize symptoms that are related to atypical depression.  However, by reading through these symptoms, it seems as if it may be exclusive to unipolar depression.

How much research has been done to distinguish unipolar depression from bipolar depression?  So far, the only thing that separates the two is the existence of hypomania / mania.  In theory, there wouldn’t be a difference.  I get the feeling that there is, and it is significant enough to have a separation between the two.

So far, the mood spectrum looks like this:

But, I really think that’s being too broad about it.  I fall smack dab in the middle of Bipolar II, no full on psychosis equals no full on mania, even if I have delusions.  I wouldn’t even suspect that I have full on mania, anyway.  Even with delusional thinking, I can honestly say that there has never been a time where I have been hypomanic where I lost touch with reality.

People with mood disorders are familiar with the depressive symptoms.  But, I’ll sum them up:

Sadness, anxiety, irritability,  Loss of energy,  Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or worthlessness,  Loss of interest or enjoyment from things that were once pleasurable,  Difficulty concentrating,  Uncontrollable crying,  Difficulty making decisions,  Increased need for sleep,  Insomnia, Change in appetite causing weight loss or gain, Suicidal ideation, and / or Attempting suicide.

Symptoms of atypical depression:

Increased appetite, Unintentional weight gain. Increased desire to sleep. Heavy, leaden feeling in the arms and legs, Sensitivity to rejection or criticism that interferes with your social life or job, Relationship conflicts. Trouble maintaining long-lasting relationships, Fear of rejection that leads to avoiding relationships, Having depression that temporarily lifts with good news or positive events but returns later

These are all familiar.  I’ve bolded the ones that I’m experiencing at the moment.  It seems that I’m bordering on the more atypical part of depression.  This is the kind of depression that no one really tells you about.

I had mentioned my diagnosis of Bipolar II, resulting from non-psychotic “manias” clinically termed “hypomania”.  Fair enough.  Let me put a question out there.  Has anyone ever experienced a psychotic depressive episode?

I have.  And I have mentioned this to doctors on several occasions.  I will have breaks with reality when I am depressed.  I have severe delusions, almost completely the opposite of delusions of grandeur.  I will have severe paranoid episodes – in fact, I just had one.  I can have myself convinced that everyone hates me and is out to destroy my life.  It makes me combative.  I will sometimes invent conversations that never happened, just because my brain contorts a criticism.

Mayo Clinic appended this in fine print below their list of classical depressive symptoms:

When a person with psychosis is depressed, there may be delusions of guilt or worthlessness — perhaps there is an inaccurate belief of being ruined and penniless, or having committed a terrible crime.

Perhaps?  I’m nearly positive that exists because not enough research on bipolar depression versus unipolar depression exists to accurately differentiate between the two.

There are a few questions that remain.  Again, not to just the bipolar population but the unipolar population as well, have you ever experienced a psychotic depressive episode?  Is this more commonly found in MDD, BP II, or BP I?

Because if this is common amongst all populations, then the mood spectrum should look more like this:

Perhaps a more accurate model

Invitations to Narnia : 30 Days of Truth

Day 05 : Something you hope to do in your life.

As it stands, one can find me within the wardrobe amongst the coats, between the real world and my Narnia. This is not the Narnia as others know it. It is the absolutely surreal, ever shifting landscape, containing both horrific monsters and beautiful, majestic creatures. All of that world is tucked away, within a wardrobe, in an innocuous cranny of my home. Many unsuspecting people could stroll up to it, jam their coat in, and never give this unassuming wardrobe another thought.

Lunaria

But, this world is not meant to exist tucked away.  This world lives inside of me, wrapped up in an old world map, tied with a satin ribbon.  It waits to unfurl for all of the world to see.

Snapshots of this map are contained within every word, in each piece that I carefully create.  Some have been privy to view them, scanning the terrain, gazing upon the horrors and magesty.  Others have been lucky enough to set foot on the Terra Amici, The Land of Friends, specifically set aside to welcome guests who have braved the Sea of Aliquim.  And others, those closest to me, have journeyed through the deepest, darkest places of Lunaria.

I dream of the day that I allow Lunaria to emerge from the wardrobe.  This is the day that the earth will quake around me to birth Lunaria from within.  I will invite others to explore at will, without the requirement of the confines to Terra Amici.  To brave the fiery mountains, volcanoes spewing molten rock,shifting and shaping the landscape daily.  The mountains grow higher, only to be whittled away by the erosion.  Bask in Bad Wolf Bay.  Peer deeply into Mare Demersi, but still fear to tread too closely.  Lose themselves in Vac Saltus, and navigate the sullen, sunken lands of Val Mergullado.

All of this, one day will be accessible to all.  Lunaria will rise.  I can openly narrate the tales and history of Lunaria without fear of persecution and ostracism.  I hope to accomplish my quest of bringing this all out of the wardrobe.  I want others to see what my world, one world of a woman with Bipolar Disorder looks like.  It possibly connects to other places, to weave a global patchwork of personal worlds, connecting us all, to encompass every single person who has been hiding their own Narnia.

I hope to have a voice that can bring this all to the world.  And I hope to build the strength to do it.

I Ain’t Afraid of No SOPA

Emblazoned on the frontpage of Wikipedia:

Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge

It didn’t take a lot of imagination yesterday. When you went to Google, there is a giant black censor block. I logged onto WordPress, and found myself staring at a page filled with censored blogs, where there should have been featured blogs. Upon clicking, this headline sits before me:

You may not be aware of the pending legislation called SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act).  It sounds good in theory.  I would know, because Representative Tim Murphy from Pennsylvania got to me first.  He declared it to be in our best interest to stop cyber terrorism.  This legislation is heralded as the great protector of our sensitive information in banks, hospitals, etc.  After I had several fraudulent charges on my joint bank account within two days of each other, two sliced and diced debit cards and no way for easy access to my money, I considered this a great thing!

Until yesterday, January 18th, 2012.  Until I was forced to open my eyes and do my civic duty by actually reading what these bills are all about.  (Thank you, President Obama for the Freedom of Information Act).

As usual, we’ve been duped.  Essentially, these bills equate to the US Patriot Act, in a manner of speaking.  The US Patriot Act is there to deny civil liberties guaranteed by our Amendments, if they suspect you as a terrorist.  They’ve set it up so that if you speak out, it can be very easy for you to disappear.

This is another step toward totalitarianism.  SOPA and PIPA seek to criminalize our freedom for information.  By doing that, they also grossly violate our First Amendment rights to write, create, and pass on information as we wish.  It grants permission to Internet Service Providers to block any information they wish.

Doesn’t this seem suspicious that these were pushed on the dawn of the Occupy Movement?  The Occupy Movement consists of local grassroots organizations that rely on the internet to make international connections between them.  What happens to all of the grassroots organizations, such as Occupy and Blog for Mental Health 2012, when our voice is stifled?

And that’s what Pendulum would look like if certain politicians had their way.  It is bad enough that many of the mental health bloggers feel the societal pressure to take refuge behind glowing monitors and clever pseudonyms.  Now, our medium and content are being threatened.  Extreme discrimination could take place.  If one party, just one, find our content to be vile, disturbing, irresponsible, or amoral, then we are likely to get shut down.

I won’t stand for that.  Personally, I want to stop this thing dead in it’s tracks.  This is my own forum to discuss mental health.  In the days of old, families would lock up their “insane” in basements, cellars, and attics.  What we would experience would be the modern equivalent.  I was tired of hiding and being disguised.  That’s why, exactly seven months ago today, I came here to be on display for all of the world to see.

It saved my life.  And, I wouldn’t know what to do without it.

If you feel that your civil liberties to talk about your mental health and special concerns are in danger of being violated, take a stand.  Do it now before it’s too late.

Google wants you to take action.

Even certain parties in the White House want you to take action.

Around the world, in the UK, individuals are taking action.

And millions of others all want you to take action against SOPA and PIPA.

Every signature on every petition counts.  Shout it out, loud and clear!

SOPA WON’T SILENCE ME!

Blog for Mental Health 2012

Blog for Mental Health 2012 Project
Clearly, I am a mental health blogger. I have been dedicated to sharing my experiences with bipolar disorder for nearly seven months now. That is my primary focus, though I have a tendency to get a little off topic from time to time.  Not only is this therapeutic for me, but I hope that is can be an inspiration for others who suffer with mental health issues.  This is especially the ones who do so in silence.  Every voice is important, as it collects and makes our community’s voice stronger.

This is the premise for Pendulum, as written in the About This Blog page:

Many people suffering from Bipolar Disorder do so in silence. Prior to this blog, I could have included myself. This blog is meant for others to experience living with this disorder the way I, and many others, do. It is also for others to find their voice here and to know that they are not alone in their struggle. Lastly, it is to encourage dialogue and community between bipolar bloggers.

Sometimes it’s interesting. Sometimes it’s sad and at other times it sounds crazy. Grab the pendulum, and hold on for dear life. Otherwise, you just might end up in the pit.

This morning, I found myself interested in an official blogging project to raise awareness for mental health education. I sifted through Google for awhile, unable to find anything like it. And I thought, “Why don’t I start one?” It would be easy! All I would need to do is produce a graphic and some instructions.

The badge above is featured on Pendulum’s homepage, because I am dedicated to continue blogging throughout 2012 for mental health. So, here are the rules.

1.) Take the pledge by copy and pasting the following into a post featuring “Blog for Mental Health 2012”.

I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2012 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

2.) Link back to the person who pledged you.

3.) Write a short biography of your mental health, and what this means to you.

I have been symptomatic of Bipolar Disorder and Anxiety for most of my life. I was incorrectly diagnosed with MDD in my teens, and suffered in silence. After my son was born in 2008, I went on to experience a severe relapse in symptoms considered to be postpartum psychosis. Several months later, I sought treatment and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II.

That was almost three years ago now. Today, I am experiencing the longest stable state I’ve ever had, going on three months now. I am still hesitant to say that I am in remission.

This pledge is my opportunity to commit to mental health awareness. I can publicly display this badge to instantly tell my audience what this is all about. And, I can encourage others within the mental health community that have a Dx to do the same.

4.) Pledge five others.

I am pledging give of my fellow bloggers who have stood with me, and have proven their medal in my eyes as mental health bloggers.

  1. Ruby – I Was Just Thinking…
  2. FracturedAngel – The Mirth of Despair
  3. Monday – Manic Monday
  4. Vivien – Manic Muses
  5. Sarah – bi[polar] Curious

If you happen upon this without being pledged, I still pledge you. Feel free to take the pledge! Promote awareness!

Wished For “The Moment”

Today, I learned about a tragedy that occurred in the life of a woman who had a profound impact on T.D.’s growth and development. She helped our family so much, and even helped me, though she was not my therapist. She was T.D.’s Developmental Therapist from Early Intervention and came into our home and lives every week for nearly a year. And she is one of the few absolutely saintly people I can say that I know.

Dev fell in love with a man three years ago that was in Medical School. His reserve unit was called out, so he had to drop out of school in his 3rd year. He did a tour of Iraq jumping out of a rescue chopper as a medic.

When he came home, the PTSD was crippling and he couldn’t return to his life. The VA alleged he didn’t finish his tour, so he wasn’t entitled to benefits. Dev loved this man with all of her heart and soul. But, he was living in extreme poverty without access to adequate psychiatric services.

The PTSD was too much. He took his life.

I have been a friend to several people who have taken their lives. In every case, they did not have access to adequate psychiatric care.

I have been on both sides of this. I know what it’s like to be overtaken by an illness. The pit is dark and dangerous when you’re dodging the pendulum. And, I also know what it’s like to feel the profound loss and sadness of a suicide survivor.

But, there’s a unique view that a person has from standing on both sides of that fence. From the one with the handful of pills to the other in a casket.

I feel an overwhelming empathy for the victim. I always wish that they could’ve had an extra few minutes to get to The Moment. The Moment has always come at, what seemed to be, excellent timing. It was always a millisecond of mental clarity that produced a phrase or a feeling that would stop me. If they could have hung on, just one more minute…

The loss is unspeakable. Death before due time is always tragic. But, it’s never more tragic than when it’s at one’s own hand. Friends and family are choked with profound emotion they never knew they had. And who do they blame? There is no definitive perpetrator in a suicide.

I’m not sure that a person can truly know their way around suicide at all. It’s confounding because it violates all self-preservational instincts. There are no distinct causes and effects of suicide. Why does one person only attempt a suicide and another succeeds?

In all fairness, I should probably be dead. I won’t go into all of the gory details of every attempt. This is a situation I call the Heath Ledger Paradox. My last attempt, over a year ago, involved an attempted overdose and intentional drug interactions. How is it that Heath Ledger can do it by accident and other’s can’t manage to do it on purpose?

The Moment is the only thing I can even think of.

My heart weeps and heaves at the subject of suicide. I mourn with the mothers over their children and the wives of deceased husbands. I am a mother and a wife; there is nothing more precious in the universe than my family. People are not made of materials. They cannot be manufactured and replaced.

For everyone out there that might feel suicidal – hang on!!! There is help. You won’t feel this way forever. Call someone. Call anyone. If you don’t feel like you can, call a suicide hotline. They are there to help. The link provided lists national and state hotlines in the US. Don’t wait.

For suicide survivors – I cannot even pretend to imagine what it would be to lose a loved one in that way. I know the way I feel about my loved ones. I would be devastated. I can only say that I deeply sympathize with you.

And with all of the love in my heart for my fellow bloggers, let us be honest with each other, in the very least. You are not alone. You don’t have to be in that dark place alone. We are here as a community to help. If anyone feels suicidal, speak up. I promise to do the same.

Big Money, No Whammy, STOP!

What does it feel like to have 20 Grand hanging in the balance?

I ran I Bet Jekll Felt This Way past C.S. a couple of nights ago, in so many words. I rarely read directly from the page. I’ve gotten in hot water by doing that before. Sometimes, there are just some words that shouldn’t pass from my lips.

He stood across the kitchen poking through the elephant box while I sat at the table. He suggested, “Maybe it’s one of the supplements. Are you taking any new ones?”

I answered, “No, not really. I started Adrenomend again, and I’ve already been taking the Brain Energy for a few weeks now.”

“I’m going back down to bare bones. Something is causing me a problem again,” he mentioned, as he swallowed a handful of supplements.

I considered his suggestion. But, I knew that my brain can’t survive a chemical shift without shifting itself. I wasn’t about to add fuel to the fire and risk facing something scarier than this. I’m taking about a dozen supplements for various reasons. I wouldn’t be able to break something else before figuring out how to fix this.

Doctors recommend ceasing all medications / supplements when it’s impossible to discern which one is causing the problem. What about just starting the shed the most recent ones, regardless of whether they have worked in the past? There are only two potential risks. Either I take something away that causes a bad day, or I don’t take away the right one and I continue in the state of dyphoric hypomanic paranoia.

I took away the two most recent additions, Adrenomend and Brain Energy. C.S. suggested taking away Adrenomend, because he had a bad reaction in the past.

Of course, he suggested that the panic attacks were rebound anxiety from “too many benzos”. “That’s their gimmick, give you medicine that causes anxiety.” I’ve been on these for two months now. You’d think I would’ve had a reaction by now. Well, I am the woman who had a life-threatening reaction to an epidural 20-25 minutes after receiving it. *Shrug*.

So far, so good. Yesterday, I managed to handle surprise fire drill with no problem. I’m not anxiety free, but I’m panic free without my midday Xanax. I’m a little more fatigued than usual, so that indicates something was pushing me toward hypomania. The anxiety might be residual. Anxiety is like a virus in the respect that it generalizes and mutates as it takes hold.

My only hope is that those supplements were the only thing holding back the flood gates of depression. Because l know I haven’t paid the piper yet for my last hypomanic episode.

In other news, I thought I’d mentioned C.S.’s promotion we’ve been waiting on. We finally got word, and it wasn’t the one we were hoping for. The big wig at the top didn’t go for it. He’s upset about the staffing budget and put out a hiring freeze. But, C.S.’s department manager isn’t giving up on it.

We didn’t have any numbers before this. Today, I was texted a number than blew my mind. I wrote back, “Not even in my wildest dreams did I even consider that number!”. It’s $20,000 more than he’s making now. Yeah, my mouth dropped to the floor.

But now, it’s in limbo.

I bet it feels like winning a lottery, but then nobody has the money to pay up.

I Bet Jekyll Felt This Way

I’ve mentioned this in recent posts. But now, it’s gotten to a point where I’m not even sure what is going on anymore.

In case any readers aren’t up to date, I’ll summarize with some links. This all began with my last cutting episode. We determined that the mixed emotions I was going through was dysphoric hypomania. It lasted 16 days and I though it was over when I got sick. I thought I went from hypomanic to panic. But, I’m not sure that’s the case.

Yesterday, I was hit with panic earlier in the day. My mind started drifting and I got this urge to call off of work. I had this strong feeling like something was very wrong. However, since I’ve been in the throws of panic lately, I figured it was anxiety. That was that.

I started feeling very bad at work. I’ve been feeling ill – unsettled stomach, puffiness, etc. At work, it was magnified. I became nauseated with a throbbing head and a terrible stomach.

I wasn’t right in my head to handle kids today. I let them pretty much do what they pleased, within certain boundaries. I snapped out at my 3rd grade class because their behavior was atrocious. More than anything it was agitating because of the extreme annoyance. Children don’t typically annoy me. This was a clear sign that there was something very wrong.

Later, one of my co-workers pointed out a mistake I had made. I took it very personally. I became inexplicably angry that he would dare correct me although I knew I had made the mistake. I wanted to jump down his throat and tear him a new one.

But, I feared that he would put me up on the chopping block. I became paranoid, thinking he was the unidentified source who reported concerns to my boss about my performance. He had it out for me. He secretly didn’t like me and wanted me eliminated.

At that point, I had the mother of all panic attacks. I sat still, far in a corner of the room. I was trying to plan an escape route without anyone becoming suspicious. I had to get out. I couldn’t get it out of my head. But, if I left early, then someone would be upset. I’d be giving them even more reason to send me away.

I couldn’t wait to get home. Home, the only safe place left. And yet, just three months ago, I would’ve said that about work.

Here’s the question. Am I hostile at work because I’m feeling threatened because I’ve been having panic attacks at work that are making me delusional? Or, am I actually still in a now dysphoric mania with serious paranoia and delusions?