I wrote With This Pill in extreme aggravation. I have a theory based on observational findings about the pattern.
I cycle around every two months. Pendulum began June 19, 2011, with the post To See If I Still Feel, describing an incident involving depression and self-injurious behavior. Three days later, on June 22, 2011, in Shifting Gears, I described the sparks of a hypomanic episode. Eight days later, on June 30, 2011, I detailed panic attacks and highly reactive emotions in Overdrive Mode.
There was a period where I went through a fluctuating depressive episodes varying throughout the spectrum of twos through fours. It was a result of Somatopsychic trauma from a six-week long, progressively debilitating bout of Walking Pneumonia. During a two-week long prednisone treatment, I had erratic emotions, which sent me reeling into a serious depressive state. It was quickly fixed in two weeks by a medication adjustment.
That medication adjustment threw me into the first dysphoric hypomania I can ever remember having. I had another incident of self-injurious behavior reported in Confessions of the Pain of Payment, on September 22, 2011, three months after the first noted episode.
That was followed by the longest, most intense hypomanic episode I have ever marked. I marked it at 16 days, but I have a feeling that it was closer to 30. I had a brief reprieve when I was down for the count during an illness. I eventually attributed the extreme hypomanic episode with a chemical change in Big Money, No Whammy, STOP!.
Prior to my first post, my last hypomanic episode happened three months prior in late March into early April for 14 days. That was my first record breaking hypomanic episode. I attributed that to anxiety, that led to insomnia, which paved the way. As for what happened between then and late May when I recall my depressive episode first beginning, I’m not sure. I will have to check my personal logs to shed some light on that.
I’ve always looked to external factors to explain the occurrences. But, the pattern is emerging. I cannot deny that.
Now, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have always had a depressive episode closely follow a hypomanic episode. What Bender? detailed an alcoholic relapse at the start of a long depressive episode. The depressive episode lasted for about two months and left three weeks until the onset of my next hypomanic episode.
However, it has been three weeks since my hypomanic symptoms subsided, and I am now only feeling small pangs of depression here and there. I am not entirely convinced they are depressive. I am irritable and reactive, but I have not yet had the urge to isolate myself. I am not entirely disinterested in enjoyable activities – actually quite the opposite. I am only interested in the most enjoyable activities and have had quite the hedonistic urge to indulge myself.
That is unusual for me. I am not a creature of hedonism. The Irish and Scottish had a philosophy that with every great pleasure in life came a great pain. It was kind of their own yin and yang in their society – a way to describe the balance of the universe. I am mostly of Scottish heritage and was raised in such an environment. There was no escaping the pain that accompanied indulgence. Therefore, I am not inclined to do so. In fact, I am quite disciplined to do the opposite by taking on the role of the martyr.
What to do, what to do? Do my brain and my body know something that my conscious mind does not? Is this impulse a way of circumventing a depressive episode?
I can’t remember the last time I knew of 5 o’clock in the morning’s existence. I was so exhausted, my memory is fragmented down to the moment I set foot into Magee Women’s Hospital. First, I stood in my living room hugging my mother and saying goodbye. Then, I sat in the gas station parking lot when the voice started screaming, “Get out of here! Go! Run away!” Next, we were at the light to the on-ramp to the highway. And finally, we were entering Oakland.
I arrived to check-in at 5:30am. I was ushered through registration so quick that I didn’t even have a chance to fill out the papers before I was in pre-op.
Pre-op is just like when they call you from the waiting room to the examination room. Then, you’re required to sit and wait for an eternity. Various nurses came through. One to instruct me to strip down and don the teal and white pinstripe hospital gown. Yes, the one that leaves little to the imagination when it comes to my backside. Another to make notes of my current medications. There’s certainly no staff shortage there!
And finally, I met my OR nurse. She was a pretty lady, probably at the end of middle-age. She had fluffy, curled blonde hair, tiny sapphire eyes, and a warm smile. I related my extreme loathing of IV’s. The first time I had an IV, it was in my hand continuously for 48 hours. The last time, they gave me a pain medication that sent me through the roof. I paced the room screaming about how I wanted the IV out now or I was going to rip it out myself. I can always feel it in my veins and it hurts my whole arm.
She smiled and said, “You’re in luck! I’m going to put a local into your hand. You won’t feel a thing.” I didn’t! I stared at the IV in my left hand in amazement. She put a blue gauze hair net over my head, pulled my blanket closer around me, and fixed the one in my lap. Everything felt so warm and maternal. She looked at me confidently. “You’re all ready!”
I took a milligram of Xanax at 5am. I must have timed it perfectly. It grabbed me hard just before I was about to go. I joked with C.S. about silly things. The pangs of panic existed, but they hardly echoed from their distance.
Dr. T. came in and I knew it was showtime. I was eager to introduce her to my husband. I felt like it was a long time in the making. Really, it has been. April 2011 was the beginning of round two. It was at that point that the nurse and anesthesiologist joined her. They plugged the sedative into my IV while I kissed C.S. goodbye.
He had the talisman. I was in caring, capable hands. I was wheeled into the OR completely soothed.
The sedative was interesting. It messed with my vision first. The fluorescent lights seemed to have a runner, a beam of light than ran along them. The staff helped me off of the gurney and onto a soft, heated OR table. They asked how I felt and I told them that it was all wonderful. I had two snuggly blankets around me and I felt like I was lying on blankets fresh from the dryer. “It feels like a cocoon.”
The staff was helping me to put my thighs into some elevated pads instead of cold stirrups. And that’s the last thing I remember.
I started telling the nurse that was talking to that I needed more medicine. I think my mind thought that I was still in surgery. She told me that I didn’t. I woke up and started sobbing. I looked around and didn’t know where I was or what happened. I asked if I could have a few tissues.
I inquired between sobs, “Is this normal? I have bipolar disorder.” I was terrified that all of this triggered a vicious episode.
She put the box of tissues in my lap and assured me, “A lot of our younger patients experience this. It’s completely normal.”
I remembered something from my childhood. I would fall asleep not remember doing so. Then, when I woke up somewhere else, I’d bawl my eyes out, because I was so confused. I felt like it was akin to that.
“Are you in any pain?”
“Can you walk?”
“I think so.”
A young, brown-haired nurse helped me off the gurney and over to a quiet, private area. I sat in a nice leather recliner and she asked if I’d like something to drink. “A soda, Pepsi. It’s all I’ve wanted this morning.” She assured me that I’d have a cold soda and C.S. in a short moment.
I was delighted to see him and smiled. He smiled back in relief, at beside me, and I started crying again. I laughed and sobbed at the time time, “I woke up crying in the post-op!” He laughed and hugged me.
The local started to wear off, and I was in some severe pain. C.S. was on the phone promptly to get me relief. Considering a had a part of me electrocuted off today, I’m great! I’m a little cranky, emotional, foggy, and tired. But nothing unusual.
Crossing my fingers and toes that the LEEP took care of all of the bad cells for good.