I want to write about the ugly things, some truthful things, things that people with bipolar disorder/schizophrenia don’t want to talk about and things ordinary people are uncomfortable hearing.
This disease is a monster, gobbling you up, chewing you up, then spitting you out to go about life for the rest of the day. When it hits sometimes there is no warning. Other times there are plenty of signs before an “episode” happens. Either way, when it’s all over hours or days later, you are left to pick up the pieces that is your life. Items are returned, a lot of apologies are made, sleep is needed, guilt sets in and reality is back.
I have often found myself looking in the mirror in the aftermath and thinking “what just happened”. Often embarrassed, I try to explain to my loved ones the best way I can and what I remember. The problem is it’s often hard to put into words what you just went through. How DO you explain what you were thinking, feeling, hearing, seeing? Sometimes you can’t and just need a hug and to be told it’s all okay.
The word “crazy” is not allowed in my home. When people say “she’s crazy”, “he’s crazy”, “ugh, it’s been a crazy day”, they have NO idea of the gravity of those words. When I say “I feel like I’m going crazy” or more often said “I feel like I’m losing my shit”, I mean it and that means all hands on deck. Give me a pill to help me calm down, take me somewhere cool and dark, and give me my worship music to listen to. The kids know to leave me alone and my awesomely supportive husband is at my side holding me while simultaneously holding down the fort. Yes, I have been blessed with an incredible support team and yes, I am aware most people don’t. I honestly don’t think I would be alive if these people would have given up on me. Obviously God wants me alive for a reason and so, I will live.
I have been brutally honest with my kids about what I deal with. They have seen and heard the very raw, uncensored me. They know Jesus is my foundation and I am plagued at the same time. They understand to the best of their abilities that this is life. Shit happens. There are times that I try to hide particular things though. Simply because I think it would frighten them.
After a good few months the easy life was over. If you recall, the doctors had found a wonderful cocktail of drugs and I was feeling better than I have in my entire life. I knew it wouldn’t last forever. All good things must come to an end right? And so as I started to drift away and the old demons were slowly making a comeback, I found myself often in tears. I didn’t want to go back. I loved my new, short lived life and didn’t want it to end. After several weeks of misery, I saw my doctor. Prepared with a long list of symptoms, changes were made and I left with a new game plan. Getting off of this and adding that. I was supposed to see him again in a month and after 3 weeks, I caved and was back in his office. Things were not getting better. I wasn’t sleeping which was sending me into mania lasting days on end or severe depression also lasting days. Paranoia was slipping back in and I started seeing things again. All of my fears, insects, snakes, monsters, all only I could see but oh so real to me. I was showering one night and as I turned facing my steam covered glass shower door, I saw a very real scorpion crawling on it. I tried to stay calm, as there was a very good chance I was the only one that could see it, and exited the shower. I told my husband and he did his “monster check” and of course, found no scorpion. I used to feel stupid asking for help but realized the only way I could truly be helped was to be honest in my symptoms. After this last visit with my doctor which was last Thursday, I left again with hopefully a better plan of attack. Things have been okay and I know these kind of changes take time. There is no insta-cure. I have overall been sleeping better, but am still dealing with issues. My anger level is through the roof and so I try to just stay away from everybody. When I have to be, I stuff it all in and scream when I am alone once again. Guilt and worthlessness are trying to befriend me. And seeking God is ever so challenging. I know what His word says. I know I am worth a lot to Him and He took my guilt to the cross. I know I’m really not crazy and believe very few people actually are. We all have are plagues in one form or another, just some of us require medication……….a lot of medication. I guess sometimes it’s easier to be in misery then to hear truth. Even truth, when heard, can be a tough pill to swallow, no pun intended. It’s hard to grasp these things and still have hope. No one can grasp it. It isn’t humanly possible. Even still when I do come to Him I can try to understand to the best of my capabilities what He is trying to tell me.
Today started out realitvly good given my night. I didn’t sleep well and had the kids home from school today. The teachers are on strike. So they will be here tomorrow also. My two older ones headed to church this morning for a “fun day”. I had my youngest, my son, who is 10 stay home with me. He is my watchdog and often sees my symptoms before anyone else does. I lucked out today that he stayed home with me. I have a plant, a hyacinth, in a pot in my kitchen. It was doing very well and bloomed beautiful fragrant flowers. After a couple of weeks it started to die off. I looked up what to do and had it written down on my to-do list every day. I never got around to it and every day it looked sadder and sadder. This afternoon I went to the kitchen to make lunch. As I went to the sink next to the plant, I looked at it and something inside of switched on. It looked like death, withering and hanging lifeless. I quickly turned from it. I felt like I was going to vomit. I tried to pull myself together and resumed making my lunch. At the center island in my kitchen mere feet away from it, I started to hear it. It was crying and calling out for help! Recognizing that it wasn’t probably really speaking to me, I still left, trying to distance myself from it. In my mind I could still hear it, begging to be saved from a slow death. That image, those sounds, I couldn’t get away from it. I went outside and tried to calm down, but I coudn’t and knew what was coming. I tried to call my husband for help before I completely flipped out and of course he didn’t answer his phone. My mama was my next call. Traveling home from Colorado, she jumped into action the best way she could from hundreds of miles away. She got my son on the phone and together they made a plan to rescue me from my own tormenting thoughts. My son removed the plant from my kitchen, placed it out of site, and gave me the medication to help me calm down. My son, so young and yet so in tune with his mother. So tender hearted and compassionate. He rubbed my back and calmly assured me that it will all be okay. Everybody’s home now and I’m feeling better. Not 100%, but better.
I know people don’t like to talk about things like this and for others it is just down right uncomfortable to hear. Maybe others don’t know what to do, how to react. I mean it’s got to be pretty hard for the average Joe to understand how a person can hear a plant screaming for help and see things that aren’t really there. Go on spending sprees and then have to go down the walk of shame the next day. To feel so depressed that things like brushing your teeth or showering are hard to think about, let alone do. I often wonder what other people do think of me, not that I care, I’m so over that, just curious. Should I keep my distance and not allow my children over to her house? I’m pretty sure that’s ran through some of the kids parents heads as it has been a steady decline of other children coming to visit. I also know my children feel worried that if they have someone over mom might have an episode. Living with this disease is hard, not for the faint of heart, and warriors only succeed. But we are not “bad” people. If anything I know personally, we try to be extra conscious of what we say and do around other people. Heaven forbid our secret gets leaked.
God’s grace and mercy is why I’m still here. Period.