I’ve been trying to decide how to approach this post. I’ve been trying to get my thoughts together and emotions worked out.
I started to feel the slight rise of mania. I contacted my psychiatrist. We adjusted the medication we were using as a mood stabilizer. I continued going up. The cause, we figured out, was the mood stabilizer. The drug prescribed could also be used as an antidepressant. Well, it decided it wanted to start acting as the latter out of the blue. My doctor acted quickly, but not before the mania continued to climb. Diana suggested I go spend a nice evening at the barn. I did NOT, however, realize the county fair was going on. I manage 15 minutes before I had to lock myself in the tack room long enough to compose myself, get Zoe back to her stall, and me to the bus stop. I ended up calling my sister Christine and waiting at the coffee shop until she could drive the almost hour to get me. I was never going to make it home on the bus.
We were working on the medication adjustments. I had been in my doc’s office at least once a week. The mania continued to aim for the proverbial sky. The longer it went, the worse I began to feel, the less I slept… I knew that I didn’t want to do it anymore. I was done.
I didn’t have a plan in place yet other than the knowledge that I didn’t want my family to find a mess. I hadn’t written a note, but had the wording going around in my head. I sent Diana a text message at almost 9pm to make sure someone knew, for a fact, that I wouldn’t do anything rash. Why? Because I knew I, personally, was far from sure. I didn’t know how else to ask for help… especially when I wasn’t completely positive I wanted it. She called because I had never sent a text like that. I broke down in tears. Diana MADE me call my psychiatrist. She told me that if I called, she may not put me in the hospital. If she (Diana) called, I was probably going to the hospital. I called the answering service and waited. Diana kept me occupied by texting me back and forth about a tea party we had been planning for our AL seniors.
My doctor called within 5-6 minutes. I broke down, again, on her. She made sure I was safe for the night. Told me something to take so that I could just go to sleep. Made sure I absolutely understood that I could call her anytime throughout the night- that her answering service would get a hold of her immediately. I was in her office the next morning; and twice a week for the next month and a half. And once a week for the two months after that. At one point, I had agreed to take my meds, but said I just didn’t have it in me to try anymore.
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A childhood friend passed away a little over three weeks ago. She was my first friend. We were inseparable as children; and as we got older, and I slowly started my seclusion she was the one that would always attempt to get me out. Even if it was just a midnight ride through the park passed Helltown (look it up! It’s creepy!) and a stop at Taco Bell. In the end, I started even refusing that.
The grief I felt was one I never thought I could feel. It was beyond anything I could have comprehended until then. Cassandra, my therapist, and I spoke about it. I mourned Sarah (as I still do). Thinking of us as kids: Riding our bikes to St. Monica’s in order to meet half way when we were going to each other’s house… Sleep overs… ice skating and softball games… painting at my grandma’s… she and my sister, Christine, throwing me a surprise party after insisting that I need one for 21st birthday despite my refusing parties… I mourn the missed memories that we could have had if I had been capable.
The grief blended with depression as I knew it would at some point. There was another factor, along with the depression, that introduced itself to my beloved (can you hear the sarcasm?) OCD. I couldn’t put my finger on it right away. It didn’t hesitate to leave its mark either. So, what is it that has been added into the scenario?
Jealousy. It’s jealousy. I’m not suicidal in a dangerous way. I’m not going out to buy a gun. I’m not filling a bottle of water to swallow a handful of pills. On almost a daily basis I think about suicide. Usually it’s a fleeting thought. It pokes at the back of my mind like a bony finger. Nine times out of ten I can swat at said finger until it finally retracts. This time has been a little different. This time, the finger has brought its friends to help, so that it’s a constant slow slap instead of just an incessant tap.
The jealousy is misguided. I am fully aware of this. I know that given the choice, Sarah would want to be here with her little boy. With her parents and with her brother. I should be thanking God for still being here with my family and friends. For Zoe greeting me at the barn and Bennett snuggling me on the couch.
Don’t get me wrong… I am; but…
The slow slap in the head is accompanied by whispering in my ear. It speaks loudly until it’s made it’s point before speaking gently again. Mantras of future manias, future depressions. Mantras of future packed books and fresh cuts. Mantras of continuing to put family and friends through my illnesses. Softly, those mantras turn into words reminding me that the only relief would be to complete the act that I didn’t back in 2012.
It nags me about being weak and selfish. Why are you still putting your family through this? Do you really want to live with your own personal monster? You can kill it, you know? It’s easier than you think. There are days I believe the voice when it calls me weak. Those times are usually when I’m entering into or coming out of a severe mania or depression. Those are the times when my own voice is added to the one in my ear. I can’t do this again. I don’t want to go through this for the rest of my life. No one is going to miss putting up with this if I were gone. I never have the courage to do anything about it.
The fingers and voice would have won out at one time. I don’t doubt that one bit. I have a much stronger will to live than I once did. They didn’t count on that. I am fully aware that one day in the future they could win a battle even if they lose the war. They could very well win the war; but it won’t be without a fight. I know that doesn’t sound greatly optimistic, but it is. I’m a realist. I’ve added some great weapons to my arsenal the past few years:
– My mental health team rocks!
– My faith and my church.
– Art assignments to keep my hands busy.
– My barn family and riding.
Those are some powerful tools. I know they won’t make my illnesses, or their symptoms, go away. They won’t cure them. They will, however, help me cope. I’ve accepted that. That’s a major part of recovery. Acceptance. It helps you find that “will to live” that I mentioned. My will also comes from the fact that I can be there for a nephew that lives with anxiety and OCD. I can be there to help him in a way that I wish someone would have been there for me. As much as the work at NAMI means to me, the being there for my nephew is top on my priority list.
Jealousy. Weakness. Will. They are an uncomfortable combo. The jealousy will fade. The other two will remain to battle it out. I will be here, for as long as possible, to tell the tale.