Trapped in this Madness

I want to exert control. Be in control. But I’m not. I’m caught up in this mixed manic episode for a month now. I flew into a rage so powerful and so disgusting I don’t even know who I am. How do I know what is me and what is the illness?
I am having flashes of my behavior and it is appalling. I am ashamed to have treated my husband that way. I have no excuse. It literally felt like a switch went off in my brain. One minute I was cutting vegetables and the next I was yelling and screaming. I don’t even know about what. Just lost my mind. It went on for a few hours.
Finally exhausted and crying hysterically I sat on the couch in bewilderment. What just happened? I can’t explain it because I don’t understand it. But it was enough for my husband to lose his patience w me. He was very upset, for good reason. And what did I do? Make fun of him. It truly feels like my worst self. I hope to god there is nothing worse than who I was 2 nights ago.
I was full of shame yesterday and apologized. Took responsibility for my words and actions. It was incredibly sincere regardless that I couldn’t remember all of it. Particularly how or why it started. He forgives me and asks me to move forward. Keep putting one foot in front of the other to get well.
I don’t know what I would do without him. I feel like I’m trapped in this madness trying desperately to get out. Recover. Get back to myself.

Home is Where the Pain Is

Sadness seems to grip me on the ride home. The vacation. The escape from reality is over. I was a guest in someone else’s world. They knew nothing of my recent manic episode or that I have bipolar disorder. There I am simply a daughter in law. Sister in law. Red hair, freckles and bubbly. 3000 miles away that’s all they have ever known.
I come home to medical bills of my ambulance ride to the ER. Remembrances of sitting in a police car more agitated and out of control than ever. Yelling, no screaming, at psych emergency services. Pacing. Pointing fingers at everyone else. Accusing my husband of collusion and conspiracy. Simply out of my mind.
I had to ask the brand new job I had yet to start to delay my hire date. My brain not able to process information. Not able to remember. Not able to form sentences at times. It didn’t seem fair to them or me to keep the original date. Shame and embarrassment filled me as I wrote the email. They politely agreed. Thank god.
Now, I need to re-enter my world. It feels like there is wreckage in the wake of the episode. Do I make amends to those I may have hurt or worried? While I don’t remember, the truth still remains I called people and told them goodbye. I upset them to the point of calling the police. They feared for me.
Worried people called worried people. My traumatic business is getting batted around through the phone lines. People care,I was told. I used to work with these people and will have to interface w them in my new role. Will there be an elephant in the room? Do I explain what happened? Do I just ignore what happened and move on?
I don’t know how to handle this situation. Then I question if there is really a situation to handle. In AA I would make amends. Is it the same with Bipolar disorder?

Fall From Grace

This fragile soul
So wrapped up in shame
Lifeless under these covers
Begging for the darkness
Haunting memories cling
To her mind
Play and replay
Painful glimpses
Of her fall from grace
Of her loss of sanity
Not a shred of perspective
To her name
Muted as the burden
Of reality
Of the damage done
Continually slaps her
Embarrassed red face

Self Forgiveness is an Art

Self forgiveness. I understand this concept in a broader context. I don’t get it when having to relate to myself. A week after my destructive manic episode I’m still trying to pick up the pieces. Mostly I’m pissed off. How could I have done the things I did? How could I treat people the way I did? Again, conceptually I know I was sick and not in my right mind. But when bits of memories jolt me I am ashamed. It’s stings so deep. I don’t remember everything that happened. Almost everyday there is a new revelation. A new stinger inserted in my heart. A new shameful discovery.
Yesterday while visiting my primary doctor, he read me the psychiatrist notes from my brief ER stay. I almost lodged a complaint because I believed no pdoc bothered to talk to me. I was sure I could plead my case and avoid hospitalization if given a chance. Turns out I refused to talk to anyone. Stated I was being wrongfully judged based on past events. I was argumentative and agitated. Hospital bound. There was much more in those notes. I am mostly disturbed I have absolutely no recollection of this interaction. Rather at 4:30 am after arriving at midnight I demanded to know when I would speak to the doc. We spoke at 12:30am. So scary!
This whole disaster plays out in my mind..what I can remember of it. It’s hard for me to reconcile just how out there I really was. I can’t seem to forgive myself..for the phone calls, the worry I caused, my aggressive behavior & demeanor.
I’m supposed to start a new job on 4/18. I just don’t think I’m ready. My memory and recall is so extremely poor. Processing. Decision making. Forget it. I had to send a request to move my start date. I am so embarrassed and disappointed. Why did this have to happen? I don’t know how my future employer is going to respond.
The only way out is self forgiveness. I can’t even begin to know where to start. I try to breathe, but that’s a struggle. I guess I don’t know what self forgiveness truly is.

Well….that happened! A visit by the police.

Dysphoric mania landed me in the back of a police car pleading not to be 5150’d. It was a helluva day on Tuesday. Come Wednesday morning I was shuffling in the halls of the psych hospital. I was full of shame and tears fell on their own accord. Here’s the story….
I’m not exactly sure when it started. Three or four nights of intense agitation that had me yelling at my husband, criticizing him for anything and everything. Then only moments later literally laying on the floor in complete despair. Moments later running around the house not able to figure out what to do w myself. I was supposed to go to Outpatient on Monday but couldn’t get out of bed.
Tuesday played out like a horrible nightmare. I got up begrudgingly around 8am. I was back in bed by 10:30am. I’m not sure if I slept or not, but emerged again at 12:30. I was feeling guilty about how unproductive I was. I remembered my husband’s request I move my clothes from one closet to another. So I launched in to this project. Somewhere in the midst of walking my clothes from one room to another, I got the brilliant idea to go to the beach. I don’t mean for an afternoon. I mean for a few days. My memory is quite fuzzy. I can only tell you what I think happened. I ran around the house filling a bag with necessities. I brought some meds, but not all. Forgot my birth control pills. Didn’t pack a jacket. Honestly I don’t know what I did remember to bring. I guess I left a window open at the house and our cat outside.
On the road within minutes of my brilliant decision. I think I was headed for Seaside, about 2.5 hours away. However, the freeway I actually landed on would not be how I normally go. I’m about 1.5 hours down the road and it dawns on me I don’t have a phone cord. I also forgot my wallet. My gas tank was getting low. I pull over in a restaurant parking lot that overlooks the bay. Moments upon exiting the car I proceed to crawl down the rocks that line the banks of San Francisco Bay. My shoes are in the water.
What I did next, I can only recall bits and pieces. I called a friend and yelled into the phone something along the lines of…I’m here at the banks of the bay. I’m sorry I’m not a better friend. Goodbye! I then hung up. I called my therapist, thanked her for trying to help me. Said Goodbye! Hung up the phone. Then called my husband. I told him it was meant to be that I am sitting on the banks of the bay. I loved him, but it was time to go. Hung up. I think I texted some people too.
What’s important here is that whenever I have a meltdown/breakdown I keep it a secret. Usually my husband is the only one who is privy to my falling apart. I will be hospitalized and not tell anyone. So, to be reaching out like this was certainly a sign something was very wrong.
Little did I know my husband had called the police. So had my friend. I had no choice but to return home as I had no money. Soon my cellphone would be dead. I raced home. I was convinced a white Chrysler 300 was following me despite the fact I was the only one changing lanes. I drove recklessly and too fast.
As I approached home, about 20 min out, I called my husband. I could tell by the way he was talking to me something was up. I just knew the police were at my house and there was going to be some kind of standoff. I accused him of conspiring against me. I refused to tell him where I was and hung up. For whatever reason I decided to pull over, maybe to figure out my next move. I don’t even think I was sitting in my car for 5 minutes when 2 police cars rolled up on me.
They asked me to get out of my car and I said I didn’t do anything wrong. They politely asked me again. As they put me in the back of the car my husband appeared. The police officer at our home drove him to get my car. I was crying hysterically and apologizing to the officer for wasting his time. They took me to the crisis clinic.
At the crisis clinic I became very agitated. I was yelling and making demands. I was insulting people. The crisis counselor said she did not feel comfortable releasing me. I told her she didn’t even know me. My husband agreed with her and said the way I was acting was not me. He was also concerned. There you have it. The 72 hour hold started.
It wasn’t until the next day, talking to my husband on the phone at the hospital did I learn of what I did. Who I called. What I said. I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t believe I reached out to all those people. I don’t reach out. I keep my bipolar disorder pretty private. I felt like I had created wreckage from my manic episode. I felt so guilty I put people in the position of needing to call the police.
When I left the house, I had no intention of hurting myself. Had I remembered my wallet I could have bought a new phone cord. I could have made it to the beach. Had I taken my IPad, my husband would not have been able to locate me. Its such a strange day when I look back on it.
I am constantly humbled by bipolar disorder. In the past, I have known myself when it’s time to seek out the hospital. On this day, I truly didn’t know. Being driven away in the back of a police car, not even sure why. It was very scary. Its still scary when I think about it.

Madly….Deeply

Chocolate and flowers are not the way into this girls heart. Don’t get me wrong, some decadent dark chocolate and fiery red roses are welcome, but no substitute for deep sincere love.
I’ve experienced “puppy love.” In college I was sure I met the (young)man of my dreams. He was smart, handsome and innocent. He was driven. Broke as hell. Determined to become a doctor. He was so many things I simply wasn’t. My yang. Best of all, he didn’t drink, which left all the alcohol for me and a guaranteed designated driver. Its the little things.
I’ve experienced “unrequited love.” After my puppy love suddenly, out of nowhere, moved out I was broken. Messy. Probably desperate. I latched onto more than a few men but they couldn’t carry my weight. I fell and they watched in dismay. Often saying, “but we just met…” For some reason, these particular men seemed not to appreciate my quick affinity. My ability to throw everything aside. Afford loyalty before trust. As each one walked away, I was more and more confused. Doesn’t everyone want love?
Looking back, I slowly discovered I didn’t really know what love meant. In my formative years, love wasn’t free or forthcoming. It was earned. Straight A’s, for example, gained high favor. Loss of a high school tennis match led to shame. Expression of teenage angst got a wagging of the finger. If I pleased you, the payoff was love. But, then again, not really. Doesn’t everyone deserve love?
Today, I am “madly, deeply loved” by my best friend and husband. I believe I “deeply, madly love” him in return. Its messy. Ugly. Beautiful. Meaningful. Paramount. And above all else, sincere. Nothing is off limits. I yell. Slam doors. Cook dinner. Check the mail. Bring laughter. Be of good cheer. Have anxiety attacks. Have manic moments, depressive weeks and the love can still carry me. This intimacy is immense and binds us in a way I have never known. The warmth and tenderness that permeates the air we breathe no matter what, brings new meaning. Ushers in a whole new understanding of what love truly is. At least for me.

Emotional Upheaval

Feels like it all happened in slow motion. He was in the kitchen asking me a question about the day ahead. He says it was a simple question. I heard something entirely different. My body filled with heat and anger. I leaned forward on the couch and unloaded words of hatred. They shot across the room w venom. This is not who I am. I then rose to my feet and vile came spewing out of my mouth. This is not who I am. Shame surrounded me. I felt trapped. The only thing I knew to do was run. Out of control and desperate I fled the scene.
This emotional upheaval actually began the night before. My sponsor always told me we are as sick as our secrets. It’s not a new phenomenon that I withhold information. This time, I chose not to tell my husband I quit taking my meds. The funny part is, and this is the honest truth, I was cleaning the bathroom and declaring to myself I MUST tell him. I would absolutely find “the right time” this very weekend. I didn’t know the phone rang and I certainly didn’t know it was my psychiatrist calling at 6pm on a Friday night. Shit hit the fan fast.
She was in my ear saying how worried she was I am not taking any medication at all. He was in my sight worried I was receiving this phone call knowing something wasn’t right. I just wanted to yell at everyone to leave me alone. How very selfish of me to want people to not care about me. How very selfish of me to make an important decision about meds and not include my husband. It’s called keeping a secret. I need to get honest and real.
I am not a malicious person. My attempt to keep information secret was not meant to hurt him. Although, that’s exactly what it did.
Back against the wall I came clean. Stopped all meds cold turkey about a month ago. Ups and downs continue. Suicidal thoughts continue but I am making it through so far. I did not share that I had agonized all night about jumping off a bridge on my return home from my business trip. In my mind, no reason to take meds. If I die, I die. I am still selective in what I want to share.
Catching you back up..morning comes and we are both harboring feelings from last night. I yell and scream, grab my keys and bail. So many emotions fill my car..guilt, shame, fear, sadness. I drive around aimlessly for a while alone with my thoughts. Its time I take responsibility for this illness. For my one sided decisions. For my over reactions. The road laid ahead of me. My future in front of me. I know this much: this is not who I want to be. I drove until all those emotions no longer took up space.
I didn’t rush home to make amends, but I did eventually return. I’ll spare you all the details of what ensued upon my arrival home as it was not pretty. I am hopeful that it was productive. I shed many tears as I listened to how hurt he felt, how he wonders if at the root of all this disease is my unhappiness w him, how he worries everyday I am going to hurt myself. I was able to tell him I don’t know how to let him into my darkness. I told him I didn’t want him to know what I think, the places my mind goes.
After many minutes of intense silence, he said this is the most honest conversation we have had for months.
i think we have come to an unconscious don’t ask don’t tell mentality. We are both scared and dancing around each other. I do think I do much more dancing and juggling than he does.
There isn’t a lack of deep love between us. Darkness effects the family as a whole. While I’m in my pit trying hard to cover up my fall in an effort to “protect” him from me, all I’m doing is creating more space between us. That for sure is NOT productive.
I still have to figure out if medication is going to play a role in my recovery. What I learned today is that not including my husband in the equation is not an option. He wants to support me. But he simply can’t if I won’t let him. My task is to learn how to let him.

I don’t know what to tell you

Bipolar disorder is tricky.  I had a good nights sleep. I was well prepared for my first appointment. I made breakfast. The sun was shining.   Somewhere on my 25 minute drive I began crying.  I don’t remember thinking about anything. I don’t remember feeling anxious. I just remember tears streaming down my face. I swear I have no understanding why.

I made it through the appointment, but not without some stumbles. I wasn’t able to give direction to my vendor very clearly.  It showed in the email he sent back-incorrectly done. However, it’s all fixable.

i was just fighting back tears ever since the car ride. I sit in a cubicle in a wide open room where there is no where to hide. I run to the bathroom but it’s full of women. I sat in the farthest corner of the courtyard sunglasses on, but someone came by.  The more I had to force them away the heavier they were. Then the flash flood.  As quickly, yet slowly, as I could I packed up my work bag. My back to most of my coworkers I walked out. In my car I just let loose. Why is this happening? I don’t even feel able to think much less ruminate.

My husband just kept repeating you said you slept well.  And I did. Symptoms don’t disappear due to good sleep. There isn’t always a reason!!  I want to yell. It often doesn’t make sense!! All I can do is let the tears fall. I could search for a reason, but why? It’s bipolar disorder.

Warrior

Today at 6:15 PM

Chains

What happens
when you don’t care enough
to hold your own hand?
When your very own mind
Turns on you
When the waters below
promise to cradle you
When The devil himself
promises to free you
When thoughts of the future
Only hold more pain
When in the present
You barely maintain
When secrets begin
To morph into lies
When you close the bathroom door
To put on your disguise
When you choose a shade darker
To manipulate a smile
When the laughter
Simply disappears
When 3 am comes again and again
Rendering you broken and in tears
When joy was once felt
But no longer seems to exist
When shared experiences of love
Are cast down by shame
I can tell you what happens
Hope is lost to ferocious fears
Life is not worth living
In these insidious chains