I had some really severe psychiatric issues the last few weeks. It built for a couple of weeks and peaked last weekend. This is what I wrote the night it peaked and I needed to put things on paper so I could calm my brain, at least a little bit. So I could print it and take it to the hospital with me if I needed to lock myself up.
I’ve been crying for days. He tells me to tell him what’s wrong. And I try, God I try. But I can’t put it into words. I don’t know the fucking words. I’ve been noticing that for a few weeks, that I can’t find the words for what I’m feeling. I can’t identify what I’m feeling, only that it’s wrong. It’s all consuming and destructive and wrong. But it’s different this time. Wrapped up in pretty pink tulle. Insidious with a sugary smile, whispering that everything is fine, I’m just in a bad mood. I’m just bitchy because of my pain. Nothing’s wrong. As I slowly break and crumble. My mind racing racing racing. Feeling on the verge of explosion. Trying so hard to calm it down, to bring some order to the chaos in my head. Crying and crying. Everything and nothing setting me off. Rage and then tears. On the verge of lashing out for anything at anyone. Not sleeping. Not wanting to sleep because it feels like a waste of time. My mind screaming and screaming but not forming words. Not showering. Not caring. Filthy and loathing myself for it. Feelings I can’t identify. So close. Fluttering against the tips of my fingers while I grasp desperately, hands closing on nothing. Can’t find the fucking words so I can’t scream them so I can’t expel them from my brain. So I can’t purge the darkness that seems so much brighter this time. A bright sunny facade hiding rot and darkness. A demon with a sickening sweet smile. Holding out its hand. Beckoning.
Racing racing racing. Feeling like I’m exploding out of my skin, wanting to rip it off myself, it’s too tight and I can’t stand it. Suffocating and claustrophobic in my own body. Wanting to run so fucking far away. Gorging on junk food until I’m in the bathroom, sick and regretful but still wanting more. Nothing getting done because I can’t fucking focus. I can’t even look at Matt and have a conversation because I keep turning to my phone or laptop. Shopping though I know we can’t afford it. Screaming into a pillow because I can’t control the hysterics. Wanting to die. Fighting against it all so hard and failing more often than I want to admit to Matt. Trying to find ways to hide everything from him. So he can’t see what a fuck up I am. So he doesn’t see me destroying myself.
I’m so afraid I’ll have to go into the hospital again. God, I don’t want to. I don’t know want to I don’t want to I don’t want to please don’t make me. I’m holding it together as best I can so I won’t have to. The idea is terrifying. I’ve gone before and this time my fear isn’t even about the hospital itself. Well, it is because it’ll be a nightmare. But more than that… I don’t want Matt to see that. I don’t want him to see how broken I am. How broken I REALLY am. I’m so afraid. Of him finally realizing just how crazy, how fucked up, how damaged I truly am and him leaving me because of it. I wouldn’t blame him. I really wouldn’t. He’d have every right to not want to deal with this bullshit. God, I wouldn’t blame him.
Maybe I’m not meant to be in a relationship. Maybe I’m meant to be alone with friends and lovers and books and cats. And content. So I can’t hurt anyone else. Only myself. Leave him so he can find someone better. Someone saner. Someone who deserves him. I’m never going to be sane enough or healthy enough to be what he deserves. God I want to run. To escape what I’m doing to him. To free him from me.
“You deserve someone sane. Someone healthy. Someone not fucked up. Not damaged.”
“But I don’t want that...I want you.”
I try to explain the darkness to him. How do you explain it to someone who’s never seen it? Him covered in my tears and snot, me crying harder than I ever have, even when I was alone. No one’s allowed to see me like this. I’ve been so good at hiding it for so many years. No one sees this. No one. I feel so raw with him. Like I’ve been cracked open and exposed because I love him so much and god sometimes I want to run from it because I can’t handle it. Because I’m not capable of it. Because I’m not strong enough. Because I’m afraid I’ll destroy him along with myself. Because I don’t want him to regret me. Because I don’t want to be his biggest mistake.
I whisper, “My brain is trying to kill me.” So quiet he can’t hear me and I have to repeat myself. Louder. Voice cracking and sniffling. “My brain is trying to kill me. And I fight so hard against it. I take my pills and I fight. But sometimes it’s stronger than me.”
God how do I explain this? I don’t want to corrupt him, to remove any of the naivete he’s blessed enough to have. I don’t want to be the one to introduce him to something so fucking evil. An evil I’ve fought against daily since I was six years old and has taken almost all of my energy and focus for most of three decades. An evil that’s been dormant the last two or three years.
I stopped taking my antipsychotics about six months ago. They made me feel weird towards the end and just didn’t seem to make a difference anymore. So my psychiatrist and I decided to take me off them and to keep an eye on it, being honest when I saw him each month And I was! I promise I was! I wasn’t lying or hiding any of it! It just...snuck up for weeks in a way I didn’t identify and then exploded over the course of a few days.
I know it’s stupid and untrue but, god, there was a part of me that felt so proud to be able to remove drugs from my list instead of adding them Like, maybe I’m not as fucked up as I thought It felt like I’d succeeded. I’d become...saner. And, logically, I know that’s not how it works. But this isn’t about logic, is it? It’s never about fucking logic.
But I caught it this time. I caught it before I spent a ton of money or started hurting myself. I caught it before I lost months and months of my life to numbness and emptiness. I caught it before I had to voluntarily check myself into the hospital so I could live one more night. I fucking recognized it and I fucking caught it.
Monday I called and made an emergency appointment with my psychiatrist and was his first patient Tuesday morning. After I peaked, the calm set in. So much so that I nearly canceled my appointment. Because I was fine now, right? That’s how it works, I magically get all better over night?
We thought it was safe to take me off the medications. Because I don’t really “do” mania. My default is depression, only the degree fluctuates. I’ve experienced a manic episode once, which resulted in my first hospitalization. Even then I hesitated to identify as Bipolar II because of the complete lack of manic episodes in my past. The doctors I’ve seen lean more towards Bipolar Depressive. Even that I questioned because I falsely associated manic episodes with, well, mania. The explosive energy that keeps you up for days, cleaning/writing/painting/etc. And I never had that. Jesus, I’m lucky if I can find the energy to get out of bed each day! But the mood stabilizer they put me on WORKED. And I was willing to be diagnosed however the fuck they wanted if I got something that helped. It was clear I had a mood disorder, if nothing else. It cleared my mind in a way antidepressants never managed. They were a miracle. A miracle on top of a miracle.
It’s easy to forget that psychiatric disorders aren’t black and white; you don’t necessarily fit into a box made of symptoms off WebMD. They’re a spectrum, a range, and you can fall anywhere on that continuum. Just because my episodes aren’t the ones shown on TV or even the ones had by people I know, that doesn’t make them less real. It doesn’t make them less difficult to handle, survive, and come back from.
So now I’m on Seroquel, a mood stabilizer I was on years ago. I’ve been on it seven days now and so far, so good. I don’t recall having any side effects on it, aside from initial exhaustion as my body got used to it. That plus the fatigue from recovering after my meltdown left me pretty comatose for a week. I’m pretty much over that stage, still more tired than I’d like but definitely surviving.
Just a not so gentle reminder that my mental illness will never be "cured", only "contained." So don't be ashamed if the bad stuff starts slipping out. Don't be afraid to tell someone. To tell everyone. Because we're all here, fighting as hard we can against that animal, understanding and loving and believing in each other and we'll help you push that cage door shut again. Don't be ashamed. Shame is what destroys us. Shame is what breaks us. Shame is what kills us. So fight against it. Tackle it. beat that fucker into the ground because you'll no longer let it control you. Your brain chemistry, the way you've survived your trauma, the ways you've learned to protect yourself...these aren't things to be ashamed of. Because you're HERE. You're HERE. Even with a brain that tried to stop you. And surviving until this very moment is the bravest thing you've ever done. I'm so fucking proud of you.