Intruders and Injustice

I have been marvelously intrigued, and perhaps a bit preoccupied, with life’s small forms and their humbling moments of death.

My body seems to stumble upon carcasses on the road, limp corpses of moths and other worthy insects caught in the vents of my vehicle. Each and every time, I linger- almost as if I had just received news of a loved one passing on. I pause here in honor of their simple quiddities, laconicly spilling out a prayer so that they may reach their bug heaven, wherever that may be found.

It sounds rather trivial and puerile. Call it a fascination.

I talked to my grandmother this past Friday about my cousin and the incest. The conversation itself was a success. She shared with me that she had encountered a very similar circumstance with a much older male family member. Although justice was nowhere to be found, I did feel validated as her daughter and granddaughter.

The weekend came and went. Friday was difficult for many reasons. I mostly was triggered to relapse on a needle; I had to have my blood drawn for a lithium level check and the needle and rubber ties were too much for me to handle. I went spinning into a panic attack while in group. I could hear Senka crying over the bruised vein (he had to stick me twice). Overall, it was a traumatizing experience.

My appetite is still trying to get back to where it was. Last night I ate more, which is good.

Everything is okay right now.

Well, actually, I sitting here at my desk with a knife at arm’s reach. I came home about 40 minutes ago. I had turned the corner and saw that the backdoor was wide open. So, butcher knife in hand, I quietly swept all the rooms, closets, under-the-beds, and crevices. No one. I could smell my perpetrator’s cologne, but I think that’s just my go-to sensation when I’m scared. Nothing seemed to be missing or out of place. Still, I feel just slightly uneasy.

My debit card for disability finally came in the mail, so I feel very relieved about that.

No more to report for now. One more day of PHP.

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The Vicious Flower

Today during my third group, I was able to come to a very enlightening discovery about myself.

For 45 minutes, we worked on our vicious flowers..

My intrusive belief was, “Isolation is better than seeking help.” Many of petals explained how isolating was a form of self harm in its own, etc. Then, at the the end of the exercise, the therapist called on each person to say aloud to the group one truth about themselves that they have been ignoring. When it was my turn, the following words fell from my lips:

I am worthy and deserving of recovery.

I kind of caught myself by surprise with this one. Wow…I’m worthy of happiness. I deserve peace. The entire day of processing had revolved around my own feelings of inadequacy; many times I have felt that I am the world’s punching bag. I don’t actually deserve happiness, but other people’s happiness depends on me.

Never have I really sat there and thought to recover my own self.

I’m doing better today. The suicidal thoughts have been pretty consistent lately. However, today I allowed myself to just feel shitty. If I didn’t feel like smiling, it was okay. And fuck, the groups are SO supportive. The amount of love and reach I have experienced over the past 4 days is absolutely incredible.

I do notice that I feel very split a lot of the time, and even my speech seems to not be able to keep up with my lips. This should go away, though.

On a last note, I am stressing over my disability insurance. I’m stressing about finances.

When I Kissed the Cement

Last night was difficult. I’m not even sure if I ever fell asleep. My body is tired, my eyes burn, I feel slightly off balance.

I sat out on my back porch steps watching the rain fall. I was on the phone with my girlfriend, sobbing, rocking myself back and forth. Just hours before, I was standing in the drizzle, talking to God like I always did, begging Him to please make it go away. I bent down to the floor and kissed the warm cement repeatedly, waiting to feel absolution.

I haven’t been this despondent since February.

I texted my therapist telling her I felt suicidal and I’m too scared to admit myself into a hospital. I don’t even know if that would be the right move. I keep waiting for this to go away. Tomorrow, it’ll be better again. I’ll be happy and cheery, this mess will be behind me. Yet tomorrow has shown its face over and over again. I’m not getting better.

I feel as if I’ve contracted an illness and all I can do is rest, try to recover. I know I’m not alone, but I feel like I am.

Perhaps going back to group would behoove my mental crises. I have no idea.

Last night was really painful.

My Peculiar Orchestra and Learning to Give Myself Credit

A few minutes after I took my medication last night, I began to hallucinate. It grew very loud and chattery. I noticed the narration a lot more. Nothing was real. Instead, I felt that I was a mere observer of a well-written film. I could not get the narrator to stop speaking. As we walked from her car to her apartment complex, my body shifted back and forth like sand being pushed and pulled from the ocean. I felt very fuzzy.

The voices came back vociferously, weaving in between the ridges and pockets of my delirium. I quietly tucked my body beneath the safe waves of blankets and pillows in an attempt to silence them.

Before the return of my peculiar orchestra, I was at my grandmother’s house, dropping my dogs off. My cousin will be watching them until I officially move in the weekend. We had dinner together whilst enjoying a good episode of Intervention. I spent some time with my grandma as well. She has cleared a lot of space for my belongings and such, which is nice. I’m looking forward to staying there.

All of this sudden change is really, really getting to me. I’m having dreams of failing and panic attacks. Although, I suppose I should be giving myself more credit; I’m not turning to drugs or alcohol. I’m not caving in (although emotionally, I’ve introverted, most certainly) and letting the stress consume me. I’m asking for help, which is something I usually have a hard time with. I’m making it work. I’ve come a long way and I’m still improving. Instead of sulking in the darkness, I am actively finding resources to cheer myself up. I know I’m going to be okay.

After all of this, I think I’m going to take myself to karaoke and sing my little heart out.

Rapid Cycling, a Guest Writer, and PNES

 

I am cycling faster than an Olympic Triathlete. And I’m tired of it.

I am depleted, depressed, deranged, and desperate. I want to say the hallucinations are better, but with the influx of anxiety at work, I am still swimming through teeming auditory hallucinations. I’m frustrated. I am not a fun person to be around right now. Every little thing sets me off either into a fuming rage, or into a morose melancholy in which I sit in to ponder my existential purpose.

On top of this, I want a drink. OH I want a tequila shot. Or a glass of wine. I’m itching and I cannot remedy the cravings with grape juice anymore.

On another note, I’d like to introduce a guest writer- my girlfriend. I wanted her to recall what happened on Thursday night, since I feel it’s important.

Without much further ado, COME ON DOWWWWWNNNNNNNN

 In regards to what happened last night, there was a certain familiarity to the situation. There was a loss of touch with reality, a sense of fear (mostly emanating from me), and what I would describe as a kind of takeover.

Simply enough, she and I were laying in bed. She sat up and blankly stared ahead. I asked what was wrong, and she told me she didn’t feel too well – that she felt a bit hypoglycemic. So off I went into the kitchen to get a glass of whatever I could find which ended up being some flat soda. After drinking it, her hands stopped shaking and she just laid back down. No more than 10 minutes had passed after this incident when I got up to get dressed. I stood at the edge of the bed while she began to sit up and addressed me. She looked at me mischievously, and in the most tauntingly devious, callous tone of voice she began to talk. This was the dialogue:

“Oh, you don’t want to fuck me first?”

“What?”

“I fucked you, why wouldn’t you fuck me?”

“Why are you saying that?”

“Come here baby, *makes kissy noises* OH, I loooove you.”

At this, she began to slyly grin. Her hand was reaching out for me – she wanted me to come sit down next to her. She dropped her gaze, bowed her head, with her hand still in the air, she got really quiet and began to cry. I sat down and looked at her and asked her to come back to me, since she was far gone at this point. When she stopped crying, she looked up with a manic grin behind her eyes, and I realized she was dripping blood from her mouth. She looked at me in the same way she had just moments before, and said “You’re sure you don’t want to fuck me now? Come on babe, I’m right here.” This is when she began to have what appeared to be a seizure. It was a slow onset; she began shaking lightly, then more and more violently. This lasted for about a minute and half. As she shook, blood dripped from her mouth, down her chin, and onto her thigh. I wiped it up with my hands and went to go get a towel or something in the bathroom. I was gone less than ten seconds, and when I came back her head was back down and she was no longer ‘seizing’. Her voice changed to the voice I’m most familiar with, and a meek “I don’t feel well, babe” escaped her lips.

I pulled her towards me, and she was confused. I asked her to get dressed, to put her pants on. She kept coming back to me. Her eyes slowly unglazed and she came back to reality. I guided her to the bathroom and when she saw herself in the mirror she asked why she was bleeding. We then realized that she had bitten and chewed the inside of her lip and that’s where the blood was coming from (this to much a relief for me, since my first thought was that she had been back to using drugs without my knowledge; this wouldn’t be the first time she bled from her mouth in that manner).

She, for a couple of minutes, had completely dissociated and removed herself from present time. She had no recollection of what had happened. She remembered laying down after drinking the flat cola, then coming to, when I was asking her to put her pants on.

All I could do was lay back down with her, assuring her everything was okay, that I loved her and that I was here for her.

Also, because she cares so much for me, or maybe she was just scared out of her mind (because who wouldn’t be), she did a little research and learned about Psychogenic NonEpileptic Seizures (PNES). According this website:

“PNES are attacks that may look like epileptic seizures, but are not caused by abnormal brain electrical discharges. They are a manifestation of psychological distress. Frequently, patients with PNES may look like they are experiencing generalized convulsions similar to tonic clonic seizures with falling and shaking. Less frequently, PNES may mimic absence seizures or complex partial seizures with temporary loss of attention or staring.

A specific traumatic event, such as physical or sexual abuse, incest, divorce, death of a loved one, or other great loss or sudden change, can be identified in many patients with PNES.”

I’m not self diagnosing. I will bring this up to my doctor, however, does anyone out there have feedback, and/or experience with PNES, or dissociation? I want to know I’m not alone here.

I wrote this to my girlfriend yesterday and it describes how I feel:

I feel as if the dust of my childhood had settled for years and years on the attic floor, untouched and unbothered by light or a footstep. Now, I’ve let people into the attic- doors and windows splayed open. The wind is tossing all of the dust into a flurry, illuminated by bright sunlight. And I’m in the middle of it all, gazing at the floor, remembering that the wood panels below had etchings and designs. My lungs are contracting, wheezing, and coughing from all of the dust. All the while, everyone else around me is well equipped with masks.

I think that through group, I have been rustling up my past memories. Yesterday I actually had a flashback to my molestation. As I ran to the restroom at work, I kept thinking over and over, there’s nowhere for me to hide. Not a crease, nor crack. There is no place where the pain won’t reach me. So, I cried in the stall and cut my wrist to quiet it down.

My girlfriend made a great point (again. She’s great). In regards to me telling her that I don’t think I’m getting better- I mean I WAS feeling better, but I crashed again. She said that when I was first admitted, I handled the immediate situation. I got meds, I was in therapy, I talked out my immediate issues and felt better. However, we all now that mental illness isn’t cured by wiping the superficial grime off of ourselves; I began digging deeper and finally hit the center of my earth. My childhood and past. It’s hitting me like a truck now.

I know I’ll be alright, though. I need to keep thanking those around me for simply being there for me. I’m a wreck right now.

Day 5 of Partial Hospitalization- Learning to Love Myself

Today was Day 5 of my PHP! Technically, it’s my last day, but luckily my insurance approved me for 5 additional days. I’m going to finish PHP through this Friday, then starting Monday I’ll drop down to IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program).

Group therapy was difficult for me this morning.

In my second group, I processed through my childhood and my sexual molestation via my father figure and cousin when I was 12. I dove into my first suicide attempt as a 14 year old. The feelings of betrayal, abandonment,apathy, and hurt came floating to the top. The whole conversation came about with my origination of “I don’t feel anything.” During the past 5 days, I haven’t felt a damn thing. I can talk about my dad’s suicide, about my attempts, about my homelessness, heroin addiction, self-mutiliation, etc…not one tear or lump in the throat. Our therapist then pointed out that disassociation is a classic symptom and effect of abuse and molestation during childhood. It makes total sense. That’s how I survived- by building barriers around myself, pushing my feelings way down into my psyche, and carrying on with my life. I never really thought about it in that way…

There’s a new guy with us now. He’s really awesome. In the past  year, he has attempted suicide 3 times. He also has a 6 year old daughter. Our therapist asked him, “Where does your daughter fit into your attempts? Did you ever think about how your suicide may effect her?” He replied with, “In the throes of my depression up to my attempts, I thought my daughter would be better off without me in the world.” I broke down crying. I hope that that thought never went through my dad’s mind when he took his own life. I turned to him in group and I told him, “My dad killed himself. I wish he was in my life. You are a blessing to your daughter. Keep going.”

Something really hit me today in group. After I talked about my childhood and really stirred up the memories, our therapist said it’s time to really look back, as an adult and knowing what I know now, I can go back and be with that young child who was hurt, who was abandoned, and angry. I can love and nurture that child. I can stand next to her and hold her- something I didn’t have when I was going through that trauma. The therapist also suggested that I take a picture of myself when I was a child so I could visualize my innocence.

Well, I did just that. And it hurts a lot. I’m in tears right now as I type away. I’m at this critical point in my life where I’d like to be with that child, to forgive myself, to love myself. Which is difficult, because I harbor a lot of unwarranted guilt and resentment towards myself. However, I need to love myself and heal.

So, I’m dedicating this song tonight to the child-me, from the adult-me. Here’s to healing, forgiving, loving, and ultimate recovery. We all deserve inner peace.

When you’re feeling sad and blue
Don’t you know that I will always be here for you
When everything just makes us go out of our mind
Just know that I will always have the time for you
You say that I am your influence
You should know that you inspire me, now until the end
I’ll help you get through the thick and thin
And I know you’ll remember when, I say…

You are strong strong as a soldier
Even when winds are tough you’ll always keep it together.
You are strong, strong as a soldier
I know you’ll get through anything
‘Cause you’re strong, strong, strong as a soldier.

When the waves are crashing down, can’t get up
Just know I’ll pick you up from the ground
When it feels like everything goes wrong,
Just remember to listen to this song

You are strong strong as a soldier
Even when winds are tough you’ll always keep it together.
You are strong, strong as a soldier
I know you’ll get through anything
‘Cause you’re strong, strong, strong as a soldier.

Don’t you worry about the obstacles to your happiness
If you let them get to you, you’ll end up just like the rest.
I know you’re better than those people who get in the way
Just remember what I always say…

You are strong strong as a soldier
Even when winds are tough you’ll always keep it together.
You are strong, strong as a soldier
I know you’ll get through anything
‘Cause you’re strong, strong, strong as a soldier.

You are strong, strong, strong as a soldier
Strong, strong, strong as a soldier

PS- An extra song for us women 🙂

Cappuccinos and Pride Flags

This morning started out a bit rocky; woke up at 4 am, greeted the familiar depression, flirted with a glass of wine, then I snapped out of it.

My girl friend took me to the cutest damn cafe today. We talked over cappuccinos and hot chocolate and ended off the afternoon by meandering through West Hollywood. I needed that outing.

The rain is coming down. Meanwhile, I am cozily snuggled on the sofa with a blanket draped over my legs. My dogs are snoozing next to me.

I’m feeling pretty content. Earlier this morning, I feel a little on the sedated side. I felt detached- not in a bad way. I just felt very off. I’m not depressed, nor am I manic, so that’s a good sign! So far so good with the lithium.

I’m still a little anxious about tomorrow. I’ll have to email my boss at work and let him know that I’m still going to be out. I’m going to try my hardest to have my primary care write a note for me so I can fax it in tomorrow. I have a lot of anxiety over not being at work, getting paid, etc. In a utopian society, I would file for disability and get my shit together. It’s frustrating as hell not knowing how long I’ll be out of work. I wish I had a concrete answer so I could plan…

I’m also pacing whilst nail-biting because I’m supposed to receive my prescription for my antipsychotic tomorrow, as well as bump my lithium up to 900 mg (although that will probably be in the mid week sometime). I’m fairly certain she’ll give me a script for Abilify, but I could be wrong. Ahh I just need to calm down.

Breathe, breathe

Tomorrow is Day 4 of PHP! My insurance approved me for another 5 days. Hallelujah.

I was supposed to go to an AA meeting this weekend. I know I should. I really do. I’m running into a lot of trouble admitting to myself that my drinking problem warrants meeting attendance.

Day 3 of Partial Hospitalization- 600 mgs of Mania

Day 3, done.

I felt so incredibly manic today. I haven’t felt that wound up in a very long time. Once I got to group, it was pretty apparent. I could barely sit still. My attention was all over, as well as my speedy speech. I felt as if I was bursting out of my skin; complete with anxiety and rapid auditory hallucinations.

I brought it up to my doctor. When I was first admitted to PHP, I had let them know in my assessment that I felt a manic and/or psychotic episode coming on. (I have had several intense psychotic breakdowns in the past, so I know the onset symptoms well, now) She said that it sounds like the mania is setting in before the psychotic crash. She had me up my dose to 600 mg tonight- which I took 30 minutes ago.

I was so incredibly anxious before I took the meds. The anxiety attack started around 7:30. I felt it buzzing beneath my skin…then, it all set in. I began crying uncontrollably, desperately gasping for air. I wanted to harm myself, I wanted a drink to diminish the panic. It was all okay in the end. I’m really looking forward to the lithium working.

Today was very quiet and mellow. There were only 4 people in group today so we had a lot of time to really delve into ourselves and such. During fourth group, we participated in a guided meditation. Ahh, finally, relaxation. I was elated to greet the fresh blankets and pillows. I napped and I napped hard. So did everyone else. The heater softly blew tepid air into the room as we listened to the rain propelling down onto the bungalow roof.

I left a message for my primary care physician. The plan is to get an approved leave of absence from work for 1 month from my medical doctor. That way, I won’t have to totally jeopardize my job because they won’t know I’m in behavioral treatment. While I’m in PHP, I’ll be able to work on myself some more, adjust my meds, and just get better- the ultimate goal.

I cleaned the shit out of my apartment when I got home. In 30 minutes, I had picked up the living and dining room, vacuumed, dusted, wiped down the tables, washed the windows… mania is good for production purposes.

As of right now, I feel kind of dazed and detached from everything around me.

The Lively Bunch

It started one day in my junior year of high school. I remember it quite vividly actually. I can’t recall any particularly troubling circumstances surrounding this instance. It just kind of happened…

I was walking down the stairs of my school campus when I heard, “She is walking down the gray steps.” The voice didn’t really scare me or startle me. Throughout the day, this voice narrated my life, from large actions to small details. Everything was being narrated.

I spoke with my then school psychologist. He didn’t seem to be too surprised at all by it. He suggested that I write everything down like a story. Maybe by doing that, the voice would disappear.

The writing didn’t help for too long. As a matter of fact, the voice grew louder and more incessant. It wasn’t a bad voice, though. It continued on, describing the minute details in my everyday life. The voice was rather genius in weaving words together and illustrating even the dullest parts. Here, at this moment, I picked up a Creative Writing class and allowed my voice to run itself tired through sheets of blank paper. Poetry became a safe outlet for my voice and I. So, I didn’t mind it sticking around.

Two years of this went on. I paid little attention to it. After a while, my mood began to decline and I slipped into a crippling depression.

This is the part I’ve never talked about. I’ve never written this down. I hate talking aloud about it and I hate even thinking about it. However, it’s important to me now that I muster up the courage to do it.

My freshman year of college, he arrived.

Morris.

Morris is a terrifying, haunting, demented and cruel voice. He is so awful, in fact that my mental health had declined rapidly from late 2010 to early 2011. My alcohol and drug dependency sky-rocketed, ending in suicide attempt, a 5150 hold, and 30 pounds lost off of my body in 4 months. That wasn’t weight I could afford to lose!

The majority of the time, he speaks directly to me, affirming my non-existent self-worth. On other times, I can hear him laughing to the others. His laugh alone makes me shake. Even Allie, my sweet southern-belle, could do nothing but stand in the umbrage of my mind, too afraid to stop Morris from intruding. When he arrives, I can do nothing about it.

For quite some time after that, it was the first voice, Morris, and Allie. The first voice is for the most part always with me. There’s nothing really associated with it besides basic narration and the occasional sad whimpers. Morris, thankfully, infrequently visits. When he does happen to arrive, I feel it hard to hold on to myself. Allie is with me always. Whether she is slightly perceivable or effusively social, she’s there.

There are about 3 other voices that chatter now, nearly everyday. Two male voices and a female voice. On a bad day, everything is targeted at me. “Look at you…what are you doing here…they don’t believe you…they don’t want you…don’t walk over there…don’t speak to that person…” On a good day, they are mostly limited to back and forth banter amongst themselves, like a loony cocktail party.

One of the male voices is becoming (what I like to call) a primary. He is slowly becoming more prominent in my day-to-day actions. I haven’t learned his name yet. When I do, I’ll let you know!

Over this past year, the voices have become unavoidable and extremely distracting. Work has become a challenge for me, though I am managing through it quite excellently.

Therapy is in my near future

I do wish we could chat longer, but I’m having an old friend for dinner.

-Sylvia’s Junkie

Exhaustion

I am utterly, intrinsically, so exhausted. I have not slept in 48 hours. I am beginning to feel delusional.

I’ve been laying awake at night with no true purpose of being awake. I am tired, yes. I am sleepy, yet the sleep never comes. As soon as my body begins to relax and find peace in my sheets, the voices start again. It is nearly impossible to not go mad.

How do I explain this to anyone? Meanwhile, my boyfriend of 3 years sleeps soundly next to my body, snoring away happily. After 2 hours of trying to decide whether or not I should wake him up, I gently prodded his shoulder. “Babe, babe…I can’t sleep…babe?” Gruntled noise slip out as he rolls over.

I feel alone in this.

It isn’t his fault, after all. I’m happy that he doesn’t understand. I am so incredibly happy that he has never had to experience the terrifying voices, the shape-shifting faces sprawling behind the eyelids, the chasm of depleting depression. For this, I thank the higher power.

Still, I am led back to my above question, how do I explain this to someone so…normal?

I feel guilty for the previous episodes like this one. I feel guilty that he has to see me lie in bed at 5 pm, unable to sleep and still unable to produce and move. Perhaps he thinks I’m over-reacting, putting on a show. I wish it were that easy!

I wasn’t expecting this valley of melancholia to last so long. I wonder when I will be able to rejoice in my mania..

I do wish we could chat longer, but I’m having an old friend for dinner 
-Sylvia’s Junkie

“Even so,
I kept right on going on,
a sort of human statement,
lugging myself as if
I were a sawed-off body
in the trunk, the steamer trunk.
This became perjury of the soul.
It became an outright lie
and even though I dressed the body
it was still naked, still killed.
It was caught
in the first place at birth,
like a fish.
But I play it, dressed it up,
dressed it up like somebody’s doll.” -Anne Sexton