NOTE: If you have experienced a psychotic episode, you may want to avoid reading this as it contains triggers. I may get criticized for airing dirty laundry publicly or seeking attention and that’s exactly what I intend to do. The first time I experienced a psychotic break, I was hospitalized and had no one to talk to because everyone was too scared to ask. I want to talk about this publicly, so it is informative to anyone who has loved ones going through the same thing. It has proven to help all of us. I’m okay being vulnerable to a public audience since it seems my greatest enemy has always been my subconscious; everyone else pales in comparison.
My therapist noted that going through mania must be exhausting as the mind has no respite, even while the body rests. It seems that is catching up with me at the moment as I’m feeling the dilapidation of fatigue – achy muscles, loss of balance, looking busted as hell, dizziness from simple head-swivels, trouble focusing Severe disassociation, absentmindedness. Yesterday after picking the Bear up from school, I left the car battery on and the keys in the ignition for hours until Greg came home and freaked out about it.
I’ve been having dreams for months in which I am unable to spank the Bear because something keeps my hand from striking her; I’m positive she has something protecting her from harm during all this.
This is only the second time a psychotic break has resulted in a state of mania, but I’m thankful it did. The mania is a much, much better experience than a depression, although both have the potential of putting myself at risk. This time, however, I was fueling myself with toxic foods and running on adrenaline and a magnified sense of self-esteem in conjunction with an embarrassing religious preoccupation that is wildly uncharacteristic. The mood swings associated with BPD also became wildly exaggerated, as did my impulses.
However, my BFF who is acting as my daily confidante and recovery partner observed that at least my delusions were just an idealized version of my Self and not an altogether reassignment of identity in which I believed myself to be an alter-ego or a variety of poultry (etc.) Another friend gently assured me that, while she was concerned, she recognized that a manic episode was a lot like having a shitty significant other-friends don’t want to upset you while you guys are together, but afterward they’re comfortable telling you how fucked up it was. I appreciated her observation and consideration in not enabling my craziest of whims nor discouraging them. Truthfully, my closest friends – who were privy to the scariest aspects of the spell – could not have handled their interactions better. For this, I am immensely grateful, likewise with their lack of judgement and need to shame me after the fact with recognition that I wasn’t in control of my illness.
I have removed those who are still unable to differentiate my illness from my real intentions and who continue to shame me for it and my resulting actions all throughout this decades-long shitstorm. Inevitably, this will lead to guilt trips and accusations of me being hurtful, but frankly I’m exhausted with being blamed for having an illness because of others’ ignorance and unwillingness to educate themselves on it after all these years in recovery. I also know my family doesn’t need me crumpling under the weight of self-loathing right now as I am working on recovering, and I’m surrounded by enough support that I don’t have any fear about protecting myself from judgement or malice. That feels really good. It took me for forever to get to that level. Thank God for years of patience and resources to help combat this.
I’m taking time to regroup a little before starting out again. My yoga teacher and dear friend has offered me unlimited yoga at the studio in turn for work trade and, for this, I couldn’t be more grateful. I’m going to need it, as well as the continued support of my husband and the Bear; we’ve got a bit of recovery ahead of us as there’s been a lot of Crazy trickling down for a while before I was diagnosed. I’m happy they’re still here.
The same goes for anyone who is still bothering to tune in and encourage this ongoing mess. It’s been a really, really long time that I’ve been dealing with this shit – more than 10 years in recovery now- but I’m happy to see evidence that each episode is better than the last. Who knows – maybe one day they won’t last more than a week. Mini-meltdowns seem like a dream compared to this shit. I’ll take what I can get.
I don’t want pity, to be straight with you. And I’m not doing all this soul-baring for personal attention, but more for awareness-raising. You know at least one of ten people in your life who have struggled with this. They don’t talk about it because we know the connotations and rejections associated with being mentally unstable. It costs us jobs, relationships, our physical health, our homes, our insurance, and a lot of times our lives. Things could be different if more people understood how scared and alone we feel too. You might look at that homeless man mumbling to himself differently if you see him as a person like me who was once terrified to be losing everything before he lost his mind. It won’t seem strange that his alcoholism and rage accompanies his psychosis; he has been abandoned by everyone else and knows how terrifying he is to everyone including himself.
A therapist I had once told me that sometimes she has a hard time dissuading patients losing their lives to schizophrenia to not kill themselves. Doctors and insurance companies run for the hills when patients are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder from the long-time belief that it is untreatable; if these professionals can’t empathize with the mentally illhow can we expect society to?
my brain is getting fuzzy, so I’ll get off my soapbox. Thank you for reading. I plan to continue this, so if you’re bored, don’t tell me; I’m pretty fucking over it myself.