13 September 2009

9 Days In the Hole

Well, it’s been 9 days since I’ve been off my meds. Oh, yeah, the red flags are just awaving’. At first thought I’d bounce right into a manic phase, but that was short-lived. I am in a persistent mixed-state for the time being. The is the horrible catch-22 of BP. Racing thoughts accompanied by utter desolation. My sleep cycle hasn’t been affected except by voluntary action on my part. Late in the evening, I grow weary and should take the opportunity to just call it a day. However, I push back the eventual bedtime farther and farther back. It’s as if I don’t want to surrender even when I can barely keep my eyes open. I finally crashed at 0200 this morning and awoke at 0830 feeling sluggish and blurry. Certainly not refreshed. And, with me, once I’m awake, I’m outta bed. No snuggling in for me.

So, it’s Sunday morning. My day to go to church. I go because I need it for myself, but I’ve grown weary of having to put on my Ms Feelgood façade and interact. I will arrive about 5 minutes after the service should have started, but sometimes I am caught by surprise. The pastor doesn’t always start on time, and then sometimes I am forced to actually say something to someone. I wonder just how adept I will be at scooting out the door afterwards in my attempt to escape yet another interaction ordeal. I can’t, in all good conscience, be rude as I do care for these folks. However, they just don’t understand how badly I have to escape even 5 minutes of dealing with someone else. (well, I avoided Church altogether this morning. I had forgotten that today was their Fall Picnic. Too many people to deal with and I am so far out of my social skills that it would only create too much anxiety for me to actually socialize for 1.5-2.0 hours).

I should have seen the warning signs even back then. I was self-mutilating back then in my own attempt to mask the incredible pain I was feeling. And that time I really did quite a number on my arms I Am Bipolar, So Who Am I? I simple could not wrap my head around the desolation that led to self-mutilation. The pain I was experiencing was so very real, yet couldn’t handle it. The upside to self-mutilation allowed me to deflect the overwhelming, abject pain stemming from my emotional pain. Looking up-front to the horrific carvings, my mind no longer fixated on the emotional pain I could not understand and process.

My doctor raised a red flag of concern and I wouldn’t discuss it, so he quietly slipped me a script for an ant-depressive med (well before being diagnosed with BP). Little did he know that the anti-depressant would only open yet another opportunity to catapult me into my manic state) and upgraded my tetanus vaccine.
 I feel fortunate that my whole approach to this carving process was anal-retentive as it was, with my medical background for some years before, I searched and found all of the sterile scalpel blades and holders that I had accumulated over the years. My initial though process was that these blades would make excellent exacto blades. The day I was compelled to carve on my arms (winter time…long sleeves), these were the first instruments I sought out. Mean, face it, these blades (#11 and #15 specifically). Even a that moment of insanity, I chose a solution with minimal side-effects (e.g, no infections!).

I still have acute reflections of that whole process. I’d laid out the various blades still wrapped in their sterile wrapper, took of my shirt (heaven forbid I get one bloody) and prepped all of my forearms. You still see the hesitation marks that slowly built upon a level of determination to begin slicing and dicing. They were in parallel lines first, then went back to cut back crossing those brand new cuts now from a perpendicular fashion…I knew that these would be deep and sure. It simply did not phase me to see so much of my own blood. It was almost all I could to do to keep up with the pooling of blood.  In order to have a sense of control over this horrific direction I was headed. I called my then-counselor and asked her to come over my home so I could get rid of my instruments of destruction. I explained that my house had to a free-zone for me. Thus ending my illustrious history of the self-mutilation.©2009

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