Mania, my old friend
Or: mixed episode, my other old friend
Mania, that makes me act in ways that others find unreasonable. Mania, that makes me act in ways that others find crazy. Mania, that I cannot control, that is like possession, like someone else has taken over my speech and my mind and my body and makes me irate to the point that I tremble, right down to my lower lip, wobbling involuntarily because I am so angry.
It came again yesterday. I did all the right things. I charted my moods (and 12 other metrics) daily, I painstakingly tailored my sleeping pattern, took all the medicine my doctors prescribed, took supplements, went to therapy.
It could be because my doctors lowered my dose of antipsychotic (to try to offset a major possible side effect). I wish we had never touched the medicine, because mania’s back again.
Yesterday, at noon, after an unusually productive and happy morning, I had my first interaction with my mom. The whole day was downhill from there.
By downhill, I mean I had thoughts my mom wanted to kill me—not just that she wanted me to move out of our apartment because she can no longer stand the responsibility of living with me, but that she wanted to kill me.
I asked her to decapitate me. She said she was worried to see such suicidal behavior. I corrected her that this wasn’t suicidal behavior—I cannot decapitate myself, I argued thinly, so wishing for her to decapitate me was 1/10 of the way away from suicidal.
After a certain point, I have always wanted my parents to kill me. I have told them this. I’m sure they find it disturbing. To me, it is just an appropriate thing we could do together that would physically embody the emotional relationship that has been in place since childhood.
It is 1:17am. I am reviewing some of the texts I sent my mom a few hours ago.
I’m a foul, detestable person
I feel I should be removed from the Earth.
It’s everyone for themself. Like [my sister] says: we’re no family, but a collection of individuals.
I, myself, am perfectly fine. I’m worried this’ll be construed as some sort of episode. Please don’t apply some inappropriate lens just because it’s convenient, ok? I’m calm, I’m relaxed, I’m listening to music, I’m fine.
Just because I have a distasteful opinion doesn’t mean I’m sick.
If I was you, I would want to get rid of me too. Why don’t you just drop me at a hospital tonight and be done with it.
I’m sorry for being so negative the second half of the day. I am truly sorry. I deserve the lowest of the low. You deserve the best of the best.
You don’t understand. Be well advised of that. You have no idea what is inside my mind. No idea. Never have. Don’t expect you to.
I’m gonna keep my door closed and cease chat. I hate myself for being like this while I’m interacting with you. I’m sorry.
Yeah, I’m sorry for being a constantly exploding multi-grenade that could start up at any minute, for any reason, for no reason.
The thing that started me up yesterday, after I had successfully done my taxes (the first time I’ve had enough income to do taxes in five years), after I had successfully gone through my growing pile of unopened mail and responded to and filed or scanned everything appropriately, was my mom’s instantly following reminder that I’m supposed to be finding a group home (or an assisted living facility) for me to live in..and that little reminder, my friends, sent me from 100% cool to 100% hot.
I don’t want to move to a group home, but my mom has decided (as one of my sisters did before her) that I’m too much responsibility to have on her back. It’s not that they have to do much to help me live my daily life, it’s just the weight I put on them that if something more goes wrong with me, that they actually will be overloaded with care requirements for me. And according to my mom, she wants me to have a more “permanent” living situation in case something happens to her. She says this so often it makes me question whether she is planning on something happening to her, and that is not something I like to think about.
I live in Nashville with my mom. She has a temporary job. So if I move into a group home in Nashville, in the next two years Mom will very likely move to Portland to be with all the rest of my communicating family (excluding my dad, who just doesn’t participate in the family to a significant degree anymore). Then I will be in Nashville, with none of my family here, living in a group home due to tardive dyskinesia (a motion disorder with Parkinson’s-like symptoms), bipolar-type schizoaffective disorder, and OCD.
I am afraid. That’s part of why I freaked out yesterday. But my manner of mood change and the change in my communication style, I know is not normal. That is bipolar-type schizoaffective speaking and acting and dominating, for a moment, my brain. In periods like that I want to protect others from myself. Because I cannot stop. I cannot not text. I cannot not speak. I just want, as I suggested to my mom earlier, to shut the door and stop communicating until it passes.
Ordinarily I’m a pleasant, optimistic, resilient, adaptable, helpful, loving person. But when schizoaffective strikes, I am no longer me. Sometimes I can see it happening, sometimes I can’t. Either way, I have no way to stop it.
For weeks I’ve been on a normal sleep pattern, recovered from the almost total lack of sleep from a long mania preceding. Last night, tonight, I’ve had less and less sleep. My focus is incredible, my mood oscillating, I am impatient and irritable. I take offense at my mother saying she understands. Really? You understand this? You understand what is going on in this crazy, brilliant brain? I don’t think so. I really do not think so.
So my ability to relate is shot.
My reasonableness is shot.
My objectivity is shot.
I’m trying to write another book, for which I need months or years following a regular schedule, not interrupted by unnecessary emotional fights, or senseless news, or being asked, as I feel I am, to tie my own noose by picking the group home I’ll be moving to.
I’m scared that my motion disorder will mean that I am stuck in whatever home I choose for the rest of my life. Yes, I would rather drive the process than have my mother drive it, because that increases the chances I’ll end up someplace I can tolerate, or even like. But it is a very difficult thing to be asked to do—to pick a house full of strangers in a town I never really wanted to come to, when the most likely scenario is that within a couple of years my mother will move to Portland and she and my sisters and my nephews will be close to each other while I am stuck in Nashville, Tennessee, with a debilitating motion disorder, unable to drive, hardly able to carry a bag.
I feel abandoned by my family. We are, as one of my sisters says, not a family at all, but a collection of individuals. At this point I wish I had the guts to stop speaking to all of them and somehow power my own life for a while. It’s tough, though, when every position but lying down means constant pain and uncontrollable movements, and simple actions like washing my hands or pouring a glass of water are epic journeys for me.