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Thursday, December 30, 2004

Gratefully unnoticed, it fades

A few weeks ago, I posted that I wasn't having fun and needed help. I went searching for it at an online chat group I know of (the link is at the side there). The following may disturb some, but it also may educate, so I write with the warning that this may not be appropriate for some.

My husband was out. He was at the Christmas skate for one of the women's hockey teams he coaches. I was alone in the house.

I had these thoughts descend from outside of my mind, like a heavy snowfall. They don't feel like my thoughts, but drop in from nowhere. I went into the chat room and requested to speak one on one with someone.

The chatroom is run completely by people with bipolar disorder. Moderators may or not be there and as such support is hit or miss. But I got lucky.

There was a woman there who remembered me from my more frequent visits months back. She and I spoke one on one. I told her that I was having difficulty staying "here". For someone who hasn't gone through this, I don't know if I can explain this properly, but I'll try. Normally, you are focused on the realities of the here and now. Laws of physics. Feelings of others. Realities. But sometimes something pulls me away. I turn away from those realities and instead follow those in my head, which usually are contrary to the laws of physics. To let myself go completely into that train of thought is very dangerous indeed. Because of these thoughts, I decided I would take my Seroquel early. One of the main functions of the Seroquel is to control such thoughts. I was proud of the rational side exerting such control over the non-rational.

I never told the woman at this point about the knife I had. Now don't get me wrong. I wasn't suicidal. Really I wasn't. But what I was doing was following the thoughts that had fallen into my mind from outside. The thoughts are frightening: my rationality becomes a small light slowly being suffocated by the thoughts from outside. It's a fear like you cannot imagine - how do you trust your own mind? What is real? But still they came, cold clinical thoughts about the amount of pressure it would take from the knife point of a steak knife to break the skin. A dull pressure, slowly increasing as the pain threshhold would plateau. But while this sounds disturbing, it also has a positive benefit. The pain helps keep me "here". It keeps me focused on the computer, on the chair, on the room. It stops me from slipping into my own mind, whose walls are slick and impossible to climb.

I waited for the Seroquel to kick in, to hear it push the delusions out of my mind with the force of an army, and to bring with it the attendant fatigue: it has a strong sedative effect.

Nothing doing.

So after some time, I felt bad keeping this poor woman talking to a lunatic like me and told her I was going to go have a hot bath, hoping that would help me sleep. I did, but nothing changed. I went back to the computer about a half hour later, and noticed the knife still there. I went back to my "experiment", fighting with myself.
I also went back on line.

Several other people had joined in during my absence. I remember people talking to me and having difficulty communicating with them. I remember telling them I was losing my focus and my grip and needed help.

Again, the same woman took me one on one. Again, I didnt' tell her of the knife. But what I did do was try to listen to her. She told me that such times are part of the disorder and that we just need patience, that we can come out the other side unscathed. I was still struggling so hard to stay "here and now". Eventually I let her go, telling her I felt a little better (I did, but it didn't last long). I then forced myself to go downstairs and put the knife back into the butchers block.

I went upstairs and lay in bed and cried. I waited for my husband, silently urging him to drive faster, to get home quicker, before I lost my resolve and let my iron grip on the bed comforter go and went back to the butchers block.

He came home and even though I was in the dark and he couldn't see me clearly, immediately knew something was wrong. I told him I was so glad he was home, and didn't tell him of the knife. I was afraid of worrying him excessively. But we talked in the dark for some time. He told me that even though I was being good with my medication schedule, sometimes these things happen. I really have been good with the meds. The only thing that had been off schedule at that time was two nights in a row taking the seroquel about an hour later. We had some social commitments that required me to be up and about in the evening and had I taken the Seroquel at the regular time, I would've basically passed out in public. But other than that, all was regular schedule. By now, I was still having trouble getting to sleep, which was unusual: the Seroquel should have knocked me out long ago. I ended up drifting off some time after midnight. I woke up several times during the night. Again, unusual due to the Seroquel.

The next morning I got up and stumbled downstairs for breakfast like usual, but with the headache you get when you cry yourself to sleep. I went to take my morning dose of Epival, the mood stabilizer, and noticed the evening before's dose of Seroquel was still in its compartment

I REMEMBERED TAKING IT THE NIGHT BEFORE. What was happening to my mind. I clearly remembered taking it. But the lack of sleep and inability to fall asleep and the persistence of the delusional thought pointed toward no Seroquel. This upset me a great deal. Obviously I couldn't rely on my own mind. I was as confident that I had taken the medication as I was in my own name, in the image of my own face. Do you know how scary it is not to be able to believe your own thoughts?

Now the abrasions on the inside of my arm are fading, almost gone. Rob's never noticed them and for that I'm grateful. The man has put up with so much, he doesn't need this.

My next doctor's appointment is Jan 5. I have to decide if I'm going to tell him about this bump in the road (bump, no, big bump, yes). I'm afraid of an increase in the medications yet again: the weight gain, the memory loss, the stumbling for words sometimes - I hate it. But on the other side, how can I ensure that another episode like this is less likely to happen.

Perhaps I will print this and let him read it. I'm not sure.

We'll see.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
is dickless supposed to be an insult?  

Blogger Dangerous Mind said...
Ignore whoever made the previous comment.

And forgive me if anything I say appears insensitive. I had nearly finished composing a reply when I lost it while trying to close an annoying pop-up.

Trying to recall exactly what I wrote but not having much luck. Just want to say "continue being strong. You are very strong - believe in yourself. Keep fighting the internal demons and try to understand what provides you with the strength and the will not to give in.

There is something that keeps you going. For me it is my family and the desire for my children not to witness the state I was in two years ago.

The pills will help keep you stable but there must be a reason to keep going. And I believe you have one otherwise you would not be here to write about your life and search for a solution."

BEING ALONE is probably what starts the thoughts because you have too much time to think and dwell on events. I find this to be true for me.

Sorry this is probably not much help.



Blogger moodymicello said...
That's very scary, but not something I haven't done. When you are in that state your memory is gone and you start to do something and think you have done it. You have to kind of check up on yourself. I agree with Dangerous Minds, it is probably being alone that triggered the behavior...and you can be alone even with someone in the house. That is where the "lonely" comes in for the HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) warning. Any of those states can initiate an episode. I doubt that more medication would have prevented that episode myself -- I would bet you had a slip off your sleep schedule or your medication not quite on time as you have related. Your pdoc is not too agreeable as I understand it. I think I might be more inclined to tell him that the medication affects your memory and vocabulary which you find difficult to deal with from a work prospective because, really, isn't that the problem? Your forgetting to take your pills is something that happened that day and is nothing he can fix but is likely what caused your "knife" behavior.  

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