[NOTE: Last month I lost followers after posting about a truly difficult moment regarding my violent behavior. This is MY blog, and I use it to convey whatever I want, artistically or otherwise. Those of you who judge me for being truthful about my life, please keep it moving. I don’t want to hear from you. Those of you who stayed with me after my voluntary incarceration, you’re the absolute best.
It’s been a month. Thought you might wanna know what’s been going on….]
Instead of crying tears of authentic joy on April 4th, I was indifferent.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I, the persuasive post-er, launched my first novel with the most fanfare one could exert across a keyboard, ladling out statements of aggrandized praise and achievement. Waves of kudos and congrats soon followed, and yet, I was still frowny face. I didn’t want to be, but two weeks had already passed. In two weeks, the anti-depressants will kick in fully, the pharmacist had explained. Thus, the stoicism.
As I separated into wash piles what seemed to be a lifetime of laundry, I shuddered at the sight of my “prison clothes,” the sweat pants and hooded sweater they gave me to wear, strings removed. They were assigned with slide-on slippers, the kind you use to shower in communal bathrooms, to replace my boots, because they had laces. Since I had been admitted as a possible suicide, they couldn’t let me wear my boots.
They used to be my favorite pair of shoes, but I haven’t worn them since I got out.
After my release, there were several phone calls and text messages to return; confused family members, friends wondering why I didn’t show to places, even got some random contacts that were luckily ill-timed. My writing partner was the first person I visited, the first person I could get a hug from. My emergency contact, she shared she called the unit, but no one spoke when the line was picked up. I said, “Must’ve been one of the schizophrenics.” She laughed, thinking I was joking. She made a quip about it becoming a zombie quarantine due to the lockdown. How sweet, I thought, she can find the humor in it. Only then could I loosen up. Laughing with Marie helped me actualize the terror was over.
Many people romance violence, meaning, they fantasize about physically harming people, creating wounds, causing the sounds of pain to emit from scared victims. Realistically they couldn’t push a shopping cart into someone by accident without feeling guilty for it. Let me be the first to tell you, if this is still your frame of mind, it’s not cool AT ALL to lose control of your person, to become a beast, exact brutality, and not even know you’re doing it. Play all the RPGs you want, cosplay with plastic weapons, enjoy that level of innocence. But by all means, don’t sit there and think those of us dealing with mania are having a gay ol’ time. Every day is a threat, every situation an opportunity to relapse. What you’ll learn, if you pay attention to manic people, is there’s no definite marker, no clear trigger, that universally makes us hit that switch. Every diagnosis is unique, every condition based on history, environment, and biology. This is why blindly diagnosing people with PTSD then wiping our hands of them is not a wise solution. Think of all the shootings that have occurred in the United States since 2009, all attributed to people with PTSD. PTSD and what else? That blanket diagnosis does absolutely nothing, especially for those who have “tasted blood.”
Again, not one to woo-woo-woo whenever I’m in a difficult spot; after all, this has been my ‘dirty little secret’ since I was 12 years old. However, in the follow up assessment and intake at my new mental health services facility, it was apparent that I had kept TOO much to myself, and not having a trustworthy inner circle was a detriment to my good humor. To test the waters, I invited my friends to the April 9th book launch, with the idea to tell them that night what was really going on with me (I had left it as, I was in the hospital). I didn’t get to it because -surprise- people wanted to buy books after the reading, so I rescheduled a date to see them, intending to tell them the truth. It turned out that one of my friends had also been in a crit unit, not in Florida, but when she shared her experience, I felt simultaneously less embarrassed and not alone.
Not to discount those of you and others who, when I mentioned my setback, expressed sadness and concern. That’s good, that means at minimum you care about me. I began to feel a bit embarrassed because people were reaching out, continuously expressing, “I wanted to do something. I didn’t know what I could do.” I felt I had disappointed you somehow. When people were electronically reaching out, I was like, damn, look, it happened, just because you aren’t physically here doesn’t mean you’re NOT here for me. Does that make sense? As in, my awareness of our friendship/connection despite spatial parameters is uplifting enough. So yeah, you did your part. You reached out to me. Thank you. You may chill now. 🙂
Unfortunately it took a rage-out to bring to light I don’t have a 100% handle on my ‘situation.’ I did very well living the ascetic lifestyle these past three years, but the darkness began to ooze from that terrifying inner place about November 2013, and it had solidly formed by February going into March of this year. When I converted to asceticism (also referred to in some Eastern philosophies as The Warrior Way) I abstained from alcohol, weed, tobacco, sex of any kind, and music for a full year’s time. In the meantime, I took down the mental dam I had on my creative side of the brain and just unleashed the emotions and egocentrism for hours, days, on end. While I had done a great job of severe self-discipline, I never addressed my life-long emotional instability and violent conditioning. Since I’m still entertaining the thought of exacting harm, this is a good time to put everything on the table.
I have a therapist now, I get to talk to him about everything I’ve held in and held secret for others all these years. This makes me laugh remembering, during our initial meeting, I had asked him to review what the limits of confidentiality were, because while I do want to share things, I don’t want to go to jail upon sharing them, nawmsayin? This is a valid question to ask folks; don’t enter into a soliloquy in front of someone who can testify against you in court. 😉
I also got my first psychiatric evaluation. I’ll be turning 37 next Monday…this is the first time in my life, including childhood, that I’ve comprehensively detailed to one person all that has gone on of which leads to today’s unpredictability. During this evaluation, I admitted how the anti-depressants were taking away from me feeling positive emotions, so I got switched to a mood stabilizer. Within four days, we should know how my system takes it. *sigh* I’ve always had a Herculean attitude towards medicine (“I’ll bleed out before I ask for a Vicodin!”) but it’s time to throw in that badassery towel. If this is what it takes, this is what it takes. The only alternative is a knife in the chest, right?
My friend Hailey Burke wrote “Up The Downward Spiral,” an e-book she self-published in 2013 and I recently finished reading. It’s her voice and her confessions of her tumultuous youth. Upon reading it I was reminded we all have pain and setbacks and regrets and guilts and not one of us has the right to say his is worse off than mine and vice versa, for it’s an individual experience, framed for a certain existence. I know if you’ve read this far, you’re not one of the ones judging me for my disorder, but there are so many people out there that do. The case worker who suggested I faked my manic episode so I could get more disability pay, the psychiatrist who transferred me to high profile for being ‘uncooperative’ (he smelled awful and I covered my face while I spoke to him), the shortsighted pacifist who immediately ranted about the consequences of war, assuming I was a former servicewoman. People are quick to judge, and lax to ask. Just ask. Start by asking.
I thought I’d have this summer to travel and promote my book, but now I realize I need this time to pay for medical expenses. So I’ll do what I can with the strengths I have, and hopefully this new medicinal regiment will provide me something I’ve never had, which is a stable and positive mood. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll have a hard time continuing to write dark comedies, thrillers, terror and war stories because I have puh-len-teee of material to go on. It would be cool, though, to be genuinely elated when the NEXT book is published.
How’s that kitty-in-a-tree poster in every waiting room go…? “Hang in there.”