If you have a troubled child my heart goes out to you. I slap you a big ole high five for any day that you make it through without ripping out all your hair and making it into a noose to hang yourself with.
My daughter (40 years old) has lost her freaking mind….again. Supposedly, her neighbor across the street conspired to have her thrown in jail because he wanted her apartment. Now the FBI or some other agency is tapping her phone. She knows this because she hears coughing and laughing when she is on the phone. Logically the sounds are probably coming from the person who is being subjected to her latest bizarre tale of woe.
Next on the list is that she was supposedly pregnant and in jail they abused her so much that the baby left her womb and took up residence in one of her tubes. Uh yea, like that really happens, oookkk??? The fetus may get stuck in a Fallopian tube and not make it to the womb, and that is a life threatening situation, but they don’t turn around and go back up the tube just because you’re having a bad day.
Continuing on with the insanity, she calls me when I’m on my way home from Seattle while I’m in the line to go through the security check and informs me that she is having a miscarriage and therefore I have to buy her a new phone…not just any old phone, but an untraceable phone. Say what?? I told her I couldn’t really talk at the moment because I was in the middle of taking my shoes off, etc. So instead she hangs up and sends me 15 text messages in the space of 5 minutes. What the hell does having a new phone have to do with having a miscarriage, assuming that was what was actually happening? I swear to God that I’m not making this shit up.
It occurred to me as I was driving home from an errand today that it has literally been decades since I have believed ANYTHING she tells me. If she said the sky was blue I would walk to the window and look outside to verify that the sky was actually blue.
I know she is scared and obviously suffering, but whatever mess she is actually in, I know she brought it down on her own head. She seems determined to screw herself over in every way humanly possible. Because she is highly intelligent she finds really creative ways to do herself in on a regular basis. I don’t know what to do, so instead I just try to cram it away in a corner of my brain somewhere and not think about it.
But that doesn’t work. This morning I was drinking coffee and suddenly realized that I was grinding my teeth and was having trouble breathing. I was in the middle of a major panic attack. I had to take a magic happy calming pill that my psych doc gives me for emergencies. I’m only supposed to take them every once in a while, but when my daughter is yanking my chain I start popping them like tic tacs. I talked to my shrink about this and she said that it’s ok as long as I don’t start doing that all the time. And I don’t. Left to my own devices I don’t need them and don’t even think about them.
Another one of her favorite stunts is to call me up and tell me this long involved tale of madness and intrigue and then call another family member and tell them a completely different story. If I’ve called them before she gets to them they bust her on it. So now she gets to be mad at me for “outing” her and violating her privacy. I finally told her that I’m not going to keep secrets within the family because secrets make families sick. If she doesn’t want anyone to know then don’t tell me in the first place. I’m not going to cover for her anymore.
Ah, another day in my own personal funny farm. Her “bugged” phone supposedly ran out at midnight two days ago. I assume she is going to punish me for not buying her a phone by not telling me what her new number is. If I’m lucky I may hear from her in a month or two. If I’m really, really lucky I may not hear from her for six months or even a year. An uneasy reprieve, such is life.
I just finished reading a book “From Psychic to Psychotic and Beyond – A True Story of My Bipolar Disorder,” by Kerry Ann Jacobs. The most frightening aspect of the book, from my point of view, is that I don’t think the author has reached a stable state of mind. The final note of the book is a request to contact her with any psychic experiences you have had because she is working on a 2nd and 3rd book about psychic phenomenon.
I suspect that she is either misdiagnosed or has a dual diagnosis. Some of the experiences she describes sound a lot more like schizophrenia than bipolar, especially the hearing voices part.
The first 70 pages of the book is a long , drawn out, day by day, blow-by-blow ramble of a 2 year period where she claimed to hang out on a daily basis with the spirit bodies of Jude Law, Heath Ledger, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Princess Di, Michael the Archangel, and so on. She also had a constant companion she called Wes, who she claimed was a husband from a previous life. They had a spirit child together which no one could see. At one point the angels told her that the world had actually ended and that everyone was in a spirit body.
She heard voices that at first were friendly and helped her and then became demons that threatened and abused her, including sexual abuse. They told her that she had died and was living in hell. An interesting metaphor since having an untreated mental illness can indeed feel like living in hell.
While she was suffering through this rather spectacular meltdown she became deeply involved with psychic dabblings such as tarot cards and crystal balls. She was a practicing lawyer and began to offer reading to her clients. Eventually she didn’t need the crystal ball and could see messages written on the carpet or hear them in her head. It comes as no surprise that she fell into a financial crisis because she was losing clients right and left, but kept spending money as if she had a thriving practice. In the portion of the book written from her mother’s point of view she stated that Jacobs was $36,000 in debt at the time of her first trip to the mental hospital.
This went on for years. My question is how the hell did anyone not pick up on the fact that she was as crazy as a bedbug? Her friends and parents were scared and concerned, but I know how difficult it is to convince someone who is mentally ill that there is something wrong and they need help.
She finally reached out for help when the demons threatened to kill her. She called her mother who, being a 50 minute drive away, sent her brother to pick her up. The police also came. By the time they got there the demons had told her that the police and her brother were also demons masquerading as the police and her brother, so they had a hell of a time getting her to the hospital.
Arriving at the hospital, Jacobs is convinced that everyone at the hospital were also demons. She fought and refused to take medication being convinced it was poison. The hospital staff injected her with a sedative that didn’t have much effect.
The next part of the book, after her first hospitalization, she battles with accepting she has an illness, goes of her meds, the voices come back, and of course she bounces back in the hospital 6 months later. The scariest part of this section of the book is that she seems to focus more on what to say or not say to a psychiatrist to get released from the hospital, rather than how to recover and manage her illness. At no point in the book does she come out and state clearly that she had an illness and was not a psychic. The closest she got was to explain that because she was bipolar she was “too sensitive” to be involved in psychic practices.
The next section of the book is page after page of doctors reports from her numerous hospitalizations. They pretty much all said the same thing over and over so it was rather redundant.
The final whammy of the book was what I mentioned earlier. On her “final note” page she gives her email address and asks people to contact her regarding any psychic experiences because she is writing books about it. This part made my blood run cold. This woman is obviously not in recovery or a stable state of mind and gives every indication that she’s heading right back down the rabbit hole.
My heart goes out to this woman and can only imagine how much she suffers. I’m grateful every day that I have a combo of meds to keep me in a stable and happy state of being. This book really rammed it home that things could have gotten a lot worse before they got better…if they got better. I seem to be blessed with enough self-awareness that when things start to go bad, I run screaming to my psychiatrist like my hair is one fire.
I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes
I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and it has been painted black
Maybe then I’ll fade away and not have to face the facts
It’s not easy facing up when your whole world is black
Paint it Black – Mick Jagger
I think Mick Jagger knows what it feels like to be depressed. This particular song referred to a funeral. But when you are depressed it feels like you’re living in a funeral. Everybody talks in hushed tones, somber colors, and the cloying smell of too many flowers.
I hate bipolar disease! I hate it, hate it, hate it! It must be really weird to live with someone with this disorder. I can’t imagine what goes on my husband’s mind. From the inside, in my head, it’s constant fear. Even when I think I’m OK. I can be sitting there drinking a cup of coffee minding my own business and get hit by a sudden emotional tidal wave.
The giant hand of God of mental illness reaches down, scoops me up and slams me against the wall…hard. A voice from on high announces “today thou shalt be depressed! I don’t care what your plans are…this is how you shall be today.” And you don’t know how long it’s going to last. It might last for hours or days or weeks or even months. No rhyme or reason to it all.
And then as suddenly as it came it’s gone. Or sometimes it happens slowly like a flower opening. One day I go an entire day without crying. That’s progress. The next day I go a whole day without crying and take a shower and get dressed. The day after that I can add cleaning the kitchen to my repertoire of mundane things I’m capable of doing.
A few days later I might even try to leave the house. That’s always tricky because I have this irrational fear that I’m going to open the front door and Sigmund Freud will be standing there with a clip board staring at me over his glasses. He’ll stare down his nose at me and ask “well little girl, what makes you think you are capable of doing anything at all? You’re sick! Leaving the house and driving a car? Get real, seriously?”
But I do it anyway, I have to. If I give up than the illness wins. I become a house bound mental case, a shut in hiding from the world. I become my own worst nightmare.
Mother I tried please believe me, I’m doing the best that I can.
I’m ashamed of the things I’ve been put through, I’m ashamed of the person I am.
Isolation, isolation, isolation.
But if you could just see the beauty, these things I could never describe,
These pleasures a wayward distraction, this is my one lucky prize.
Isolation, isolation, isolation, isolation, isolation. (Ian Curtis, Joy Division)
I’m not feeling depressed or particularly sad today, just isolated and angry. How many good people have I pushed away over the course of my life? I can’t even begin to count. Part of it was a fear, an overwhelming, paralyzing, bone deep fear.
What if I get to know you and like you and then you slam me down hard? Safer to stay at a distance. Even worse, what if you get to know me and like me and then I kick you to the curb one day when I’m out of my mind with agitation. I don’t know how or why I’ve lived like this for so long. I think another part of this comes from feeling like damaged goods. “I’m a loony toon; you better stay away from me for your own good.”
I know it’s ridiculous to feel this way, but that doesn’t help much. It’s like having a broken leg, you know it is broken but it still hurts like a bitch. Every time phone rings I almost jump out of my skin and think, “Oh God, what now? What loose string have I left untied? What did I do that I need to apologize for or explain?”
Regaining a semblance of sanity and balance is a good thing. But, when I look behind me and see the of destruction I wove while in and out of my mind, it’s like looking at a aerial footage of the path of a tornado.
Yea, yea, I didn’t do as much damage as a tornado, but not by much, at least that’s what it feels like. Would it have different if I had been diagnosed with bipolar years or decades ago? How can I know that? Would I have made different decisions? Chosen a different path for my life? Hiding behind the skirts of my wackier family members it was always so easy to wave a banner and say “See, I’m the normal one, taint nuthin wrong with me!”
Some part of me knew something was not right in my brain. I guess I just wasn’t ready to face it head on. Who is to say anything would be different? Maybe it would have been worse? Maybe I would have used mental illness as a crutch to excuse myself from inexcusable behavior.
Today I go to see my physio-key-atrist. I’m expecting it to go something like this. “OK, we’ve abated the crisis and stopped the bleeding, the hypomanic mixed states, but what now? Where do I go from here?” I don’t know how or what a normal stable state feels. I feel like a blindfolded painter expected to draw a landscape I’ve never seen. I just don’t know where or what to do next.
I seem to channeling my inner 2-year-old lately. The one that yells “No, no, No, no!” Then throws herself on the floor and rolls around in a tantrum. Open ended questions seem to really set me off. Do you want to…”NO” I bark before I hear of the question. “Did you….? No! I didn’t and I’m not gonna either! I don’t want to and you can’t make me.” Go ahead – try it – my capacity to refuse any request, reasonable or not, knows no bounds. “Are you OK?” …NO, yes, maybe, …I don’t know – go away!”
I’ve been on bipolar mood stabilizer meds for a month now. This is part of what’s causing this second child hood. I was living the life of doing anything and everything a spouse, family member, or friend, orders, wheedles or otherwise manipulates me into doing. Now I’m reveling in this new ability to take care of my needs first and I’m taking it the Nth extreme. Not unlike any new I venture to try. Hopefully this is only a phase I’m going through and will find a middle ground. I can’t stay 2 years old forever. Well maybe I could but I prefer to be a little older, like 12 maybe.
Mr. Husband is the target of the lion’s share of this because of his close proximity. Also, 2 of his behaviors are the biggest hurdles to get over; 1) his father was a highly successful lawyer and a skilled manipulator. Open ended questions were his forte. He’d ask one and sit back while the person he questions hoists themselves on their own petard. Hubman learned this manipulation technique at his daddy’s knee, and he’s darn good at it.
And 2) Hiding an order or request in a question. For example, “Do you want to clean the cat litter box?” The correct answer is “not only NO, but hell no! Who in their right mind wants to clean a friggin cat box? Yea buddy, nothing like a good whiff of cat poo in the morning.” There is no graceful way out of this. If I don’t take my turn with the cat box I feel guilty. If I do clean the cat box I have implied that yes, I do want to so this. Either way I’m screwed. Far better if Hubman would just fess up, spit it out and say “Hey!!!! It’s your turn, get off yer ass and clean that box!” That might not work either, but far fewer emotional entanglement and resentments are attached.
Drive-by, open-ended questions are the worst offenders. I’ll be sitting there minding my own business watching a movie while reading a book. Hubman breezes by and asks, “Do you want to do something?” Excuse me? I AM doing something. Reading IS doing something. I’m doing what exactly what I want at the moment. I’m not just sitting here, empty-headed, waiting for someone to pull the string on me like I’m a wind up doll.
This question implies that I should stop doing what I want to be doing and try to figure out some alternative activity that Hubman may or may not want to do. Hubman, if there is something you want to do or you just want to spend time with me, then just say it, dammit. Don’t throw it my lap and expect me to drag out my Ouija board and figure out what it is that you really want. It’s all I can do to figure out what I want. Figuring out what you want to do is your job.