...has been hospitalized twice. The second time it was on my terms - the hospital I chose, the mode of transport I chose (still a cop car. Hmm...) - but not much else changed, except the severity of the situation.
On the (wrong) Road Again
It wasn't long after I was released from the hospital the first time that I started right back down the wrong road. Depression, mixed moods, ultra-rapid cycling and mega-witchiness. I just didn't get it. What was I doing wrong? I was going to therapy, I was taking my meds, I was doing it all. Why did I feel so crappy? Maybe it was time to change the meds.
So the good doc changed my meds. And changed them again. And again. I really can't remember how many times he took me off this, put me on that, tweaked something here and there. What I do remember is the side effects, which included:
- memory loss (again)
- loss of word recall (again)
- hair loss (again. Seeing a pattern?)
- ringing in the ears
- diarrhea (sorry, TMI)
- muscle weakness
- loss of coordination
- tardive dyskinesia(That was fun.)
- simple partial seizures (from withdrawal)
And to top it off, nothing was working. And I was only getting worse.
Out of Control
Eight months. That's how long I pretended that I had control of it all. When in reality I was spinning out of control. I kept telling myself I could make it to the next doctor's appointment. Then we suddenly lost both of our vehicles. And my doctor was an hour away. I started canceling and rescheduling appointments, trying to just tough it out. But there's no toughing it out with bipolar out of control. There's only holding on for dear life.
Over the Edge, Again
So hold on I did, until one night my fingers slipped and I went careening over the edge into the abyss. Roger and I had a fight, something I started over nothing. I was in the bathroom crying as I got ready for bed when I went to take my evening meds. And froze. I couldn't take them. I knew if I started I wouldn't stop until they were gone or I was dead. I sat there and cried until The Bearded One, who thought I had went to bed, found me. He held me and talked me down and got me to take my meds. I went to sleep. I should have went to the hospital But still I waited. Another long six days, until I had a nervous breakdown in the CVS parking lot. TBO came home and had me in the ER in less than an hour.
This time was different. It felt different; worse, yes, but more real as well. This time I knew I was fighting for my life. I remembered all the coping skills I had learned last time, but this time I took them to heart. I participated in group, I was honest with my doctor and I really took time for me, time to begin the healing process.
Another seven day stay. Another new drug. Another reprieve. But this reprieve felt different, better, safer than the first time around. I could breathe. Life didn't get any easier, but living wasn't such an uphill battle. My head was clear, my thoughts easy, my emotions normal. I felt like I had a fighting chance. I had found the old me, the one that had been curled up in a corner, scared.
That was three weeks ago now. I have a lot of work to do. I still have moments of deep despair, moments of high-flying thought and terrifying moments of blinding rage. But they are fewer and farther between. And I'm learning to cope, learning to pep myself up, bring myself down. Learning to accept that I'm not perfect, but I am enough. And that's good enough for me.