Saturday, March 21, 2015

With Mood Swings Comes Inspiration

On the heels of my last, less than funny, blog post, things have been....swingy.  I've been content, stressed, anxious, sad, exhausted, spendy, irritated, energetic...sometimes, all in the same day.  I know what you're thinking.  She really should go see a psychiatrist.  No thank you.  I've been through the veritable mental health faction and don't care to return.  Those of you who know me well, know enough about that time in my past to know that I wish for nothing more than for those days to stay just that; in the past.  I am adamantly sticking to the notion (clinging on for life, if you will) that all of this emotional turmoil is the result of wonky PCOS-y hormones and stress from my job.  I STAND BY THAT, DAMMIT!

Anyway...the upshot of my less than stellar mood lately is that I find myself with plenty of fodder for my "book-in-progress".  Although I am convinced that it is gone for good, never to return, as if it had only been a misdiagnosis - careless physicians who jumped all over the "brain sickness of the moment", my medical records will tell you that I had bipolar disorder.  Yes, I am fully aware that mental illness doesn't just vanish.  That there is no cure for it.  You don't just wake up one day, stop your medications, and magically stop being bipolar.  Hence my contention that I was misdiagnosed.  Under the financial constraint of new health insurance, sans drug copay, I took it upon myself to slowly and carefully titrate down all of the medications that had been prescribed to treat my illness...until I was 100% medication free.  I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS!

I'll leave the origins, details, and ultimate "resolution" of my illness for another time (hopefully, one day, in my published book).  I mention it because my book-in-progress happens to be all about my near decade long (longer if I'm being honest with myself) struggle with mental health.  I do not remember the events of that awful time in my life in linear thoughts.  But when I am in the throes emotional strife, like I have been of late, I can't help feeling like I've been here before.  And that deja vu brings with it the memories of my bipolar journey.  I write 'em as they come to me...scattered, indirect, broken.

I would like to share a recently penned passage of my work in progress...thank you for sticking with me as Big Funny Girl turns morose and introspective.  The following is an excerpt of my book, title yet to be determined, by Sandy Mentecki:

As I was sitting on the worn eggplant loveseat, staring at whatever program happened to be on the television, I heard it; clear as day.  Someone clearing their throat.  As if to get my attention.  Or maybe it was just to stifle a cough.  Whatever the reason, there it was.  I pivot, to glance in the direction of the hallway.  The apartment is small and the loveseat backed against the open galley kitchen; just a few feet from the mouth of the hall.  The hall itself was only about eight or nine feet, from the kitchen and ending at the bathroom door, with my bedroom just to the right.  I craned a bit, scooting my left leg into the crack of the small sofa’s arm; the one the cat had ripped a large hole in.  I narrowed my eyes, squinting to peer into the shadows at the far end of the hall.  I could feel my squint slowly morphing into a wide-eyed stare.  There was a man in the hallway, leaning against my bedroom door frame.
I had been on many different combinations of psychotropic medication cocktails in the months between that first hospitalization and the day this happened.  Anti-depressants.  Anti-anxiety drugs.  Anti-psychotics.  Mood stabilizers.  Sleeping pills.  Most times, one or more of each during any given trial or adjustment.  As I sat there, my heart pounding in my chest, I saw him.  I couldn’t make out any features or what clothing he was wearing.  The nearest light was that which was filtering past the corner of the kitchen from the living room.  It was mostly dark down that way.  How did he get in?  The only way into the apartment was through the one exterior door, which I can clearly see from where I was seated.  Had I fallen asleep, allowing him to quietly let himself in and skulk past me to his current position?  That was a ridiculous thought.  Did he break in through the flimsy screen on my bedroom window?  This complex was all one-story buildings so it wasn’t impossible.  I had to remember to start locking the windows.
I was frozen, transfixed, from the terror creeping into my chest.  He looked to stand somewhere just north of six feet, but he was slouching a bit.  He had a lean build that gave the appearance of physical fitness, strength, somehow menacing.  He cleared his throat again, as if to say, “Yeah, I’m right here.  Now what?”  It was at that point that I realized that the boy was looking at me from where he sat on the larger couch, which was situated to make an L-shape with the smaller one.
“What is it, Mom,” he asked in his innocent ten year old tone.  I had been so engrossed in what I was witnessing, I had all but forgotten he was watching TV with me.  Without turning my attention away from the hall, I asked him if he heard anything, like a cough.
“Uh-uh,” he said as I finally pulled my gaze away from the man in my bedroom doorway.  I looked at my son's face; he had a quizzical look about him.  Before I could think about the words, they spilled from my mouth.
“I think there’s someone in the hall.  Would you go look please.”  Not a shining moment of parenthood.  Asking my ten year old, small for his age, to go and scope out the stranger who had invaded our home.  But, somewhere in my medicated brain, I knew there wasn’t anyone there.  Yet I couldn’t bring myself to go and look.

1 comment:

  1. I loved your poem, excellently written, evoking real images. That's what makes for good reading...Love...Mom


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