Since coming back from Virginia I have had a terrible time dealing with TV. At my parents house the TV is almost always running and usually pretty loud. My mom helped me by moving my chair out from under the TV so that I didn’t have it blaring directly behind my head. That definitely made a difference. But the constant TV is still leaving me with this uncomfortable feeling every time the TV is on at my house. I keep leaving the room to find someplace quiet. Of course this isn’t really fair to everyone else who lives here. Both my husband and my daughter like watching shows. I definitely don’t begrudge them that. I just don’t want to be in the same room as the running television. But me leaving makes them feel like they can’t watch TV, which is not what I want. It’s just overstimulating. And I can’t hear myself think so that I can write or read or create anything or even just enjoy some quiet.
I have a love-hate relationship with television. There are some shows that I really like, but even then I don’t like to watch them all the time. Overall I actually hate television. I’ve gotten better at watching movies. I went through a period of time where movies were too stimulating and I didn’t even like to go see them in the theater, but I improved. The TV has some really interesting documentaries that I like and some very artistic shows that I enjoy, but yet truthfully for me it is just a big box of noise and speed and anxiety. I secretly hate the TV. I tried to spend some time by myself when I was at my parents house. A lot of that is just that since I am bipolar and I have anxiety I need some time to myself in general. I cannot function if I am being social 24/7. But part of why I went back to the room I was staying in was just to get away from that TV. Everyone else has a right to watch as much TV as they want. I just can’t stand to listen to it.
I am diving deeper into art and writing. I still have all these great books to read, and I have begun with a book of persona poetry. And of course the book about homemaking that I have been writing about.
I got up early this morning and went for a drive. I like to do that, to just get out and put on some music I like and enjoy some space.
I am trying to get rid of my social exhaustion but so far I have not been very successful. I enjoy being back in my little nest with my little family, but I just don’t really want to talk that much. I keep to myself with my books or magazines or paints. I blog because for some reason I seem to be able to pour thoughts out on the page better than I can to another person. I have some friends that I would like to get together with but I just don’t seem to have it in me right now.
Truthfully I wish I could take a separate trip. All alone in a quiet little room with books to read and paints to use and a pen for writing. Just absolute silence except for the rare occasion I want to play some music. No TV. No interruptions. No conversation. Just me alone.
The past couple of weeks have been hectic. I visited my parents for two weeks in Virginia. Some of the trip was very nice.
Travel was extremely stressful. The trip home was especially bad. I had an anxiety attack in the middle of the Dallas Airport. Luckily there was someone else there, another Christian, who helped me and kept me company and prayed for me and helped me get through the day. Our second flight had been canceled and that’s what set off my anxiety attack. Luckily the airport staff got me on the next flight out, but that was delayed because there was some sort of problem with the plane and they had to fix a part. We got home late and I was completely threadbare by the time we did, but I was just grateful to have gotten home.
Now I have returned to my quiet house facing the mountains, and I am retreating back to my quiet life of books. When I got home I had many new packages of books waiting for me. I was ordering books while I was at my parents house, and I ordered some before I even left that just hadn’t arrived before I was out the door.
I live so much inside my own head. My passion for books is only burning brighter as I get older. Ever since the day I learned to read I have been obsessed with books, but as an adult I am absolutely immersed in them. As an introvert and a bibliophile I am one of those people who just needs a lot of time to themselves to decompress and be quiet and alone. And there is nothing I like better when I am alone than to get intimate with the corporeal and spiritual realities of a good book. A book with artistic language and fascinating imagery can thrill me for hours. I’ve been enjoying some time to myself for the past couple of hours. Craig and I went on a date today, but when we got home he was really tired because he worked last night, so he went to bed and is still sleeping. Our babysitter is here, so I am free to study great books and let my mind ignite.
I know this is only my second day back but I still feel so tired. I don’t think I want to travel alone again for a long time. Next time we travel Craig will be going with us. I will wait until he can come. I am just mentally and physically exhausted. I’m in this really weird state where I’m starting to be creative again, and I’m beginning to do my tasks as a homemaker again, but I find myself feeling worn down. I want to take a rest, but my mind won’t. At this point I am not even sure what rest would look like for me. Diving into books allows me to access myself almost as fully as writing does. At the same time all the ideas and images can run me ragged. I think I need the books and the time to read and write. I am just coming down from an anxiety attack. Sometimes after I have an anxiety attack I am tired and quiet for a few days. Maybe reading and writing and homemaking will help bring me back to normal.
The cessation of Fire
in me is like a white wall of Holy cold.
I manufacture crosses.
I carry most of them.
Others I strap to my man and my baby.
Suffering sleeps at the end of my bed,
takes up space.
drives me away in the middle of the night.
Sometimes I drive to a gold mine and wish for another God
if I cannot have another me.
A world of color is rich,
is all I need in this fog as heavy as maternal malevolence.
What I need is a glass of hot pink,
an elixir of glowing purple,
a tincture of pool blue,
languid and electric.
My atrocious capsules of snow lay beside my ginger ale
on my bedside table
while a documentary on contemporary
art stabs me in shades of black and white,
Slim sunsets sink slowly.
I am a lemon. I am a thorn.
Water finds me grotesque.
Sometimes I sit under hospital beds and eat away at lives
like bitter battery acid.
Was it because I loved you that I siphoned your contentment
or because I have a funnel where my heart should be?
The silver seesaw
Levitates in the wind.
If a blackbird landed in the center,
I would cry.
swills bees and spits pollen.
The DNA on my car is shocking.
DNA is yellow,
except for the manic-depressive variety.
Then it is Navy and neon yellow.
The crowned little girl is going to go Maying
At night I cannot sleep.
At dawn I cannot wake.
My husband puts the frantic tv on
for our daughter.
It is always a little too happy to be of service.
The laundry shifts uneasily on its weight.
The bunny judges me.
and I am dreaming of past school days,
Wispy as smoke and elusive as rights.
The day is fine
like baby hair.
Every hour must be combed and tended.
It is time to rise,
entranced by the past,
entrenched in the present.
I have been on Depakote, with very few small breaks, for 8 years. The day I was put on it it made me tired. And on the rare occasion I was off Depakote I was often on something else have at least moderately sedating. But Depakote was always the worst. I have been sleeping in till 10 or 11 almost constantly for years. I would miss half the weekend with my family and miss out on going to church because I could not wake up. I would set all kinds of alarms. I would ask my husband to help me whenever he could. Everyone kept telling me that I needed to change my body clock, that I needed to get up early whether I was ready or not, that it was lazy not to be awake by 8, that I needed to start going to bed earlier, and all sorts of other advice or criticisms. But the thing is I tried to change my body clock. I went to bed between 8 and 9. When my husband would force me to get up while I was still that tired (usually at my request the night before) I would end up too exhausted to move all day and I would have a mood swing. And no matter how many days I did that my body still wanted to sleep and sleep.
Past a certain point I privately began to wonder if people were right. Maybe I was just lazy. I didn’t know anybody who laid in bed as much as I did. Everyone else got up in the morning. Not at noon. Some people get up for their jobs, some people to do activities with their kids which I was missing out on, and even the people who periodically sleep in as late as I was sleeping in were capable of getting up earlier and being functional people, especially when they needed to do something. For me it didn’t matter what I needed to do it was a nightmare to get up in the morning. But I seriously wondered if maybe I was lazy. I wondered if it was a character flaw.
Over the past week I have been vindicated. The doctors pulled me off Depakote. Initially that wasn’t good because I went manic, but since then the other drugs they have put me on have kicked in and they are much less sedating while still keeping me stable. I’ve been getting up naturally between 4:50 and 7 every morning without setting any kind of alarm. I get up and I spend time with my family or I do work around the house or I get ready for church. I spend a full busy day doing stuff and enjoying my life. I am not laying around in bed, and I feel great. I really hope this continues and that these drugs work as long as possible. But even if these burn out, as almost everything I have ever taken has, I have learned that I will refuse to go on Depakote again. I will never ever take that drug again. It’s heavy stabilizer and it prevents Mania, but that’s not worth what it does to you. You miss half your life sleeping.
I am just enjoying being awake so much! And it feels so good to know that it really was the medication and not something morally wrong with me. I felt so bad. I think a lot of people don’t realize just how strong some of these medications are and how many different bad side effects they can have. And sleeping all day is not even the worst thing that can happen to you. But long-term it’s a pretty serious consequence of the medication because sleeping 12 to 15 hours a day is no way to live. I will never go back to that again.
After a couple of days of suicidal ideation and overdosing on anxiety drugs, I ended up in a psychiatric outpatient program which I still need to go to next week.
So as I wrote about last time I wasn’t feeling well on Easter and it continued to get worse. I went into the psychiatric nurse practitioner on Tuesday to ask her to please put me on some new medication because what I was on wasn’t working. Instead she told me that she would not write me any prescriptions, that she did not feel comfortable dealing with my case basically, and that I had to go to a psychiatric outpatient program. She didn’t even send me off with any meds to tie me over. I didn’t even have a babysitter to go to the program because my regular babysitter isn’t available early in the morning most days because she is a student. Needless to say I will not be going back to this nurse.
I then overdosed on anxiety drugs to calm down, and when Craig came home he took me over to the mental hospital to do the admissions process for the outpatient program. I started Wednesday morning and the doctor is changing my drugs to two drugs I have been on before. But they might still work because sometimes when drugs burn out and quit working for me if I wait awhile and give it some time they work again. One is a stabilizer and one is an anti-psychotic. There’s a lot of group therapy. I only go to the half day program so I only have to stay until noon. But in that time there’s two hours of group therapy. The first day I didn’t talk.
Then something happened the night before the second day. Instead of being depressed I swung the other way and went manic. It was not my most severe manic attack but I only got one hour of sleep, was hearing and perceiving things incorrectly, and I had poor impulse control. And the afternoon after the second day of therapy I ended up spending about $400 on crystal.
On Friday I was only hypomanic but I actually talked during the group therapy. Both sessions. It was useful. I am glad I got to go that day. The only reason I got to go on Friday was because my next door neighbor was kind enough to watch Angelica for me. Otherwise I would not have been able to go. My regular babysitter Grace has class all day Fridays and the other lady that I had hired as an emergency hire quit on me.
I am supposed to be in the outpatient program every day this coming week. I am not sure when they will discharge me. I have mixed feelings. On one hand sometimes it can get really stifling just sitting there and I get Restless or agitated and have to get up and walk around. And it also leaves me tired because I have to get up earlier than I normally do, although that’s probably a good thing. At the same time once I get out of the program my days are kind of empty. I used to spend most of my free days, both on days I had Angelica and on days I had the babysitter, hanging out with my mom and visiting with my dad. Now I’m too far away and the days are just a blank canvas. At least the day program gets me around people and gets me out of the house.