|Wile E. Coyote and his ACME rocket created by Looney Tunes|
Today, this exact moment actually, marks a decade since the Day I Dropped My Basket. I could not think of a more appropriate place to acknowledge my 10th ReBirthday. I know I fell off the face of the blog universe a while ago out of necessity, but Sophie is a very real part of me and I've been here in spirit if not in person. To here I turn again.
Wow, TEN YEARS! If you aren't in the know, the Day I Dropped My Basket refers to the time my post-partum depression took a very sharp turn into Psychotic Break Territory and I became convinced my then 2 1/2 year old son would be doomed to a life of hell if I stuck around as his mom. Luigi deserved a better mother and I needed to get out of the way so a mythical "she" could come into his life and make everything better. So... I did what any undiagnosed bipolar, post-partum depressing, sane as bat shit, psychotic person would do and tried to kill myself using 3 different methods at once.
Pretty impressive work for a psycho, huh? But, two hours and thirty-two minutes from now marks the moment my husband found me ten years ago & called 911. That same exact minute also coincides with the moment I gave Bowser a nasty case of PTSD. Go, me! Multi-tasking everyone's mental illnesses even when half dead.
What I hate most about the Day is the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I caused Bowser. PTSD was my burden; I never, ever wanted to inflict it on anyone. I thought my self-removal would actually PREVENT Bowser and Luigi from harm. Instead I hurt everyone.
Obviously, I survived the Basket Dropping although it was damn close. And, (people don't think about this stuff ahead of time; please consider this a PSA) waking up in ICU with tubes in my nose and a hose in my throat and wires every-fucking-where, not knowing where I was, but knowing it wasn't supposed to look or feel like being doused and injected with snakes of all sizes, whilst my husband greeted my open eyes with a lot of F-bombs, and btw, he was taking Luigi and leaving me - well, that moment was the primo definition of S-U-C-K-E-D.
Don't try that at home, folks. None of it. Reeeeaaaaaalllllyyyyyy bad idea.
On the upside, my psychotic break finally, FINALLY, led to a real, honest-to-goodness, TRUE diagnosis. I walked out of my new therapist's (Dr. Mean Old Lady's) office a month later with my Shiny Labeled Certificate certifying I was certifiably insane with Bipolar 2 disorder. I got a bonus certificate for Attachment Disorder because I wasn't functioning very well after being separated from Luigi. Boy, I was glad when that last certificate expired some time after Bowser decided to give me one more chance in light of my shiny certificates and the meds they qualified me for in hopes - last, desperate, shredded hopes - I might return to the woman he loved. Sophie 1.0 never quite returned, but the beginnings of Sophie in the Moonlight, Sophie 2.0 if you will, began to form.
I think that was a good thing. We're still together & 7 years ago we added little Mario to the family gene pool so Luigi could have a sibling. Luigi is still not convinced Mario is a good thing. I adore both of them.
This morning I told Bowser it was my 10th ReBirthday.
"Ten years. Damn. Well, what do you think?"
"It feels rather anticlimactic, honestly."
And it does.
This huge milestone for which I have been counting the days for a year now is unapologetically anticlimactic.
Anticlimax: (noun) an event, period, or outcome that is strikingly less important or dramatic than expected.
The truth is the events of ten years ago left me with a Shiny Label for a treatable mental illness. In my intellectual hubris, I think I got it in my (crazy) head that if I worked hard enough I could turn my illness from merely treatable to totally cured.
I told you I was crazy, right?
For a very, very long time now I have worked diligently & passionately through sweat, tears, and bloodied hands to dig the new, healthy neural pathways into my brain which have worked for the most part - especially considering it's all new construction.
"Hi-HO-hi-HO, it's off to work I go!" Sometimes I am Dopey, sometimes Grumpy, yet I always try to be next to Doc so I can get well faster and be more like Happy. Doc likes me near so I can stop stalking Happy.
The truth is I am not now, nor will I ever be in the true sense of the word, cured. It has taken me almost ten years to realize I will never be in full remission from this disease. Sometimes I'm not very bright. Hubris should kick my ass for even claiming its acquaintance.
Hubris: (noun) Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance
Heck, hubris already knows it can kick my ass. I just took a while to catch on, and I did catch on - after I got smeared all over the floor by hubris.
About 6-7 weeks ago I got lost in an out-of-left field Mixed State which lasted for weeks & weeks & weeks and which I'm pretending currently to be over with at the moment. Don't mind me... Normal person walking through. No Mixed State/Bipolar chicks over here. They went THAT way. (Does cross-armed pointing thing Foghorn Leghorn is famous for.)
Mixed states aren't for the faint of heart. It is a prolonged experience of the worst bits of both mania and depression at the same time. Mixed states are considered one of the most dangerous psychiatric realms one can visit because the depressive brain tells you what a shitty person you are and the manic brain comes up with the ideas and the energy to kill off said shitty person. I would not wish it on anyone. Anyone.
Sometimes I had/have eight thoughts at once. Sometimes I can see them as isolated thoughts like the striations of canyons; sometimes they are jumbled into a tumbleweed which rattles around my head until I can't see where one thought ends and one begins. But every thought had one characteristic in common, one characteristic I kept mumbling to myself: my thoughts hurt.
Thoughts can hurt in the purest definition of the word. I felt/feel like a thousand razors shred through my mind spinning, whirling, destroying all in their path. I had thoughts which terrified me. A couple of times the thoughts were so PSYCHO that when they popped up, I could literally feel the unattached grey matter recoil from the area from whence the thought had come. I refused to call Dr. Feel Good because I was worried she would commit me. I read The Bell Jar with a highlighter in hand, curled in the fetal position on the patch of carpet where Mr. Kitty Head laid down the last 3 weeks of his 15 year long life. (He died two years ago.) I was also freaked-the-fucked-OUT by driving because I was 80% certain the other side of that tiny/mid-sized/giant crest in the road I have driven on 400 times was now gone. Sheared off my those ACME folks that terrorize the Coyote via the Road Runner on Looney Tunes.
Hmmm. I did not plan this, but it seems a theme is brewing. Have to change the title.
It got to the point where I would pull over to the side of the road until someone passed me, then I would follow them down my road. I left plenty of distance in front of me because I needed time to brake if that car fell off the cliff. See, crazy people can be rational. "Better them than me" is the creed of humanity, is it not? However, I do realize that giving others the chance to fall off the cliff first isn't very charitable of me.
I hate being mixed or depressed. My thoughts hurt and leave me sobbing, yet completely aware that each deep breath I sob in contains oxygen meant for better folks than me.
Hypomania can be useful. That's the truth and I'm saying it like it is. I get a lot done when I'm hypomanic, but nothing really over the top like with giant manias. I don't think I'm a deity, my new best friend just happens to be lemon oil. Unfortunately, often (but NOT always) hypomania is the cosmos' idea of a big joke, setting me up for the pratfall of the depression. I fall for the joke about 60% of the time. I can't help that part.
Ten years it has taken me to admit I'm sick. I will always be sick. I will always have to watch over my shoulder or right in front of me or a 100 yards down the road to make sure I am aware of the road my mind is on and that it doesn't end in a cliff with me on the wrong side.
I hate being "symptomatic", but getting "better" doesn't always feel that great either. Med changes blow chunks and I'm not really in love with my meds right now. Last month, I started taking a Sharpie to write "Muzzle 1", "Muzzle 2", etc. on each med bottle in order of dosage.
The worst part of being better or trying to get better is knowing, the sort of knowing that borders on wisdom, that I am only going to get all sick and symptomatic again sometime sooner rather than later. Dream killer, four o'clock! A part of me dies every time I contemplate this wisdom because I know it is correct. I'm going to beat this current mood swing with the fugly stick until It is the road-kill knowing all the while it is written in stone that my illness is going to shred me again. I will feel suicidal again. I will have thoughts that hurt. I will go park at the state mental hospital to get a feel for the place. I will say things that hurt others even though I'm trying not to. I will do weird stuff and call it perfectly understandable. I will make Bowser rage and my sons sad because I'm not around. I will be hiding in the bedroom to keep my poison to myself.
Where are the balloons? The feeling of satisfaction? Where is my sense of having conquered the damn thing already?
Celebrating ten years of ReBirthdays is like celebrating a marriage's 10th anniversary: you know what it cost you to get through those ten years & what you've achieved during that time and now you have an idea of the cost/benefit analysis to get through another ten years. Decisions, decisions.
I'll tell you what, though. I'm here. I may not have any sense of Self right now, but, damn it, I'm HERE. And that is a hell of a lot better than I was ten years ago.
So, Happy ReBirthday to me. Ten years older, ten years wiser, and taking it all one day at a time.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to celebrate by returning Eleanor Rigby's mask to the jar & finding my Elmer Fudd hat because I'm going hunting. For balance, not wabbits. You get the idea.