Trick or Treat

werewolf-girlOne of the earwigs of my flavor of bipolar disorder is passive suicidal ideation.  I’ve learned that thoughts of death, the desire to be dead, and fantasies about my funeral are all just symptoms of my illness, not some conclusion or solution I arrive at on my own.  I’ve come to understand them as just one Tootsie Roll in the party favor basket of worsening depression.  I can root around in my stash to see if the other treats are there—insomnia, social isolation, hypersensitivity, lack of interest in things I usually enjoy, persistent hopelessness and despair.  This is not the Halloween candy I want, but it’s the loot I’ve been given.

One of the ways I counter these distorted hobgoblins is by remembering I have the ultra-rapid cycling form of bipolar disorder.  I can count on the witch’s brew of my brain chemistry to shift in hours or days.  All I have to do is distract myself until that happens.  I’ve gotten pretty good at that.

The other thing I can count on is the complete unpredictability of my illness.  My care providers and I have tried to track patterns and triggers.  We’ve charted seasonal changes (sometimes), stress (sometimes), length and depth of mood shifts (no pattern there).  This year has been like no other, but that’s like saying snowflakes are different.  So what?

graph-down-300x2252All I can really say is that last year around this time I got pneumonia.  Since then, I’ve been depressed except for the tempering effect of my cross-country trip out West and back.  I’ve had burps of hypomania, and a few good days, but each dip downward has been lower than the last.  And the good days are rare.

That’s a long time to keep distracted.  It’s a long time to push against the negativity and the whispers of a Final Relief.

Earlier this week I found myself shifting from passive to active suicidal ideation.  That’s a clinical and un-scary way of saying I starting planning how to get the job done.  If it weren’t for the promise I made to my cats, that I wouldn’t abandon them, I might have followed through.  I like to think not, but it was deep and dark in my head.

Instead I called Lutheran Hospital’s out-patient psych department and got on their waiting list for an intake interview.  Since my therapist had called them two weeks ago to get information, they bumped me up the list, and I’ll get that interview next week.

togetherIt sounds so easy when I write it out like that, but it took all the skill, energy, and courage I had in the moment to make that call.  It meant stopping the forward momentum that had been pushing me for months and turning in a different direction.

Once I made the call, the relief was immediate.  I’m still severely depressed, but the suicidal Junior Mints melted—which makes a nice treat for my cats since I’m out of catnip.  They deserve a treat.  Even if it’s only a mental construct, they saved me.  My heroes.

And now, in the spirit of changeability, for something completely different.

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18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leslie
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 09:45:06

    Ok, first…that meditation is fucking awesome. I love it. I’m gonna get it.
    Second, I completely get that passive suicidal thing. It’s also my constant companion and I love that you called it a tootsie roll, ’cause it’s stuck in my teeth. Not easy to get away from.
    Last…I’m so glad that you made the call for help. Those calls are so difficult, because you start to second guess whether or not you’re wasting their time. (at least that’s how I’ve always felt.) But, the relief of knowing you’re going to receive help is pure and true. Please keep in touch and let me know if there is anything at all that I can do for you.

    Big love to you Sandy

    Reply

  2. Alice
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 10:06:23

    It doesn’t sound easy AT ALL. Simple perhaps — but anyone who has been there knows, “simple” often is also very very hard.

    Good for you, love. ❤

    Reply

  3. LindaNoel
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 12:15:10

    Thank you for your honest tellin’-it-like-it-is for you. I have discovered an honest man who is so like me and likes me back as much who became manic-depressive in his 30’s, surviving decades of misdiagnosis. Mine is “light bipolar” compared to the kind he has, but we “get” each other and Your Honest & Clear Expressions Here have opened me up so much that this connection we have is possible. He has 5 dogs and 3 cats — they all take care of each other and now I get to join in! xoxox

    Reply

  4. Littlesundog
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 13:14:10

    Most brilliant meditation ever! That totally clicked with me. I sometimes think if it wasn’t for my animals, things would escalate out of control for me. I’m glad you have Emmett and Henry and they have you. I’m glad you made the call. I’m sending love and healing on the southern winds…

    Reply

  5. Elaine GREEN
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 20:13:47

    I ‘feel you’ as I read …and I reel with awe over your determination and continuing dedication to your survival .. Thank you for your continued sharing with me Sandy Sue. Sending love and healing intentions ..Laney

    Reply

  6. David Kanigan
    Oct 09, 2016 @ 02:02:14

    Peace. I hope you can settle in it Friend.

    Reply

  7. Geoff Dickenson
    Oct 09, 2016 @ 07:20:39

    As much as I am riveted by your posts, my heart breaks a little bit each time I read them. The incessant flip flop of bipolar peaks and valleys must be so frightening not to mention exhausting. I’m sure that the words of others, the well intentioned advise must be equally as frustrating. Because no one can truly understand the nuances of the condition as you know. Nuances or in- your- face crazies!
    However…. don’t let anything happen to those damn cats! Your presence on this earth is crucial, your impact on other’s lifes immeasurable. We often forget what footprint we leave behind, so let me remind you Sandy Wyatt- you are loved and that makes you powerful, you love and that makes you invincible. While I can empathize I cannot advise, but let me say that your words and life are reaching us all. Admiration fills me as does the love I feel for you. To paraphrase your attached video- be strong and fuck that shit!!

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Oct 09, 2016 @ 08:34:30

      Oh, Geoff. Your kind words made me weepy (in a good way!). I’m so glad we have this connection at least. I feel blessed by it.
      And if it’s any consolation, my sister and one of my best friends can’t read my posts. They get scared or worried, which really doesn’t help me. I had to gently suggest they unsubscribe from my blog and let their minds rest.

      Reply

  8. TamrahJo
    Oct 09, 2016 @ 18:19:04

    Sending you cyber-hugs from one who is eternally grateful you always find a way to distract yourself, and always show up on the ‘Field of Life Battle”, even when it’s hard – because I have nothing to give, other than, “I’m glad you are here, I’m glad we met, and I think of you often – and your creations hang over my desk to remind me when I need to be brave and doing something simple, that is oh-so-hard – ” – 🙂

    Reply

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