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spiderblood

There’s a blood smear on the ceiling. I stare straight up at it as I lay in bed, which I’ve been doing entirely too much of lately.

Depression has been having its way with me, and I suppose it’s my fault for letting it…I am suffering a period of serious social withdrawal and sadness. I’m running away from or pushing away everyone I can, and struggling to put on a smile for those whom I cannot avoid, who are so necessary…for just that reason.

I recently read something that reminded me of what I am supposed to be doing… forcing myself to get up and DO what I know will be healing, or at least useful. To that end, after 4-H, I came home and stared the beast in the face: Examined that I want to be with Zil, and yet I cannot go to her except to throw hay and run in from the cold. It adds to the torment to know that I know what to do to help myself (and her) and I can’t do it. If I don’t do it today, it’s harder tomorrow. It feels like exponential helplessness and it really, really hurts. It is the paralysis that comes with depression. It takes a fierce hold upon the will.

But I have a more pressing issue at the moment. The bloodstain on the ceiling.

The other night my husband, in his usual nonspecific way, commented on the size of “that spider.” Of course, I had no idea what spider, but I was tired of asking stuff like that, so I didn’t worry about it. Until later that night I lay down on my back and saw what was on the ceiling straight above my face. It looked like it had sixteen legs. Eight of those, of course, sprouted from its shadow, but the creepiness was undaunted by the fact.

I could not possibly sleep with that behemoth there, which could decide at any moment to descend on its self-spun cable, and crawl upon my face. So I got up, grabbed a shoe, and swatted it.

It landed as a black, wilted puddle on the carpet. I knelt to smoosh it in a tissue. From above, my husband exclaimed, “Wow! It was all FULL of blood!”

That grossed me out. Then he said something sobering: “It must have been eating all the other bugs.”

(Yeah we have bugs in our house but that’s not the point).

I had just killed a creature that, all unknown to me, had been doing us a service all this while. Quietly going about its business, bothering no one, helpfully keeping all the plastic glow-in-the-dark constellations clean of UFOs…and possibly other creatures that could land on my face.

Could it have been my guardian angel that I’d just swatted? Oh, that I were more Buddhist sometimes! I could have gently blown at it, or nudged it, just to make it move away. I didn’t have to kill it! Another living thing, God’s creature? I could have chosen to move it. I could have let it live.

Then, on the toilet, where I get philosophical (or think I do), I began to wonder how many people who, in our wanderings, have crossed paths with me, intending me no harm, but were swatted anyway. Had their feelings swatted. Had their intellect swatted. Had their self-worth swatted. Been swatted out of my life. When we could have helped each other. Built each other up. Formed a relationship, or just randomly momentarily made one another’s day better.

I haven’t washed the bloodstain away, because it serves as a reminder to me. We can never really know how another is feeling. I often feel that I look for the best in people, but not all the time. No matter how we feel, it seems better to use a fleeting moment to smile, or to stretch our comfort level just a bit (Opposite Action?), even if it’s a herculean effort only to say, “Good morning.”

One could, all unknowing, help lift someone else’s depression just a bit. Or one could just swat the person by the simple act of looking away or beyond, like they don’t exist. I have thought about all those phone calls that have gone unanswered because there were people at the other end. But those people have feelings too. I don’t know if I can do it, but I can just do one tiny little thing in one tiny little moment, one single act of will. That tiny little blood stain reminds me.

One simple act of will.

The psychiatrist leaned forward as she asked, her legs crossed, her expression giving me the impression of one who is in the process of chain-smoking while awaiting a subway train.

I’m sorry, what? My “mooooood,” (for that was how she said it)? I did not know what to answer. It meant about as much to me as “how’s your penis?” or, “whatcha know?” or, “how’s the moon?” Looking back, I guess I’d say my mooood, at the moment, was hirrrritated. That question could only come from someone who had no idea what she was asking.

I was on Effexor at the time. Then and since, I’ve had a problem with the word, mood. I think of a mood as a passing thing, coming and going like clouds over the sun or waves on the ocean; that is, everyone’s sun, everyone’s ocean. Not mine.

What is mood? A current attitude toward the world? A snarky comment curling about your brain? A jumping and laughing, a reaching for the sky while others look on, dumbfounded? A dull fuzz that covers everything? An irresistible desire to dispense hugs like toilet paper?  The moment of “ouch” after stepping on a rock because your shoe has fallen off, only, for a protracted period of time? Vertigo?

While I was cogitating on this, the psychiatrist wagged and tapped her feet.

“Uhh…” I said, stricken stupid. I had no answer for her, and perhaps it was then that I first recognized some deterioration in my cognitive function. Without recognizing it, of course.

Bipolar is identified as a mood disorder. Maybe I’d be happier if it were defined differently. Maybe it should be defined instead as an emotional disorder. Maybe I think I’m special. Maybe I’d have been happier if she had asked, “How extreme would you describe your epic fluctuations of emotional storm over the past month?”

 

electricity

electricity

How’s my mood? Yes, fluctuating. Of course it is. I’m bipolar. And I was unhappy with my psychiatrist at the time, whom to see I had to drive an hour. I’m sure I eventually began rambling on about some trouble or other in my life, just to fill the void, if not answer the question. I was irritated because her question was not specific enough.

Call me picky, but “mood disorder” doesn’t sound like a debilitating thing when the term is looked at objectively. It just seems trivial. Being bored when I should be excited. Being sad when I should be sympathetic. Being happy when I should be glum. Whatever it is, I’m doing it wrong. And I am trivial because of my inappropriate mood. And that’s exactly (one of) the sort of trap(s) that lead to self-esteem so low that, well, something or other is triggered, at least in me.

I think the emotional rollercoaster of bipolar deserves a better definition than mood disorder. Why? I don’t know. I am a semantics quibbler, been one all my life.  What a fun person, huh. Maybe “emotional disaster disorder”…no, that’s more of a label, not a definition. I thought by writing about it I would understand the word “mood” and why it serves as a topic of conversation with an expensive psychiatrist who has me on the wrong meds to begin with. I certainly seem to lack the faculties to come up with a new definition of bipolar illness here. Maybe that’s not my job, because I’m too self-involved.

But it’s that “everything is my fault” mentality that almost always used to stuff me into that funnel that squeezed out a crawling-in-the-slime creature. I know that soon after that session I either attempted, or made an unworthy bid toward, you-know-what. I don’t even remember when that was or what the issues were. I just remember that the psychiatrist was on the clock, and didn’t want to know how I was doing, she wanted to know “How’s your mood?” simply to see if she needed to adjust the meds on one particular bipolar guinea pig.

Depression begs Jesus to ask it the question “Do you want to be healed?”

And then depression really scratches its head over that one. Because depression is a juggernaut, and it does not want to be healed, even if you do.

Praying for days, singing praises to the Lord for days, burying myself in the Bible and in scripture and no change. All day long, singing “Awesome God,” ALL DAY LONG as I sadly went about what little business I could. There really is no such thing as the patience of Job. Read it. Job bitches the whole way through until maybe the very end. I think my praises and prayers were faithless.

I knew the doors that were opening in my mind since going off mirtazapine would eventually start slamming shut again. They always tease me, get me excited that I may be getting it all back, then they always slam shut. I feel, disconnectedly, like the characters in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Zaphod without his Thinking Cap. Running through the dirt being slapped with giant flyswatters every time I say the word, “think.” My brain is dying.

I feel like I have tried just about everything. I’ve been in this funk all month, a deep, miserable depression that keeps me completely useless. Sometimes I can just go through the motions. In between bouts of crying, and lying in bed, I will get a pit-pat of worry about the horses and run out to the barn and back 40 to check on them. Or I will clean a bathroom. Or I will do the laundry and the dishes, all the while mechanical in my misery. I will help the kids with homework, but I won’t often cook for them though I’m trying to get better about it.

I may have set myself up. I tried the other day, getting along with my husband, as we cheerfully assembled the tree and “decked the halls” and wrapped a present for each of the children, put them under the tree, because one of the kids had said a day or two prior that she was depressed about Christmas, all her friends had trees and presents and everything was ready, and we had nothing. So we went all out for them while they were at school. Like an idiot, I waited eagerly for the happy looks on their faces when they got home.

Nothing. Not even a glance as the shoes were pulled off.

Well, what did I expect?? That little peak of happiness, thinking I’d really done something to pull myself out of my depression; and I had to go and ruin it by not having done it for myself, but hingeing all the success upon the unpredictable reactions of school-age kids.

Down again. ALL the way down.

Hubby and I had a huge fight next, right in front of our daughter.

Could I really be mad at them? The poor kids? My poor husband? Am I? Of course not. I see what I did there. I don’t have to hate Christmas, that is only a choice on my part. I must deck the halls, even if I have to force myself to, because I WANT THEM DECKED for ME, so I can feel happy enough to get through Christmas come Hell or high water (or in this case, a buttload of extremely cloudy days followed by a deluge of snowfall).

I pulled on my cowboy boots and my ear warmers and ran outside. “I hope I die!!!” I cried like an idiot, because I would never want to die, not do THAT to my family, even though I was determined to ride out bareback without a helmet. Riding is pure mindfulness…something I can grasp at reflexively when I have nothing else. I grabbed a bosal hackamore because I had the presence of mind not to stick a frozen bit in Zil’s sensitive Arabian mouth. Unfortunately she is an English trained horse and had never worn a bosal before. She would not even let me get on. The bosal seemed bigger than her whole face. I climbed all over the metal feeder and could not get her to stand (I’m not Legolas, god how I wish I was and could just sling aboard) but no, I’m a clutz. I probably would’ve gotten hurt, but my daughter came out and helped me on her and then climbed on her own Arab, bareback, bridleless, and we rode around the field. Zil hated the bosal, but that was because I was out of my head and not being careful enough with it. My daughter got on and what a difference. That girl can ride. And train.

I don’t know if I felt any better afterwards, after crying and crying into that mare’s mane, rubbing her and her rubbing on me, but that was the idea anyway. My healing horse and I, maybe failed each other, I don’t know. That was all yesterday anyway. Today I’ve done almost nothing. I couldn’t think of a thing to write about.

Here I sit, with nothing to say, and it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. Whether I do it, or whether I don’t do it. I just don’t care about anything, but the shit of it is that I do. Somewhere in there, I do care. I hate being bipolar. I hate that I can’t do it. I hate this feeling that I can’t know what is coming next. Maybe I need a med change but that just sounds so facile! There has got to be more to life than meds.

Clouds covered the sun through the window, and vague darkness depressed the room, crushed it down into a concentration of gloom and despair. I half-awoke and fell asleep again.

Windy Pond

waters of lost souls

” I am named for the saint of lost souls,” I said, though I did not know it to be true. It felt true.

“It’s not ‘souls’, it’s ’causes’,” said Gwydion. “Has your mind exchanged ’cause’ for ‘soul’ for a reason? Are they the same? Or has a cause (a falsehood) been replaced by the truth of a soul?”

“I know I have lost, and though I cannot remember what I have lost, its bitterness and grief and self-pity (self-judgment) remain,” I, Gilvaethwy, replied.

“What is it you have lost?” asked Gwydion.

“I yearn for lost youth, the thick trees that promised eternity.”

“That is no answer, ’tis a complaint. What is it that you have lost? Do you know?”

“Affirmation and meaning through desire and satisfaction, desire and denial, rejection, confirmation of life, or devolvement and depredation of all that might ever have been important, in past or future.”

“Then how is it loss? Is it perhaps no loss at all, but merely an absence of something that never should have been. ”

transformation

transformation

“I know I have lost, and because I cannot remember what I have lost, perhaps my mourning is for something that never existed for me:

The becoming that never became.
The becoming that regretted itself.
The becoming of linearity to pointless circling.
The becoming of faith to utter confusion.”

“Do you know what you have lost?” asked Gwydion again, maddeningly.

“I don’t know. Perhaps because I don’t remember the loss, it was not loss,” I parroted, to appease him.

Then I surprised myself. “It was transformation.”

I awoke, bathed in the dreams of early morning, with the promise of wisdom regained.  Sleep-clouded thoughts that fascinated so greatly, for whatever reason, that sleep was driven off by wonder or confusion. Before the crow of the cock, the spatter of eggs cooking in butter, the search from the ramparts.

Before the explosion in my mind that I could never see coming, the anger and rage and sadness; for happiness never lasts for me. Creativity and insight and temperance do not last with Gilvaethwy, like they do with Gwydion my brother.

I try to enjoy them while I have them, all the while mourning the certain knowledge that they will soon be gone from me.

Wizard

Wizard

Abused mustangs lash out. It’s not their fault. But if they hurt someone, that doesn’t matter. They must still be shot, punished, or sent away.

I am an abused mustang. Red-dun Utah mustang spirit. Too many have enticed me to trust them.

Too many have I chosen to trust. Too many have caged me, beaten me, and whipped my eyes.

It will take years for any human to gain my trust.

Fleeing Pig

I have wrestled and wrestled with this one. To write about it or not to write about it.

Why, during a crisis precipitated by a therapist at a mental-health institution this past August, with all the staff staring down at me as if I were a disgusting animal, did I become suddenly still–or, “less escalated”, as they call it there–at the sight of the police officers? (for backstory see Part 1 & 2)

It was not, as staff apparently believed, because I suddenly wanted to quit my tantrum and behave to avoid punishment. It was, as I previously said, an instinctive visceral reaction to past abuse by police officers in this town. I was no less “escalated” EXCEPT in my “behavior”–which was all they cared about.

OK, the “abuse” occurred over 10 years ago; it was not being overly tazered or beaten by night-sticks; so why should I be complaining about it? Because I still feel the trauma, that’s why. Thinking of it sends me into acute anxiety attacks. The mere sight of a police car, a cop reality show on TV, or driving past the jail all trigger these attacks. Trauma, pure and simple.

I have had very little experience with police. I’ve gotten speeding tickets, been pulled over because my purse was on the roof of my car, been led out of an Intensive Care Unit in handcuffs, and so forth. So when the police arrived, from the call made by my husband at the time, after I had shoved him away from me because he was frightening me by looming over me and screaming two inches from my face (we had some issues; I was sick; police were called because we needed help), I stupidly, naively, calmly, admitted to having shoved him. Both of us believed the police had come to help us.

I was semi-clothed, in years-old, rather un-modestly torn, men’s thermal underwear. They did not allow me to put clothes on. I don’t remember having my rights stated to me. They cuffed me, took me away, and locked me up in one of those cinder block holding cells, still clad only in this underwear. I wonder what they would have done if I was naked?

One of the officers found a black-and-white striped shirt which was too short and extremely baggy, but gave me no pants. I was not allowed to be warm (it was midwinter); they would give me nothing, because it was “not a hotel.” They joked and jeered at me and my behavior, I was crying and upset, and they no doubt get a lot of “crazy” people to torment in there on the graveyard shift.

All the while, I was given to understand later, my husband followed them and demanded they release me, that he was not lodging a complaint and they had no reason to take me in. I do not understand the system, but it appears they just wanted to take me in and would not be dissuaded by reason. I was a domestic violence criminal, guilty until proven innocent and treated as the foulest of scum.

They did give me my meds, and a pen and paper when I asked for one.

The next morning, they still gave me no pants, but locked me in a chain gang with a bunch of giant, overweight men (who all were wearing jail clothes and stinking of alcohol) and took me, still chained to them, into a courtroom that was open to the public–still in torn longjohns and no pants–and put me up in front of everybody, and said stuff. I don’t know what it was. Then they chainganged me away back to the jail. I was pretty mad and still in shock and told them I had used to have respect for the police.

I had nowhere to go and no one to call. I was not allowed to speak to my husband and he was forbidden from speaking to me. I had no vehicle or place to go and my husband was not permitted to supply me with either. I was advised by legal counsel to plead guilty (to what??) because I would have little to no chance in a jury trial.

The story goes on from here, but there it is. The Incident that stopped my “escalated behavior” at the mental-health institution this past August, the sight of the big fat uniformed men I would never before have referred to as “pigs.”

Thus was the conduct of this particular city’s finest 10 yrs ago, and if I had had the money, I would have sued the city.

Laugh if you will, that I call it “abuse,” say I deserved it, say I am overreacting more than a decade later…I’m sure that’s what the compassionate staff at the mental-health institution would do and say about my “behavior” this past August since they displayed no interest in my actual mental state or safety.

I later found out that the purpose of the police who had been called by the therapist in August to the mental-health facility was NOT to take me to a place of treatment. They would have taken me to the cinder-block holding cell at the jail, conveniently located across the street. Since I had been banging my head uncontrollably on the wall and the floor, and had reached a self-harm state of being with very little thought whatsoever (staff could have cared less … they were only concerned with my behavior), my being put back into that cinder-block cell with the specter of its remembered trauma would not have ended well…for anyone…

I have the right to remain silent. If I choose to waive this right, everything I say will be used against me in the Court of Life.

I don’t, really don’t, understand these things. AM I overreacting? Was this, or was this not, abuse?

Cow

I have been fighting depression and anxiety a great deal of late, and hard at that.  As the behavioral-ists say, as if I were a cow, “Have you been ruminating again?” Because, they say, “ruminating” upon feelings, occurrences, or memories that have me really pissed off, frightened, or saddened reduces my chances for victory. Well, yes, excessive obsessing can do that.

Yet I find that having these feelings, occurrences, memories, or whatever else cycloning around in my racing thoughts makes the sedentary, passive activity of “rumination” quite impossible.

Me no moo.

Rather, focusing those preoccupations through writing actually can help. Writing is not a form of “distraction” found in a Distress Tolerance list; neither is it a “pleasant activity.” Most especially, it is not rumination. Writing is looking hard for the splinter in your hand and stabbing it with a needle until the splinter comes out and you realize why you couldn’t see it without going through the pain: it was a tiny sliver of white wood, burrowed in there, invisible.

Sometimes you’ll do it through poetry (even if the esthetic results are dismal, the process is the point).

Sometimes through fiction.

I highly recommend writing in a journal (that’s what I do; I write in a journal). I don’t recommend “journaling”.  God, no! “Journal” must never, ever, become a legitimate verb! Please don’t help it to be so.

Or, and this is no new thought either, you could puke your guts out in a blog, which sometimes edifies, but usually just embarrasses. And yet we keep on doing it anyway! Go figure.

It may not solve your problem or cure your depression, but it’s bound to occupy your mind and could help you work through something, stall a suicidal impulse, become a prayer, slow the racing thoughts, ease the anxiety, be the only entity in the universe in whom you can confide the real you. . .whatever it does, it’s better than “ruminating.”

I may be obsessive, but I am NOT a cow.

I am one of those pathological, chronic self-examiners. A form of self-centeredness that concerns itself with worrying that things I said and did will affect others who have long forgotten about, or did not even notice, what I did, said, or thought; and also with analyzing every thought and feeling I have to examine and judge my motivations and their truth or falsehood. It may arise from all those inappropriate behaviors I “acted out” (God, do I hate that term) and said and thought in the past that were NOT forgotten, were held against me, swung around to bite me in the ass, and so forth.

In any case, were I to have been truly ashamed of what had occurred in the crisis assessment, that tendency toward self-examination would be the reason that after a week or so of self-flagellation, I would fall over myself apologizing to everyone concerned for the scene I caused. Which, of course, did not happen. To begin with, I did not cause the scene.

It was later denied by the therapist, and in a so-called investigation of the complaint I lodged, that she was yelling at me and my husband as we left the building. Well, yes, she was. A trained crisis counselor. Yelling out the glass doors into the cold, polished and windowed lobby in front of God, the receptionists, the pens with giant flowers on them, and everybody else: “You had better be back here on Monday morning!”

Very professional.

I arrived at that institution for responsible reasons; to seek treatment for my condition before a crisis occurred that would have a damaging impact on my family. Instead, the crisis was initiated there in the therapy session. It was by no means over when I was thrown out, or as they call it, “left voluntarily.” I was in far worse condition than when I arrived. Truth be told, I struggled into my old, deteriorating car, whose door is literally falling off, in a truly suicidal state of mind. I was ready to kill myself. There was no help, no hope.

There was the list of things, embedded in my mind, that I had planted there myself to automatically prevent suicide. They were MY safety, which I invented, with no help, suggestion or input from their behavioral therapy, whether dialectical or cognitive.

Why was she yelling? Maybe it was indirectly because I froze when I saw the police officers. That instinctive reaction to past trauma and abuse may have been interpreted as me subsiding from my “tantrum” at the prospect of “punishment” by the authorities, which of course would lead one to the conclusion that I had “worked myself up to it” as she put it, for the purpose of creating a scene, flouting every behavioral skill that I had ever been taught. This is only speculation on my part. A mere crazy person cannot fathom the sublime workings of the vast, disciplined minds of her betters, even if her betters are just kids.

When one breaks apart as I broke apart, the one thing they need is tolerance and competence from their therapist(s). If an institution’s “trained professionals” cannot discern the difference between a real breakdown and a tantrum thrown for the purpose of making a scene, but the institution stands with moral certainty behind their employee’s incompetence as professional, appropriate and effective handling of the situation, then that institution needs to be nuked.

I of course filed a grievance, instead of engaging in the more favored behavioral skill of “Opposite Action” by apologizing and sending them roses. They responded to the grievance with what they called an investigation, which, as described in the Resolution of Grievance they sent me afterward, consisted of interviewing the therapist about what happened. They did not interview my husband, who was there, the only witness throughout the farce.

Throughout the Resolution of Grievance, the language referred to everything the therapist said and/or chose to write down during the session as factual and honest. Throughout the same document, the language referred to everything I reported that I  experienced, observed, felt, and heard, as mere “belief.” As in: ‘[Therapist] did (or said, or said you did) blah blah blah. You believed that blah blah blah. So the therapist was correct, and you were incorrect, because you merely believed, while whatever the therapist said is what actually occurred.’

This language conveyed quite clearly that they held nothing I said as credible. It demonstrated total lack of respect for the patient as an intelligent human being. It revealed that the patient’s point of view is insignificant to them, because they view the patient as insignificant and, indeed, crazy.

Do I want this institution nuked? I don’t want this institution nuked because it is my only treatment alternative in this tiny, redneck town. So, what do I do? Protest their “Resolution” of my grievance? Their Grievance Resolution invites me to. Or should I bend over and take it up the ass because if I would only practice the skill called “Radical Acceptance” my ass would hurt less.

In the end, I wrote out my entire dispute to the “Grievance Resolution” and then employed the behavioral skill of  “Opposite Action” by not sending them the disputing response. Now I practice the behavioral skill of “Interpersonal Effectiveness” by being as sweet as sugar, or at least as sweet as I can be, whenever protocol and hoop-jumping require me to be in their office. So you see, the behavioral skills as practiced save me from alienating the guardians of my only avenue to my doctor who prescribes the live-saving medications. Isn’t behavioral therapy beautiful?

A couple of days after the incident, the medical assistant called and told me that my doctor had prescribed a change in my medication. I noticed INSTANT improvement (which is rare). I had gone in there seeking just this kind of treatment–medical–and had I received it when needed, none of the rest of this would have happened.

Within three days of the incident, people from Social Services invaded my kids’ school, ripped them from their classrooms, and threw them into closed, lonely rooms and interrogated them. Then they came to my house and tried to be disarming. They found no danger to the children, only love and an uncommon maturity and intense loyalty to their mother on the part of the children.

The one thing I have learned from all this is that the mental-health institution is NOT a safe place to go when I am in crisis or in imminent danger of crisis. All crises must be worked out on my own now, as there is no safety, respect, or confidentiality extant in the institution any longer, if ever indeed there was. I go to the treatment center only as needed in order to continue medical management by my very competent and respectfully-behaving psychiatrist.

o

Behave, or you’ll end up here.

I have reached a conclusion, and it is this:

Beware of all therapies with the word “behavioral” in them.

While in some certain aspect, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is useful (all people, mental-health patients or not, benefit from understanding the dialectic), behavioral therapy in general has its own hidden agenda.

To brainwash the patient in order for other people not to be inconvenienced by the patient’s illness.

Behavioral therapy teaches the patient how to exercise appropriate behavior in a variety of situations. This behavior suppresses the expression of the patient’s true feelings and the symptoms of their illness, not for the patient, but for the convenience and comfort of others. This is all good and fine up to a point. Most of us are not considered brilliant or indispensable enough to be tolerated for being unapologetically who we are.

But the other thing behavioral therapy does, the brainwashing and ultimate damage, is more insidious.

It puts back on the patient the responsibility for having any symptoms for their illness. That’s right. It’s our fault for having symptoms, if we don’t practice the skills, whether or not the skills work or help at all. That’s what I was taught four months ago at the institution where I receive treatment. The problem there, of course, is we’re right back where we started: being stigmatized. If we cannot exhibit the right behavior, it is our own fault. We are mental cases. We are nuts.

I have the institution where I receive treatment to thank for this revelation. I was nearing a crisis, and my husband rushed me to the treatment center for help. We knew it was a matter of medication adjustment, partly because I was on Seroquel, which was giving me terrifying cardiac symptoms; and partly because my new “behavioral” symptoms were frightening ones that I had never experienced before.

Instead being allowed to see my doctor, we were told I must see a crisis counselor. I explained to this person that my “skills” (DBT, mainly), were no longer working for this alarming condition I was in. In response, she mildly asked me what skills I could use to deal with this. I explained again that I had tried all my skills and none of them were working or else were inaccessible to me in my current state. Again, she responded by asking what skills I could use. This went on and on, trying my patience, and hers. I begged her for help. To no avail. At last the effect of her mounting contempt and annoyance at my mounting emotionalism reached a breaking point.

I began screaming and banging my head on the wall.

I am not proud of this. Nor did I choose it. It chose me, I suppose, my crisis, which I had arrived there in a responsible manner to avert, precipitated by the excellent and flawless job this therapist was doing. Who knows. In retrospect, I have to think, perhaps with tongue in cheek, that banging my head against a figurative wall was not effective, and so my disease directed me to bang my head against a literal wall.

This did not end well for me, as you can imagine.

The therapist had the police called.The staff’s single objective was to be rid of me, my symptoms, and my behavior. Mind you, the staff of a mental-health institution that is supposed to help people wanted to be rid of the crazy person. Call the police!

My poor husband tried to get ahold of me. No one stepped in to help. That in itself is understandable; physical involvement in situations like that are not allowed. However, a group of staff people simply stood around me, staring down with disgusted, fascinated, or shocked looks on their faces at my disgusting behavior. Not one person offered a comforting word to my husband throughout the whole incident.

Or to me, though it might have helped to resolve the inconvenient symptoms I was having, panic being among them.

Then I saw the police officers. I froze in instinctive terror. I had been severely abused by that city’s police officers, and still suffer flashbacks of the shameless humiliation they inflicted.

The staff took this instinctive freezing to be self-control, apparently, and seemed to have concluded that the crisis was resolved.

Far from it.

I had another breakdown today.

I went postal.

I have just had it with the wrong mail landing in our mailbox. It’s been happening for awhile, and I’ve just been putting it back in our box with a sticky note that says “delivered to the wrong address.” However, because you can trust almost no one these days, I am wondering what all the neighbors around us, with their sharp, psychedelic claws and their possibly lie-spewing, terrible teeth, are doing with OUR mail in the meantime.

Today we got a FULL mailbox stuffed with ALL other people’s mail. I snapped. I’m sorry, it happens. I ran screaming to the phone and went postal on the poor post office lady, who of course was completely innocent and had nothing to do with the mail carrier’s mistakes. Fortunately, she gave me a tongue-lashing in return, and my emotions got reeled in for that moment, and I think we were OK by the end of the conversation.

But I am not okay now. I’ve been sobbing and yelling and being condemned for expressing my feelings.

Day to day, I’ve been depressed lately. But I’ve been doing my best. Trying really hard. I mean, really really hard, to behave in a manner that doesn’t inconvenience people or render their feelings uncomfortable. Even though, on an almost constant basis, others stream hurtful words and actions my way and I’m expected to bend over and take it with a smile. If I don’t, I’m blown off as just “being that way” or end up having puppy-dog idiots with low self-esteem (rather like myself) thinking that I hate them.

So…I just want to give up. But I know I can’t. I’m not special in my pain. It’s just the human condition. I am blessed that God the Father gave us lives as humans so that we can even experience and learn from a “condition” at all.

So I slathered myself in various essential oils for “Peace and Calming,” “Balance,” plain oils of lavender, peppermint, and wild orange, because those are the ones I have. I’ve taken homeopathic flower blends and aconite “for fear and fright.” These are all courtesy of the wonderful friends I’m reminded I do have.

I have taken an extra one of my meds, which I am permitted to do by my psychiatrist, who knows I have reached a reliable mindset on such things. I have stopped short, though, of indulging in such “medication” as is now legalized in the state in which I reside. Instead, I’ve put on my pink sweats and my pale blue sweatshirt with the pink unicorn on it…yes…I love unicorns. I’ve loved them for decades. I loved them before they became a fad for losers.  I see them as a symbol of both purity and rebirth.

So, hopfully, I’ll get over this and return to being a useful and present member of my family pretty soon. If I’m lucky, they’ll remember that I’m not having these breakdowns because I think they’re so fun and neat such a good idea.

In the meantime, don’t give up. God’s Word promises that God won’t give us more than we can handle and endure.

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