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Things I believe: There are no coincidences. There are no accidents. Everything is symbolic. Everything is relative. We're all a little crazy. "The truth is out there." There *is* something greater than us, only it's probably not other than us; it's more likely deep inside us. "The universe is shaped exactly like the earth, if you go straight long enough you end up where you were." (There's a Modest Mouse quote for almost every situation.) "All you need is love." (And food, things you enjoy and, occasionally, medication) That which doesn't kill us doesn't kill us. Breathe. Anyway you can. As long as you can.


Bipolar's Little Sister - Part 1

The first time I took Wellbutrin, I was 19 and was trying to quit smoking. I found myself full of energy, working out like crazy, getting homework done early and not sleeping very much. Not very much at all, actually. One night I realized I'd been up for just about two days and had painted everything I could find red. It was my favorite color. I blame it on Amelie. This went on for a short period of time before I decided that I was smoking more due to a lack of enjoyment out of each cigarette.

Seven years later, my brother died. Within a few months, specifically a couple months after reading his autopsy report and having some sort of PTSD about the whole thing, I couldn't get out of bed in the mornings. I started calling in to work and blaming it on my back. Sure, it was sore. It was always sore, but that's not why I couldn't get up. I couldn't live in a world that had sucked continuously from the time I was young until then and had suddenly yanked my brother from me as nothing more than a cruel smack in the face. I failed him. I should have known.

Once I got to the point where I wanted to do absolutely nothing, I got the genius idea that I should be on an antidepressant, other than Cymbalta which I was just taking for chronic pain. I was separated from my husband, alone with my son and couldn't let my life slip away from me. The psychiatrist I went to recommended Wellbutrin. Perfect. That stuff produced the opposite sort of being than who I was then.

I went home with script in hand and already happier knowing I had some relief on the way.

The first couple weeks were great. I was early to work every morning. More productive than ever. More outgoing with my friends. I forgot that my brother died alone, probably after his girlfriend panicked thinking she'd get in trouble for using heroin. I forgot that I was barely able to pay my bills and hated everything about my life. It was fantastic.

And then...

I started crashing every night, as if I'd had too much coffee (and I probably had). All day happy happy happy then sad down depressed at night. I played around with it. I took the pills later and later in the day. It made NO difference.

I went back to the shrink.

"I think I need to take a couple of these a day instead of just one. I seem to be crashing at night."
(we discussed symptoms)

"Umm... Actually, you may be a little bipolar." He went on to explain how people who have paradoxical reactions to antidepressants fall somewhere on the "bipolar spectrum", advised me to research Bipolar II disorder, and gave me a low dose prescription for Lamictal.

Shocked and angry at his accusation, I picked up the script and went straight to the library. This guy is an asshole. I'm not bipolar. Bipolar is crazy. I'm just fucked up a little. Bad things have happened. Wouldn't I be fucked up NOT to be fucked up? I picked up "Why am I Still Depressed" by Jim Phelps, a book the library computer lead me two after searching "Bipolar II" and read a little bit. This fucker is TOTALLY wrong. According to this book, I'm really Bipolar III. That doesn't even count!

I continued to read and discovered Bipolar II actually sounded pretty familiar. Oops. I had told my Criminal Studies Major/Psych Minor Boyfriend I was bipolar when I was 19. He said no. Unipolar, all the way. I believed him. (When confronted about this after my hospitalization, he said everyone's bipolar in their late teens/early 20s and it was too hard to tell. Simple misunderstanding...) I never looked into it again.

So, maybe Bipolar II but I was still depressed and 25mg of Lamictal a day wasn't doing shit. That crash I'd had at the end of the day on Wellbutrin became my life without it.

Normally, I'm an upbeat, energetic person. I'm loving, compassionate, humorous and goofy but if something throws me, I shoot straight down to the pits of existence - like nothing good has ever happened to me. I find a way to blame myself for everything that is wrong with the world. I find flaws in everything. A black shadow under every sun beam. It's a heavy load to carry.

One night, I'd had enough. My closest friends were treating me like a piece of china and Nothing was going right. I was no longer myself. I was no longer of any use to anyone. My son would be better off without me. Everyone would be better of without me, especially me. I took benadryl to keep me from throwing up, an assortment of pain medications and covered myself in cut fentanyl patches. I posted a semi-cryptic "fuck this" sort of status on Facebook and sat on my bed. My sister and her boyfriend were sleeping on my futon. My little guy was asleep in his bed. I was going to wait a little while then drive down to the park so someone else could find me. I didn't want to hurt anyone.

One friend, one I hadn't really been in contact with much because he had moved out of state, saw the post and knew what It meant. He started sending me messages, emails and comments. A while later (I found out afterward he had gotten my number from another friend) he called. I ignored many calls and frightened voicemails but he never gave up. Hours later, I got in my car and was getting ready to drive to the park. He kept calling. I needed to tell someone why. Finally, I answered.

I barely remember the conversation, besides it being hard to talk and him telling me he was going through a rough time, that I HAD to stay awake. That if I stopped talking, he was calling 911. After a while, I took the fentanyl patches off.

We talked for hours. I told him how I felt I killed my brother. I told him how I ruined my marriage and found myself alone with a three year-old boy. I told him I felt like I'd been to this place before and even if I came out of it, I'd find my way back. I almost nodded off quite a few times.

Then it was morning.

1 comment:

  1. Oh honey, I so remember this...he called me, I think it was me that gave hime your number, right? I'm so glad he called you cause if he hadn't, I wouldn't have you and I certainly need you cause I am selfish and BIPOLAR! <3