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Friday, March 4

The Descent to Madness

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This is a series of stories that is part of my own healing. I welcome you to read along, or not, but I'm going to write it anyway. I hope you take something good from it, and I hope I do too.

If you have thoughts of suicide, please call 1 (800) 273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Crisis Hotline, or call 911. Please know, admitting help is not a failure. Life can be beautiful, you just have to live it first.

The hardest part about healing is the moment you realize that the thoughts never went away - they’re still burrowed deep within you waiting for the right moment to peek their heads out of the ground and catch your glance with their hollow eyes.

The other hard part is when you hear the thoughts and some other part of you remembers how much sense they made from the very beginning.

And then there’s this part, the “me” part, that doesn’t want any of that to be true.

Yesterday was a hard day for me. I spent most of the afternoon calling Blue Cross and Blue Shield, two different psychiatric offices, as well as one to which I was directly referred by my primary care office on March 1. I was hung up on twice, and redirected several times, always to an incessantly ringing line with no avail, no answers. I spent easily 20 minutes on hold with one office, only to be later told that they would not take my insurance.

Listen, as much as this makes this story interesting, I really hate that this is my fucking story. I cannot begin to grasp why getting treatment for mental health is so difficult for someone who was diagnosed in a hospital, prescribed meds in a hospital, received treatment in a hospital, and simply wants to continue it because something about it is working.

At some point, I’m going to put together a comprehensive timeline for what I’ve been doing to try to continue this treatment. It still remains that I cannot renew two medications that I believe are saving my life. One is an anti-psychotic, the other is anti-anxiety/anti-seizure medication. From what I’ve read in my own books about Bipolar Disorder (yes, I have several books - I have, after all, spent many years trying to treat this myself) these are commonly prescribed for someone with my symptoms.

The trouble is, seeking continuance of treatment is literally driving me mad. I had a panic attack yesterday that resulted in me sleeping for four hours and renouncing my will to continue trying. I said, “I’m done. I’m not making one more phone call. That’s it.” Tears streaming down my face. A defeated child.

I reached my breaking point.

Tragic, ironic, that seeking treatment would drive a person to madness.

I’m still at my breaking point. In fact, I’m going to hold steady to my word that I won’t make another phone call.

Lucky for me I have a husband that won’t let any of that happen. He really is my bedrock.

It struck me, the importance of having a support system that won’t let you give up. I hope some of you have that - maybe this blog is that for you. Maybe this blog is that for me.

It’s so much easier to tell someone else that there is light, things will get better, life is worth living. It’s much harder to quiet all of the other thoughts in your own mind that tell you they make a lot more sense than what you’re saying outloud.

Right now, what’s helping is reminding myself that this reality is real, that I’m real. That’s easily the most persistent thought in my mind. I didn’t think I would ever think like that again. Besides, the days leading up to my hospitalization (February 2-February 13) were the first time in my life I had ever had that thought.

And then yesterday, last night, and even the day before, the thought crawled out of it’s dark hole and burrowed back into the thoughts of rational me, trying to disguise itself as a thought that had been there all along.

That terrifies me.

I have a fear of sleep. I have a fear of not sleeping. I have this fear that if I sleep, I’m really dead. I have this fear that if I don’t sleep, that I’ll die in this reality. Either way, in either scenario, it ends up with me being dead. I have this fear I’m already dead. I have this fear that my memories aren’t real. I have this fear that I’m not real. I have this fear that I died a long time ago. I have this fear that all of that is more real, more true, than anything I can see with my eyes open to the world around me, here, because here is not real. And I’m not real. And I haven’t been real in a long time.

Yea.

I know.

That shit is heavy as fuck.

And I hate it.

The hardest thing is fighting those thoughts while trying to make phone calls and getting rejected over and over and over again. I feel like I’m the only one in this world that wants “me” to get well. I know that’s not true. I know I have my husband, I know I have you that have sent me so many kind words of encouragement.

But I guess I’m writing this because I don’t want you to think that it’s been an easy road for me to find my “okay.” It’s been agonizing and terrifying, defeating almost everyday. And I’m still here fighting because I want so desperately for the things that make me happy - for love - to be real.

It would be disingenuous to continue blogging, pretending that everything’s okay now, because the truth is it’s not. And I know - if you’re anything like me - that you’ve reached those points where you thought everything was okay too, and then something hit you like a big truck and reminded you that it’s not. It’s not okay.

I suppose I keep going, I keep writing, I keep doing this - whatever this is - because I’ve seen those moments where I’m okay, where life feels okay, in fact, when life feels better than okay.

One of those days was my wedding day. One of those moments was the first time my husband kissed me.

I think there’s something about love that saves me from the madness. Sometimes the madness wins but love always remains.

I have to believe those moments were real. I have to believe that those memories are real. I have to believe that this, here right now with my husband just a few feet away from me, I have to believe that this is all real.

Because I know, I know the madness is real. I know all of the darkness the madness tries to drown me in is so, so real.

And I just believe, for no other reason but because I want it to be true, that there has to be light too. I’ve felt it before, and I know I can feel it again. And I need that to be more real than anything else.

Until then, I suppose I’ll walk a line somewhere in between, trying not to descend too deep, to a place where light can’t reach.

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