rock me like a hurricane
my swings and anxiety and depression got so bad i found a psychiatrist down here (long before my existing meds ran out). i started a mood stabilizer (lamictal) two nights ago. it was designed for epilepsy but works for bipolar and chronic fatigue (which every medical person i have spoken with over the last few months has mentioned as a possibility. great). so i can't drive for at least a week while i adjust and can't drink for quite some time. which is fine.
driving has been getting very scary. after i saw the psychiatrist on tuesday i went to the grocery store for fixins for some fifty-two bean (hyperbole) veggie chili. half-way through the fancy HEB central market i started getting freaked out. i opened the oj and took half a xanax. left as quickly as i could. but it kept accelerating on the drive home. i took another half while at a red light. i was ten minutes from my apartment. it was terrifying. i was convinced i was going to get in an accident and kill someone. then i would be charged with involuntary manslaughter, plead (temporary?) insanity, and spend the rest of my life in a mental health institution. (i've been having a lot of dreams along this theme as well, usually involving panic leading to murder, leading to life in custody as an official crazy person).
i've been dealing with being officially bipolar. when i was younger i always thought i was bipolar. but after years of shrinks saying, "no, you're just clinically depressed" i got used to the diagnosis. then i finally had my panic attacks and freak outs explained by anxiety disorder. more meds, a new dimension to therapy, but still fairly common. i mean, there are all sorts of commercials for depression and anxiety meds. people have adjusted to those diagnoses. then psychiatrists started to mention bipolar. but they were all assholes who i didn't trust or respect who were freaked out by my sex life and didn't listen to me. plus years of conditioning as "depressed and anxious" did not leave room for an additional label.
but my last pyschiatrist put it in terms i could understand. he explained i was bipolar type II. this theory was backed up by not just my mood swings and family history (hoo-boy, now there's a doozy), but by my chemical sensitivity and reactions to drugs like zoloft and combined hormone contraceptives. he said we would try bipolar meds if the depression and anxiety cocktail stopped sustaining.
with this huge transition, it officially stopped sustaining. my depression grew louder and heavier. my panic attacks increased in frequency to the point i was taking a dose of xanax daily (sometimes twice). but then i began to feel better. as i searched for a new therapist and school picked up (whole 'nother drama there), i began to have these productive spurts where i felt like me again. i could finish the work and reading for the week, draft future assignments, design research projects, network and research internships and practica, and be an entertaining classmate and potential new friend. but then i would run in to a wall and crash. i couldn't understand (much less predict) these dropping off a cliff plummets of sanity.
my family also moved to town. i would drive out to visit them and play at the dog park and would swing to the point i couldn't drive home. i missed classes. i missed assignments. i couldn't unpack or think or read. my mom and dad and sister were very supportive. this time around i decided to stop being nice and courteous. i don't have the energy for courteous. when someone asks me how i feel or what i am thinking about, i answer honestly (or i don't answer at all if i don't want to bum them out). i don't have the stamina to lie politely to make someone else feel better. i can barely take care of myself (less and less, really).
so now, two days in to new meds on top of the old meds (my body is currently hosting lamictal, welbutrin, lexapro, and xanax), a hurricane is coming. my apartment in the city is under voluntary evacuation, but my folks' place out in katy is not. the roads or so clogged and gas so scarce we couldn't get out if we wanted to. so my sister drove me to my apartment yesterday to move things away from windows, in to closets, the bathroom, and under the bed. i packed a rubbermaid tub with books and correspondence material and clothes and grabbed sandy's food. i also hit hobby lobby after an inspiring issue of bust (this month's bust is the best i have read. every article made me happy or eager to try.)
this weekend, as catagory 4-5 rita whips my family's new home, i will braid my hair like frida kahlo, and sandy and i will huddle in a closet under the stairs making paper mache string lanterns and little god's eyes dreamcatching danglers for the new apartment. my body will internalize the new meds. i will rest.
and when the storm passes, the sky will be unbearably clear and the new beginning will surge forward out of the crumbled crisped pile of me.