Staying in the emergency room for a day and a half did nothing to ease my anxiety, not only about relinquishing control over my life but also admitting that I really need help. It allowed for a lot of contemplation, and a lot of worry. Going into the hospital last year really tested everything that I had inside me.
When I finally arrived – after an hour-long ride strapped in an ambulance – I was surrounded by an environment that I didn’t understand. My instincts went into overdrive, and I don’t think that my panic has ever been stronger. I sat there just thinking of how I could get out of there to go back and go through the mundane steps of my life. But there I was, and I had no choice but to look forward.
Something that people don’t tell you when you go into the hospital, even willingly, is that you don’t control when they deem you are ready to get out.
The activities with the strange people that I met made me feel extremely disassociated from reality. We worked on different therapy techniques and were allowed the freedom to practice fun activities like drawing, or writing. The greatest gift that was bestowed upon me was a notebook so that I could start distracting myself from my surrounding.
I will say that the best part of being there was sharing my experiences and learning from the experiences of others. There was a wide array of different people there, all with their own baggage. While at first, I was stand-offish to the experience and the people, I started to open up in group, and started sharing during our free time.
After two days I started to feel the fog lift. The seriousness of what I had been through started to seep in, and my brain started thinking of everything I needed to do once I got home. I spent my time there learning about myself with others and working on my first book. I hand-wrote 100 pages, or more, and it was so therapeutic.
When I finally got the okay to go home, my whole body buzzed with excitement. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to start my life once I got out, but I think that getting acclimated to my meds and taking a pause from the every day life that pushed me over the edge got me to a turning point in my recovery.
Close your tired eyes, just for a while
Grasp the slipping hand, it’s passing by
No one will understand what you’ve been through, until tonight
Truth ripping through the soul
You can feel some more
It’s time, goodbye
Who are they to condescend the dreams that were dreamt in bed one night.
There is no more to transcend.
There is nothing left.
No one to fight.
Give in to the warmth at hand.
Then you’ll understand, you have the right.
Look up, the future is here.
It’s not what you feared.
Why say goodbye?
Turning time will only tell
Happiness or burning hell
It will be alright.
Being diagnosed bipolar was something that I really didn’t expect, and totally took me by surprise. I didn’t think of myself as someone who was out of control, and never really thought that there was something in my brain working against me. But I guess that’s how it can work right?
The fact that I saw other’s around me have unsuccessful relationships with doctors and attempts with medications in terms of mental illnesses, on top of the stigma I already had in my mind that there just couldn’t be something that wrong with me, I had a difficult time accepting this conclusion.
On top of that, I had already jumped head first into treatment with the psychiatrist that my doctor had referred me to – and here was I was with a conclusion that I hadn’t expected and wasn’t all that thrilled about. I had two options. I could tell the doctor to fuck off, that there was no way her diagnosis was accurate. Or, I could follow through with the plan that I had set myself on to see where it would take me.
I guess the thought that really pushed me towards getting help was the realization that I had been going through my life with no assistance thus far, and I was still feeling so terrible every day, and things were still falling apart. Seeking medical help seemed to be the one avenue that I hadn’t tried out, and it honestly made sense for me to give it a try. So, I gritted my teeth, and went forward with it.
Something that every medical professional will warn you about, or should warn you about, is that a lot of medications meant to treat depression, or the antipsychotic medicine they can prescribe you to treat bipolar disorder, can make your sense of depression or hopelessness worse before it actually does its job and makes you feel better. Oh, and my favorite, it can make you more suicidal. Appropriate, right?
It was probably a week or so into the new medication when my mind snapped. I had come home from work for two nights straight and sat with a kitchen knife staring at my arm, just thinking about how easy it would be to get it over with. There was still a small voice breaking through telling me how stupid that was, though.
It was the night that I finally cut into my arm that I called my mom and told her that I needed to go to the hospital because I couldn’t trust myself while I was getting acclimated to this new medication. I was lucky enough to not do any damage; the best way that I can explain it is that I cut into my arm to try and feel something. And, as faint as it was, the alarm went off in the back of my mind to reach out for help. I am lucky that I did so. It was then that I would commit myself into the hospital for a little under a week, and give myself a chance to get used to the medication as well as press pause on everything that was causing my mind undue stress.
It’s not too hard to research some information on a topic of my own
But I will ask you one last time
Why are you so bold?
Walking through an empty hall
Attempting to speak to you about a faith I have never truly held
Do not mock my heart for refuge in my prison-like cell
You would like alone time as well
If you don’t, well you’re a liar.
I will be hasty and call you so because I can
It is as simple as that.
My eyes are swollen and puffy and sad
So how difficult is it to give me the cool clear drops to stop the poison from spreading?
I am sure you are not prepared to meet my demands
Say goodnight and kiss my hair
And be okay with an intermission
You will have to sit still and be quiet for now.
While I suffer through inner turmoil
Thank you for connecting me together
With the silvery smoke
That is currently escaping your world
Just hold my hand
And give me the wave
And allow me to flow all night with you.
I try to paint pictures for you to try and understand
The kind of circumstances I am experiencing
My hair is no longer soft enough to run your fingers through.
Your hands are dirty and dry, and you must leave it to treat them another day.
Try and hold onto the hope that things will be on their way to getting better.
Let us dance together through a lonely night and hold onto the bottle just a little longer
Isn’t it disappointment to ride along a barren drive
Waiting to obtain an impossible high.
That it haunts me to know I cannot move forth
And to move the vase of flowers
To the closet from the window
They’re so perfect the iridescent green holds onto the water droplets as a struggle.
Well I won’t stop it, just infringe it.
So, don’t mock my hair, which is fried from
Colors and burnt on the ends
For an artificial high.
Haha – I don’t think so.
Not another happy ending when I am
Standing in the cold, smoking a cigarette,
From the cheapest brand I don’t enjoy
Give me your oversized sweater and flee
I won’t stop you
I merely seek warmth and comfort
And snowy kisses on a mountain
When we occupy your dreams
They will transcend into reality
Until we’re actually there with the manmade
Snow fluttering all around us
And we drink our cocoa
At separate, stringent tables
Do not forget to pray for those
Who do not seem fortunate enough
To experience such a dream like reality.
Who knew we were so lucky to hold our own
But please do not untie my dress
I quite like it hanging there from my assets from my mother.
So just allow it to adorn me for now.
The weekend is almost over anyways
So, we’ll be heading back to mundane
Soon if there are no obstacles
And no more forks in the road.
One thing that I know is that I don’t remember growing up and hating my body. When I say this, I mean all the way through adolescence and most of high school. Sure, there were spurts of time where I would start to feel self-conscious about something here or there, but I never thought about it.
First let me paint you a picture. Growing up, I wasn’t exactly the smallest girl on the playground, but I didn’t have too much baby fat either. My thighs, calves and butt had some…substance to them. I was a happy kid, however; shy but happy. In high school, I was never one to “flaunt my stuff,” but I never developed the body issues. At least not yet.
It wasn’t until later in my high school career, after a couple of devastating romantic blows and some back handed remarks from people close to me, the resolve that was held in my mind started to crumble around me.
Suddenly, the dark brown hair that fell to my shoulders, that I sometimes cut to fun shorter lengths was no longer cute – it needed to be red, or blonde…hell, even blue. I became obsessed with tanning; my pale, clear skin was no longer good enough. Never bothering with makeup before, I began heavily painting my eyes with black eyeliner and other colors. I even became so obsessed with my image that I started smoking.
But the biggest effect this shift had on me was the attention I paid to my weight. I was no longer satisfied with the little extra bits of me there was to love. That is when the unhealthy behavior started. So, on top of the fact that my wild streak was just starting to take off, my brain decided to throw in this fun side issues in the form of binge eating and a small case of anorexia.
I would go through fluctuating periods of not eating and eating way too much – and when I was eating, it was nothing but junk. I was constantly smoking cigarettes to keep away the food cravings. I wasn’t even exercising, however. I spent most nights partying, so the strain on my body continued to pile up. And this was only the beginning of the troubles.
I can’t begin to grasp your fingers
Too large for mine
Small dainty fingers
You don’t care, you cover me up
And hold me together just like the glue
You used to fix my elephant
When you were my hero and I was upset
The clothes are too big, too baggy to hide my new-found beauty
It is tiny and cold and pale and yours
You will wrap me up in your arms
Because it’s still too cold for one as frail as me.
Your arms are too big
So, I’ll be content to swim in your embrace as long as it’s you.
This feeling of concern about self-control is bleeding through the cracks;
I hold onto one single breath
I can’t let go because it hurts; and the whole thing is twisted.
A topsy-turvy occurrence of confusing circumstances controlling the night around being
Keep in touch with your soul
Fragmented shards flying through
Transcending all that is known
In and out the grains of fabric
That clothe the reality that surrounds the iridescent particles of color that put together my body
And it frames my world with swirly rips from my heart.
Freak out the crazy, push it to the back, no longer alone.
Just keep me alive.
Everyone’s life; grains of sand and clay
Broken pieces through the cracks.
Might as well not let them slip while you still can.
It’s all a little bit more entertaining when you place it in that order.
So, lock away the box from my dreams in your nook.
Do me the favor and never let me see them again.
Alcohol was easily defined for me as a lubricant for my social awkwardness. It started right after I graduated from high school and was forced out of my comfort zone. As I already reminisced, my freshman year found me at Eureka College. It was only a 45-minute drive from home, and with my car on campus with me I had the luxury of escaping back home. This allowed me to only approach the first year to my college experience with a ten-foot-pole.
I had a hard time connecting to people. For the first time, I was in different settings, trying different things and meeting new people. After growing up in the same town that I felt safe and comfortable, I was suddenly hit with crippling anxiety. I couldn’t just talk to new people. I couldn’t be the outgoing, fun-loving person I thought I was. Any party at school I attended, or any time I ate lunch in the cafeteria, it was like my entire body was an exposed nerve.
The comfort of alcohol was like an answer to my prayers. It literally gave proof to the term “liquid courage.” Suddenly, I was able to talk openly with people. Small talk was no longer something that left me frozen with fear.
It brought on something new that I wasn’t used to either. Most of my life, I was never the girl that stood out. I was never exactly the center of attention at parties – or most venues, for that matter. And then, thanks to alcohol, all of that changed. Laugh out loud memories, connecting with new friends and getting hit on by guys that I would have never thought.
At the time, it was fulfilling because I thought these were the types of memories I should be making. I thought that if I spent too much time alone, or being anti-social, that I was doing something wrong. And my anxiety did nothing to help with my feelings of isolation from others my age. I would spend time reading, writing or watching T.V. and wondering if I was doing enough to cultivate my social life. It was this internal struggle and my desire to fit in and – yes, I will admit it – desire for attention that pushed me even farther into the party scene.
One thing to note is that partying is not an uncommon theme from my hometown, so between my time at school and driving home to visit new groups of friends, I was pushing my own limits of what I was comfortable with on all fronts. My alcohol intake began to grow every night I drank, and then the number of nights I drank became more often each week. And so far into my experiences drinking, other than a few…. adventures I decided to go on, I was just having some harmless, young fun.
It began as harmless fun, but I clung to alcohol has the fun in my life and the only method of entertainment. By the time I got to NIU for my second year, it was a crutch that I leaned on heavily. I was able to make friends, but my focus was obviously not on my studies as I fell deeper into the bottle.