“…riding this unending wave of…unrealistic optimism…delusions of grandeur…”
I had been manic for over a week after sharing my art in a sexual assault survivors show, and talking to people there. There are times when I forget what lurks just under the surface, because I have been way off center since then. Of all things, I was so high the night of the show that I went next door to this Huge sculpture shop and blabbed about myself and how I want to sculpt (which I do), and introducing myself th the owner. He was very kind and personable, and sent me to talk to his designer, who was also very kind, very charismatic and really got me wanting to work in a shop again.
I got a wee bit off the beam, though. I came home and started writing a grant proposal while simultaneously applying to this famous sculpture artist’s shop, while also offering to be an apprentice, and messaging the director in a crazily familiar manner… Whew! I am mortified when I think about it. Not only was I manic that day, I was on a roll for days and days, seemingly riding this unending wave of optimism. Unrealistic optimism, which I do believe is called delusions of grandeur.
Ah well, I guess I have a lot to be grateful for, I am clean and sober today so I didn’t try to seduce anyone, or get drunk and puke on anyone! Yes, that is a huge thing to be grateful about, because 21 years ago I had serious regrets after a night out. Oh boy. How easy to forget how far I’ve come!
I know now that I never have to go back to being an addict or an alcoholic, but how dare I ever forget this gift of sobriety. I know in the rooms of AA we would talk about keeping it fresh…I’m glad I’m writing to you now or I may not have remembered to be grateful. “Out of the mire and the sediment… You put my feet on a crag…a new song in my mouth…praise to our God!”
I just heaved a great big sigh of relief, that all I have today is a gift, and I have so, so much more than I could ever deserve. To breathe to cool night air, to reflect on a day well lived, with a soft bed to sleep in and warm food in my belly. There was a different time back then- but it’s time to walk away from that wreckage in my mind. Pack it all back up into the little ammo can it lives in, bury it deep in the earth and let it dissolve into nothingness. I know that one day the memories will never hurt me again, and I will keep pushing on until that day comes.
Life in a funeral parlor is very boring. Father sleeps all day now. He was always a napper, and absolutely loves to sleep. Perhaps it was an escape for him years ago, a way to avoid dealing with Mom or us kids.
A big part of his nappiness is sleep apnea, which wasn’t even heard of years ago. In the 1990’s Mom convinced him to see the doctor about his constant sleepiness, and he had a sleep study done. It was found that my Dad has one of the most severe cases of sleep apnea that the doctor had ever seen. It was incredible, the number of times he quits breathing in an hour. So finally we had an answer to why our father was always trying to “catch up” on sleep, making us tiptoe about the house each day when he was lying down. I coined the nickname “Sir Nap-a-lot” for him, which he did not find amusing, but we all thought was very funny and accurate.
Fast forward 50 years, and here if my Dad now with severe Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
From the research being done insomnia and lack of restorative sleep are key factors in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. This is no surprise to me, having watched my Dad lie on the couch all hours of the day, waking more exhausted than before. Now his eyes glaze over twenty minutes after he gets out of bed, it’s all he can do to make it back to his room or over to the couch. It is especially bad after he eats, which has made me wonder about his blood sugar. He was prescribed one of those machines for people with Apnea, but he never, ever used it. He is totally non-compliant when it comes to stuff like that.
So, here I sit in this quiet house, dogs lying about on floor pillows and blankets, cats on beds,chairs and couches, and Dad laying wherever a space can be found-out like a light!
Do I nap? Oh, I try. I tell myself I should try to live by Father’s schedule. so that I am not falling asleep when he is up and about. That doesn’t seem to make me sleep, though. I lay down and shut my eyes,but the mind races and the pain lies under my skin like an ever present organism, draining my life juices away. my nap time is spent turning this way, then that-stuffing pillows here, moving blankets there. Petting dogs, pushing cats off the bed, always listening for a movement in the next room.
I lay sometimes on my new (used) big red couch, such a pretty piece, and a great napper, and now and then I drift away. Dreaming of yesterdays, when my body moved and I was loved. Dreaming of giant grasshoppers eating my zinnias. Falling asleep to the sound of my silent prayers, prayers for God to send me an angel. An angel to stand over me and keep the bad things away while I rest.
When I awaken, it is always time to perform a task, feed a father, a cat, a dog, a bird, a plant. Wipe a hand across blurry eyes, beg a brutalized body to creak to it’s sore feet. Teeter off, half bent over, to fry a sausage, crack an egg, sweep a mess, say a pleasant “good morning!”. He looks vacantly past me into the blazing day, sips old coffee and says, “I didn’t sleep at all. I’ll be going back to bed after breakfast. After lunch. After dinner. After snack. After everything, I will be going to bed.”
Follow the bouncing Kiko! Boing! Boing…Boing!!! Boooinnng! Isn’t boing a funny word? I guess it is a made-up, sounds-like-what-it-means word. You can say it like a spring coming unsprung, or like a superball bouncing off walls, flying everywhere!
Both of those ways of saying it would be very appropriate here, for I am just the bare trunk of a shaky little tree, with my leaves flying all asunder. There is a current running through me that threatens to burst me open like a melon, splatting the walls with bright pink melon-y Kiko innards.
No, thank you for asking, I am not doing well. To look at me, you may think I have a bit of a wide eyed stare, but inside this head it feels like one of those bullet trains will suddenly shoot out of my forehead.( Cue bullet train rushing past soundtrack…)
I haven’t slept for about four consecutive nights, and for me, not sleeping means zero hours of shut-eye. A good night is when I can string together at least 2 two hour segments of lying still in a row. That is becoming a fast fading memory, so I hope this Manic cycle eases soon. The last time it was this bad I had to go to the ER, begging for relief. I think they were going to break out the restraints then, so that is not an option now with Dad in the shape he is.
No, I must keep my “stuff” together somehow. I ran out of Trazodone last night, I have not been taking care of my responsibility toward myself by checking my medicine bottle levels. If you are someone new to taking Anti-depressant or anti-psychotics then let me suggest that you NEVER let yourself run out of meds. I have been under psychiatric supervision for 13 years now, and it has taken me about 10 of those years to take responsibility for my own medicine. It is my job to make sure I don’t endanger myself or those around me, so it is a life saving job for me. My life is in my hands, so running out of Trazodone was “a very bad thing, Kiko!”
I sleep walked around the house all night last night, found myself in the kitchen, in the den, in the hallway, sitting in a chair, leaning against the wall and finally laying on the bedroom floor. I don’t think I went outside, or ate anything- didn’t find any evidence. I fell asleep with my head in a bowl of chocolate ice cream once- when I woke up I thought I had been bludgeoned in my bed- the bowl was stuck to the side of my head like some gross swelling, and the dried ice cream on the sheets and pillows was exactly the rust brown shade of dried blood! Quit laughing! I’m serious!!
Anyway, that as because I was blind drunk, not because I was out of meds.
so, I made myself go get my meds at 7 this morning, in my pajamas. They aren’t really pajamas, they are a mildew spotted pair of yellow green yoga pants the color of puke, and a grey t-shirt that you can see through it is so threadbare. I came home and took a quarter of a tablet to get it into me asap, and then I proceeded to crash out for an hour.
This was the way the day went: make Dad’s breakfast, lay down on the couch. feed the cats, lay down on the couch. feed the dogs, lay down on my bed. Feed the birds, lay down in my recliner. Feed dad lunch, lay down in front of television. try to eat, fall onto couch again…
You get the idea. Somehow the hours have past and I am somewhat recovered. I wanted to post something so you all know I am still kicking, and I am praying with all my might for all of us. (Me and my other personalities…) Ha,ha! No, really, I know that with God’s help I will endure.
May Jehovah’s Will be Done! Then one day, none of us will ever suffer from any kind of sickness.
Did you ever feel that things were really going to change in your life, sudden-like? That a fresh wind had blown in, and changed the puzzle pieces , so that everything in your life would (finally!) fall into place?
No, me neither…
Just kidding guys, I really DO have times when I feel this way, and right now is one of the times. I realize that most of the time these epiphanies follow a terrible depressive state, and that these periods of “euphoria” are almost always a red flag that the mania phase of Bi-polar is about to cause me to do wild and wonderfully fun things-like spending money on green nail polish. I am amused at the use of the phrases “most of the time”, and “almost always” in my last sentence. That is like saying, “kind of dead”.
Really, that is the wonderment of this illness- it spends it’s time convincing you that you’re not ill, and it does this by making you feel “normal” ! Everyone wants to feel good, joyful, happy, and full of life. Everyone wants to laugh, to play, to love, to talk to friends and celebrate. What fun it is to create poems, to paint pictures, to glory in the movement of a body free of pain.
For people like me these are all terrible symptoms, times to stop. To analyze motives, count the money in the bank, look over the bills. To take the responsibility to check your medications for mistakes, for refills. To double check the calendar for missed psychiatrist appointments, to think back to sleepless nights you may have had, or triggers you may have been exposed to.
” Did I watch a movie with domestic violence? Did a large group of motorcycles go by?”
” When did I take my last mood stabilizer, or anti-depressant?”
” Did I mistakenly take a diabetes pill instead of the one that calms my PTSD?”
And then one must carefully think about which joy inducing activity one wants to indulge in: are you really just going to buy one pair of shoes? Why do you want to draw the dog’s portrait at three in the morning? Do you really think it is fun to mow the entire backyard the day after hip surgery?
I have days when I feel like my life is a beautiful flower, unfurling to soak up the sun of all the activities I miss. I feel that the sky is the limit, anything is possible, and I love the entire human race, and they love me! I feel every muscle just screaming to get up and run until I drop, to saddle the horse I don’t have and ride into the horizon. I want to taste the sweat running off my brow while I trim trees, plant rows of vegetables till my hands are blistered, and play softball ’till all I can do is fall onto a blanket exhausted.
On these days of promise, I make myself fight the pain off enough to get outside. I strain to pick up the rake or shovel, to shake the paint can. I begin my yardwork, or artwork. Perhaps I get up that morning , hop in the car while fighting my fear, and drive to the department store to buy myself a present. I made sure to take my pain pill right on time, so I know I have a couple good hours. I am going to really LIVE, I am going to TAKE HOLD! I am going to QUIT BEING DISABLED!
I begin my play, or shopping or gardening, and it is bliss! I feel the sweat on my back, I squint in the sun. The rows are forming like soldiers all in formation and soon the seeds will be planted. All thought of time, or sensibility, or pacing myself is now gone- who needs rest? Certainly not I ! I feel better than I ever have, and soon my yard will win prizes from the gardening club! They will write a piece in the paper about me. It is really amazing- but I don’t even feel the sun. so what if my skin looks red- it’s a sign of good health! Maybe when I am done here I can go to the mall, I deserve a little gift! Or I’ll take Dad out to dinner, it won’t hurt to drive on this leg. So what if the doc said not to put weight on it- LOOK, I’m digging holes!! I am completely healed!
I glance at my watch through the sweat. “My goodness! Is’s already 4 P.M.! Oooh, I am feeling kind of woozy… Did I bring any water out here? Mmmmm, his hip is burning a little. Where are those crutches? Man, I left them WAY over there? Wow, my shoulder is screaming at me- maybe I should put some ice on it in the house… OOPS! I really stumbled there. I better be careful or I might fall again…”
After I limp over to the crutches and tremble my way inside, I start to feel a cloud on the horizon of my mind. “perhaps I should have eaten… or paced myself… Oh, man, I still have to feed Dad, I’m too sick to go to dinner. I never get to go anywhere. Man, I just hurt all over!!! I’m so sick of being sick! I miss my Mom, she used to help me… I am so alone here… I wish I weren’t so crippled up- this pain is worse than it has EVER been! That pain medicine does not work AT ALL!!! I just want to go hide in my room and never come out…”
Then , vanishing into the late afternoon twilight, my joy in living slips away. It leaves in it’s wake a crushed and saddened woman, who feels every nerve as if it were bathed in boiling water. A woman whose fingers will not uncurl from the shape of the shovel handle. A woman praying for mercy and forgiveness for thinking she was something she is not, for hurting herself again. For soaring on the wings of eagles only to beat those same wings fruitlessly until they became broken and tattered and sent her crashing at lightening speed into the dirt she was made from.
One day, in the not so distant future, all sickness and suffering will be done away with by our magnificent Creator Who, by the way, is not the source of our woes. Jehovah will lift us out of the mire, out of the sediment, and I cling passionately to that knowledge.
Until that day I will dream, and I will fight this crazy illness. And I will plant my flowers with tears.
It was a real “hair-ripper-outer” for me today. it did not help that I slept around 20 minutes last night, the rest was spent tossing and trying to get comfortable. I have been in so much pain, the sleeplessness goes hand in hand in a vicious cycle. I have been in a flare up of the vertigo condition I have. It’s called Begnign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, and it started back last April 5th.
Once the court case is over with I’ll be able to tell you what happened, and how I got so injured. Today I called my Attorney and asked him if we had to wait until I had the neck and back surgery to proceed with the case, or if we could just get it moving now. He said it was ok to go ahead now, and that he would get it done right away. It has been nearly a year since the accident, and I am so tired of waiting. I have suffered every day since the accident, I will be very glad when I have the neck and back surgery.
I have been fallling asleep sitting up today, that is how I almost killed myself in a car crash last week. The BPPV causes extreme fatigue also, it’s like my brain and body get exhausted trying to stay steady. So writing this right now is like pulling my fingernails out. I’ve been wanting to make this splendid and interesting, but I’m afraid I am going to have to rest a while.