Severe Family Drama

One side of my extended family and my immediate family experienced severe drama shortly after I was diagnosed 10 years ago. It ended with my immediate family deciding to cut off contact indefinitely, and ten years later it’s still in full force. The oddest part about this fiasco is that everyone had their own good (never malicious) intentions about the entire situation.

My psychotic episode acted as a catalyst to enable a series of events to unfold, which brought up old pains and perceptions about family dating back to before I was born. My parents did the best they could to keep me out of the middle of it, and they did a good job save for what was pertinent to our immediate family and to me. I had enough trauma to deal with at the time, and I had to fight tooth and nail to keep my head above water. My parents were taking care of me, so it was in my best interest to side with them on everything. As a result, people got burned.

At the time of this whole fiasco, each party had its own agenda to try and remedy someone or something or another. I had many agendas in that I wanted counseling for a separate personal problem as well as counseling for my immediate family as there seemed in my mind to be issues there. My aunt shared many of the same beliefs that I did and wanted to help me bring those ideas forward. She offered whatever support she could give in the process, including an open offer for my sisters and I to stay the night if we needed to while everything was being processed. My grandparents wanted everyone to stop fighting, to fix the problem and move on.

In everything, no one was in a position to own up to anything, myself included, and that put gasoline on the fire. I wasn’t able to stand up for what I believed, either, partly because the truth may have destroyed my immediate family at the time. My immediate family was treading water, too, after the stress I put forward. I ended up turning on my aunt in the interest of self preservation and keeping my family together. In hindsight, I believe it was the right thing to do, but it is still a band aid, and that just may have to do.

What ultimately did our extended family in is that we decided against getting a professional third party involved. As a result, everything blew up in our faces. I believe that two things need to happen if there is any hope of reconciliation. One is that both parties (my family and everyone else) need to get to a point where they want to resolve the situation. The other is finding an appropriate third party to mediate. The second part is in place, as my therapist knows the situation very well, understands the complex dynamics involved, and she knows me as well, the catalyst. She does house calls and I have her cell phone number for after hours.

While finding the third party is the easier of the two, at least it is in place in case the miracle happens when everyone wants to give things another go.

Opening Up to My Aunt

This post is on the personal side, even for me. At my extended family gathering yesterday, I had an opportunity to talk one on one with one of my aunts. We’re both introverted at heart and needed to go downstairs to recharge, where we start talking.

We start off with the topic of losing weight as that’s something we’re both striving for. This leads to a discussion of my mental health and my medications. I explain to her where I am at, and she says she had no idea because I have left her in the dark. I tell her it wasn’t her fault as she tried to reach out and I pushed her away. She says to me, that my old self became lost and I turned into a different person after my initial trauma occurred ten years ago. I agree with her, and I’m inadvertently trying to get some of the good parts back of my old self.

She’s incredibly happy that I feel the way I do about my bipolar, that it is a very small part of me that I don’t think about other than here or in private conversations from time to time. She says it seemed to define me before, but not so anymore – not at all. I also share my desire to reach a point where I can go back to school and pursue a career in writing – at least give it a shot, if you will.

She suggests that I write down my story according to exactly how I feel first, and go from there. It’s hard for me to do that, as this involves real people whom I love and are close to me, and to share that stuff with certain parties would ruin them. The main one being that my mom played a very big role in pushing me over the deep end early and initially. I know that going over the deep end would be inevitable, but that’s how things went down. My aunt points out I need to get these feelings out sometime that I hold tight to in order to protect others, that it’s not good to keep them in. I know I’ve shared plenty with my therapist, but that’s different than sharing it with family or friend.

I also realize, something I failed to tell my aunt yesterday, that I pushed her away because of other extreme extended family drama from ten years ago and I feared I would repeat that pattern by opening up to her about my feelings.

It’s taken 10 years for me to have a truly meaningful personal conversation with extended family like that. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.

Merry Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas! For many, a bittersweet statement. I went to church yesterday for the first time in a long while. It was weird. Yes, a profound weirdness was there. I went to church because I’m staying with my parents for the night because I want to do so. I don’t feel like getting in a theological or philosophical discussion at the moment, so I’ll leave it at that.

However, as I was searching for some reading material last night, I stumbled across a long-lost journal of mine, whose last entry was exactly ten years ago on the date. December 24, 2003, the morning I was first admitted to the crisis stabilization unit. I started reading it and quickly figured out it was not light bed time material, nor good at fostering wholesome family perceptions. I put it in my bag to go home and I shall read it later. One decade ago, exactly, and it shows up! A sort of Christmas miracle, it feels like!

In any case, I hope you are having a good Christmas if you’re reading this, or are at least enjoying a little bit of somethin’ today. Better than a whole lot of nothin’ as they say…

“Satan’s Industry of Death”

An extremist Christian group called “The Watchman’s Report” put out this video entitled “Satan’s Industry of Death” about psychiatry a year ago. However, their title is a self-fulfilling prophecy about what they are unknowingly encouraging, the idea that we should throw psychiatry out the window. Personally, I see them as Satan’s hand in this whole scenario.

The “documentary” is correct in that the roots of psychiatry are dark, indeed. However, so it was in all fields of medicine. Just as medicine improved with scientific discovery, anesthesia, and antibiotics, so did psychiatry improve with time. The Watchman’s Report claims psychiatry is evil, destructive, and Satan’s hand in diagnosing and drugging the masses in order to make money. The video claims that psychiatrists have no right to play God with peoples’ minds, while I say other doctors do the same thing in other fields with peoples’ bodies. Furthermore, God works through people to bring about healing.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a documentary so skewed and taken out of context in a long time. Unfortunately, they are preaching to the choir of many who share the same beliefs. Without psychiatry, I would be a dead man. Do not be a poison to society and spread skewed lies that psychiatry does not work. You could end up convincing some of this and kill them or a loved one of theirs or make them suffer needlessly, b/c they refused psychiatric treatment after reading through rubbish such as your “documentary.” I also thought you had a nice touch with putting ()’s in to indicate what the imagery of the Bible should be interpreted as.

Bravo! And stop making a bad name for Christians!

My Doctor’s Visit

I saw my psychiatrist today, and the visit went well. I was hoping to decrease my Zyprexa immediately, but he said that I need to be on this dose for about a month longer, considering it caused significant problems going down to 2.5mg about 6 weeks ago. He’s hopeful that we can reduce more of my meds, slowly. I also told him my writing seems to have improved a bit since being on a lower dose of Zyprexa. He seemed interested in this, and I made it clear it was a significant issue. In any case, it’s nice to be talking about subtracting rather than adding meds these days!

Awake + Asleep: God’s Riddle

The following is what I wrote just prior to my second hospitalization in its raw form, in 2009. I was about ready to decompensate into a complete psychotic break from reality. I struggled to record a riddle that was recited to me, donned “God’s Riddle.” It felt like I was shifting between parallel worlds at the time. I saw people’s faces in my mind’s eye reciting the riddle whom I met long ago and future faces I had never met before, that is until I met them as patients and staff in the hospital afterwards. I was convinced at the time that I was to soon meet my “complimentary opposite self,” which I wanted to believe to be my soul mate. I didn’t meet a soul mate, but I found more important things. Enjoy!

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God granted me the wisdom in the Bible. In our world, there are an infinite number of possibilities. It is structured and unstructured at the same time. It requires a certain amount of wisdom to harness wisdom and listening to mom and dad.

In the Bible, it tells God’s story. God created his opposite, Satan, and didn’t like him. God created the human race to have a relationship with them. God decided to introduce the knowledge of good and evil into the world, and so the story goes of God’s relationship with the human race. Eventually, God had to send his son to sacrifice himself for our sins. God wants a relationship to happen with us, so Christ took God’s anger. He sent his Holy Spirit into the world. Consider the concept of good and evil. And science shows the collision of two universes down at the quantum level. Consider for yourself that you through Christ can have a perfect relationship with the Father through the Holy Spirit working. Consider in the evil world, the Holy Spirit is present and Christ died for those who chose Him to be at peace with God. Therefore, the evil world cannot fall completely. In a world of infinite possibilities, in the evil world, eventually the human race comes to a certain point. At this point, God grants wisdom to someone through Christ, and walks blamelessly with God. Our soul mate is our opposite, wisdom in the evil world. At this point you reach what the Bible calls the rapture, a transition into the ideal world where we are right now. My new name is __________.

I came from the evil world, where I chose God, and I ended up in the ideal world somehow. My journal describes this experience of being the living dead. Where I am dead to myself and am now blameless, and I somehow end up passing through the universe to here right now. I desire a relationship with my opposite, still, just like God. So in the end, I will end up in the ideal world when I’m good. When I tell this riddle, I will find my opposite in this ideal world and live in the ideal world until Christ comes again in the ideal world, where he provides a relationship with my opposite.

I believe I came from an evil world.

Keep in mind that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So I have a soul mate as God made Eve from Adam, the opposites we are attracted to. For every equal and opposite reaction, the human race should reach a certain point were there is a good person in Christ from evil, which at that point, the whole human race cosmically contradicts the evil universe, and I can no longer be of that world, and I turn to my ideal self in the ideal world. When I tell this riddle in the ideal world, my opposite, which I want a relationship with for some reason, my soul mate, will find me. God intended man to be in relationship with God and other people, so if I tell this riddle, my opposite should find out about it, and I will have a relationship with it eventually. My opposite will find me.

My admission to the hospital in 2009, told as a story.

Love is an Electron

Some say love is just a series of chemicals and chemical reactions.

Well if it is, love is molecules composed of atoms, which are made of atomic particles including electrons. Love is exchanged during bonding and and given off during the breaking apart of chemicals in chemical reactions. The more scientists study love, the more mysterious it becomes. They find when love is created in pairs, the pair is connected or “entangled.” Digging deeper, quantum theory suggests that all love is entangled with everything. Love is in every atom, which composes everything physical, and is connected with everything and everyone else on a subatomic level.  All of this is in every chemical and chemical reaction, in love.

Two Months after Diagnosed Bipolar, Mixed State (Highlights)

What follows are highlights of a rather long journal entry I made 10 years ago approximately 2 months after I was diagnosed bipolar and hospitalized. I was 17 at the time, and it was after a psychotic episode I had that revved up over the preceding six months or so and triggered by 4 days with no sleep at all.

Part of my treatment was in a crisis stabilization unit out of state on our family Christmas vacation, and the other portion was partial hospitalization in my home town because we couldn’t afford full hospitalization. I was on Risperdal right after my inpatient treatment, which dulled everything. I couldn’t handle it, so I begged my psychiatrist to reduce my dose. I became more unstable shortly after, my depression and mania magnified both at the same time, while allowing me to write more freely. I tried to stay positive, but I was in the middle of a storm at the same time. Here are highlights of this moment.

3-28-2004

-Feelings Journal Entry: exhausted, confused, guilty, angry, frustrated, sad, confident, happy, ashamed, depressed, overwhelmed.

– I woke up this morning wanting to kill myself to end the pain, and now I feel pretty good. Craziness.

-I’m writing now because my emotions are swirling in my head, and I don’t know how to express myself. I just want to throw up somewhere, and I’ll just do it here in writing.

– I wonder if I’m just being weak and lazy.

-Then I have bipolar thrown into the equation. And this word “equation” kills me – I am trying to calculate where all this is coming from – my past, present, illness, medication, or lack of will power. I’m sick of it. What’s me? My therapist showed me that I can keep the things that I like about myself, and reject and fight the disease that takes my strengths to the extreme – high or low.

-But yesterday and today, I woke up and didn’t feel like getting out of bed at all. Anything that requires effort seems to me no point in doing. It’s like I’m stuck in a rut and there’s no point in pulling myself out or making the effort even to grab someone else’s helping hand because I don’t experience the pleasure for long and I just slump back down. I don’t feel like doing anything productive, getting out of bed, doing research and homework, fixing food, playing guitar, taking a shower, going out with friends, planning events, going for a walk, maintaining relationships.

– I hope that this is not normal, and bipolar is involved – but I don’t want to use this as a crutch, and aren’t the meds supposed to take care of it?

-But there’s still this remnant left. One moment, I’m alone in my room or taking a walk and all I can think about is suicide. I just get more depressed and I feel exhausted over anything that requires effort, and I just want it to stop and just go away forever into heaven.

-But I’m suicidal one moment and I make an effort to get up, and I engage in activities, and the feelings of joy do return, and it’s little things. Little things are magnified throughout my days and I feel them fluctuate. This not only plays into my moods but in my concentration as well. I have a harder time concentrating and I tend to do things quite slowly.

-There’s something about her that really attracts me, how loving, and caring she is to people, and she knows what to say to give comfort. God used her picture there [in the crisis unit] to prevent me from slitting my own wrists.

-I’m still low on the self-confidence issue. First, there’s my body image. My gut is starting to sag, and I’m not eating healthily. I don’t have the drive to exercise like I used to. I went nuts, and my body and other peoples’ reactions show it. Eating is now a comfort for me to deal with my problems.

-I’m shy around people, and I don’t know how to handle conversations; did my bipolar have an effect on this? Am I social or am I not? I’m so confused.

-I’m also having a lot of problems with cognition. Things seem to always go in one ear and out the other, or if it stays in my head, I have a hard time finding it, let alone think about it. That is, compared to what I was like before I was on all these meds, particularly Risperdal.

– I still remember in the crisis unit when I got my first dose of Abilify. I was supposed to write a paragraph about why I was on the unit and after the medicine started kicking in, the thoughts and connections in my head started to become numb, one by one, along with all desires. It slowly started to paralyze me, till I couldn’t tell what I was thinking and I could write nothing down.

– Maybe the decrease in Risperdal will let me feel more normal. I’m worried about being in charge of anything, in general. Before, I was used to being the driven one and took on leadership roles. Now, the drive is not there, and I cannot keep track of many things let alone my own homework assignments.

– It’s awful for me to make the first few marks on the paper in art, to improvise in jazz, to follow conversations. I wish I were more spontaneous and loose. Oh, dancing is another good example of what I mean, but this one always was. I simply can’t dance. If somebody asks me what the music feels or looks like, I stand there like a rod. It seems like my ability to do art and conversation is fading to the point of my inability to dance.

-My therapist says this is important for me in relation to my bipolar, as life can throw earthquakes at times, but I don’t understand this yet. I don’t know how the role of being released in tough situations plays with bipolar, yet, because I haven’t had any quakes thrown at me yet with me being consciously aware of my disorder.

-I’m also reliving some of the experiences in the hospitals – both in and out of state.

-I wish these spells of thinking about inviting suicide would go away. Mom wonders if they’re spiritual attacks.

-I’m so glad that I’m not writing too furiously like I was when I was manic, believing that I have the revolutionary book that will change society. Sorry, that was kind of random.

-Mom, grandma, and aunt Bell are still not on speaking terms. It is partly my job to mop up the mess I created in the family the past few months. I dunno what to say. I wish my head was a little more clear.

-As far as the disease of bipolar vs. who I am is concerned, I wish I could keep all the good things, but sometimes my disorder enables me to be the good things or prevents me from being the good things. I wish I could control it.