A horrible, horrible week that hasn’t ended yet. Starting from a 2+ week bout of hypomania, anxiety and OCD – this is long for me, I only know ultra rapid cycling – last Sunday morning I crashed back down in an instant. It only took a minute. No, less than that; seconds. Flick of a switch, a chemical canal that burst its banks and which o’erleaps itself.
I don’t really know everything I think and do during highs. My default position, as my therapist keeps letting me tell him, is depressed. I’ve had that all my adult life, thirty-five years or so, I at least understand it and it isn’t much of a threat to me. Well, nit physically. No, what’s dangerous, what IS a threat to me, is the mixed state that sits between the high and the low. It inhabits a few rungs of the ladder, though I usually tread them coming down, rather than going up. I think.
So last Sunday, after that sudden crash which came with absolutely no signs, no warnings, there was a space of time – maybe 2-3 hours? – where anything might have happened.
In the Koran there’s a passage I’ve always known (it’s not my religion; I’m a nominal buddhist): ‘Does there not pass over a man a space of time when his life is a blank?’ I’d always assumed this was in sleep, in dreams. But I was told by an Imam on a Kashmir houseboat that it refers to the time one spends in the womb.
Last Sunday, I spent a few hours living in a blank of a different kind.
I’m generally (but not always) only suicidal when in a mixed state. As it’s been pointed out many times, it’s then when you’re depressed enough to want to die but high enough to think it’s a great idea and to have the capacity to make it happen. Hell, yeah!
2-3 hours.. longer than usual, for me.
I’m not going to describe that time in any more detail now. It was tough. I don’t need to tell YOU that.
And out of the mixed into the low. Usually this is moderate. There’ll be a high along soon to ensure I don’t climb too far down the ladder. But I kept walking last Sunday. Three rungs from the ground (I know that place, I can handle that place).. but then two.. one.
One?! I haven’t been one rung from the ground for some years. OK, it’ll go away soon.
It didn’t go away soon. Sunday – always by far my worse day – I went to bed. Monday, I didn’t get up for a while. Ditto Tuesday. Wednesday. I didn’t go to work; I’ll deal with the fallout of that on Monday.
I ate a meal sometime last Saturday. I ate a meal yesterday. I grazed for five days, not much. And I slept a lot; which considering I have had chronic insomnia for a couple of decades (those damn highs in the night!) were sort of a plus point of the whole experience.
But it’s a week later, almost, and I’m still in that place. This is highly unusual for me. Therapy yesterday was awful; traumatic. Breakdown, bottom-rung.
I’m being stubborn – or as my psychiatrist puts it, I have too strong a work ethic – and have refused to start meds. Surely I won’t be able to go to work, hold down a good job (I have a professional position), be a single parent, drive, write, think, on meds? I have no idea; no-one’s talked to me about it. I don’t speak to anyone other than my therapist about these matters.
I was offered Quetiapine, which appears to have every side effect known to humankind attached to its use. I was offered Lithium, which seems to have fewer but potentially more serious side effects. I’ve decided to go back to her and admit defeat. I can’t do this anymore, I really can’t. I’ll say yes to Lithium and wave goodbye to my kidneys.