Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Madness Mania

I took way too many pills and mixed them with alcohol.  I know that now.  But on that day, I didn't know what to do.  I'd been going on five days with no sleep.  My babysitter cancelled on me so I had the baby and four year old to entertain.  My mind seemed to be racing and I couldn't stop cleaning.  Anyone who knows me, knows, I hate to clean.  But there I was on hands and knees with a toothbrush and bleach trying to get my shower white instead of orange like the clay outside.  I talked to my husband and told him what I was doing.  He wasn't alarmed.  His wife that never cleans was cleaning the shower with a toothbrush and he wasn't alarmed!  Men can be so dense.  

When that burst of energy wore off and the baby was sleeping, I called everyone I knew.  And just like before, no one was home.  I called my p-doc and left a message that I needed help.  No one called back.  I finally got a hold of my best friend's mother and we talked for an hour.  She had no idea how high I was.  I was doped up on ambien and vodka, and of course like a good little patient I had kept up with my daily dose of antidepressant.  Just what a person with bipolar disorder needs when she's manic!   Apparently I didn't slur my words or anything and she would know, her husband was an alcoholic.  So, even though I was looking for help, they didn't see.  I called the p-doc when I ran out of vodka and I know I begged for help but no one returned my call.  By then, that storm inside me had grown to monumental proportions and a hurricane had built up needing release.  I considered driving to the liquor store for more vodka, but I could hardly stand up.  So I got the baby  and a bottle and put him on the bed and had my son make sure to know to keep him from falling off the bed.  And I took a handful of ambien.

I'd had a rough year.  I'd had a very hard pregnancy.  Sick throughout and then gave birth eight weeks early.  The day my baby came home I went into the hospital with pancreatitis.  I was in for five days.  We moved twice that year and I didn't know a soul in town.  When this day came, I still didn't know anyone.  I was isolated and my husband worked long hours.  I had no adults to talk to or interact with, just children.  And I'd been severely depressed throughout my pregnancy though I'd been assured that it couldn't happen. Bullshit!  I felt guilty for not being happy about being pregnant and blamed myself for his premature birth.  And we weren't exactly bonding.  I didn't get to hold him, touch him, or even see him until his second day of life.  Actually I only got to rub a bare patch of skin between all the wires and tubes.  I couldn't pick him up for almost a week.  It sucked.  And I went home on Valentine's Day without a baby in my arms.  I blamed myself for everything that went wrong.  

So here it is September, my mind is flying, my p-doc hasn't called me back after two desperate phone calls and I take a handful of pills.  I called my husband and told him to tell the boys I was sorry, it wasn't their fault.  I wasn't thinking by this time.  I was crying I know.  I was crazy from lack of sleep.  And I just needed to escape the crazy.  Nothing was giving me a release.  It had never been that bad before.  I always get like this at the end of September which coincides with my birthday.  But not to that extent.  

My next memory is waking up in the emergency room coughing with my husband beside me and my regular doctor staring at me asking if I'm okay.  He'd talked the emergency room doctor out of sending me to the state mental facility (which I hear is pretty bad) and putting me in ICU.  Yeah, you can imagine how well that went over with the nurses.  Seems they pumped my stomach full of charcoal and it makes you have awful gas.  I got to go to the bathroom behind a screen.  I said I had a bad headache and the nurse laughed at me and said "Yeah, I bet you do!" and did nothing. Thankfully my doctor came to see me early and my husband even earlier.  I was released when my doctor was convinced I was trying to kill myself.  And he gave me something for my headache.

As for my p-doc.  She apparently had phone trouble that day.  Convenient.  She did call and spoke to my son, 4 yrs old almost 5.  She told him to let the paramedics in when they came, that she was going to call 911.  Apparently, my cleaning fit had started up again and I went down the stairs to get a broom and sweep the kitchen. I tripped on the broom and knocked myself out.  My husband came home to find the paramedics in the house me on the floor with blood around my mouth (bit my lip) and some stranger holding the baby.
He grabbed our son and called the one person we knew sort of and took the kids to them for the night and then met me at the hospital.  He slept at home with the kids, then took them back to the friend. And by then, his dad and brother had arrived and my mom was on the way up.  Like that was going to help.  I had a day of hiding in my room not facing anyone.  Then I faced my father in law and brother in law and told them I was sorry.  They didn't care about that, they were just worried about me and was I going to be okay.  My mother in law was in a nursing home at the time with a broken hip or she'd have been here too.  We sent them home.  Then my mom arrived and stayed a few days.  When she went to leave she first told the friend, who was actually a girl I grew up with in church, "We'd like to just keep this a secret if you don't mind."  Yes, please mom, let's cover it up like we do everything else in the family.  Every little dirty secret, let's stick it with those.  Then she had the nerve to ask me why I didn't tell her about my bipolar disorder.  Well golly mom, you've  been so supportive all my life, you were the first person I'd turn to in a moment of crisis.  Financial support sure, emotional support never going to happen.

Hmm, feeling some anger still about the whole thing.  And that was eleven years ago this fall.  Happy to say only one bout with mania since then and I got through it with the help of a friend.  Lost a p-doc over that bout too.  But that's another story.  So that's my Manic Monday story.

For those of you who ride the more severe mania roller coaster, my heart goes out to you.  May you find supportive people, a safe haven, and a drug that helps you. Peace!



  1. Oh well done on your utter bravery in sharing this painful story with us. It shows clearly how its not just one thing which takes us to do such a thing to ourselves, its many. Like the dominoes fall one by one and adding them all up seems to direct us to take our own lives. Like the hubbies neglect to pick up on the behaviors, like you p-doc not picking up her damn phone, like no one realizing you had bipolar and giving you anti-depressants (they KILL me - well almost did on several occasions in this manner)! One by one these things all seem to point the way clear to ending your life.

    Looking back at these times is painful, I commend you. And I'm SOOOO glad we both failed in our attempts.

    Shah .X

  2. Me too, Shah! But it wasn't a conscious- I want to die kind of thing, it was okay, this is the only thing that's going to help. No one is listening and I can't make it stop. I think mania is much scarier than depression. I'm too paralyzed to attempt to take my life. It's like everything weighs a million pounds and moves in slow motion.

    My husband knows what to look for now. Though both my kids can read me better than him. But then they both have bipolar disorder, too. It's weird how we can read a room emotionally so easily. Maybe it's a safety thing for us. I like the all week link up. It's nice to be able to know that anytime I need to write about it I can and link it up and people will see it on Monday.

    Thanks for all you do, Shah *hugs*


  3. I'm sorry you went through this, but it is wonderful that you are now in a better place, and are able to look back and reflect on what went worng, and what you and others could have done differently. I hope that your husband now understands the signs to look for if you are heading into severe mania like that. It sounds like you do know the signs now yourself, so that is the most important thing. Knowledge is power. May you never have to experience such a crisis again!

  4. Thanks for sharing here. Wow, we never know what others have to go through do we? I am bipolar and had increased postnatal depression after each of my four children. My mum was in England (I live in Canada), and except for the first, when my mum and mother in law came, was pretty much on my own. I also went through times of severe crisis. My Doctor never even mentioned the possibility of postnatal depression, even though he was a good Doctor. When women were in the Hospital for ten days after giving birth there was I think a greater understanding that they had gone through something major. Nowadays one has the baby and is expected to jump back on the treadmill without scarcely missing a beat, but having a child simply doesn't work like that does it? Education, understanding, kindness and support go a long way...