As Luck Would Have It

You have your time to be guilt-ravaged, for the rest of your life. You’ve done your time for your imagined crimes. For the love of all that is holy, sleep. You’ll go nuts if you don’t sleep.

Do I find the term nuts an offensive term? No. It seems to encapsulate the way I’m feeling quite nicely. I don’t feel knee-jerk nuts, though I’ve been known to dabble. I feel the guilt coming upon me like a weight. Like a shadow, one I don’t particularly feel like sewing back on.

And why? Because of the fragility of the ego. Because using your past as performance art can have collateral damage. Because it’s time to face the music, as disjointed a meter as it may have.

And the more I try to kick dirt on things in the past the more they rear their wormlike heads and scream at me. And you have to decide what your motives are, who you might hurt. Why is this important to you? How much sharing is too much? How much are you actually willing to come to terms with?

Is this even the way the story was meant to come out? I am questioning my motives tonight. Am I picking at scabs on wounds that have not yet fully healed? You tell kids not to do that. Among other things, there is a risk of infection.

I’ve alluded to my hospitalization many times but I don’t think I’ve laid it on the table to dissect it. Why was I there? It was my third trip to the ER in as many months so they decided to stabilize me under more extensive supervision. I was in la-la land and they saved my life. Bad meds? Sure. Bad wiring? Most definitely.

Does it make me a bad person? No. It’s shit luck. It’s being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong brain. It was a culmination of prior experiences which led me to live a life of temporary delusion. And boy, did I have delusions. Delusions of grandeur, delusions of reference. You name it. And paranoia? Hoo buddy.

Does having a comorbid disorder make me an unfit mother? What about a few? OCD. Bipolar I. Generalized anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder. Elements of PTSD. Where do the diagnoses end? Where do I begin?

The really bad thing about my bipolar is that I’m down when I’m up, a classic mixed episode. Instead of shopping or producing mass quantities of work or having promiscuous sex, I instead internalize everything I’ve ever done wrong. I am awake for days and simply sit in a rut. I condemn myself to this life of obsession and misery. Not to say that traditional manic symptoms don’t result in their own consequences.

But those are other bedtime stories for another entry.

And the fun thing? There’s nothing I can do to control it. I can’t get over it, I can’t snap out of it. What I need is a medication adjustment. What I need is to (swallows pill) do what my shrink told me to do when this inevitably happens. Take more of the one pill and call her immediately.

But it’s 2:21 in the morning. I didn’t sleep more than 2.5 hours last night and tonight’s odds are not looking great at this point.

Who do I blame for this? If I were still Catholic perhaps I would look to God. But I can’t believe in a God who would intentionally do this to a person. It doesn’t make sense. It’s all genetics and brain chemistry and dumb luck. It’s just gotta be.

I spent years praying to be a good person and for God to bless those I loved in my life. I prayed so many times, with all my might, and would repeat the prayer when one of those nasty intrusive thoughts would kick in. Because God wanted me to be perfect. Because nothing less than perfection could be tolerated.

I spent years compulsively touching a Bible and drawing crosses on my notebooks –ostensibly to protect my homework from Satan, duh, doesn’t everyone do that?–and years looking reverently at my pictures of Jesus and Mary, and talking to them like they were therapists, and asking them why. Why did I have to be so impure of thought? Why did I sin despite my good intentions? Why did I have to wash my hands until they were cracked and bleeding? Why?

They remained silent. And eventually, I started looking elsewhere for answers. Like the DSM-IV. And other helpful reference books. And nonfiction books. And essays about OCD.

I even started writing about it myself and now look where we are.

It’s no one’s fault when illness or other misfortune strikes. It is a culmination of events. I don’t get mad at other people because of the hand I was dealt. Life often isn’t fair and people aren’t meant to be perfect.

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