After ridding her system of yet another failed psychiatric medication, she sits across the desk from her psychiatrist asking “What now?” Unfortunately, there seems to be a problem with her endocrine system (which the endocrinologist has deemed “An interesting detective story”), and nothing more will be done until that mystery has been solved. Perhaps next month she will try one more experiment in psychotropic medications (there aren’t many left that she hasn’t tried). Meanwhile he tells her he’s not worried, she has a good husband.
So the self-talk begins. She tells herself she can do this, she’s done this before, there are people who care, a patient husband who loves her, a toolbox full of self-care tools. She talks herself straight into a manic episode. This is when things start to go awry. There are official DSM terms for different types of bipolar episodes, but she doesn’t use them. Her episodes don’t seem to want to follow the rules. Life starts feeling good again, she’s confident (too confident, if you ask me – warning sign!). She becomes so confident, in fact, that she’s sure her husband wants to hear her opinion of one of his “failings.”
Oops, that didn’t go as planned. Of course, being the patient man he is, he just stares at her, “OK, well what do you want me to do about it?” And then, being the unstable lunatic she is (it’s ok for me to use that word, I have permission from the mental health gods), she storms off because he can’t read her mind. Now she realizes her racing thoughts are running laps in record time. She opens her handy dandy tool box and pulls out Breathing Exercise #24. And she breathes in, and she breathes out, and then in, and then out. What’s that you say brain? Ooooh, those are ugly words, low blow, brain. She tries again – she breathes in, breathes out…uh oh, her eyes are beginning to leak. How about Breathing Exercise #53?
She decides to change location. She runs upstairs quickly into her “safe” room, trying to out-run the pummeling of self-harm words her brain has begun to rain down. In her haste, the toolbox has been left behind. All the good intentions fade away. All that is left are the thoughts that she’s absolutely certain are true. She’s tricked everybody this time. She has even admitted her trickery to those who have been kind, “I’m an imposter, I’m not who you think I am, I am not strong, I can not do this any longer.” Her eyes are leaking badly. At this point the only coherent words that can be heard if you listen carefully are “Why haven’t I died yet?” and “Help me.”
The door opens, but she is not aware, her basic cognitive skills having left some time ago. Then warm arms are wrapped tightly around her body. Kind, coaxing words bring her back to recognize her surroundings. Strong hands help her stand up, help her walk down the stairs, help her get into bed. Loving arms wrap her in safety, quiet comforting words lull her to sleep.
She awakens the next morning to try once again.