What triggers my mania

When I go grocery shopping I enter another world. As soon as I enter those doors and grab a cart my mind starts racing. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night, doesn’t matter how many people are in there, doesn’t matter if I am there for a few items or a whole list of things. I can’t slow down. Inside I am bursting at the seams.

Having a shopping list helps keep me manageable, but I can’t think straight. I find myself going over the items on the list several times to make sure I know what I’m doing. The littlest thing can derail me and I have to take a long pause and re-evaluate things.

By the time I get to the checkout I’m exhausted. But then there are the lines. People everywhere. Unloading their carts, bagging their groceries, taking up space with crazy energy levels. I almost come unhinged!

It’s not until I get on the road and away from the crowd that I begin to unwind. Classical music helps. Thankfully I live in a small town where traffic is usually very slow. Our rush hour consists of cars going 50mph on the freeway for a total of about an hour out of the day. Real easy to plan around.

I find that any crowd gets my heart racing. I was recently at the convenience store. It was around 11pm. I figured it would be slow – just a couple cars getting gas and maybe a couple people inside. Boy was I in for a surprise. When I arrived there were four or five cars getting gas and three cars parked out front and one parked on the side. Inside the store there were people everywhere. I had to wait in line for maybe 10 minutes and by the time I got up to the counter my mind was all messed up. I couldn’t think straight and the cashier informed me that they don’t accept credit cards so I had to come up with another plan. I was able to find a couple bucks in change and that paid for everything but the damage was done – I was again, messed up. It’s the little things. It’s always in the details.

Another thing that triggers my mania is when I miss my dose by a few hours. Usually I take my meds around 9pm after dinner has settled. But tonight I forgot to take my pills and now it is 2:00am and I am wound up tighter than fishing line. Most times when I take my pills, I get tired soon afterwards. But when I miss my dose, something happens inside of me and I am awake for quite a while. Even taking my pills doesn’t trigger sleepy-time. Instead, I am buzzing with anxiety and all I can do is wait it out.

What are some of your triggers?

Asleep at the Wheel

No, this won’t be a post about the band. Sorry to mislead you. But I do feel like I have been asleep at the wheel these past few weeks. Lately I have been battling sleep issues and faith issues. Last night I finally went to sleep around 11pm. That sounds normal right? Well, consider I had been up for 32 hours. Not so normal anymore, huh? I go through these cycles where I am on a “normal” sleep routine for a few weeks and then out of nowhere I am caught up in the world of insomnia and it takes me up to a week to get back on track. The flip side of this is that there are days when I am so tired I don’t get out of bed until late in the afternoon. I have no explanation for any of this other than the fact that I am Bipolar and with that I experience many side effects from the pills they have me on. Anyway, this happens far too often for my comfort and it interferes with everything. It’s hard to make appointments because I never know if I am going to be in a cycle or not. I have canceled many appointments due to this problem.

My faith issues are a direct result of me not being a regular church-goer. I don’t have the money that it would take to pay for the gas to get me to church every Sunday. So, I try and do my own Bible Study online and it has been difficult. It is not easy to do this as a one-man-show. I need people to bounce ideas off of. I need other folks’ input. The big question at present concerns my salvation and my standing with God. I am certain that I have committed the “unpardonable sin”: blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. You see, I have anger problems (bipolar, hello) and when I have an episode I could care less who I am talking to and who the audience is – I will yell and scream and cuss and say all sorts of things. And, I think on one occasion I cussed out the Holy Ghost. And if Matthew 12:31 is accurate (Jesus speaking) then I am in pretty hot water.

“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. “

So, reading this and not having the knowledge that, say, a pastor has, I am worried that my episode will be held against me and that I am going to hell. Simple as that.

It would be a shame if God is so anal that He does not take into consideration a person’s mental health when He judges a person’s faithfulness but the Bible is not clear on this. Jesus says that particular sin will not be forgiven, but does that carry over into my salvation? I mean, if – and it’s a big if – I were to be saved, would He look at me differently in heaven? Will I be sent to the back of the bus, pushed out of His immediate presence? Will this affect my opportunity to store up treasures in heaven?

What are your thoughts?

Inappropriate Thoughts

There are days that I have thoughts of suicide and/or murder. They are both fleeting thoughts as I don’t have the courage to do either. To me, suicide is a brave thing to do. You have to be willing to give up everything in order to gain the unknown. It is tragic for sure, but there is that element of bravery involved. And I don’t have that courage. Not yet anyway. My life is not that bad that I want to go away for ever.

And then there is murder. My anger feeds that thought. There is this guy, a real jerk, who threatened my life and I still see him occasionally, sometimes frequently (the mother of his baby lives nearby) and when I see him I usually fantasize how good it would feel to murder him. Not just to shoot him once or twice, but to put a whole clip in him and take my time doing it. Thankfully, I 1) am not allowed to have guns, and 2) don’t have access to guns. Otherwise, I’d be in prison already. But I have these thoughts often enough that they bother me – suicide, and, murder. They just won’t leave me alone.

I know my views are not popular and some would go so far as to say that they are immoral, but this is my life. I don’t ask to have these thoughts, they just are there. I control my actions, but I can’t control my thoughts. The consequences of both suicide and murder are permanent, each having their painful endings. But they differ greatly in scope. With suicide, I get to end all of this waste of a life once and for all, but I would have to give up the HOPE that things could change. And that HOPE is a strong drug. All by itself it changes things, causes me to alter my outlook, causes me to make different decisions – all predicated on the fact that MAYBE, just maybe, I could hang on for another day. And the murder, well, I would have to spend the rest of my miserable life locked away – and my FREEDOM is most important to me. Even if I got away with murder, I would live my life in a panic of thinking that somebody knew and would tell the cops and in this way , in the panic, I would again lose my freedom.

So, yeah, I’m not willing to give up my FREEDOM for anything, not for suicide and certainly not for murder. BUT I have these thoughts. And they constantly invade my waking moments. It’s like I’m trapped in here with them and they won’t go away.

I did mention anger. Anger is my housemate. My confidant. My self. I have lived with anger all of my life. When I was just a boy my anger would lash out at my big sister. I would chase her with knives and hammers and things. I routinely smashed her door, put holes in the walls and was a terrible kid. As a young adult I lashed out at inanimate objects: once I almost broke my hand repeatedly punching a steel door because I was angry at a co-worker. Most recently, before I was diagnosed, the police were called because I had a meltdown at a government facility and another time a meltdown at the bank.

Anger is not my friend. Even while on medication I battle with it. I am told time and time again that my speech, the tone of my voice, is mean, and I just don’t get it. I don’t feel mean at the time. So it’s got to be something deep inside of me. I’m not sure if changing my meds would help. I’ve tried 11 different anti-psychotics and I’m not sure I want to get on that carousel again. The lithium is working pretty well and in combo with the ziprasidone (Geodon), I am in a manageable state. But I just can’t stop these thoughts. And have you noticed? I jump around from topic to topic with the ease of the wind. I’m told this is a normal trait for a Bipolar. So I am sorry for being scatterbrained.

My original thoughts were on suicide and murder. I don’t know how many of you have these thoughts, but don’t give up this freedom that we enjoy for the bliss of the unknown or the pleasure of feeding your anger. Suicide is not for the faint of heart and you don’t usually get a second chance to rethink your position. One time and you are done. There is no going back for a do over. And murder, well though it might feel good at the time, it also carries with it a high penalty. In both cases you lose your freedom and your hope for a better life. Never give up that HOPE.

Taking a Trip

Hello everyone. I am going on a trip across the country next week. It will be an 11-day journey for me and my son. We are visiting my mother. And, I have anxieties about this. My mom is not “open” to any illnesses or hardships and cannot – absolutely cannot – relate to my son’s and my troubles.

You all know a bit about me and those of you who are Bipolar can understand how our illness is “invisible” to some people. But my son, he has a physical ailment that has thrust him into mental illness as well. He has a skin ailment that is mildly contagious and it is on his face just under the lowerlip. He has become OCD to the max and this combination of mental health issues of mine and his will be a stout challenge for my mother to deal with.

To put things into perspective let me tell you a story: When I was around 15 I broke my finger playing basketball and was not given the opportunity to go to the doctor for days on end. Why? Because my mom could not believe that I had a broken finger. Her reasoning was that SHE has never broken a bone in her body, how then could I have a broken finger? For three or four days I went to school and did all the things that a boy does at school. But one day someone bumped into my hand and I lit off like a firecracker. I winced in pain and made my way to the school nurse. My finger was yellow and blue by this time and the nurse took one look at it and called my mom and demanded that she take me to the hospital. At the hospital they did what they do and then put my finger in a splint, but not before I passed out from the pain. I will never forget this experience as long as I live. And all my mom could say what that she never had a broken bone in her life.

So, my concerns for this trip rest on my mother’s reactions. I have an illness that I cannot control. I cannot control my body, I cannot control my mind, and I cannot control the cycle I will be in during our stay.
As for my son, well, his OCD puts a real damper on things. He is constantly changing his shirt “because I dribbled water from my mouth and it got on my shirt, so the shirt is contaminated and must be washed.” He takes two hour showers because he is prepping for 40 minutes before he gets in, showers for 30 minutes and then post-preps for another 40 minutes afterward. This routine is painful when one is on the outside and must wait to go to the bathroom. Fortunately my mother has two restrooms. But it doesn’t end there. My son goes through a bottle of rubbing alcohol every 3 to 4 days because he is constantly cleaning things: counters, sinks, shelves, tables, etc etc etc. He goes through a pack of latex gloves every week. This skin condition has warped his mind.

So I don’t know how this is going to work. I’m not the type to keep my mouth shut and I fear that my mom will be her old self and judge us for what we cannot control.

How would you handle this?