First off, I’m exhausted, I’ve been sick for over a week, went to the doc, strep plus UTI, running fevers and such. I only missed work for the “mandatory” 24 hour period following the discovery of strep. And I’m now at least 39 hours no sleep, my mind abuzz, intent on delivering goodies. But, I must warn you, when I’m sleep deprived I lose track and ambition easily, so I don’t know if this will be an interesting read or not, I’m hoping it will, and to serve as some enlightenment on how I deal with bipolar struggles a lot of the time.
I was at work today, still not feeling well. I was asked to pull some things from the stockrooms, so at some point I find myself dizzy on a ladder, dizzy from being sick, not the height, I mean I was only like 8 feet off the ground or so. The passive self harm thought shows itself. “I could fall off here, maybe that would be the end of me and my problems”.
All too common these thoughts crop up, sometimes even in the middle of conversations or activities. So I just try to shrug it off. But the thought returns, “I mean I’m sick right now, could pass it off easily as an accident”… I tell myself no, and try to purge it, and for a brief moment it appears I’ve succeeded. Then I entertain the idea that I wouldn’t die anyway, that I would just hurt, maybe get some bruises and a couple fractures at most. Then I remind myself of my father’s accident, and I think that maybe if I just hit my head on the concrete the right way a wet smack might at least put me out of my current misery.
I toy with this idea a bit longer despite having work to do. Then my heart starts pounding coursing adrenaline through me as I start to legitimately consider this proposal I’ve made to myself. Hell, if nothing else, I got a ticket home for the evening. I snap out of it, remembering my promise to a friend to not allow myself to come to harm. My heart rate slows a bit.
Then I hear it. Whatever it is, my imagination, a “voice”, my voice? I don’t know. It’s a hard sensation to describe, the words aren’t so tangible as a conversation hosted with physics, but all the other markers are there, intonation, inflection, volume even. This is what are considered my psychotic features as part of my bipolar I guess. He just tells something like “Knew you wouldn’t do it” in a very patronizing tone. My blood freezes, my mind goes blank, I’m thinking, anywhere but here, I’m at work. Tears well up in my eyes. He asks me why I fantasize about hurting myself if I have no intent to follow through. “You know what I think” he says “I think you’re still pining for that red headed bitch, maybe she ought to have cut you a little deeper”.
That stings, I’m going through a lot right now and there was a lot of things going on in that that just made me want to flip out. My heart starts pounding again. “There he is, the go getter, the one who just can’t keep his problems to his self. Well, tell you what, if you think you can brain yourself on the concrete, go ahead, that’s why I’m here, to witness all the fun you have”. I winced, trying to regain composure. He’s not real, it’s in my head. All the usual rationalization bullshit. He speaks up again. “Oh, lad, you’re so desperate to be rid of me, come now, I make it fun.” Toying with me. Is it me toying with myself? I have no clue how this operates.
I start to climb down the ladder, trembling. “Not gonna do it huh? As I said, called it, you’re too predictable”. I remember thinking I don’t care and I wanted to talk to my ex fiance, whatever it is we are now, dating again, I suppose. I tried to regain my composure to leave the stockroom. “She’s gonna figure it out Grant. She’ll drop you again, quite frankly, for someone who values his intelligence, you’re a little slow on the uptake kiddo.” Deep breath, he’s not there. “Oh, I’m here, even in your head, the best place of all, I don’t even need to hide and you carry me with you, I’m just here for the fun.” I know he isn’t real, but I could feel his breath and crooked smile all the same. Deep breath, no time for breakdowns, I remind myself.
I’m above this, I remind myself. I can do this, I always have, always will. “Always have what?” He paused “Always have been the little bitch needing attention? I think so.” It struck a nerve again. How do you fight yourself? I was pulling my hair, in an effort to not explode. Then I talked back to him, like I do most every time, after enough goading. God, writing this out makes me feel way more nuts, but I think I need to relate this so my friends who read and my girlfriend now or anyone I meet in the future can understand where I was at, might still be.
I talk back. “You think I’m weak. Because I don’t have the strength to kill myself. Fuck off. My friends don’t want me dead. It’s not a matter of what they mean to me, but, what I mean to them. You can criticize how I make or choose my friends, but, at the end of the day, they’re still there and they’re still going to pull me through this. And you know why? Because I’m fucking awesome, I’m genius and kind and caring, maybe I’m crazy, obviously that’s true, but fuck off, because they care and I’m not letting some two bit inner demon goad me into ending my life. I hate how I am, that my brain is all fucked, but, there’s so much good in me, and so much good I’m capable of.” I rallied up myself with that peptalk. “I don’t know where each next step will put me, but I’ll be there taking it, not taking the chickenshit way out, because I have friends that are awesome, that think I’m awesome and nothing you say can change that.” I had tears streaming off my face now, and I hoped no one was needing into the stockroom or that our security had been watching.
I waited for one more sly comeback and I wiped my face. Nothing. Just silence. “who’s the chickenshit now?” I thought. I took a moment to compose myself before carrying on about my business, the whole thing only lasted a couple minutes and sometimes it goes much worse. Sometimes the dialogue isn’t so obvious and it’s more neurotic in nature when I don’t have some “voice” toying with me.
As the night went on, I reinforced my positive thinking and reminded myself that I was capable of great things, I just need the right meds or support or therapy. I want to code. I can get lost in coding, but unfortunately sometimes it’s hard to motivate myself to start any kind of project feeling like there’s not any kind of payoff anyway. When I was in school, I was much more intelligent than my peers and constantly improved my work, I should really finish that degree…
That riled me up some, recalling all that as best I could. Now it might be a bit longer before I get some sleep again, and I don’t want to go much longer, I already know I start to have auditory hallucinations around 48 hours and then they start becoming visual and it makes me even more nutters.
I feel really vulnerable after writing that to be honest, I don’t hear from him often, but I always want to downplay it when I do, I mean no one wants to be crazy, you know?