One phrase I love to quote is, “Make sure you pass the test the first time, so God doesn’t have to give it to you again.” Well, I will most definitely be taking that test again. Let’s rewind to last weekend.
The signs were all there: I was on a manic swing the beginning of the week and not sleeping, and then I crashed hard towards the weekend. Work was stressful, circumstances had led me to question my ability to EVER hold a job (clearly some dysfunctional thinking going on there!), and family life was a bit crazy. It was the Perfect Storm, and just like the movie, no one was coming out alive.
My husband is awesome and very supportive. We had recently gone to therapy together to develop a plan for handling this swing season (July and August). We’re both smart people (after all we have master’s degrees from the Mecca of the Midwest), so we totally had this. My husband had excelled in his strategic management class so he was ready with a SWOT analysis to tackle these next few months. Bipolar had nothing on us.
Um…how quickly we were humbled.
So Saturday arrives, I had to drive two hours to a cousin’s bridal shower—sit through all my older aunts asking me when I was having kids!—and then drive two hours home. When I got home, I had some extra stress energy rolling around and thought Sidneywould be willing to help um “release” some of that (trying to keep it PG here!). He kindly and gently turned me down, which is a perfectly natural and acceptable part of marriage. However, to my imbalanced mind that “rejection” was the final tear in the rope of mental stability I had been desperately clinging too.
As I plummeted towards the raging rapids below, I realized I had to pull myself together to go to dinner with an old professor and then a movie with some friends. I didn’t have time to do any cognitive behavior therapy, work out, get a slushie, or use any of the other wonderful tools I have. I simply touched up my make-up and put on a nicer outfit. Now, a piece of wonderful advice my sister passed down to me was “when you’re having a bad or long day, looking cute always helps”. It’s great older sister advice, really. And normally it works. But my husband had just turned me down remember? So in my mind, I was clearly not attractive.
And so the evening went, constant thoughts were swirling around in my head of my worthlessness, the desire to hurt myself, feelings of anxiousness, panic, etc. I was a walking DSM diagnosis of a crazy person. Sidney was concerned and asked what was wrong several times. I briefly tried to explain to him that I was feeling worthless and disliking myself and anxious but did not use our code words or a detailed explanation. Instead, I crawled into my own head to have a party with the dysfunctional thoughts. Lots of beer and vodka shots being passed around up there.
He realized I was not going to let him in and we rode home in silence. I walked in the front door, straight into my room, and proceeded to have a melt down. I wanted to hurt and destroy myself, but knew that wasn’t an option. So instead I began destroying my room (clearly the rational thing to do)—I have done it before, but very very rarely. I emptied all my dresser drawers on the floor (and not in neat piles either). Took off my clothes, threw them across the room and collapsed into a naked ball on the floor. All the while mumbling to myself.
Sparing you the details, the next two hours consisted of closet time on my part, ignoring me on Sidney’s, and yelling on both. It finally culminated when I had enough sense to take my medicine and crawl into bed (needed my mom bad then, she always seems to remember to give me medicine as soon as it starts. Do moms ever stop being right?!). I then proceeded to cry myself to sleep and not move for 12 hours.
At first glance, it can sound like a temper tantrum I likely threw when I was five. I was quite dramatic even at an early age. In fact, one time when I was two I cried and cried and cried when my dad put me to bed. Finally, I stopped and when he came to look in, I had taken off all my clothes (including my diaper!) and curled up to sleep on the floor….sound familiar?!
But here there were a few key differences. I was not mad—I didn’t try to break anything, I purposely avoided hurting Sidney or throwing anything in his direction. I cried, but never yelled anything hateful at Sidney. The feelings were directed at the “voices in my head”. I was not crying or tying to get my way, I was just channeling intense unexplainable feelings of depression and anxiety into action. As the case with many of these “episodes”, I do not even recall the actual events. Majority of what I remember are glimpses here and there but primarily the feelings leading up to and after it.
All in all, quite a fun night for us both….
Now that I’ve set the stage, the next three posts will look at this “episode” from a few different angles!