When my new psychiatrist asked me what precipitated my manic episode, I answered “Trump.”
It was all I could think of. I have everything I want, a great husband, wonderful children, a house, a car, cats, a Canadian vacation. Why did I go crazy this time?
It first started after the election. That’s what my mother-in-law told me. I trust her. She would know. It wasn’t her first rodeo with mental illness. She’s seen a lot of people lose it. She told me, “My aunt struggled… But she went sane a lot too.”
I want to go sane again. I believe I can have a sane episode too.
November 9th was the first sleepless night of too many since then. I stayed up all night, shaking from the results. I worked all day as a poll worker, trying to ensure a free and fair election. Then, the results trickled in. I couldn’t sleep. Since then I’ve been on a roller-coaster. Four days and three nights is much too much time awake with your own demons.
Mania feels more real than depression which muffles out everything. Mania gets stuff done. It’s not always crying and screaming. It’s that part plenty, but there is also the burst of productive energy. Chapters edited in days, two trips to the laundromat! The best family vacation ever! Then I feel enraged over everything. I am zero to 150 in less than seven seconds. My thoughts chase themselves around until I can’t hold it in. I’m not proud of this. I actually feel very ashamed of it all. The weakness, the fear, the sleepless nights when I’m just awake, wanting to fight or talk to anyone. Thank god for my family in other parts of the world, with other schedules and time zones!
Then, weeks of sleep.
I ache for a middle ground. No more upside down roller coasters. Just a smoothly paved road with good water drainage.
I want control over my myriad of emotions that change on a minute to minute basis. Depression is easier. Mania is intense and urgent. Depression is more predictable. The paranoia is frightening.
It seems crazy to talk about it now. The weird things I thought. How convinced I was of them. The way I noticed every single plane or helicopter that flew over head. Perhaps THEY were coming for me.
I should have shut my damned mouth and not publish scores of questionable blogs. I thought the Secret Service was coming to take me away. I almost cut my hair off. It felt like it could be a liability if I was in prison. Prison fights and all.
It felt so real. It all made sense after all. I am a terrible person. My disease must make me a monster. Everyone is afraid of me.
Nobody can tell me otherwise. I don’t listen to anyone. My kids are forced to remind me time and time again~ “Mom, you’re delusional.”
It’s so hard on them. They carry the worry around with them at all times. It’s a burden on them. I feel like a much older woman than I am.
So~ When my psych asked what happened? I had to go back to when I stopped sleeping. I have a complicated relationship with sleep. I require more sleep than the average person. I always have. Naps are a fact of life. It feels like a deficiency in me. Not sleeping is not good for me. The election was the precipitating event.
Since then I have been wrapped in a constant cocoon of impending doom. I have what used to be known as a pre-existing condition. Temporal Lobe Epilepsy rendered me un-insurable for over five years. I could not buy health insurance.
The Affordable Care Act protected me from that nonsense. I could take my meds and treat my disease and have insurance! I wasn’t a condition, I was just a person.
When Trump repeals that, I am back to that fear I lived as an pre-existing condition. All I want to do is have less seizures. I need health insurance for that. Anti-seizure meds are not what you would call inexpensive. I was up to nearly $5000 a month if I had to pay out of pocket. That’s not feasible.
Thinking about what would happen if I lost my insurance makes me feel nauseous and dizzy. I’ve been feeling doomed ever since then. Does this seem to be an unrealistic fear?
The thing about fear is~ it doesn’t have to be realistic.
Trump set me on a manic spiral that I can only hope has receded by now. You’d have to ask my family to be sure though. They know the signs better than I do.
I changed my medicine and I feel moderately better. At the least, I feel empowered to try something new. I have the power to try. My family deserves it. I just have to stop thinking. And avoid the news at all costs.