An Unusual Case
I was throttled into my first manic episode about a month ago, and I say throttled because it truly felt like I was being rocket launched out of a canon. Y’all ever play ToonTown? Then you know what I’m talking about.
I’ve suffered from chronic depression for a good majority of my life. Instability? Check. Childhood trauma? Check. Mommy issues? Check. Daddy issues? Age regression issues? Check. PTSD? Check. Check, check, check. And now, our newest addition, mania, has a giant check next to it as well. Something I only ever saw from the outside and something I only ever forgave, but never understood. I have watched and loved my mother through three manic episodes, including the one she’s in now. I have endured the most emotionally scarring pain a child/adolescent/adult should never have to experience because of my mother going through her manic episodes, but I think my innate desire to love/be loved has made me so forgiving of them. And that’s the only thing I ever knew about manic episodes — they happened to my mother, and I forgave her, and we loved on. But I didn’t truly know exactly what it was that I was forgiving until I had my first encounter with mania.
When you realize you have become your worst fear, things get a little hazy. It’s hard to explain the moments before I came to the realization that I was manic. Everything was in fast-forward and in the moment all at once. My brain felt like it was playing a game of tug-of-war and Kylee was winning, the one who was manic, the one who couldn’t stop calling her friends and telling them that she loved them, the one who was getting endless praise at work for how she carried herself, the one who couldn’t stop smiling. But this Kylee was also the one who craved attention from anyone who’d show it to her, the one who was starting to forget what she said 10 seconds ago, the one who couldn’t remember where she set her keys, the one who would cry at the drop of a hat, the one who was going 50 in a 30, the one who was driving high, the one who scared all of her closest loved ones when she finally told them what she had done during her mania.
When I finally did realize, it was 2 in the morning and I was sitting in my driveway, parked with my head against the wheel. It was the kind of cry that makes you feel that tightness in your chest — like when you’re at the state fair and suddenly you look up only to realize your mom and dad are nowhere to be seen and you’re only 5, and oh, God, you’re alone and you’re completely terrified. The kind of moment that can only be described as falling off of the edge without warning while the THX movie theater sound plays in the background (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvRHgN2JEUk&ab_channel=Flaradox, seriously, watch this, and you’ll get it if you don’t). My therapist woke up the next morning to a panicked voicemail from me, promptly got in contact with me, and the next week was dedicated to getting me back on track. I took an entire week off of work, and I took an entire week off of life in general. I surrendered myself to my therapist, my sister, my closest friends who I knew I could trust. I was tired of trying to understand, I didn’t want to anymore. I wanted to be protected from myself. I didn’t know who I was or what was happening.
So, as you can imagine, hearing that I was ‘an unusual case’ by the psychiatrist I saw later that week was not the most helpful thing. Nothing I had gone through was making sense to me and even writing this, I still can’t make sense of what happened to me or what I went through or what I experienced. If I couldn’t understand it and a licensed psychiatrist couldn’t understand it, who could? And what was so wrong with me? As it turns out, Borderline Personality Disorder is what I am plagued with (I say plagued because it’s my mental illness and nothing about it has made my life easier and I’m still bitter about it! As I should be!!) The reason the psychiatrist was so stumped is because I also show a lot of symptoms of Bipolar. But for all intents and purposes, I find more comfort and resonate more with the BPD diagnosis (you can read more about it here — https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml).
I was elated to learn that I finally had a name to put to all of this. I couldn’t stop crying reading the papers with all of the symptoms that were so me. I finally felt like I could breathe, take a step back and look at all of my life’s decisions, and go Oh. That’s why I did that, or, oh, that’s why I convinced myself my best friend of 7 years hated me (hi, Anthony). With me, things are all or nothing. Black and white. Good or bad. Coupled with a heavy catalog full of fear of abandonment and attachment issues, we come at a full stop to BPD Express. All aboard, queens.
That’s all fine and dandy except I feel quite the opposite now as I am crashing and facing the unfortunate side of mania where instead of being overtly happy, I am suicidal and depressed. I really am an unusual case and those words keep ringing in my ear as now my therapist, psychiatrist and doctors are wondering if maybe it’s Bipolar. Maybe it’s Borderline. Maybe it’s the depression. Maybe it’s the PTSD. Maybe it’s all of the parts of my case working together to make it the most unusual it can be. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Whatever it is, this sucks, and I wasn’t prepared for this part. I think that the worst part is that I never asked to be like this and I wish so desperately right now that I wasn’t. This is the stage of grief people go through and I understand that, but also, I am allowed to wish I was dead because I have fought tooth and nail to redirect my mental state to a safer and healthier place. But it just seems that my unusual case hasn’t found the right remedy yet. And that’s what my therapist and I plan to figure out moving forward.
I suppose I’m writing this to read back on so that I can forgive myself because I know me and I know that this is on a fast track to manifesting into a deep self hatred. I hate this merry-go-round life but I deserve forgiveness. I know there will come a point shortly where I convince myself that I don’t, but hopefully writing it will make it real. Or at the very least, help someone else because it’s not just me that deserves forgiveness. It’s anyone who suffers or resonates with this, or anyone who is going through their own mental hurdles right now. You deserve forgiveness from yourself. We all deserve to be a little kinder to ourselves. I think we can all admit that, right? Applying that forgiveness, taking it and loving yourself with it, is the hard part.
I don’t know what is going to come out of this manic-depressive state I’m in. I’m battling the fear of unemployment and I’m battling the fear of losing newly kindled relationships that are almost too good to be true. I’m battling the fear of feeling like a burden to everyone who I know loves me. Worst of all, I’m battling the fear of losing someone who I just learned to love — myself.
Deep breath. Sigh.
Everything is hard and nothing matters at the same time. Y’know?
So, anyway. My mother goes through manic episodes and now I do, too. Maybe I won’t ever understand myself, but I will forgive. I will love onward. It’s just a matter of when.