Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Chair

The weeks since my last post have been very difficult for me.  I know - broken record - but they were the worst in many years because they robbed me of the last thing I held dear: the ability to put my thoughts into words.  The fear consumed me, wrapped around me, suffocated me, and forced me into a tiny three by three foot square:  The Chair.  The Chair is my safe place - home base - no evil can touch me here.

Of course the warped part of that is the fact that The Chair is, in itself, evil.  It is my prison.  I don't see it that way, but it is.

The Last Stand.  

If you are of a certain age you remember the old tube televisions.  After turning off the set I used to watch the once vibrant and engaging picture get smaller and smaller until it glowed as the tiniest little dot in the middle of the screen.  That dot stayed there for quite some time, and then it was gone.  Much like that concentrated speck of light - an entire universe on the head of a pin - my world has shrunk to the size of a recliner.

After the failings of Lithium, Risperidone, and Lamictal, which gave me Stevens Johnson Syndrome (still dealing with the side effects of that), my doctors have moved on down the pharma line to depakote.  My doctor was so concerned about side effects that he started me on a very small dose - 250 mg daily for four days, and 500 mg daily thereafter for a couple of weeks.  We will move up at that time if all goes well.  I took my first 500 mg dose last night.  So far, so good.

Swallowing that first depakote pill took every bit of bravery and strength I had.  It took me two days to build up the courage...turning the prescription bottle over in my hands for hours.  Pills have not been my friend.  In fact, the pills charged with bringing me back from suicidal ideation nearly killed me. 

The words come so much harder now, so I have very little to say.  It is important to mention that I am not a victim to my diagnoses.  If you could see inside my head you would see an epic battle being waged against the disorders by my desire to be well and live a balanced and joyful life.  I do not sit here because I've given up.  I sit here because I'm holding this fucking mountain as a last line of defense against disappearing forever.           


  1. TMR,
    I find your words very compelling and oddly familiar. I, too, have the bipolar illness. I have held off the compulsion to just give in and give up. I have given up so many other things, things I once cared about. I can vaguely remember what it is to care, but barely.
    I am 56 and have lived with this disorder for my whole life. One would think that the bearer of this illness would become proficient in handling this challenge. That has not proven true for me. I find that as I seem to get through one obstacle, another of a completely different sort rears it's ugly head. Sometimes, I fight just to stay in the game. My couch is my safe place. During the years of suicidal ideation, I would tell myself to stay on the couch, in a prone postion and wait it out. Knowing that if I stayed on the couch, no harm could come to me. Wearying of such tactics, I drove myself to the hospital on three different occasions. The first time, after being observed, an accurate diagnosis was finally given to me, that was just seven years ago.
    It rocked my world. It changed my focus. I became able to obtain health insurance only through the state with sky-high rates. (They are cognizant of high suicide rates.) The flip-side of the coin is that I finally had a new level of health care and meds that support my positive mental health and well-being. Yet, it gave me a label. One I have struggled restlessly to live with.
    Being newly-divorced after a 28 year failed marriage, the label now presented a hurdle for me in how to 'present' to would-be suitors when the time came. I am still at a loss for words as to how to be honest without revealing too much. The drama continues...

  2. TMR,
    I just found this blog by "accident". I am a believer that there are no accidents. I feel a kinship with you and Susan who just posted a reply 7/31. Although not bi-polar, I have had my share of visiting the "black hole of depression". I make lists of my lists. My spices and soups are in alphabetical order. I am 3 years escaped from a 25 year marriage. Three years of finding myself. Learning to forgive myself for what I always saw, or was told, were my "problems". I, too, had an intense, 60 hr/wk job. Only difference was, I was the President of a company I started. When the economy started eroding sales, my then-husband panicked that our lifestyle would be lost, so he pressured me to "just work a little harder". I snapped. Became am emotional zombie. It was leave or die. I moved cross country and left him a note. It took every ounce of courage I had. In the space of 3 years, lost both parents, sold the company for peanuts, our custom built home in foreclosure and went through a painful, protracted divorce. At times was not sure I would survive. But I did.
    My turning point came when I met a man who has some similar problems to mine - and yours - is on meds, has been fighting depression and anxiety and OCD for years. A kindred soul at last who actually understood! At first he helped me, supported me emotionally when I didn't even know what I needed. He was my lifeline. As I have recovered, I have helped him find joy in a life that was joyless. He has changed and improved his life immeasurably, with my support and learning EFT, which we both use. Gotten off many of his meds. My life now has joy in it and I am moving forward, with his support. We are good for each other. Best of all, we understand each other's dark places. which means we also realize living together would not be good. Neither of us will ever be "normal" and we have decided to simply view ourselves as unique - a far better label - with our own gifts. He is a technical scientific writer with a Doctorate and I am a graphic artist/designer and former accountant with an MBA.
    To Susan: When he and I had our first date, after about 3 hours of conversation (we had spoken on the phone many times before, so we were comfortable talking to each other), he told me that he had OCD and was on meds. I actually laughed and said, "Thank you! At last someone who understands.". And the rest, as they say, is history.
    I have walked through "The Valley of the Shadow" and am seeing the end. Not always, but far better than a few years ago. I hope you can find the same. Someone who understands - and who accepts you, knowing it all - can sometimes be better than all the pills in the world.
    I wish you peace.


Thank you for taking the time to read and leave a comment.
Regards, TMR