Acceptance

9-6-11     2:55am

Someone asked me tonight how I accept all these crazy versions of reality I experience and am not freaking out all the time. Have I done ACT or some special kind of therapy? No, not really. I’ve just lived through it.

The first time I experience something new it freaks me out and if it gets bad enough I usually end up in the hospital. Like this last time in July when I was talking gibberish and then not talking at all and then talking all weird. Freaked me out, understandably. But it happens now and I’m fine with it. I have a category to put it in. I know what it is. Or maybe I don’t know what it is but I know that it won’t kill me and it will pass.

I seem to have more and more of these things. These things that I know are bizarre to the rest of the world but have become quite normal to me. So when the universe is orange and I’ve been poisoned and there are people following me I am more able to approach it as an experience than an attack. Some strange experiences can be quite fascinating. I am always hesitant to stop one with medicine too quickly. I lose some of the beauty. It’s not something I can just get back. I enjoy the parts that aren’t super scary, the writing that flows through me. It doesn’t last. I keep it ’til it’s dangerous.

I think dealing with all the physical stuff has made that easier. When there aren’t answers I come up with my own. My own systems of coping, my own reasons, my own rules. My own way of accepting. I may not like what’s going on but there’s no one who’s gonna save me so I might as well enjoy what I can and throw the rest to Hell…

I’m so tired tonight. My brain is foggy and the words aren’t here to write. There are pauses in my mind where thoughts go. It doesn’t sound right and nothing rhymes.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

Rediscovery

9-25-10                4am-ish

I found this today in a drawer I was cleaning out. I don’t miss the fear of feeling that way but I do miss the fascination of those sensations. I was working as a job coach at the time for adults with developmental disabilities.

4-17-16                9:13pm

I’m feeling really weird today. I’m very anxious and nauseous and I’m disoriented too. Yesterday I felt like I was going to collapse and today too. Mark said to check out the dance and theater programs at UI, that they’re amazing. I was one step ahead of him. He said he’ll only approve of my trip if I have time on the books but can he do that? It’s for a neuropsych eval. I have a brain disorder (and a booger I can’t get out of my nose). I’ll ask Vickie – not that I think she’ll know.

Today is one of those days I don’t really feel safe and probably shouldn’t be supervising consumers, especially in the community. My ears are invisible, my brain is morphing like a lava lamp and light like Model Magic, and my teeth feel like they could fall out of my head just like dentures. My eyes are floating, suspended in their sockets and tingling.

The NAMI Walk and being with D- were big triggers for me. I’ve been hiding my mental illness for so long and denying that it’s there. It is. D’s having a terrible relapse. I feel sad and concerned, for both of us.

The driver’s playing classical music and I’m beginning to dissociate. Yawning but extremely tense then a burst of energy and lightheadedness…..

And everything’s fine.
Yesterday was Easter.
It’s supposed to rain today… —

© Michelle Routhieaux 2006

Hibernate

7-13-10                11:20pm

I feel sad tonight. Not sobbing-my-life-is-over sad. Just quiet, subdued. I turned off the tv. I’m not online. I’m not texting anyone. The music in my head is soft.

I went to Sea World today with Sarah. Mom made stroganoff for us first. We did a ton of stuff today, but I wasn’t there. I didn’t experience it. It’s like sleepwalking. I’m just floating, vaguely aware of what’s going on around me. I’m back in hibernate mode. And I’m tired…

(staring)

In hibernate I don’t think a lot. I listen. I stare. I want to be alone. It doesn’t help to be with people because I don’t understand what they say or don’t care. It’s not that I don’t like them. I’m just not here. I don’t remember what people say, my own thoughts. I’m exhausted but not sleepy. I am emotionally needy. I am most likely, in hibernate, to make bad decisions about men, to throw things out that I want, and to run away. In the deepest of hibernate is when I have found myself walking in traffic and usually ending up in the hospital.

I would say it’s a varying level of dissociation. I rock. I often can’t control where my eyes go. I can’t look at you when I talk. I am distant, quiet. This is when I miss people the most. People special to me that I’ve lost or never see. I could walk for hours in the night, just thinking. I don’t want to go home.

The daisy bush is half-dead. And it’s hot inside. I’d like something to do right now but I can’t focus. I’m sitting on my patio, rocking, listening to an abnormally loud cricket and the cars. Mom is typing. Zoe’s talking to me. My bracelet, which I often feel is strangling me, feels light. Weird.

I wish I was in the hospital. Not because I need to be but because it’s predictable and safe. I can handle the structure. Nobody asks me to make big decisions and when I lay down in bed at night I know I’m okay. And that I can breathe. And that someone’s on my side.

It’s simple there. It’s outpatient life that’s crazy.

(pause to FB with Mom)

In hibernate happy comes more easily. So does sad and upset. Often for no apparent reason or for a reason no one else understands. My emotions are fluid and pure, unpredictable. And I simple have to/get to surf, to ride. There is no other option. –

I feel exhausted. It’s hard to write. The light gets brighter when the microwave stops. I’m almost to fantasy. I feel confused.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

Slow Fade – Breadstick & A Music Rush

5-13-10                 3am

This song keeps running through my head. I’m nearing the end (I hope) of a fade. I have been falling gradually but significantly in the past few weeks. I’m concerned. Based on history, it shouldn’t be long before I’m quite crazy.

I realized today just how fucked up I am. The choir performance went fine, except for my not knowing which Friday the festival is on, even though I’m planning it. On the way to the taste test the confusion began. Now taste tests are not that difficult – sign in, eat, answer questions, get paid. I’ve done a ton of them. Not easy for me today. I was confused by the signs that said “Panel” instead of “Taste Test.” The software I’ve used for several years I couldn’t figure out. Halfway through I changed. I went from being alert, enjoying the food, and answering fully to very weak and tired, anxious, and unable to think, read the questions or answer clearly.

I went to my therapist’s from there and tried to comprehend his face as I explained that I’ve been convinced that I’m either being followed by spirits or losing my mind and that God is still following me. I’m aware that these are crazy things, but they’re very real to me. And they’re scary. He classifies them as psychotic. I don’t blame him. He asked how much I believe this could be my brain tricking me. About 50/50. I believe in spirits. Apparently he doesn’t.

I left there and had the most peaceful time at the beach. I found a rock that looks like a moray and took it, but I feel weird about that. There’s a spirit in the rock. And morays have always creeped me out.

I knew not to go home so I met a friend for dinner and a movie. But I had 2 hours to kill at the mall beforehand. I returned something and went to the food court to be schooled by a breadstick. There was a guy giving samples. They were scrumptious. He was too talented and smart to work there. So I decided to order some and looked at the menu. It said under Side Orders “Garlic Breadsticks $1.29.” I asked how many are in an order. The non-sample guy said, “One.” Mass confusion. “But there’s an S. That indicates plural breadsticks.” He just looked at me. My anxiety was through the roof, heart racing, confusion rampant. I asked how much this one non-plural breadstick was and he said, “$1.42.” (?) “But the sign says $1.29.” “Plus tax,” he said, as if it was the norm for people to quote the price including taxed. I was poised to have a meltdown, literally…

(continued 5-14-10  5:02pm)

“Pump up the Jam” is playing now and I’m needing to dance. Music is a drug. A wonderful one.

Yes, I am approaching crazy. But for this moment I feel happy. A breadstick made clear the level of impairment confusion is causing me. I think I’m having a plethora of seizures. I’m writing down what I can. I have a journal just for that. Right now I am listening to music. Today I attempted to read a fashion blog. Didn’t work so well. It’s okay. Rocking and dancing in my head, completely thrown off by the sound of the wind chime outside and my mom clanging dishes. My neurologist is again NOT calling me back. Not a smart thing to do. I mean really. Why would you piss off a crazy person whose symptoms are triggered by being upset? My psychiatrist called me back this morning but I was sleeping.

Yes, I’m concerned. No, I don’t have any extra brainpower to devote to it. I have so much confusion and I’m going through these cycles of wide-eyed happiness followed by zaps and face stuff and exhaustion and headaches. The song on the radio now is driving me nuts. I don’t want to leave my computer chair.

(break to go outside)

I love Ricky Martin. I like being in my own world in the music. All the memories and the images in my head. (big yawn) Gosh, I’m tired. Give it about 10 minutes… Nope, just 30 seconds. Tapping, full of energy. Typing correctly is not easy when your arm is resting on your moving leg. ;)

Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” always speaks to me. It’s so true. “I can’t remember but it’s alright, alright. Just dance. Gonna be okay…” Dance and music make almost anything okay.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

Swinging – On the Other Side

5-9-10                   2:27am

When I read posts from M- I feel such compassion. I don’t know just what draws me to him. I’ve never met him. I only know him through FB. I think it’s the fact that he’s genuine. (My stomach hurts.) And the volume of genuine posts. If you make me think or occupy enough of my think-time, you become a close friend, whether I know you or not.

I noticed tonight he seems to swing a lot. Mood swings that is. Extreme highs and lows. Joy and strife. I was riding with my mom thinking about this. I felt concerned and wondered if he’d ever sought help. I realized it’s not really my place to ask but also that it’s not my place to kill the dream.

I realized – I’m on the other side. If I could go back to my days of creative highs and performance and laughter and joy and strife and craziness, would I? I have given up so much in the pursuit of not happiness but stability. And what do I really have? Not stability, less happiness, I guess less strife. Less psychosis. But there is little traveling, almost no dancing, no theater. My grand ideas are mostly limited to mental health and don’t usually happen. I have no degree. I have talent but I’m not doing what I love. I’d like to go to Fresno in a few weeks for a convention but I can’t afford it, have a choir performance and Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. I’d much rather do midnight workshops and dance all day.

I didn’t know what I was signing up for when I started taking medication. I just needed to get the Hell away from what was happening. I think if I’d been accurately diagnosed things might have been different. Maybe not. I remember the first night I heard voices. It was the scariest night of my life. I’ve been through a lot of scary things, but that tops it. My psychiatrist told me it was “normal” for people with depression to hear voices and not to worry, did nothing. (deep breath…) I would not go back to my days of skinniness and days of dancing and top of the world highs if it meant taking back the voices and the visions and the feelings and everything that went with them. But I yearn for those days. If you haven’t experienced them, you can never understand. It’s why we go off our meds. To feel them. Sometimes almost anything is worth getting that back. It’s like trying to convince yourself every minute that eating only peanut butter and jelly for the rest of your life will be as full-filling as eating as much of the best food you’ve ever tasted for a month and then starving.

This bitter perspective is not quite something someone new to mental health should hear or can handle. Would you jump at that? Maybe if you are desperate or REALLY like peanut butter. But it’s something they NEED to hear. But nobody says it. Nobody says to the artist, “This pill may save your life but you won’t paint the same.” No one says to the actor, “The stage might not be your friend.” No one bothers to tell the dancer, “By the way, in six months you’ll either be too fat to dance or you’ll be fat enough that you hate yourself enough not to.” No one says that. They should. But they don’t.

So I find myself on the other side. I’ve been through creativity and performance and crazy wonderful and terrible highs. And I’ve been through years of treatment and its ups and downs and effects. And now I’m here, on the other side. I think I’ve learned all I can from programs. Therapy keeps me going because it gives me someone non-judgmental to talk to. But I usually have the answer or it’s me that has to figure it out. I’ve been on tons of meds. I’m not on many anymore. And I watch people. I watch them feel and interact. I know when something’s wrong and sometimes what. Not much surprises me. Not much other people say scares me. And I want to help. What I have been through helps, but it doesn’t not hurt. It takes from you. It’s not free. Life in entertainment may be crazy but it’s a choice. Everything is a choice. (sigh)

I wish there was a way to get “better” without losing the creativity. Without losing what makes us us. On the other side now. I can’t cross back. Not for long…

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010