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Minikin's Journal

Routine Ramblings of an Occasionally Interesting Housewife

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Cracking Up
Falling Apart
I like to say I drove my mother mad when I was in high school, but it's not quite that simple. I used to read science fiction books whose characters were on the edge of insane. They were usually driven there by special powers, like Carrie. Yes, the book is much more sci-fi than the horror flick they made of it. I'd sit around chatting with my friends about how my mom was trying too hard to be normal.

When she was struggling to tell false memories from real, I thought she was just uptight about her weight or clothes or religion.

When they took her to the hospital she was telling us she was The Beast. She tells memories now of recognizing every single face in every single car they passed on the way to the hospital. Where she had to voluntarily commit herself.

They treated her like a schizophrenic; she was just plain gone when they had her full of thorazine. But somehow the doctors figured out that the mania was temporary, and they started treating her for what they still called manic-depression in those days.

I never really understood. I thought it was like a wild version of mood swings; it wasn't until years later that I really learned about the power of the mind to deceive. Hallucinations are a pretty word that conjure up acid trips and more bad sci-fi movies. But that's not it at all. It's more like the time you swore you'd stopped at that intersection, and the cop knows he saw you fly right through. Only it wasn't always a memory of the past that was wrong, a clear vision of where you put down that bag and it's just not there and never was. It's when you're not quite sure whether you're awake or asleep, dreaming or experiencing reality, or maybe awake and experiencing a special, personalized reality.

But I really did go for years thinking it was just bad mood swings. They found the right dose of lithium for her, and she's not a zombie, just Mom again. I used to glibly say, "I'm my mom ON lithium." Hours of talking with psychiatrists also taught her to speak her mind, not hold it all in. Some people can't take it, and heck, I still end up fighting with her some days, but I'd rather have my mom the way she is. Confident that she's sharing our reality.


Four years ago, I was in the middle of my storm. The perfect storm that brought me back from years of running away from God. I was caught up in a sexual addiction that was destroying my equilibrium, straining my relationships to the limit. And yeah, I had a bunch. I tossed a bunch of relationships aside. I clutched and clung and tore apart the relationship I thought was most important to me.

It's too easy to remember the freeze. The absolute freeze where my mind had worked itself into a corner of there-is-no-possible-action. Sometimes I could cry. Sometimes I could barely whisper the words "I'm sorry." or "I love you."

I didn't commit myself. I didn't willing seek help. I was dropped. I think it helped that I made him angry enough to say the words, because I know that he cared, that he tried so long to try to help. Sadly, I followed the ultimatum he gave and it wasn't enough.

Get help.

Um, yeah. A powerful mind-altering agent, approved for treatment of depression and anxiety. And my official diagnosis was "peri-menapausal mood swings" and a suggestion to "see how this works." No psychiatrist, no talk therapy, just try these pills. A black box label encouraging those around me to observe me, and off I went "alone" with my 10 & 14 yo sons to my great-grandmother's memorial service. In Texas. Those relationships I thought I'd trashed turned out to be solid friends who spent hours on the phone, in the middle of the night, talking me down enough to sleep.

And yeah, it got a little easier to let the little stuff slide. I started to learn not to have to control everyone around me. It took the edge off.

It didn't take away grief. Grief over the death of a seven year relationship. Grief over the state of my neglected marriage. Remorse for the years I'd put my selfish desires ahead of my family.

I started going to church. I searched out God, and He took me in.

But was I crazy?

This past Fall, through some clerical and calendar issues, I ended up not getting my prescription filled for about two months before I saw my doctor for my yearly checkup. I proposed staying off of it, and he approved. I felt confident that I was ready to face life again relying solely on God. And then I promptly forgot about relying on God and acted the A Number One brat over Christmas. Enough that Flar has suggested I should go back on medication. "Because [I'm] more irritable lately."

I've asked him to give me two months. See how I do relying on God, but really remaining in Him, in prayer and scripture and community. And if he still wants me to go back on it, I'll do it up right. Get a referral to a pysch doctor and do it right this time.

I experienced pure Joy this week. I'd been wondering if depression were contagious, and Flar's got enough of it to go around. I've kept slipping onto a roller coaster of hope and disappointment as he works through his sorrow over Gaucha. I'd forgotten where my source of joy and hope is, and when I started studying the Inked series again, my first answers to prayer where a joyful spirit.

The mind is a tricky thing. From false perceptions to false memories to joy that can't be rocked by outside storms -- the mind can handle it all. I pray for peace and joy. And humbly accept that it may take help from science as well.


The preceding has been my entry for LJ Idol Season 5, Topic 15, Cracking Up

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*hugs and more hugs*

love you both

I can't imagine your own struggles, but my mother was manic depressive/bipolar and it was definitely an unstable experience in childhood until she got on the proper meds (for her, that's what works).

I hope that you find what works best for you, but I know in my heart that if God is with you, nothing can be against you. : )

Thank you.

Mostly, I feel uncomfortable with the way my med history worked. At the time, the problem was I was unwilling to go to a doctor of the pysch variety. And looking back, it just seems like a pretty delicate area to approach with the "see if this med works" shotgun approach without the proper psych workup to precede it. I mean, I wasn't so much given a diagnosis as a drug with indication.

*offers hugs* I hope this works for you. :)

I totally agree that the mind is a complicated thing. I am going through my own differing emotions right now. I hope God continues to help you through these times.

Very nice. I always have to remind myself to rely on god.

Thank you. It's a daily choice.

Hey mind if I friend you? Need more Christians on my Flist, always room for more

excellent entry... very moving and well done...


I hope you manage to work through this :o)

My sincere wishes for you to find continued healing.

Glad you have found joy again. I hope you can hold onto it. Even more so, hold onto the trust in Creator. Great entry.

I wish you well my friend. And if you need the meds then take them. Hugs.

Raw and honest. I wish you luck with your quest for well being. I've tried both ways and found out that I do much better when I stay on the medications, but they don't work for everyone.

Thank you.

I just had an interesting conversation with my Mom today. She said a friend of hers who takes Lexapro went off of it for about a week when she left it behind on a trip. She got her doctor to call a prescription in to the out-of-town pharmacy, because she couldn't handle going off of it.

For me, my experience with Lexapro has been very subtle. Which is frustrating, because I can't tell for myself what it did or didn't do, and what might or might not be missing now.


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