A couple of weeks ago I thought I had a heart attack. One Monday morning my chest started hurting so much I had to stop in my tracks, grab my chest, and just try to breathe through the pain. I’m no stranger to weird pains, I get them all the time. But after being shamed in the ER for not coming in for an emergency when I had a hernia, I opted to make an appointment with my nurse assistant instead of calling an ambulance. The following day I saw my medical professional, she said immediately “Go to the ER for any chest pain at rest.” So, off to the ER mom and I went. Problem is, with all the tests, they found no evidence of a heart attack, so back to square one.
I had recently been prescribed some new medicines for asthma, allergies, and high cholesterol along with a new anti-psychotic and a med for side effects. That’s a lot for the body to process. I take so many meds now, it seems ridiculous, maybe even sad. When I was healthy, I shunned meds. When I became sick, I started packing on weight and ailments.
Enjoying my newfound wellness, a reprieve after the heavy pressure of psychosis. I’ve taken to going out a lot and enjoying the summer months (despite the heat). A beer, yes, tastes better in the hot afternoon. I go out to socialize and get my mind off my narrow, myopic indoor self, the one who is bored in the face of the vast internet where anything can be found within a few clicks. I just sit there, staring at the screen, wasting hours upon hours doing nothing much at all. My computer is to me what television is to my mother, the attention grabber that isn’t very important after all.
I’ve decided to keep track of my time using a spiral-bound day planner, and when I notice a chunk of time starting to be etched out doing nothing, I start finding something for myself to do. Ergo–the blog today.
Going out alone in your 40s as a single woman is a lot different than going out alone in your 20s or 30s — something I couldn’t stand then, but should have. In my youth it seemed like every hairy, wrinkled old man would hit on me and park himself next to me, lording over me his stale pheromones and rank booze sweat. In my 40s the men largely consider me a fixture and will talk openly with each other around me, so I get the man’s perspective on everything, for better or for worse. If they get exceptionally frank, one will typically buy me a drink, perhaps in hopes I’ll forget about their raunchiness.
When they inquire about me, I lie about my working status and extend the last date on my resume, saying I am still working my last job (this being the most fresh in my mind); I’m a technical writer working as a project manager. This earns me some street cred and very few questions about what I do day to day. No one wants to be in the shadow of a PM. I feel guilty admitting to being on disability, especially drinking, where I might earn the ire of the working man for using government money to fund my carousing.
I don’t lie about being in school, working on my Master’s in Education. That has sparked a few conversations. Add to it that, come January, I’ll be working on a technical certificate from a reputable local college, I’ll have more to talk about.
I don’t know much about politics. My memory has never served me for political points, nuances, lies, and history. I get pissed off before I can make my point and I just let it roll over me. I know where I stand, and I don’t need convincing or cajoling to alter and amend my views. As far as bar conversation goes, then, not speaking about work, kids, or politics cuts away the meat of what is said in conversation in which I find myself participating, so I sit and enjoy the revelry around me and simply laugh when appropriate.
I’ve been trying to get myself into a routine, one that I can follow daily, to feel as though I have covered all the bases and perhaps even made some progress. No wait, that last part is missing. I haven’t been tracking my progress on anything.
Wake up. Walk dogs. Drink coffee, smoke. Take a long walk with the dog. After that the schedule slips and each day it changes. Run errands may come next. Sometimes it is Make Dr. appointment. Whatever happens next, however, is sure to throw me off kilter. I get caught up in hearing. I get side-tracked by taking care of myself: Shower. Eat. I have a lot of time on my hands, so I decided this past Friday to exercise and take a five-mile walk to and from the park. I wasn’t physically ready for that and I ended up limping the last quarter-mile home; with a Charlie Horse in the calf, I’m out of commission for a nearly a week. Back off track. No routine, no schedule.
With too much time on my hands and nothing to interest me, I decided to alter my routine another way and get really high while I talked to voices before I went to bed. I don’t usually get high, but I had a small bud in the canister and it was enough for me to feel altered and relaxed enough to sit for a long time and have a chat. Mind you, I listen all the time, and I can’t help but hearing, but I had a special invitation from a manly spirit to get some spiritual business done. I stayed up until 3 am and all I remember are my two commitments to quit smoking: one by the end of this week, and another within three months. I don’t think either will happen.
Little spirits, I love you I love you
This morning, late morning, I decided to take myself out and get away from the house. On my way is my old place of employ, and I reminisced about the days when I used to work. Burger and fries later, I found myself at Bed Bath & Beyond shopping for some needed items, but I was too impatient for the broken register system to be fixed in order to check out. Leaving everything behind, I decided I can shop later. I have time, a lot of it. Being productive at work AND living a life — you realize how much extra time you have when you get a long weekend. It isn’t like that now for me. Being off work for nearly three years, and it seems I have no time for anything while having all the time in the world. I can’t even get my daily walk in. Its frustrating, but I guess that’s why I am on disability to begin with.
Write just before Go to bed. It is me trying to lay stake and claim the last bastion of hope for my sanity and self. Maybe I can make a schedule around my lingering dreams, my goals. Maybe I can tick off tasks and track my progress on something bigger than my day to day worries and troubles.
2015 was a good year in some ways, and not so hot in others. In 2015 I saw a new diagnosis and with it, a new set of medications that actually help. I’ve been diagnosed as Bipolar I Affective disorder, which (for me) looks like a series of psychotic breaks with mania: delusions, hallucinations, disorientation. Although the medicines haven’t touched the audibles (note: auditory hallucinations) the Pop! Pop! Pop! of psychosis — which is the most destructive — has been allayed, so I’ve felt a sort of stability only hearing and not being driven mad by the intensity of sudden and frequent breaks from reality.
I closed my Twitter account because the voices are more conversational now, telling stories and figuring out mysteries, in a manner that isn’t really conducive to convey as a string of single tweets. Tweeting what I heard was helpful for me at a time in my life, and for those who were reading me, i think it helped them understand, too, that hearing hallucinations is different than they’ve expected – even the seasoned veteran doctors signed on to see and “hear” my tweets. I thank you for that.
I haven’t worked since March or April of 2014 and I haven’t been writing, here or otherwise. It’s a good habit that has fallen by the wayside that I think I’ll pick up again in the coming year. Retiring this blog has been a thought of mine on more than one occasion, but there is so much of me and so much information I would hate to idle. This year may see additional posts here. I am also thinking of starting a new blog about my meditative and spiritual interests.
Finally, I think I am going to give up my formal domain and simply use the free offering here on WordPress, because It seems I never have enough money when domain registration comes around, leaving my blog locked in limbo for a while. I hate that.
I don’t know. It is a lot of random thoughts of my trying to sort and organize through the past year and this outward-facing material representation of where I am, this blog that has been with me through critical times in my life, helping me to capture and track some weird, terrifying, strange, and wonderful experiences. Plan to see more of me this year.
For now: Ta Ta and welcome to the New Year!
She sat dismayed, staring out the window, shadows cast from stars and steeples. Dismayed with November, and who was to say she would not remember gazing at the shades of Southern-facing slopes in the distance, dancing in the sky in the way only mountains sway, slopping and dipping, turning and finishing with a snap in the sky. The source of her dismay was not the dismal scent of stereophonic traffic, it was the stammering and stuttering laughter, a nervous twitter of excitement, her excitement at the candid expression.
I am settled at home again after weeks of running the streets in fear. This time is not quite as bad as last, but it is still impossible to hear the things I am hearing and to feel safe and secure at the same time. I’ve spent a lot of time in my car, driving to and from my family’s house an hour away. I feel better being around humans than being alone.
My delusions — those that scare me — are filled with threats of harm. I have finally defeated the prowlers by winning a battle of wits with questions and answers, which earns me the right to hang them. Then they disappear. These people who threaten me, these ghosts, are real people who form a fabric of magicians and sorcerers across the continent, working together or alone, to gain power by stealing magical beings from otherwise ordinary people.
The magical beings are spirits who fight a battle I cannot seem to win alone. It is the spirits who interject on my behalf as I lay helplessly listening to the conversations through my window as choruses of voices call back and forth to one another in battle between the predatory and the protective.
The battle that comes at night is only part of my day. I sit for hours on end talking to them, the people, these spirits as I try to understand their world. In this world there are real humans whose spirits have somehow joined with my spiritual form so I can hear them. These are not thought insertions — or the perceived thoughts inserted into my own mind — these are full conversations with persons I believe exist in the world out there, some where, making it all the more frightening. Will they find me? Will they help or harm me?
Layer upon layer, these characters – the people, the predatory, and the protective — form a cacophony of noise that drowns out reality. Submersed and alone, I wonder how I can defeat these forces that want to consume my mind, if not my soul.