Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chasing Giants: A journal of my formal self

Chasing Giants: A journal of my formal self

Winter 1997

                Most of my years prior to my hospitalization I spent drinking heavily. Every chance I got I drank. Once it resulted in a DUI and that didn’t stop me.
                The mania was just as bad. Once on whim I talked my co-workers into taking a last minute trip to New Orleans for New Years Eve, and we live in Oklahoma. I constantly wanted to party. Looking back maybe it was it my way of masking my depression to extent. But then it caught up with me.
I vaguely remember that night before. But at that particular moment I have neither any idea where I am at or how I got here. I awake with two people standing over me bearing down with their condescending eyes. My head is pounding and the green colored plastic mattress and pillow doesn’t make it easy to find a 
comfortable position. That was 1997 and I was twenty-three.
“Good morning Mr. Picazo. I’m doctor ‘so and so.” I don’t remember his name. “What’s been going on that would make you want to hurt yourself?”
                “What the hell was he talking about?” I thought “Hurt myself?” But I’m pretty sure I answered that I had been very depressed lately.
                The memory came back to me. The evening before I had drank a fifth of Vodka and swallowed any number of sleeping pills. I don’t know how many. I just turned the bottle upside down and started swallowing.
                How did I get to this point? Why did I get to this point?
It’s not right that being depressed makes a person depressed. And depressed is what I was. And I had been for some time. At least this time I was. It wasn’t the “other” side. I was tired. Tired of the migraines. Tired of the depression. Tired of feeling nothing. Tired of the exhausting boredom. Tired of the mania; the voices and psychosis. Tired of those that couldn’t keep up. Tired. The depression had taken its toll on me. And I felt nothing else. Numb is what I felt if you call that a feeling. I felt what I later in life came to term, the “Nothing Feeling.” Being tired and feeling nothing can be a deadly combination.
                I awoke in a psychiatric hospital. It was to be the first of at least ten hospitalizations to come. It was also to be the first attempt at suicide that was later to come.
                Three days, 72 hours, was the maximum they could hold me if I convince them I wasn’t a danger to myself or anyone else, and that I did. My excuse; I drank too much and out of habit I took my medicine out of a routine schedule without thinking of the consequences.
                Three days later I was released as if nothing happened without any address to my drinking problem. And it was a problem. I drank everyday almost all day. I started my day with a few beers, drank in the mid day with vodka and finished the day with at least a six back or a fifth of vodka.
                I worked a split shift at a local restaurant at the time. I could drink before work, during my split and after my evening shift. I would stay buzzed all day long. I was enough to keep me numb all day long. To avoid the depression or increase the mania or hypomania that only frustrated me more because no one else could keep up with me.
                I would drink to deal with the depression. To hide it or to wallow in it. I would drink to party; to feel good and have fun. There was always an excuse.
                Alcohol would become my worst enemy for the next 16 years. It cost me friends, my license, legal trouble, finances, and almost my marriage more than once.
                Nothing happened when I was released from the hospital. No meds were prescribed. Just walked out the door. Did the system let me down? Was there even a diagnosis? No. At this point I was yet to be diagnosed with bipolar. Confused and angry I did not receive a diagnosis. There was a routine to follow and that seemed more important to the staff than anything else. I followed their routine to a “T” and didn’t complain. So goes the care and compassion of a psychiatric hospital.
                Three days later I was released to my family with the instruction to return if I felt I needed to. “Yea right.”
                I leave and go on with my business.
                Much of the next years didn’t change much for me; at least not until I sobered up in 1998 during outpatient rehab and a double blessing, a diagnosis of Bipolar 1. I continued rehab and sobriety that lasted for seven year. In the mean time I married. But in the mean time my bipolar only worsened.
                I found myself in bouts of depression and mania, sometimes terrifying for my wife.

July 9, 2002

                I find myself amidst another attack. It’s odd to refer to it as finding myself since it seems I can never hide from the pain. It always finds me as some stalker tormenting me following me everywhere I go jumping out of the corner to make its presences known. I feel like I have made someone or something made, to have this pain hurt so bad.  Sometimes I wonder what it would le like to have no have attack. To be able to do the things I need to do. Would I get things done? Would I get better grades? Would I be more pleasant to be around? Would other tolerate me more? No pills! No darkness!
                Life has become like a storm. The pain arrives suddenly, like lightening or slowly, at the tuner from a far off storm building it intensity inside my head.
                I close my close seeking darkness and hoping for it for it. My world becomes very small now all within my head. Especially when it secludes me to my bed. The pain throbs at every sounded I try to lie motionless and ease my pain in my bed. Sometime to’s the motionless that increases that rage of the storm. I pull with force at my hair trying relieve the pressure. I dig my thumbs in my eyes or temples as it seems to bring some kind of relief. I would bash my head in if I knew it would help. It just doesn’t seem right to want to inflict self pain for relief. It not fair. As the storm continues to rage, attacking my entire being waves of nausea foods over me bringing more misery. As if the throbbing or sagging feelings weren’t enough. There is light. Not the light at the end of the tunnel. Light dancing and strobing within my eyes. Even when I close my eyes praying for darkness the flashes of bright light are still there. Whey would almost be beautiful if it didn’t send shock wave throughout my head. Flashes of yellow with patters of rainbow colors. A beautiful vision if only its purpose were naught. For this is my aura, the harbinger of things to come. And not a light show my mind ever sought. The earth needs the sun to survive, I put on sunglasses and hide. Pull down the shades to out the light.
Sometimes I even hear a symphony in my head. But I can turn the volume down so I have to just listen. I’m so sick of being sick. Tired of bailing out of activities or responsibilities. With so much terrible pain you’d think it would damage the brain. Sometimes I wouldn’t mind if it did. The pain is bad enough. I miss a meal, sleep to late, or can’t at all. Sleep, wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy. It has become my strongest fear. Too much brings on more pain. Six hour at the most for. If I’m lucky I’ll get that much. But insomnia is a preferred way of life. But it comes with side effects. It’s the eyes or it’s the mania. They play tricks on you. Things move when I they aren’t there. You hear things that are there.

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Where my inspiration comes from

A Recycled-Dad with Bipolar & Parkinson's, reflections on fathering and family life and other stuff thrown in'll love my Soap Box Rants

Blog with Integrity\\ Auhor Lupe Picazo

Why I call myself a Recycled Dad

I call myself a Recycled Dad because of the struggles with remarriage and being a step-parent and weekend dad. This is also about my life living with bipolar and how it affects me personally, my family and my job. It also reflects on the grace God has poured out on me throughout recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder. Recycled Dad is about my reflections on the wisdom God teaches daily on fatherhood and being a better husband in spite of being bipolar.

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