Falling in the Fall

The Werewolf and I slowly started to wear each other out with drugs. But that part comes later. After a semester full of freedom and binges I came home for summer for the first time in years. I did not adjust well.

In some repressed part of my personality lies a control freak. This monster had a full revival when I came home after my second year of law. It had been years since I’d lived at home. Suddenly, I was sharing a bathroom again. I didn’t have control over the thermostat. My mom was washing my clothes because she didn’t have time to interrupt the constant cycling of laundry to let me sneak my clothes in on my own. Well, the control freak burst from me violently within days of my return to my roots. I was unhappy and uncomfortable living at home, I was surrounded by people who knew the girl who left home six years ago, not the girl standing in front of them six years later. I had forgotten what it’s like to live somewhere where you actually did have to look nice to go to Walmart because you’ll certainly see at least two people you know each time you go. I had forgotten what it’s like living in a small town on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

My brain rebelled. I panicked. I gave myself a day to panic and to frantically try to re-plan my career, to get out of the South even though it was where I thought I wanted to be. Going through the exercise soothed my anxiety. It gave me a few days to assure myself that I was doing something to control my future, that I was in control. I.was.in.control. After a few days passed I began to adjust, I started to relax, and I started to remember why I wanted come back to the South.

I only had to do six weeks at my parent’s house before I moved to the New Orleans area for my second summer job. My life was instantly better. I had freedom and control over my domain. I had a cool roommate, who owned the house and kept it immaculate. I got along well with his girlfriend, a family friend. My panic abated.

Weeks earlier I had gone to visit my friend in Baton Rouge. I couldn’t get any drugs, not even weed, and I freaked. I got too drunk, then I became psychotically frustrated at our inability to procure drugs. I didn’t want to be drinking, I wanted to be high. In my drunkenness I let myself get upset by something menial and the uncontrollable crying began. I called the stupid crisis center aat my school because I desperately wanted to talk to my counselor. He wasn’t on duty. I was clearly in distress, unable to stop crying long enough to be understood, but the crisis line was not able to provide any help. I gave myself a few scratches and eventually passed out.

But that changed once I moved to New Orleans. I had access to some drugs and I was busy at work. I started training for the Chicago marathon, with an aggressive new goal looming. This was the beginning of the downward spiral that would end with my first hospitalization. Confident my old knee injuries were healed, and forgetting about my substantial back injury, I changed shoes and my stride as I began to train for the marathon. As time went on my back got worse and worse. It got so bad that I had to see the chiropractor 3 times a week. Eventually, and inevitably, I burst into tears during one of those meetings because I frustrated didn’t understand why my back wasn’t getting better. I’m 24 years old, I kept thinking, I shouldn’t be having these problems. My chiropractor stopped what he was doing and sat down.

“You have to stop running.”

I initially thought that this was not an option. After all, I’d been training all summer and, now back at school, the race was within my reach. But my back never got better. So I stopped running. I didn’t even show up to the marathon. My mood took a decidedly sharp turn towards what would become a debilitating depression. I stopped running but my back kept getting worse. It was painfully uncomfortable sitting through classes. My back constantly hurt. The hurt ranged from a constant dull, achy pain to an intense, sharp pain that accompanied every left footed step. I was constantly in pain and my back wasn’t responding to treatment. I had to stop working out because everything I did hurt my back. Without the exercise endorphins, I sank deeper into my depression. I started sleeping 13 hours a night. I took long and unnecessary naps during the day. If I missed just one dose of my bipolar medicine I would be prone to random crying jags, set off by nothing at all.

This scared me. I felt crazier and started to worry about my sanity in earnest. During one particularly bad crying jag, brought on by folding towels, I started to wonder if I should I think about inpatient treatment. At the start of my third year of law school I’d been functionally “kicked out” of counseling. I was told that I needed more help than they could give me, ie needed therapy more than once a two weeks. They sent me off with a reference, leaving me to my own devices to find a new psychiatrist. Upon discharging me they “highly recommended” outpatient rehab for my substance abuse. I declined.

But getting kicked out of counseling made me feel crazier. The crying jags didn’t go away. I was sleeping too much and had no energy to go to class and take care of my work. Every time I started crying for no reason, I thought more seriously about a brief jaunt in inpatient treatment. I sunk down deeper into my depression. The Werewolf wanted to take a break from drugs and me. I was on my own and this made it worse.

Then I discovered the substance that would break the levee, causing my depression to breach and drown the last bit of sanity that I was holding unto. DXM broke the levee. My depression and my crazy drowned my sanity. The DXM nagged the little sanity I had left.

And then the levee broke.

And then I checked myself into inpatient treatment.


5 responses to “Falling in the Fall

  • yanniesaurus

    Oh DXM. Did inpatient help?

  • suspendedoblivion

    Interesting how a cough suppressant can out-due so many other harder drugs. My experience with DXM is vast (15+ years). I’ve gone back and forth on this one for the longest time, and in the end I think I’ve established, for now, that I don’t give a fuck. Happiness is temporary. The older I get, the more temporary it is. Somehow I’ve managed to maintain a career succesfully, and I’ve kept my health in fair shape. If I could only drink enough water….I’m forever dehydrated.

    Ultimately, everything that I enjoy in life is impossible to enjoy unless I’m FUBAR’d. Everything is just so bland, tasteless. Even during the time frames in my life I quit for long periods of time, everything just got more grey. Even more tasteless. What’s the point. I haven’t crashed yet. Maybe I’m just outwitting myself. Maybe I like it that way. Maybe this IS life.

    I think we all have demons. Some of us keep them locked up pretty well, tightly and all that jazz. It just seems to me that those who choose to battle with their demons instead of embracing them and finding a way to adapt them into a selected lifestyle just end up 6 feet under, heavily medicated on psycho active drug prescriptions, angry and sad when things start to get tough, etc.

    Part of me wants to enchourage the demons in people. If your a sex fiend, go have sex. Just don’t be stupid about it. If you’re a masochist, find a mate that will hurt you the way you want to be hurt. If you have a drug habit that you can manage without your life crashing to the ground, stop fighting it and find a way to feed the habit intelligently. You don’t have to be suicidal, or a cutter everytime you feel like shit is getting out of control. Stop fighting who you really are and start thinking about how to be you. So long as you aren’t hurting other people, you aren’t doing anything wrong. If you can’t be yourself without hurting other people in your life, either find other people to be in your life, or start being smart about being yourself.

    Or jump on the “socially acceptable” band wagon and get some help. I’ll never knock getting counselling or checking yourself into a clinic somewhere. It just seems to run in circles for many people. Have problems – get help – fall off the wagon – have problems – get help….

    Maybe you don’t need help with what you think (or what other’s think) you need help with. Maybe you need help with something else. Maybe your problems are a way of acting out other internal issues. Solve those issues, and maybe your socially unacceptable habits will go away. I’ve just stopped trying to fight it for years now. I’m happy, my friends/family are happy, life is good. Better than the alternative.

    On a final note, I am not a doctor. Take my words with a grain of salt. I’m not actually trying to give advice here, I’m just spewing whatever thoughts are running through this silly head of mine. Feel free to blast me about it.

    I’ve read a great deal of your blog. I found it quite entertaining, and cleverly written. I’m just a bit unclear about one thing. How is it that someone who seems to be struggling with so much can assemble their thoughts and feelings together so well? I think you’re doing good. Just don’t go and get yourself or someone else killed and you’re doing great. Keep from hurting those who mean the most to you in the process and your golden. Just my 2c.

    • gmercier4388

      I know I probably can’t keep on with the DXM because of the way is interferes with and exacerbates my bipolar. I think you make an interesting point and in one sense I completely agree– do what works for you (and in a sense, that kind of sums up your comment quite well). As to how I be a wreck and organize my thoughts and such, my answer is: I don’t know. By the time I started this blog I had just past the peak of one of the hardest times in my life. I didn’t know how everything would shake out in the end, and I still don’t know about all of it. I just kind of write what comes to mind, tending to do it topically. I was an English major in undergrad and I’m sure that hasn’t hurt.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment– it’s something I’ll definitely think about, whether I completely agree or not.

      • suspendedoblivion

        I think not knowing how things are going to end is part of life. For some, the question thrills us, provokes us, depresses us, and for some even scares us. I’ve read and heard from many people who struggle with being bipolar, and for some the DXM helps, for others it hurts. I think you’re going to have to learn to live with the ups and downs if you want to avoid medication. One could say I’m a bit unipolar myself. Depression is more surreal and far less melancholy, but my manic tendencies seem to be easier for me to relate to and control.

        Perhaps my words my offer some insight to your predicament, perhaps not. The fact that you are still alive and expressive is a good sign to me.

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