I realize that Part 3 of my three-part series didn’t go up as planned. That’s because I haven’t written it yet. If you’ve been waiting on pins and needles, I appreciate your patience. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately.
On Monday I saw my therapist, and she stated something that possibly changed everything — akin to my struggling for years to articulate something through a self-made pidgin sign language marked by confusion, and then a Helen Keller-esque understanding of what WATER is. Oh! It’s that simple! And yet not simple at all. It’s so new to me that I feel I must keep it private. I’m sort of embarrassed by it, even though it explains almost everything that I’ve done since I was barely a preteen. I apologize for being oblique.
And I saw my psychiatrist yesterday, whom I adore, and she is always very straightforward with me. We talked about my medications — mostly, how we can work to decrease the amount of medication that I take. (At least eight medications a day. I take 10 pills for one of those medications!) We also talked about how my diagnosis, which continues to fluctuate after 13 years of treatment, is most likely either Bipolar I Disorder with Cluster B features or Schizoaffective Disorder. The latter, she explained, has a poorer prognosis. She is concerned about my frequent “oscillations” in illness, and would like to get me to a place where I have at least six months of pure euthymia. I tried very hard to remember the last time I had six months of pure, symptom-less living, and found that I couldn’t. Every time you experience another episode of psychosis, she said, it damages your brain a little more — so we’d like to limit those episodes as much as possible. Either way, we treat the symptoms with the same medications, but I left her office feeling melancholy.
This week I also received some mail from a long-time friend who is not doing well. In the letter, she essentially asked what she should do. How do you do this with such grace? she asked. How do you keep going when drugs and therapy and time don’t work? How have you handled your trauma? What should I do?
I put the letter next to my bed, on my nightstand. I have no idea what to say. I just had a dream about my abusive rapist sex offender ex last night, even though I cut off contact with him in 2003. I had some “oscillations” less than a month ago. I go to work and I do my job and sometimes I have to take leaves of absence, because I am fortunate enough to work at a place where I can take short-term disability and not lose my job. When I am doing badly, I feel like I am handling life with anything but grace. I worry that there are giant holes or spiders in my brain, and that I will never be okay. I don’t feel this way all the time. It comes and it goes, like so many things do, including love. And, maybe, including grace.