Dying to Help People

I’ve told you before that my psychiatrists and therapists have told me that even my bipolar disorder is abnormal because I maintain a certain level of control and awareness even when I’m psychotic. Well, now I understand it a lot better after reading a section in Hilary Smith’s “Welcome to the Jungle.”

In chapter two, she talks about insight during psychosis…”insight means the ability to recognize when your behavior and thought patterns are coming from your mental illness as opposed to your regular self.” There are three levels: totally unaware, in and out with knowing but still insisting you are right, and aware no one understands what you are experiencing.

Wow, now this is starting to make more sense to me. Near the beginning of my last manic to psychotic episode, I was reliving my past because I wanted to write a book about my experinces with bipolar disorder. Well, I was obviously hypomanic for a long time while I was going through a med change. I started seeing my therapist and busted out in tears when she asked me about my first hospitalization. I went through all the stages of grief again in her office, so at the end she explained I was most likely suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My first hospitalization was that horrible.

My hypomania was fueled when I delved into my research again about PTSD instead of just bipolar disorder. I stepped onto a rocket ship and watched myself soar. In less than a weeks time, I stopped being able to easily fall asleep and my sleep was heavily interrupted. I called my psychiatrist to tell her that I was having problems, but the immediate change of medication did not help. After one night of absolutely no sleep, I believed I had to subject myself to the hospitalization system again to overcome my PTSD.

Okay, so that sounds reasonable right? Well, the psychosis was setting in at an alarming rate because when my husband woke up that morning, I also felt I had to become a martyr, so that no one else with bipolar disorder ever had to go through the hell I went through when I was first diagnosed. I honestly thought I had to die to help people.

Because I was facing my fears of hospitalization, I literally could feel my control disappearing faster and faster. My speech and thought processes were so fast, people had a hard time understanding me. My adrenaline was pumping. Thank God for my husband because he literally had to translate what I was saying to the doctors because I was mixing my present situation with what happened to me when I was first diagnosed. My insight was still there as I tried to express my thoughts. I knew I needed help right away before it could get any worse.

Problem #1: What is this bullshit about not medicating me right away to knock me out so I could sleep? Sleep is the biggest help when you are suffering from a psychotic episode. The longer I was awake, the more restless, psychotic, detached, angry, nervous, paranoid, violent, etc. I became. I don’t give a damn that it takes so long to do the paper work, arrange for a bed, see your actual psychiatrist who will treat you while you are in the hospital. There is no excuse why I went until seven o’clock that night before they had to give me a large syringe of a sedative to put me out. My adrenaline and mania were at such an extreme level that the lights burned my eyes and the lightest touch felt like knives sticking into me. It didn’t make sense that I had to wait from seven that morning to seven that night to get the help I needed to sleep.

Well, I could tell you all the other problems I experienced this time around again, but in reality it was a lot better than the first time I was hospitalized. I learned a lot about myself and the disorder. I’m also learning a lot from Hilary’s book, so I’ll keep reading it and let you know. I suspect she might not have been hospitalized before though. She talks about hospitalization very negatively, which I don’t agree. I believe that the “theory” of it can be very important for some people to experience as long as the patient is open to the help. Before this last hospitalization, I would have never said that. Now, the pain I experienced in 1999 is healing because of going through the trauma all over again in 2009. Hospital procedures still have a long way to go before they treat us like humans though. We need to do something about that.

Please comment about your experiences.



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