I apologize if I haven't been writing. The mind is willing, the flesh is weak. I found a piece I wanted to share again, and just add a few updates. It was originally written in 2002. I re wrote it again for the blog in 2009. In 2003 I went back on meds after being off them for most of 2002,due to a hospitalization and family pressure. I stayed on them until November 2010. Since then, I have become med free, because of the kidney failure. Still and all it's one of my most favorite pieces and it gives insight to who I am.
I could feel my blue eyes opening, and the light was harsh. I shielded them with my palm, trying to wake. I gradually accustomed myself, and noticed, this was a twin size bed I was in, not my normal full size. My beloved cat was not nestling besides me, nor did I have the teddy that served as a sentinel since I was four. I thought for a moment, I was back in time, back in Graduate School, where life was good, and I shared a house in my state’s capital with four other young women. But as I tried to move, I noticed I couldn’t move. There was an IV attached to my arm, and one of those heart monitors like you would see on ER. And I was strapped down to the bed. It was the present, 1994, and I had been out of school for seven years. I could hear the doctors and nurses running by me, ignoring me. I had no idea where I was, I figured it was in the emergency room of Princeton Hospital. I asked the nurse what day it was as she ran by me. It was a Sunday morning, at four or five in the morning, and I wondered what the heck had I done again, since I took all those pills on Friday night? and why in Heaven’s name, couldn’t I succeed in killing myself?
I am a manic-depressive. I was one of those people, first misdiagnosed in my early twenties as depressive, then a month later diagnosed as bipolar. But this hospitalization in my early thirties, would evaluate me as bipolar, with a difference, I was an ultra rapid cycler with schizoaffective features.
This was not my first suicide attempt. This was one of many, starting with all the sturm und drang of adolescence. This would be my second to last serious attempt. I cannot begin to count all the times I have wanted to "shuffle off this mortal coil", as Hamlet said. I have tried pills, more times waking up to be Exorcist sick. I tried to use a hose to my car’s exhaust, not realizing I had a catalytic converter, which went on before I could fall asleep. I have thought of throwing myself off the Empire State Building, but I am deathly afraid of heights and have vertigo. And I have tried to slit my wrists, but could not get the razor blade out of that pink plastic Gillette razor. (Curse you Gillette!)
And I have been blessed with the mania, suffering for three years straight without crashing to anything other than mild depression. I was gifted then, doing two masters degrees and holding down three part time jobs. I had poems professionally published. Looking back they were nothing but masterful Sylvia Plath imitations. I was the belle of the English department, their golden girl about to go on for a PhD. And I was correct for the longest time. And then, just like the all time perfect day, it ended. It had to. A person cannot be manic for three years without illegal drugs, one has to crash eventually.