Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Soul of A Madwoman

When I was seventeen years old, I wrote dark poetry about death and murder and Satanism. I read books like this and embraced the underbelly of life portrayed in my favorite cult movies Bad Lieutenant and Reservoir Dogs. I ran with a local street gang but was too scared to officially join or get "jumped in."

By my senior year of high school, I had already lost two friends to gang related shootings. I regularly attended class drunk or high, had driven while drunk, and attended parties where "cool parents" sold jell-o shots and ciggies to those of us willing to pay. I tried - and failed - to commit suicide at least twice. Most of my clique idolized death and had been in juvie at least once. My boyfriend was a drug dealer four years my senior.

I was also an honor student and a two sport varsity athlete. I faked it enough to make it - earning an academic scholarship to the state university - but I was unable to shed my hard partying ways. After getting arrested one night, I dropped out of college and moved in with my new boyfriend of three months - in another state - who worked with a drug dealer. I tried LSD and cocaine for the first time at nineteen; I know how starlets get hooked. Cocaine is a total mind fu*k and you feel as though you can do anything and that you are the funniest, sexiest, most interesting person in the world. Plus, it's a great appetite suppressant.

Then, I got pregnant, got married, moved to Colorado, went back to college, and found a new buddy who loved clubbing as much as I did. We partied into the night, often walking the five blocks from downtown Boulder to my friend's house, alone. On the rare nights I went home, my favorite cabbie knew my name and my house number.

Throughout all of this not one person who knew me as "Lawschoolmom: mother and wife" really knew me. Not one person suggested I go to counseling or rehab or...anything. Only now, over a decade later, do I realize how narrowly I escaped death and prison. Only now, do I realize the impact my family history of bipolar disorder and depression has on my life. With each day, I feel as though I creep closer to the edge of madness and farther away from reason. I feel myself losing this battle and I feel helpless and just so utterly tired.


Zuska said...

I can only imagine how difficult it must be to feel this way. I hope you're able to get appropriate support. I'm thinking of you ...

PT-LawMom said...

LawSchoolMom, my paternal Grandmother was bipolar and refused to take her meds for many years because they were so harsh. About two years ago, my father developed it and had a major breakdown. He sought help and is now on some wonderful drugs that don't have the side effects of the old days. He's happy and we actually want him around which I don't know that I could have said even a year ago. I'd encourage you to see what options are out there to help you through this, whether it's onset of bipolar disorder or just a depressive episode. (((HUGS)))

LawSchoolMom said...

@ zuska: thank you

@ pt-lawmom: my mother is bipolar but has never taken medication for it. I believe her moods definitely had a profound effect on me and played a central role in the development of my dual personality. My ex-husband preferred self-medicating to control his bipolar and I got swept into that and believed it was a good enough way to control the cycling.

I was prescribed an SSRI last year, but taking it makes me feel numb; I have no desire to do anything but sleep. But, obviously, I cannot continue in an unmedicated state.

PT-LawMom said...

Just read your follow-up. Medication can make you feel like you've been lobotomized... but when you see that your family is so much happier to be around you, it might be worth it. I was medicated for several years (just for regular depression, not bipolar) and found that I disliked my slow reaction time and flat affect. So far I've done okay without them (knock on wood now that I'm starting school again). But I know my Dad is a much better person to be around on the medication than off. Glad you've found something that might help.

LawSchoolMom said...

@pt-lawmom: For me, the flat affect is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it keeps me on an even keel (not as much yelling in my household) but on the other hand, I cease to feel much of anything. There MUST be a middle ground. I just haven't found it, yet.