It’s been less than a week since I was released from the psychiatric ward of our local hospital. It feels like it was yesterday and at the same time a lifetime ago. I was admitted on 10/1 for a severe manic episode – voluntary admittance. Also 10/1 is my wife’s birthday. So I owe her for that one for the rest of our lives. I was pretty sick when I went in. So everyone keeps telling me. When your therapist says you were acting crazy/off/strange I guess check in time is coming soon. With the delusion of mania it’s really hard to impossible to judge how others are seeing you or how you are actually acting. Like the curtain has been drawn over your personality. I had no desire to go into the hospital, I was not going to go and that was that.
I started to mess with my meds about a month and a half ago. The side effects of the seroquel and depakote were wiping me out. The seroquel especially. That I could sleep for 12-14 hours every night, I could hardly exercise (which is important to my well being and life enjoyment) and the weight gain/bloating was upsetting. So I weaned my self off the seroquel (the antipsychotic) and cut back my depakote (the mood stabilizer) from 1500mg to 500mg. I kept on my 60mg of cymbalta. Well once the meds start to work their way out of my system I felt great, amazing and full of energy – I felt alive. I was able to go on long bike rides, go jogging and was able to wake up in the morning to help get my kids ready for school. After about a week or maybe a little longer the “center” started to spin so fast that it was fracturing. I could not hold my thoughts and actions together. At times I was barely able to function. Everything was too much
This episode really began to pick up steam about a month earlier when I ended up in the ER after slicing up the area above my knees with some razors. I was beginning to spin out of control and needed to control some of the feelings and energy that was building up inside of me. In the past I might have had many drinks or gotten high but since I have given those things up I was dealing with what was readily available. So I sliced them up, bled a good bit and patched them up. No one was home, kids and wife were out so no problem. Just something I needed to do. Then later when my wife got home I showed them to her. She was very concerned. We went out to dinner and she asked me what I would do if she drove me up to the hospital right now. I told her I would jump out of the car and run. And that is exactly what I would have done. Amy (my wife) went out to get our kids and bring them home. Little did I know when she was out she called my mother (who lives far away out of state). My mother and Amy came up with the plan to use the local police to enforce a welfare check on me. So as I hear her pull up I go outside expecting to see the kids. Except the back seats are empty. Then about 10 seconds later 3 cop cars fly up the street and pull up in front of our house. (For a split second I wanted to run inside the house but luckily some shred of common sense made me stay on the front steps). The funny part is I was not even mad at her, or worried about the cops. I thought it was hilarious. I was frisked then we were all talking about how my wife was concerned and that we should go up to the ER so they could check me out. 3 cops in my living room and I felt like I have a cheshire cat grin on my face. I agreed to go to the ER to get checked out.
At the ER they checked my wounds (nothing too serious) and drew my blood to check med levels. Eventually a local counselor came in and assessed me for a Title 25 (meaning I am remanded involuntarily to the psych unit). I managed to pass and after some shots to remedy a newly acquired migraine we were on our way home.
The rest of the time from that point up to my hospitalization remains kind of blurry and unfocused. I went to work, I worked out, I came home. But I was very irritable, agitated and losing my grip. There were a handful of times during this crisis that I felt like my sanity and grip on reality were slipping away.
I had my first auditory hallucination the week before and things were spiraling pretty quickly. Just a simple “Edward” spoken into my ear. Not a whisper and not a normal volume – just eerily calm. It both scared and embarrassed me as I was sure someone else in the room had been speaking to me.
The other shoe finally dropped when I was brushing my daughters teeth one evening. During this I found out the the kids had put the cat in a backpack and rolled her down the stairs. I found this to be very upsetting and both my wife and I grounded them and explained to them why what they did was wrong. After this my daughter became upset at being grounded and punched me. That really set me off and I slapped her cheek. It left a red mark. She fell to the ground crying. I immediately felt both terrible and still furious. Amy was very upset and very scared by what I had done. I was too lost in my fractured thoughts to be deeply concerned by what had transpired.
The next day I went to work as normal. Both Amy and the kids were upset with me (as they should have been). I could not see what the big deal was. I went for a bike ride and my feelings were all over the place. I felt like an engine that had the gas pedal being slammed. I got a text from Amy saying that we had a appointment with my psychiatrist at 3:30pm. I felt angry, cornered and betrayed and even considered not going or going to the bar or something. Anything but that. But I went. It quickly became apparent that I had two choices – either go into the hospital right then or I was going to lose my family. I was headed to the hospital within 5 minutes or so.