Day 21 - Madlib Poetry and Madness, Itself

April 21, 2012

You can grab any passage from a magazine, newspaper, favorite book, blog post, or past entry you’ve written. Take out several of the worths and ask a friend or family member to fill in the words according to whether they are a noun, verb, adjective, adverb. Just like Madlibs.

This is my attempt:

A sour man plays in the river, cars wanting
behind him.  The water is the playground, remembering,
There is no park but Alaska.  There is only Alaska.

The original passage is from a poem by Rumi, one of my favorite poets.  I found a small passage, so that I wouldn't annoy people by asking for too many words and asked for my friends to supply me with different words on Facebook.  I guess everyone was in a playfully outdoorsy mood, because the end result sounds like an advertisement for Alaska state parks!  Sort of like this song by John Denver:

I would love to go to Alaska one day and hopefully see the Northern Lights.  My parents went on a vacation to Alaska several years ago and while they had a great time, I did not fare so well.  I tend to really struggle when my parents go out of town for more than a few days.  My therapist thinks it's connected to my anxiety and to my borderline.  People with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) struggle with feeling abandoned very easily.  I was already unraveling before they left, because of some trauma I experienced at a writing camp a few weeks before, but of course, I didn't tell them that anything was wrong.  I know better now. 

Each day while my parents were in Alaska, my anxiety got worse and worse, until finally I was panicking about my suicidal ideations.  One night I called the suicide hotline, but the operator couldn't help me since I wouldn't really kill myself.  She told me that I should either go to the hospital or hang up the phone, so I hung up the phone.  Then as I walked past the stairs, I saw a dark, shadowy figure standing at the top of the stairway holding an axe in his hands.  I knew it wasn't real, but I was terrified nonetheless.  I was afraid that if I stayed in the house one more second then I would totally lose my grip on reality, plus I was terrified of the hallucination, so I frantically escaped to my car and left.  I ended up going to the hospital, after all.  I got to the closest hospital at midnight and I described my hallucination to the receptionist.  I told her I was scared.  I knew that I sounded crazy, but at that point, I really didn't care-I knew I needed help.  I saw a psychiatrist soon after and after talking with me, he changed my diagnosis from bipolar II to schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type.  I got an injection of I don't know what to calm me down and I went to sleep.  I stayed in the E.R. for the rest of the night and then was taken to the nearest mental hospital in the morning, where I stayed for several days.  Fortunately, my hallucinations were short-lived, and I never truly believed my delusions, which I now know is a feature of BPD.  Borderline apparently mimics a lot of mental disorders, as it is often mistakenly diagnosed as bipolar or schizoaffective disorder.  I called my uncle, who lives in town, and he very nicely let me stay at his house after I was let out of the hospital until my parents came back home.  I actually had a great time with my uncle and I wish that I had let him know that I was having trouble with my anxiety before it spun out of control.  Most likely, I would not have had that breakdown if I had stayed with him and his partner the whole time.

I don't talk about my hallucinations and delusions much on this blog and it's not because I am ashamed of them.  It's because I try to keep this blog mostly in the present and I don't deal with those things on a regular basis.  I used to experience tactile hallucinations as a burning sensation on my wrist that told me where to cut myself a lot, but after tons of therapy, I have learned how to ignore those hallucinations/delusions.  I have found that distraction works incredibly well and now I only feel those particular sensations when I am really stressed out and fortunately I am so used to them that it doesn't usually bother me that much.

I hope that my story provides people who struggle with hallucinations and delusions hope that life can be manageable again.  I used to wish that medication would cure me of my hallucinations, but as I learned how to deal with them, I learned that I could live with them instead of against them.  I did not have to let the hallucinations and delusions ruin my life, but could and can live well despite them.

For a long time, I couldn't say the word, "Alaska," without feeling a chill of terror.  The memory of my psychosis was incredibly frightening to me and I thought I would never be over the trauma of my own mental illness.  Writing this story has made me realize that I have finally healed over some of my trauma and that is very reassuring.  Being diagnosed with a severe mental illness and being hospitalized is always a traumatic thing, which many people do not adequately understand.  Now I am able to have faith that one day I will be healed of the traumas I suffered when my diagnosis was changed to BPD and when I was hospitalized not that long ago.  Time and a willingness to learn new coping skills will bring about great healing.  Looking back on the event, my therapist and I have agreed that the next time my parents leave town for weeks at a time, I need to have more honest communication with my parents and I should probably stay with others to help me feel more calm.  I am grateful for healing time, my family, my therapist, new coping skills, and for lessons learned.vacation travel photos - Anchorage, Alaska
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