Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The eye of the storm

My mind has been a dark place lately. OK, darker than normal. The problem is that my hospital stay and the heavy-duty drugs they gave me there blocked out everything. I basically locked the voices, the delusions, the demons and the angels out of my "house" and hunkered down to weather the storm. At first there was hardly a whisper from the outside. But then I went off the stronger meds and went on something that let me actually vaguely function and the wind picked up.

I spent several of my younger years in Nebraska and I remember hunkering in the dark beneath the stairs as a tornado roared past. The hail pounded against the side of the house and the wind sounded to my young mind like dragon doing its best to tear the house from its foundation. There was nothing we could do but huddle there and wait to see if it would hit us or pass us by.

Well, this is what my mind became, only I didn't have my family in the dark basement to reassure me and tell me everything was OK. They were on the outside with the tornado winds, the dragons, the demons and the killer hailstones. I don't think I've ever been more afraid of my own mind. I knew there were friendly voices in that storm and I was blocking them out with the bad, but it was all or nothing. I had no idea how to open a window or a door without being completely lost. But most frightening of all was that cracks started to form in the walls and I had no idea what to do.

Of course, through all this I hid it from everyone. Over the years I have learned my lessons too well and I can have a full-on panic attack without anyone else noticing. I as lying to myself that everything was OK because the wall were holding, and so I lied to my family, my doctor and my therapist that everything was OK. Fortunately, the cracks became too wide for me to ignore anymore. The screaming wind made me unable to function. So I finally told my psychiatrist. We tried adding another medication - something I hate doing but I was desperate - and it has helped a lot. The wind started to calm and I started being able to interact with other people a little better.

Last night I finally dared to open the door. Nothing came rushing in and the landscape "outside" was messy but not destroyed. My mind hadn't fared as well. That dream self, the part of me that travels through my delusions, emerged like a rabid beast. I had trapped myself in the dark and cold for too long and I couldn't tell which hallucinations and voices were friends and which weren't. I wanted to attack everything. I finally went back inside, in the dark, crumbling house. I did leave the door open, though. And there is some light shining in.

I don't know if the storm is over or if this is just the calm at the eye. But at least for the moment at least I can try to make peace with myself again.