Anger stirred in my chest. It began to grow and fill my heart, because of a four-leaf clover that I had misplaced six weeks ago. I found myself wanting to get up out of bed and to get dressed, for the first time in seven days. My emotional rage was driving me to get to my car, so that I could race 40 minutes to where I had last held it in my possession. My memory of the incident was returning to me, and I strongly felt that it was his fault. The adrenaline that swept outward from my chest and into my head, suddenly left me too fatigued to move from where I was laying. Pushing away the thought of the loss, helped to calm the outrage that I was feeling. I tried to tell myself that it wasn’t anyone’s fault. I realized that the medication was leaving my system, and it was leaving me with very few options. Do I take another pill, do I try the new prescription that my doctor sent me, or do I just lay here and suffer through it. I wondered if I was permanently damaged, or maybe I was always this way.
Avoiding people and the tasks that need to be done is not helping my situation. The medication, duloxetine, will help me to forget everything, and there will be no anxiety over the things that should have been done weeks ago. Just take the pill. It will numb the body, soften the nervous system, force sleep, and the relief of forgetting is a sensation that I crave. Not even the memory of emotions will remain. He will be grateful that I made that decision, and that I stayed in bed, rather than disrupting his peace with my anger over the loss of a four-leaf clover. He would have been embarrassed over my confrontation in a public place.
He makes me angry. It was his fault. He is controlling over everything I do, and that day he told me to put it down. I just wanted to put it in its place, so that it wouldn’t get lost. He had insisted that I drop it right there, because he needed me to do something right then. The four-leaf clover was old, pressed into a piece of vellum paper. The color of the vellum was brown with age, but still translucent enough to see the image of the clover sitting inside its fold. The ladies had handed it to me with excitement over its discovery, and I was overcome with nostalgia. My grandfather had one that he had left behind when I was just a child of eight years. It wasn’t my grandfather that had left me feeling the need to hold that clover in my hands, it was the clover, and the feeling that I felt when I had discovered it among my grandfather’s possessions. I started to feel angry over its loss, making me feel almost desperately lost. Everything was taken away from me, always, by someone for some reason or other.
I breathed the anger out of my chest, by exhaling it through my mouth. I focused on my breathing and relaxing my body. Deep breaths, my shoulders are too tense, relax those muscles. Breathe. The muscles tensed back up, and I tried to force them to relax again. Breathe. I should never have stopped taking my medication, but it was causing me to sleep all day and all night. An hour a day awake, for three years, is not a quality life. I had no care about my own situation after I began the medication, but I frustrated over everything that was happening around me, as it happened. It was only a matter of months before I asked my doctor to increase my dosage so that I could have some relief. In less than a year, I was at the maximum dose that any doctor would recommend.
My friend’s suicide, the betrayal of her own friends, my need for justice, and then the betrayal of my own friends, combined with his controlling behavior, that always ended in the loss of friends and finances and my health. My damaged nervous system left me in agonizing pain, where just the slightest touch would cause me to suffer for hours on end. It was very confusing, but after I began the medication, nothing mattered anymore, and my nerves became numb. My thoughts were no longer racing through my head, and they stopped screaming out through my mouth. Duloxetine made my life bearable, along with the Valium, the muscle relaxants, and then we added the Wellbutrin to help me stay awake for an hour or two during the day. He told me that he appreciated that I had changed my behavior. I wanted to scream at him, and tell him that he was selfish, but I was too tired to argue. He further commented that I was much easier to be around, as he made my breakfast and dished out the appropriate portions that he said I should be eating. Less sugar was better for my temperament, he added, as one final blow, before he headed downstairs to wash our clothes. After the medication kicked in, there was nothing he could say that could hurt me. On the other hand, I no longer cared what words came out of my own mouth, and the need to talk back became moot.
I spent three years in a cloud, on a cloud, as I drifted in and out of consciousness. It was blissful to not be able to remember anything to be angry about. I forgot about the past, but I forgot about my future, too. I stopped dreaming, I stopped creating, I stopped designing, I stopped writing, I stopped making lists of things to do, and then I stopped bathing and I stopped trying to wake myself up. He would often comment on my laziness and refused to see that even the simplest tasks had become too difficult for me to perform. His complaints would make me angry, but I would quickly forget that he had made any. Between his work and the household needs, he was becoming outwardly frustrated at my lack of assistance. He blamed me for our financial problems and faulted me for the filth we were now living in. I wanted to help, it was the first time in a long time, that I really wanted to do something. I made the decision to stop taking my pills, so that I could wake up, but I kept that to myself.
Waking up was difficult. I was not motivated enough to contact my doctor to discuss it, and I was not able to think well enough to consider that an option. I quit cold turkey from the highest dose. The internet suggested that withdrawal symptoms might consist of undefined sleep problems, and so it seemed a simple ordeal compared to what I had suffered through for the last twenty years. One would think that the leading health provider in the country would have had enough studies to better define “sleep problems” as a withdrawal symptom. As my doctor sympathetically joked, “so, it was like living through the movie Groundhog Day?” Yup, it was. I thought I was asleep when I was awake, and I thought that I was awake when I was asleep. Every time I tried to wake up, I would get out of bed, walk down the stairs and eventually discover that I never left that bed. Over and over and over again, and it was most definitely a sleep problem, but at least I can now define it better than the drug manufacturer. The doctor’s solution was to add seroquel to my diet to stabilize thoughts.
More and more memories began to flood into my head with every dose that I missed. The fog lifted and I was swept up in moments of mania, which brought suspicion to those around me. I confessed that I had stopped taking the nerve blocking medications. He told me that he already knew, because he had noticed how I had become more affectionate towards him than I had been in a long time. It was true, I was no longer angry, and his words didn’t feel like salt rubbing into my wounds. However, that was just the first week.
After seeing the destruction that I had done to myself, and realizing what other had done to take advantage of me when I was at my most vulnerable, I became angry. The anger flooded my body, filled my head and spilled ugly words from my mouth. To me, in my moment, he appeared uncaring. He casually brushed aside what I was feeling and told me what I should be feeling. I told him that I wanted to kill him, but this time, I felt like I might really kill him. The anger was terrifyingly uncontrollable, and I remembered why I had made the decision to take the medication in the first place. I felt that the only way to swallow my anger was to swallow those pills, and so I returned to my comfortable resting cloud where there was no anger. I wasn’t able to find peace there forever, because his frustration with my lack of proliferation kept pounding on my door. I’m a mover and a shaker, and he needed me back. He wanted me to fix what he couldn’t do alone. He needed my fire, the same fire that always felt, to him, like anger.
Now, laying here in my bed, I am staring at this screen rather than the ceiling. I still haven’t bathed, and my home looks like a squatter’s hole. It’s still a step up from where I was a month ago. I can remember things with better clarity, and I have already started making lists of things to do. I have returned to some of my passions, such as writing, but I’m too tired to do too much more. I have been helping him with websites and marketing and online sales, but I’m not quite ready for people, yet. I have read that agitation and anger can be associated with withdrawal symptoms from some of the medications that I am coming off of. I am hoping that is the reason for the extreme emotional swings that I have been feeling. My nervous system does appear to have healed some since my surgery, but sugar and other processed foods aggravate my nervous system, and stressful situations can trigger my anger. Excessive thinking about something as simple as a lost clover, leads to feeling of frustration, and the fault line.
What is the fault line? It’s the line that we all cross when we blame another person for a particular problem or situation. It’s easier to blame others than to blame yourself for anything. Some people use the blaming game so often that it becomes habit, and it’s difficult to break that cycle. People with psychosis tend to cross the fault line more than people without severe mental illness, which leads to frequent emotional swings and paranoia. I have hope that this will pass, as I showed myself today that I was able to rationalize that my anger wasn’t reasonable, which allowed me to calm myself down. That a lost four-leave clover, and the interesting attachment that I have to it, wasn’t a good reason to be angry or to find fault in another person.
If you read this from top to bottom, can you write in the comments, and tell me who you felt more empathy for? Who could you relate to more, in these situations? I tried to leave clues that there were two sides to the story, but I did remain biased in my opinions for most of the journey, so you could see the state that my mind has been in. Depression and mental illness and nervous system disorders are very difficult to differentiate even for trained professionals, please keep an open mind.
About the Creator
I’m an advocate for education and equal health care. I love satire. I love to express myself through art and writing. Social issues fascinate and astound me. Co-founder of Art of Recycle.