Wednesday, September 17, 2008

type 3, mixed, with psychotic features

Psychosis No. 5, says the hospital chart. I'm supposed to sign it before they release me from the psychiatric ward. It's late March, 2008, and four days ago I rolled the dice with my future.

It was an orange plastic die, ten-sided, and I had it in my pocket the whole time. One o'clock in the morning, my parents get a call from my roommate. Dad and brother drive out to the trailer to look into the situation. I say there's something I desperately need to tell them, but I can't until they understand. I talk very fast. I talk about my uncle, and he gets the same phone call. He shows up at the trailer. I tell my brother to dial 911, but not to send the call. I tell him that if, at any point, he thinks the authorities need to be involved, he is to hand the phone off to my uncle, who is to call the police and explain the situation. I keep talking, trying desperately to get my father to see what I need from him. Secretly, all I want is autonomy--that is, not to move back in with my parents. But I have to test the situation, to see if staying at the trailer is the right thing to do. I will gamble tonight, and there are only two outcomes: either everyone assembled will respect my right to go on living where I've been living for the last year, or I will be removed from the premises by the authorities.

I lose the bet. Brother hands the phone off to uncle and says, "Dial." Two policemen arrive and come into the living room. I am perched on the couch, climbing up the walls, holding my orange die in my right hand. I plead with them. I'm in my own home. I'm not doing anything wrong. I don't have a weapon. It's just a piece of plastic. It can't hurt anyone. I get one cop to help me try to convince the other cop that I'm fine. The other cop pulls his taser on me. I throw the die right at him. It bounces off his chest harmlessly. He doesn't tase me, but it is at that point that the police escort me off the premises, into an ambulance that has been waiting outside the whole time.

From there, raving, I'm taken to the psychiatric ward, and what happens in the ambulance and immediately after I arrive at the hospital are secrets I may never share here. Shortly after my arrival, I am sedated, and I remember very little about the first two days of my stay on the ward.

I'm bipolar, type 3. The official diagnosis was bipolar, mixed, currently manic, with psychotic features. I was delusional, you see. Type 3 differs from normal bipolar in a few ways. Bipolar type 1 makes you swing manic every so often, followed by depressed fallout, with intermitent periods of stable mood. In other words, mania and depression just happen naturally, periodically, almost regularly. With type 2, you almost never get depressed, and even the manic parts are basically Mania Lite. It's called hypomania. With type 3, the bipolar is depressed 99.9% of the time, and only becomes manic due to extreme external pressures such as sleep deprivation, chemical abuse, or intake of large doses of antidepressants. In my case, I was taking way too much caffeine, and nothing but caffeine. I ate nothing but M&Ms for two days or so, and didn't sleep at all for longer than that.

I found out months later that I had misread the hospital chart. It didn't say Psychosis No. 5, it said Psychosis N.O.S. Not Otherwise Stated. In other words, they didn't have a short label for what I was going through, so they just put "other".

I moved back in with my parents after they released me from the ward. I've been here for two years now, recovering, mostly depressed, trying to figure out how I'm going to make it in life with this disease. And now, lo, the time is upon me. I need to move out soon. I don't know how soon, but I need to get out of here. I'm unemployed. I'm poor. I have no college degree, nor any realistic intent of attaining one. What I do have is an inspiration for a trilogy of fantasy novels that I think will sell. I've spent the last several days working on the world-building, and the ideas have been flowing like a furious deluge. I haven't slept much. I think I'm going manic again.