Category: bipolar


The giggling fish

I remember the first time I tried to remember my first memory in a psychology class.  We were told to close our eyes, relax, breath deep and search our minds.  What came to mind seemed a little odd and I hardly trusted it to be real.  When called upon by the instructor, I quickly changed my answer to something more plausible than that which popped into my head.  That couldn’t have possibly happened.  But even though the memory was odd, it did happen.  Now, the way I saw this event and the way it happened were two different experiences entirely and perhaps it is a cluster of memories from childhood that my brain fused into one.   However, here is the memory as I see it in my mind.

I was a very young child, just a toddler.  We lived near a lake and spent every nice day near the water.  I loved the feel of the waves coming in and crashing on my ankles.  I would sit in the “beach” area and play.  The adults sat nearby, ladies drinking their cocktails, the men drinking beer, some teens playing near some cars.  This day, they ladies were gathered at the lake, my brother was playing at a distance I think, but as for me, I was wading in the shallow waters of the lake.  I sat down and began to watch some minnows darting about nearby.  I could hear their playful giggles as they wiggle about in the water.  One of the little guys came to the surface to chat with me.  I watched and listened with delight.  The little minnow even knew my name.

“Come play with me,” the minnow giggles.  “Let’s swim all day and you can stay with me. Come play.”

I look back at my mom in the group.  She is laughing and carrying on with the others.  I see very few people right near me.  I look back at the fish.

“Come Anjanette, come play with me.”

I inch myself into the water a little deeper.  It is at my waist.  The water is inviting and cool.  I see more fish in the distance, wiggling and giggling as they play.  My minnow comes back and calls to me again.  He seems so inviting.

“Be free. No more tummy pain.”  The fish is smiling.

I knew the pain he was referring to and was horrified he knew.  It was that sick pain I got when I was being tucked into bed by the babysitters who took such an interest in making me a lady.  A little lady who knows about touch and tenderness.  It made my tummy ache.

I don’t know  at what point I decide to try or how long it took me to join him.  Like I said, it could be a cluster of days all clumped together.  I just know that at some point, I inched my way into waters I was not ready to manage.  At first, I was excited by the water surrounding me.  That quickly changed to panic because I couldn’t swim.  I was 2 or 3 at the time.  No one was close by and I struggled against the water.  Once I let go of the panic, I was free.  I was floating and swimming side by side with my minnow who smiled and laughed with me.  I held on to his side as we swam.  I was free.

“See no more pain.”  We giggled as I swam about with him.

But the good feeling stopped.  I see myself coming out of the water and my little minnow waving good-bye.  He looked so sad and I knew I would never see him again.  That is the first time I heard the crickets.  I would swear it was an army of crickets carrying me away, far from the water.

There is a bit of panic around me and I think someone is hitting me.  They are telling me to spit it out but I am not sure what it could possibly be.  I wanted them to stop pounding on me.  What could I have possibly put in me that is so urgent I spit out. I want to go back and swim.  I want them to leave me be.  Then the pounding stops and I feel a searing pain on my back.  Suddenly, I am coughing up water and began to cry.  Why are they hurting me like this?  Why is everyone standing around me in a fuss?  Where is my giggling fish?

There was  a nice breeze I felt on my face.  The ladies seemed so excitable but I haven’t a clue what they are talking about and why they are making such a fuss.  I want to go back to the lakeside.  Why won’t they leave me alone?

In a distance, I hear the little minnow. “Bye Anjanette.  I can’t play with you no more.  Thanks for coming to see me.”

The sick feeling is back in my tummy.  I see a bunny rabbit hopping in the nearby woods. “Catch me if you can!”  The bunny hops away.  I look around me.  I am too young to have a concept of life and death.  I am not too sure what really just happened.  But that free feeling was lost and I was back in the places that made my tummy turn.  Why doesn’t anyone else hear the voices around me?

Many years later, I heard my parents tell me the story of when I nearly drowned.   I wouldn’t breath or cough up the water I drank in so a lady burnt me with a cigarette.   That is when I coughed up the water and started to breath again.  I don’t know how long I was without air.

When the teacher called on me about my memory, I told her it was of a bunny hopping in the forest.  I didn’t mention my giggling fish or the fact that the bunny spoke to me.  After all, I’m not stupid, just a little different from others.  I couldn’t have my psych instructor see me as a potential patient and not a student.  That would not do at all.

Hello world!

I hope I can get all of this in my head into words somewhere while my mind is still somewhat clear for the moment.  Sometimes these moments last but as the years go by, they seem to be fewer and further between.  I suspect my nightmare is no longer such and that my schizoid affect is now apparent whether those who love me want to admit it is there or not.  It is as if my mind is a pond.  It can bear clear and still but most of the time there is still all sorts of activity below the serene surface appearance that can only be described as chaos. The chaos is hidden from view much as my collective racing thoughts and paranoiac fears are.   When someone throws in a pebble, it ripples but quickly things go back to the calm. Other times, a rock is tossed in causing a splash and crashing into the floor.  It may have not seemed like such a big thing but it disturbs everything inside the pond.   The initial splash is the most obvious but as things try to settle, mud from the streambed is forced close to the surface and each particle and organism is scrambling to find a place before finally settling.  Sometimes when you think you’ve tossed a pebble into my pond, I feel it like a boulder that has shook my foundation so significantly I am certain things for me will never be the same.

Can you recall having a ringing in your ears?  Imagine the ringing sounds more like you have a radio on that is not quite on the station it is tuned in to so you hear some conversation and some static.  Now add the sounds of a busy restaurant during peak lunch rush.   That is what it sounds like in my head.  On top of this, my thoughts are rushing so fast, I cannot start things  or concentrate long enough to see them through to a finish.  At times, some of you have laughed at my pride in the little accomplishments I relish in because perhaps it doesn’t seem so great.  You have no idea how huge it is these things, the littlest things; I have been able to accomplish.  It would not be so bad if I could just move on once the laughter ceases but from the point you first laughed, your laughter becomes all I hear and I don’t think you ever stopped.  In fact, I don’t know what you could say that would make me believe you don’t still laugh at me now and perhaps are partially to blame for my fall.  I am only as strong as my last delusion of grandeur.  Now, I am but a shell of the tough person I was once believed to be.  Believed to be but never was more than defeated most days.  I cannot wait for the next wave of mania to take hold.   Then my overconfidence, which also makes you laugh, gives me a chance to still make something of this so-called life I live.

Things are getting scary in here.  Recently,I was horrified to see this man walking around the crowded pool where I spent my summer wielding a gun and looking into the windows of some of the townhomes that faced the pool.  I watched the crowd for cues and reactions.  Soon I convinced myself that I should follow the lead of everyone present and avoid any action that would acknowledge his presence.  Once he rounded the corner and was out of sight, I asked someone who the man was and expressed my astonishment at the calm everyone kept considering the high caliber weapon he was brandishing.   The young man looked at me puzzled and asked what man.  I looked around the pool which previously had been full of people now only held a handful of patrons.  The crowd and the man with the gun never were.  This is the first time I confused my hallucinations with reality.  Usually, I can differentiate between my mind’s creations from what is real.  I am terrified of things to come.

Five months ago, I was told one of my dearest friend’s died.  Cruel is the only way I can describe it.  Sick perhaps another.  I cannot wrap my head around it making it difficult to accept.  I know I have spoken to her since she passed.  I have sat beside her and had lunch with her.  She warned me of things that have come to be.  Part of me knows she is gone but part of me says it is all a hoax.  It is one more attempt to stop me from telling the things I know.  This friend believed in me and urged me to write because she said I have something to say and stories to tell that are worth telling.  By removing her, without her, I may retreat further into my head and never tell.  To honor her, I have tried and tried to get my thoughts together and organized in my mind long enough to get them on paper but failed.  What will I do without her support?  I barely have enough in me to get these thoughts to paper.  Still, I must try because if she is gone, it will be the only thing I can do for her.  I must commit to write.

Some of my childhood friends thought it was easy to be me.  It was torture.  I had to hide so much of myself and the scary awful thoughts that I couldn’t dare act upon without facing dire consequences, up to and including causing my own death.  The memories of the dreadful things I did act upon still wake me screaming from my sleep, drenched with sweat and begging for mercy.

See, to be me isn’t easy as some assumed.  My head is a very confusing and busy place.  When I am facing a great deal of stress, I am most dangerous.  I want to break things.  I want to hurt, maim and severely punish the world and myself.  I want to destroy everything…the little breakable collectibles I cherish or collectibles that aren’t mine but I see.  The more meaningful my prey, the more in danger it is.  These days, I am better at resisting the urge but still, I want to do it.  Why?  To stop the noise and make my head stop.  The volume on the clatter of jumbled noises and conversations in my head is loud.  With stress, add your laughter and an army of crickets in the cluster of chaos.  I cannot keep up with conversations I find myself engaged in and between the noise and the racing thoughts I easily get off topic. Trying to utter an intelligible sentence when my head has already skipped forward a dozen topics or so,  I see my target audience looking at me completely bewildered and perhaps annoyed by the words coming out of my mouth.  I keep talking trying to find my way back to the topic at hand only to find ramble aimlessly.  Sometimes I can circle back and find the topic at hand but other times, I yammer on and on getting further away from what I need to be discussing.  If it happens in an interview, I start to giggle because I see the horror in the interviewers eyes and know my resume will soon be in the round outbox on the floor.

In my frustration, I get emotional or irrational.  The response that follows a frustrating attempt to communicate further confuses whoever it is caught up in my web.  If my audience is lucky, the web is weak and an escape is easy.  Most find out I devour and destroy.  Gone is whatever rapport we may have previously shared.  On one such occurrence, I cleared the room upon entering.  I remember an on-looker saying to me in amazement, “You really don’t have any idea why your friendships here ended….” searching my expression for some acknowledgement of wrongdoing, “Wow, you really have no idea what you have done.”  I had no clue and stared back at her blankly.  She looked at me with pity and she too left like an apparition vanishing into the air.  Did that happen to me or is this another sketchy event that blends the truth and nightmares so closely together they cannot be separated?  I don’t know.  I don’t know if half the things I experience are true because I question every memories these days.  The lines between my reality and fantasy are not as clear as they need to be.

I didn’t always have a label for why I am the way I am.  My blogs are not likely to neatly tie together like chapters in a book.  This is simply my life as I recall each event because this is how it happened for me.  It won’t exactly resemble your memory of the events, should you recognize them.  It has my own perceptions, clouded memories, and told by the side of me that refuses to die.  The label would come later, many diagnoses.  But this is me, plain and simple.   Schizoaffective, bipolar type I, just a girl trying to live…whatever you want to call it, whatever you think of me matters not.  This is me, AJ the moody moon lady.