To appease my psychiatrist, to make her happy, I recently started two meds – Abilify and Prazosin. Abilify is being used for the treatment of depression and bipolar disorder; Prazosin if for my high blood pressure, PTSD and sleep tremors. So far, the side effects I’ve encountered are this: teeth grinding with the Abilify. A few months ago I experienced one frightful moment of syncope which lasted for about 4 to 5 minutes when I was sitting in the Northgate Mall. I’m not sure if the Prazosin I had started around that time was the blame for that one, but according to literature I’ve encountered, it can cause it. Side effects suck. They really do. Makes it seem like taking the pills are a waste of time. I’ll have to seriously think about whether I want to continue them or not, or end up one of the statistics in the chart posted above.
Living with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is like having a well-armed bank robber stuck in your body 24 hrs/day. The “money” he steals from you is your freedom, energy, future, pride, time and confidence. Can you imagine? You’d like to get into a relationship with someone, but just the thought that you’ll ruin it somewhere up the road, or it won’t last anyway, is enough for you to turn away any possible suitors. I know better than to write novels as quickly as I do, but the chance that I may not live to see tomorrow means I have to quickly hurry up and write, edit on the fly, and hope what I publish on the internet is as good as books that took years to write.
PTSD doesn’t allow you to get close to anyone. How can you when you’re capable of such little trust? Is that guy trying to hurt me? Maybe. Is that woman trying to hurt me? Could be. Should I trust the smiling man talking to be in the mall? Probably not; he may just be looking to empty my wallet of every penny in it.
Time is one of PTSD’s bigger thefts. It tells you to forget about acquiring long-term housing, like a mortgage or beach-front property. Why should you? Something bad will happen and send you back out on the street anyway. And with me, I’ve spent so much time on the street that the thought of moving into a place is really not first and foremost on my mind. As I’ve said in the past, I’ve been undomiciled more than I’ve been domiciled in my life. Maybe I was a stray cat in one of my past lives, digging through garbage cans for my breakfast, lunch and dinner, constantly being chased up trees by the neighborhood canines.
I’d sure love to know that I have the time to write a novel the best way I can, but good ol’ PTSD would never stand for that bit of courtesy. Why should it? It doesn’t consider my writing as important as, say, constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure I’m not in somebody’s cross hairs.
And I don’t want to be homeless anymore. I can’t stand it. Last week I smashed two windows of a bank to get myself sent to jail because it was freezing and I had no place to sleep. (I’d accidentally locked my keys in my car – and my car was running all those three days I was incarcerated, too!) The judge said, “Eh, you’re not a criminal. You’re just crazy,” and released me. Maybe he’s right; maybe he’s wrong. I’m no criminal? The PTSD bandit in my head begs to differ, but then he thinks that he is me. My PTSD is me. That can’t be true. I hope not.
I can’t sleep unless there’s beer in my gullet. Typically, I’d go to sleep around 9PM, wake up at 11PM, and stare out the windows of the car for hours. When I don’t sleep, or don’t sleep right, my behaviour shows it. I climb over fences, break through windows, steal food from supermarkets, and just create general havoc I end up feeling guilty about later. When I do sleep, I have incredible nightmares that drives me crazy upon waking up. Last night, my nightmare was in two parts, but they were roughly the same things – I was being chased by foxes in the first and cats in the second. Both times, the rabid animals were biting and clawing my hands. Very odd. In the second dream, I kept calling my brother Ronnie to stop the cats. The last time I screamed out his name I woke up because I yelled his name in real life. And so it goes, around and around and around, never ending – a veritable time loop.
Have you ever went to a theatre, paid your $13 for the ticket, $9 for your popcorn, $8 for your drink, then sat in the dark and watched a movie about somebody going mad, and that person up on the screen is you? That’s what my life feels like. I could end this nightmare in two ways – jumping in front of a bus or throwing a brick through a bank’s window and get arrested for attempted burglary. I’d do the latter naked because they’d have to keep me in solitary confinement forever. Sweet.
Here, I will attempt to draw a simile of what living with the trifecta of PTSD, Autism and Bipolar Disorder feels like:
Bipolar – My thoughts are jumbled, all over the place, continually racing. I want to climb naked over a fence to get away from myself.
Autism – I think in extremes and set my mind to accomplishing things no matter how odd they may seem. I actually do climb naked onto that fence, height be damned.
PTSD – That ridiculously high fence I’m climbing, during a freak rain storm no less, just so happens to be wired with 10,000 volts of electricity, but I think, so what? Even better.
I recently wrote a letter to my sister telling her that, me being saddled with PTSD, Autism and Bipolar Disorder, is like waking up one morning to find I’ve been locked alone in a house with a 600 pound gorilla. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Does that 600 pound brute want to play or take me apart? Can he be placated or put on ice some kind of way? What can I feed him? Should I keep running from him, hoping he never catches up to me? I could always burn the house down, but that’s like throwing out the baby with the bath water. Anyway, it is what it is. That’s about the best metaphor I can think about mental illness. My troubles, I would say, is not the trifecta of mental illnesses – that would be schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder and Autism – still, it’s coming pretty close to it. I recently started Lamictal. We’ll see how that does.
I’d spent the weekend, BTW, getting myself together at a Crisis Clinic because I’d locked my car keys in my car, went on a trespassing frenzy, including into a police precinct’s yard, and other things I’m not proud of. I guess I need to get back in control, or else.