Monday, June 13, 2011

My Near Death Experience (Pt 1)

     In case I haven't mentioned it, I have a mood disorder called Bipolar II.  The theory is (and most mental illness diagnosis and treatments are still considered theory because we still know so little about the workings of the human brain) that it is caused by a chemical inbalance in the brain related to the area that regulates mood.  The end result is that I experience swings of mood from hypomania (feelings of high energy and elation, fast-moving thoughts, etc.) and depression (we all know what that is!).  Only the mood swings of Bipolar are much greater in depth and height and frequency than those of  "normal" people.  Not fun.  Medications help correct this imbalance, but there is no cure, and meds only help to a certain extent.  Some people are helped more than others.  In my case, meds help most of the time, but not always.  And life events, while not causing Bipolar episodes, still effect the frequency and degree of the episodes.  When meds no longer work, the mood swings become uncontrollable and pretty scary.  After a long and dark winter (which is known to affect many people, especially those who, like me, suffer from SAD (seasonal-affective-disorder),  my disease was raging out of control and I began to cycle between mania (hypo-mania in my case, because I suffer from Bipolar II) and depression in a escalating roller coaster ride that finally caused me to crash and burn and resulted in my most recent hospitalization.  Here is what happened:
     I don't remember much about the days leading up to my suicide attempt, but I do know that it was triggered by my feelings of hopelessness regarding years-long unresolved issues in my marriage.  These issues weren't a problem for my husband, who believed they had been mutually settled  They hadn't:  I had only given up on trying to resolve them (at least to my own satisfaction), and over the years had been trying to resign myself  to the situation as it stood.  News Bulletin: unresolved issues in a personal relationship don't go away, they just go underground and eat at your self-esteem and continue to poison said relationship.  The meds weren't working any more (this happens every few years) and in the crevasse of my depression I decided life was just too painful and not worth the effort any more.  The blinders of severe depression were in place and my inability to see any alternatives to my current intolerable situation led me finally to a nearby river.

     I'm told I was found standing near said river in shorts, a tank top and flip flops on a cold and rainy March evening around 10 PM.  I don't remember this.  The official police report reads "...inappropriately dressed for the weather," and describes my attire in embarrasing detail.   Lucky for me (although I didn't feel so at the time!),  a policeman in his cruiser happened to be parked nearby.  The officer beckoned me over and asked me where I was headed.  The report says I answered "to the river," to which he asked "what are you going to do there?'  I replied flippantly "thought I'd take a dip."  Oh, I forgot to mention, to add to the weird impression I must have made, I had my miniature dachshund with me on a leash. So there I was, dressed for a summer holiday, standing in the cold pouring rain, dragging an unenthusiastic little wiener-dog by her leash on a dark and stormy night in March: which in my neck of the woods is still late winter.

     Was I really going swimming in the Snake River that night?  Logic tells me normal people don't go swimming in the Snake River in early March in the pouring rain.  The official report made by the nice policeman states that I seemed "confused and my manner of speech was slow and vague."   Nope.  I was going to drown myself in that fast-running river and take my little dog with me.  Knowing myself, I'm sure I was thinking that she was old and sick, and  I probably felt that taking her with me would be kinder than leaving her to the tender mercies of my husband, who I believed didn't want her or any of my other two dachshunds either.  He used to tell me jokingly (but I believed him none the less) that if I died before he did, the first thing he'd do is get rid of the dogs. (Ha ha).  Ergo my  plan to go to the great beyond together with my beloved pet.   

      He then said, "I have a better idea.  Why don't you get in the car and I'll take you home?"  Then he exited the cruiser and taking me gently by the arm, helped me into the backseat of his car and handed my dog to me and shut the door.   He drove me to the address I gave him and parked.  Then, instead of opening the door for me as I expected, (remember, the rear seat doors on cruisers can only be opened from the outside), he left me locked up in the rear seat, walked up to my front door and rang the doorbell.

(More later)