Life After Crazy VI. – What’s It Like? Part II

Post originally started in January:

It’s been almost a year since I went mad. Life seems ordinary enough just now, but I find myself with a creeping sense of unease. Just after Christmas, I spent a couple weeks in the mire of depression, but it has faded into an achingly dull apathy.

Taken the morning before my first hospitalization for psychosis.

They say “that which does not kill you makes you stronger,” and while I do believe I am a stronger person than I was this time last year, I also think I am stranger and harder to relate to. I feel distinctly weird around other people. I’m acutely aware of how different I am, how differently my mind works, and yet there’s nothing I can do about it. Sometimes I hate how different I am, how out of place I feel in the world. I used to think maybe I was more mature than other kids, that as I got older, eventually I’d start to feel like I had more in common with other people. I’m finding I don’t. If anything, I have less in common with them now.

Sometimes I wonder if I feel safe in my own head. I feel so weird around people all the time, I don’t know at point I should be worried about myself. Is being weird in and of itself cause for concern? Probably not, at least in my case, but it’s harder to feel safe with my own strangeness than it once was. I didn’t know I was on the road to crazy last time. What if the signs aren’t always the same? What if it starts differently next time? ((UPDATE: IT DID! Ha…)) I feel like I should be watching myself for something, but I don’t even know what to watch for, or what I should do if I notice something amiss. I often wonder if I’m not crazy all the time, and most days it just simmers at more or less functional level. How would I know? Do I care?

Those are the real questions, I suppose. If being weird is inescapable, if I must live with whatever is in my head regardless of what it is, then is it worth worrying about?

March 22, 2017: Dammit, Moon-Moon

It happened again. The Crazy resurged. Not quite the same as last time, and not as bad. Fortunately, there were no cops, handcuffs, or locked wards this time– although I think there was some discussion of them. I still ended up in the ER, though, and Lask had a rather a lot to say to the people there. We decided if we couldn’t control who was doing the talking, the best thing to do was stay calm and try to communicate as clearly as possible what was going on, and what we needed.

I took this selfie as a demonstration of a point I was making at the time. Say hi to my class!

It was frightening, but I think we managed it a lot better than last time, and I think the people around us had learned a thing or two. It started on Thursday, when I began getting anxious about the Women’s Forum. I was excited about it, and felt like I had a good presentation prepared. As it turns out, I ended up scrapping most of my notes and just letting the class ask me questions. It was a great experience. The class talked to each other, asked good questions, and several stayed after to talk at length to me.

Here’s the thing, though: I was a hot mess. I taught a good class, made some people think, but I was so manic it was not even funny. I was running around trying to get everything done, deal with so many people (social anxiety, remember?), and as a result, I didn’t sleep for three days. I also started a certain female cycle Saturday morning, and that flush of hormones would make anyone crazy. No sleep + anxiety + hormonal flush + mania = me in the ER getting asked hundreds of questions by people who are sure something is wrong with me, they just don’t know what:

Josh the Unflappable
The first P.A. into the room was a skinny fella named Josh. Josh was the bomb. Nothing fazed Josh. Lask, who was stuck on the surface again during this episode, talked to him about everything from time travel to white blood cells, and Josh took it all in stride. Kudos, man. You diagnosed the problem while preserving our dignity and not making us feel bonkers. A boon to mental health services everywhere!

The Ghost of Christmas Past (aka Kelly)
Kelly was one of three interviewers who came to talk to me. She had a lot of questions. She wanted to know why I talked funny, why my voice kept changing, where that lilting faintly European voice was coming from. Mostly, it’s because Lask was there talking to her, and he has a very distinct voice from mine. The best part, though… the best part was this:

Kelly: Ok, so, I’m talking to Lask. There’s also Elanor. Are there any others?
Lask: Of course, we’re a family. There’s me, El, Wyatt, Stefin, Falient…
Kelly: Are they here right now?
Lask: No, but they’re nearby. They’re worried about us.
Kelly: You said there was a Stephanie–
Lask: No, no. Stefin. He’s the big red Demon.
Kelly: I see… can I talk to Stefin?
[nearby, Stefin looks startled and starts gesticulating to Lask, “no, no, no, please–!”]
[Lask steps aside: Be good, Stefin. You’re on. Careful, the mic’s hot. *chuckle*]
[Me: That’s not funny. *sigh* Come on, Stefin.]
Kelly: So… can I talk to Stefin?

Yes, this Stefin. Oops.

Stefin [sheepishly]: Si, senorita.
Kelly: Oh. Habla espanol?
Stefin: Si, muy bueno, but for the sake of expediency, I’ll speak English for you.
Kelly: Your voice is different again.
Stefin: Of course, I’m Stefin.
Kelly: And you’re a big red Demon.
Stefin: Si, senorita. I am.
Kelly: Why?
Stefin: I don’t know. Why are you human female?
Kelly: Fair point. Are you angry?
Stefin: Not today, ma’am.
Kelly: You’re awfully polite for a Demon.
Stefin: You’ve given me no reason to be otherwise, and I don’t want to get anyone into more trouble.
Kelly: Why are you here?
Stefin: You asked for me.
Kelly: And you can come here whenever you want to?
Stefin [sheepishly]: Si, senorita… If I ask nicely.
Kelly: Stefin? Why do you think you’re in here?
Stefin: Because Elanor is bleeding, panicking, and hasn’t slept in three days.
Kelly: I see. And you’re concerned for her?
Stefin: Muy preocupado, senorita! Mucha preocupación.
Kelly: I see. Thank you, Stefin.
Stefin: De nada.

Later, Kelly stepped out into the hall to talk to Jackie.
Kelly: So… are there more than Lask?
Jackie [ticking through the list]: There’s Wyatt, and Falient, and…
Kelly: Well, I just talked to the big red demon.
Jackie: Oh! Stefin! Yeah, I know Stefin.
Kelly [looking very puzzled by her enthusiasm]: I see.

Kelly returns to my room.
Kelly: Am I talking to Lask?
Lask: Yes, Kelly.
Kelly: Are there more than you?
Lask: Yes, but they’re not the same.
Kelly: How so?
Lask: I’m connected to Elanor. The rest just visit sometimes.
Kelly: I see…

The Ghost of Christmas Present – Mr. Reformed
I don’t even remember this guy’s name, but he told me he’d tried to kill himself a couple times, had plenty of issues, and was here to give me some information.
Mr. Reformed: I’ve been in some bad places. I know what it’s like to be where you are.
Lask: Not much fun, is it, sir?
Mr. Reformed: Afraid not. Hey, I’ve got some stuff for you. [passes over flyers and trifolds]
Lask [looking through them]: How can I reach these people about their flyer? [holds up tragic flyer]
Mr. Reformed: I guess that email on the bottom.
Lask: I would like to fix their flyer. Elanor thinks this is tragic, and she could do better. We could help them reach more people with some better art.
Mr. Reformed: That’s great! You should definitely reach out.
Mr. Reformed tells us about his own anxiety, and the interaction concludes with a pleasant handshake.
Lask: You get it. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Reformed: Pleasure to meet you, Lask. There’s one more person who would like to ask you some questions.

The Ghost of Christmas Future (aka Jennifer)
Jennifer: Hi there. I hear I’m talking to Lask.
Lask: That’s correct.
Jennifer: Is Elanor here?
Lask: Yes, we’re just having a hard time getting her back up to the surface. She’s very tired.
Jennifer: I see. So Lask, I hear you time travel.
Lask: That’s right.
Jennifer: How do you manage that?
Lask: I have very careful aim through time and space by use of a magical key and a door I built from the Tree of Life. I’m nothing but photons; I can go anywhere once I know what I’m doing.
Jennifer [nodding, taking it in stride]: I see. And what are you doing here today?
Lask [sighs]: Jennifer… you’re the fourth person who has asked me these questions. Surely those answers are on your pink clipboard somewhere.
Jennifer: Yes.
Lask: Why? This seems like a suspiciously long string of people.
Jennifer: We’re just trying to figure out how to best help you.
Lask: I appreciate that. Do you think I’m dangerous?
Jennifer: No, you seem relaxed. I hear you were screaming in the waiting room, though. What’s that about?
Lask: I was frightened, and I’m angry.
Jennifer: Why are you angry?
Lask: Your country elected the Antichrist. How does anyone sleep at night?
Jennifer [laughs]: Well… I guess I can’t answer that.
Lask: You see my problem, then, Ms. Jennifer. Do you like stories?
Jennifer: Yes.
Lask: Will you read one to your daughter tonight?
Jennifer: How did you know I–?
Lask: Will you?
Jennifer: No, I’m working tonight.
Lask: You should text her, then. It’s important children know their parents are there at night.
Jennifer: I see…
Lask: Will you be locking me up, ma’am?
Jennifer: To be honest, I don’t know. Do you have thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else?
Lask: Of course not. I’m here to protect people.
Jennifer: I see you need help–
Lask: I do. We do. We haven’t slept in days. I’m tired. I’m frightened. I’m hungry. But I’m not crazy.
Jennifer: I didn’t say you were.
Lask: I’ll tell you what, Jennifer. I will do anything you think will help us– take any pill, try any therapy on one condition.
Jennifer: What’s that?
Lask: It can’t involve locked doors.
Jennifer watches him carefully, nods, and makes notes.

Later, Jennifer, Kelly, and Mr. Reformed discuss with Jackie in the hallway. Kelly feels a 72 hour psych hold (Temporary Restraining Order) should be implemented.
Kelly: She said there’s a big red demon!
Mr. Reformed: It’s all projections, hallucinations, from the anxiety and mania. A little sleep, little therapy, she’ll be fine.
Jennifer: I agree she needs help…
Jackie: Can we all agree she’s not dangerous? She’s irritable and anxious. Lask yells when he’s scared. But they’re not dangerous, yeah?
[tentative nodding]
Kelly: I really think we should do the hold, though–
Jennifer: I do agree she needs help, but she’s medically clear. She’s not a danger. I don’t feel comfortable going before the magistrate and asking to take this woman’s rights away. She… he… whoever… said she’d cooperate with anything that wasn’t in-patient, so it seems most likely to help if we work with that.

Later, Jennifer returns.
Jennifer: Who am I talking to?
Lask: Still Lask, I’m afraid.
Jennifer: That’s ok. You said you’d participate in anything that didn’t involve locked doors.
Lask: Yes. Have you come with an alternative?
Jennifer [laughs slightly]: I’ll tell you what. I’ll let you go, I’ll give you something to help you sleep at home tonight, and tomorrow you’re going to an appointment at the local health services board. They’re going to set you up with a psychiatrist and therapy.
Lask: Outpatient?
Jennifer: Yes. No locked doors.
Lask: Well done, Jennifer. I knew I could count on you. [grin]

So, we went home with sleeping pills. We slept. I woke up feeling normal again.

Funny, that.

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