Monday, April 29, 2013

"Sucks, Doesn't It?" A Memoir, Entry 22


The next day, fully restored to sanity, I march straight to my desk, open the journal, and stare at the drawing. The page begins to darken, as if I’m rapidly approaching a tunnel.  I blink several times and the tunnel disappears. But as I continue to stare at the drawing, the distance between the two of us seems to lengthen. I lower my head to focus better. Hmm . . . the drawing now appears to be disappearing down a rabbit hole; sort of like swirling water flowing toward a shrinking drain.
I float my bum into the chair, bend my head over the drawing to the point my nose is practically pasted to the page, and fill out the incompleted circle. Not one scintilla of emotion do I feel. Afterward, I dress, get the kids off to school, and run my errands for the day.
In the past week or so, I’ve been able to get out and drive to wherever I needed to go without any problems. But today’s driving doesn’t go as well. For the first time, I notice I’m slow to react to things like light changes, and stop signs. As in, I don’t move. Horns honk at me. In the parking lot of the grocery store, I drive around in circles trying to decide where to park. I pull in one spot, change my mind and pull out of it. I do this for about ten minutes. In the store, I randomly put items in the basket until I fill it up. When I go to check out, I get in line, stare at the items in the basket, and realize half of it's junk. Seriously annoyed with me, I abruptly abandon the cart, leave the store and head for home. To an empty refrigerator. Just great, Liz.
At home, I tackle the mundane task of washing the dishes. I giggle as I remember a commercial that used to fascinate me as a little girl. It featured the dishwashing detergent, “Joy.” A Katie Couric lookalike without the brains, is elbow deep in yellow gloves and soapy water. With one swipe of the sponge, her butt ugly pots and pans rise out of soapy water looking brand spanking new. You can even see the makeup lines of Miss PerkyPie’s face reflect off the silvery bottom of the fry pan. Then she flashes a dazzling smile to beat the strength of ten suns.
Maybe I can be a Miss PerkyPie, too. Let's try it. But alas, when I swipe the blackened-bottoms of my pots and pans, they stay that way. Even worse, my dazzling smile to beat the strength of ten suns? Would cause a baby to howl worse than a werewolf caught in a lunar eclipse. I cackle at my silliness. Ok, Liz, remove head from ass, and stay in the present. A few seconds later, “You hear me girl?”   Fear slices through my heart decapitating everything in its path, the life-blood of my being! I drop a piece of glass. It shatters into a few thousand shards of crystal shower, spraying matter helter skelter, and hither and yonder. Dropping to one knee, I stare numbly at the reflections of glass winking up at me from my tennis shoes.
“Like your damn life now, huh, Lizzie? He, he, he . . .”
I reach down and pick up the larger pieces of broken glass, paying no heed to the sharp edges as I toss them into the trash. Teardrops of blood follow my every movement. Drip, drip, drip.  And the more I wipe, the more I drip. I can't keep up! Panicked, I dip crimson fingers into soapy pan water, and begin to scrub. It isn't long before I don my Mother Goose hat.
Rub a dub dub, three men in a tub, and who do you think they be? The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. Turn them out, knaves all three. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"Sucks, Doesn't It?" A Memoir, Entry 21

Chapter 21 

I’m staring at a picture I just drew in my new journal. And it isn’t a circle as per Pen’s instructions. Hmm . . . ok, now that’s just plain weird, Liz. Valium induced? Has to be. Who draws this kind of crap? A toddler maybe.
In less time it takes to count to one, Psycho Voice replies, “You pathetic little wimp, Lizzie. Still can’t connect the dots? I leave a trail of bread crumbs all over the place and all you do is eat them. What more do I have to do to get your f**king attention?”
I ignore the insults, and start scribbling as if my life depended on it. Words, words, words, mere words. Still, I write fast and furiously, feeling oh so very disconnected with the process. When I finally put the pen down, I read over what I wrote.
        My body is an empty vessel. My Blood runs dry. My spirit has departed … for now. My thoughts are outside of me now … and they remain invisible and elusive. So I can’t grasp them and put them back in. Which is really what I need to do to become whole again. See, some of my thoughts are attached to my spirit and instead of plasma my blood contains some of my thoughts. My body is home to all my thoughts and if they’re gone what’s left in my body? Isn’t that what happened in the hospital? I Lost all my thoughts at that time. Went into Mental shock as it were. So now begins the titanic struggle to fill myself. 
         Is this some form of poetry? Check that; some form of baaad poetry? I took poetry in college. Maybe this is the type of abstract poetry where you toss a bunch of words onto a page, then wait and see where they land. Good thing I’m not an olympic gymnast; a score of 0.0 for missing the landing and bouncing off the wall!
A few minutes later, Oh boy, this is fun. I’ve drawn a big fat circle on the next page. I’ve written the word ‘ME’ in the center of the circle. WHOOO ME? I giggle, yes you, bucket head.  But as I begin to fill in the tabs outside the circle with the names of every parental figure who had ruled my childhood with an iron tongue, my mood shifts dramatically. I hate, hate, hate this writing shit. Worry intrudes, a silent tormentor. I drop the pen. My stomach starts to churn like holy water in a barrel of moonshine. Let the unraveling commence. Only this time, a husky malevolent whisper slithers into my mind to finish me off. “You hear me, girl?”
       I slam the journal shut, the bile rises to my throat, and I hit the floor. The voices pour out of my mouth again, this time, crying, “No, Lizzie . . . stop, stop, stop, stop!” For an hour I wail and crawl. My husband tries to get me to take the valium, but a childish voice refuses. “Me’cine bad, bad, bad.” Finally, out of total exhaustion, I collapse to the floor and mercifully fall asleep.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

"Sucks, Doesn't It?" A Memoir, Entry 20

Chapter 20

Silver Spring, MD
Déjà vu. I’m sitting across from Dr. Penguin, rocking nervously. Gee, I'd sure like to stay off the floor and not lapse into a hundred voices. And knowing I would be in such a state at the beginning of the session, B was prepared to be the initial speaker. In anticipation of that reality, I had dictated on the drive down what I wanted him to say, and not say, having failed to do that when we went to see Dr. Cuckoo. Not that it would’ve mattered to Rip Van Winkle as it turns out.
However, prior experience with Dr. Penguin has taught me that she will most definitely not sleep through the session. On the other hand, I also can’t trust her not to go all female on me if she learns of my self-destructive tendencies. Women are so damn emotional. I don’t care if they are trained therapists. You just can’t take the woman out of the therapist. Simple.
As I listen to B, I’m relieved he only gives the barest details of what has been going on. Eventually, he winds down, and she addresses me.
“Liz, why don’t you tell me what’s been happening since you’ve been out of the hospital.”
The rocking subsides as I hear the gentleness in her voice. “I’m not sure. One minute I’m me, the next I’m some crazy lunatic crawling around on my hands and knees wailing in childish voices I can’t control.
Nodding sympathetically, she carefully replies, “About the voices, Liz. Are they angry, sad, scared . . . what?”
“Hmm . . . scared. Then again, it’s mostly childish babble. But sometimes, I’ll find myself singing stupid nursery rhymes. Really weird stuff.” I pause, as my senses suddenly go on high alert, like a wolf surveying its territory. Narrowing my eyes, I say brusquely, “That’s it.”
She smiles warmly, and I relax a bit. “Well, it’s too early to assess what’s really going on here, Liz, but I can already see that you’re exhibiting many of the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A few years ago, I started to explain what PTSD is, but you left before I could work you through it.” She hesitates. “This time, we have to dig deeper in order for us to get at the bottom of these terrible panic attacks.” She hesitates again. “Why didn’t you come back to therapy a few years ago, Liz?”
I shrug. “Didn’t think we needed to explore my childhood. Nothing really bad happened to me when I was growing up. Maybe a couple of minor incidents is all. Anyway, what’s done is done. It's simply a case of mind over matter now.” I rock a little harder, then mutter, “Problem is, if you don’t have a mind, all bets are off.” Louder, I continue, “So, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get back on track. But I gotta be honest here, Pen. I don’t think PTSD is the main problem.” I explain about my breakdown at twenty-one and what Dr. Bow Tie Freud’s diagnosis had been. “Do you think he’s right? Am I just a walking mental case?”
“Like I said, Liz, it’s way too early to assess what may be wrong, but I’m glad you told me that.” She scribbles something down and looks at her watch. “For the next session, I’d like you to start a journal. I want you to begin by drawing a family circle, listing parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles. And then write a brief synopsis of your relationship with each, good or bad.” She smiles.
B asks her how often I should come to therapy. She replies firmly, once a week. I ask her if these panic episodes will lessen. She says yes, in time they will.
I stand up feeling very relieved, thank her and set another appointment. As I walk out the door, I also feel real hope that I’ll eventually be normal again, and this whole last couple of months of nightmare will fade away leaving nary a scar on my psyche. 
Unfortunately, that warm inspirational fuzzy lasts all of five seconds, before Psycho Voice emerges and tosses a grenade in my direction.
“Hey, Lizzie, once upon a Greek myth, Zeus gave Pandora a jar with all the evils of the world in it. Then he tells her not to open it. I know, stupid right? ‘Cos of COURSE she opened it! Then guess what? All hell broke loose!”