Super Hero Interrupted
My mother had me going to therapy since the fourth grade. She always told me that I had a chemical imbalance in my brain and would probably have to take “a little something.” However, I discovered booze before psychiatry, which kind of made me swerve off the beaten path for a few years.
But let me get back to the therapy. I had no idea why I had to go, perhaps something to do with the fact that my parents were divorced. At school I was convinced that no one liked me. I always thought I was "different" and secretly wanted to be loved by everyone. I was a smart child yet lacked the motivation to do well partially because I felt deep inside that Ii was put on earth to do something great (first delusion).
Often I would stay up all night watching MTV. I had incredible energy and I could not fall asleep. I collected knives and analyzed music by Iron Maiden. I thought about death and suicide quite a bit, yet I knew enough not to say anything about it to anyone. For years my insanity would be my own little secret until it became so bad in my middle twenties that I could no longer hide it from others.
A familiar pattern began to emerge in young adulthood that many of us can relate to. Things would go extremely well. I would be extremely happy, supercharged. Then, suddenly, with a flick of a switch, I would fall into a deep dark depression. In high times I would drink, be rowdy, and sexually promiscuous. When down, I just watched TV and read books.
Ultimately my illness did not kick off until I was married to a woman 13 years older than myself. I met her during one of my manic phases, so I seemed like this great super hero of a guy. We had two children together. I had trouble keeping a job due to my illness. I was in denial about my illness at that time and thought that everyone felt the same way I did. I kept a journal during this time and would record many of my delusional thoughts in it. In a way I was trying to "Figure things out" by writing. That fall, I tried to kill myself. My thoughts were too fast and too dark. I was put in a hospital.
This kicked off a long period of going in and out of hospitals. I was diagnosed Schizoaffective. I was put on the medication clozaril, but always stopped taking it. It made me gain weight and drool. I always ended up back in the hospital. I was admitted into the local state run mental health authority. I applied for and received SSD on the first attempt. Needless to say my marriage fell apart after my wife read my journal. I have not seen my children for ten years.
After her leaving I went through what I would call my lost years. I was put on every medication that ever was. I had ECT which actually worked for awhile. I lived in a nursing home for a year. I drank and took pain medication. I was delusional. I thought I was a prophet from God, I became obsessed with the movie “Silence of the Lambs.” I would play head games with clinicians. I lived in a hellish cycle of hospitals, outpatient programs and club houses. The only person who did not give up on me was my father.
My last episode was so horrible that I never want to get that sick again. I was seeing special messages in pictures and algebra equations. Being in the hospital, unable to sleep, I gave up my fight and accepted that the only med that worked for me was clozaril. The psychiatrist there put me back on it. The medication did make me drool but at the same time I was able to focus my mind in a semi sane way.
My recovery has been slow and never in a straight line. Since I have been stable with the help of cloziril, my life has gotten better. In fact, I actually have a life. I have been able to go back to work. I began as a volunteer at a local hospital. After a year of that I got a job at a grocery store which I still work at. I have gone back to school part time. I am also taking a class in peer support. I am honest with my psychiatrist although, at times I miss mania. I'm everything I hated when I first started treatment, and I love it.