The Week I Became Disabled
1 October 2014
It’s not complicated or confusing or even challenging, yet my trainer’s words bring me to the verge of tears & I have no idea why. I can’t focus on her words; my brain fails to process the information, regardless of their simplicity. My first day training at the front desk of the beautiful & prestigious Hilton Inn is a miserable haze. Every half hour or so, I duck out for a bathroom break or a water refill; I rush to the privacy of a restroom stall & allow the tears to flood my eyes.
After two hours of the charade, I truly could no longer tolerate my present state. I
explained I wasn’t feeling well, placing the blame on adjusting to the altitude; I was dismissed early for my lunch break, overjoyed at the prospect of breaking down in my truck & being able to cry as loudly as I wished. I rushed to the comfort of my home on wheels, inwardly exploding, walking hurriedly as I could.
I hoped to eat since I hadn’t all day, but I began crying the second I entered the vehicle.; anxiety slaughtered my appetite anyway. After twenty nonstop minutes of intense sobbing, I made an executive decision to do something to ease the intensity of this episode, to escape the madness of mind long enough to endure this work shift. I was miserable, & I didn’t want to lose my job because I couldn’t wasn’t able to stabilize my mood.
Purse in tow, I hurriedly returned inside & rushed straight to my little corner bathroom stall. I pulled a small green pencil pouch out of my purse; within it held my knight in shining armour, my silver bladed companion of complete relief from the voices disrupting all thought process.
I set the silver blade against my skin. I literally can’t even feel the presence of its jagged
edges threatening my body. Even as it slides smoothly across my leg & red droplets form, I physically feel absolutely nothing. I avoid slicing too deep, as I only had a few minutes to stop the bleeding before returning to work. I folded hand towels & placed them over the slices in my skin, tucking them in & under my clothes as I shakily regained my composure.
The voices were gone. The racing, depressive thoughts lightened their slaughtering intensity. I was free from the craziness of my mind, at least for a little while.
Unfortunately, a dizziness set over me.
I returned to work not feeling well, though relieved I was less overwhelmed by the bullshit of my brain. The gal training me said I looked pale & was worried I might faint. I agreed with her, very much wanting to go home. The kind manager dismissed me, also adjusting my other eight hour shifts over the next two days to four hour shifts instead. Grateful, I rushed home & spent the rest of the day in bed, hiding from the world & attempting to also hide from my disturbing thoughts.
A couple extra hours of sleep felt pretty good, but it wasn’t enough to stabilize my mood. The day filled with depression, I scooted by my four hour shift with a hazy apathy reigning over me, a gloomy cloud ever-lurking in my presence. The voices were gone so the intensity of it all was more bearable, at least, but it was still a miserable, hazy blur of a morning. I stayed in bed the remainder of the day until a restless night of sleep fell upon me.
Today my day begins exactly as yesterday, routine identical & all. Yet something feels extraordinarily different. I feel energetic & I’ve an appetite enough to nibble on some breakfast. Driving, the cool morning breeze is refreshing against my face, rather than just cold & annoying. The perky sun strikes a grin across my previously sorrowful expression. I loudly & giddily sing along to the radio tunes.
At work, I find myself unable to focus, once again, but for a very different reason than the past two days: rather than my mind being a foggy, confusing, malfunctioning, frightening haze, my thoughts race with zealous ideas of traveling, hiking, meeting new people, getting new tattoos, catching up with random people from long ago, adventuring in the party scene, flaunting my amazing self because I am bursting with too much wonder to suppress the excitement of it all! The job I was so thrilled & humbled to gain just a few days ago now feels beneath me & completely worthless; I want to leave the Hilton. I gaze into the distance, my eyes fixated upon the gorgeous, snow-capped mountains placed on display by the beaming sun’s rays. I judge each passerby by their attractiveness, my shallow confidence & high sex drive getting the better of me in my hypomanic state.
The work day drags on as I grow excited for the freedom ahead of me. The remainder of the day was a mystical wonder! Not even thoughts of yesterday’s miserable depression could make me flinch. I felt high on cocaine but with a natural breeze to it, rather than side effects of an intense drug; indeed, I’d say it’s far better than the alleged wonders of cocaine.
The problem is, unlike substance intake, I am unable to control the timing & level of these sporadic highs.
My short lived mania ends in the evening.
The following day I was discouraged & down on myself as ever. I did all I could to relax
on my day off & prepare my happy face for my first full eight hour shift tomorrow, but I couldn’t shake the looming darkness in the chaos of my haunted mind.
Sunday morning arrives. I feel drained & ready for bed before my day even begins. I arrive at work, cry, & begin sweating profusely. I’m a complete mess. I try eating, smoking, deep breathing—nothing helps. Pale fatigue washes over my face, & my exhausted body begins trembling.
My episodes are too intense & sporadic for me to be a reliable employee anywhere at this time. I quit the Hilton Inn with a brief explanation of my mental instability due to an illness I was finally beginning treatment for. Understandingly, the manager wished me the best & extended a welcome to return once I was well enough to work again. Nevertheless, all confidence quickly drained from my spirit after realizing I was too disabled by my disorder to hold down a job.
Who knows when I’ll regain stability & confidence enough to return to work. For now, I linger in the shadows of reality, avoiding responsibility that might strike a rush of uncontrollable tears or a stampede of deeply serious suicidal ideations.
My life solely consists of survival: eating, sleeping, taking medication at least twice a day, smoking enough marijuana to calm my suicidal thoughts, attending weekly therapy & support groups & doctor appointments, & writing in my journal. For now, my reality consists only of processing my illness & making sense of the past seven years of my life. Only after I achieve that can I press forward unhindered.