On Being Manically Depressed/Suicidal and Productive despite it.

Learning Portrait 48 8.28.19 Kevin Smith

So my mood has been cycling for the last few days. Downwards is an understatement. First come thoughts of self harm and then outright suicide. It happens to be the natural flow for a bipolar schizophrenic. You’re up and can’t sleep and you can produce whatever the hell it is you want to today, tomorrow, and the next month and a half. And then you’re hypomanic (between states) and you feel like the world isn’t worth getting out of bed for and on top of that you’ve still got this manic energy so you’re not sleeping and the ideas are coming fast and hot. Most of them are negative. Some are positive. That’s currently where I’m riding the line between that and full blown depression. It may be surprising since there are two types of schizoaffective, one being depressive, the other being bipolar, where your moods cycle (up to rapid cycling which I can be affected by), you would think that the bipolar end wouldn’t get depressive but it does happen and quite frequently. I have no real friends to speak of (at least that have reached out either way in months or years except one who is often busy with their own things) and my partner who I see on weekends (moved out due to the illness being too much after four years after a massive psychotic break; she’s a saint) has been asked to attend my next therapy session. I have no idea why but I get the paranoid feeling they’re going to gang up on me about something. I couldn’t tell you what, so I’m going to assume it’s an irrational thought. We’ll have to see.

I want to move home to my home country. I’m sick of being in the U.S. and ever since I was nine and another student tried to strangle me to death–there is a difference between strangle and choke out by the way, one is meant to put you to sleep and is often using the forearm, the other is using bare fingers and digs directly into the neck and artery which is what they did with no apology of any kind–anyway since then, all of over twenty years ago I wanted to go home. But I was kept around as a sort of pet for my parents to abuse so I lived in a locked room for about most of that time, drawing and reading. Eventually I got my green card and got a job and bought a t.v. and playstation for my brother and I to bond around, which I believe he still may have. I asked to leave once, go live in a boarding school, and my Dad said he would miss me. Until I left I was always going to be that man’s property. That man beat me regularly every time he was home from traveling around the globe and half the time I had no idea what I’d done. He always had this smile on his face when he cocking back his fist like he was about to enjoy the hit, too. A little smirk and twinkle in his eye. Then there was the games he liked to play, where when we were alone getting into the car he would jam his finger as deep into my thigh as he could causing a quick shock of pain that went through my body. He did it so deep once that it damaged the skin and I’ve got a permanent bruised vein finger print on my thigh.

Sometimes mum would call him at work and he would come home early and furious start pummeling me saying (he) I knew what I did and I would just lie there silently until he was done. He was quite good at hitting the parts of the body that clothes hid bruises. She never stopped him. The one and only time he went after my brother for lying to him over and over, by trying to crack his head on cement, she intervened. I remember the way he cried out in anguish as dad went at him too. Beginner that he was.

I remember that to stay on his good side when he was picking on my brother I would go along with it. It wasn’t good. We should’ve been fighting against the two of them together but they knew much better how to split our childrens perspectives against one another and then blame us both for what happened. I used to take it out on him physically too until one day I realized I was scaring the shit out of him, (he pulled a kitchen cleaver on me), and stopped from that point onwards. I realised far before my father did. He needed to join so men’s group and be told not to hit his kids. So he came home one day and asked us both if we wanted him to hit us–I was just silent. What kind of stupid question is that. Do you want to be raked over hot coals? Anyway it just went from him beating on me and ruining Keaghan mentally (He’s picked up an impressive defensive system to compensate that borders narcissistic but is just looking out for himself) to fighting with mum and blaming us for their disputes. This only changed when Jeanette showed up he couldn’t slam doors in anger any more because it affected her poorly. He had to hid his real self again. She saved me, and I don’t think she ever realised how much I owe her. I think that’s why I wasn’t mad when she said she was leaving me initially and before we came to what our relationship is now.

Another thing that used to bother me is that Dad would say I made his life hard. This is a self made millionaire that did literally whatever he wanted with no repercussions. Eventually when they were having marriage trouble while I was in high school (Keaghs was too) they both pulled me aside and said that I was the reason they were getting a divorce. My grades tanked after that. I fell into reading books every single class just to have some fantasy life to fall into on a daily basis. Tom Clancy and Stephen King, Anne Rice, Kurt Vonnegut (of which I’m named after) kept me sane. It got to the point where I read 1-3 full books per day. I hated them both for that. Two giant children who couldn’t take responsibility for what damage they caused by yelling and slamming doors at one another telling their disabled child it was his fault. All I wanted was to be left alone and maybe make some friends but I wasn’t allowed to bring friends over because every time I did I would get another yelling about stressing out my mother. The only friends I ended up making was the two kids that helped me get home when a senior broke my wrist in a fight when I was a freshman. I remember him kicking me in the head and see stars and thinking “oh you really do see” then he kicked me again and it was a red thud. A few rib shots and I was down. On the way back home keaghs saw me crying clutching my bent wrist and he ignored me and the two others. He said he felt bad about it, but I never understood why. I have trouble connecting feelings to the outerworld I think. Always some barrier up to be passive. My therapist says I’m a very genuine person and Jeanette says I’m a good person but I just feel like some monster waiting to see when he’ll devolve into his lesser self.

Once my cello instructor came to our place for a lesson. He was/is part of the San Francisco Symphony to give you an idea of the level that I play at/aspired to be–and after that he said he understood why I had so much trouble practicing at home. What I didn’t tell him is that my family would always–ALWAYS–come out and tell me to shut the fuck up when I played Henry. Even muted and at whatever hours I could get that didn’t involve people–because my mother never left the house and drank all day I couldn’t get a break from her blaring how to murder your family on the television. Playing on a bed edge is difficult. Dad drank daily too. Whisky every night. 2-3 tumblers with ice in crystal. Then he moved on to sho-ju with a special device to make ice spheres.

During my 23rd year he died. A multitude of heart attacks from a blood clot from not wearing those diabetic socks while flying and getting up to walk around while in flight.
There are two things that I remember that day. Three things. One, at around 9 a.m. I had a heart palpitation and bent over waiting for it to pass. Two at 9:18, Keaghs called and said Dad was dead–and three, after going to the wrong place and then to the right hospital I got there in time to see his dead body on the table with the rebreather sticking out of his throat. I asked that they removed it because it looked unsightly. Then I attempted to close his eyes, as he had died with them open to the world. But I had been too slow getting there, and they slowly opened again returning to their original position. A gluely look to them is what I would say.

That week was a blur. Mum fell apart and made it all about herself. I had to take up responsibility for his funeral home. I had help with his friend Grant whom I’m eternally grateful to.

His funeral was attended by hundreds across multiple continents, he was compared to Steve Jobs in vision, and Oracle gave him a reception that was tasteful and included speeches from his coworkers and myself included–asking that nothing get pushed back because he wouldn’t want that. (It’s not the Oracle way. Got to read your crowd, right.).

Things went a little nuts after that. Instead of listening to me and keeping her house in one of the most desirable neighborhoods mum sold it at a massive loss and moved to the woods of Washington. Jeanette and I came along so she didn’t kill herself because she kept threatening to. She literally thought we were there to be her servants. That’s another reason I dislike my family. They always assume my time is worth less than theirs. Keaghan does it. My other brothers do it. The rest of my family does it. The only one that doesn’t do it is my grandmother. She attempted suicide during my mothers last yearly visit home (I haven’t been home in years) and mum made me guess what had happened to her because she thought telling me that something awful had happened and then not telling for a week until she got back to the U.S. was the right way to go about it. It wasn’t. I’ve attempted three times. I understood where Nanny was coming from. I asked for help getting home and she refused. She can be a truly utterly callous individual.

I’m saving to move home and I have my grandfathers table (which he had made from endangered wood he pulled out of a swamp himself. A literal one of a kind piece) and my grandmothers hutch, and my two dogs who are clearly like my children–and she’s told me multiple times she would help with each of these things, each within her power easily as she inherited vast wealth from my fathers death, and then saying “Oh no, I can’t help.” She can be a sadistic bitch some times. She called yesterday to do that to me again, and this after me spending two months looking after her ever whim after her last hospitalization, which I never do again. It had been the second time I had done it in as many years.

Once I’m home I doubt I’ll allow her on my property. Let alone her friend that told her not to help me. She just makes me feel less than and no one deserves that from any one. Even if it is supposed to be family.

Sorry for the whinge. But I feel better. And that’s what one of the reasons of this blog are for.

-J.

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