Being Bipolar isn't EASY

and the Art of Slowing it Down

Tag Archives: Drugs

I couldn’t Tango let alone Salsa & other challenges from B.A.

After I left Arizona, I rented a one bedroom apartment in Washington, DC, on a pretty tree-lined street not far from Dupont Circle. I was desperate for love but couldn’t stay with a partner that treated me so brutally so I found an employer, a hopeless latin to replace him, a man, with two daughters of his own, that couldn’t believe someone had let pretty naïve little ‘ol ME go!

I was going through a lot of changes then; dealing with my loss of my pseudo lover… we shared a bed but not intercourse and menopause prematurely induced by depakote to recover my fertility from the removal of chocolate cysts. But most significantly I was in over my head in terms of the Politics required to get my job done in this very small town. I am not an Architect but have worked for them since I was sixteen… never had I seen a job so complicated.

For weeks I had been STRESSED OUT at work but can’t remember if I had been having trouble sleeping. That said, I do vividly recall the first of many sleepless nights the night a half a pack of cigarettes and two beers shockingly consumed me with random and deafening thoughts that flooded my head. A deep paranoia overcame me. I was convinced that someone was photographing my sister and I in our alley apartment. Truth be told, we left our blinds open, all of the time, before and after showers and as we slept… so I really couldn’t blame them for noticing what was going on.

I wonder if I would have thought such a thing had I not seen that sign posted in our neighborhood re: a recent killing. To me it was a (literal) message to ME to protect my sister – to ME it was a sign that the half a dozen men that had rented the apartment before 09/11 were coming back to get something. Wrought with fear of having no place to go I paced our tiny 400sf apartment waiting for my sister to rise.

After downloading many of my thoughts to her in the morning, she insisted I try to get some sleep and begged me to call my doctor to prescribe something to help as she had never seen me act this way before. My doctor was unavailable but the doctor-on-call promised to call the Pharmacy. By this point I trusted no one; after all I was in one of the most dangerous places in the United States, the nation’s capitol. Nonetheless, much to my sister’s encouragement, I pushed forward and went to the local CVS.

The Pharmacist had clearly been out partying all night long, his makeup was running on his face ans I sensed he didn’t have time to remove it all on his rush to get to work… his unkempt hair suggested he hadn’t slept at all. I scrutinized the label looking for the name of the doctor that had ordered the drugs, something smelled fishy, and then I saw it. My name was spelled incorrectly and my address was wrong?!

There was no way that I was going to take these drugs! Who knows what they were, I had considered that they quite possibly could be pills that would put an end to my nightmare, pills that would end my life.

On our walk home I stopped at a sidewalk sale and saw messages in everything. A man, carrying a “Hold Everything” bag left his apartment just as we were walking up to his gate. He intentionally interrupted us on the street with a serious but consoling smile, he knew my troubles, shook his bag to ensure that the message stuck… I was to keep quiet. Suddenly the world was revolving around us and men and women that were either out to get me or out to protect me. They all had one thing in common – they knew what trouble my sister and I were in.

It was becoming clearer to me that I was caught up in many triangles after I read a bit of an article, in a Spanish rag, about town politics and… local construction. I was the architect that was “muy simpatico” but was strapped by my allegiance to the firm.

Collected but anxious for me to get better, my sister didn’t want to leave my side. Although she could not read my thoughts she knew that something was terribly wrong. She encouraged me to consider going to the hospital because I wouldn’t take the drugs that were prescribed for me and I conceded.

Just then my episode got worse. Our car wasn’t where I had left it and I was convinced that it was stolen. And that’s when we stumbled on another sign adjacent to my where my car should have been. Pennies, a pile of pennies, were left on the stump where we sat?! Frantically I dialed 911 to report the stolen car. My bar name was Penny and there was no coincidence that a block from our house, where our car had been stolen, I find another message; a message I could decipher. The pennies were for ME. A hundred or more good luck wishes…

Zealous to protect my younger sister; I cancelled my 911 call mid sentence and decided to walk to the hospital. It would have been great if the story ended there but it didn’t.

In this small town on a crisp September afternoon, I, an otherwise average 30-year-old woman, made a freak-sih scene running across Connecticut Avenue flagging an oncoming ambulance to stop. I clearly needed help. I couldn’t make up my mind or whom to trust nor what to do next… The paramedics, who could not hear my words through their windows, stopped their vehicle and got out to see what was wrong. And as they tried to approach me I thought I recognised one of them from the job site!? Stunned w/ fear for both myself and my sister I ran the opposite direction screaming “Help me, help me”.

Where the policemen came from I will never know but two policemen and two paramedics later I was on the sidewalk, face down and handcuffed! Close by, my sister was crying into her cell phone, “The police and paramedics have her on the ground, what should I do?”. Though I could not hear the words, I knew the response was to let them take me – maybe they could help.

Had I screamed “I have a gun” or “I have a bomb” this story would have ended here. Fortunately, I did have a story, but not the kind you’re thinking of right now! When the paramedics tried to put me into the ambulance I refused to go “unless there were police cars following the ambulance to be sure they would take me and my sister to the hospital”. Within a few minutes the ambulance trailed by the requested squad cars made a little parade down Connecticut Avenue towards the Psych Ward. I got a lot of good medical attention as the doctor’s were curious to record what was in my pockets and to hear what conspiracies I knew.


11:37am  01.23.2011

I wrote an email w/ that title in July of 2005 and sent it to my family. Can’t find it anymore but am curious to what it said… I vividly remember that day that I had to get out of DC; the day that I made two plane reservations: one to some remote European city that I had never heard of (its name escapes me now… I didn’t even know what country I was booking a ticket to; let alone how to pack for the weather) and the other to my parents in Vegas. At the time I didn’t care, as I was convinced that the automated teller from United Airlines knew who I was, by nature of my mobile number, and prompted me to make the first reservation.

You have to understand, I believed that the call was intercepted by the Agent and/or Agency that was following me and figured I would just wander the former city like I wandered DC and the meaning of my trip would be revealed to ME. (Gather I have watched too much TV growing up to consider that this was really happening to ME!)

At the moment I made the plane reservation(s) my only concern was to get out of dodge. I was scared that if I stayed in DC any longer that I would drive myself mad trying to reveal what conspiracy I was caught up in*. I was convinced, however frightened I was, that if I followed through with the trip to Europe that whoever was following me would reveal themselves. It was a mess! (Naturally, when I got to my parents house and told them what I had done, they made me cancel the reservation. At thirty-two I still listened to them…)

In retrospect I can describe the experience as figuring out that I was on my way to becoming a Spy; not very dissimilar to how Chuck did on NBC. I certainly was becoming someone who could decipher coded languages and uncover under cover agents.

Have you ever considered that some of the bum’s that you see on the streets are actually under cover agents working for the CIA or FBI trying to keep our cities clean? Of particular concern are the ones you see in the nation’s capitol hanging around fast food restaurants. Someone once told me that DC has more under cover agents than any other city in the world. I don’t know if it is true but it sure felt like it to me. I saw them on street corners, in book stores and regularly at Starbucks.

You have to understand, when I lived and worked in DuPont Circle, just stone’s throw from the United States Capitol. My neighbors were high flatulent politicians; some of whom were being protected and/ or under investigation. Regularly I saw several svelte black suits, in their respective black Tahoe’s, wearing ear pieces. And on occasion there was the van perched at the end of our block.

My agents were less conspicuous than those described above – I believe that they were regular folk, neighbors per say, with Container Store “Contain yourself” paper bags or like these that I try to illustrate below…

When I got to my gate at the airport – the airplane had been delayed; bad weather from up north, as I recall. But the ever so strange thing was that a young man appeared at my gate looking like particular male figure from my past wearing a white on white t-shirt that read: “Move Fast Die Young” in jeans with a white hat and white tennis shoes. He did not acknowledge me in any way – he merely stood in front of my gaze; he wanted to be noticed. More specifically I thought he intended for ME to notice him! At that time I couldn’t take any more messages and was desperate to seek the safety and comfort of my parents in LV – so I pulled a jacket over my head and tried to sleep. I was desperate for sleep.

(At this point, in my writing, I had to pull out my diaries to remember what was going on at that time. I recall dating someone new – someone whom I thought was a good civilian, he called himself a United States bureaucrat, and my boss had a black eye. The second of two bosses that acquired black eyes while I was Manic. But I can’t remember if by that time I had been approached by, what I reasoned to be, a private investigator outside my apartment or not…)

My diary passages confirmed all of that. On 06.25.2005 I wrote: “ I see things all over DC That perhaps I am not supposed to see but I guess I am trying just to be a good neighbor.” And on 07.02.2005 When I wrote my biggest fears to the new doctor – I wrote: “that somebody was going to get hurt, that I have done something wrong & that I’ll never be as good as I know that I am on the inside.”

Sadly I knew then, during only my second episode, that I was never going to be recognized, tangibly, for the racing thoughts that made me leave town so abruptly… on the plane the woman that I suspected that was assigned to watch me was traveling with her family. Good disguise, or so I thought. She too never gave me any particular sign/ acknowledgement. She just sat next to me reading a book on Parenting, protecting me. I had the window seat.

The reputable psychiatrist that my parent’s found for me in LV was a character. He wore red lipstick and allowed my parents and I to eavesdrop on another patient that was convinced that he was Jesus Christ reincarnated… He prescribed me Seroquel. It slowed me down but it didn’t erase the psychotic thoughts or paranoia that I had. I still thought that my family and I were being watched; even when we left the country.

I thought the doctor deliberately prescribed the drugs for me: to help me calm down and to help me sleep; but I thought it was perfectly normal to have the persisting thoughts that I/ We were being followed. I was convinced (he was in part of “the plan”) we were.

I remember using the camera and posting on FaceBook to focus on objects or taking picture’s to help whoever was following me/us to understand my mood, my perspective on the day’s events…

I vividly recall a train ride in Italy. An Italian Army Agent (only have a mental picture left of that guy) sat directly across from me while I held my sleeping three year old niece. It was a symbolic moment for me as I was protecting the future of America, he was protecting us. How I got us into that mess I didn’t know for certain but am convinced that it had to do with a particular Art Project I made on or near Labor Day of 2004.

The art project was a stained glass window ornament that read “’United We Stand” around a flag that I painted red, silver and gold for the song “Make new friends (but keep the old)”.  There was no blue, I wasn’t sad… The background was a myriad of colors reflecting the hodge-podge of people that live in the USA. Wish I could insert an image of it here, but like many things… I probably gave it away.

The volunteer (?) on duty, don’t remember him in scrubs and certainly do not remember him wearing a white jacket, that kept me company as I painted it, wore a pendant that I had never seen before. He told me that it was a symbol for an anonymous organization that he belonged to. He would not reveal it’s meaning… but I believe it was that exchange in the Art Room and my thank you note to the psych ward that ultimately led me to being followed. Wish I could remember what that pendant looked like… really hope to see it again someday!

*Note to Reader: I lived in a previously occupied one bedroom apartment in DuPont Circle. I was told the former tenants looked and acted like al-Qaeda operatives. I was told that there were many of them, like 8, all living in one 600 sf apartment in the heart of the Nation’s capitol. The alarming part was that they all disappeared the day after 9/11; and were never seen again. The best I could surmise at the time and even now was that our quaint, freshly painted, one bedroom apartment in DuPont Circle had been a terrorist cell.