Thursday, September 15, 2005


I just got back from the psychiatric ward of the emergency room. My psychiatrist, therapist, primary doctor, and the psychiatric nurse think it was/is a hypomanic, which I can type no problem but can totally not pronounce because I always start like "hippopotamus," episode.

Hey, I just realized that what I might have considered to be kind of not-great writing skills on the Internet may be caused by the weird hybrid writing/speaking style/language that people use.

Hmm. Maybe that paragraph is evidence that this purported hypomania is not over. I mean it's not over, but I sure have calmed, pardon my french, the fuck down. I wasn't out of control at any point, I looked totally normal. It was exactly like being on the best part of every drug you could name. I felt totally laid back while my mind was just racing. I couldn't hang onto a thought to finish it, before another rushed in to take its place, and of course they were all incredibly brilliant and insightful.

I wrote down my symptoms on yellow post-its at work so I would remember them. They were/are:

mania (mental glee)
inability to concentrate
unassailable good mood (ed. at the time, I described this to people as not being able to conceive of any negative emotion, as though negative emotions were in an entirely different plane than I am.)
I wrote down "really do have many things to be happy about," because it's true. Or maybe it's not, I can't be trusted right now, and here if I were that kind of person here I'd insert a grin emoticon, but I've decided to only use emoticons in handwriting.
hyper-aware in every sense (vision, hearing, etc)
body tingling all over
amazed at how witty I am
amazed at how lucky I am
wanting to tell everyone I loved them

And, you know, I really do think I was funnier than usual. Meta-hypomanic comments. Unmined comic territory!

But it was scary, at one point I remember having an empty salad container in my hand and looking at it wondering what I should do with it, instead of just throwing it away. And I was outside the front door of our office admiring the way the light fell on a windowjamb(?) and I said, out loud, to my boss (who knew what was up), "Look at how beautiful that is. I want to paint that" which I don't think I"d ever say.

I also described it as you know how when you feel normal you feel here (hand held at a sort of middle level) and when you're sick, you're here (hand held significantly lower)? I feel here (hand held high), it seems to be a distant cousin of sickness, but in the most wonderful positive way. Cara's going home well.

So Darcy took me to the emergency room because my therapist wanted a professional to look at me, and there I was pretty argumentative. It was funny, even at the time, I was pre-emptively apologizing to the poor people I was dealing with even as I condemned them and their antiquated medical practices. I wasn't too bad, not at all. Definitely held most of it back. Darcy's a rock, I tell you. Sto-ic. I on the other hand, freaked out on the nurse because as we were leaving, she said "I hope you get this worked out," which I for some reason interpreted as "but I really, really, really don't think it will," Ridiculous, and I got it seconds later.

So. Now I'm home, and I feel speedy. Still feel pretty happy. Lots of adrenaline, but also a little tired, still feel a little bit like I'm on drugs. On the way back from the hospital Darcy and I had normal conversations about normal things, and it was totally cool.

So feel free to leave comments, as always. This is a little bit of a reaching-out post, and I'd rather it didn't just hang there, lonely. No pressure, just mild encouragement.

And while you're here, and I'm where I am, if you're reading this blog, I probably love you. You kmow who you are. Unless you're one of those people, like me, who reads blogs of people you hate. In which case I feel cosmically sisterly in your direction.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a lurker, but I love you anyway. And at one time, I think you loved me too, in a cosmically sisterly way, but not because we read blogs of people we hated, but because we happened to experience every single live-changing, coming of age event nearly simultaneously.

And I was there when you spilled black fingernail polish on your brand-new vanilla carpeting in your parents house. And you were there when I was so drunk I peed in the corner of a parking lot and needed help getting my pants up. And of course, everything in between.

If I could find my old letters, (I think they're at my parent's house)I'd quote some of your old letters to me. Summers at the beach for you, camp for me. Boy crazy all around.

So, what's this Hippopotomus stuff about, and can it be bottled? I hope you're okay. I just recently found your link to your blog and I've been snooping around for weeks. So, I guess you never really know who's out there, do you?

Lots of love

7:56 PM  
Blogger j. ondioline said...

Loup! This email touched me in the most extraordinary way. Thank you. I mean quit it, you're making me so happy I can't tell if it's real or not. We have to catch up when life settles down. Glad you're here. Love to Dave and the unutterably adorable Libby.

PS. Always loved you. Always will.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I have to say that in a weird way, I'm jealous. The last time I was in the ER for a psych disorder it was because my panic was so bad I was afraid that I would jump in front of a car - not because I wanted to die, but because I thought I could lose control of my body and it would jump of its own accord. Your illness sounds like more fun - although I'm sure it's not.
Sorry I missed you when you came into town. It was during a period when my phone was not functioning reliably and I didn't get the message until later. Hopefully you'll be back soon!

9:46 AM  
Blogger j. ondioline said...

Hey, I think I know what you mean - I know a woman in Pittsbugh who is bi-polar (not that that's what anyone's saying I am, yet)and it always seemed kind of exciting and glamourous.
The onset was a little scary, though - I really did feel like (as oppposed to THINKING THAT, which was a point that was hard to drive home to the doctors)someone had put drugs into my food or drink.

And yes, a few people have expressed envy. Darcy and I were sitting in this hellish waiting room in the ER - broiling hot, loud, smelled bad, scary people, and I was cheerily looking to and fro and drumming my fingers on the armrest, and told he I wished I could give her a little of it.

Okay, one unwanted side effect? Apparently your ability to use punctuation goes flying out the window. I've just read over my post, and I cringed. I'm not changing it, though, in case any doctors need to reference it to further help diagnosis.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous eric said...

As I began to read this post it sounded oddly familiar. It does seem like what would happen if you had been dosed with ectasy. Very mild, low grade but sustained, feeling of wonderfulness.

I thought back to the time (potential incriminating refernece deleted) that your mind was racing and you felt a bit scared and decided that writing in French would keep you grounded.

Hypomanic sounds okay, if you can manage to hold onto it while wrangling back control of your ability to fully formulate and express thoughts and ideas. It sounds like the state of mind achieved by mistics and saints. A spiritual sense of love of all, and that things are as they should be. I have a theory that mankind spent a lot more time (if not all of it) in that state before we evolved symbolic logic and abstract reasoning.

It seems, from your prior posts, that you had been thinking more about spirituality recently. Perhaps you made a just below conscious level discovery or realization, but had no experience and language to understand it with. Sort of how some people have reported feeling after starting yoga and actually hitting one of the postures exactly and feeling the blood flow and energy course through their body.

The symptoms all sound great, except of course for the inability to concentrate. But really, all the other symptoms sound like a really healthy outlook on life. Well, I guess the 'still feeling speedy' part could be troubling when coupled with an inability to concetrate ( or otherwise focus that energy and good mood into mundane activities.)

I have to go back to my beginning comments. These symptoms do sound oddly familiar. I think they would match the reported symptoms of most anti-depressants. Did you feel a noted decrease in sex drive? (Damn two edged sword of pharmaceuticals.)

The previous comments were very powerful and moving. You are loved. I love you.

I hope you are able to have a great weekend.

3:54 PM  
Blogger g odoreida said...

I love you too. It sounds like this wasn't unpleasant but I hope you're OK.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Ashley said...

hang in there, girl. this experience sounds both wonderful and scary in equal parts . . . odd.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous LeeAnn said...

hmm... I think that I, too, once had a "hippopotamus" episode. mine was brought on by the ending of a bad relationship. I had been dating this bike-messenger guy for a year or two and it was one of those relationships where the ending is so very much longer than it needs to be. (in this case, the ending took about six months longer than it really should have.)

so I broke up with the bike-messenger guy (whom my friends all called “not-so-smarty marty) and I remember that after the relationship officially ended, for a few days, I was so excited and overwhelmed by the beauty and possibility of life that I was having trouble sleeping because it was all just so exciting. I also had a significant amount of mental glee (which, by the way, sounds so much more appealing than mania) and I really thought that I was able to see each person's inner beauty and inner-self. I thought I was connected with every part of life and everything in it. and it was so much fun.

I’ve always felt a sisterly connection to you and this is not just because, aside from you and Marisa, I only read the blogs of my enemies. maybe it’s because when I was little, no one would play board games with me and I know that you will always play board games with me. but maybe it’s more than that. anyway, what I’m trying to say is that even though I’m not a hippopotamus these days, I can still see your inner beauty and, of course, I love you too.

2:58 PM  
Blogger j. ondioline said...

I'm speechless. Thank you. Thank all of you.

Now go tell someone else you love them, damn it, please.

9:47 PM  
Blogger j. ondioline said...

Also and LeeAnn? Many, many new games. I'm trying to not acquire any that come in big boxes, though, but there's this one that is three interlocking wheels that you spin, and then you end up with three words, you know, cra-a-a-a-zy words, and then you draw this card and it has this thing that you have to say or tale you have to tell or anyway, the idea is that you have to come up with a creative way to use these three words. So it seems very fun and interactive and I think you'd like it a lot. Will find out more and report back.

9:52 PM  

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