Last night was one of the worst episodes I think I’ve had…possibly ever. Mainly because it’s the closest I’ve ever mentally been to the ‘S’ word: suicide. So today when looking back on the night, I was thinking how I have three different kinds of episodes. 1) The non-destructive episode, 2) The verbally destructive episode: A. Directed at me, B. Directed at someone else, and 3) The physically destructive episode (always directed at me unless coerced or cornered; yea it’s happened). Quite honestly there may be a fourth, which would just be a combination of 2 and 3.
Phase 1: Each episode usually begins with silence. It’s like the calm before the storm. I talk less, I text less, my responses are shorter, I may take longer to reply back to a text or email, won’t answer my phone, etc. I may appear to still be ok, but someone putting effort into getting in tune with me would be able to pick up on this. I may even go up and down a little in terms of opening up and closing off. I bounce back and forth a bit but it may be subtle enough that most wouldn’t notice. When I’m in Phase 1, I still have the ability to turn things around. I don’t always win that attempt, but if anything I learn in therapy or have put into place for myself is going to work, it is only during this phase.
Phase 2: As it starts to set in more, the ups and downs become higher and lower. The pushing and pulling, the opening up/closing off, is more noticeable. I may seem detached, disinterested, irritable and a bit overly sensitive. I’d say it’s similar to a “normal” female’s PMS. Sarcasm makes it’s debut here as well. If I’ve reached this phase, there’s usually no going back at this point and everyone better just buckle up for the ride, or hide.
Phase 3: However, it doesn’t stop there. That’s just a short phase. Phase 3 is the meat of the episode. This is where the real destruction happens. This is the phase where limits don’t exist, self-control is an unreachable concept, no one is safe, and the end result is a mental game of Russian Roulette and one of us is the target. Phase 3 leads to abnormal behavior beyond just self-harm, delusions, or rage that seems to have no real cause for such intensity. Things like running away. Hiding or locking myself in rooms. Laying or curling up in places not meant for laying. For example, last night I found myself curled up in the corner of the little laundry room, laying in a pile of laundry, and wrapped up in the sheets. Somehow it just felt safe.
It then takes on one, or a combination of the three types of episodes listed in the first paragraph above.
What they look like:
1) Non-Destructive Episode – This episode is the usually the mildest. It’s the one that I manage to be able to “just sit” with my emotions. The crying and tears are just as prevalent as they are in the other types, but they may be a bit more controlled. Pacing doesn’t occur as much but I may just sit, lay down, or rock back and forth a little with a stuffed animal on the floor. Panic attacks are also a signature trait of all three types, but I’d say I’m mostly safe in this type, even though I may not quite feel that I am.
2) Verbally Destructive Episode – This one speaks for itself. It is all of Type 1 with some verbal additions that are nothing other than damaging. The verbal lashings are not your normal controlled things one simply chooses to say. No, they lash out impulsively. There may be periods of silence or attempts to communicate or seek communication or help from others, but those attempts from others are often met with further verbal gun-fires that seem to flow out in sectional floods. All I can say, although not an excuse, is that it all comes from immense pain and the need to self-protect, even though its counter-productive. Pacing happens here. Pacing, the stressful fingers grabbing through the hair behavior. Panic attacks. Sobbing. Impulsiveness.
A. Directed at myself – while this is also a common thread, it’s much more evident here. The self-hatred shows itself out loud. Projection is also seen here.
B. Directed at someone else – there’s usually a target, and it’s usually the primary loved one in my life – my boyfriend as of late.
3) Physically-Destructive Episode – Types 1 and 2, and more. If suicide attempts were to happen, they’d happen here. Self-harm lives here as well and has been a frequent visitor in the past. I’ve never seriously hurt anyone while in a rage, at least never without being abused first, and so I will say that the ability is there but only if summoned. It’s like cornering a wild animal. If I feel physically threatened, I will certainly not hesitate to go physically and violently crazy, and so its best to keep a distance and never block the exits. All-in-all, however, the physical destruction is directed inward. The pain is so unbearable that the only fast relief comes from the slice of a blade, the bruising punch of a fist, anything that will cause pain and therefore release pain. Type 3 may be a fake-out and may appear to be a Type 1 or 2, but if you observe the intensity, behavior, and body language cues, it should be obvious that I may only be sitting or pacing because I’m battling the urge to go to a location that I know has a sharp object in order to make some pretty little lines.
Sadly, the end result is usually that of destruction and damage, when all I want is love, safety, security, and RELIEF. Anyone pulled into the storm is nothing other than an innocent bystander. No different than the person who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got shot or injured even though the shooter never intended for that individual to get hit.
And when it’s all over, I’m left with nothing but SHAME and fear.
“What did I do…”