Well, I’ve been writing this post over the past few days, each time scrapping the whole thing and starting over fresh. I’ve struggled with how to share this, with what it means for this blog, with what it means for my life. But it’s time to get this out there on paper, so to speak.
I started a regimen of Haldol a couple weeks ago to try to lessen the impact of my hallucinations. It was a modest improvement at first; the week I started showed some quieting of the voices and less visual hallucinations. But last week, to my surprise and delight, it became quiet in my head and the voices were no more. On Friday, I realized that they were gone almost completely, their voices were quiet or just muffled to the point I could no longer understand what they said. “The struggle has ended,” I thought to myself that night. But I was so wrong.
I started feeling restless on Friday, not to my own surprise. My father went into the hospital Friday night, having some trouble breathing and feeling generally uncomfortable. He’s been sick for about a month now, in and out of the emergency room. Needless to say, I have been very worried about him and that has taken a toll on my psyche. My mother has been at the hospital constantly since then and I haven’t been able to see much of either of them. Saturday morning bright and early I took a flight to D.C. to spend the weekend with my big sister from my sorority. She’s getting married at the end of the month and we were spending the weekend celebrating with her bachelorette party and bridal shower. Almost instantaneously after I arrived, what would become almost an endless stream of family drama began. Mer’s sister seems to be trying to ruin the whole wedding because of the failure of her own, or so it seems to me. She was unwilling to attend the party on Saturday at a farm in Maryland where we made aromatherapy products and jewelry, in addition to having a tea party of sorts. She missed a fantastic dinner at a Lebanese restaurant that evening and the drinks at a nearby bar that ensued at the end of the night. After making a scene, she finally came to the bridal shower on Sunday in quite a funk. The whole weekend was fun and filled with meeting new people, despite the drama, and I was overjoyed to see my dear friend again for the first time since my own wedding last year. But after I boarded the plane Sunday evening, I started to feel lonely. I chalked it up to the fact that I had just left a new group of fantastic people and that people are always sad to leave when departing after a fantastic vacation. I wasn’t looking forward to returning home, other than to see my husband and the rest of my family. Though I usually enjoy the peace of flying and the independence it typically brings, I was just unsettled all the way home.
I arrived at the airport to find my husband waiting with a vanilla bean coolatta from Dunkin’ Donuts and a big grin on his face. I felt relieved. I hoped things would improve when we returned home and I picked up my routine again. I had lots to tell Peter about the weekend and got wrapped up in talking about everything that had happened. I later visited my dad in the hospital and shared most of the story with my mother and him on Monday. Even graduate students celebrate labor day. I returned home after helping mom clean the pool filter and started what would be one of the longest nights of my life. I was listless, uncomfortable, and plagued by a feeling of emptiness. I cleaned, I organized, I straightened everything in sight. Rearranged my nightstand based on an article I read online:
All the while, the quiet inside my head became more and more disturbing. The silence was ominous. I haven’t experienced real quiet since I started hearing voices almost ten years ago. I don’t know how to deal with silence. For as long as I can remember, or so it seems, I have lived in a noisy world. Full of shouting and contradiction. I have grown accustomed to conversation constantly flowing in the background of my thoughts, sometimes coming to the forefront and flavoring almost every moment of my day. But not now. There is just quiet. I feel as though I have no real thoughts of my own anymore, having had them introduced against my own volition for years. It’s just overwhelming. I don’t want to seem ungrateful for this gift. It truly is what I have wanted for years.
My therapist told me yesterday that I am grieving their loss. I broke down in her office trying to explain my frustration and sheer distress at the whole situation. I will need to infuse my own thoughts into my conscious mind, talk to myself inside my head, or fill my head with other sounds from external stimuli. I will need to adjust to silence. Adjust or bust. Her council is that I try to do things to stay occupied so that I don’t feel the emptiness so profoundly. There is no amount of activity that will make this manageable. All that I prayed for all these years is now reality, but I don’t know how to face another day or silence. So now there is the question. Do I take this little orange pill and whisk away the noise that clutters my thoughts? Or do I accept their rightful place in my mind and deal with the repercussions. The choice is mine to make. What should I do?
Your thoughts on this subject would be much appreciated. Thanks for listening.