It all started some evening in a very dry and hot place in Liberia, Guanacaste, back in Costa Rica almost 20 years ago. I had been very excited because I’d be smoking pot, for the third time in my life.
I should’ve known better, ever since the first time I didn’t have the relaxing experience everyone said. Everything started to move so slowly, but my heart rate was up and my hands were sweating, just like they are now while I type these words. The slow mo was so overwhelming, so breathtaking, though I felt my heart was pounding like a cat runs to catch a bird. I was experiencing my second massive panic attack.
I couldn’t do anything other than get out of there, so I ran.
I thought that maybe by running, everything would go back to its normal pace. I didn’t mind if any cars or trucks were coming, I lived across one of the busiest roads: the Inter-American Highway which goes all the way from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to Panama City. Drivers usually go through really fast, especially at that point and especially at that time of the day.
The previous episode happened few weeks before. I’d gone to the beach for the weekend with a classmate. We were having lots of fun on our own but then, the dealers came in… I had had enough drinks by then, but they insisted on giving us a “gift”; white powder that would give us the best time ever. That weekend was horrendous; I had my first encounter with slowness, a rib was broken, I saw Jesus standing right next my bed and my friend became a pink-haired troll. So why did I do it again? I thought it would ‘cure’ me but it only made it worse.
My life after that has never been the same and some years later I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II. I don’t smoke pot anymore or do any illegal drugs, for what it’s worth and in exchange I take lithium twice a day but to get here I had to experience many other pills.
Today, I write from the bottom.
It’s been almost 20 years and these memories still haunt me. I can say they don’t do it on a daily basis, luckily, but from time to time they do and they have been over the past month.
I went out for a walk this afternoon with my son and I have been hyperventilating ever since. I can feel the tickling, the imaginary ants marching on the top of my nose and I can feel an invisible hand around my neck giving me this short of breath sensation. My left eye wants to pop out of the socket. I can feel my stiff neck, my body shivering and the panic attack coming. Soon enough, my left arm will start hurting and I will feel like if I’m having a heart attack. Yet life goes on…
I love living on the Isle of Man as before moving here, the only remedy to my attacks were ice cubes around my neck and temples and a cup of herbal relaxing tea (I hate taking pills or any type of artificial medicine), but since is regularly cold here, I just take off my hoodie or step out of the door.
What has triggered this? I’m in the process of finding out. Have I thought of ending it all? Yes, of course I have but I know I won’t, that’s simply not an option for me. All and all, I think of myself as a very blessed person, despite this condition and I do way better than many out there; I have a family, a job and I’m also studying. I have the most wonderful pets and I know it will go away. Maybe just saying it aloud, expressing it in some way might help me to have the strength to go through it and say; bye, until the next time!
There’s a part of me saying, begging, asking to hold on to that thought, but there’s the part of me that is so scared of being trapped in my traumatic memories, of not being able to pass over this stage and of going crazy…
That’s it, I’m scared to the death of going crazy. Of being locked in a hospital, lost forever in my mind, living until my body stops breathing, in a place where I don’t exist anymore.
P.D: In case you’re wondering, I’m taking my medicine and also have spoken to my designated nurse from the Mental Health team. However, it might take some time to go away, just as it took to build up.