I've had a few panic attacks over the last few days. I've been keeping myself so busy that I haven't had a lot of time to get stuck in my head, but I'm having trouble sleeping.
I have feelings of immense guilt and shame wash over me. I know this is being triggered by memory of my major manic episode in 2014. At that time, I was feeling like a God and that I could do no wrong, and I thought I was wealthy and could change the lives of the down-trodden in Hartford. I had no reservations about begging for money and supplies for the people there, and many people donated. I used the money to buy nutritious food and baby supplies.
I was accused of trying to make a buck off the stories of other people, and it cut like a knife. Eventually I lost momentum and energy, going from manic to severely depressed. I was no longer able to help the people that I was trying to give hope to, and ultimately I abandoned them. I think of them often, and feel such remorse that I promised them support, only to leave them.
As I write this today, I am experiencing mixed mood episodes. I have been asking for money to help the people in my village, and am using the money to do so, but I am waiting for the moment when the accusation comes that I am trying to profit off of other's hardship. I'm afraid I'm going to lose momentum and that depression is going to take over again.
The adrenaline rush of the storm and the immediate aftermath is over. My neighbor and friend Victor is now resting in a beautiful urn. The panic state is passed. People still desperately need help, but it's not immediate crisis like before. I operate better when I'm dealing with rapid movement crisis, and now that things have settled a bit, I'm struggling to keep moving.
I am very fortunate to have neighbors and friends that are aware of my mental illnesses and are helping me to monitor my moods, but I fear the warning signs are there already. I'm on lower amounts of medication, so that may be having an effect as well.
Having lost most everything in my house, and watching day by day as the rain destroys the floors and the mold grows up the wall is leaving me feeling vulnerable. I'm reliant on the kindness of others for a dry place to sleep. I have spent the last few years reliant upon my brother and his wife. Moving to Puerto Rico was a move to regain my independence and try to rebuild my life, but suddenly I'm homeless and relying on others again. That's partially why I want to help the neighborhood so badly. They've accepted me, sheltered me, fed me, and provided emotional support.
I understand that a major natural disaster can be a traumatic experience, and we all need the support of others in this time.
In case I do enter a depression, I have appointed trusted neighbors to continue to distribute supplies and money that have been donated to Building Beyond Me.
I know that many are suffering much more than I am, but I can't use that to deny the fact that I am struggling as well. My struggle is in my mind. I am not concerned by showering with rain water collected in buckets. I have plenty of propane to cook and boil water to drink. I have a dry place to sleep. I am blessed, but I am having a hard time keeping my head straight.
This too shall pass. After today, I can take a day or two to rest and I hope that renews me and helps to stabilize my mood swings. I'm following the guidelines of DBT and trying to apply the wisdom of my former therapist. I am not able to find a psychiatrist or therapist right now, but I'm continuing to try.