Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mike's Story Part 51 - The Enemy In My Bed

By Jenna Orkin

    Mike to his psychiatrist, 2-27-07


   For several days now I have had less and less energy. Each day I have spent as much as an hour vibrating and shaking with rage on the bed as Jenna comforts me. I have been afraid to shower or shave. I did both after 2 PM today.   I don't want to go out. We went out to shop a while ago and Jenna had a number of options (DVD, new sweater, health food, see a movie). I nixed the local movies and felt so weak I just came home after we bought some liqueur for Jenna and Scotch for me. [No, that wasn't what I'd meant by health food.] My scotch use is still very moderate. One, one to one and a half oz drink maybe five nights per week now between 5 and 6 PM. That's it..   I begged Jenna to stay close to me to today, which she did willingly.The depression is so heavy it feels like I am swimming through molasses. I wondered if my lighter AM lithium dose might be causing this. Nothing excites me. All I want to do is sleep, especially after the violent shaking fits on the bed which wear me out. They start right after breakfast.   There have been a lot of unplesant revelations since the 10k went missing. We have no new news on the LA books.   Now, even the thought of seeing the horses someday is losing appeal. It's scaring me because I don't know where or when it will stop. Still the letters of love and priase come in over the net. Last night I talked to my oldest friend in the world, from 32 years ago, a retiredLAPD detective, [X]. It was great to hear his voice and we were both moved. But afterwards I was so homesick and so full of remorse. He's going to be 65 soon but he's happily retired and very comfortable, living a happy stable life with a good wife, grandkids in a nice home.   Me, I'm a broken and broke, depressed writer who's not happy to be in Brooklyn and who is terrified of waking up every morning. The Wikipedia folks aren't letting up, so there I sit falsely accused on Google of being a criminal when I was the victim.   Please, if you've got any magic words, throw them at me.   I have not had an episode like the last one where I was so unfair to J enna. I am actually just scared now. The last four or five days have been almost the worst since I got here excetp for the Effexor,   It hit me last night, right between the eyes, full and unavoidable, that I have a mental disorder and that it's not going away. My situation is not just the product of lot of tragic circumstances. The First Step, as they say. I recalled your words about a good prognosis but that seems so incredibly distant.   And my lack of energy and drive just seems to be getting worse.   Until I get to Beth Israel I feel lost. And even then Dr. Y said the first two sessions were to evaluate me to see if I would be accepted. So that means maybe three weeks before getting real help?   Sorry if this is long. Winston Chrchill called depression his "black dog". Well my black dog is chewing on me like a T-Bone steak.   This was what we used to call a "dump" in AA. But I really needed to, and with someone other than dear Jenna who's heard it all anyway.   Thanks for reading and you can forward to anyone you want.   best,   Mike

Mike to Ray, 2-27-07  Title: I need a will

Just in case. I'd like to do thi soon please. What does the Power of Attorney leave you with with if I die intestate?Issues to deal with:- Trust- Personal library- Seeing to it that Barry Silverthorn receives the balance of the inventory he paid for that is still in Ashland waiting for money to ship them to him. What;s owed toBarry must be made right.- My laptop- My personal belongings stored in Ashland- Personal belongings in NY- Residual income from Rubicon and rights to same- Copyrights to FTW  Mike

February 28 2007
A break in the weather.  Mike took a walk, got milk - the kind I drink - had a bowl of chicken soup and a bagel and tried to use his Medicaid card to get reimbursed for the Zoloft.  (Not covered.)  Came back exhausted.

   “You’ve seen me fight the good fight, haven’t you?”

   I nodded.  Maybe I should have protested.  Maybe I was acquiescing that suicide at this point would be understandable.

   Apart from his walk which was more extensive than usual, he spent the day shaking or, when worn out from that, sleeping.  The blog is down because Blogspot’s been bought by Google so apparently we’re all supposed to switch to Google accounts to get in although if I access it via Internet Explorer it looks as though anybody can edit anybody else’s blog.

   “I want to die,” he said.

   “Part of you wants to die, part of you doesn’t.”

   “Which part doesn’t?”

   “The part that’s still here, that hasn’t killed yourself yet.”

   “The part of me that wants to die is winning.

   'They’ll never let me get independence, be a human being again.”

   "I have the feeling if Ken was suddenly able to sell the books and you had ten thousand dollars, it wouldn’t make any difference.”

   “Getting the checking account would.”

   I called Sovereign Bank.  Mike has been confirmed on the account.

   Indeed, it makes no difference.  He shook while I pursued the blog snags, then lay down for another nap.

   I thought back to Venezuela when I was afraid that he would die by letting himself succumb to illness.  

   “I have to make a will,” he said.  “I talked to Ray.  If I died now, everything would be up in the air.  The Power of Attorney ends with my death.  The trust would be up in the air.”

   “That’s what I thought; your possessions would go to your aunt.”           


Subj:  check-up for mike


Date:  2/28/2007 9:39:31 PM Eastern Standard Time From: Jennakilt

To: [Mike's psychiatrist],,, Jennakilt


hi [Mike's psychiatrist]

mike can't face an emergency ward but once we go through the medicaid forms, perhaps we can just pick a physician and go to his/her office. there again, it might smoothe the way if you could tell said physician that mike's story of gvt persecution is not psychotic.

what we're leading up to is that we'd like to get mike tested for metals poisoning as well as other possible forms of toxicity. as you know, such tests are more than justified in his case.

i'm cc'ing mike's lawyer on this email because he's aware of precedents for such a potential diagnosis and needs to be kept up to date on mike's medical situation.

thanks so much for all your work.

hi ray

the reason i wrote that email to [Mike's psychiatrist] a few minutes ago is that since saturday mike's been spending more and more time just shaking. sometimes when he walks to the kitchen his legs buckle so he lies down and shakes til he's exhausted and goes to sleep. apart from a half hour walk today plus another reprieve after he had a bit of scotch this evening, that's how he spent the entire day. no lou dobbs, no conversation, i don't even think he read the paper.

if this continues, any thought of going to a movie much less the stable is beyond the realm of possibility. he musters energy for five minute phone conversations, that's it.

the symptoms don't match up impressively with those of heavy metal poisoning and we know that whatever might be in his system didn't get there in the last three months since i'd undoubtedly have it too. but it's possible someone gave him something with a delayed reaction; you know far more about these things than i do.

on the phone [his psychiatrist] said she'd like to see him get checked out physically. since he doesn't have a regular dr she recommended an er but he can't face that.

so that's where things are right now...

To raykohl at 11:30 pm February 28 2007

i also told [his psychiatrist] that when mike lies down shaking he also ends up complaining of feeling cold; fear and cold seem to go hand in hand, the one inducing the other.
March 1, 2007

   Another month, another emergency room, this time at Beth Israel, to see why Mike shakes all day.

   After six hours he was seen in the Drug Induced Sexual Assault examining room where, dressed in a floral hospital gown, (what a sport!) he put his feet in the stirrups, lay back and stared at the cherry blossoms on the ceiling.

   “Any surgery?” asked the nurse. 

   Mike told her about the peritonitis, the several eye surgeries as a child and the gunshot wounds.

   Gunshot wounds?

   After the nurse left, he showed me where the bullet from a faulty gun in his holster had gone off, pierced his arm, gone into his left ear and out next to his temple.

   “This is one of the times when I know God intervened,” he said.

   “You could have sued the manufacturer."

   “Except that I got the gun at K-Mart, my uncle was on the board and I was a security guard there.  Officially we weren’t allowed to wear guns but it was tacitly encouraged.  It would have been complicated, legally.”

   “What is that guy holding?” I asked about a young man in another examining room.

   “Some sort of foreign currency.  Don’t stare,” Mike said.

   Our fellow sufferers this time included several elderly parents with long-suffering children; a heroin addict who’d taken a double dose; the ubiquitous young woman with two roommates.

   The muscle spasms are tied to rage, Mike thinks.  But the experience of the Emergency Room, frustrating as it was, was a lesson that when the source of rage is outside him, he handles it reasonably.
March 2, 2007
   Mike's stepmother is dead.  Ray called.  The LA lawyer for the trust found out two days ago.  For all we know, she could have died six months ago but at least the papers have been filed so now it’s confirmed.
   This opens up more questions for the other side.  Mike and Ray will be going to California in a few weeks, then up to Ashland.  I wish I could figure out a way to be useful to justify tagging along but I can’t.
   Ken’s been told.  “He needs good news as much as anyone,” Mike said.
   This development makes some difference to Mike’s mood.  He didn’t cry tonight but he did still take a nap.  That won’t change as long as he’s on all these pills.  I’ve told him to factor that variable in to his calculations about his trip West.  It’s not as though he’ll be able to operate on his old schedule of one meeting at nine, another at ten and so on.
March 6, 2007
   He raised the subject of Effexor, how suicidal it had made him.
   “But you have such grit, such determination,” I said.  “You got straight to the hospital."
   “Don’t say that.  I’m just breathing in and out, OK?"
   For the last week he’s spent every day either shaking on the bed or sleeping.  A couple of days ago, we had this conversation:
MR (shaking helplessly:)  I’m so scared, I’m so scared.
JO: When you were going strong, you were like one of those cartoon characters who run off a cliff and keep going.  When the computers got smashed is when you were forced to look down; then you fell.  But since this is a cartoon, you’ve just gone ‘splat’ and gotten up again; you’re not dead.
MR: I just want to die.
   I reminded him about a woman who'd once been interviewed on Sally Jessy Raphael.  She'd jumped out the window but been blown back by the wind onto someone’s balcony.  Sally asked her, “What did you think while you were falling?”
   The woman answered, “I thought, 'I’ve made a big mistake.’”
March 7, 2007
   Two Google alerts blaming climate change on China and India.
   No question their environmental standards leave something to be desired but it’s hypocritical of us to point fingers; like the person who eats all but one chocolate in the box then whines about the person who eats the last one.
   Tomorrow it’s supposed to be 9 degrees, the very prospect of which makes Mike shudder.
   “It won’t stop,” he says.
   “That’s where I can assure you you’re wrong.”
   We’ve had this conversation before, about his tendency to live so vividly in the moment that he thinks it’ll last forever.
   But on Saturday, the clocks will leap ahead, three weeks earlier than usual.
March 10, 2007
   “Ray won’t write a will for me because he’s afraid... you know.  But in case anything happens, I want someone to know that I want the debts liquidated.  Whatever is left I want to be divided between Cynthia McKinney, for political purposes, and you.”
   “The debts won’t be a problem; those people have a claim.  Cynthia and I have no claim.  Your aunt has a claim.  And all her nine children.”
   “She won’t do anything....  There may even be something in the trust about that.  Of course, I haven’t seen the trust.”
   He was scared all day today, dreading writing to his stepmother's niece (at Ray’s suggestion) to propose that they not drag out the process which would bleed the trust away over the next year in lawyers’ fees.  “Last time we spoke, I was a man of substance.”
   “We have to work on your self-image so that ‘substance’ is not determined entirely by how much money you have.  You still wrote that book.  You still ran that website.  If I measured my self-worth by how much money I’d made, I’d be far more miserable than you.”
   “You don’t have my credit report.  I know what [his stepmother's niece] is like.”
   “The point is to have your own criteria of self-worth so you’re not so vulnerable to other people’s.”          
March 11, 2007
   Once again he awoke shivering with fear and cold only today it is 51 degrees out.
   The cause of dread is the looming letter to his stepmother's niece, not because he’s afraid of rejection but because, as he puts it:  “What’ll I do when I get the money?”
   He has a deep sense of not deserving it.
   “Perhaps the cold is a metaphor for feeling isolated, left out of the common stream of mankind.”
   “That makes sense.”  He paused.  “But I’m still cold.”
   “Are you afraid that getting the money could trigger a hypomanic phase?”
   “Partly, yes.  But I think I have enough self-awareness now to deal with that."  (I won't squander it, God, I promise.  Please let me get the money.)   "I just want a hand to lift me out of this.”
   “Deus ex machina.”
   Another thought also occurred to me: “It doesn’t work that way; you have to go step by step.”   But that would come off as priggish.  We had to put the admonition into practice.
   “It would be good if you could think of it not in terms of superego,” I said, and gave an example:
“‘I shouldn’t indulge myself; I mustn’t.’  Because that’ll just make your Id want to rebel.”
   “So what do I think?”
   “Instead of ‘should,’ you could think, ‘I want to hold onto this money long term.  That’s more important to me than a momentary feeling that I'm a man of substance.’  If you could remember that...”
   “This is working.  This is sinking in.  All right.  Much as I’m afraid of this pattern, I’m going to take a nap now.”
   When he got up, he channel-surfed, a normal activity he hasn’t engaged in in months.
   Dichotomy permeates his entire way of being: Superego vs. Id, male vs. female, superior/mania vs. inferior/depression.  This is why he lives in the moment, unable, when he’s in one mood, to bear in mind what it felt like to be in its opposite.
   But I can’t just spill all this; it must wait for the right moment. 
March 12, 2007
   This morning I felt amorous.  It’s been a while, maybe a month and the last time was inconclusive, though enjoyable; on both sides, or so I thought.
   We didn’t get far.  Mike apologized for being “the iceman.”
   An odd metaphor, as I pointed out: “But the iceman cometh.”
   I started to nuzzle his arm but he leapt up, wild-eyed and bolted to the bathroom.
   “I could do it right now,” he said in a matter-of-fact monotone as he got back into bed.
   “Because you can’t carry this through?”
   “You mean have an orgasm?  Give me a break.
   'There’s something about your approach that’s freaking me out.  You’re a woman, a pretty woman.  But your touch is so light, you’re like a fourteen-year-old.  It’s almost as though it’s insincere.”
   “It is like that.  You're not the first person to say that.”
   “It’s as though you have some desire but not for flames.”
   “That’s quite true.  The fire is contained.”
   “But when there’s passion, there are flames.”
   Later he said, “I’m glad you told me that, that I'm not the only one.  I’ve been suppressing these thoughts and it’s been adding to the depression.”
   Poor guy, feeling obligated and partnered to a person who makes him sick.  I, who am supposedly saving him from his own craziness, may be crazier than he is.  Perhaps the sense I'd gotten over New Year's wasn't so far off:  That he had himself admitted to Bellevue not so much to avoid killing himself as to avoid killing me.  One can see why jumping out the window might have seemed the only honorable solution. 

No comments: