I’m sure that at least a few of you have been wondering where the hell I’ve been. Well it’s all very embarrassing to be honest, but I will attempt to explain as best I can. Are you at all familiar with the The Irresistible Force Paradox? You know, the one that goes like this:
“What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?”
Well I sort of lived out my own version of that paradox over the last couple of months – like so:
1. A mentally ill man (who’s “problems” include both extreme social anxiety and an extreme insect phobia) goes off his medications for well over a year and becomes an “immovable” urban hermit.
2. That urban hermit has his sanctuary threatened by a seemingly “unstoppable” invasion of bed bugs?
So what happens when these two things meet? As it turns out, it’s been disturbingly similar to this:
I didn’t know it at the time, but my nightmare began sometime in mid to late November with a rare visit from a relative and his friend. By the end of the first week in January, after apparently repeated failures by me (and the guy my apartment management sent to investigate) to kill off the bugs, and with growing anxiety over the boatload work required to meet my management’s “pre-treatment” requirements, I had become a delusional (from getting almost no sleep for weeks), panic stricken lunatic.
Then, early on the morning of January 6th, after passing out at my desk (the only place I felt comfortable trying to sleep), I awoke in an all-out panic attack with uncontrollable shakes and had to be taken to the emergency room… 😯
The emergency room doctors determined that I was in desperate need of psychiatric treatment and had me transferred to the VA hospital, where I was locked away on an “acute” psychiatric ward (with all its associated wonders) until I convinced the doctors there to release me on January 17 (after 11 days total).
I say “convinced” because my doctors were very concerned that returning to the same environment would simply lead me to another breakdown, and thus right back into their care. But I pointed out that the relief I got from being away from that environment and back on my meds was rapidly being overwhelmed by the dual strains of being locked on a psych ward – surrounded by some really, really sick people – and the knowledge that the situation at home will still be there no matter how long I avoid it.
Anyway… As it turns out, the bug killing measures I’d taken before my collapse weren’t entirely in vain, because I haven’t seen a single one since I got home. Nevertheless, I completed enough of the massive preparation work required by the management (with which I received absolutely no help from anyone) to get the first of two full-scale exterminations done, and things are looking better and better by the day. The second treatment will be in a few days and then only the bill will remain to be dealt with.
In the end, reality has proven the paradox false once again. As for how this nightmare can be apportioned to the realms of “real” and “imagined,” I truly do not know. But it is very clear that allowing my mental illness to go untreated leaves me more vulnerable than I ever want to be again!
I want ice water.
More from the My Life volume