What Edward and I have in common

December 3, 2009 at 12:33 pm (Mental illness)

I know what it’s like to snap slowly and I know what it’s like to snap quickly.

Snapping slowly is what happens when you’re living on a few dollars a week, and eating nothing but a single meal (of rice fried with sugar and an egg) each day, and then suddenly you buy $3 worth of chips. That $3 was meant to last a week, and you know you’ll regret spending it even as you do so (walking to the cash register, ordering, and paying).

Snapping quickly is when you bring a glass into the kitchen, meaning to put it on the bench, then you see the dishes (his job that night) aren’t even started, and you suddenly hurl the glass into the sink and watch it shatter – surprising yourself more than him. (This happens last night, and since I threw my laptop at him in September, it’s no longer a one-off incident.)

Both types of snapping have similar thought patterns, “Don’t do it. This is stupid. You don’t want to do it, stop! Arg!” The main difference is that when I snap slowly, I get to pick HOW I snap. It feels like it’s me doing it.

When I snap quickly, I am literally unable to stop myself. It’s like a reflex. I can modify my actions (eg throwing more slowly, aiming for the sink instead of somewhere messier, throwing an innocent glass instead of punching an innocent man – who was, of course, already wearing dish gloves and clearly doing exactly what he said he’d do). That’s all. I hardly believe it myself, especially since I spend so much time controlling similar urges successfully.

After a slow snap there are consequences – such as having no food at all for a day or two. But there’s also a certain joy in doing something a bit dumb (which is why I will often, now I’m not in danger of going hungry, spend my last $10 on chocolate). After a slow snap there are consequences too, but the most important aftertaste is fear. Because I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do next. Will I hit my husband? Will I drive my car into a light post? Would this other version of me ever hit a child? I don’t know the answers any more.

There’s also a light of pleasurable relief, because it’s moments like these I can feel at peace – yes I really am insane, not lazy (as I’ve been told by various people who are really, really selfish and dumb – and close to me).

This kind of abusive behaviour (being violent toward objects; it’s a classic) is what I have in common with Edward Cullen. (On the up side, I might be mental but I’m not nearly as emo as he is. And I’m pretty sure I have better hair).

I don’t THINK I’m a danger to anyone (not even myself, definitely the most annoying individual around). Otherwise I’d be morally bound to apply some anti-depressants, stat. I do notice that every time I take happy pills I immediately (faster than medical testing would suggest is genuinely medication-related) feel more rational, and wonder why I don’t take pills all the time. Bingeing daily on chocolate also helps. But both ‘medications’ also cause me to gain weight. Which sounds pretty mild compared to potentially harming someone, but my forgiving metabolism is the only thing that keeps me eating (more or less) properly, and exercising regularly, and venturing out into public places. Those are all really difficult things to do, and with medication screwing up my metabolism I just don’t have enough mojo to bother. So I’m prioritising physical health and social/working ability over mental health.

It might be the wrong choice. I’m not sure.

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