Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Stars when you shine, you know how I feel
Scent of the pine, you know how I feel
Yeah, freedom is mine, and I know how I feel. It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me
And I'm feelin'... good.
- Nina Simone, “Feeling Good”
I’ve been hesitant to write a post for a while (as you may have noticed). The reason being, that the last time I was writing on the regular I was obviously very, very ill. It came to a head last July when I posted about the cops coming to my door because of my last suicide attempt & being in the psychiatric ward again. Upon my release, obviously I had multiple meetings with my shrink. It was the beginning/mid-July. I felt like we were out of options, and we decided together that if we didn’t see a significant change by the end of the month, we would have to take more drastic measures (i.e. electroconvulsive therapy again, a long hospital stay again, etc…). Obviously my first choice was suicide. I just wanted everyone to let me go- to let me end the nightmare that I was living. I’ve been through the system for so long that I know exactly what words to say to be admitted into hospital, as well as being released.
I’ve been with the same shrink for over three years (the longest I’ve ever stayed with any kind of mental illness analyst) and I trust her implicitly. When we were nearing the end of our rope, she said something to me that dyed the wool of my defective mind. She looked at me right in the eye and said, “Claire, I honestly think you’re going to get better. I really do.” I asked her if she really meant it, or if she was trying to either pacify me or repeat something she might say to all of her clients. She told me she was telling me the unabashed truth and for some peculiar reason, I believed her. It didn’t necessarily make me feel better but I believed her.
Shortly thereafter, she concocted a brand new cocktail of medications. If any of you have ever taken any kind of (prescribed) mood modifying drug- or perhaps (?) ANY PRx drug, then you know that first of all, you can suffer from severe discontinuation-syndrome (of the drugs that you were previously taking). Adjusting to new meds can cause wheels within wheels in your body and fires within fires. It has at times quite literally impeded my eyesight, caused migraines, increased my suicidal ideation, disrupted my digestive system, induced non-stop crying and/or sleeping, etc. I had to do it though. It was this or, continue ticking in an incubus.
Then, a miracle.
The new concoction STARTED TO WORK almost immediately. It was as if overnight I was resurrected. Right before the cut-off point, I could finally see the world with a brand-new set of eyeballs. I had a difficult time trying to put into words my new perceptibility. I had not felt so alive, so enthusiastic about living. Even throughout my “ups” over the years, suicide had always been in the deep folds of my mind. I still felt as if this disease would “get me” in the end- as if it were a shadow following me around even when I tried to bask in the sunlight. This reaction couldn’t be more radically different if I tried. The first couple of weeks I felt so good that I became afraid I might be hypo-manic. Then situations occurred where I felt sad to the point of tears and pissed off. I realized that I still had a scope of emotions that were real.
My friends and family rejoiced. This doesn’t feel like an “up-swing”, it feels like full remission. I wanted to wait for an appropriate amount of time to write about it to make sure.
The best example I can think of to describe my level of health, is the one of me doing the CN Tower Walk around the top of the tower. (There are videos on my Facebook page as well as my instagram- @clairebrosseau of me leaning over the edge of the city from 1500 feet.) People that watched that video commented on how brave I was, how they could never do it or that the videos made them sick upon seeing it. I felt NOTHING while I did it. I was completely numb. I wanted the ropes to break so that I could die and no one would blame me. I have also never been afraid of rides at amusement parks. I always secretly hoped that something would go wrong with the ride and again, I could fade away without judgment. Two days ago, I went to “The Halloween Haunt” at Canada’s Wonderland with a few of my girlfriends and we went on all of the VERY HIGH, VERY SCARY rides. I wish I could properly articulate how different the feeling of impending death/doom is when you actually value your life. It was incredible! As well, I don’t think I could EVER manage to do The CN Tower Walk again if my life depended on it. I have so much more appreciation for how terrifying that walk must have been for my sister and my father.
All of this to say, I am in full remission. I haven’t felt like a “normal” human being in decades. It feels, welll… just marvelous.
That said it’s come (like all things good) with a price. I’ve been dealing with some severe side-effects everyday. For one, I have completely lost any kind of appetite (for food). This may sound like a dream to many people, but I’ve actually lost so much weight (I am 90LBS lighter than I was last year at this time) that it’s affecting my menstrual cycle. I DO eat, but only because I have to, and I don’t enjoy it at all. This one is actually the least of my problems, but because it’s so obvious to people who see me, they say things that range from, “you look great”, “you look awful” to “you look sick”. I feel great physically, and am getting all the nutrients and calories I need. The thing I love most about THIS particular side-effect is that my breasts have never been small in my life and it’s an absolute dream come true for me. Many women I know shake their heads at this, but my breasts have been quite large since the age of fourteen. It’s fun for me to actually be able to shop at stores like Victoria’s Secret, La Vie En Rose and LaSenza. Their sizes only go up to a DD (some, not even), and if I shopped there before I fooled myself and shoved my breasts in an ill-fitted bra. I have constant cotton-mouth. There’s never any moisture in my mouth. I can’t even chew gum because it remains solid. There are a couple of “remedies” for this problem, but I’ve found they only work for approximately twenty minutes at a time. This also leads to bad breath, which is obviously very embarrassing. I lose my train of thought often. My friends and family understand, but for those who have just met me, I can come off sounding like a flake. My memory is that of a goldfish. I have horrific nightmares every night.
Make no mistake. Although in the past I may have refused to take one (or all) of the meds that cause these problems but to me, now? It couldn’t be more worth it.
I’m alive! I have all of the feelings! I’m not debilitatingly anxious anymore! I can laugh and MEAN it! I’m (overall) rational! I have hope! I have so much love inside me (instead of rotting wreckage)! I’m ambitious, again! I’m just, well… happy.
I’m a happy person. I couldn’t be more grateful.


Nikki Payne said...

Crying! I'm crying I'm so happy for you. Nikki Payne

ClaireElyse Brosseau said...

Nikky, you have ALWAYS been a constant source of inspiration & one of the loveliest, most hilarious women i've ever met. this comment touches me dearly. big love & hope to see you soon xo

ClaireElyse Brosseau said...

see below!

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