What is it about slamming doors in the middle of a manic episode that feels so good? Everything about it – the sound and the resulting shake, the reverberation of wood against wood, the physical exertion required to break it from its frame. It’s incredibly satisfying. I don’t hit people, I don’t punch walls or break dishes. I slam doors.
I think I’ve mentioned in past posts that my mania doesn’t manifest itself in the more common ecstatic episodes or euphoric highs, but as violent outbursts over which I have little or no control. And during those violent outbursts, few things feel better to me than the good hard slam of a door.
I’ve broken three door frames that I can remember. Four, if you count the door that was already broken when I slammed it again, knocking the frame even further apart from the wall. I’ve probably slammed doors a hundred times, but have only broken four that I can recall. I do not say that with pride.
The first doorframe I broke was our bedroom door in the first home I shared with my husband 18 years ago. I slammed it in the face of my brother-in-law following an argument during which I was the only one arguing. I think it was the first time my husband and best friend, who lived with us, had ever experienced the peak of one of my manic episodes. And they were blown away by the “Jekyll and Hyde” change in my personality in such a short period of time.
The next door was five years ago, connecting our kitchen to the garage. I was, again, “peaking” and was furious with my poor husband for some minor incident which, in my mind, was inflated to catastrophic proportions. I was making a dramatic exit from our argument, planning to tear out of the garage in my car, tires squealing. And that dramatic exit involved slamming that sturdy door so hard that the entire room shook from the force. It took us four years to get around to fixing that frame, and since I could see it each morning from where I sat at the kitchen table eating breakfast with my children, it served as a daily reminder of the place I didn’t want ever to be again.
It is with shame that I admit that the third (and fourth) door I slammed hard enough to ruin was that of my youngest daughter’s bedroom. My sweet love, who also suffers with manic episodes. Even more shamefully do I admit that she was in the middle of her own manic hell and in her bedroom both times I slammed her door. I couldn’t take her screaming and crying another moment, her hysteria and violence. And most shameful of all? I felt better after doing it. It’s as if I could displace so much aggression with the simple act of “closing a door a little too hard”. And that poor little girl stopped her hysterics in the middle of her meltdown both times, most likely scared to death to see the grown up image of herself screaming back at her and breaking door frames. She was probably recognizing with fear that this is what she might become.
I had that door repaired soon after the incident. I didn’t tell her dad, from whom I am separated, who had been present the second time it happened. I couldn’t look at it when I tucked my little girl into bed every night. The shame of having broken that door in her presence was too much to be reminded of. Too much for her to be reminded of. Maybe my husband will notice on his own that it didn’t take me four years this time to get help. To make repairs. Maybe he will someday notice that it’s back to normal and that I did it without being asked, without being begged to try to fix what was broken. Maybe he will notice that it’s better. That I’m better.
Then again, maybe not.
A side note: to my sweet little girl, should this post be available to you when you are old enough to read it, I’m sorry for scaring you. I am so desperately sorry.