Dispatches from the Yellow Brick Road

Dispatches from the Yellow Brick Road

A Journey Through Delusion and Back

By Martha Manning

July/August 2021

My family wants me dead.

I don’t know why.

They have a contract out on me with the nursing staff.

I think I’m going to die.

Four years ago, I lost my mind. It’s not like losing your keys or your kid in a store: you notice when you’ve lost them and try like hell to find them. This loss I didn’t notice. I just woke up one morning and it was gone. My self was there, but my thoughts collided with each other. It was as if all the pieces of an intricately assembled puzzle went flying apart. When I tried to put them back together, the configuration was off, and I wandered away and left it unfinished.

It started when I crash-landed into a perfect storm of forces that knocked me off my bearings. First, I’d contracted a severe urinary tract infection that had gone undetected for so long it resulted in delirium and confusion. Second, I was taking pain medication for two badly arthritic knees that were scheduled for replacement in the next few months. Third, a doctor added anti-inflammatories to my lineup of medications—which, combined with the lithium I’d been taking for 20 years without incident, rendered me lithium toxic, triggering still more delirium and confusion. Plus, I was anxious about my upcoming surgeries, and still reeling from the precipitous end of my…

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