Some Days

 
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If Only for Today

Beautiful morning ushers my eyes open.  Sun shining bright. Heater running full blast to keep me warm and safe. Not to mention the big strong man sleeping next to me. My husband holds me near, keeping monsters away.  The depression of yesterday crept long into the night. The little clock reads 7:57. We slept in and it felt so good. Rest. Restoration was much needed. Yesterday was a rough day, but now a new day dawns.  Well, I missed the dawn.  But, I embrace it just the same.

We listened for the coffee to brew. The signal to officially wake.  The last spit of water and air was heard and we jumped up as if it were Christmas morning.  Energy filled my body and a smile graced my face. A real honest to goodness smile.  I love the man I share my life with! He makes me laugh, allows me to cry. Talks me through the darkness and the light. I am blessed to have such a loving soul to hold hands with.

We raced to the coffee pot. One grabbing creamer, one grabbing mugs. Its not too often gratitude comes into my mind of its own accord, but this moment was an exception.  Warm coffee made its way to my belly. Perfect.

He played my favorite record of late, Chris Stapleton The Traveller. His gravel(y) voice just reaches into me. We looked at pictures from our 2 day excursion to the beach. Memories were made and we were reliving them. Each push of the button reminded us of another moment in time. Surfers. Sea Lions. Waves. Portraits. Vast open space of the Pacific Ocean. Beauty. Our tv transformed us back in time as I captured the journey with the click of technology. I could almost smell the ocean air. Feel the pebbles on my feet. Feel the sun warming my face.  Behold the magic of water.

Steam was spiraling from my coffee, cats sleeping on the couch, music coming from the corner of the room. Couldn’t be more perfect.  Hard to believe yesterday I had thoughts of jumping off a bridge. Just yesterday I wanted to give up.  I felt I had no more fight in me. No more resilience. No more energy to carry on. Less than 24 hours has passed and I feel like a new person. Its amazing. I tend to curse Bipolar disorder. It has caused so much chaos and havoc on my life.  But today, it allows me to be grateful for the change in mood. For the time spent with my best friend home and away. For the little things like favorite records, hot cups of coffee, kitties on couches.

When you are lost in an inner world of voices and visuals, or steeped in a depression so low you can taste  the ground, or racing thoughts carry you from room to room, or agitation wraps itself around your body and mind, genuine smiles and appreciations are hard to come by. I am no stranger to sudden changes in mood. But, I am not going to stand in my own way this morning. I am going to let the day unfold as it will.  Worry will not keep me from visiting a friend later. Fear will not keep me from expressing myself. I promise myself to take hold and enjoy the grace that has been given to me, if only for today.

 

 

Crawling to Stand

Woke yesterday morning with a sadness draped over me. I didn’t want to open my eyes, but I could no longer sleep.  I just felt this deep depressive weight. If I hadn’t woken up at all, I don’t think I would have been disappointed. What makes this even more despairing is I was on vacation in a beautiful beach town with my best friend, my husband. I was eating at nice restaurants, shopping at nice stores. My husband let me pick out a few things that were quite expensive that I had fallen in love with and he carried them to the register thinking nothing of it. The sun was shining bright. The ocean was a brilliant blue. The sea otter poked his head up to say hello to me as we walked down the pier.  We heard the cries of hundreds of sea lions vying for a spot in the sun. Laying on top of each other, curled up trying to stay warm.

However, the ghosts that have been haunting me followed me to Monterey. I mean the hallucinations graced me with their presence even while I was away.  I heard voices telling me the beach is where I die. I heard a voice telling me to jump from a bluff. Its true…wherever you go, there you are. I was really hoping for a reprieve. Just a mini vacation from my own mind. A respite. Fucking anything that would allow me a little peace just for 2 days.  My husband is worried about me. Asking me over and over if I took my medication or not.  This is not typical behavior for him.  He is the one that has to console me when the voices and visuals come. He is the one that has to hear my hysterical cries of fear. He is the one whose shirt I soak with nonstop tears. Without him, I think I would be in a psych hospital right about now.  The psychosis isn’t lifting. Been with me for a month and a half. Been off work for 2 months.

I am tired. I feel defeated on most days. We drove home from the beach today in silence.  Maybe he was needing a respite from me. I’m not quite sure. Its not like I had much to say either. Don’t get me wrong we had a great time. It was just tainted with my madness. We listened to music as the road carried us home.

We settled back into our little abode. Talked about a few of our favorite things on the trip. Unpacked a few things. Made breakfast.  We both seem to have little energy and opted to flop in front of the tv. I don’t remember what we were watching. I started to hear..if you don’t harm him we will harm you.  It repeated. I looked over at my husband kicking back in the recliner and his neck was slashed and blood was everywhere.  I tried to remind myself this wasn’t real. I again watched tv and again there was chanting of harm. My husband was slumped over in the chair with a wide gash on his throat. I jumped up, muffled a scream and stated I was going to take a nap. I needed this to end.  I was about to burst into tears. I laid down and closed my eyes and tears drenched my pillow.

My husband came into the room and I kept my eyes closed. I could not look at him. I didn’t want to express what was happening for me. I didn’t want him to know the voices were threatening me to harm him. I was scared. I was feeling so alone. He crawled into bed with me. He held my hand. He talked to me. I finally told him what I was hearing and seeing. I told him maybe it would be better if I did just jump off a bridge, then all this would be over. He reassured me that would not be an option he wanted.  I cried so hard I think I almost ran out of tearks.

Psychosis is exhausting and confusing. I’m waiting for my new medication to do its thing and make them disappear. So far, this hasn’t happened. My patience is waning. These hallucinations are unpredictable as far as time and place.  I’m afraid to go running outside by myself. I don’t venture very far from the house. It is shaping the way I move about my life. This is unacceptable, but it’s the way it is.  For now. I’m staying the course and fighting hard. Right now, I’m just tired. My husband promises I’m going to be okay. I’m going to come out the other side.  Even if its crawling. I will soon stand once again.

Empty

 

Let It Be

I don’t know about you, but I am constantly on a quest to figure myself out.  I can never just be. Just be present. Just be normal. Just be okay with the moment. The other day I was feeling quite agitated. I had to go to my pharmacy to try yet another medication to address these hallucinations. Parking was atrocious. Once I found parking, I could not seem to locate my wallet. I went from zero to 60 in less than 60. I was a hot mess in no time. I couldn’t think to retrace my steps.  All I could seem to do was yell and scream. Thank goodness I was inside my car making this obnoxious scene.  I was throwing things, literally throwing things around the car. As if that would help.  I think I just might have finally lost my mind.  But then, after digging in my bag for the 3rd time I found it.

The line at the pharmacy was ridiculous. 25 people deep and maybe 3 pharmacy techs to help. To spare you the charming, yet embarrassing details, I will cut to the chase. I let a lady, I hoped actually worked there, have it.  For me to give “it” to someone the world must be coming to an end. Normally, I am pretty well contained. If I feel anger, its inward. Rarely do I blow up towards the outside world. Well, today was a different story. I did not feel good about it at all. I got my medication after about 1.5 hours. I heard another woman yell at the actual pharmacist. She said she had been waiting for over 2 hours to get medication for her husband who had cancer.  She needed to be home with him, not waiting in this line. I choked on my tears.  How selfish am I? If I didn’t start these meds today, it would not have been the end of the world. If I hadn’t yelled at that lady perhaps the line could have moved faster. I feel like a shell of my former self.

My former self, pre-bipolar, would have handled this in stride. Just texted some folks on my phone to pass the time. Hell stared off in into space. Whatever. I definitely would not have lost my mind in a public setting.  After telling my husband the story, he said SO…you were frustrated. Maybe you had a right to be maybe you didn’t. But it seems to me that’s how you were feeling in the moment. He reminded me it is not helpful to judge my emotions as negative.  Okay, so I don’t normally blow up.  True. I don’t normally have months of psychosis either. I just can’t seem to give myself a break. All these symptoms all the time.

Anxiety is a big one. It’s brutal and often times I don’t understand why I am anxious. I ponder. I question. I force an answer to come.  Anxiety just is. Sometimes it can be accounted for, sometimes not. Isn’t it more important how I handle it. Breathing helps me. I’ve also taken to looking around my environment and looking for something I consider beautiful to focus on.  In the car, it’s the fall leaves. In the house, it’s a painting, or a mandala I have completed. Having tools in my back pocket is helpful. Remembering to use them is the key

I was questioning why I was agitated, why I would act that way both in the car and in the pharmacy. There isn’t always an easy answer.  Our emotions flow out of us on their own accord. Its what we do with them that counts most. I didn’t beat anybody up or really insult anyone. I just let my feelings of frustration out. It wasn’t the woman’s fault, all the mix ups with the medications. She just happened to be the stick, ya know. All I can do is remain on my quest, maybe start focusing on how I can improve instead of always trying to figure myself out.  I think its good to reflect on situations, but not with a flavor of self criticism. I am not perfect.  Far from it.  Why can’t I hold onto that in the moment and just let it be?

If I had it to do over again. I would breathe and take my time. I wasn’t under a time crunch. I gave myself plenty of room anticipating it might be a bit busy.  In the car, I might have told myself I’ve been losing things lately, but I always end up finding it. The wallet could not have gone far. If I stayed calm perhaps I would have been able to retrace my steps and recalled exactly where I put it.  All in hindsight of course.  But, maybe when I am calm and detached from the situation taking a moment to see where I can improve will only help.  Geez.  There you go.  Always on a quest.

 

 

Dirty Mess

Poor poor little girl
With bruises on her knees
Ego split in two
One part victim
One part fuck you
Humbled once again by nature
Face to face with the dirt
Broken skin
Damaged sense of self
Cursing the universe
Why doesn’t God believe in me?
Has he simply given up?
Twisted thoughts mangle my mind
Down the trail I march
Bloodied shadow in tow
Wrong.
This is all wrong.
How can it be I can’t run a trail right
At least a cracked skull would allow
The chaos
Nonsense
Bullshit
To pour out of me
Relieve me
Create space for peace and quiet
Stomping the ground
Leaving my footprint behind
Facing forward
Outrunning the demons
Used to be my solace
Music blaring
My body declaring
I will win this fight
Now
Down she goes times two
Hobbling
Crying
The ridicule deafening
Defeated
Passers by stare
At the dirty mess
That is me

A Touch of Hypomania

Words and thoughts bounce around my mind at record pace. I can’t catch even one. If I did there would just be another one to push it out of the way. Super productive day. Up at 6 as I heard my husband swearing in the kitchen. Come to find out the dishwasher didn’t drain. Water just standing in the bottom. Paperwork upon paperwork strewn about. The instructions book from the manufacturer, receipts from Home Depot. Trouble shooting guide, chat room, telephone number for a live person. Where to start?  Figured out the live person isn’t available til 8am, that is much too far away. I start an email request for service, then switch to chat. Nice guy, Chester, tries to give me assistance but can’t really help.  He advises a repair representative will call starting on Friday. I pulled out the Hail Mary and said 10 people were coming over for thanksgiving. This is not true, actually we are going out of town for the weekend.  He apologized for the inconvenience and reminded me of the serial number.  Oh good point. Logged all necessary info into my phone in case we get a call while we are away.
I then begin to scoop water out of the basin of the dishwasher, then when almost dry I use a towel. Next I wash all the really dirty dishes so the inside does not smell.  I was also tasked with making turkey burgers, a staple in our house. I give myself permission to stop and drink some coffee. It’s now 9am. I need to fit in a workout. I have an appointment at 1pm. I counted the hours I had to get things done over and over. 4 hours didn’t seem like a lot of time. I could feel the anxiety brewing.  I tried to take deep breaths. I decided I must workout this instant. Time was ticking.  So, I did a body weight routine I made up, takes about 20-25 minutes.
My husband emailed me the turkey burger recipe as it’s typically his gig. Nice beautiful spreadsheet cuz that’s how he understands things best. I had made a pot of beans the previous day, also usually his thing.  You might have figured out he is he cook of the house. It’s nice to be busy, have purpose. I just think I might be moving a bit fast. I had 3 outfits for the weekend I wanted to show him. I tried them on in the middle of cooking. I took care of the compost and the recycling. Almost took the chopping knife outside w me. I cleaned the kitchen in the middle of turkey burger chaos. I also did a load of laundry. I did some writing. Even had some time to spare.
I sat down at the kitchen table before my appointment and I just burst into tears. I couldn’t handle all the energy, the thoughts racing about, not being able to sit still. I had hoped to take a nap after my appointment but that was impossible. I had to keep moving. I started packing. I picked different outfits. Clothes I ordered online arrived early. Now I had more decisions to make. More frantic thinking. I tried on everything for my husband at the speed of lightning. He asked me to check something, I went to the bedroom but had no idea what I was supposed to do. He followed behind and reminded me.  He suggested I take a minute and breathe. I did. But it didn’t help. My mind was overwhelmed. My body was trying to keep up. I sat on the couch and just wiggled my legs. Got up. Sat down. I finally ate dinner as I realized I did not eat lunch.
It’s now 8:15 at night. I feel so restless. I feel like I have so much to write. So many great posts to produce. However my body wants to rest. My husband wants me to take something to calm down, help me sleep. I of course want to harness this energy. Could this possibly be hypomania? I’m going to enjoy every second of it and pray it doesn’t turn into somethings else.

Discomfort

For the longest time I would never walk around without socks whether inside or outside, whether summer or winter. I don’t particularly like my feet, but I would even where these socks when I was alone. Some how bare feet left me feeling vulnerable, exposed. Even in my own home.
I’ve spent much of my life trying to cover up what brings me discomfort. I was made fun of a lot as a child as I have numerous freckles on my face and arms. I tried to scrub them off once w my moms makeup removal soap.  I cried in my counselor’s office every day at school before being picked up by my mother.  Tears made me and her uncomfortable. I pretended to be sick during a playoff game when I was the only girl on my little league team because the boys ganged up on me. I was uncomfortable being a better player than they were and so were they.
I was never taught to share my feelings of discomfort. I was never taught it was okay to have these feelings and what to do w them. As a result I found cutting, bulimia, and alcohol. Though temporary relief, I was willing to take what I could get.
On April 5th 2013 I drove to a bridge not far from my house w every intention of jumping. I got as far as leaning over the railing and feeling the wet wind on my face. I wanted to die. I had never known such psychic pain. I couldn’t imagine living another day with such discomfort. I didn’t jump that day, but have wanted to many times since. I have made several intricate plans to do so. Most times I have found myself in the mental hospital as a result. I often feel tortured by suicidal thoughts. When I am entrenched in the darkness, yet again, it’s the only way I believe I can be set free. For me, bipolar disorder is a tease. I will have several really good days. Sincerely laughing, wholeheartedly smiling, seamlessly productive at work, feeling ultra connected to my husband only to wake up the next day feeling none of that. Rather feeling the heaviness of my body, the slowness of my mind, the tears behind my eyes and the defeat in my breath and not know why. Just a huge mood shift without my permission.  It’s exhausting.
It’s uncomfortable not knowing who I am going to be from day to day. The sparkly, witty, smiley fanatic or the sad, agitated, desperate fanatic.  This roller coaster of emotion takes it toll on me and I want to stop the ride. For good.
However, god or an angel or a higher power reminds me every once in a while I am still needed here. I went running down by the river w my headphones last weekend. It’s a busy area w families pushing babies, walkers and runners. I passed this family who appeared in some sort of distress but I figured they were working it out. However, as I ran back by them the second time I stopped after a few feet. There was a problem. The little boy had somehow twisted his pant leg so tightly in the pedal he could not move. Try as I might the clothing wouldn’t budge. I had passed by a gentleman fishing down on the river bank and ran to see if he had a knife. He did and after several tries, I was able to cut the little boy free. The mother didn’t really speak English, but I could see in her eyes she was so grateful I took the time to stop as most people were passing them by (as I did the first time.)
On my run I was making plans to jump off that bridge. I was making a list of things that needed to happen such as pay some bills, add my husbands name to my bank account. I was thinking what I would say in a note. I was feeling like a burden to friends and family, unworthy of their love. I was convinced that I did not belong here. I was of no value to anyone.
Now I must share w you as I took off from this family to resume my run I had a smile on my face. It felt good to stop what I was doing to be of service. In that moment I had purpose.  In my heart, I knew this was a god shot. But, in my mind it was dumb luck that I was there and stopped. It proved nothing of my worth or reason to be here.
Either way, in that moment I felt free.

Maybe

It’s impossible to curl up any tighter
Frozen under my blanket
Vulnerable
Alone
Sadness makes me cold
Maybe if I become smaller
I will be less of a burden
Maybe if I bury myself
Dig deep into the mattress
The voices won’t call
Maybe if I stay silent
Don’t let my feelings surface
They will disappear
Maybe if I slowly shut you out
Anger you
Frustrate you
You will love me less
Then my guilt will not
Hold as much power
Maybe if I pack my bags
Relieve you of my chaos
Admit you deserve more
Allow you to carry on
You will find peace once again
Maybe if I give in
Surrender to the demands
No longer fight this battle
Oblige the voices
I too will find peace
And cause us harm no more

Chains

What happens
when you don’t care enough
to hold your own hand?
When your very own mind
Turns on you
When the waters below
promise to cradle you
When The devil himself
promises to free you
When thoughts of the future
Only hold more pain
When in the present
You barely maintain
When secrets begin
To morph into lies
When you close the bathroom door
To put on your disguise
When you choose a shade darker
To manipulate a smile
When the laughter
Simply disappears
When 3 am comes again and again
Rendering you broken and in tears
When joy was once felt
But no longer seems to exist
When shared experiences of love
Are cast down by shame
I can tell you what happens
Hope is lost to ferocious fears
Life is not worth living
In these insidious chains