What could have been

Swept away by the good ol days
My mind capturing
Those memories
Holding them up as a reminder
Of what was
The me I used to be
The first time of lasting sobriety
Opened up my tiny world
For a span of 4 years
My tortured mind unfurled
I moved about my life
Head held high
Freedom began to ignite
The ability to follow through
I awoke with vigor before the sun
Pounded the pavement
Breathing lightly during my run
My old dusty tennis racket
Found its way to my hand
A favorite sport replaced by booze
Which was never the plan
I soon rose through the ranks
As the tennis gods looked on
One of the best players in the valley
A team quickly signed me on
Thrown into playing competitively
I fell in love
Became obsessed
Never would I have thought
I’d find the game again
My best self blossoming
Finally living life
Not merely existing
Though not for long
The darkness came for me
I ran faster
Played harder
The demons of my mind returned
Wreaking havoc
Stealing my beloved racket
Collapsing in silence
I began to hold my breath
Ultimately ended up in a hospital bed
No sense of self
Crawling my way back
Years stretch into more years
Stability ever elusive
Fighting side effects
Fighting voices
Fighting for my life
Prescription for exercise
When I can barely get out of bed
Sitting on the couch
Trying to make sense of it all
My doc suggests I reach for the racket
Try to relive the glory
I explain to her
That is no longer me
That door has been long closed
Desire stolen from me
Faith in my self, my skill
Lost in the rabbit hole
Can’t find it in some pill
I hate her for the suggestion
The reminder of what could have been

Nothing like the present moment!!

It is truly a rare moment I am present. My bipolar brain likes to race around its internal universe. Sometimes at mock speed or sometimes at an agonizingly slow obsessive pace. Lost in past memories, jumping ahead to future events on the calendar, doubting decisions, unable to process and follow directives at work, agitation so fierce I want to rip my own skin off. I’ve taken to listening to music in headphones at work to drown out the internal and external noises. It works for the most part. But nothing’s perfect right?
My husband and I share a love of baseball and music. On weekends this is our escape. We are often found at the baseball park or a concert venue. As it goes with a mood disorder, I have had to miss some events due to anxiety, sensory overload, or depression. It’s a hard thing to admit, to have to utter the words I can’t handle the things I enjoy right now. Even harder to accept and not get swept away in anger towards bipolar disorder taking these things away from me. Just like for all of us, some days are easier than others.
However, last night under the glistening stars celebrating our wedding anniversary we were cuddled up listening to one of my favorite artists. We had a wonderful dinner. We got aisle seats (simple pleasures). The band was on fire. The lyrics reached into me just like they do through headphones. The emphatic and sometimes empathetic vocals brought tears to my eyes. The crowd sang along. I sang along. As I looked up to the open sky, I felt so grateful to be present in that moment. To be able to allow the power of music to take me away. Take the chaos, the voices, the constant inner dialogue and usher it out of my mind. Sitting next to my loving husband and really being with him meant the world to me.
I don’t take these rare occurrences lightly. If it was the musical angels from above looking down on me I want to say thank you. If it was the fact I’ve been practicing breathing, slowing down, becoming more intentional I also give thanks. It was a magical night and I am so grateful I didn’t miss it.


Reaching out to a suicidal friend

You have been on this earth longer than me
Your shoes are most likely bigger than mine
The distance you have travelled is farther than mine
The journey you have faced is longer than mine
But, incredibly, here we are on the same path
You are there
I am here
Yet I know your anger at waking up, a failed attempt
As mine failed too
I understand the allure of peace
At the rivers edge I believed it too
We are beyond sadness
Beyond depression
Lost in a world of pain like no other
Minutes turn to hours turn to days
All the while the curtains closed
Letters form words sent through the atmosphere
Are you there??
My heart filled response shot right back
Lest we forget the people on the outskirts
People like me
Where an instant bond was formed
I don’t know your full story
But I’m proud to be in it.
Sweet Steve from Sacramento
I care for you more than you know
To tell you to hang on feels wrong
As I truly know the suffering
But to not share how your being over there means to me
Also feels wrong
I am not in your shoes
And don’t pretend to be
But our paths have crossed for a reason
We are battling this fucking disease you and me
I have nothing but respect for you
Trudging through each minute
Facing demons
Hiding from demons
Free fall into bed
I’ll just be over here caring
Carrying you in my heart
Remembering to breathe

Dead end streets

How many times will I land in this place? A place of isolation, withdrawal, agonizing loneliness, deep despair and finally suicidal thinking? I cannot say the words out loud. I am depressed (AGAIN).  It’s a trickle down effect. I same them. I have to acknowledge them. My husband has to hear them. Then come the questions. What am I going to do about it. It’s all about your thinking. We’ve talked about this. I love you honey, I hate to see you do this to yourself again. Then comes his fear. Are you going to hurt yourself?
I just stare at him. Stoic. I cannot say the words.
Instead I go to bed at 8:30 to avoid.  I wake up late to “miss” him as he goes off to work. I cry in the car. In the shower. Before he gets home. I cancel therapy appointments so I don’t have to admit my failure. Or more importantly so I don’t have to lie about suicidal thinking. That also has a trickle down effect. She tells me she is worried. She may need to call my husband. Maybe I should go to crisis residential.
I have shut down and shut people out. But my mind. There is no stopping it. Constant lies. Making plans. Dancing around in a mask so tight I can’t breathe. Melding to my face to cover the tears, fears, shame.  Appearances.
This place is scary and horrible and painful.  It lacks color and purpose and life.  It grinds at my soul. My heart.  I am not necessarily powerless to stop it, but too tired to care or fight. In the darkness I no longer want to see my self or be my self. I just wade around slowly in the mire til I fall over.
I guess I am raising my hand here. Asking for help. I contacted my doctor. When I no longer try to see, it’s likely I will fall off a bridge or swallow handfuls of things I shouldn’t. There are realities of being here again.  It can be a dead end street. But it also doesn’t have to be.