12 minutes until my husband even thinks about coming home to me. 12 minutes to ingest all of the medication I have been harboring. 12 minutes to breath so deep it will fill my toes. 12 minutes to pray, and I don’t pray.
11 minutes to take stock. Love and kiss my kitty. Rub his ears in a way he knows it’s me. Look at his awesome green eyes against a shiny beautiful black fur. Hear his purr reverberate through me one last time.
9 minutes to look around the house. Is. This how I want to leave? On the floor belly full of who knows what medication. If they ask. If they come. I have no answer. No care. Maybe it’s finally done.
8 minutes I look at the clock. Maybe I can go back to school. Maybe I just die right now. Right here. No pulse. No breath. What do I have to offer anymore?
My skin is cold. My thoughts slow.
5 minutes. The bag is in my reach. Swallowing will be hard. But so easy at the same time. Resting. I would love to rest. No more thoughts. No more worry. No more pain. It can end right now.
Wait. My timer. My clock is wrong. It’s an hour. 58 fucking minutes. What’s any of this for? What is this existence about. For who? For what? I have no dreams. No purpose. Just here i guess.
I didn’t go on the hike. Not even close. I let that clock count down and declared I missed the deadline. Which is true. But it didn’t have to be that way. I wasn’t ready.
I so want to be ready. Ready for life. Ready for what comes. New shoes. I played tennis yesterday. Same racket. New balls. Not as comfortable as I used to be, but..felt good in the sunshine. Belting that yellow ball. Breathing out fierce air. Pushing out the darkness. Allowing in the light. Letting my shoulders loose, shrug, relax. Daring to feel that ball.
33 minutes later. I got lost in my words. In the moment. Forgot the pills. Forgot the darkness. Just let my shoes flop over the ottoman. Leaned back into the comfort of my couch. In my spot.
29 minutes. Darkness invades. Breath stinks. Silence is. Stillness is. Holding my breath is. The norm. I stare down at my feet. Can’t look up. Those pills calling. What’s the point? What’s this existence?
How is it I go from hibernation and suicidal thinking to wanting to embark on a 9 mile hike w strangers? It’s the same way I go from feeling so strong in my interview to thinking I’ve been an imposter the last 17 years. Yes..I have something to offer. Are you freaking kidding…I have Nothing to offer! I got by, and succeeded, because it was all in-house. Same agency for 17 years, I knew how to fake a job well done.
My mind absolutely will not stop ruminating. Perseverating on the interview of going on 4 days ago. An interview where, perhaps, i might have performed okay. I answered all the questions. I smiled. I was personable. I walked away thinking I just might have nailed it. As reasonable nails go. I think back and am fairly happy w my answers.
Yet, my bipolar brain..if that’s what this obsession is..keeps replaying it. Over. And over. I wake at 3 am w a “better” answer. Why oh why didn’t I say THIS or THAT. Of course you should have said….
I’m trying to block it out. I’m trying to breathe. What’s done is done. I showed up!
I’ve cleaned the house. I’ve worked out. I’ve taken a nap. I’ve cooked dinner. No distraction helps. No distraction frees me. I can’t take it back. I can’t call and say I’ve got the answer. Why won’t my brain let me rest? I don’t want to replay it. I absolutely do not. But it replays anyway.
So, this hike. I need something big right now. I need a solid accomplishment. I also need to get out of my house, out of myself! I think I have the physical stamina. Do I have the ability to be around others…strangers? Yet folks who are like minded. I’ve done short meet up hikes. I’m getting in my own way. I think I can do it.
But, will I?
Claws of darkness
On my knees
Depression knows it’s way around my mind like a bee in a hive. Knows exactly where to plant himself, his role, his goal. I set my alarm, but ignore it for almost 2 hours. My kitty wanders in and is my excuse for hiding longer. As he nestles himself on my shoulder I tell myself we are bonding. But, really I’m avoiding.
The days feel excruciatingly long right now. I’m searching for jobs each day, but haven’t applied to anything for 2 weeks. Of the 2 places I applied at the end of December, I have been invited to an interview. This Friday. I rehearse my smile. My enthusiasm. I hope I can muster it when the time comes. I am or was interested in this job prospect. But that damn devil of depression whispers I probably won’t get it. I have no practical experience. Why bother. If I don’t show, who will know. I can always say I thought I did great. That would not be good for my frail psyche!
So, today I have a lunch date and a hair appointment. This means I leave the house. I am without a car this week. My friend agreed to drop me off at my hair appointment and I will walk home. It’s several miles. Music in my ears and the sun on my face will be good medicine, along with exercise.
I have to keep fighting. It’s tiresome. Downright exhausting and daunting. I’ve been through it before. One foot in front of the other today. Reminding myself I’m doing the best I can.
I walked a labyrinth in A local small town today. I was envisioning my negativity rising through the trees. Letting go. Starting anew. New footprints awaiting to set along a new path. A walk of forgiveness.
I was really noticing the colors of the rocks and foliage and their vibrancy. Breathing in the cool crisp morning air. I wore my husband’s scarf to feel warm and safe. To feel…connected to something comfortable. Because, I’m uncomfortable. If I told you I quit my job because it was toxic. I didn’t believe in the leadership. I couldn’t see the way forward in success. I tried, I think, the best way I knew how. The management may not have appreciated my efforts. In fact, on my last day, not much respect was afforded. A wave and half smile ushered me out the door. You might say emphatically good for you.
The labyrinth is at a church w a preschool.The children came running to and thru the labyrinth, full of innocence. Carefree, free. Enjoying each moment. They also seemed to really enjoy each other and want to share in the joy each was feeling. True unbridled connection. No judgement as they giggled pretending they were birds or airplanes. I teared up knowing this was a lesson for me..a gift…a reminder to slow down, my path is okay, but…what’s missing is to be apart of. Always questioning where I belong.
The days pass. I open the curtains. I welcome the sun. Yet, home is where I stay for the most part. I’m doctoring my resume. Beefing myself up. Telling the next person my big plans. Rehearsing my interview in my mind. Going to the library to research how best to be what they want. But, what I want most is to go to bed. Be left alone. Curtains drawn drowning in covers. Some days moving from the couch is so hard. I shuffle. I reach for that next blanket to drape over me.
Going to the gym is a chore when I think about it. Running. Dripping with sweat. Logging miles. Just putting on gym clothes and pulling my hair back in the mirror used to be my nemesis. So much work and effort. I’m always too tired. I’m no longer strong. Time got away from me. It’s just a waste of time at this point. That was my thought process.
I made my way back to the gym. Slogging some days. Just battling to get my car to that parking lot. Negotiating if I did..only 10 minutes. Turn the key. Put it in your bag. Check in. Grab a towel. No one knows how long I’m there or how hard I work. I made it. Phew.
Enter my trainer. My leap of faith back into fitness and myself. I watched her lead classes. Heap positivity into such a big space and into me. Punching and kicking our way through 60 minutes she said something magical: unleash yourself.
I have. I am. Some days are harder than others. Some days bipolar disorder leaves me in tears in my car before class. Before our session. Yet. She unknowingly helps me to dig deep on those days. Squat harder. Lift heavier. Unleash the burden of what is usually myself. I confided in her. I shared myself. She pushes me just the same.
The beauty of the labyrinth is sometimes you are walking it and you may not even realize. Each step. Each breath a new opportunity. Whether among the trees. Among the din of a gym. The opportunity to unleash is always there. The opportunity to be you. Me. Most importantly me.
It’s been a long time since I’ve truly written for this blog. I’m not sure how I lost my virtual voice. It’s the one thing I felt I had no matter the bipolar episode I was or wasn’t immersed in. My actual voice often goes missing in depression, points fingers in mixed episodes and is in another world when lost in mania. My fingers always work no matter what, or so history could support. I’m not sure if I feel I have nothing to say or I can’t organize my thoughts enough. I don’t know what it is. I guess it doesn’t matter.
Here i am trying to reach out. Trying to find the words to let you in, know where I’ve been, maybe where I’m going. Maybe that last part is a stretch..anxiety talking. Just about a year ago I made the decision to leave my job of 17 years. Since my bipolar diagnosis in 2013 I had missed a significant amount of time per year to hospitalization. But, that’s not necessarily why I left. It became clear full time work in a demanding position was too much. I negotiated a part time position with a vendor that seemed almost too perfect. Seven months later, I resigned. Not perfect. What job is? But, verging on toxic. Testing my work ethic and belief in accountability. It’s young, ego driven leadership. That’s all good. Just not the right environment for me. I need teamwork and desire for improvement, willingness to look at systems and…
I quit without a future job. That scares me most. Without structure and purpose, depression nipping at my heels, always wins. Under the covers I think I feel safe and sound. Isolation becomes my best skill.
So…I applied for a job I am over qualified for and applied for a job I think matches me most. Somehow applying just makes me feel better. Like I’m trying. Like, perhaps, this last job wasn’t a failure, but a gateway. I have new skills on my resume. More importantly I honored myself and was willing to walk away from a toxic environment into uncertainty. Uncertainty is my nemesis. Fear. It breeds such fear.
One day I’m dancing to the thought of freedom. The next I’m crying over future bills. The next I hover over my resume the entire day. One day at a time. Maybe even half a day is my ticket I think. Still trying to get to the gym. Might try my hand at art. I would love to learn who I am outside of a job.
I wonder what that would look like?