The Slow Creep

Depression has found its way into my veins, sucking me dry of energy, desire and any level of care about anything.  Seems it was seeping as I was avoiding the reality of its claws.  I showed up at work, though stared through my computer screen without a wink.  I stood at the kitchen sink cutting vegetables envisioning the knife slicing my wrist..also without a wink.  Drove my car day to day without memory of where I started or half interested in where I was going.  Just driving I guess.

All the while I keep up that disguise. The armor of strength that is seen on the outside.  The business smile that carries me through. Until it doesn’t.  The bottle then becomes my answer.  Some juice to fuel this tired almost dead body and mind. At first it does just that.  Allows bigger smiles, a bit of a laugh, a step out the door.  But only that lasts so long.  Soon, again, I’m at the bottom of the pit.  No smiles, energy, gumption or desire.  Sleep is my only quest.  But my heart beats so fast and so hard my eyes cannot close.  My world begins to spin. Relief is not found.  Thoughts maybe death is a better option begin to emerge.  How can I easily make this happen?

I suppose it can’t or won’t be easy.  Im rather tired anyway.  But, those thoughts aren’t going away.  The creeper of depression is in full force. It has barged its way in. At first I fought. I fought hard.  But now, I’m almost at surrender.   For today I hope to sleep. No more fighting .  Hoping for a long moment of peace.

 

 

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Somehow Lost

I have found myself lost. So fast. So alone.  The streets are dark.  Those negative thoughts a looming balloon.  The burst so painful.  The threshold once at its peak has fallen so low.  The blanket of cold air follows me everywhere.  My breath incessantly shallow. My heartbeat to callous to allow any love. Any comfort.  How to move on. How to insist I belong.  A knock at the door. A ring of the bell.  How do I sound my need to tell. The secrets. The lies.  I have the need to believe they protect from tears, and forever hide sadness in my eyes. I conjur the sparkle just enough.  The tough exterior that carries my bluff. I play the music louder and gather my scruff.  Alone is easier as I gauge my strut.  Strong. Yet not. If the truth be told and I am this scary lonesome rut.  Falling.  Falling.  And lost.

Forever at the Crossroads

Sometimes I hover at the intersection

Of life and death
Not certain of which to choose
As the world callously speeds by
I feel lost and alone
Susceptible to those thoughts
Those harmful suggestions
I’m never really sure are my own
Ambiguity at the crossroads
Is not unique to me
I am under no grand illusion
It absolves the collective we
The insidious pain I harbor
Beneath the cloak of perfection
Beneath the fear of rejection
Only perpetuates my isolation
Keeps me from the junction
That might lead you to me

Is there still Magic

How often do you make time for the magic? A better question, selfishly, is can and do I make room for the magic. My husband bought me a beautiful bike for our anniversary. He often jokes other wives might ask for diamonds, but I wanted a nice sturdy bicycle to take me around. Probably to take me outside of the landmine that is my mind. Its sleek. Dark gray and fast. Fast like me. Fast like my thoughts. Fast like my moods sometimes. I even track my speed and distance on an Excel file. Physically I am always trying to do better. Can I beat my last time? And then, what does it really matter.

I have taken a new job. Not my first choice, but one I obviously applied for. In this electronic and digital age, job postings appear on my phone while I sleep. Dutifully I went to the coffee shop to apply for various positions. I am approaching 45 and trying to make a career change. I am a social worker at heart and on paper. However, I am ready to sow some new career Oats. The job market seems to disagree with me. Application after application. Trying so hard to create, with sincerity, the best damn cover letter imaginable. You need this…check. Yep…super personable. Diligent..double check. I am your Go Too Gal.

I fancy myself a professional. I passed a county test and got invited to an Interview. Must of surpassed at least 20 folks to get this far. The Court system has been a silent interest of mine. I have some experience within the walls of a court room as an advocate for my clients. It feels like a nice fit more me. New…but also pulling in my social works skills. I put on a shiny dress. Answered key questions and waited.I didn’t get the job. I didn’t even get 2nd round interviews. I was devastated. Naively. Possibly. Probably.

This new job. I hope to be the best. I hope I can bring new life. New Skills. New energy. As I await the start date…

I was riding my beautiful bike along the river. For the first time, in a long time, I wasn’t trying to beat a clock. I wasn’t trying to Outdo myself. I wasn’t battling the everpresent voices in my mind. The ones that hang and lure like a lantern. Innocent, but deadly. I made my way up and down the river bank in peace. Breath seamless. Stride powerful. Sunshine guiding me.

As the bike path ended and gave way to city streets, feeling grateful and at peace, I saw the woman I am to replace. She had on a beautiful sunhat, seemingly also at peace, as she entered the Farmers Market. She seemed to disappear into the landscape. As she crossed, I felt a sense that it was right. I am in the right place.

It was magic.

Days Like This

I suppose there are “days like this” for everyone.  It can be relative.  What deeply affects me, rolls right off you.  And vice versa.  As my mind tries to scramble together the answers…how did this happen again?  I was so diligent..so vigilant..so mindful..so…..

I am frozen on the couch.  I have no answers.  I chew on my nails.  My legs bounce around full of anxiety and fear.  The tears, just behind these blue eyes, hover in anticipation of the fall.  Too many thoughts and surely the visible pain will be seen.  Trying ever hard to keep it together. 

Not thinking. Over thinking. Just breathing.  Looking out the window, searching for something to see.  Something else to feel.  Distraction must be the key.  As the wind tousles the trees, and I can hear dogs barking down the street, I attempt to lose myself in sounds of life.  Life outside of me. 

Replays of the last conversation w one of My favorite people. Really, my best friend. Rattles my mind.  The one uncomplicated relationship has somehow entered the realm of complication.  In just a matter of minutes, emotionally charged extra long seconds, things now feel weird. Uncomfortable. Disappointing. Sad. 

I’m not afraid of honest apology. I am afraid of confrontation. Afraid someone important to me will stop loving me at any moment. Because I’m an alcoholic. Because I have bipolar disorder. Because sometimes I’m irrational, over emotional, and so damn sensitive.  But, this is all part of who I am.  

I was recently discussing the idea of redemption. For me, this translates into regaining trust w my husband.  Trust I have shattered too often in the past year.  First it was a devastating manic episode, which I will never forget.  But, really it’s about my picking up the bottle to solve problems, knowing it most likely will cause problems. That part I conveniently forget. 

Stepping whole heartily into recovery; be it from alcohol, binge eating, gambling, or mental illness can be scary. Intimidating. Exhilarating. Freeing.  Though, one never knows when, if, or how those feelings may come about.  Trusting in the process.  Trusting in self. A personal redemption of sorts can feel simultaneously completely out of reach and infinitely possible.  Depends on the day. The amount of willingness available.  Perhaps which step is being taken. Literally and figuratively.  

I acknowledge I am powerless. I believe A power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. What I feel I need to do next is relax.  Step back even. Not try so hard to conquer whatever beast I think is in front of me. Real or perceived. Be it the jobs I’m Interviewing for, the complications I may have had a hand in, wanting so badly to understand how to turn it all over, and just being a better person.  

Phew. It’s a long road. Learning to not be so hard on myself.  Not attaching myself to the outcome. Reaching out.  Being grateful my arm extends into the air unexpectedly sometimes. Most of all, opportunities to make things right are all possible. IF I’m open enough to just let things happen. 

Bitter Truth

I would swear it’s that crooked hand of time bending my reality that leads me back.  My warped memory downplaying the urgency.  It was just a handful of mistakes. Not very many really.  It’s a mere lack of mindfulness on my part.  Of course, I can fix it.  If only you would do your part and not cause me extra stress.  You know I can’t handle stress. Actually, I think it’s the loneliness.  My phone doesn’t ring.  No one seems to care. I’ve been forgotten. Always misunderstood. But, the anxiety.  THE anxiety is really the culprit. I should really talk to my doctor about it.

Drinking? No, I don’t think that’s the true problem here.  I recognize it’s not good for me. Bordering on harmful, maybe. Again. An easy fix. If only…..
Down the road of insanity I trot. These conversations playing in my mind.  The valid reasons someone like me would drink on the tip of my tongue.  The If Onlys on blast every second of everyday.  Probably, also, looking for more reasons unconsciously.  Anything to explain away what I obviously cannot control.
Let me glamorize for just a second.  The ice clinking in the glass.  Vodka splashing.  Cranberry juice splicing to make a beautiful color that lights up my mood.  The reassurance my smile will be in place. The dark thoughts will disappear.  I lean over to whisper in your ear and laughter is shared. Or, the dance floor welcomes my left foot.  Bravery fills my veins and I send that text I couldn’t before.  I feel beautiful. Comfortable in my very skin. Accepted.  Free.
When those 15 blissful minutes are up, I am lost again.  In pain again. Alone again. I know the insanity of drink has won again.  Yet, I yearn for those 15 minutes. A Lot.  The obsession is greater than me.  I have allowed the bottle to be bigger than me.  Poor, poor tiny me.
Only another alcoholic can truly understand this predicament. The desire not to drink is there. It is here. I have that desire.  Desire:strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. In my case, wishing is not enough. Willpower is not enough.  I must surrender. I must believe in my bones that I, and especially not alone, can fix this.  It’s more than a loose screw.  It’s a big ol breakdown of epic proportions.
But, is it really?? My mind likes to ask.  Are you sure?  If only….
The incessant loop is exhausting. Which is why I need to be vigilant.  Which is why seeking out help is paramount.  Which is why I’m in Alcoholics Anonymous. Which is why I have a sponsor. Which is why I really really want to work on the concept of a higher power.  Which is why I need to open my mouth.  Extend my hand.  Listen for the message.  Let the tears flow.
All of this is why I, now gratefully, say I’m a newcomer.  Not yet holding my head high. But showing up as best I can.  My name is Rhonda and I AM an alcoholic.

A poem…of hope

The drive down by the river
Echoed in the burned out trees
Sage brush nearly absent
Seems also are the honey bees
Blackened and hollowed out
Tall sprawling oak
Now in fevered disarray
Scorching heat of fire
Tearing at their fine souls
Threatening their ability to stay
In mother nature’s favor
Walking this fine line of
Pomp and circumstance
Fire black leaves blow in the wind
Crippled and broken
No more growth around the bend
Dire days for the manzanita
Beautiful red blazing skin
Now thick with smoke
Yet on the horizon and
Deep into the valley floor
Mustard spreads its wings
Billows of yellow sprouting
In its finest glory
The brightest smile of life
You’ve ever seen
Nature is fighting
Plotting its course
Bringing us small gifts
Within the raindrops
Within the wind gusts
Within the anxiety that startles
Our breath

Running into open air

Sometimes I lean on dirt roads to carry me through the anxiety. Pounding of the hiking path grounding me turn for turn. Easing my agitation. Some people do yoga. Maybe I should try it. I tend to want to run. Maybe try and outrun the demon, at least for an hour or two. Huffing and puffing through the trees. Racing through brush. Just not stopping. Heart racing for all the right reasons.
The walls were closing in this morning. Same damn job search routine. Alarm rings. Rip myself from the bedsheets. Grab some coffee and settle in. Today the self doubt ran rampant. I applied for 3 jobs in the last 2 weeks. Not a peep from any potential employers. My resume sucks! I don’t have any marketable skills! I should have never left my job of over 17 years despite every ounce of me needing to get out. All the signs. Red flags waving. I should have stuck it out. I should have changed. Surely it was all my doing. Me! Me! me. Big fat failure screaming back with each scroll through the job boards.
Financial insecurity-check.
Fear-check
Isolation-check
Desire to not feel these things-CHECK CHECK
In a matter of moments I flew around my house. I need a water bottle. I need my headphones. Where’s my hiking backpack. Who am I talking to? Doesn’t matter. I knew I needed to get out of the house and out of my mind. I needed to breathe. Not filtered gym air, but mother nature’s healing powers. Escape in its purest, healthiest form. At least for me. For this alcoholic.
Music overshadowing “the neighborhood” I charged up the hill. I didn’t look back. Only forward. Step after step marveling in the fact I can do that next right thing, if I choose to. It was more than a choice. It was a want. I wanted to feel the grace that lies outside my front door. So many days I shut in. Cower in fear alone. Not noticing a thing but the heart palpitations that bring me to my knees.
Today I ran in the wind. Through yellow mustard. Stomped in mud. Heard the lyrics of songs that sometimes just pass me by. Most importantly I was in charge of my breath. Fast or slow. It was my doing. I chose to make the sprint to the next bench. I chose to meander near that bee hive…just to watch a community at large be in harmony.
Walking back to the car I felt the sweat down my back. What I didn’t feel was anxiety. Or agitation. I went to check my watch. My barometer of success at times. Did I run long enough or fast enough? I refrained. In that moment my self worth wasn’t to be defined by minutes or miles. It also wasn’t going to be defined by buzz words on resumes. I rested in the peace of mind I rescued myself in a precarious moment. A personal success if I say so myself.

 

Anxiety sucks

The room has become too big
My anxiety crawling along the walls
calling my fear front and center
Shaking hands
Short of breath.
Sweat down my back
Trying to stand tall when
the weight of the world is pressing
Dishes piled high
Laundry piled high
My bed sheets now hold my tired stains
I can’t get out of this bed
I can’t open that window
My poor kitty beckons in the Hall
No food in his bowl
Curtains curtail the sun and
Usher in the darkness
Weeds grow all around
Outside and
Inside this broken mind

Dreams die in the Fog

The lies
They take hold
Implant in my mind
No persuasion otherwise
This just is
Fantasy of life
On the wings of delusion
What could be
Buried deep in illusion
Who are you
To believe
To pursue
Don’t forget
It is you
That rides the wave of confusion
Your mind overrides
Any sense
Any infusion
Of possibility
Your Dreams die in the fog
Of unrequited absolution
For you dear one
Rest in between the realm of
reality
Duality and
Persecution
The long road is ahead
Forever waiting