The Struggle is Real

I wanted to drive right off the side of the mountain. The idea of flying through the air was so enticing. The ultimate escape. A sense of peace filled the wells of my existence. A sigh of relief almost. My right hand wanting to gently pull the steering wheel. Gently veer into the trees. Float on the air for just a moment. Tears fell. Not of sadness or joy. But of possibility. What if…
I find myself so confused and uncomfortable at home. My husband is trying to find his own footing for the first time. Bipolar disorder has ravaged our relationship. But, neither of us knew it. Call it codependency maybe. Call it the love of a husband trying to stand by his mentally ill wife. Don’t call it anything but a realization on his part. He hasn’t been taking care of himself. Always always worried about me. It takes its toll.
I flopped on the proverbial couch after an ultimatum. But, that’s not fair. What it really followed was a pretty bad manic episode and subsequent suicide attempt that left me hooked up to a machine in the emergency room for 24 hours. Therapy was a must. Something I have avoided for years. Reluctant and pissed off, I agreed. Somewhat selfishly suggesting I wasn’t the only one.
Just over 2 years later, and the most devastating manic episode to uproot our lives, broken he found his place on “the couch.” His sense of self possibly lost as mine is over and over. In any case, as he learns about himself, new coping skills, new whatever…his response to me is changing. For better? It feels worse to me. A discomfort I can’t seem to tolerate. So, I run.
It was a planned escape to Tahoe. My parents had extra room at their timeshare. I absolutely love it up there. Sometimes I feel like I remember to breathe in those mountains. Truly beholding the beauty of the lake. Nature therapy. But, I was also running. I knew it. He didn’t.
The three hour drive leaves lots of room for ruminating, guilt, fear, anxiety. My brain never stops. Ever. On a long drive by myself, which is rare, it could be deadly. Obviously I’m no stranger to suicidal ideation. It felt somewhat intrusive as I turned the radio up. Played songs I knew every word and could sing at the top of my lungs. But still, the thoughts of turning in front of a semi, veering off into a barrier or simply driving off the side of a cliff haunted me. However, then quickly turned into a glorious fantasy. Like Thelma and Louise, solo style. Perhaps just another accident on the overcrowded freeway.
I made my way up towards those mountains. Twists and turns called to me. I drove on through the tears. My parents were waiting for me after all. Tahoe is my chance to reset. Reboot this pained brain. Whispers of..there’s always the drive home too.
I traversed the roads alone. I persevered. Strengthened to face the discomfort as best I can.

Reborn

I rise and fall
On the anticipation of fear
There can be no perfect moment
Darkness into light
Sentient beings rise
Clamoring for answers
Faith on the hill
Fortune found in a cookie
Secrets of the past
Unlocked w a gold key
Moral compass shattered
Dangling from a wire of
Compromise and lost virtue
I am not myself
Staring back in horror
The mirror does not lie
Stripped
Scarred
And naked
Red blood spills on
White porcelain
Mental anguish
Gives way to the physical
I am reborn in this pain

 

Blistered and Broken

There is no stain
No varnish
No mountain blue paint
That can cover these wounds
Polish the pain
A good ol cleanin
Cleansing with bleach
Of my soul
Washing away the fear
The shame
That taints my destiny
Is a welcoming reprieve
These slow drawn out breaths
Of peace
Allow for space
Within the complete unrest
In this splatter scatter mind
The ripples and bubbles of soap
As I wring my hands
Of the past
Caress my fevered face
Splashes of water
Wake me from
This blistered and broken
Place

Loneliness-A Silent Killer

I look around and wonder what I actually contribute to this world. My job. My marriage. The few relationships I barely can hold onto. To the blogosphere. Doesn’t feel like much. Doesn’t feel meaningful. Doesn’t feel necessary.
Yesterday we were on a busy freeway heading grocery shopping. We travel a bit to save money. We sat in silence during the 25-30 minute drive. My head cocked out the passenger window. My body language spewing…closed off. He drove pretending to look around. Commenting on a “site.” We have driven this same path every 2 weeks for years. Nothing new to see. Just trying to fill space. Meanwhile I’m trying to hold back tears.
I’m an alcoholic. Through and through. Had some amazing bouts of sobriety. But occasional slips..really relapses..have been more of the norm over the last year. I got caught w a bottle in my bag during dinner last night. I would have told you I was acting normal. Better than normal. Jovial. Inquisitive. Alive. Red flags I suppose. My husband knows me so well it’s actually scary. He said he could tell from the way i walked to the bathroom at the restaurant (to take a hearty swig) something was off. Unbelievable.
As we shuffled seats so I could watch the baseball game on the same side of the booth, he swiftly grabbed the bottle from my bag and slammed it on the top of the table. Next swift move was to flag anyone and get our bill. The meal not finished. Once paid up, he stormed out and left me to follow like a pathetic drunk. Which I did. Full of shame.
Our communication has been wrought w tension. I have voiced he no longer seems to want to listen. He seems to have invoked a “positive mentality.” A mindset change. So, nothing is that bad. Nothing should cause stress. Or anxiety. In his 48 years of life he finally reached out to a therapist. Basically because of my last mixed manic episode. He was traumatized. So, I guess he is learning how to protect himself. Probably a bit of codependency work. By the way this revelation of seeking therapy slipped out during an argument. Otherwise I’m not sure he was going to divulge this information. Honestly, it really hurt me he didn’t want to share that w me.
I know what the real reason behind the drinking is, but I chose to use the bathroom remodel is stressful routine. You…you..go off to work while I have to listen about all the problems the contractor is facing. Believe me there are many. Our plumbing is a mess. Then, I come home and hear about mishaps. I have to get up at 5am to get to the gym, mostly for a shower. Do you not know I need sleep. 6 hours of sleep per night is not enough. On and on I yell. Louder and louder.
The truth of why this bottle is in my bag today and yesterday and the day before is because I am ferociously lonely. I lost friends due to the episode. Some who didn’t know about it at the time, have now also fallen off. Texts and calls go unreturned. Or I get, maybe next week..after this deadline..we will definitely go for a hike. Weeks go by. People just don’t think of me. Or remember me. Or want to hang out w me. Its painful. I don’t understand why. I’m willing to look at it. But, in the interim I am a lonely mofo.
Following suit w the new positive mentality pilot I keep things locked up. Its not my husband’s fault. He deserves to figure out his survival too. But, I have no one to talk to. No support. So I feed myself w liquid courage. Super justified right!
Its awful. The secrets. The lies. The shame. The denial. Its no way to live. I know this. I believe this. Yet here I am.
Nothing to offer here. Not even to myself. So, yesterday on that highway. We were cruising along. Traffic had stopped but I think my husband was lost in his own mind. For a split second I wasn’t going to warn him. Hoping I would careen through the windshield and it would be over. Epitome of selfishness. But, he didn’t deserve to get hurt. Much less the folks in front of us paying attention. So I yelled…honey! and we swerved a bit. But collision averted.
We made our way through the day w few words said between us. Remember that book, how to make friends and influence people ( I apologize for not giving proper respect)? I need the cliff notes. Don’t even want the influence piece. A bit of guidance. A hint of hope. Something. I used to think I was a good person.  But, now I wonder.
I tell ya. Loneliness is going to kill me.

Am I A Slave to Time?

The passing of time
Is not flawless
Minutes on the hour
Can be torturous
The ticking in the air
Is never serendipitous
The movement of my hand
Or a voice incredulous
Changes wavelengths
Can contort heart rates
Its when the sunshine dissipates
Darkness encroaches
And sometimes sets fate
That I am most afraid
Fear my breath is stolen
Depression lingers and waits
For if my guard sets down
The devil somehow anticipates
My weakened and fragile state
The clock on the mantle
The watch on my wrist
Simultaneously dictates
The very existence I emulate
Much to my dismay
The second hand has now
Made me a slave
I cannot count the seconds
Left in my life
But clearly
By all accounts
They are for whatever reason
Keeping me alive

 

 

 

Its Not Easy Being Honest

An old friend once said the hardest part is putting your feet on the floor. I remembered this as I laid in bed unable to move this morning. My alarm had been blaring for over 2 hours. I couldn’t will myself to throw back the covers. I insisted I get myself up right this minute so as not to be late for work. No movement. I stared blankly at the black out window shade in my bedroom. The clock ticked. The 8 o’clock hour passed me by. I should have been sitting at my desk. I had quite an important meeting w my supervisor at 1pm. I negotiated w myself that perhaps I could go in around 11. I was also supposed to run an errand first thing this morning for my husband. Important as well. Paralyzed. I just stared.
My phone was on my nightstand. I finally reached over about 8:45 and sent a text to my boss requesting to reschedule. Not 2 minutes later anger and guilt floods me. I “recalled” that text by sending another stating I would most definitely be in by 11am sharp. No response. Now I did it. I must get up. In one fell swoop I threw back the covers, put my feet on the floor and barreled into the shower. No energy to wash my hair. Looking presentable was the hope at this point.
Out of the shower I was trying to figure out how to proceed when I got her text. She replied, its okay. No problem to reschedule. I have personal things I need to take care of this afternoon. I don’t know if that was true or she was kindly letting me off the hook. I have been upfront with her, she knows I have bipolar disorder. I collapsed on the floor when I read her words. Relief. I crawled back under the covers wet hair and all. Slept for about 3 more hours.
The kindness and understanding of another can be so powerful. I cried on the floor out of shame, anger, relief and realizing my boss is on my side. Its not easy being honest with the outside world. Sharing vulnerabilities. Letting people in. But, today I am so grateful I did!

Ode to Beyonce

My favorite furry friend Beyoncé has passed away. I found her upon my return home from work this past Wednesday. She was a beautiful, gentle, black and white kitty. Her sister, Sage, passed a year ago. The first month without Sage Beyoncé was lost. She bellowed into our long hallway once the lights went out for the night. It was heart wrenching. But, we also had the opportunity to watch her blossom into herself. I say that because Sage pretty much ran the show at our house. With no alpha personality to share space with, Beyoncé changed from an introvert to an extrovert. She suddenly demanded my attention. Demanded when to be fed and even became a picky eater. Expected to be pet in a certain way. She was now the princess of her domain. But, honestly, she just wanted to be loved wholeheartedly.
I loved her as she would allow. We rescued her and her sister at about 2 months old. We were later told Beyonce was the “runt” of the litter. She certainly acquiesced to her domineering sister. Beyoncé was sitting on my lap once, which was rare. I mean neither of these cats enjoyed being picked up. I don’t think they experienced much socialization those first two months. Anyway, I digress. Beyoncé and I were enjoying a moment and Sage jumped up and swatted her away. Just like that B slinked off. Just so you know, I didn’t oblige Sage and swatted her away accordingly. Its not like we weren’t a happy household. We truly were as a foursome. But there seemed to be some unwritten cat rules.
As miss B gained confidence she even went outside. A big deal considering sticking her nose out the back screen door caused anxiety. Slowly, if we kept the escape door (aka backdoor) open she might venture 1-2 feet. She had to know she could go back inside at anytime. In her own time, Beyoncé came to enjoy venturing in the backyard. She sat amongst the plants in our garden. Most recently she flopped in front of the tomato plants and I called her the tomato whisperer. Like into the summer nights she would sit below the stars only coming to my call. I had a special way of calling her name. She wouldn’t come in for my husband.
Funny enough, she started to love mornings outside. Before I had to go to work. I would let her out, but not ten minutes later she wanted in. Then wanted back out. In the span of an hour I probably let her in and out 5-6 times. It was almost a game. I willingly played along. I felt she deserved it.
In the last months of her life she stopped eating much. She was thin. People would jokingly ask if I fed her. Of course I put food out everyday, she just wasn’t all that interested. She seemed okay, though had to work a little harder to breathe. We did take her to the vet and were told she had a small tumor. I hesitate to say we aren’t ones to put a kitty through testing that would only give us a timeframe, not necessarily a solution. So we brought her back home and loved her more.
Our cats have continual flea issues and I have tried to be vigilant. In an effort to relieve Beyoncé of nefarious scratching I opted to put flea medicine on her. I don’t think her system was strong enough for the medicine. This I didn’t know. I wanted her to be free from pain. Perhaps it helped in terms of fleas, but not in terms of her strength to handle the chemicals.
I left for work on Wednesday morning full of worry. I could see she was struggling. I was hoping the medicine was coursing through her system and it was a temporary reaction. I didn’t think she wouldn’t make it through the day but felt her time in my life was dwindling. She had signs and symptoms of her sisters passing. Seeing her sprawled on the floor obviously vying for her last breath was heart breaking. I wish so much I had one more day. Or even knew I had only one more day. I would have spoiled her rotten.
I am without furry friends. Unconditional love buckets. Sometimes a reason to get out of bed. A distraction from my head. Company.  I have cried.  Waves of emotion wash over me. It’s too quiet in the house.  I cleaned her area and removed food bowls, water, litter box.  I miss her only being willing to eat if I pet her at the same time.  I mean, really, I always have 5 minutes To spare. I miss calling her name as I walk through the front door…Beeeeeyonceeeeeeeeee!
We provided Sage and Beyonce a safe loving home. I know they felt that. In return I felt their love. Rest in piece my favorite furry friends.  I will forever miss you.

We Are Broken

Its a cause for letting go
Your hand no longer fits mine
I’ve lost the sense of comfort
When you call my name
Special connection once so binding
Now severed at its core
Two persons passing
Is all that we are
Shadows in the same room
Crawling up a different wall
Laughter barely a rumble
Replies with a half smile
What we have yet to admit
Is we are broken