Let’s talk about reaching out

Let’s talk about reaching out. More importantly my seemingly inability to do so. I have been in the social services profession for over half my life. My sole purpose is to be there when others reach out to me. I can attest to the relief it can bring for the other person. The so-called burden has an opportunity to be lifted by the very virtue of sharing with someone else. Releasing what’s typically rolling around in the “wrong neighborhood” of the mind can be cathartic.

Armed with this information and actually witnessing it to be true, you’d think I would jump at the chance to fill someone’s ear with my stuff. Not the case. Well, not entirely accurate. The idea of this prospect is wonderful. Unleashing the demons that constantly plague me would be so beneficial. But, knowing this is not enough. Speaking my truth is so scary and difficult, I prefer to hide behind my written words. I mean conveying my pain in some form or fashion is helpful. But, again, not enough. Realistically, some days all I’m able to do is furiously type on this computer and hope to be brave enough to send it out into cyberspace.

What is this fear? Fear of being a burden. Misunderstood. Unable to express what ails my mind, body and soul. The questions you might ask to clarify. Statements you might make to “help” me. Having to dive into deep shit I don’t know how or want to. Having to admit I have bipolar disorder and all the chaos it has created. The manic and depressive episodes that have rocked me to my core. Rocked my marriage possibly to its breaking point. Wanting to expel the details from my memory, but also not dredge up the pain it encompasses. Wondering if you could possibly understand. Or, maybe you do so much that I must then console you. What a selfish thought that is! Baggage I guess is part of the fear.

Just the other day I was quite distraught the whole day. Many many tears shed in the confines of my home. Well, and into the dark black fur of my kitty. Back to bed I went after 2 cups of coffee. I had received news the prior evening I did not get a job I felt highly qualified for. The interview had gone very well in my opinion. I even brought up a few ideas and sparked a discussion. Does it get better than that? I was able to speak to my weakness within the proposed position, but more so self myself as an asset. I recounted this experience to a few friends and they agreed it sounded positive. Case Management is in my bones, I told them. 15 years of direct experience..successful experience. Over 20 years in a social service delivery model in general. I could learn the “ins and outs” of the agency.

I suppose I could have picked up the phone that day and relayed my utter disappointment. But, I just couldn’t. We could argue didn’t or couldn’t. For me it was a could not. I sent out a few rushed texts. One to my husband and one to my brother. Both expressed sympathy, but just to move on to the next one. Typical advice. But, I’m not a typical person. I guess no one is. My bipolar brain was beating me up through and through. How does anyone know that if I don’t share? I keep it all locked inside. Tears fell on the couch and into the bedroom. My husband asked if I was crying as we nestled under the covers in the darkness. I said no. We both knew I was lying. I can’t share pain in the moment of pain. It feels physically impossible. My body will not let me. My mind won’t allow words to come out of my mouth. I just shutdown.

I have the opportunity to share my ups, downs and in- betweens with a woman who is willing to be my sponsor in AA. This equates to another human being willing to hear what ails my mind, body and soul. Can I lay down the walls and accept this possibility? Leave the baggage at the door and honor this for what it is..space to learn how to share myself. Space to learn about myself. Space to forgive myself.

Let’s face it. I don’t need space. I need connection. Honest emotional interaction. So, let’s talk about reaching out. How do you do it?


In too Deep

In deep
And deep within
Depression and my mind
Thick as thieves
The darkness descends
Although it never really leaves
Crawled out of this tired bed
Into the cold blank shower
No scrub can rid me of this filth
Rubbing my face senseless
So a new mug could appear
Happy joyous and free
A smile without fear
As the fog cleared
And the mirror spoke
All I know is
I can’t steer this sinking ship
Rain drops outside
Tear drops inside
The nature of thy mother
Quietly taking shape
Lifeless and Breathless
I sit and wait
For whatever god that may cherish me
To remove this deadly disease
Before It
Decides my fate


Here I Go…..tomorrow!

I spent most of the day in bed. Staring at the shadows the bright bright sunshine, filtered through drawn curtains, created.  I cried into the midnight black fur of my kitty.  He nestled into me.  Beating my neck as he likes to sit/lay on my shoulder.  It was 1pm. I set my alarm for 2:30.  Declaring I would get up and do SOMETHING today.  I didn’t really sleep.  I lay semi quietly listening to him breathe.  Petting him.  Loving him.  Feeling like he is my only friend in the world.

Perhaps he is.  I haven’t told him I have bipolar disorder.  But, I think he notices my moods.  He kept pushing his little head into my mine.  Pets can be so comforting.  He is an amazing addition to our household.  I think he is good for me.

Being off work is not good for me.  Having no structure is not good for me.  So…one might suggest I build structure.  I mean, man, to be able to create one’s own structure for the day..how marvelous.  I can paint. I can hike. I can eat. I can watch TV. I can write. I can….but I don’t.  Why its so damn hard for me I do not know.  The sky is the limit right now!  I can go to the beach.  I can drive far and wide.  Yet, retreat to my bedroom under my covers I go.

My husband is not like this.  Not only does he not have bipolar disorder, he doesn’t really have a lazy bone in his body.  He wakes at 5am no matter what day it is. I can hear him unloading the dishwasher by 5:15 if it needs it.  He leaves in the dark and right now comes home in the dark.  Then will make dinner when I haven’t made a plan.  On weekends, he is up with headphones on working on quicken, making sure I don’t have a job doesn’t impact us.  He can’t wait for the sun to come up so he can work in the garden.  He looks around our house and thinks of ways to redecorate.   I…am not like him.

When I was working full time, I had many excuses as to how tired I was.  I couldn’t handle planning taking a shower, planning my work wardrobe, lunch and dinner for the week.  Then I worked part time.  Still, couldn’t pull off all the wifely duties seems I should.  Now. I don’t work.  Laundry in the dryer.  dishes in the sink.  No dinner planned.

I rush to judgement. I rush to shame. What in the world is wrong with me?  I have basically 10 hours from the time my husband leaves to when he gets home from working all damn day to contribute.  I choose to cuddle and shed tears with my kitty.  Maybe not everyday.  But too many days are spent like this.  I do look for jobs over coffee. Diligently. I then tell myself I do not qualify for anything. I am a sham. I fake.  A fraud.  The title that was created for me in my last brief employment is really a lie.  when I resigned, they did not ask why for a reason.  They did not fight for me.  They did not seem to care.

Funny thing, I played tennis on Tuesday after  a very long layoff.  I used to play competitively until..panic attacks, bipolar depression, hospitalizations.  The overall inability to move for much of the time.  I hit very well. I do have to say.  I felt free.  I hit the ball without abandon..or is that with abandon.  I’m not sure.  BUT!  As with me, I have all or nothing thinking.  Black and white thinking.  I played for hours despite my body telling me otherwise.  I kept going to prove I could. To prove..I’m still here.  To prove I exercise for a reason.  To prove bipolar disorder cant ruin everything.

I have a huge blister. probably a right of passage honestly.  But, it just means I can’t play again. I wanted to play today.  Had I taken it slow.  Acknowledged I haven’t played in well over a year, with new shoes to boot, perhaps I could be on the court today.  Not in bed.  Perhaps, my husband wouldn’t have needed to remind me this is what I do.  Self sabotage in a way.  l have to have it all right now.  Right this minute.  Right. This. Fucking. Minute.  I need to feel good right NOW!! and I did.

But, the crash after.  The non movement yesterday sidelined by a blister that could be avoided if only I knew moderation.  The crash still today.  I am at a crossroads of sorts.  I have choices still. I can choose to go to the beach tomorrow.  I’m not so down that I need outpatient or the hospital.  But, its a slippery slope.  One day in bed, leads to two.  Leads to…its not a good path.  I know this.  I have lived this.  I have beaten this mindset before.

My only commitment for tomorrow, for right now, is to go to the gym.  To sweat out this funky funk!  The weather is amazing for February.  I need to find shadows outside under trees, not in my curtain drawn bedroom.  Here I go….tomorrow!


The Minutes Pass

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?


But Will I….

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?


Quiet Resignation

Falling Fast
Tumbling low
Into the
Claws of darkness
Don’t recognize
These red
Puffy eyes
This tired
Worn mind
Strength wavering
Light dissipating
On my knees
Quiet resignation


Most importantly Me & I couldn’t think of a good Title

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.


Trying to find my voice

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?



If I had big dreams
what would they be?
If I could say anything to you
What would I say?
If I could hold your hand forever
How hard would I squeeze?
If I cry into your shoulder
Would you lean into me?

If my story were being told
Would you listen?
If my heart was broken
Could you mend it?
If I asked for forgiveness
Would you give it?
If I told you I am bipolar
Would you stay?


On Fire

The darkness sets my brain on fire
Thoughts are a flash
Worries roam the room
Perseveration crowds my dreams
Clock ticks in the background
Time lost in the present
Shadows prey upon my space
No candle bright enough
To carry me home
Settle these fears
Eyes close to madness
Ricocheting between my ears