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.

Discomfort

For the longest time I would never walk around without socks whether inside or outside, whether summer or winter. I don’t particularly like my feet, but I would even where these socks when I was alone. Some how bare feet left me feeling vulnerable, exposed. Even in my own home.
I’ve spent much of my life trying to cover up what brings me discomfort. I was made fun of a lot as a child as I have numerous freckles on my face and arms. I tried to scrub them off once w my moms makeup removal soap.  I cried in my counselor’s office every day at school before being picked up by my mother.  Tears made me and her uncomfortable. I pretended to be sick during a playoff game when I was the only girl on my little league team because the boys ganged up on me. I was uncomfortable being a better player than they were and so were they.
I was never taught to share my feelings of discomfort. I was never taught it was okay to have these feelings and what to do w them. As a result I found cutting, bulimia, and alcohol. Though temporary relief, I was willing to take what I could get.
On April 5th 2013 I drove to a bridge not far from my house w every intention of jumping. I got as far as leaning over the railing and feeling the wet wind on my face. I wanted to die. I had never known such psychic pain. I couldn’t imagine living another day with such discomfort. I didn’t jump that day, but have wanted to many times since. I have made several intricate plans to do so. Most times I have found myself in the mental hospital as a result. I often feel tortured by suicidal thoughts. When I am entrenched in the darkness, yet again, it’s the only way I believe I can be set free. For me, bipolar disorder is a tease. I will have several really good days. Sincerely laughing, wholeheartedly smiling, seamlessly productive at work, feeling ultra connected to my husband only to wake up the next day feeling none of that. Rather feeling the heaviness of my body, the slowness of my mind, the tears behind my eyes and the defeat in my breath and not know why. Just a huge mood shift without my permission.  It’s exhausting.
It’s uncomfortable not knowing who I am going to be from day to day. The sparkly, witty, smiley fanatic or the sad, agitated, desperate fanatic.  This roller coaster of emotion takes it toll on me and I want to stop the ride. For good.
However, god or an angel or a higher power reminds me every once in a while I am still needed here. I went running down by the river w my headphones last weekend. It’s a busy area w families pushing babies, walkers and runners. I passed this family who appeared in some sort of distress but I figured they were working it out. However, as I ran back by them the second time I stopped after a few feet. There was a problem. The little boy had somehow twisted his pant leg so tightly in the pedal he could not move. Try as I might the clothing wouldn’t budge. I had passed by a gentleman fishing down on the river bank and ran to see if he had a knife. He did and after several tries, I was able to cut the little boy free. The mother didn’t really speak English, but I could see in her eyes she was so grateful I took the time to stop as most people were passing them by (as I did the first time.)
On my run I was making plans to jump off that bridge. I was making a list of things that needed to happen such as pay some bills, add my husbands name to my bank account. I was thinking what I would say in a note. I was feeling like a burden to friends and family, unworthy of their love. I was convinced that I did not belong here. I was of no value to anyone.
Now I must share w you as I took off from this family to resume my run I had a smile on my face. It felt good to stop what I was doing to be of service. In that moment I had purpose.  In my heart, I knew this was a god shot. But, in my mind it was dumb luck that I was there and stopped. It proved nothing of my worth or reason to be here.
Either way, in that moment I felt free.