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.

 

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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

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

 

I’m in the Right Place

The bottle has found its way back into my hands. Down my throat. Into my marriage. As it ALWAYS does, when I let it. This was a choice I clearly made. The bottle didn’t jump into my grocery bag, into the “juice” to help make it go down faster. I picked it up clear as day. I placed it into the grocery basket and quickly covered it with my tote bag. Just another shopper. Surely people buy vodka at noon in workout gear all the time. Like every other third day. In a hat. Looking down. Making small talk as the bagger places the big fat bottle into your cute little tote….AGAIN.
Obviously I am no stranger to this scenario. Unfortunately, I have lived this the last 3 weeks or so. My grand excuse, which kinda has some validity, is anxiety. I had an interview. Right. Many many folks go through an interview each and every day. We all need money to survive this crazy world. To get in the door, magic words need to zing off the paper and capture attention. Then, the smile and enthusiasm must come through as pressured questions are fired at you during an interview. Pressured answers swirl around the mind. Yes…leadership. Of course I’ve shown it this way. Motivation..of course its just an internal quality. What would I do in this situation..well, let me tell you. I am fucking marvelous. Enough said.
No call backs. Only rejection emails. Thanks..yada yada yada. But, my mind won’t stop the nonsense of obsessing about what I should have said. I did think the interview went well. I wasn’t qualified in some ways, but perhaps overqualified in others. So, I was okay with the outcome I thought. My mind continuously reminded me day after day, night after night, of better answers. For fuck’s sake why didn’t you say you are a mandated reporter. Geez, its obvious you could handle a fire in the galley. Did you say that..NO! Without warning or cause, these thoughts bombarded me. It was tooooo much.
So down the liquid went. The courage I have now in social situations is amazing. Look at me talking you up, making promises, suggestions. Then the next day left wondering what I might have said. Did I make a lunch date? Oh shit. Am I supposed to be somewhere, return a call? Black out drinking has become my specialty as of late. The anxiety this causes only steers the anxiety ship further into deep waters. The self doubt depths I am in now is horrendous. I can’t touch bottom. Floating in ambiguity is so painful. Why do I allow my ship to reach such treacherous waters? Why don’t I reach to shore sooner?
The bottle is mesmerizing. Problem solver guru of sorts. Ensures confidence. Promises success with its secret power. Secret. Super secret plan.
My footsteps are so heavy right now. Full of guilt. Shame. Disgust. How can I be here again? Seriously. I’m working out. I’m painting. I’m cleaning the house. I’m paying attention to my cat. Alone. I’m alone. Unstructured time has always been my enemy. For whatever reason. Its not the right time to figure that piece out. I just know it doesn’t work for me. But, its my reality right now. Home alone, with a lot of time on my hands. What to do? What to do?
Pass the tissues please as I sit in an AA meeting and raise my vulnerable shaking hand to say I am a newcomer once again. Tears fall. I fumble my name just a bit. I am told I am in the right place. Smiles of reassurance abound. Familiar faces greet me with a hug. There wasn’t a sigh of relief per se. But a deep breath out, allowing the thought of recovery in. Okay. Just maybe I Am in the right place.

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?

Damn Devil of Depression

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.

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.