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.
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.
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?
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
I guess it’s my 2 year anniversary w WordPress. But, I feel more like a failure than anything. I was a prolific writer, I suppose blogger, when I started. Letting it all hang out. Expression my therapy. Written words came easily. Cyber words somehow easier. Through psychosis, mania, suicide attempt, despair, fear, loss of relationships, darkness, depression..I carried on through this Medium.
Then. The most traumatic manic episode happened. My marriage was affected. Changed. Damaged.
My new job had to wait as I embarrassingly passed along a doctors note requesting a later start date.
Friendships fell off. Text messages went unanswered. Potential commitment dates fell through.
I fell back into booze and food.
Changes are hard. Personally. Seasonally. Globally.
I have lost my words. Days and months have gone by. I read your words. Yearn to connect. But, I don’t. Can’t. Won’t. I don’t know why.
I feel the darkness of depression coming for me, creeping in. My body, mind and soul heavy. The trudging becoming too much. Not worth it.
These aren’t even full sentences or thoughts.
Changes are impending.
I’m not. Scared.
Black and white thinking taking hold
And more so
That I don’t care
Its as if he knew
The caped Canaveral of darkness
Ushering in depression as
The leaves fall
Desperate trees swaying in limited light
Naked and vulnerable
My windows closing
Tighter and ever so tight
Air inside thinner and thinner
The walls become my unfocus
As I stare mindlessly
Nothing truly in my sight
The weight of existence
Pressing harder and harder
And sometimes exhaling in pain
I sit mostly motionless
Anticipating that old rusting chain
Pulling me down
Farther and farther
Into the unbalanced realm
Of the shameful insane
The rafters of my mind
As the microphone of thoughts
There is no everlasting
In these fits and starts
My anger pulsates into my boots
Sitting Across the room
My raw naked toes
Stretch and reach for comfort
Warmth of a blanket
My heart has turned cold
The lies unfolding
Who are we
Turns out nothin I behold
Pretending for the sake
The stench of confusion
In my wake
How could I
Carry on knowing
So much to be untrue
As you tip toe
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.
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
Red blood spills on
Gives way to the physical
I am reborn in this pain
My broken and narrow view
Keeps me perched
In the darkest of caverns
My mind can house
Shadows crowd along
These walls of discomfort
Start as a whisper
Only to ricochet
Through the cold stark
Conscious and unconscious