I suppose there are “days like this” for everyone. It can be relative. What deeply affects me, rolls right off you. And vice versa. As my mind tries to scramble together the answers…how did this happen again? I was so diligent..so vigilant..so mindful..so…..
I am frozen on the couch. I have no answers. I chew on my nails. My legs bounce around full of anxiety and fear. The tears, just behind these blue eyes, hover in anticipation of the fall. Too many thoughts and surely the visible pain will be seen. Trying ever hard to keep it together.
Not thinking. Over thinking. Just breathing. Looking out the window, searching for something to see. Something else to feel. Distraction must be the key. As the wind tousles the trees, and I can hear dogs barking down the street, I attempt to lose myself in sounds of life. Life outside of me.
Replays of the last conversation w one of My favorite people. Really, my best friend. Rattles my mind. The one uncomplicated relationship has somehow entered the realm of complication. In just a matter of minutes, emotionally charged extra long seconds, things now feel weird. Uncomfortable. Disappointing. Sad.
I’m not afraid of honest apology. I am afraid of confrontation. Afraid someone important to me will stop loving me at any moment. Because I’m an alcoholic. Because I have bipolar disorder. Because sometimes I’m irrational, over emotional, and so damn sensitive. But, this is all part of who I am.
I was recently discussing the idea of redemption. For me, this translates into regaining trust w my husband. Trust I have shattered too often in the past year. First it was a devastating manic episode, which I will never forget. But, really it’s about my picking up the bottle to solve problems, knowing it most likely will cause problems. That part I conveniently forget.
Stepping whole heartily into recovery; be it from alcohol, binge eating, gambling, or mental illness can be scary. Intimidating. Exhilarating. Freeing. Though, one never knows when, if, or how those feelings may come about. Trusting in the process. Trusting in self. A personal redemption of sorts can feel simultaneously completely out of reach and infinitely possible. Depends on the day. The amount of willingness available. Perhaps which step is being taken. Literally and figuratively.
I acknowledge I am powerless. I believe A power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. What I feel I need to do next is relax. Step back even. Not try so hard to conquer whatever beast I think is in front of me. Real or perceived. Be it the jobs I’m Interviewing for, the complications I may have had a hand in, wanting so badly to understand how to turn it all over, and just being a better person.
Phew. It’s a long road. Learning to not be so hard on myself. Not attaching myself to the outcome. Reaching out. Being grateful my arm extends into the air unexpectedly sometimes. Most of all, opportunities to make things right are all possible. IF I’m open enough to just let things happen.
I would swear it’s that crooked hand of time bending my reality that leads me back. My warped memory downplaying the urgency. It was just a handful of mistakes. Not very many really. It’s a mere lack of mindfulness on my part. Of course, I can fix it. If only you would do your part and not cause me extra stress. You know I can’t handle stress. Actually, I think it’s the loneliness. My phone doesn’t ring. No one seems to care. I’ve been forgotten. Always misunderstood. But, the anxiety. THE anxiety is really the culprit. I should really talk to my doctor about it.
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.
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.
The room has become too big
My anxiety crawling along the walls
calling my fear front and center
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
Inside this broken mind
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
It is you
That rides the wave of confusion
Your mind overrides
Your Dreams die in the fog
Of unrequited absolution
For you dear one
Rest in between the realm of
The long road is ahead
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
Decides my fate
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.
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!
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?