Surely It’s Me, Right?!

Watching tv. Trying to write. This has been the pattern for weeks. So much on my mind yet I can’t seem to catch my thoughts. I feel like a drifter. Its been just about 3 months since I left my full time job of 17 years. I was leaving many great working relationships behind in pursuit of a less stressful environment. The hope was in doing so I would have less depressive and manic episodes. I was averaging 2 hospitalizations a year. I guess i always forget even with “good” stress, such as a job change, the risk of an episode is high. I added to that statistic w a devastating manic episode.
On to greener pastures I am now in a part time position. A little slower pace. A smaller office. The only person I really talk to is my supervisor. I drift in and out of the office. Sit at my desk. I miss conversations w my old coworkers where I sat in a unit of 8 people, I the veteran. I the one most people came to for assistance. My cubbie mate and I on the verge of a real budding friendship-something I don’t seem to be good at. But, that world is gone. It seems out of sight out of mind.
I know. I know. Everyone is sooo busy. I don’t always reach out as often as I should. But I try. I think of other people daily and wonder how they are. I don’t just forget people. I feel confused when folks I thought were my friends don’t respond. When these same folks seemed so concerned after hearing about my possible suicide attempt (long story wrapped up in my mixed manic episode). Shared my business with others without my permission. I let go of all of that, as I thought they truly cared. Thought they were my friends..or at least more than acquaintances at this point.
Is it me that falls off the map or them? If anything, I keep in contact, albeit hiding, through texts. When they don’t get returned what am I to think? I am lonely. I feel so alone. I have very few friends. Can’t maintain the ones I *may* have. Lost some along the way.
At the same time I don’t want to beg people to be my friend. Surely it’s me, right? You know why I was unable to write this..because the truth hurts. The pain of isolation is grand. To be fair, I do have a husband. He is most certainly my friend. But, 2 people don’t make a circle. A circle of support is always shoved down my throat. If only I had one. If only I knew how to rally one.
I just drift along to and from work. Drift in and out of the grocery store. Drift from my bed to the couch. Drowning in loneliness and isolation. I think people like me. But that’s as far as it goes. I really don’t understand why it stops there. Surely it’s me, right?

A Friend in the Winds

Is it possible to have a friend in the wind?
Not that the breeze carries me to him
Not that a north easterly brings me closer
Rather as the days fold into nights
Stars brilliantly sashay around the moon
Til sunrise comes a callin
A new day breeds a claim
To a simple whisper in the pines
Or an all out cry to you
Many things waiver in the wind
Many things set sail
Yet I still try to hold you close
I look for some sense of old permanence
Our laughter
Sharing of our despair
Sitting on broken down couches
At the same time mending a different fence
Shadow lights from up above
Unknowingly causing distance
Tangible notes on the phonograph
Repeating notes and words we both know
Comfort creatures feeling restless
Sadly unable to bury the load
Memories traipse across the threshold
Invite themselves in
Come bearing witness of the truth
Trampled roses
Unlucky as a daisy can be
This saturated old cold house
Rotten maybe to its core
Once provided me refuge
I truly never knew before
But in my earnest
Listening for a new miracle
I heard just a faint whisper in distant voice
Enchantingly lying on the wind
As it brushes past my forever red hair
Chills my ocean blue eyes
I instinctually sit up as I used too
To embrace your proper despair
Friends we sat in anticipation
Ready to share the pain
Its in the still nights
I wonder where you are
Wonder if my burden
Carried you too far
And you felt your own delicacy
When the precious wind comes my way
I want to believe you are with me
In your own way

Reaching out to a suicidal friend

You have been on this earth longer than me
Your shoes are most likely bigger than mine
The distance you have travelled is farther than mine
The journey you have faced is longer than mine
But, incredibly, here we are on the same path
You are there
I am here
Yet I know your anger at waking up, a failed attempt
As mine failed too
I understand the allure of peace
At the rivers edge I believed it too
We are beyond sadness
Beyond depression
Lost in a world of pain like no other
Minutes turn to hours turn to days
All the while the curtains closed
Letters form words sent through the atmosphere
Are you there??
My heart filled response shot right back
Lest we forget the people on the outskirts
People like me
Where an instant bond was formed
I don’t know your full story
But I’m proud to be in it.
Sweet Steve from Sacramento
I care for you more than you know
To tell you to hang on feels wrong
As I truly know the suffering
But to not share how your being over there means to me
Also feels wrong
I am not in your shoes
And don’t pretend to be
But our paths have crossed for a reason
We are battling this fucking disease you and me
I have nothing but respect for you
Trudging through each minute
Facing demons
Hiding from demons
Free fall into bed
I’ll just be over here caring
Carrying you in my heart
Remembering to breathe

Lost that Lovin Feeling

I would like a friend who also has bipolar disorder in the real world. I have such a hard time figuring things out. I am always wondering if what I think or feel is akin to other bipolar folks.  I question whether some of my responses to things makes sense from a bipolar perspective.  In short, has my friend ever felt or thought the same crazy shit I do?  Oh, would that be so darn helpful.  I’m imagining it would help to ease my mind (sometimes).

The other thing I would like (I know Christmas has passed) is for a positive shift in my mood to last more than 4-5 days at a time.  It feels like forever and always I am good..then too good for a day or so, then crash.  Now on the spectrum of my disorder this is moderate.  But, I’d like a continuum of good days..you know a nice long stretch.  Yet, that just doesn’t seem to happen. Already this week I have cried my way to work. Yesterday I was on the way to an appointment which was an hour away and the tears were just flowing like a faucet. The agitation and anger is enormous.  I don’t want anyone to talk to me, look at me or pretend to look at me.  This includes my husband. I don’t want to hold his hand, tell him I love him or have him drape over me as we sleep. I need everyone to back the F up. Why? Why? Why?

I have no answers.  I really don’t have much to do at work, I know that will change. I have “free time” in the afternoon.  If I think about it, I am left alone much of the day.  My phone doesn’t ring. I don’t make any plans, because I have no one to make plans with everyone is at work. Nevermind the fact I really don’t have any friends.

This arena, friendship, has become such a source of contention with me. I find it sad really. I have a girlfriend, who is also friends with my husband. I knew her from work back in the day, and then she was in the circle of friends I had in my  late 20’S.  She lives over where my husband works.  So periodically they get together.  WITHOUT ME.  Is what I hear in my head.  My husband knows I am struggling to put myself out there more with her, actually call her, let her in my world a little more.  Here’s the thing, I can’t expect him to say no to her because of me.  I can’t expect him to suggest, hey why don’t you call the fanatic and go for a hike.  I need to do these things on my own.  But, here I sit with jealousy running through my veins. I am convinced she likes him more than me.  Tomorrow my husband is going to a going away party for an old coworker that is quitting his old agency.  Then he is going to a nice bar that has free live music with another old coworker whom I like very much.   Good for my husband, right.  Getting himself out there.  Look at him go.

Tears just stream down my face as I write this because I feel like I have lost that ability. I feel like bipolar disorder has stolen my sense of self, my self confidence, my ability to trust things as they are.  I don’t know how I fit into the world anymore.  Rather, I don’t think I do.  I don’t belong in any social circle. I don’t know how to be friends with people anymore.  I retreat, I isolate, I fall off the face of the earth too often for most people.  Then there is my evil mind reinforcing all this.  I’m no good. I’m no fun. Blah blah blah.

I have got to find a way to get some power back. I have to believe in myself. I have to believe people want to be around me.  I can’t wait around like a wall flower with my shades drawn and expect the world to come knocking. I’ve got to get up and out.  When I was hypomanic on Monday I was talking to everyone.  Smiling so big.  Laughing so loud. Cracking funny jokes.  I couldn’t wait for my husband to come home because I had so much to say. I had done so much during the day. I felt good.  How can I harness some of that?  Smile on my face, hi how ya doing kind of attitude.  Drop all this garbage I carry around.

Sometimes I think it isn’t easy to be a human being, much less one with bipolar disorder. I trudge through this life as best I can.  Some days I just get down. I want things to be better. I don’t want to be satisfied with what is.  Sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself doesn’t get me anywhere.  I just don’t know how to start.  How do I start living my life in a new way?  How do I let the wall down and explore?

Dear Friend

Dear Friend,

 

No sweet greetings today. I find myself mad at you.  What’s worse is that I don’t want to be and I am not sure I am supposed to be.  Sometimes the dynamics are odd. I am a rather kind person and tend to let things go easily, but I think you trigger me.  It was meant to be a good time for all who wanted to come. Technology being what it is, the message you received and then perhaps relayed didn’t go as planned. I guess I can see that. However, we talked in person several days prior.  We were all making plans, together. Each of us had a different idea of how the evening would unfold as we come from different directions.  That was understood.  No feelings were hurt at that time.  An open invitation was issued.

Then why? I don’t understand.  Why would you proceed to let me know that I had hurt our friend’s feelings by inadvertently excluding her from a text string.  You were on the string. You would be riding with her and making your own plans.  Why wouldn’t you just fill her in knowing, KNOWING, all was invited to our makeshift party?  In addition, and I think this is important, knowing I am not the kind of person to leave others out. To exclude. To dismiss. To overlook. To be downright rude.  I consider her to be my friend too, maybe not as good a friendship as you have. But a friend just the same.  I think you know that.

Fast forward. Several texts back and forth. Some not so kind. Confusion.  We get a text from her, saying she didn’t feel it was a big deal at all. She wasn’t really even feeling left out. She understood we all had different roads that would lead us to the venue. It would be at the venue the true party could start. She also explained it was an inference you made. An inference!  So the words, gee I feel excluded were not even uttered. Just more confusion.  Again what is your purpose in telling me?  Could you not have let her know, knowing me, that surely there was no exclusion.  Propped her up. Reminded her of the conversations we all had in person prior to this technological disaster.

Its funny to the think of all the times you have come in and out of my life over the years.  I mean its been a lot of zig and zag. And always, I am left feeling like I am not sure if I’m allowed to be mad at you.  You do this dance or trance. I’m not sure what happens. But I am left second guessing myself.  That seems like it can’t be good. But, who’s fault is it.  I am responsible for my own feelings and emotions.  I cannot control how you operate.  When you are not in my life I invariably miss you, but when you are I tend to feel more pain.  Pain isn’t necessarily bad. Maybe you here to remind me I am alive.  I already have my emotional challenges with bipolar disorder.  I suppose I zig and zag too with depression and mania.  You can just stand off to the side when these states happen.  But when your arrow hits me in the heart and I question myself, I’m not sure where to stand.  Alone on my side. Or lean toward your side.  I don’t have many friends who can handle my load, want to handle my load.  You seem to want to for the most part.  I do appreciate that.  Its just.  Its just something keeps holding me back.  Could it be my already confused and chaotic life just butts heads with yours?  I don’t know.  I really don’t know.

Its kinda sad. I always prided myself on being able to meet someone where they are. I can be flexible, bend at the hard places.  Perhaps there was a time I was like that.  Maybe I can’t be that person anymore as I have to protect myself now.  I can be fragile. I can be large. I can be in between.  But, I just can’t figure out where you fit in my journey. I’m not making any sudden moves. I’m just putting it out there.  Sometimes friends take different roads and that’s the way its meant to be.

A Friendly Game of Hopscotch

In the farthest corner of the park she could be found w nubs of chalk. Only white. Plain white found in the bottom of a box waiting for the trash man. She was up extra early this morning.  She was foraging. There was no rhyme or reason to choosing the corner of 2nd and Spruce, it’s just where she was led. You never quite knew what you would find on garbage day.  Her father taught her that. At least he showed her a few tricks before pulling his own leaving her stranded. One Tuesday, for some god awful reason, he pulled her from her slumber to help him pick through smelly trash bags.  Nowadays, she refused to take in that aroma instead opting for cardboard boxes.  Much cleaner and much more rewarding.  She once found a new pair of winter boots, though a little big. She experimented with stuffing the tops with toilet paper. This didn’t work as she still seemed to trip over the tips of the boots. It was extra hard to pick her feet all the way up.  Then on her next outing she hit the jackpot: 5 pairs of socks w holes in them. Sam discovered wearing three pairs of socks was the magic number. Those boots only lasted one winter, but a gem just the same. Finding these 2 simple piece of chalk were a delightful treasure.

While the air was crisp this time of morning, she did not feel the chill.  Samantha skipped down the street as if Christmas had come. The park was silent, save the lost echoes of innocent children from long ago. She knew they were there.  She would occasionally say hi. Mostly she spent hours inside her own mind. Alone.  It’s just the way it was. The way it’s always been. Maybe she is too young to cherish friendship, but old enough to know it when she sees it. She saw it for a short time with her mom and dad. The way her mom fell over his every word, trusting in him.  The laughter they shared.  The special language they seemed to speak. A lot of good that did.  She quietly learned she had only herself to keep company.  But deep down, when the time was right, Sam knew she would be a wonderful friend.

She must have skipped for 5 city blocks in anticipation of the day. Just at the tree line she stopped and took her shoes off.  The soft wet grass greeted her toes and slyly washed her feet.  Sam walked fast, then slow.  Her dirty hair falling in her face.  Yet, this was no matter as she traipsed along the edge of the grass and blacktop. Once she finally stopped and eyed the perfect spot, the fun would begin.  First, her shoes must go back on. She couldn’t risk stepping on glass or a nail.  Pulling the first piece of chalk from her pocket she crouched down and cleared the area as best she could.  She stood facing the sun almost blinded, but knew once the game was constructed her back would feel the heat.  Down again on hands and knees the chalk coloring dark blacktop, Sam carefully positioned herself. No broken lines she told herself.  White rules began to take shape.  Boundaries were forming. She wondered if it was best to make one long continuous line, or simply make attaching boxes.  With a steady hand and determined eye, she opted for one line down the left. She placed both feet next to this line to measure the space of the box. Then with swagger she zipped along the blacktop making the right line.  She stood up and pictured the “board.” It was a bit more complicated now. She had only seen it from a distance at an all girls school. A few girls were laughing and cheering for each other as they balanced on one foot then two. Samantha could feel herself smiling along with them as she watched from their broken down car.

As she hovered over her own game, she could see numbers in squares in her mind. The first piece of chalk became dust in her hand. One more prized piece in her other pocket was called upon.  She held it tight as if to make it stronger and last longer. .  She carefully made the best 1 she knew how, then a 2 in the next box.  She then stopped perplexed. She wasn’t confident what came next.  She sank into the 2, her little body fitting into the square. She covered her face. All the sudden uncertainty hit her.  Her stomach growled. Her worn jacket providing no warmth.  Chalk marks all over her hands and face, and now her clothes.  She wished someone could help her.  For the first time, she wished she was like those girls in uniform at that school.

Samantha stood up once again. She stepped gingerly into the 3rd box and she drew a flower. A sun in the 4th, smiley face in the fifth. She made her way down to the biggest and most important box, number 10.  She drew the biggest heart she knew how, the chalk crumbling between her fingers.  The fire of the sun warming her back she walked toward the number 1.  Gloriously hopping from one box to another, on one foot then two she was suddenly stopped by a young boy pointing and laughing.  He told Sam that wasn’t hopscotch.  She asked what’s hopscotch? He laughed even harder. Landing on the heart, Sam took a breath and said let’s see what you got.

Alex stuttered for a second, then took his first leap and almost lost his balance.  Samantha didn’t laugh, only encouraged him to go slower.  He scoffed but did as she said.  When he landed ceremoniously on the last box they high fived.  Time went by quickly, they each taking a couple turns. Alex went backwards, stood on his hands and made faces. All of which was greeted w applause from Sam. She did a cartwheel that almost spanned the length of the boxes and landed in time for a hop into the last box, before pretending to faint.  Alex followed suite and pretended he was shot while in hot pursuit. They both lay looking at the sky. She asked his name, he replied Alex. She told him her name was Sam.  Alex sat up for a second and pointed out that was a boy’s name. No argument from her, she simply stated it was her father’s name.  She didn’t wish to be Samantha on this day. Alex laid back down next to Sam.  Both somehow content resting on blacktop or just resting at all. The shared feeling of not being alone was felt in silence.  Secretly smiling, Sam wondered if she had found her first friend.  Either way, a game is never as fun by yourself.  Appreciation for the gift of company filled her up as the sun beamed down.