Its Not Easy Being Honest

An old friend once said the hardest part is putting your feet on the floor. I remembered this as I laid in bed unable to move this morning. My alarm had been blaring for over 2 hours. I couldn’t will myself to throw back the covers. I insisted I get myself up right this minute so as not to be late for work. No movement. I stared blankly at the black out window shade in my bedroom. The clock ticked. The 8 o’clock hour passed me by. I should have been sitting at my desk. I had quite an important meeting w my supervisor at 1pm. I negotiated w myself that perhaps I could go in around 11. I was also supposed to run an errand first thing this morning for my husband. Important as well. Paralyzed. I just stared.
My phone was on my nightstand. I finally reached over about 8:45 and sent a text to my boss requesting to reschedule. Not 2 minutes later anger and guilt floods me. I “recalled” that text by sending another stating I would most definitely be in by 11am sharp. No response. Now I did it. I must get up. In one fell swoop I threw back the covers, put my feet on the floor and barreled into the shower. No energy to wash my hair. Looking presentable was the hope at this point.
Out of the shower I was trying to figure out how to proceed when I got her text. She replied, its okay. No problem to reschedule. I have personal things I need to take care of this afternoon. I don’t know if that was true or she was kindly letting me off the hook. I have been upfront with her, she knows I have bipolar disorder. I collapsed on the floor when I read her words. Relief. I crawled back under the covers wet hair and all. Slept for about 3 more hours.
The kindness and understanding of another can be so powerful. I cried on the floor out of shame, anger, relief and realizing my boss is on my side. Its not easy being honest with the outside world. Sharing vulnerabilities. Letting people in. But, today I am so grateful I did!

Advertisements

Home is Where the Pain Is

Sadness seems to grip me on the ride home. The vacation. The escape from reality is over. I was a guest in someone else’s world. They knew nothing of my recent manic episode or that I have bipolar disorder. There I am simply a daughter in law. Sister in law. Red hair, freckles and bubbly. 3000 miles away that’s all they have ever known.
I come home to medical bills of my ambulance ride to the ER. Remembrances of sitting in a police car more agitated and out of control than ever. Yelling, no screaming, at psych emergency services. Pacing. Pointing fingers at everyone else. Accusing my husband of collusion and conspiracy. Simply out of my mind.
I had to ask the brand new job I had yet to start to delay my hire date. My brain not able to process information. Not able to remember. Not able to form sentences at times. It didn’t seem fair to them or me to keep the original date. Shame and embarrassment filled me as I wrote the email. They politely agreed. Thank god.
Now, I need to re-enter my world. It feels like there is wreckage in the wake of the episode. Do I make amends to those I may have hurt or worried? While I don’t remember, the truth still remains I called people and told them goodbye. I upset them to the point of calling the police. They feared for me.
Worried people called worried people. My traumatic business is getting batted around through the phone lines. People care,I was told. I used to work with these people and will have to interface w them in my new role. Will there be an elephant in the room? Do I explain what happened? Do I just ignore what happened and move on?
I don’t know how to handle this situation. Then I question if there is really a situation to handle. In AA I would make amends. Is it the same with Bipolar disorder?

Rebound

She stood on the dock overlooking the water
Her rippled reflection staring back
Face a little rounder
Eyes a little redder
Spirit a little weaker
She could feel the warmth of the sun on her back
She eased into her new existence
Painful incident it was
Still trying to see the positive
Still trying to grasp the lesson
Caught in a shitstorm of insanity w far reaching consequences
Watching the ripples sway her profile
Looking as though she’s standing tall
Whether it’s an illusion or not
She takes the sudden inner strength
And carries it into tomorrow

Emotional Upheaval

Feels like it all happened in slow motion. He was in the kitchen asking me a question about the day ahead. He says it was a simple question. I heard something entirely different. My body filled with heat and anger. I leaned forward on the couch and unloaded words of hatred. They shot across the room w venom. This is not who I am. I then rose to my feet and vile came spewing out of my mouth. This is not who I am. Shame surrounded me. I felt trapped. The only thing I knew to do was run. Out of control and desperate I fled the scene.
This emotional upheaval actually began the night before. My sponsor always told me we are as sick as our secrets. It’s not a new phenomenon that I withhold information. This time, I chose not to tell my husband I quit taking my meds. The funny part is, and this is the honest truth, I was cleaning the bathroom and declaring to myself I MUST tell him. I would absolutely find “the right time” this very weekend. I didn’t know the phone rang and I certainly didn’t know it was my psychiatrist calling at 6pm on a Friday night. Shit hit the fan fast.
She was in my ear saying how worried she was I am not taking any medication at all. He was in my sight worried I was receiving this phone call knowing something wasn’t right. I just wanted to yell at everyone to leave me alone. How very selfish of me to want people to not care about me. How very selfish of me to make an important decision about meds and not include my husband. It’s called keeping a secret. I need to get honest and real.
I am not a malicious person. My attempt to keep information secret was not meant to hurt him. Although, that’s exactly what it did.
Back against the wall I came clean. Stopped all meds cold turkey about a month ago. Ups and downs continue. Suicidal thoughts continue but I am making it through so far. I did not share that I had agonized all night about jumping off a bridge on my return home from my business trip. In my mind, no reason to take meds. If I die, I die. I am still selective in what I want to share.
Catching you back up..morning comes and we are both harboring feelings from last night. I yell and scream, grab my keys and bail. So many emotions fill my car..guilt, shame, fear, sadness. I drive around aimlessly for a while alone with my thoughts. Its time I take responsibility for this illness. For my one sided decisions. For my over reactions. The road laid ahead of me. My future in front of me. I know this much: this is not who I want to be. I drove until all those emotions no longer took up space.
I didn’t rush home to make amends, but I did eventually return. I’ll spare you all the details of what ensued upon my arrival home as it was not pretty. I am hopeful that it was productive. I shed many tears as I listened to how hurt he felt, how he wonders if at the root of all this disease is my unhappiness w him, how he worries everyday I am going to hurt myself. I was able to tell him I don’t know how to let him into my darkness. I told him I didn’t want him to know what I think, the places my mind goes.
After many minutes of intense silence, he said this is the most honest conversation we have had for months.
i think we have come to an unconscious don’t ask don’t tell mentality. We are both scared and dancing around each other. I do think I do much more dancing and juggling than he does.
There isn’t a lack of deep love between us. Darkness effects the family as a whole. While I’m in my pit trying hard to cover up my fall in an effort to “protect” him from me, all I’m doing is creating more space between us. That for sure is NOT productive.
I still have to figure out if medication is going to play a role in my recovery. What I learned today is that not including my husband in the equation is not an option. He wants to support me. But he simply can’t if I won’t let him. My task is to learn how to let him.

Devil Has Taken up Court

Tyranny run amok
In the recesses of my mind
The devil has taken up court
And he is most unkind
Thoughts don’t feel like my mine
Reverberations of self hate
Confusion and guilt
Influenced by his lordship
He pushes me as I begin to slip
Into the darkness of his hell
His fire and brimstone
Manipulate my soul
Heavy handed he baits me
Presenting me the rope
As if in grand ceremony
He shall awash me of pain
My body heaving for breath
Soon lay 6 feet under
Cold, damp dark soil
Surrounding me
Protecting me
As his dubious demands at first
Caused ripples of recoil
They snaked their way into my psyche
Feverishly adding oil
Aiding my descent
Into unknown charters of the deceased

Should I just cut My Losses

Clutching the pillow tightly and wiping away tears w my sleeve, I sat on my therapists couch revealing I am contemplating suicide. I have two solid plans. They are the same plans I have had for a few years. One plan I “practiced” in the past. I don’t want to fail. I need to be sure it will work. My previous full blown attempt landed me in the emergency room for over 24 hours hooked up to monitors and IV’s. FAILURE. After the psych hospital I went to the Intensive Outpatient Program for several weeks. I was angry. Truly angry I was still alive. That was a few years ago.
I was crying insisting if I took my life over the past week while my husband was out of town, only he would only know cuz I would not answer the numerous texts and phone calls throughout the day. As I laid in bed for the 4th day I believed no one cared and I wouldn’t really be missed. Very few know of my diagnosis and I tend not to let them in anyway. No loss.
I awaited the question: what kept you from following through? I think partly lack of energy, but mostly I didn’t want my husband, who was 3000 miles away, to have figure out how to handle the situation. Plus, he was already immersed in stress with his ailing mother. I couldn’t do it to him, not like this. I have to wonder would it be better for him if it happened while at work. A mere 40 miles away? Of course not. I absolutely do not want to hurt my husband near or far. But somehow the thought of the distance made some sort of difference.
So, as any mood disordered brain might, It focused on how to proceed once he returned. Which is now. It saddens me that I am thrilled about his return, but my broken spirit keeps me from showing it. Shrouded in guilt always. Guilty I wasn’t being honest while he was away as I didn’t want to cause him extra stress. Guilty that he is home and I probably appear like I don’t care. Once again that voice inside, and sometimes outside, is on auto repeat…burden, you don’t belong here. And still another voice baits me and tells me if I take time for myself I am letting my job down, burdening my coworkers w my undone projects. I am so conflicted. Ultimately I just want to be done.
The plan my therapist and I made was that I would call IOP and ask to come in on Monday. I requested they help me assess where I’m at, what I need. Should I push through and go to work. Should I be proactive and get some more intensive help. Should I cut my losses and end the burden.

Broken once again

The rapid mod swings over the past week have culminated in tears streaming down my face for 2 days. Interspersed are some all out sobs. I feel broken.  But I’m not even sure what broke me.  I just sit and stare. Tears flow. I’m not thinking. It’s as if I’m not even here.  I can hear my husbands voice, but it takes a minute to process the words.  In return, I have no words. I shrug my shoulders when he asks what’s wrong or if I’m okay. I shake my head no when he offers food. I curl up as tight as I can when the waves of despair come. They was over me and it’s so painful. Sometimes I can’t breathe.  I’m too tired to look for reasons.

Lost in my silent hell I loaded up on sleep medication to escape. Even staring at the wall was beginning to hurt. I see no purpose in my existence.  Drenched in bipolar depression I crawl into bed at 7pm.  It’s still light out. I used to love longer days. Many a time I would enjoy summer sunsets over my back fence. I would breathe the beauty into my being.  Pinks, reds, occasional orange hues fanning across the sky.  But today I just see and feel darkness. Dragging my body towards my bedroom as my husband watches tv.  Begging the medication to kick in, wondering if I took enough to quell the usual insomnia.

Day #2 I watch my husband from the couch. He is cooking and cleaning while I feel like stone. I can barely move and the guilt weighs that much more.  I can muster yes and no answers, but that’s about it. Tears fall. I do not even wipe them away.  He comes over to sit with me and I just burrow into his chest and begin to sob. He tells me I’m going to be okay.  I don’t respond as my mind has settled on the best way to end this miserable existence.  He falls asleep to the hum of the tv. I stare right through it.

Day#3 I force myself to write this. My husband tells me he needs/wants me to be happy.  As if I don’t. He has left for the day.  I am now alone with my thoughts and plans. The demons of my mind are coming out to play uninvited.  I really don’t have the energy for games.  If I could disappear from this couch I would.  I am desperate to end this emotional pain.

while I’m no stranger to this bipolar merry go round it never seems to get easier, at least for me.  I can try to be a hero and just push right on through, which is what I often do. Hunker down and try that much harder at work.  I can’t miss work now as a project I have been working on for months is coming together. They are relying on me. My boss is relying on me to meet the deadline.  But, it’s not heroic to neglect myself, my symptoms. Eventually it turns disastrous.  This is the hardest part for me. Wanting to be a responsible, productive employee that follows through and gets things done and wanting to be a responsible person with bipolar disorder to get help before the crisis.

Whats it going to be!?!

 

 

 

 

He Reached into Me

DON’T believe everything you think! My husband said to me with a hint of frustration.  My mind is a scramble right now. I keep picturing a ball of yarn. Just a mess of string coming and going every which way.  To unravel it would take great strength and patience.  This is how I would like to approach my life at this point in time.  Getting out of bed proved too much for me this morning. I couldn’t even make it to my outpatient program, which really has no expectations.  Thoughts of taking a shower, getting dressed and driving 20 min plunged me deeper into the mattress with a pillow over my head.  Facing the world in any capacity was just too much.  So I stayed in the comforts of my blankets.  Plus, when I am asleep I don’t have to think. I don’t have intrusive thoughts.

However, the countdown to work has also begun. I really can’t afford financially not to start back on Monday as my benefits will be cut up and I cannot afford mentally to sit in this house alone much longer.  I know these things. I want these things.  Yet, depression was like a ton of bricks holding my body down. I am still processing the suicide of my friend.  Rather, I think more importantly what I am doing is shutting down because I cannot handle that processing. I barely talk in group. I barely talk to my husband. I barely leave the house. I barely eat. And I haven’t worked out for 5 days straight. These are big red flags for me.

I finally got up about 11am. The only reason, and I repeat the only reason, is because my husband asked me to cook something which takes a bit of time.  I already feel like I am letting him down, so I wanted to follow through on his request.  Luckily, it’s an easy recipe and one I have made before, so not much thinking or measuring involved.  Somewhere in there I sent an email to my pdoc. I guess it was somewhat distressing. Moistly I was expressing my disdain for myself and failure as a person, wife, daughter. I don’t remember what else.  I put the lid on the pot and went back to bed.  Not 10 minutes later my phone rang from the hospital. I did not answer.  The message left for me was I am very concerned about the email you sent and if you do not respond in 10 minutes I will send the police for a welfare check.

Well that got me moving. I immediately called me case manager back, and got her voicemail.  I repeated very calmly the police did not need to be called, not check was necessary. At the same time, I was getting dressed. My inclination was to run.  If the police arrived at my house and asked me questions, and I was honest in the slightest, I would end up in the hospital for Christmas. I quickly threw on some clothes and headed to the busiest place I know: Target.

As I was outside locking my door, my case manager had called back. She thanked me for responding.  The email I sent was not even to her, it was to my pdoc. I guess she has forwarded it on. We had a 10 minute conversation where I know she was sizing me up.  She is new to me. She is just covering for my usual case manager who is on vacation. She knows me VERY well and perhaps the police threat might not have come.

I was very agitated but answered her questions. She asked if I understood why she had to make the demand. I said no the email I sent wasn’t to her and I made no threats to harm myself, I only expressed how I was feeling. I didn’t state that I had a plan.  She reminded me I wrote the previous night I went to bed with a plan, and I reminded her neither of which I followed through on..clearly stated in the email. I didn’t want to argue. I told her I was having trouble talking about my feelings, I don’t know what they are right now. I just know I feel like shit inside. I started to get emotional.  She reiterated how much they care and want to make sure I am safe.

She wanted to me to explain what the rest of the day looked like. I had looked like a long stay in bed before I got scared. I didn’t have a plan. I have kickboxing class tonite, or I know there is a group tonite. She then demanded I attend the group tonite and the outpatient program the next day. I told her it wasn’t fair to put extra pressure on me. I didn’t need the weight of letting more people down if I couldn’t get myself there.  She is still in training, not yet fully a doctor, and I knew she couldn’t order me to do things. She said she would confer with the director (who I Love) and call me back with a plan.   So, she did stating they prefer I come to the group since I missed the morning session, but it was up to me.  She emphasized she really hopes to see me tomorrow morning.

With great hesitancy I went to the evening group. I just wanted to be left alone. It was too hard and too painful to process my feelings. I didn’t know where to start or what was truly bothering me: sadness, anger, guilt.  The lead psychologist is amazing. He has known me for 7 years or so. He is so very kind, gentle and just soothing when he talks to you.  I find that he is magical.  Just when I thought for sure I would be mute and unable to speak he approached me in a way that allowed me to take my time and say what I needed to say.  He prompted me quite a bit, just resonated with me with one of his own experiences. I took tissue after tissue. I couldn’t look up at him. I felt like I was going to explode, yet I felt safe with him.  The room was quiet and his words were soft. I have always appreciated the way he works with people. He can reach anyone.  He reached me when I was so closed up and closed off I was ready to bolt for the door.

He helped me see it wasn’t my fault. It’s understandable to have survivor’s guilt, but not carry it around for too long.  I have to trust I did what was best for me at that time.  Just 3 weeks after quitting the group I entered the hospital with profound depression and psychosis. The journey has been long and almost too much to bare.  He suggested I could give in to the voices and cause another tragedy and ripple effect by taking my life OR I could move forward and just keep doing the best I can.  When I can be there for friends, I will be.  If I want to check on them more, I can. But, I need to be kind and compassionate towards myself in this moment. He always shows me I can rest my hand on my check and just hold it there for a few minutes reminding myself I am okay and I deserve love, time and attention too.

I just learned the magic psychologist is moving on. He has taken a Clinical Director job at another facility. I will miss him.  He is the heart and soul of the outpatient program.  He has such heart.  He reminds us how brave we are each and every day to face our inner battles. To look inward and want to make changes takes such strength and perseverance.  To come to a group full of strangers and air our issues and feelings takes courage.  He always made me feel warm and safe even at my lowest, even lost in psychosis.  He is a remarkable man and I will miss him.