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!


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.

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.

White Knuckling

I am trapped inside my my mind. I shout. I rebel. I long for expression. Yet I sit silent. My words, my connection, with you is severed. I don’t think this is my fault. You see I need you to hear me. My voice, well, has “left the building.” My bipolar depression has wrapped itself around me. I am muffled at best.
The world spins. Days rise and set. I sit. Staring at the wall. Resting. Movement is slow and overwhelming. Getting out of bed is an accomplishment. Brushing my teeth over the top. Accolades do not resonate. Guilt hangs on my chest. Why can’t I do more. Go to work. Cook a simple meal. Even think about making coffee? I’m so exhausted yet I haven’t actually moved in days.
I left messages with my boss. With my therapist. With my psychiatrist. Not necessarily in that order. Explaining. Maybe it mostly sounding like excuses. The honesty I exuded was painful then. Admitting my cognition, stamina, memory was compromised took all I had. But, really looking back, it was probably obvious to others. I was barely hanging on. My face often flush, looking hung over. Raw. Fragile. The hangover was from emotion, floods of tears, uncertainty. White knuckling a mood disorder.
The darkness has moved in. Rented space without a lease. I didn’t know it was coming and I don’t know when it would leave. Scary synopsis for a person w bipolar disorder. The reality of daylight savings time this weekend has me quivering. Bold black night greeting me at 5pm. It affects me. Deeply.
My action plan, if I can muster the energy? Walks in the midday sunlight. Big cleansing breaths with sun on my face. Quiet time in the holiday craze. If that’s not possible, I steal just 5 minutes here and there. I have a you tube video w a song called “Breathe” I listen to in headphones. Just me and the music. Its a reminder and a reprieve at the same time.
Fall is a time of beauty. A cleansing as the rains come. For me personally, its a time to really take notice of my internal clock. My tolerance or intolerance of noise, light, crowds. As the leaves change so does my mood. Historically speaking, I’m vulnerable this time of year. Armed with this information I can do my best to manage all that comes.

Honesty-is it always the best policy?

I am feeling a bit lost right now. I have a full time  job which gives me structure and accountability.  Plus it can be a social environment which I am sorely lacking. Our office is moving and there has been delay after delay. Today marks two weeks working from home. I can’t get out of bed. I can’t produce. Yesterday I could barely function. I went to my local coffee shop for a change of scene but felt completely overwhelmed. Sitting outside I could hear the overhead radio, birds chirping, cars honked no and people chatting at such a high pace and volume I think I shut down. I stared down at my paperwork but could not process. Didn’t know where to start, how to start, or what to even look for.  I sat frozen for almost an hour.

Im still contending w symptoms of feeling detached. Disconnected. Separate. My dear boss, who has been amazingly supportive of me and my issues, has left the job.  She and I had a deal of sorts.  I could contact her in the morning before work and request to work from home if I was having an emotional day that didn’t lend itself to being in the office.  There were days I forced myself into the office w tear stained eyes and she would send me home to work.  I now have a new boss, who was actually my officemate. I never disclosed to her I am bipolar. Something held me back, don’t know why.  But now I feel like I need to be transparent w her too. I’m hoping we can strike the same deal. I am nervous.  For some reason I don’t feel as safe. I’m feeling terribly vulnerable.

For the bigger picture I believe it’s the right thing to do. I miss several days of work. Right now, she sees me as having a strong work ethic.  When I’m not there she doesn’t know I may be cowering in the corner of my room, or crying on the bathroom floor, or hearing voices telling me it’s time to go.  She thinks I’m at home churning out good work.  She respects me. To have her support is paramount to me continuing to produce good quality work when I can.  Knowing she understands sometimes I just can’t and it’s not because I don’t want to, will bring me a sense of relief.  But, of course I don’t know if that is how she will react or not.  The reality is she is not my old boss and she may have different views and standards and expectations.

I better stop now as I can feel myself flooded with anxiety as I write those words. It’s scary to put yourself out there in a professional environment.  Did you have to do it?? Do you have any helpful tips to share?


Rise Up

Have you ever regretted being honest with your psychiatrist? I mean raw with your words? With your description of events? I now find myself in a position where I’m defending myself. I’m defending against her strong recommendation I go to a Crisis Residential setting.  I was simply being honest in an update. I just started a new medication and of course I’m on high alert for well, anything.  I think anybody would be.

It wasn’t a good night. I thought the devil was in the house and I needed to protect myself. I couldn’t tolerate the chanting. I grabbed a knife, the biggest one we have. I stood heavy in my body. I held the knife high. I purposely wasn’t tense, so I could be quick. I don’t necessarily know how to fight evil, but was determined to stand my ground. If the devil was coming for me, I was ready.  Little did I know, I so wasn’t ready.  My husband flew into the kitchen after me and pried the knife out of my hands, fairly easily I think.

The chanting, loud, demeaning, and demanding, was too much for me. I had to cover my ears. It just wouldn’t stop.  I yelled at it to “GO AWAY!” “STOP!” But, my demands were not met. At least not immediately. I dove into my husband’s chest with such force he fell back. I couldn’t be held tight enough.  Nothing could convince me the voices weren’t predicting me future.  Soon, not sure how soon, I would die.  I was willing to go back to bed, but not to go to sleep. I didn’t feel safe.  I sat straight up several times fearing I could hear him. My husband would just rub my back and I laid back down. Sleep finally came.

I think the idea of going to the crisis residential is for quick medication adjustments, as well as trained staff available 24 hours per day. I understand. However, I do not thrive in those types of environments. I tend to get overly anxious in new environments where I have to be social. This would be about 6 women living in a home for a short stay while contending with their mental health issues.  I did not handle this very same environment when I was trying to get sober. I had a terrible time fitting in and feeling comfortable.  Whereas at home, I have my own routines and my husband who knows me well and knows how to talk to me when these types of situations occur. Plus, these hallucinations only tend to last half an hour to an hour in length. Rarely 2 hours. The rest of the 24 hour day I am pretty good on my own, esp knowing my husband is available if I need him. I don’t want to sound foolish and minimize what is happening for me, it is very frightening and disturbing. It then becomes disheartening.  But, not to the point I need the level of supervision being recommended.

Honesty is the best policy. Or Honesty is the best medicine. Any way you slice it, I have to keep telling the truth. I have to talk about what is happening. I have to use my words to explain things in the exact way I remember them to be. The moment I shut down, all that I have falls apart. I fall apart.  I want to be in the getting better business. I’m tired of being sick.  I’m tired of hallucinations, delusions and paranoia taking over my life.  Even if it’s only for a few minutes, it’s too long. This road to recovery is the longest I can remember so far. Its painful and monumental at the same time.  My shoes are wearing thin. My mind is over tired. My cheeks cannot take another stream of tears. While this is all true and I feel the pain all the way down to my toes, I will still rise up tomorrow to face another day.