Today it’s too hard to navigate my marriage, my job, my cat, my house, my bills, and bipolar disorder. Thoughts flash: run! End it! Just cry it out! I start to plan all those things-pack a bag, grab all my medication & head to the bridge, snot all over myself. All this planning started from under the covers well past the time I was supposed to be at work. As I begged for continuous sleep far into the day, I found myself on the couch too soon. I have so many bottles of medication I haven’t taken. Kept promising myself I would turn them into my therapist or my psychiatrist, but secretly wanting the option for days like this.
My marriage is vulnerable right now. I’ve become too much. I no longer enhance this relationship. The words my husband is using today are sharp. Truth behind his pain. Pushed up against the wall he spouts them. Not to hurt me necessarily, but release himself. The burden that I am is heavy. He is strong. Maybe too strong for 18 years. He often tells me that I have no idea how all these episodes of depression, mania, suicide attempts, battles w the bottle affect him. Truly tear at him. Not only because it hurts to see a loved one in pain, but the insurmountable amount of powerlessness that follows for him. Sometimes feeling betrayed as I reach for the liquid courage instead of him. Sometimes confused why I fall into the dark abyss with no warning. Sometimes because emotions are simply too damn hard.
Its funny because on the inside I am proud of myself when I can be “normal” what I think of as a good wife. I wonder if he notices I’m doing well. I just keep on showing him, at least in my mind, how I’m trying to rise. But, its that day my smile isn’t as big. My silence is stronger. My demeanor changed that he notices. Yesterday he asked if I was feel down. At first I denied it and said I was just tired. After all we had a great start to the weekend. He asked me again a little while later and I decided to shake my head yes. His response reminds me how hard the roller coaster is from any seat. He said we will cancel plans for tomorrow because he doesn’t want to get me “started.” Tears. Instant tears. Started? Does this mean he truly doesn’t get me?
As the sun sparkled I went back to bed under the guise of a headache. Physical pain is easier to accept and has a cure in ibuprofen. I laid me down to sleep to escape. Escape disappointment. Escape depression. Escape having to perform.
The evening didn’t end so well. More truth hit the fan and sent daggers around the room. I yelled. He tried to ask me not to yell and I yelled more. Poor poor communication and coping skills. This is not the picture of a good wife. I excused myself back to bed at 7:45 pm hurt feelings in tow.
I think the trigger to all this is loneliness. I have no support system.i have no friends. More truth to pierce my soul. And where am I now? Alone on my couch in the middle of a Tuesday when I should be at work. It fills the room and I cannot breathe. But dammit I will not cancel those plans. Red eyed. Tired. Full of self hatred. I will smile and carry on.
I feel like I am a party of one dancing around the bigger party. I don’t know how to get in. Do I deserve to be in? Can I, we, lay the burden down?
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?
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?
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
This fragile soul
So wrapped up in shame
Lifeless under these covers
Begging for the darkness
Haunting memories cling
To her mind
Play and replay
Of her fall from grace
Of her loss of sanity
Not a shred of perspective
To her name
Muted as the burden
Of the damage done
Continually slaps her
Embarrassed red face
Self forgiveness. I understand this concept in a broader context. I don’t get it when having to relate to myself. A week after my destructive manic episode I’m still trying to pick up the pieces. Mostly I’m pissed off. How could I have done the things I did? How could I treat people the way I did? Again, conceptually I know I was sick and not in my right mind. But when bits of memories jolt me I am ashamed. It’s stings so deep. I don’t remember everything that happened. Almost everyday there is a new revelation. A new stinger inserted in my heart. A new shameful discovery.
Yesterday while visiting my primary doctor, he read me the psychiatrist notes from my brief ER stay. I almost lodged a complaint because I believed no pdoc bothered to talk to me. I was sure I could plead my case and avoid hospitalization if given a chance. Turns out I refused to talk to anyone. Stated I was being wrongfully judged based on past events. I was argumentative and agitated. Hospital bound. There was much more in those notes. I am mostly disturbed I have absolutely no recollection of this interaction. Rather at 4:30 am after arriving at midnight I demanded to know when I would speak to the doc. We spoke at 12:30am. So scary!
This whole disaster plays out in my mind..what I can remember of it. It’s hard for me to reconcile just how out there I really was. I can’t seem to forgive myself..for the phone calls, the worry I caused, my aggressive behavior & demeanor.
I’m supposed to start a new job on 4/18. I just don’t think I’m ready. My memory and recall is so extremely poor. Processing. Decision making. Forget it. I had to send a request to move my start date. I am so embarrassed and disappointed. Why did this have to happen? I don’t know how my future employer is going to respond.
The only way out is self forgiveness. I can’t even begin to know where to start. I try to breathe, but that’s a struggle. I guess I don’t know what self forgiveness truly is.
Dysphoric mania landed me in the back of a police car pleading not to be 5150’d. It was a helluva day on Tuesday. Come Wednesday morning I was shuffling in the halls of the psych hospital. I was full of shame and tears fell on their own accord. Here’s the story….
I’m not exactly sure when it started. Three or four nights of intense agitation that had me yelling at my husband, criticizing him for anything and everything. Then only moments later literally laying on the floor in complete despair. Moments later running around the house not able to figure out what to do w myself. I was supposed to go to Outpatient on Monday but couldn’t get out of bed.
Tuesday played out like a horrible nightmare. I got up begrudgingly around 8am. I was back in bed by 10:30am. I’m not sure if I slept or not, but emerged again at 12:30. I was feeling guilty about how unproductive I was. I remembered my husband’s request I move my clothes from one closet to another. So I launched in to this project. Somewhere in the midst of walking my clothes from one room to another, I got the brilliant idea to go to the beach. I don’t mean for an afternoon. I mean for a few days. My memory is quite fuzzy. I can only tell you what I think happened. I ran around the house filling a bag with necessities. I brought some meds, but not all. Forgot my birth control pills. Didn’t pack a jacket. Honestly I don’t know what I did remember to bring. I guess I left a window open at the house and our cat outside.
On the road within minutes of my brilliant decision. I think I was headed for Seaside, about 2.5 hours away. However, the freeway I actually landed on would not be how I normally go. I’m about 1.5 hours down the road and it dawns on me I don’t have a phone cord. I also forgot my wallet. My gas tank was getting low. I pull over in a restaurant parking lot that overlooks the bay. Moments upon exiting the car I proceed to crawl down the rocks that line the banks of San Francisco Bay. My shoes are in the water.
What I did next, I can only recall bits and pieces. I called a friend and yelled into the phone something along the lines of…I’m here at the banks of the bay. I’m sorry I’m not a better friend. Goodbye! I then hung up. I called my therapist, thanked her for trying to help me. Said Goodbye! Hung up the phone. Then called my husband. I told him it was meant to be that I am sitting on the banks of the bay. I loved him, but it was time to go. Hung up. I think I texted some people too.
What’s important here is that whenever I have a meltdown/breakdown I keep it a secret. Usually my husband is the only one who is privy to my falling apart. I will be hospitalized and not tell anyone. So, to be reaching out like this was certainly a sign something was very wrong.
Little did I know my husband had called the police. So had my friend. I had no choice but to return home as I had no money. Soon my cellphone would be dead. I raced home. I was convinced a white Chrysler 300 was following me despite the fact I was the only one changing lanes. I drove recklessly and too fast.
As I approached home, about 20 min out, I called my husband. I could tell by the way he was talking to me something was up. I just knew the police were at my house and there was going to be some kind of standoff. I accused him of conspiring against me. I refused to tell him where I was and hung up. For whatever reason I decided to pull over, maybe to figure out my next move. I don’t even think I was sitting in my car for 5 minutes when 2 police cars rolled up on me.
They asked me to get out of my car and I said I didn’t do anything wrong. They politely asked me again. As they put me in the back of the car my husband appeared. The police officer at our home drove him to get my car. I was crying hysterically and apologizing to the officer for wasting his time. They took me to the crisis clinic.
At the crisis clinic I became very agitated. I was yelling and making demands. I was insulting people. The crisis counselor said she did not feel comfortable releasing me. I told her she didn’t even know me. My husband agreed with her and said the way I was acting was not me. He was also concerned. There you have it. The 72 hour hold started.
It wasn’t until the next day, talking to my husband on the phone at the hospital did I learn of what I did. Who I called. What I said. I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t believe I reached out to all those people. I don’t reach out. I keep my bipolar disorder pretty private. I felt like I had created wreckage from my manic episode. I felt so guilty I put people in the position of needing to call the police.
When I left the house, I had no intention of hurting myself. Had I remembered my wallet I could have bought a new phone cord. I could have made it to the beach. Had I taken my IPad, my husband would not have been able to locate me. Its such a strange day when I look back on it.
I am constantly humbled by bipolar disorder. In the past, I have known myself when it’s time to seek out the hospital. On this day, I truly didn’t know. Being driven away in the back of a police car, not even sure why. It was very scary. Its still scary when I think about it.
I lay here curled under the covers at 1pm. Motionless I stare at the curtain blocking the world out. Sometimes I think it ripples feeling the breeze against the window. The overnight rain has subsided but I guess there’s more to come. The dark cloud of depression has settled itself in my room. Stretching out. Getting comfortable. The air feels thinner now. It’s a struggle to breath. In fact, everything is a struggle.
This thick veil of blankets used to weigh me down. But in this moment I think it’s my very existence causing undue pressure. I repeat over and over how sorry I am. Sorry for the burden I’ve become. The trouble I seem to cause. The constant worry you shoulder. The fear of not knowing who I’m going to be when you arrive home: angry or agitated or manic or depressed. Or worse yet,cycling through them all.
My voice 12 octaves higher signaling I’m manic. Not to mention all the projects I’ve started in the last 8 hours. Honey! Honey I wrote a song today. It’s really good. You are going to like it. Racing around w paint in my hair. Look at the colors in this. I don’t know how I did it. Came out great, right?
My lifeless body on the couch. Can barely muster a hello. Can’t muster a how was your day dear. This is where I was when you left this morning. No, I haven’t eaten. I’m just not hungry. No I didn’t shower again, I’m so tired.
The echo throughout the house of my rage shakes the pictures. Scares the cat. Nothing you say is right. I’m not fucking hungry alright. Leave it alone. Why don’t you cook once in a while for gods sakes! I clean and I clean and look at this mess. I don’t know why I bother.
You wipe away the never ending tears fielding my questions: what happened? I was doing everything right. I mean, wasn’t I? I’m a good person, aren’t I? I don’t mean to be this way, cause so much pain. I don’t understand. Why now? Why? I don’t think I can live like this anymore
The many faces of bipolar.
I feel so lost. So confused. Unraveling. Tears and more tears fall unanswered. Just hours before I was sitting tall espousing on how I was going to really help turn the agency I’m going to work for around. With my working knowledge of both systems, I was just the right person for the job. Yet, hours later I’m pacing around hysterical. Yelling at my husband..I really don’t remember about what. Feeling so out of control.
Thoughts of suicide careen around in my mind. Pure chaos takes over. Demands that I take a PRN to help calm down feel like daggers. I don’t know why. Its the right suggestion. Its a good idea. But I kick, yell and scream about how unfair this all is. Poor poor me.
Our frustrations hang in the air and wrestle with our unspoken words. Everything hurts. What you say. What you don’t say. The darkness I can see coming for me. The relentless noise in my head. What am I doing wrong I shout! I’m a good person I insist! Apologies fly out of my mouth laced with fear. Please don’t give up on me. I’m so sorry. I know you deserve better. I want to give you better but I’m all tied up. Bipolar disorder has me in knots. Angry knots. If only I could untangle myself. Then. Then I could just end it all. Now, that’s a good idea.
Finally, red faced and ashamed I slink off to bed. The tornado of emotions has passed. I didn’t see it coming. Seems lately I never do. No capacity for self awareness. I lay my head on my pillow and ask for forgiveness. I do not wish to be a storm in our lives. I really don’t!
Its true. I have a mental illness. To be exact: bipolar disorder. When we first met I was euphoric. Invincible. Insatiable. We ate. We drank. Drank some more. The sex was amazing. In the park. In an elevator. In the backseat. My entire high school and college career I never exhibited this kind of behavior. Maybe I had finally found myself. Maybe I had never been in love. Maybe I never realized I was manic. Actually, I didn’t know that was even a symptom.
I remember our first “fight.” You threw my keys down the street in frustration. I was drunk. Very drunk and emotional. Okay, distraught and out of control. You had to call the police, despite my tearful pleas. Only 4 months in, we were still getting to know each other. Im still shocked you visited me in the hospital. You must have chosen me at this point.
We found freedom and further love when they let me loose nearly two weeks later. Music festivals. Sleeping in your van by the ocean. You had no money to spare. Lucky for us I had a savings account. I gladly, so gladly, swiped my first ATM card. Lucky in love.
Time passed. My moods alternated from love to hate to pack your bags to move in. My red hair and freckles swayed you every time. Something about me made you choose me. I was loyal. Free spirited. Rather innocent. Quite adventurous.
But riddled with issues. Some in the forefront: bulimia and depression. Others later to be revealed: bipolar and anxiety. Still you chose me.
We’re married now. Sometimes I sink into the couch. Sometimes I roar from the rooftops. Sometimes you bring me extra clothes in the hospital. You carry me more than I carry you. I do my absolute best when I can. You are a torch. I’m sure I don’t say that enough. You are a torch. My tether. When it’s dark you are crawling to find me. Even when I don’t want to be found. You still choose me.
Truth be told I always chose you. You understood me like no one else. Had patience for me like no one else. Reached into me and saw beyond the “issues.” Sat patiently as they checked me out of rehab or out of the hospital. There you were, in the waiting room, choosing me.
Gosh, its only 18 years later. You didn’t waiver as my anxiety over a new job prospect reared its ugly head. Panic attacks. Nightmares. Bursts of tears. Or my intermittent friend insomnia. The loop of obsessions fueling my extreme self doubt and fear. You sat patiently and listened, reminding me I’ll be okay. It will all be okay.
We chose this life together. When we met, I had no idea I would later be diagnosed w bipolar disorder. Experience psychosis and have multiple hospitalizations. I didn’t know how much pain and fear I would cause you. I, we, didn’t know a lot things about a lot of things. But, somehow you knew you wanted to be with me. Through it all. You are still here. We are still here.
Some days I battle this illness alone. Withdrawn. Isolating. But always, you let me know you are still here. Willing to battle with me.