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.
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.
Having a mood disorder
When energy is low
Face is withdrawn
Language is sparse
When energy is good
Projects are complete
House is clean
Polaroid comes out for the moon
Vivid words used to describe
The actual moment at hand
Are you moving fast
Or is it just me?
I don’t fucking know
I’m over here just feeling
For a change
Pardon me for trying
Not merely survive
Slashing this pale freckled skin
Tearing at my own flesh
With red speckled hands
Down to the marrow
Down to the core
Where my soul is housed
I can only hope
The sacred window into myself
Has not closed
After the mania
After the depression
After the psychosis
I have lost sight of
Who I am
Through the looking glass
I see remnants
Of a past self
Through the mirror
I see remnants
Of a current self
Through the truth of dreams
I see remnants
Of a future self
Through the chaos of the kaleidoscope
The melded remnants leave me
With no foundation to build upon
I hide away in a cocoon of blankets under the guise of a headache. But its depression that lures me here in the light of day. Depression snuggles next to me at first. Gives me time to get comfortable. Flipping and flopping. I’ve only been awake for 4 hours of the day. I guess I’m tired. I mean I feel exhausted but doubt sleep will afford me any true rest. Isolation is likely what I crave. No forced smiles or laughs.
Yesterday it took everything I had to leave the house to see one of my favorite bands. I have been waiting to see them for months. Over dinner my husband tried to pry out of me what’s wrong. The only answer I have is, I don’t know. Sometimes there isn’t a reason. I mumbled I think I have to take time off work. He asked me if I was going to hurt myself. Again my answer I don’t know. We ate in silence for a while as those words loomed over our table. I excused myself and took several moments in the restroom to let the tears run free.
We made our way to the music. The band said “this is the last night of the tour so we are going to let it all out and leave it all here. After several songs passed me by, I finally let the music take me as if I too was letting it all out. Stomping my feet, shaking my hips, singing the words. I felt like I was there. In the moment. Relishing the sounds and what it was doing to my body. No thoughts. No anxiety. One with crowd. Just another fan full of delight. But, then I burst into tears out of nowhere. A flood of forsaken anguish about what..I don’t know. I was dizzy and couldn’t breathe. I fell backwards into my husband who held me up. He took my hand and led me to a chair. He gave me as much time as I needed. I covered my face. Then my ears. Looked at him w eyes brimming with tears.
I felt betrayed. Heartbroken. I thought I was doing all the right things. Staring bipolar disorder in the face. I guess he got the last laugh because I had to leave. Get fresh air. Get home to my cocoon.
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
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
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.
I’m trying to be strong. If that means immersing myself in breakfast burritos,television and booze i am superwoman. Curtains closed. Pajamas on. No shower for 4 days. Didn’t leave the house for 4 days. Calling in sick. Believing I am sick. Tissues not for a cold but the steady stream of unwanted tears.
But,then I look in that mirror while brushing my teeth, trying to rid myself of depression stench, I am broken. Red swollen eyes peering back at me. I want to avert my eyes and embrace the pain at the same time. The darkness is here. Taken over. I am swept downstream into the proverbial pit in a matter of days. Maybe it was hours. I don’t even know. Does it really matter? I have come to rest in the mud and mire. Couldn’t move if I wanted to. Muffled screams, cries for help. No one can hear you down here. Devil got my tongue and pride.
Denial is like a tattoo, etched into my being. Its okay. I’m alright. Just breathe. Shake it off. Nothing to see here. I’m only drowning in my own fears. My own half truths. Depression whispers in my ear. You don’t belong. Burden. Weakness oozing from your pores. Look at you, pathetic sole rippling in agony. Why? For what? You’ve got a car. House. Job. Husband. Please. Many other people have it hard. Are struggling. If you killed yourself the world would carry on without a doubt. These whispers become roars. I cower in the corner.
Half truths. I do feel like a burden. I do worry I am too much. My weakness bleeds into my job, my marriage. I’m not present. Always battling that devil. He’s got not only my tongue, but my ear. Nonsense filtering into my heart. Adrenaline of hate seeps into my psyche. I could pull the trigger so easily in these moments. I picture it. I embody it.
But, I don’t. The television roars. The doorbell sings of pizza. Distraction. Pleasant or unpleasant somehow keeps me here. The good guys on tv prevail. Maybe, so can I. Trivial, yes. But I takes what it takes. The grim reaper may be lurking, but I might just be stronger than I think.
Depression is beating me down. I’m not sure I can get up. I’m not even sure I want to if I could. The cold tile floor is somehow soothing to my broken skin. I laid in bed for hours, exhausted. Beyond exhausted and sleep would not come. I tried to make a cup of tea and It slipped through my hands. Instant breakdown landed me face to face with earl grey. No more energy to spare to pull myself up I lingered, drenched from wicked emotional unrecognizable sobs. Thats a lie. Bipolar depression is no stranger.
As the clocks fell back so did my stamina, interest, desire, and purpose. Just a little more lifeless each day. Put my husband on a plane last night. Out from under my mask, I thought I could breathe easier. Take a load off. My body is so heavy. My breath shallow and forced. Voices echo from the corner of the room. I don’t want to be here anymore.
I can’t do this again. I can’t face another winter like this. I shout its not fair, but the words dissipate before they can be heard. No matter. No one is here to witness my disintegration. To stop it. To help me stop it. Earl and I on the floor alone. Again and again.
WordPress sent me an anniversary note. Wow! One year of blogging. On my very own blog! I started out writing for my friends blog because at the time I was pretty ill and couldn’t fathom managing a blog myself. It seemed too big. Too overwhelming. Too much responsibility. Of course I had no idea what I was talking about. It was just fear standing in my way. When my friend said he was done with his site I had to make a decision. Write and share w no one or enter the blogosphere. I also had to lower my expectations.
I often think my blog should be fancier. Post pictures or have a better theme. Be more eye catching. Glamorous. Amazing. But, really it’s my words that I want to stand out. That’s my soul purpose here…written expression. Keeping it simple is more my style. I’m not really fancy in any other area of my life. Or graceful for that matter. I’ve considered maybe my writing is too dark. Too disturbing. I don’t tread lightly in choosing my words. I lay it out in my terms, terms that really speak to this roller coaster. From the demons of depression to the heightened senses of mania, I tell it like I feel it. When I don’t know what I’m feeling, equate to being lost…confused, I try to put a voice to it as best I know how.
I first wrote in 2013 following a trip to the bridge w a plan to jump. I agonized on that day. A flood of disillusionment. Spinning in circles. Then looking down upon frigid open waters I was convinced would bring me peace. All I wanted was inner peace from the all consuming chaos. I spinned some more. Ultimately I reached out to my friend and landed in the hospital. He asked me what that day was like. When I stammered to tell him, welling up with tears and oozing anxiety, he suggested I write it down. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.
I often locked myself away in my room during high school years writing poems of despair. I grew up in an emotionally unavailable household. I took to pen and paper to express myself because my verbal communication was never heard. When I was about 14 or 15 I was shutdown completely by my mother. In desperate teenage angst, I reached out to her and she slapped my hand away. Up went the wall. Out came the paper.
So, really I have been writing for quite some time. But, my words, thoughts and feelings were never shared. Never allowed much less accepted. In the tumultuous dance of life with bipolar disorder, I need somewhere to go. To express. To feel unconditionally. I suppose I could do that in my therapist’s office. There is just something to the freedom of this blog. Its open 24 hours a day and free. It allows me to be me in any context. Footloose and fancy free.
Happy anniversary to me!