Days Like This

I suppose there are “days like this” for everyone.  It can be relative.  What deeply affects me, rolls right off you.  And vice versa.  As my mind tries to scramble together the answers…how did this happen again?  I was so diligent..so vigilant..so mindful..so…..

I am frozen on the couch.  I have no answers.  I chew on my nails.  My legs bounce around full of anxiety and fear.  The tears, just behind these blue eyes, hover in anticipation of the fall.  Too many thoughts and surely the visible pain will be seen.  Trying ever hard to keep it together. 

Not thinking. Over thinking. Just breathing.  Looking out the window, searching for something to see.  Something else to feel.  Distraction must be the key.  As the wind tousles the trees, and I can hear dogs barking down the street, I attempt to lose myself in sounds of life.  Life outside of me. 

Replays of the last conversation w one of My favorite people. Really, my best friend. Rattles my mind.  The one uncomplicated relationship has somehow entered the realm of complication.  In just a matter of minutes, emotionally charged extra long seconds, things now feel weird. Uncomfortable. Disappointing. Sad. 

I’m not afraid of honest apology. I am afraid of confrontation. Afraid someone important to me will stop loving me at any moment. Because I’m an alcoholic. Because I have bipolar disorder. Because sometimes I’m irrational, over emotional, and so damn sensitive.  But, this is all part of who I am.  

I was recently discussing the idea of redemption. For me, this translates into regaining trust w my husband.  Trust I have shattered too often in the past year.  First it was a devastating manic episode, which I will never forget.  But, really it’s about my picking up the bottle to solve problems, knowing it most likely will cause problems. That part I conveniently forget. 

Stepping whole heartily into recovery; be it from alcohol, binge eating, gambling, or mental illness can be scary. Intimidating. Exhilarating. Freeing.  Though, one never knows when, if, or how those feelings may come about.  Trusting in the process.  Trusting in self. A personal redemption of sorts can feel simultaneously completely out of reach and infinitely possible.  Depends on the day. The amount of willingness available.  Perhaps which step is being taken. Literally and figuratively.  

I acknowledge I am powerless. I believe A power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. What I feel I need to do next is relax.  Step back even. Not try so hard to conquer whatever beast I think is in front of me. Real or perceived. Be it the jobs I’m Interviewing for, the complications I may have had a hand in, wanting so badly to understand how to turn it all over, and just being a better person.  

Phew. It’s a long road. Learning to not be so hard on myself.  Not attaching myself to the outcome. Reaching out.  Being grateful my arm extends into the air unexpectedly sometimes. Most of all, opportunities to make things right are all possible. IF I’m open enough to just let things happen. 

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IF I…

If I had big dreams
what would they be?
If I could say anything to you
What would I say?
If I could hold your hand forever
How hard would I squeeze?
If I cry into your shoulder
Would you lean into me?

If my story were being told
Would you listen?
If my heart was broken
Could you mend it?
If I asked for forgiveness
Would you give it?
If I told you I am bipolar
Would you stay?

We Are Broken

Its a cause for letting go
Your hand no longer fits mine
I’ve lost the sense of comfort
When you call my name
Special connection once so binding
Now severed at its core
Two persons passing
Is all that we are
Shadows in the same room
Crawling up a different wall
Laughter barely a rumble
Replies with a half smile
What we have yet to admit
Is we are broken

And then there was ONE

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?

The Chosen One

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.

Downward spiral

Tomorrow I am going to walk into my place of employment for 17 years and give notice.  I’ve been negotiating a position w a vendor for a month or so.  I have the opportunity to work part time for a little while.  I’m hoping this will help my mental health.  I received the job offer on Friday.  I’m in a bit of a depressive spiral and can’t find the joy in the news. Thank goodness I get some time off between jobs.

My marriage feels off. Sometimes it’s like we are best friends holding hands while walking on air. Other times it feels like we are two razors nipping at each other. Each little cut stings.  I think for me, it’s ten times worse.  I can’t sleep. I worry I’m a burden.  Then I begin to think he is much better off without me.

Ive been unable to write lately. I stare at my blinking cursor on the empty page. I got nothing.  I have lost all motivation and interest. I just sit on the couch and stare.  My only real desire is to sleep.  I’m not exercising. I’m not eating healthy.  I feel like a sloth.

Blah blah blah

Madly….Deeply

Chocolate and flowers are not the way into this girls heart. Don’t get me wrong, some decadent dark chocolate and fiery red roses are welcome, but no substitute for deep sincere love.
I’ve experienced “puppy love.” In college I was sure I met the (young)man of my dreams. He was smart, handsome and innocent. He was driven. Broke as hell. Determined to become a doctor. He was so many things I simply wasn’t. My yang. Best of all, he didn’t drink, which left all the alcohol for me and a guaranteed designated driver. Its the little things.
I’ve experienced “unrequited love.” After my puppy love suddenly, out of nowhere, moved out I was broken. Messy. Probably desperate. I latched onto more than a few men but they couldn’t carry my weight. I fell and they watched in dismay. Often saying, “but we just met…” For some reason, these particular men seemed not to appreciate my quick affinity. My ability to throw everything aside. Afford loyalty before trust. As each one walked away, I was more and more confused. Doesn’t everyone want love?
Looking back, I slowly discovered I didn’t really know what love meant. In my formative years, love wasn’t free or forthcoming. It was earned. Straight A’s, for example, gained high favor. Loss of a high school tennis match led to shame. Expression of teenage angst got a wagging of the finger. If I pleased you, the payoff was love. But, then again, not really. Doesn’t everyone deserve love?
Today, I am “madly, deeply loved” by my best friend and husband. I believe I “deeply, madly love” him in return. Its messy. Ugly. Beautiful. Meaningful. Paramount. And above all else, sincere. Nothing is off limits. I yell. Slam doors. Cook dinner. Check the mail. Bring laughter. Be of good cheer. Have anxiety attacks. Have manic moments, depressive weeks and the love can still carry me. This intimacy is immense and binds us in a way I have never known. The warmth and tenderness that permeates the air we breathe no matter what, brings new meaning. Ushers in a whole new understanding of what love truly is. At least for me.

Funny thing…Bipolar disorder

Funny thing
Having a mood disorder
When energy is low
Face is withdrawn
Language is sparse
Duh, depression
But..
When energy is good
Fluid even
Projects are complete
House is clean
Polaroid comes out for the moon
Vivid words used to describe
The actual moment at hand
I’m asked…
Are you moving fast
Or is it just me?
Gee.
I don’t fucking know
I’m over here just feeling
Pretty
Damn
Great
For a change
Pardon me for trying
To
Just live
Not merely survive

You & I

The ties that bind
Unravel before my eyes
Your ring now rests
In some side drawer
Our once love swelled dialogue
Reduced to matter of fact
You keep later hours
Always briefcase in tow
Exhausted from office politics
No desire for in house drama
I keep earlier hours
The need for sleep paramount
Box of tissues in tow
Exhausted from the dance
Of mental illness and
Relationships

So Painfully Aware

There are many things i am painfully aware of, but have finally allowed to rest in the background. Until of course…a trigger. Its no secret I am an introvert. Masterful isolationist. Harbor secrets. Harbor despair. Have great difficulty opening up sooner rather than later. Sure, there are times I can’t fulfill my commitments. There are times that I don’t answer my phone. Long moments that crash into even longer moments where I lose my voice. Silent I sit and stare into nothingness, all the while the voice in my head is tearing me to shreds. No need to plead the fifth here. I am guilty of all the above.
i try so hard to forge friendships. I am thoughtful and kind. I’m attentive as much as I can be. I send texts just to say..thinking about you. If you had a bad day yesterday, most likely i will check to see how you are today. I try to make you laugh on any given day. I can be quite funny sometimes. I listen. I empathize. I encourage you to lean on me. So, what’s wrong with me that I have no friends? Seriously. Honestly. I have co-workers that I really like, and seem to like me inside the hours of 9-5. But, past that, I am alone. Before the point is made that my husband cares for me and is of invaluable support, i’ll just agree wholeheartedly. Without him, i wouldn’t still be here to write this.
So, today I am once again painfully aware. My husband leaves for his annual east coast trip to New York in just about 2 weeks. I gently stated to him his family causes me too much stress and I would prefer to stay home. I would be dishonest in this context not to admit that staying home alone for a week is also quite stressful for me. The obvious solution is to gather up my support network. Make plans to stay busy. Not completely isolate the entire week and either turn to booze, sleep the time away, or the worst case..swallow all my pills to just end all matters. You have to have friends to form a support network. If i understood what fatal flaw keeps me from bridging this gap, I would fix it. Are some people just meant for more of a lonely life?
My younger self had a consistent, yet small, circle of people I could call upon. I had a short stint in AA in my mid 30’s and had a sponsor and a few key characters that helped me stay sober. However, once I slipped into the land of bipolar and several subsequent hospitalizations, those people lost interest. Granted, my ability to be consistent in anyone’s life was diminished. Whatever the reason, I am no longer in touch with them. I was alone when I drank. Now I’m alone in sobriety with a cruel mental illness.
These are not new revelations. Its the truth of the situation. I care about people. I want connections. Even better if they could be meaningful. Here I sit writing anonymously to the cyber universe. Sharing what i have been unable to share thus far. Like I said, generally I can push it aside, its just that today I am painfully aware.