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

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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.

Relationship 101

Why are relationships so hard? I feel so very confused much of the time. What is my place? Where do I fit in the scheme of the relationship? Do I really matter? Do I have too many expectations? What is my role in the madness?  How long do I stay?  Am I just being a coward?  Am I actually standing up for myself.  Should I let more things go?

I am not a person who has a large social network. Rather, it is quite non-existent.  The circle has always been small by design, but now It’s hardly a circle. I feel safer and less confused this way. But oh so terribly lonely as well.  My husband is great. He’s my best friend. But there are times I need someone else to talk to, spend time with.  I joined a kickboxing class as a social activity. I suppose it can be labeled as such because there are several people involved, none of which I actually talk to. I may smile in acknowledgement, here we are again.  No lasting relationships will come out of my participating. I am  torching some calories, so that is a plus.  Also, its an hour I actually find I am out of my head. Jumping around to techno music for an hour, trying to follow moves and hear the instructor over the blaring volume is humorous.  I’m no slouch, I give it my all. I came to play.

Two relationships in my life are precarious right now. I don’t know if that’s my fault or anyone’s fault. Maybe it just is.  But, once again I do not understand why.  One fellow was a part of my Depression in Sobriety meeting and probably the first person I totally and completely opened up to after my diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I dropped heavy bombs of emotion, suicidal plans, paranoia, psychosis, hospitalizations in a rather short time. He took it. He held it. He held me.  I could say anything to him and he would not flinch.  He would be there with me and remind me to breath. There were other times I would sit at his house for hours crying not able to say a word. Not one word. I was so distraught and bowled over.  He just let me be.  He never once tried to change me.  During a most recent mixed manic episode I took off to the beach. I was feeling quite depressed and suicidal.  I swore to my husband I was not going to hurt myself.  He begrudgingly “let” me go.  Before I would not tell a soul and once I arrived let you know.  I had made progress.

My friend texted me and wanted to know where I was.  At that moment, no joke, my phone froze. I couldn’t send a text message out. I tried several times, so several minutes went by. Once I turned it completely off for a few minutes it seemed to come back to its senses.  So, I sent the text of my location as I was not hiding from him.  He was upset with me it took me so long to get back to him. He told me it made him uncomfortable that he asked a question and I took my time to answer.  I got angry at this point. My yelling text replied, I did fucking tell you!  My texts would not go through. Its not my fault. I think some other words were exchanged until he halted communication.   That was 2 months ago.  The next thing I know I am getting a text from him letting me know our friend hung himself. No conversation around it. Just passing on information I guess.  I don’t know what to think. Maybe he’s processing. Maybe he felt obligated to let me know and wants to leave it at that. I don’t know.  Here I am confused. How do these friendships work? I don’t want to try too hard. I don’t want to seem like I care all that much. I had resigned myself that I needed to move on.  But, the truth is: of course I fucking care.  I have shared so many intimate moments with this man.  Plus, I just fucking care! Period.

He reached out this morning to say hello and ask how I am doing, just like old times.  He used to do that everyday.  I feel like the incident at the beach changed things.  Maybe that was the moment he no longer had patience.  The moment he decided I am too much.  The moment he decided the friendship wasn’t serving him anymore.  I don’t know if I will ever know as I am afraid to ask. I don’t want to upset an already upset apple cart.  But. My heart hurts. There is a hole he used to fill. For better or worse.  We bonded. We shared secrets.  We shared pain. We shared triumph no matter how big or small.  We shared space in a way I have never felt before.  Knowing it was difficult to express myself verbally, he encouraged me to write. I began writing for his blog a few years ago. It really gave me a voice and an outlet as I am quite an emotional being.  Then all the sudden, he stopped posting what I sent him. I obliged and stopped sending what I wrote. Eventually I started my own blog.  He is now asking for the address.  For some reason I am hesitant to give it to him. I’m not sure I want him to see that far into me anymore.  We are like driftwood in a slow moving river, occasionally bumping into each other, which then just sets us further apart.  He is asking.  But, why is he asking? I shared something I wrote about our friend that committed suicide a few days ago.  That sparked his desire to see the blog for some reason.  I am not ashamed, I can say that.  What I can’t label is whether its vulnerability, anger or wanting to protect myself.

My other friend can become a ghost as well.  She has drifted out of my life for years at a time. Her initial disappearance was upsetting, as I believed her to be a close friend.  But, I would settle into life without her.  It was almost to the point where she was never really a part of my life. Then poof she would reappear. She would find a way to come back into our lives. She is a woman of many moving parts.  She is intellectual. She is spiritual. She loves to laugh. She loves to dance.  She tries to honor the present moment.  She too can hold your emotion.  She can hold some of the darkness I carry. She professes to have darkness of her own and therein an inherent understanding is born.  She can be Jekyll and hyde. She can accuse you of not being spontaneous enough.  She is afraid to mark things on her calendar too far in advance.  I get the feeling she is afraid of missing out on other opportunities, so likes to “keep it open.”  What is subtle at first is her selfishness.  Trying to make plans for dinner, I may suggest a place I think would be great, only to be trumped by somewhere she rather go.  If I say let’s go east, she will say nah, how about west. One day she is fun loving and full of positive energy. The next day she is shrouded in the mire of her own mind and can barely come down to earth to be with you.  I don’t fault her for that, as I can easily be the same way.

We are 40 years old.  We are in a time of taking responsibility for self.  She doesn’t always seem to do that.  If I am rude or act out inappropriately, I have to own that.  Even if under the guise of bipolar disorder, those were my actions.  Events over the course of the last few weeks have left me feeling like she doesn’t truly think of others.  She arrives, takes off her jacket in dramatic fashion, and then the night begins.  No matter the night had already begun by all intents and purposes.

Maybe I do have expectations. Maybe I’m not allowing her to be who she is.  But, what if that, the supposed being who she is, is infringing upon who I am? Are you confused, because I am.  The tough part is when she mosey’s back into my life for a short time, I begin to like having her there.  I begin to trust again. I believe she is in it for us, as friends.  Ultimately I am left disappointed.  Sometimes, I don’t think she sees an “us”, more a her and them.   Is being a them okay with me?  Should I just roll with that premise, knowing it will probably change at some point.

My relationships right now are fucked up.  But, I’m fucked up too.  So, shouldn’t I fit into the equation somehow.  Doesn’t A+B=C.  I don’t remember having this hard a time with friendships as a young adult. Maybe it was easier because we were all partying and living it up.  The real stuff, the shit storm of life, wasn’t upon us yet.  I don’t know where I belong. If I belong. If I want to belong.  I do know I am lonely. My house is cold and lonely.  The big bad world is cold and lonely.  The road I have travelled, my journey, has been traumatic as of late. A good friend would not only lighten my load, but allow me to  get out of my own head and be there for them as well.

Maybe I need to redefine my definition of friend.  Maybe I need more than people can give.  Maybe I don’t deserve to be here.  Maybe I’m the selfish one. So many maybe’s just fuel the confusion.