Am I A Slave to Time?

The passing of time
Is not flawless
Minutes on the hour
Can be torturous
The ticking in the air
Is never serendipitous
The movement of my hand
Or a voice incredulous
Changes wavelengths
Can contort heart rates
Its when the sunshine dissipates
Darkness encroaches
And sometimes sets fate
That I am most afraid
Fear my breath is stolen
Depression lingers and waits
For if my guard sets down
The devil somehow anticipates
My weakened and fragile state
The clock on the mantle
The watch on my wrist
Simultaneously dictates
The very existence I emulate
Much to my dismay
The second hand has now
Made me a slave
I cannot count the seconds
Left in my life
But clearly
By all accounts
They are for whatever reason
Keeping me alive





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

Grim Reaper is Lurking

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.

A Year of Chronicles

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!

We are Worth It

I could no longer handle the emotional pain.  The swells of sadness, agitation, anxiety threatened to take me away.  I had to pick up that phone and ask for help.  I knew exactly who to call. I knew the exact number to dial. Yet, I didn’t make a move. I sat paralyzed on my couch with a soaked pajama shirt stained from tears.  The outpatient program I have attended several times following a hospitalization has always maintained and open door policy for me.  I have never been the one to call to ask for help. I have never been able to halt the episodes off at the pass.  Here is my opportunity, why am I not calling?

I choked back more tears as I left a message. I explained I needed more structure. I was falling apart. I was impulsive and scared.  I could barely utter the words, not functioning since the suicide of my friend. I was spirally pretty quick and knew it. I could no longer do this alone.

The reason I was “alone” at this point was because I had a return to work date. I was set free from outpatient to get my affairs in order and attend groups in the evening.  These would be the same groups available to me while working. I did pretty well the first week. I got up at the same time as if I was working with the plan to workout. So I got up about 5:30. I was keeping pace with the things I wanted to get accomplished. I would schedule my day with activities but not overload myself. I was fairly successful.  But, by the second week I was getting up so my husband would see, but then immediately go back to bed once he left for work, and typically sleep til noon. I was no longer keeping the house clean. I wasn’t really showering. The working out also fell off.

When I received the text message about my friend I had a hard time believing it.  The person who texted me was also in the Depression in Sobriety group with us.  He and I were good friends, til we weren’t. I think I lost him in a manic episode.  So, it was sent to me as news.  There was no discussion.  I had to sit with this information by myself. I really had no one to call.  My husband didn’t know the man.  But, in reality, I didn’t know how to talk about it anyway.  What could I say other than, I can’t fucking believe it! It took about 2 days before it really knocked the wind out of my sails.

On this day, the day I pick up the heaviest phone to call for help I was having intrusive thoughts of harming myself.  I gave into these notions the previous night.  I put myself in a dangerous position. I was so overwhelmed with emotion it was like I didn’t know any other way to contain myself.  The drive to end the pain was so high I couldn’t control it.  The same feeling crashed into me as I sat with the phone. Once I finally spoke my truth and asked if I could return to the safe haven, I was able to channel my energy into working out.  I don’t know how. I just know I did. While doing so, a message was left for me saying of course I could come back.  She also added she was so glad I reached out.

The following day I walked down the hallowed hall I had walked down only weeks prior. I admitted I felt like I was on a slippery slope.  I was already sinking, but the news of my friend took me under. I was the one who made the decision to end my participation in the depression in sobriety group, knowing it could mean the group would fall apart.  Not because I am so important, but because a meeting can hardly survive on 4 people, much less 3. I somehow think its my fault. Perhaps if I had stayed the course, stayed in the meeting for others, wasn’t so selfish he would still be with us.  He always said how safe he felt at our meeting. It was the only place he could really be himself without judgement. I think the meeting provided that for all of us.  However, I was growing less comfortable.  I could feel myself not wanting to attend.  It has always been the philosophy of AA that there are many meetings, so if you don’t like one you can certainly find another.  Maybe it was just time for me to go.  It happens all the time.  But why, oh why, did it have to happen this way.

As the day progressed I became increasingly depressed. I was feeling quite suicidal. I felt broken beyond repair. Bipolar disorder had really thrown me around this time. Between the psychosis for nearly 2 months, 3 med changes, depression, my friend’s suicide I was feeling done.  I was hearing voices that whispered, it should be you.  I was having nightmares in the midnight hour and hallucinations by day. I no longer had any strength or desire to carry on. I didn’t disagree with the voices. I am terribly disappointed in myself that I did not reach out to my friend once I left that meeting.  What kind of friend does that make me? I knew his struggle. I walked his walk.  Yet, I just sorta dropped out.  Out of sight out of mind.  I was so lost in myself I didn’t make time for others. This is not the person I want to be. This is not the person I used to be.

Sitting at my kitchen table I felt myself to be in a precarious mindset. Husband not home. No one would know for quite some time if I just took one too many pills.  If I made a quick drive and a quick jump off the bridge. So many thoughts swirling in my mind. Feeling alone. Feeling desperate.  Feeling tired.  I don’t remember picking up the phone. I do remember saying something into the receiver.  I do remember breaking down as I spoke. I hung up the phone knowing I left a message, not knowing if I would get a return call or if I wanted one.

The return call came about 20 minutes later.  I could not answer it. I just stared at my phone as it rang. I didn’t think I could talk. I didn’t know what to say. I love the therapist I chose to call. He is so kind and calm and caring. I have known him for several years as he runs the outpatient program.  His words to me were, please call me back I really want to talk to you.  I did not call him back.  But an hour later he called me again.  This time I answered.  He was very concerned about me and the level of suicidal thinking I was displaying. I don’t remember much of the conversation, but I remember saying how complicated everything felt.  Here I am completely torn up about my friend and the pain it was causing me, his suicide was eating me up.  In response I am thinking about suicide because I can’t handle the pain.  What about my husband?  Exactly!  I would never want to hurt him or cause him pain, but I can’t endure the pain I am feeling.  “Its so fucking complicated!” I yelled into the phone. He softly answered, I know.  He told me I was really riding the edge and he was inclined to call 911.  I told him I had plans in just a little while for the rest of the evening with my husband. I promised to follow through.  He reluctantly agreed and said, alright. I will see you bright and early Monday morning.

Just when I think I can’t go on. Just when the voices draw me in enough I listen. I do somehow find some strength to carry on. I pick up the 500lb phone and make an important call to save my life. I did that.  This journey is full of ups and downs for anyone.  Just by virtue of being alive its challenging.  Folks with mental illness face mountains and cliffs sometimes. I know I do.  The will to stay tends to be greater than the will to leave, despite the recent loss of my friend.  I just have to surrender and believe.  We have to believe we are worth it.