Let’s talk about reaching out

Let’s talk about reaching out. More importantly my seemingly inability to do so. I have been in the social services profession for over half my life. My sole purpose is to be there when others reach out to me. I can attest to the relief it can bring for the other person. The so-called burden has an opportunity to be lifted by the very virtue of sharing with someone else. Releasing what’s typically rolling around in the “wrong neighborhood” of the mind can be cathartic.

Armed with this information and actually witnessing it to be true, you’d think I would jump at the chance to fill someone’s ear with my stuff. Not the case. Well, not entirely accurate. The idea of this prospect is wonderful. Unleashing the demons that constantly plague me would be so beneficial. But, knowing this is not enough. Speaking my truth is so scary and difficult, I prefer to hide behind my written words. I mean conveying my pain in some form or fashion is helpful. But, again, not enough. Realistically, some days all I’m able to do is furiously type on this computer and hope to be brave enough to send it out into cyberspace.

What is this fear? Fear of being a burden. Misunderstood. Unable to express what ails my mind, body and soul. The questions you might ask to clarify. Statements you might make to “help” me. Having to dive into deep shit I don’t know how or want to. Having to admit I have bipolar disorder and all the chaos it has created. The manic and depressive episodes that have rocked me to my core. Rocked my marriage possibly to its breaking point. Wanting to expel the details from my memory, but also not dredge up the pain it encompasses. Wondering if you could possibly understand. Or, maybe you do so much that I must then console you. What a selfish thought that is! Baggage I guess is part of the fear.

Just the other day I was quite distraught the whole day. Many many tears shed in the confines of my home. Well, and into the dark black fur of my kitty. Back to bed I went after 2 cups of coffee. I had received news the prior evening I did not get a job I felt highly qualified for. The interview had gone very well in my opinion. I even brought up a few ideas and sparked a discussion. Does it get better than that? I was able to speak to my weakness within the proposed position, but more so self myself as an asset. I recounted this experience to a few friends and they agreed it sounded positive. Case Management is in my bones, I told them. 15 years of direct experience..successful experience. Over 20 years in a social service delivery model in general. I could learn the “ins and outs” of the agency.

I suppose I could have picked up the phone that day and relayed my utter disappointment. But, I just couldn’t. We could argue didn’t or couldn’t. For me it was a could not. I sent out a few rushed texts. One to my husband and one to my brother. Both expressed sympathy, but just to move on to the next one. Typical advice. But, I’m not a typical person. I guess no one is. My bipolar brain was beating me up through and through. How does anyone know that if I don’t share? I keep it all locked inside. Tears fell on the couch and into the bedroom. My husband asked if I was crying as we nestled under the covers in the darkness. I said no. We both knew I was lying. I can’t share pain in the moment of pain. It feels physically impossible. My body will not let me. My mind won’t allow words to come out of my mouth. I just shutdown.

I have the opportunity to share my ups, downs and in- betweens with a woman who is willing to be my sponsor in AA. This equates to another human being willing to hear what ails my mind, body and soul. Can I lay down the walls and accept this possibility? Leave the baggage at the door and honor this for what it is..space to learn how to share myself. Space to learn about myself. Space to forgive myself.

Let’s face it. I don’t need space. I need connection. Honest emotional interaction. So, let’s talk about reaching out. How do you do it?


Most importantly Me & I couldn’t think of a good Title

I walked a labyrinth in A local small town today. I was envisioning my negativity rising through the trees. Letting go. Starting anew. New footprints awaiting to set along a new path. A walk of forgiveness.
I was really noticing the colors of the rocks and foliage and their vibrancy. Breathing in the cool crisp morning air. I wore my husband’s scarf to feel warm and safe. To feel…connected to something comfortable. Because, I’m uncomfortable. If I told you I quit my job because it was toxic. I didn’t believe in the leadership. I couldn’t see the way forward in success. I tried, I think, the best way I knew how. The management may not have appreciated my efforts. In fact, on my last day, not much respect was afforded. A wave and half smile ushered me out the door. You might say emphatically good for you.
The labyrinth is at a church w a preschool.The children came running to and thru the labyrinth, full of innocence. Carefree, free. Enjoying each moment. They also seemed to really enjoy each other and want to share in the joy each was feeling. True unbridled connection. No judgement as they giggled pretending they were birds or airplanes. I teared up knowing this was a lesson for me..a gift…a reminder to slow down, my path is okay, but…what’s missing is to be apart of. Always questioning where I belong.
The days pass. I open the curtains. I welcome the sun. Yet, home is where I stay for the most part. I’m doctoring my resume. Beefing myself up. Telling the next person my big plans. Rehearsing my interview in my mind. Going to the library to research how best to be what they want. But, what I want most is to go to bed. Be left alone. Curtains drawn drowning in covers. Some days moving from the couch is so hard. I shuffle. I reach for that next blanket to drape over me.
Going to the gym is a chore when I think about it. Running. Dripping with sweat. Logging miles. Just putting on gym clothes and pulling my hair back in the mirror used to be my nemesis. So much work and effort. I’m always too tired. I’m no longer strong. Time got away from me. It’s just a waste of time at this point. That was my thought process.
I made my way back to the gym. Slogging some days. Just battling to get my car to that parking lot. Negotiating if I did..only 10 minutes. Turn the key. Put it in your bag. Check in. Grab a towel. No one knows how long I’m there or how hard I work. I made it. Phew.
Enter my trainer. My leap of faith back into fitness and myself. I watched her lead classes. Heap positivity into such a big space and into me. Punching and kicking our way through 60 minutes she said something magical: unleash yourself.
I have. I am. Some days are harder than others. Some days bipolar disorder leaves me in tears in my car before class. Before our session. Yet. She unknowingly helps me to dig deep on those days. Squat harder. Lift heavier. Unleash the burden of what is usually myself. I confided in her. I shared myself. She pushes me just the same.
The beauty of the labyrinth is sometimes you are walking it and you may not even realize. Each step. Each breath a new opportunity. Whether among the trees. Among the din of a gym. The opportunity to unleash is always there. The opportunity to be you. Me. Most importantly me.

Trying to find my voice

It’s been a long time since I’ve truly written for this blog. I’m not sure how I lost my virtual voice. It’s the one thing I felt I had no matter the bipolar episode I was or wasn’t immersed in. My actual voice often goes missing in depression, points fingers in mixed episodes and is in another world when lost in mania. My fingers always work no matter what, or so history could support. I’m not sure if I feel I have nothing to say or I can’t organize my thoughts enough. I don’t know what it is. I guess it doesn’t matter.
Here i am trying to reach out. Trying to find the words to let you in, know where I’ve been, maybe where I’m going. Maybe that last part is a stretch..anxiety talking. Just about a year ago I made the decision to leave my job of 17 years. Since my bipolar diagnosis in 2013 I had missed a significant amount of time per year to hospitalization. But, that’s not necessarily why I left. It  became clear full time work in a demanding position was too much. I negotiated a part time position with a vendor that seemed almost too perfect. Seven months later, I resigned. Not perfect. What job is? But, verging on toxic. Testing my work ethic and belief in accountability. It’s young, ego driven leadership. That’s all good. Just not the right environment for me. I need teamwork and desire for improvement, willingness to look at systems and…
I quit without a future job. That scares me most. Without structure and purpose, depression nipping at my heels, always wins. Under the covers I think I feel safe and sound. Isolation becomes my best skill.
So…I applied for a job I am over qualified for and applied for a job I think matches me most. Somehow applying just makes me feel better. Like I’m trying. Like, perhaps, this last job wasn’t a failure, but a gateway. I have new skills on my resume. More importantly I honored myself and was willing to walk away from a toxic environment into uncertainty. Uncertainty is my nemesis. Fear. It breeds such fear.
One day I’m dancing to the thought of freedom. The next I’m crying over future bills. The next I hover over my resume the entire day. One day at a time. Maybe even half a day is my ticket I think. Still trying to get to the gym. Might try my hand at art. I would love to learn who I am outside of a job.
I wonder what that would look like?


I Will Address This w Myself

My new gig is PT…24 hours…3 days a week. I used to work full time, probably more than full time. Its day 3. I’m done with my first week. I have friends who are my new bosses that support me. They set me up with a work area not heavily monitored by the cameras. At least they are not in my face and infiltrating my mind. What a blessing.
I feel quiet and distant. I guess just feeling out my role. I carved out this new position and expectation is high. Perhaps assumptions are high. Though I come to this agency with a lot of knowledge, Its still a new position. Which I think I can fulfill, eventually. Perfectionism casts a wide spell and I am certainly a sucker. I want to impress. I want to succeed. I want to be all things to all people. NOW. But, that gets me into trouble. EVERY! TIME!
So, I am trying really hard to take it slow. Ask foolish questions. Relax. Enjoy the ride.   That’s not easy for me.  I’m a need to know person. Need to know where I fit in. Need to know my role.  Need to know ahead of time what is expected of me.  Those things are not a given at a new job.  I brought my calendar into my supervisor’s office and tried to secure dates and times of things..anything.  I don’t think she is holding out on me. Rather I think she doesn’t know quite what to do with me. How to train me. Guide me.  We are getting to know each other in the process. Which is fun.

I see old habits already forming. Not leaving my desk for lunch. Not going on breaks. Not taking walks. I am aware. I will address this with myself. I will!


Trapped in this Madness

I want to exert control. Be in control. But I’m not. I’m caught up in this mixed manic episode for a month now. I flew into a rage so powerful and so disgusting I don’t even know who I am. How do I know what is me and what is the illness?
I am having flashes of my behavior and it is appalling. I am ashamed to have treated my husband that way. I have no excuse. It literally felt like a switch went off in my brain. One minute I was cutting vegetables and the next I was yelling and screaming. I don’t even know about what. Just lost my mind. It went on for a few hours.
Finally exhausted and crying hysterically I sat on the couch in bewilderment. What just happened? I can’t explain it because I don’t understand it. But it was enough for my husband to lose his patience w me. He was very upset, for good reason. And what did I do? Make fun of him. It truly feels like my worst self. I hope to god there is nothing worse than who I was 2 nights ago.
I was full of shame yesterday and apologized. Took responsibility for my words and actions. It was incredibly sincere regardless that I couldn’t remember all of it. Particularly how or why it started. He forgives me and asks me to move forward. Keep putting one foot in front of the other to get well.
I don’t know what I would do without him. I feel like I’m trapped in this madness trying desperately to get out. Recover. Get back to myself.


This Jumbled Mind

It’s in the stillness
As I try to catch my breath
Be at ease
In this jumbled mind
My heart aches the most
Cries out for who I used to be
Covets the self assurances
I once carried so deep
Vies for the belief
I am off essence
I am of substance
There is more than
Mere madness that defines me
As the pain lingers
And the tears fall
I beg for mercy
To end this insanity


A Much Needed Walk

I am walking with myself. Alongside myself. Accepting myself. Forgiving myself. A trusted friend believes in the power of a labyrinth.  As each wave of emotion, shame, regret and fear continuously hit me last week, I reached out to said friend.  A walk amongst the cluster of redwoods on a dedicated path where I put one foot in front of the other was needed. A place of release. A place to regain my footing. A place to begin trusting myself again.  A place to move at my own pace in mind, body and breath.

The manic residue was slowly fading away.  I sat with my wonderful friend and recounted every detail.  Let the words fly on the wind. Be absorbed into the soil beneath our feet.  On my solitary walk I envisioned all the negative energy rushing from the top off my head high into the sky. Evaporating in the suns brilliant rays. I chanted I shall be released. I chanted I am full of forgiveness.  Deep cleansing breaths carried me around the maze. I trusted my existence for the first time in several weeks.  I tuned out the chaotic chatter that likes to keep me company focusing on the present moment.  Hearing the crunch of leaves as I stepped left then right.  The cool air under the giant trees was soothing.  Calming.  As the path continued to unfold and I reached the center, I truly felt centered.

I didn’t think about the episode, the people I affected, the guilt…what feels like consequences the rest of the day.  This was no ordinary walk in the woods.  It was a gift.



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


Self Forgiveness is an Art

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.


Silent Suffering

Silent suffering
I walk through the motions
I smile when it seems appropriate
Yet, i feel nothing
The atmosphere in my mind is complete chaos
Voices yelling
Critics in an uproar
Yet, i walk softly
Slow and soft
No footprints can be seen
I don’t feel like i exist
Perhaps I’m just a ghost roaming about
I watched my feet walk a labyrinth today
Weaving in and out of the stone path
Unstructured structure
Wandering but not lost
An entrance and an exit
Leading me not to salvation
But reminders to breathe
Each conscious step
Filling my lungs
Not of expectation
But forgiveness and grace