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!
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.
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
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. 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.
I walk through the motions
I smile when it seems appropriate
Yet, i feel nothing
The atmosphere in my mind is complete chaos
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
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
I’m really trying to be more open, honest and communicative w my husband. I start a new job in 58 days. My mind is almost constantly hurling obsessions and worries around on spin cycle. You see I have been at my current job for 17 years. 4 years ago I made the decision to switch positions within my same company..a promotion. I started in my new role on February 1st 2013. I was hospitalized April 5th after I stood on a bridge for several hours on the verge of jumping. By May, I was experiencing psychosis for the first time in my life and another round in the hospital. By June, I had a diagnosis of Bipolar I w psychotic features. To be fair, I was already being treated for major depression for several years. Delusions, hallucinations, serious suicide attempt, severe manic episode, and probably 7-8 hospitalizations later, here I am, getting ready to start a brand new job at a brand new company.
I can’t stop thinking about this tragic timeline. The safety net in that scenario was my 13 years of being a pretty damn good employee and a union. But now, I arrive w no years of service, on probation, no union. My anxiety is having a field day.
So, yesterday I unveiled my concerns. Recounted my initial descent into bipolar disorder. My husband suggested he has also been thinking about this. To which I was glad because my memory is terrible. Reaching back into history is difficult for me, especially if trying to attach it to a date. He remembered me to be drinking at this time. Did I mention I’m also an alcoholic? I didn’t think I was, but have a few relapses under my belt since my rehab stint in 2007. I honestly can’t keep it all straight. I went w his assumption alcohol was involved and therefore I was unstable and susceptible to such a breakdown. It was highly likely.
I agonized much of the night. Pushed my brain to walk back in time to 2013. I recalled going to depression in sobriety meetings. I was positive I was not imbibing at this time. I could also remember being present and able to learn things. A sign I wasn’t hungover. While this is good news, not only being able to remember something, that I was sober, but maybe it’s not. That “instability” my husband was referring to wasn’t there. Does that mean it was the stress of the new job alone was the culprit?
The wheels on this bus are going to begin to fall off if I don’t get ahold of my mind. Its a new day. Its a new year. I’ve grown. I’ve learned. I’m trying to be more open, honest and communicative…with myself…and others. Awareness is good. Reality checks are helpful. But, having some FAITH IN MYSELF is paramount.
I look down to see where my feet are. Right here. Right now. Not in 2013 and not 58 days from now.
Its the trust, right
Where things are broken
Where the divide starts
Play in your head
I see your shoulders
Your face contort
Doubt in your eyes
I want to set you free
Scream and promise
There are no more illusions
This is me
Breaking down walls
Removal of masks
Taking off tap shoes
No more silhouette
I’m just as scared
To let you in
Let you go
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