Cycles, Seasons, and the Fine Art of Gardening

I live with Bipolar Disorder. It’s a cycle of mania and depression. Mine is of the unspecified variety, meeting various criteria for BP I, BP II, and Cyclothemia. This means that sometimes my manias and depressions can be so intense as to require immediate hospitalisation, and sometimes i can cycle between less intense versions incredibly quickly (days), or interminably slowly (years). It is, for me, a cycle though; one invariably follows the other. On and on, round and round. Circular. Perhaps relatively infinite.

It is both poetic and not. When i’m not currently depressed or manic, i can look at what’s past and describe it with clever metaphors and colourful analogies, which is fine – even good. It’s an indication that i’m ready to clean up any messes, take inventory, and restock my shelves in preparation for the next (potential) disaster. When i’m currently experiencing a depression or a mania however, if i’m seeing my situation within a poetic framework, it’s not usually good – it’s often dangerous. Getting all romantic about either feeling 10ft tall and bulletproof or suicidal while i’m in it, can be a red flag that i’m dissociating, and am or will soon be unable to control what happens next.

This last mania was prosaically endured. That is a bonafide victory. I was in it hip-deep before i figured it out, but that’s markedly better than last time i was hit this hard, when i had to almost slip beneath the water before i realised how far i was from shore.
I figured out i was manic.
I did the things i’ve learned to do that can help:

– minimise social interactions;
– practise mindfulness throughout the day;
– avoid people, places, and things that provoke intense feelings;
– be gentle and forgiving when i’m not doing things correctly, or at least as well as i can do them when i’m not manic;
– process thoughts and feelings with a safe person, often.

It turned out pretty well, i think. No hospitalisation, no police involvement, no massive drama. I didn’t have any terrible fights with anyone – not even my husband, who is usually the target. I don’t have access to credit or cash when i’m manic, and my husband even keeps my ID with him for safekeeping (because i lose stuff when i’m on a tear – sometimes very important and/or expensive stuff), and to discourage me from going anywhere. I didn’t go on a bender, either. I drank a little, but not falling down drunk, picking fights, or crying jags. No drugging. This is all good.

There were things that could have gone better, of course. It was still gruelling. It was sometimes ugly and painful, and it was consistently scary to varying degrees. I lost my ability to write coherently – and i couldn’t find a fuck to give about it. My carefully crafted daily routines fell away, one by one. The paranoia and hallucinations (both visual and auditory) that often come with an intense mania, meant that my daily walks had to be put on hold. I can see people in my peripheral vision that i’m certain are coming to get me, and that can easily trigger my multiplicity; a complication to be avoided if at all possible. My brain got very busy, but it also got very scattered, so my husband would text me he was heading home for supper and i hadn’t yet gotten dressed or washed my face. I started watching crap telly again, too. At those times i gravitate towards reality shows that highlight other people’s misery. I think that subconsciously i’m telling myself i’m not too far gone because i’m not bedridden by my weight, or hiding in a house filled with garbage. I don’t need an intervention, and you are NOT the father, so… It could be worse, eh?

When it was over i cruised for a while. I was exhausted, and it was the right thing to do. I also wanted to take some time to examine where i was at emotionally, to see if i could anticipate the timing of the depression that would surely come, and maybe even gauge its severity. I don’t know how realistic that was, but i did need the rest. I think that i may have quietly crossed the line into the next phase already, but i’m not sure, because it doesn’t feel as intense as the mania did. My downs are usually inversely proportional to my ups, and if i’m presently in a clinical depression, it’s a very mild one.
I’m often tired and my desire to sleep more has returned (although i never have much luck getting more).
I feel a bit inept, and everything looks a bit greyer and somewhat ominous.
And i am definitely, definitely irritable. Ornery, even. I find those closest to me to be rather exasperating right now – the most intense of all my symptoms.

Once again though, i have worked hard to find and develop ways of coping with this disorder:

– try to say Yes to one social engagement per week;
– practise mindfulness throughout the day;
– avoid sad stories/movies/tv shows, etc., no wallowing allowed;
– be gentle and forgiving when i’m low energy, and acknowledge every accomplishment and small adherence to routine;
– process thoughts and feelings with a safe person, often.

So, as i have mentioned many (MANY!) times before, i just pick myself up, dust myself off, and resume my slow, steady movement forward. Mania means often reining myself in, because going too fast can cause a stupendous crash, whereas depression means often dragging myself just a few steps before i collapse, overwhelmed and tired for no particular reason.
But as i have also said before – it gets easier every time i do it, and this time was no exception. It was still easier than the last time.
Even though this mania was far more intense and longer than the one that preceded it.
Despite wrestling with dissociation and losing time, sometimes days.
In spite of 2 or 3 or 4 angry walks, which have not occurred in probably a year or 2.

There just came a point where i knew the mania had waned to the point where i had the power to stop it. And i did. I decided i was done, i informed the Peanut Gallery that the shenanigans were over, that i’d be taking a little time off to recover, and then i was gonna get back at it; their full cooperation was expected.
So there was a couple of weeks of no expectations, save arrested manic behaviours.
Then i started back to my routine. I went back to one thing, and that was to only eat between the hours of 8am and 8pm. Because i’ve had gastric bypass, i have a very small stomach pouch – but i can still gain weight by just grazing all day long. I did gain some back, probably somewhere around 10lbs, but that’s all right. The changes i’ve made to what, when, how, and why i eat are sound and healthy and meant to be lifelong, so a blip is okay. I have no doubt i will get back down to where i was before i started gaining a month or so ago, and then some. This is a process, all of it, and the pace is necessary, and it doesn’t bother me.

I started with my 12hr window to eat, and then i just started adding bits of my routine back as i felt able. It didn’t take the months of dogged dedication that it took to make them habits. I didn’t even need to give myself a week before i added on something else. It’s all back except the exercise, the caloric restriction designed for weight loss, and the 1 home improvement chore per week. I’m back to my sleep schedule, my morning and night hygiene routine, my reading, my writing, my baking (which i never completely gave up anyway… AMAZING). The rest will come in the next week or so. I don’t know exactly when, but so far i’ve seemed to have decent judgment regarding the timing of these things, so i’m just gonna keep trusting myself to know when. For now. If i fuck it up, say, if i’ve taken too much back on too quickly -oh well- that’ll become obvious at some point, and then i’ll reassess and tweak my lifestyle where i think i need to, and i’ll just keep on truckin’.

**********

Just a reminder: I’m not trying to fix anyone’s life but my own. I’m looking for my own answers, my own solutions. I am not, and have no desire to be anyone’s life coach or guru. I share how my brain works, and the way i’m learning to live with it because i’m 50yrs old and still pretty fucked up and not highly functional, but i want so badly, as i’ve wanted all my life, to contribute something to my fellow humans. To be of some use, some help, TO DO SOMETHING GOOD.
I’m working with what i’ve got, and what i have is what you see here on these pages. I have kept plugging along no matter what, and i’ve kept trying to figure my shit out, and i’ve banged on all the doors and cried at all the windows and did all the diets and seen all the headshrinkers and attended all the groups and whispered/screamed/wailed all the prayers and made all the sacrifices.
And it’s working. It has all played a part in who i am and where i’m at today. Some words, some wisdom, some therapy, some information, embedded inside me like seeds.
And ALL the kindnesses, ALL the mercies, ALL the graces, ALL the forgiveness, ALL the handouts, ALL the love – watered and sunned and fed and growed my garden until it now produces enough to feed me, to shelter me, to nurture my thoughts and my feelings and my dreams and desires. Now i till and water and fertilise my own soil. I can protect the tender shoot from the invading weed – and i pluck that sonofabitch out without hesitation and free of misgivings.

I share it all in the hope that you might believe that you can do as i have done, because i believe you can. Take anything you like from here and use it to seed your own garden, but do not feel obligated to plant any of it. Feel free to just look upon it, whether it’s to drink in its beauty or to see in it only what you don’t want to grow in your own.

You are welcome, regardless.

Enjoy your weekend, if you can.
I’ll do the same.
Love and Peace,
~H~

Ping Ponging and Peach Cobbler

I didn’t go back to bed this morning. So yeah, yay.
Having an epiphany and getting back to blogging and sharing it yesterday did not make the depression i seem to be fighting magically disappear. So yeah, boo.

I know this is part of it, though. This is what real life looks like for a lot of people. I don’t mean that no one but me has problems of course. I just mean that there are a lot of people out there that manage to live a productive and functional life despite their problems, and that is what i’m working towards.

So i get the husband off to work and the Kiddo off to school and i busy myself with breakfast. I really want to go back to bed though, so i remind myself that the last time i tried that (ah, does yesterday ring a bell, H?) it made me feel worse. Then i thought to myself rather pointedly, How do you think you’re gonna feel if you go back to bed after what you thought and felt and wrote yesterday?
It worked.
I treated myself to some extra computer time after i completed my morning routine of making the bed, tidying the kitchen, doing my morning toilette, and getting dressed.

It didn’t take too long before i felt like i was wasting time and needed to be doing something. This is progress. Most of my life i’ve been kinda faking the functional thing. I’d watch what other people did in their regular day-to-days, and then i’d try to do that, with varying levels of success for inconsistent periods of time. Ten years ago though, when i made the decision to let myself fall apart, i could not even manage the bare minimum, and frankly i didn’t trouble myself much about it. It’s hard to let yourself fall when there are still things to hold on to like, Look how great a housewife i still am!

Speaking of which… My 10yrs of abject brokenness, i mean. I’ve recently begun to wonder if that’s no small part of why i’m pinging back and forth so quickly between feelings of oncoming depression and then mania. Before i gave in to it all utterly, i fought it. I fought it all the time. Mostly i didn’t realise i was fighting, because that was all i’d ever known and i lacked the insight to move beyond that, but i was always resisting very powerful feelings and urges. Things i knew weren’t right or were too much or even dangerous; i knew i had an impulse control problem. So i kept myself very tightly bound with the help of my Peanut Gallery, which i was largely unaware of, and massive quantities of food.

When i had a gastric bypass over 10yrs ago, the fat was the cage that had contained my bipolar disorder, and as i lost weight, i also lost control. Deciding to fully acknowledge my past of abuse and my multiplicity and finally deal with it all head-on did nothing to ease my symptoms of mania or depression. I was tossed about on an emotional tidal wave like an old ship that should have sailed her last a while ago. But in this analogy i’m not only the ship. I’m also the map to buried treasure being fought over by a bunch of pirates driven mad by too much time at sea without sight of land, and whoever holds the map is captain of the ship. (If the map song from Dora the Explorer popped into your head then friend, i like the cut of your jib.)
And here’s the really fun part – i’m a slow cycler.
I started out in a mania that lasted over two years.
Then i got slammed by a 2yr depression.
And then whizz bang! another mania took hold for a bit longer than the last one, which was very kindly and predictably followed by another agonisingly long depression.

So if you’re following along, i’ve been fairly steady for the last two years. No hospitals for either long term visits or forced commitments. The thing is though, i can feel them coming on and have worked assiduously to keep them at bay, and although i’ve been successful, it seems that i’ve only staved off the one to be quickly confronted by the looming possibility of the other.

And frankly, i have wondered WTF?!

The best i can come up with is that parts of my brain have become very accustomed to having their way with other parts of my brain, and now they’ve become like the neighbourhood brat that no one will play with anymore. They knock on everyone’s door and ask if so-and-so can come out to play, and sometimes the father fills up the doorway with his scowl and his shoulders, and his basso profundo voice bellows out a No, now go home! And other times the mother comes and looks very sorry as she sends him away with a sad smile and a warm cookie.
And well, sure he’s a brat, but he has crappy parents so it’s not really his fault and he’s so lonely…

So i didn’t go back to bed.
I did a lot of normal housewifey stuffs.
I bashed out some self-reflection in a blog entry.
Tonight there will be peach cobbler for dessert.
Right now, i’m going for a walk in the snow with my dog.
Today has been a good day.
I don’t know what i’ll bash out tomorrow, but maybe you’ll come and see?

Love and Peace to You Regardless,
~H~

If there is a place you got to go
I am the one you need to know
I’m the Map!
I’m the Map!
I’m the Map!

If there is a place you got to get
I can get you there I bet
I’m the Map!
I’m the Map!
I’m the Map!

Like Swimming

HELLO, GOOD AFTERNOON, AND WELCOME TO THE MONTH BEFORE MY BIRTHDAY!

If you read that like Terry Gilliam stepping out of a Zulu suit in The Meaning of Life, then you’re reading it how it was written.

In one month i’ll be fifty.
I’LL BE 50 YEARS OLD! (That one was Sally O’ Malley.)
Pardon me folks, but holy shit.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not ageist. It’s not that i’ll be old, or too old, or washed up, or a failure. None of that applies.
Number one is that i never thought i’d make it. My whole life i have assumed i would die young. At this point 50 doesn’t seem that old anymore, but when i was 4yrs old, staring at myself in the mirror with a bottle of poison in my hand and contemplating suicide for the first of countless times, 50 was inconceivable.

There are other factors of course. The regular ones that most of us go through. I have regrets, and i wish i had accomplished more. Both of these things, oh, so very much. I try not to trouble myself with these thoughts overly, because what i have gathered from most of those who’ve been here before me is, honey, it’s de rigeur. As Socrates is said to have uttered, if “the unexamined life is not worth living,” then my life is chock full of value. Heh.

I’ve been feeling like i’m being slowly pulled down under. Like i’ve been fighting the current for too long, and i’m close to exhaustion. It’s largely due to the personal issue to which i’ve alluded a number of times, but some of it is because of something else i’ve devoted much of this blogging process to, and that is my certainty that i am at a pivotal place in my personal growth. I’ve done a tremendous amount of work over the years, but it has all been tearing down the old and laying the foundation for the new. Now it’s time to build. The junk’s been cleared out and the old structure razed. The basement’s poured and the framework is done. The rest is all sweat equity, and this house ain’t gonna build itself.

I’ve shared how i started with teeny tiny little baby steps. I’d take a wee and wobbly stumble forward, and immediately rest, congratulate myself, and do it again. The rest in between stumbles was not insubstantial, either. I mean, i rested. Starting with weeks. It was a long time before it was even days. It’s only been this last year that it’s become hours. Today, one month before i turn fiftyholyshityearsold, i don’t even need any time at all between some of those steps. I regularly do some of them one-right-after-the-damn-other.

Lookit me. I’m swimming. I’m stepping. I’m building.

This morning i felt the same terrible drag on my thoughts, my feelings, and my body that i’ve felt for a couple of weeks now. I thought, I’m fighting another depression. Well hell, that sucks a dirty penny, but hey, i’m just gonna keep fighting. I’ll just keep schleppin’ along, doin’ what i been doin’, and it’ll be all right.

It hasn’t been all right though, and it’s been troubling my mind and disturbing my sleep and stirring up my Peanut Gallery and i haven’t been able to write a goddamned word.
So like i said, i felt it again this morning, like more than a dozen other mornings in a freaking row, and so i went back to bed at around 10 or so.
I had the troubled dreams i’ve been having for the same amount of time, and i woke at 12 feeling worse. Worse.
Naps usually make me feel better. They are one of the things i can do between stumble-steps if i need to rest. I rarely nap anymore, though. Usually my rest/reward involves playing on the computer or watching something on telly. Naps are specially reserved for those times when i really need it.
But it didn’t bloody work.
I dragged my more-depressed ass out of bed and forced myself to shower like i haven’t had to force myself to shower in a long time. Which made me feel worse. And anxious.
Great, now i’m anxious too. Wonderful.
I shouldn’t have had leftover cheesy noodles for breakfast. Too many calories and heavy carbs. Ohai Inner Critic. I was definitely needing some self-hatred to add to this toxic brain-milieu, so thanks, ever so.

I’m still in the shower at this point, but already the doing of something positive, that is hard to do, starts having an effect. Rather than just thinking, i become aware of the fact that i am thinking, and i am, quite suddenly, keenly conscious of precisely what i am thinking. I practise a bit of mindfullness: i bring my awareness to the water spraying my skin, my hand with loofah, exfoliating, the scent of my bodywash, my fingers massaging my scalp, brushing the conditioner through. I watch everything wash down the drain and imagine that it is not just dirt and skin cells and soap, but also the psychic weight of all the negativity i’m carrying is sluicing away from me as well.

I’m standing in front of the mirror and i look at myself and what i’m doing. I’m towelling off, i’m moisturising my skin, i’m doing my morning toilette and i treat my skin to a deep-pore extraction and my hair to some keratin creme. I’ve been practising looking at my body -really looking- while i do this, and so i find myself doing so out of habit.
But today… Today that work bears fruit. My body bears the scars of a childhood full of beatings and sexual abuse, and the resultant war of self-hatred that i waged against it for the majority of my life. Years of morbid obesity have not been kind, and now that i’ve lost most of the weight, my skin looks as empty and hollow as i might look on the inside if it were possible to see after all the psychological fat i’ve shed.

But i look, and today i see. And today i don’t hate it. Today as i was standing there and really seeing my body i thought i looked okay. I accepted what i was looking at in a reasonable and rational way, and i was kind to myself. It was not a you’re-a-beautiful-fucking-goddess moment. That’s not who i am, nor who i want to be. I saw myself as nakedly as i’ve ever seen myself and it was more than okay. It was fine. 
And it was then that my brain asploded with a lovely epiphany.
I don’t seek them and i don’t need them, but they sure are nice to have, sometimes.

I know what’s going on and i know what i need to do. It’s a lot and i’m scared AF, but i’ll even tell you.
I need to do MORE than i’ve been doing. It’s okay that i haven’t been doing enough because i didn’t know that i wasn’t. I’ve been progressing along the road to mature functionality admirably well, all things considered.
But now my brain is telling me to do more, and i didn’t understand, and so my feelings tried to help by telling me something was wrong. This is how it’s supposed to work.
I have been working the way healthy people generally work.

I need to start acting just a bit more like regular folks though.
So i won’t be going back to bed after i’m already up for at least the next month.
Weekdays i’ll be getting up at 5:30 like usual, and i’ll be going to bed at 10:30, which i try for, but it’s a bit spotty (maybe because i can go back to bed?)
And i’ll be blogging too – Monday to firetrucking Friday. (I know i cussed a fair bit for this post, so i’m trying not to overdo. Heh.)

I don’t know how terribly concise this post was, but welcome to how my brain works. This is who i am and this is all i have to offer. If you’re still here i thank you, and maybe i’ll see you tomorrow.

Be as well and as happy today as you are able. I’ll do the same.

It’s a lot like swimming first time over your head
It gets easier when you move your arms and legs
And for air you lift your head, why don’t we try right now
Yes right now
Yes right now
Well
~Like Swimming, Morphine

Love and Peace,

~H~

Ice Cream As Kudos

There’s a bit of panic in me these days. I’m living a less chaotic life, stumbling towards something like normalcy. What i wrote the other day about no parades or kudos has been like scratching a record, scrubbing across the vinyl and playfully warning me that there are No kyu-doze. N-n-n-n-no kyu-doze. Just little victories noted by me and mostly only me.

This is my life today, and though it’s a good life and i’m heartened by my progress, i can be suddenly overwhelmed by the enormity of the work in front of me. I stepped back to get a break from the mood i’ve been in, and as i did so i looked up and caught the big picture. Based on results, that was not a good idea.

I was in the kitchen when it hit me. I’d been putting off little things here and there, trying to give myself some space, to nurse my mood a little. I saw a life of cleaning up the same messes, over and over. Making the same meals, scrubbing the toilet, doing the laundry…

And then i cast both my literal and my figurative eye around myself, my house, my life.
THAT i should not have done. It’s too much for me to bear. The enormity of all that lies before me, waiting to be done, to be cleaned up, to be put right. In mere moments i’m in the grip of an anxiety attack; i’m crying, it’s hard to catch my breath, i feel physically weak, like i’d suddenly picked up a huge burden. Which i had.
Many have either heard or made some joke about trying to manage all the bags of groceries in one go. We want to get it all over at once, but we often end up hurting ourselves or dropping and damaging household items. It might very well have been faster to take what we can easily carry and just go back for the rest. We’re not injured, the supplies we needed are intact, and hey, we got a little more exercise – which most of us can always use.

The fact that i am well behind many of my peers and contemporaries when it comes to the day-to-days of what i see as a relatively normal and functional adult life, cannot be denied. I’m not sure exactly where i learned it -and by that i mean i have no wish to ascertain blame- but i grew up believing that only those doomed to fail offered up any excuses. More than that though -and this is where blame can certainly be assigned- i believed i had none to offer.

They would be excuses if i offered them up and then did nothing. As that is clearly not what i’m doing, what i have are reasons. I have a legitimate basis upon which to build a case for my status as a late bloomer. But even a sincere acknowledgment by me of that truth cannot gird me well enough to step back and absorb the monumental work that lies before me.
So it’s too much to look at it all, and it is also not enough to only look at what is in front of me.
So it’s to be balance, again.
I don’t need a parade, but maybe a small celebration is in order.
Just me and my Peanut Gallery.

There’s no poetry in this and i don’t have a clever literary device to use in closing.
I’m just putting in the blasted work.
I’m paying attention to what’s going on in my brain and i’m regularly checking in to see what we’re feeling. Roll call. Heh.
I’m learning what thoughts and feelings need to be addressed and i’m facing them and following through.
I believe i have earned a small dish of ice cream and a cat nap.
Huzzah.

I shall keep on keepin’ on, and i hope you do, too.

Love and Peace,
~H~

Inside Out

As we leave behind our last Chinook and move into more frigid weather, my fibro has hit harder. My pressure points are hardest hit from shoulders to wrists, and today my forearms feel heavy and hard to rotate, which is making typing somewhat difficult. The thing which i haven’t told anyone, is that my Carpal tunnel syndrome is returning. When i was first diagnosed with moderate CTS in my right arm around 12+ years ago, the man who gave me the news very kindly (/s) informed me that if i wasn’t super-morbidly obese, my symptoms would likely disappear almost entirely. When i lost all the weight i discovered he was quite right, and i’ve had only small bouts of numbness since.

Until recently that is. It’s been more than 10yrs since i was profoundly overweight, but this last year i’ve noticed the numbness happening more often and for longer periods. Typing right now i can feel it. I sincerely hope it progresses slowly and doesn’t impede my writing. I’ll handle it of course, but just… GEEZ, y’know?!

My days begin and end with routine, and as i mentioned, i’m increasing my activity level; more things to do and and more focus on the tangible. I’m decluttering, seeking order. I’m working towards accomplishing things that can be observed by anyone. I’m maintaining the relatively healthy functioning of my brain and its thoughts, but also pursuing goals that, once achieved, would be obvious to anyone who was looking. Less esoteric – more skin deep.

It’s time. The foundation is strong now. I’m like a renovated house and it’s time to start making the outside reflect the inside. It’s hard, scary work, but i am committed.

Nothing wrong with a pretty facade.

Body work is tough for any survivor.
I didn’t have a weight problem until i was around 8yrs old. My mother’s relationship with my father was over, as was her association with his people and his activities. She had a major psychological breakdown, was committed, and i was thrown into the system. When i was finally returned to my mother, i quickly packed on enough weight to make me the chubby kid, and then slowly packed on a few pounds here and there until i married 20yrs ago. I’d lost weight twice in that time, and both times i was just inside healthy range, but i put the weight back on within short order. I did so many things unconsciously; i wasn’t present in my body so i neither took much notice when i lost weight, nor when i gained it back.

Marriage caused my thoughts and emotions a tremendous amount of stress. I was freaked out that someone appeared to really want me, and subsequently terrified that i’d lose him. He’d find out that i was a phony, that i was actually an awful human being and he’d leave me. It set us up for years of push-pull behaviour by me. Come-here-i-need-you-fuck-off-i-don’t-need-anyone. I felt more vulnerable than ever and i put up a massive wall, one made from pounds and pounds of fat. I ate to numb the fear, fear of being known and fear of being rejected. When weight loss surgery became an option, i took it and the weight fairly fell off me.

I had no bloody clue the chain of events that would set off.

The first thing that happened was i got a lot of attention. It’s not just straight men who are more gratuitous, either. Everyone is nicer to attractive people. I think it’s mostly unconsciously done when someone is not sexually attracted to you, per se. It started out being wonderful but it quickly unsettled me. You know, not so’s anyone as unconscious as i was would notice. Heh. All kinds of things were going on inside my brain, though. The outside wall had come down and while that appeared to everyone around me to be a purely positive thing, it had unforeseen and unanticipated consequences.

My inside wall came down, too.
I didn’t realise i even had an inside wall.
There were people living on the other side of that wall.
I saw them, and they saw me seeing them.
It would not be histrionic of me to say that all hell broke loose.

MORE TOMORROW

Rubber, Meet Road

Hello,

I’m not doing very well today and i’m not sure what to say about that. There are terrible and private things going on in my life that i’ve no one to talk to about. I have a therapist, but money is very tight, and we can only afford for one person to be seeing her right now and that person is not me.

I have no close friendships and i’ve suspended my social media. I’m so dissociative right now that i don’t feel like i have enough self-control to be on there. Everything everyone says either frightens, angers, or hurts me. These things that i want someone to talk to about involve the only people i have to talk to…

I don’t know what to do. All i have is this little piece of cyberspace and i don’t know what inside me is currently fit to print.

I do NOT like crying and i can feel my throat tensing up. I’ve got that terrible, painful ache that lives in the space behind the bottom of my sternum. That ache that spreads behind my breastplate, reaching up to fill the gap between my shoulder blades. The headache i’ve had for weeks is now at full throb and my sinuses are swollen and painful. And there’s a piano on my chest playing anxious music that sounds like something from a 60s British horror film.

Okay, i just took an hour’s break from this.

I’ll confess that i’ve been so low that i let my personal hygeine slip last night and this morning. Hey, i wasn’t dirty or smelly okay? Just slow, heavy, tired… sad. But y’all can read other blog posts that refer to the importance of regularity and regimen in my life, and particularly in this area. Clean house, clean person. I have set these routines in place when i was in a better frame of mind, to help get me through the times when i wasn’t quite myself.

So i thought, “Well, that will be a positive thing i can put in my blog, which will be better than going full Eeyore.”

Never go full Eeyore.

So i got up and stripped off my pajamas that i’d been in all day, and i dragged my unwashed arse into the shower. After that i did my skincare and took proper care of my teeth. I even flossed and gargled. Heck, i also lotioned and spritzed and put on a clean outfit.
In part, so i could come here and report that i’d done it.
I’d set that in place, too. So yay me.  /ns (not sarcastic)

Honestly, i didn’t feel much better. A little better, but still so low.
I had defeating thoughts. Like, “It didn’t help. Nothing’s gonna help,” and “I’m not gonna get through this without screwing up.”

Anyone who deals with this sort of self talk may be able to relate when i share that i almost bought in to those thoughts. I mean, that’s what has usually happened, right? I feel this way and i can’t get out from under it. So there’s this feeling of inevitability. And then there’s the lack of energy or fighting spirit. These feelings use up so much energy. I spend most of my will coping, with not much left with which to fight. None left to fight, it seems to my exhausted mind.

But i think about what could happen if i give in and stop trying/fighting:

– police involvement,
– involuntary commitment,
– suicidal feelings/attempts,
– pain and suffering for my loved ones,
– loss of my “streak” and at least some modicum of starting over.

So i tried to focus on getting supper ready.
My worldview shrank to very small chunks of time. Minutes.

Hang in there until my husband gets home.
Put finishing touches on pot roast.
Set table.
Distract myself with an engrossing program.

I made it until he got home. I’d shared with him by text that i’d lost a large part of the day and was not doing well mentally/emotionally.
He was gentle and kind and asked concerned questions when he got home.
He provided a buffer between me and a somewhat contentious teenager (hey, it happens, and he doesn’t know how awful my day has been).
They enjoyed the meal and said so.

After supper my husband hugs me and says how sorry he is about my day.
He asks if there’s anything he can do to help.
I say he’s already helped some, and i thank him. He works 12hrs a day, 6 days/wk, and so i keep supper late, and he sits down to eat before he showers, so that we can eat together as a family, before our son retires to his room.
While he’s showering i’m sitting right here and staring at this screen, trying to think of what to type. I want to be both honest and uplifting.

And that is when i realise that i can be.

You know what?
I’m in trouble. My mental health has been threatened by a terrible event and things could go very badly for me.
I have done all this hard work because, not only do i want to be happy and good, but i know that my mental illness can be a serious impediment to achieving those things. Especially when life happens. Which it does and it always will.

So i am sitting here with my fingers poised over my keyboard – waiting for something inspiring and poetic and deep and true to zing into existence inside my brain and zap my fingers into a rhythmic ratatat-tat on these blasted keys.

Last night my busy, busy, anxious AF brain wouldn’t let me sleep, so i made 4 1/2 dozen refrigerator cookies. Chocolate Haystacks, a childhood favourite.

Today i realised that i’d lost time and i texted my husband and told him i was in a bad place.

I knew things could go badly and i knew i didn’t want them to and i knew that it’s up to me to cope.
I reminded myself that my brain works in weird and fantastical ways, and i may not handle things as well as i -or anyone else for that matter- might like.

Today, i made a labour-intensive, slowcooker pot roast, while switched.

I have made it through the day without going full Eeyore.

While i am not currently suicidal, i can feel it, looming in the background like dark wings ready to fly. Whatever comes i feel even more committed and competent to handle it than i did yesterday. And that is a reasonable expectation realised.

This piece may have a metric fuck-tonne of mistakes in it, but i think i should post it without proofreading. That’s something i never do, but i don’t want to overthink this and end up not posting because it’s so raw and lacking any flowery accoutrement. I admit i checked my spelling of the fancy French word. Heh.

Love and Peace and THANK YOU,

~H~

I’m Fixin’ to Sing

MONDAY:

Holy Moly. It’s not going to be as easy as i’d hoped.

  1. Have a good, hard think.
  2. Have an epiphany, or even just a good realisation.
  3. Share it with others.
  4. Feel better.
  5. Resume living as before the “incident”.

 

It was relatively effortless to get out of bed at 5:30 and get Man-Thingy and Kiddo off to school, i think because they needed me to do things for them. I make lunches, i hunt down lost items (i think the uterus may truly be a tracking device, Roseanne), and i send them off with affection and best wishes for a good day. But then they’re gone, and my Little Crooked House is empty, save dogs and my own thoughts.

It’s only sheer force of will that has me writing this. I very much don’t want to. You see, i know the purpose of this is to keep me moving forward. I’m committed to plodding along, no matter how slow my pace. But i don’t want to. What i want to do is nothing. I want to go back to bed and hide in my dreams. I feel heavy – slow and tired. What i want is absolutely counterintuitive to what i need. I know that writing will help, but i don’t want any damn help, pleaseandthankyouverymuch. I would prefer to stop typing right now; delete all these words, go to bed and pretend it never happened. But i have it here, and this cursed site keeps telling me it saved my draft… And i would know i’d deleted it and i would feel like a failure. I would know i’d given up, when i could have given a little more. I would know that i’d taken the easy way out when i was capable of taking the hard way. I would know these words on this blog had been here and i’d come at least this much closer to being just a little more functional in my life. Maybe i’d feel a little bit more successful and maybe, just maybe, i’d feel a bit happier and a bit more satisfied with who i am and how i live my life.

Can you hear me talking myself out of going back to bed, and into action? Because that’s what i’m doing. I warned you that the coming blog posts may be, well, kinda shitty. I believe i used animal testicles by way of metaphor. I didn’t have a plan when i started this blog, beyond sharing how my brain works. I had hopes it would keep me moving forward, perhaps even give me some momentum -not too much because manic- but just enough. I also dared to hope that i might be able to help someone reading about me and how my brain works. The benefit of accepting the general consensus that i’m odd, is that i think i might just have a unique perspective, one that someone else who reads this might find resonant, comforting, encouraging, or even just informative.

 

**********

TUESDAY:

Jeepers Creepers. Yesterday was a day.

So as i was finishing writing that last little bit, i knew that i had to stop writing and go do something. I had to accomplish something that took physical effort. Movement beyond that of my hands typing on a keyboard was required to get out of the funk in which i found myself. I saved my draft, and got up to make bread. With 2 men eating 2 sandwiches in their lunch nearly every day, it saves us quite a bit of money. Plus, i feel more competent and successful, and the men in my house feel special. The rewards far outweigh the effort. I dragged myself into the kitchen and i made bread.

I’m thinking as i work, and my thoughts go from deep and contemplative, to lighter and more focused on my daily schedule. What do i need to get done today? What would i like to get done today? What would bother me at bedtime if neglected?

While the bread’s rising, i get laundry going. I reward myself by playing some games on the computer, and then the bread’s done rising. I get the bread in the oven and i clean up some clutter and i finish the laundry. Wow. I feel better. Lighter. The activity is easier and my feelings are less dreary and draggy.

I sit down and pull up my blog to tie it all up in a pretty package with a nice bow. I pulled myself out of the ditch and i’m back on the road, w00t!

I cannot access my drafts.
In fact, it says i have no drafts saved.
I know immediately that this could crush me, and send me back to Square1. Hell, it could put me at Square-1.

I decided not to think about it, and just go do something. I have a new rug, that i got off of a local give-away site, and it desperately needed shampooing. That required me to move our coffee table, which is made of stone and metal and is wicked heavy, then remove the rug and the stays underneath so i can drag the new rug in and clean it with my handy dandy shampooer. Physical effort + concentrating on the task at hand = maintenance of lighter mood.
I’m starting to do more than just figure things out, i’m actually moving on to putting what i’ve learned into action. This is huge. I mean, huuuuge.

As i dealt with my past, i saw the greatest abuse done to me was that which was done to my brain. I’m not talking about any hereditary illnesses i may have as an accident of birth. What i’m talking about is the selfish and depraved way my mind was purposefully molded.

By the time i was old enough to begin asking questions, i already knew not to ask them. I thought what i was taught to think. I used my intelligence only to reflect my parents’ beliefs and only to achieve their ends. To say i was “discouraged” from independent thinking would be putting it mildly. My mind was locked away in a prison cell, and it took me many years to even realise i was confined, let alone break out.
If you’ll indulge me in continuing with the metaphor, although i broke out of solitary confinement, still, i wandered around amongst the general population with fellow prisoners. I was so grateful to be connected to anyone, that it didn’t occur to me to look for a door. One day, as i was out in the yard, i noticed other people who lived outside – beyond the chain link fence topped with razor wire. They spoke to each other in a different language and it sounded like music to me. I wandered along the fence, trying to get closer to them, wanting to hear more songs, when i happened across a door in the fence. It wasn’t locked of course, and so i opened it and stepped through.
It hasn’t been easy to learn their language, but they’re all teachers in that they all have a song to sing. I listen and learn and i want to sing too – but i’m afraid i’ll mispronounce a word or i’ll go sharp or flat on a note. What i’m learning is that everyone sings beautifully, and when it’s the right song, even being off-key, or flubbing a line sounds good. So now i’ve just gotta get my ass out there and start singin’ my song.

Getting up off the couch and making bread is a song. So is doing the laundry, and washing my face, and brushing out my dog, and calling my husband’s mother who’s in failing health to tell her i love her and chatter away about nothing.
I was not supposed to sing.
What i mean to say, metaphor aside, is i can’t just sit around thinking about life anymore. I get this restless feeling inside me, like i’m itching to get moving. It feels wrong to stay still for too long. This is an amazing and wonderful thing. Me, always afraid of screwing up. Me, who needed so many masks to get any kind of living done at all.

Tra lala lala

 

Frickety frack i forgot to tell a most important thing! At the end of the day, i checked my blog, and there was my draft – sitting there waiting for me all smug like it taught me a lesson, or something.

I suppose it did.

 

Love and Peace,

~H~