My Support System

I am one of those people with bipolar disorder who happens to have a very strong support system.  These people include my family and friends, doctor and therapist (well, I’m in a transition with that, but my previous one was Rockin’ Awesome Therapist Lady) and also, my cat.  I can call up any one of my sisters and they will lend a solid listening ear no matter what time of the day or night it is.

I also have a simple, low-stress job currently.  It doesn’t provide much pay and doesn’t provide benefits and barely supports my family, but I can surely say it’s the best job I’ve ever had.  I have no worries whatsoever, the owners adore me, and the customers are sweethearts.  (Did you hear that?  I just said the word “customers” and “sweethearts” in the same sentence.  And I totally mean it.  I know you don’t believe me.  You should.)

So in saying all that, I’m pretty lucky.  I once was a manic mess battling myself in a mental hospital.  It gave me a deep, sincere empathy for certain populations of the mentally ill in this country – those who you might see outside a department store, homeless, muttering to themselves.  I truly and honestly believe that that would be my life if it weren’t for all the blessings I have been given to maintain a certain level of sanity in the maintenance of my bipolar disorder.

I did lose my job at one point when I had a manic episode and had to be hospitalized.  I almost didn’t finish college when I had my first psychotic episode and took time to recover.  But I did it.  Thanks to the support.

So if you are someone who loves someone with a mental illness and is supportive, please give yourself a hug.  Because it is HARD WORK and for some of you, you may be the reason that the person you care about is still alive right now.  I know that is true for the ones who helped me when I so desperately needed them.

 

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Wish You Were Here

I can’t post videos and this is lame but Wish You Were Here (by Pink Floyd and only Pink Floyd by personal preference) is playing on repeat right now and for some reason I thought someone might give a crap.  I will never post about music again (by personal preference).

Oh yeah, and one more:  Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen.  Totally probably most likely overused but understated all at the same time.  Okay, now I’m never going to post about music again (personal rules that don’t apply to anyone else – I’m totally okay hearing about music likes, choices, etc., etc.)

Sometimes I have really strong convictions about very specific things even though I have no basis for really strong convictions about very specific things.  Like flu vaccines.  I don’t want one and never will and there is absolutely no logic nor explanation nor reason behind this choice.  (These tendencies drive my sisters nuts.)

I feel a strong conviction to express all this in a blog post RIGHT NOW.

Oh my gosh, someone put me to bed already I have so much to do in the morning and I have absolutely no chance in hell of waking up to my alarm now.  I have four hours to sleep and I need 18.

Good night.  Peace.

 

One Day at a Time

One day at a time.IMAG0264

It’s been my motto for a while now.  I have it posted in various places where I can see it often along with visually soothing images (usually with farm machinery involved (I grew up on a farm)).

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Only today did not feel like a one-day-at-a-time day.  It felt like one moment at a time, then it felt like five seconds at a time, then it felt like a complete panic that said “oh shiznick I’m crying in front of co-workers, wipe your tears off with your sleeve and try to keep moving.”  I go on break and I soak myself in mindless youtube videos and for the short half hour I forget where I am and suddenly I’m late punching back in on the timeclock.  (And yes, my job has a literal old-timey timeclock where you put in the time card and it cha-chunks and stamps your ticket.)

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I wiped my tears on my sleeve all day long today and when one co-worker asked if I was okay, I confessed that no, I was not okay.  Yet, I didn’t burst out in sobs as I had expected I would.  She just turned to me and said, “Life, huh?” and I confirmed that yes, I was not fine because of Life and we left it at that.  And I was grateful.

Because the thing is, even with all this depression floating around, I still have to do my job.  And I’m actually glad I have one, otherwise my depression could spiral out of control with no steering wheel attached, or burst out in flames with just the right spark.

I’m glad I have to routinely converse with other human beings, as much as I loathe getting out of bed and have to spend a good 45 minutes talking myself into the entire process of opening my eyes, getting myself into an upright position, and putting both feet on the floor.  And that 45 minutes  doesn’t even include remembering all the other parts like pants, shoes, and socks.

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This whirl of depression has snuck up on me, jumped onto my back, as Winston Churchill’s sneaky ol’ Black Dog will do.  He’ll sit in the corner, tight into the dark, so you become almost unaware he is there.  Maybe he’ll bare his teeth once in a while, growl, or in some other frightening way, remind you of his presence.  But eventually, inevitably, he will attack, always with a ferocity that scares me, sinking his teeth into my neck in a complete ambush, debilitating me.  And I suffer.  And sadly, in turn, my family suffers.

And imagine with this dog on your neck (or for my unlucky readers who have their own Black Dog of depression who already understand and don’t have to imagine) trying to perform normal day-to-day tasks.

He drags you down, you’re bleeding from your neck with a wound no one can see, and you falter at every step.

Take a walk!  Go outside!   Enjoy the sunshine!  Count your blessings!  I would if it would get him off me or even keep him at bay.  Sometimes when I write, I’m able to alleviate some of the pain enough to continue.  So I’ll keep taking it one day at a time.  And I’ll keep my chin up and hope he releases his grip soon.

Please, Black Dog of Depression.  Please, release your grip soon.

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The Sad

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I don’t want The Sad.  I didn’t ask for The Sad.  It’s just here anyway.

I’m kind of angry at The Sad and it makes me mad that The Sad tricks me into thinking I’m the only one with it.

It comes and goes as it pleases and disrupts my life and poops on it and then leaves.  I’m glad when it’s gone but I hate that it has returned and I hate that it is always returning.

Why is it so hard to beat The Sad?  All the things I know to do don’t make sense when The Sad is around.

I have no words for The Sad.  I can’t even write to beat The Sad.  And now I have to go to work and fight every moment against The Sad so that I don’t just up and leave suddenly when it becomes too overwhelming and the only other thing I can do is drive home and sneak into bed and hope that no one notices and no one finds me and tries to make me do anything other than hide.

 

 

Negative-ities

I’m defaulting to my norm – criticizing myself, hiding beneath a hoodie and cigarette smoke, avoiding others, overly-focused on news events through my typical youtube channels and NYT articles.  I’m withdrawing from the world, attempting to avoid what is inevitable.  I smell the stench of failure everywhere I turn my head.

I start a new job this week.  It’s all I can think of.  I am consumed with negative thoughts.  My mind is bursting with them, and they’re all pointing at how I’m not worth it, how I’ll never make it, how I’m stupid, incompetent, how they’ll see right through me, how I won’t be good enough.

Tomorrow I’m going to try – really, really, really try – to do something for me.  I’m going to write or create or draw or something but it’s only going to be for me and it’s going to be something positive that I can etch into my mind and try to fight back some of these demons.  Wish me luck.

Never good enough

Once you are wrong, you’ll always be wrong and can never do anything right.  And if you’re right in his eyes, you can never do anything wrong.

I’m in the first category.  Ever since I was little, everything I did was wrong.  There was exasperated sighs, hands thrown up in the air, yelling, shouting, pointing.  Always, whatever I did, whatever I tried, I was wrong.

I didn’t put my shoes where they were supposed to be.
I left smudges on the mirror.
I threw a wet sock down the clothes chute and it got all the other clothes wet and what was I thinking?  Do I even think?  Ever?

I left the light on.  I shut the door too hard.  I couldn’t remember the difference between a phillips head and a flat head.  I didn’t push in my chair.  I move too fast.

I took too long.  I put us behind.  I didn’t pay attention.  My head was filled with nonsense and always somewhere else instead of where it should be.

So now, here I am again, feeling totally inept in my adult life.  I just got a job, proud of myself, and immediately, it’s:  ‘well, that’s good, that will give you time to look for a real job.’  Lights out on any shred of self-esteem I might still have had.

And now the big stuff is coming out.  For a while, there was a lull.  But now the ish has really hit the fan, so to speak.  He broke.  He called us out on all of our flaws, all of our problems, hollered and shouted and pointed and said, ‘you, you, you.’  Should have.  Don’t you think?  I’m at the end of my rope.  Lost cause.  What do you expect?

Part of me feels ashamed.  All of me feels guilty.  And responsible.  I listen to every word as though it is absolute truth.  He is absolutely right and I am absolutely wrong.  About all of it.  I’m wrong.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Wrong for not working harder.  Wrong for not listening.  Wrong for making bad decisions.  Wrong for not figuring it out.  Not working hard enough.  Not caring enough.  Not doing enough.  Not moving fast enough.  Wrong at every move.

I’ll never be right.  I’ll never, ever get it right.  No matter what I do or how hard I try, I will always, inevitably, be wrong.

 

Dull Fuzzy Fog

I got the job.  They called me the same day.

All the stuff I was alluding to last night (in my last post) is right up at the forefront now.  There’s not denying it.  Here’s the basics:  marriage in shambles, finances in disarray, family breaking apart, personal mental health going down the tubes quickly.

I should be thrilled that I got hired.  But I feel nothing.  I’m in a dense, heavy fog, like I’ve been sedated.  It’s not just tiredness.  When I’m so exhausted and sleepy that I can barely walk to my bed, as soon as I lay down I’m wide awake with thoughts.

They don’t go away.  None of this is going away until it is dealt with.

Sigh.

I don’t have the answers.  I quite honestly don’t know what to do.  And I’m so godawful tired that I can’t think clearly whatsoever.  Any ideas?