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Please, don’t you give me false hope. You’re free to go.

28 Jan

I feel so fucking vacant.

I’m worn this week. I miss the little tiny trickles of love that a relationship gives-a warm body to lie against, fingers on the back of a neck, soft and forgetful. The sense and smell of another in your bed, the completeness of feeling drawn to another.

I dislike being alone. I feel unmoored, despite the confidence that chews me up. It’s not depression, it’s ache, like a phantom limb I miss the security and the safety of arms, warmth.

But do I miss my fantasy more than reality? Do I miss what I think I should I have, in place of what I did?

Getting back to that place, that place of absolute trust, of placing my heart in someone’s teeth-I don’t know if I can after this. With a back that craves simple touch, the pressure of someone who loves you, not just a lover.

I thought I’d die alone. So why aren’t I content so?

I’m tired. I’m 400 pounds of tired on my back in that overwhelming, I have things to do and no time or energy or will to do them, and perhaps later, perhaps soon I should pop those pills again, as I feel paranoia crawl up my back and I wodner, do you feel this too? Do you distrust the motives in all you meet, thinking their interest or open mouths, their words, are all an effort to find a way in to destroy? Do you stare out the sides of your eyes, constantly wary too? Or do you always expect only the best from people?

I assume that dating is going to be a problem with paranoia thrown in.

****

I think I have an appointment with my shrink tomorrow. I think, because when the reminder call came, we said the time but not the date and I was busy dealing with someone from work questioning abscenses from the past 7 MONTHS and worried, no, terrified that they were trying to find a way to pay me, while shovelling food into my mouth, shushing a 4 year old and consulting with my father about dishwashers. So i wasn’t really clear, and now I’m worried that THEY will stop seeing me since I already got a letter about missing my last appointment but then I wonder, exactly how pissy can you get with CRAZY PEOPLE who are on meds that make them forget almost everything?

Sigh. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. All I know is that I want to sleep again, real sleep, not the half sleep I’ve been getting lately, waking up every hour or so, lost. If being crazy is good for anything, it’s getting drugs that get you to sleep.

I want my clarity back, but I want it to be mine. I wanted to feel this, REALLY TRULY feel what’s been happening. I feel like I’m owed that at least, after years of not knowing where my needs ended and the battle really began, I needed to feel something for me. But the hope of living without those magical pills, some magical pills, it wavers as the darkness crawls near and whispers songs I know far too well.

And the drinking. I could drink myself into a hole at this point, and not care. I could pop whatever you handed me, and be glad to have done it. I could pour myself into oblivion and not care.

It’s time to get back.

Myth of the Manic Artist

26 Aug

A little girl with a little curl sits in the middle of her little bed. She writes and she writes, she rages, she cries. She takes things to make the sky the color of a warm fuzzy peach, and stays up for days, the pen trailing neon through the night.

The little girl with the curl would then collapse, spent and sad, moving little, sluggish from the bed, her muse, her voice stolen, locked in her wrists! How dare they steal her song!

The little girl shied away from the doctors, from the talkers, from the big people who looked down and knew her for what she was. She ran from them, even as she hurt, her song more important, the beauty they would steal, it was MORE important! It’s technicolor loveliness so achingly perfect.

Then something happened. The little girl hit a wall, and the colors left. Her world, baring a few hours, a day here and there, dribbled down to greys and blacks, muted landscapes about her. That world narrowed, constricted, wrapped around her. The words stopped. They weren’t easy anymore. They weren’t there.

Then, the bad time. When it all turned black and the words turned against her and walked echoing through her head, accusingly. The ghost in her eyes very nearly came true. The ghost who stole her words.

The world compressed, and seized, wrapped her in it’s hands and throttled.  She glared back, the little curl refusing this last gift to it, this little girl. The black world receded, pouting, recoiling from the gift in her hands, the light brought to the darkness.

The little girl with the little curl climbed back up on that bed, pen in hand, to work, to find her voice. She smiles there.

***********************

Nothing irritates me more than the cult of the myth of the manic artist. Nothing, not even people more concerned with purses than the news or the overabundance of olives at sub shops.

I recently had this conversation with a friend, or rather, I had a snarky monologue prepared.  Any talents I had, or have, were never because of my manic depression. They have never been a gift of my perspective.

This is the line many people will sell you-that Kurt Cobain wouldn’t have had the same voice without whatever was supposedly wrong in his head, Van Gogh wouldn’t have been so brilliant. We would have lost so much.

Which always makes me wonder-do artists have an unknown debt to society no one has told me about anyway?

Perhaps being sick in my head makes me more willing to speak about it, more willing to sit and look at my condition, at everyone’s condition. But it’s never made me more talented-if anything, since I am NOT blessed with extended periods of mania, it’s taken any talents I may have and widdled them down to nearly nothing. Only now, medicated, do I begin to approach a place of clear and pure creativity I never once came near before, even during the one longish manic period I hit. My writing has never been enhanced by my crazy. Not once.

I’ve run into people who wish they were bipolar, that then they would write/sing/paint/etc better, that they would suddenly have some oracle into another world. But it’s not the case. There is nothing magical about this crazy, nothing that will enhance who and what you write for, or sing for. There’s a cold empty in it’s place, devoid of energy.

10 years ago I would have just assumed I had nothing left to say. Before that, I would have said I was writing brilliantly. Looking back, I was writing total crap. I just thought it was brilliant.

But should the tradeoff be my brilliance for my stability, if my madness was linked to my creativity? Should I toss my lithium down the river in the hopes that 2 half started novels might suddenly jump into life? Should I sacrifice my life for my muse, for any muse? What price life?

When we spend lives hiding who we are, the thought that we’re only valid when acting as something supersonic, this perfect being who spouts eloquence and beauty, don’t we become just another cliche? Don’t we become less than human then, shoved to the corner as another ideal that someone likes to keep in play?

I am not an ideal.

Must remember the rabbit.

30 Jun

There’s a particular head cracking, throbbing pain that sends me immediately to my knees, an ache so fierce that sitting at a computer for longer than 10 minutes becomes unbearable.

sleep

my head whispers

I need to sleep

so I sleep longer. Harder. More. I could sleep for days.

The gift this summer won’t be mania. It shall be depression it seems.

It seeps in when you least expect it. Your schedule changes and your body doesn’t respond like it did when you were 22. The small voices start again, whispering paranoid delusions and crazy talk, mixing your world up with a stir and a spoon, causing fraction and friction.  Rubbing the skin right off. The “those” thoughts come back, the bad ones, the scary ones, the snickering demon voices daring me to live, daring me to ignore what they consider obvious. That I’m nothing more than flesh. That my life is borrowed, and pithy, and really quite meaningless. That those in my life would be better without me.

I fight them off. I struggle, the heaving sigh of breath from my chest which pulls me inside myself more and more, that keeps me locked in my home, that cuts me off even from most of you, here in this place that was so vital and vivid before.

It’s all turning into muddled black and white, grey upon grey. A struggle to move from the bed to the bathroom, to smile for those who find happiness so much easier than I do. I’m struggling, and it’s happened so fast I can barely blink to greet this doom.

I’m scared. I’m angry, no, I’m, pissed off that I’m facing this, again. I’m tired of facing my dragon, an exhaustion that trickles in my veins and weighs me down. I’m sick of being fucking unable to smile, of weeping at every conceivable turn. At feeling very much like a liability, and a problem to be dealt with.

I am so tired of failing at this, of flailing for a solution. Of telling myself I’m a good and worthy person who will get there, who will find her place in this world, come hell or high water.

I’m also sick of being the girl who forgets her medication every now and then, sending her stumbling down the rabbit’s hole. Remains to be seen how long it will take to bounce back from one day’s worth of inattention.

Just one more thing I can’t get right.

Everybody’s got plans…until they get hit.

3 Apr

She fears fire.

Vividly, it encapsulates her, and she’s trapped in the terrified thrall. What if’s, what of’s, they fill the air around us until I almost cannot breathe anymore and I’ve run out of words to say, out of words with meanings deeper than this one thing:

“I will always save you. I will always be there.”

She imagines she can’t get out, she can’t break the window, the doorknob is hot, she can’t go out barefoot. Yet she can’t remember our escape plan, our meeting place. I ask her what she would do if there was smoke.

“The school” she tells me, “said to go slowly.”

The school has created this monster, this giant fear worming it’s way through her head, eating at her, slowly. A fear of fire is an elemental thing, especially for a child. “Where would we live?” she asks, “What about all my things?” We fear the cleansing of the growing, growling beast.

“Would snow put it out?” she asks, but only after asking if brick would catch fire. So many thoughts for someone so small and young. Such a weight on her back.

I look her in the eyes. “You are safe. We are here. We will always come for you. You think a little fire will keep your mother away? Pfft.” I hold her gaze for a little while, so she can be weak, then strong again. She gets it.

A plan, I tell her, keeps away the fear. And we have a damn good plan.

*****************

I fear my own fires, but it’s not one that burns in the real world, eating timbers and dolls. I’ve been feeling good-damn good, that good that terrifies me because it’s almost TOO good, a meandering steady that leads irrevocably into madness and mania. I glimpse my own potential, and see it’s shunted and cornered by this fire, my normal fear, my hideous lecture. I fear myself. I fear the fire that eventually tries to eat me from the inside.

I have all the hope and joy in the world for my future right now, but it’s tempered by the knowledge that sometimes, my own brain, my very own self, kicks my ass back down to be burned and scarred. It scares me, and it saddens me, and it sucks the hope right back out of me. I could fly, if only my wings would work for longer than a fledgling. I can’t get off the ground, and the smoke and flames threaten.

I worry just as much as Viv. I just keep it hidden, stuffed down, where I almost don’t feel it, where it almost doesn’t bother anyone, where I can mostly pretend it doesn’t exist. But it does. The terror of a hidden soul can only stay hidden for so long. Then it creeps and smolders up into my chest, down around my heart, until I paralyzed and gleeful, all at once.

I worry that one of these days, I won’t be able to control the fire, to put it out, and the flames will drain me.

I don’t have a plan, I don’t have an escape, and I can’t help but wonder about the fire extinguishers.

“how do i explain bipolar disorder to someone?”

24 Feb

Sometimes I start talking to stranger, acquaintances, friends about this wonderful defect, this twitching glitch in my brain. I’ll candidly mention “the second time I tried to kill myself” or “when I was on the psych ward” or even, “last time I was at the mall, I kept hearing things calling my name. heh.” I’ll keep talking, glad to be open and rational about my disorder, until I glance up and notice the looks of horror or fear on the faces before me. The sheer inability to understand.

Explaining bipolar to a “normal” is difficult. I have noticed that first off the “oh, I get depressed sometimes too” line will come out, about 70% of the time.

This line irritates me so much I want to spoon out their eyeballs and make soup. I know it’s an attempt to relate and empathize. But it comes of as condescending and like they wish to minimize what I’ve been through.

Some people have relatives with bipolar though, or DID, or other disorders, and they will quietly admit to this, as if they’re the family demons and by speaking of them they get stronger. Like it’s something to be ashamed of.

It’s rare that anyone actually wants to hear the truth, the story behind it. What happens, and why.

I’ve had the chance, the odd time, to really explain what happens. And I’m as pointed and clear and realistic as I can be.

I explain the huge variations in mood, like summer to winter, with no chance for spring. My head can wrap itself around and convince itself that those I love hate me, or that I hate them, or that they’re spying on me, or plotting against me.

I can become paranoid, even when medicated. Patterns which would otherwise be meaningless can make me question what I’m seeing. I worry that attention not paid to me is not friendship, but betrayal.

Sometimes, all I want, more than anything, is to die. Or rather, to just not exist. It’s not a matter of wanting to die-it’s when the pain is so bad, so all consuming that it colors every.single.thing. in your world, being numb, being sterile and white and blinding sounds like SUCH a good idea, even if you need to get there to die. It’s a drive, a mission to find a dry place, a soundproof place where the voices in your head have nothing to say, and you don’t ache with the pain you imagine a star could be borne of.

The death part is the hardest to understand. A rational, normal person thinks of suicide as anathema, as well they should. But I’ve always found the suicidal urges to be the simplest. Wake up, have pancakes, pick out a shirt, maybe today I’ll do it, maybe not, ham would be nice for dinner. Just the endless loop of “just maybe”. No one likes to know about this part. (Incidentally, this has been the bit that’s most isolating, and I just really don’t have anyone to talk to about it, which is how I usually work through stuff. It’s pretty much a conversation killer)

I might talk about my mania. Thankfully mine isn’t so bad, especially medicated, but I still become infuriated when normal people talk about “how manic!” they are after a cup of coffee. (The word is hyper. Not manic) I’ve explained my black rages to people, those where I can barely rein in my anger, looking through bloody, lidded eyes. I’ve explained the agitation, akin to having creatures crawling underneath and through my skin, inability to sit still, be quiet, keep money in my pocket.

People think mania sounds “neat”.

I don’t know if you can explain away that theory. To them, mania is being happy and fun. Even for me, who rarely gets very manic, especially on the meds, it’s not fun. It’s scary. A few months back, I had a week where I was insanely manic, for me, considering I’ m medicated. I could have sworn I was floating for a few days, I was so euphoric. I couldn’t focus, I could barely see straight. I vibrated.

Not neat. But to the outsider, there aren’t enough adjectives to convey the sense of slow plodding insanity mania can give you.

I always take pain to point out that I’m otherwise normal. That with the exception of my bad moments, on medication, I’m mostly like others. Sure, I still need to work harder at some things. I’ll never be as organized as a lot of people, I’ll never be able to focus as clearly as I did before I got sick. But I still get the flu. I laugh at fart jokes. I have baggage. I’m still human.

And really, that’s what this always boils down to. Conveying to people our humanity-that mental illness hasn’t stripped that away. Sure, I’m sick. But that doesn’t make me less of a wife, or mother, or friend. If anything, I’m more human, as the experience, the internal experiences I’ve been through make me fuller than any trip or purchase could make me. I have a wealth of knowledge and living behind me, something that’s made me, even sick me, so much more of a person than I would have been.

Explain our humanity. It’s all up hill from there.

8 Ways to help your Bipolar Loved One Cope

22 Feb

Great article from World of Psychology. Basic stuff really, but all items that can get lost in the shuffle.

If you do not hear reason she will rap you on the knuckles.

2 Feb

Her voice is smooth as I stare at the new nail polish on my fingers, “Electric Strawberry” (Affair in Red Square, you have competition. Grrrrrrrowl.) She is calm, and measured, and not at all the 53 she professes to be. I worry about starting into all of it, all of IT, my life. Not nearly so bad by some measures, but in Canada, it’s bad enough.

Sometimes I feel like I’m making it all up, wish that I was, when I begin to recount the events of my life, spoken of in “oh, and then this” or “well, I think that maybe it started when…” When what? When my mother died? When the neighbour couldn’t keep his hands off me? Or when my father didn’t know what to do with me, and left me to my own devices, left to wither, until he was angry drunk and felt like yelling.

She listens. She does what no one else ever does-tells me I’m strong for doing this every day, reminds me that sickness is still sickness even if it’s only in my head. Validates my stress, my anger, my depression. Suggests that maybe my medication isn’t working quite as well as I think.

She doesn’t laugh when I tell her I’m a bitch. She knows that sometimes I am, and that I’m calling to please, please help me figure out when to stop the train when it leaves the station. Please help me try and stop the anger that doesn’t mean anything, the anger that isn’t real. She listens and believes me when I tell her I can’t help it, that I’m powerless behind it, despite what anyone might think.

Think of yourself as an alcoholic she tells me. The path is the same. Name calling, anger, judgement, sins from the past, screaming, then crying, begging for forgiveness. It’s the exact same thing, but I have no excuse aside from my brain and who I’ve become, some small child unable to grow up, unable to be loved without drama, without something huge looming in the background.

She believes me when I tell her I want to be different, that I want to learn how to be happy, I want to know what happy people look like, how they eat, what they wear. That I want to be happy. She believes me.

Her voice is soothing, makes me want to tell her my secrets. The pity I can do without, yes, losing my mother was horrible but I’ve lived with it for 20 years and now, now I just want to leave it behind, package it and put it in a cubbyhole where it’s only taken out on holiday, petted, cried over, but ultimately left alone. I want all of it put away, I want to be left with the me who is behind everything else.

I fear there’s not much there, she’s been buried underneath all this stuff for so long, these things done to her or done in spite of her.

She worth digging for, right?

**************

I want to change. I do. But how? How do you change after years of knee jerk response and a brain that’s like a separate person altogether?

I want answers this time. I want real answers on how to move past a lifetime of things I’ve “thought” I was over. I want answers on how to be less of a bitch and more of a real person.

I just want, after all this time, to be reasonable for once.