Removing the Option to Quit

Today is the first day that we have had actual Autumn-like weather.  It is dreary out, the days of sunshine prior are slowly erasing themselves from my memory, until it feels like every day for the past ten years has been this way.  This removal of hope that happens to me from time to time, it’s happening, and like I sometimes (but not always) do, this time I am refusing to give myself the option to quit on myself.

I have too much going for me to give up.  I can’t promise that the thoughts won’t sneak in, but for this moment and for at least today, I will not quit on myself.  I will keep plodding, one foot in front of the other, and I will come out victorious in the Spring, surviving and possibly even conquering this beast in my brain that seems to be so loud and demanding through the colder months.

Continuing on from my last post, that strategy of hunkering down and just slogging through it will remain, will keep on.  I am not going to detail the daily woes of life, because that gets me nowhere.  I accept that I am depressed, moving through a mixed cycle, cycling, paranoid, racing thoughts, nightmares, feeling unsafe, and avoiding most people, most places, most interactions.  I acknowledge and then I move forward.  Maybe tomorrow will be better, I really have no way of knowing for sure, but I can work my hardest to keep shuffling toward days filled with more sunlight and green carpets of grass and natural warmth on my skin.  I will not let today’s troubles swallow me whole, spitting me out to be useless and lying still on the carpet all day.

I will do the things I need to do, I will follow the lists, I will cherish my blessings, and I will persevere, because there is really no other acceptable answer.  Above all, remember that a simple kindness can be the push that gets a person through a hard day.  Don’t be shy, throw a pebble at my window.  I will likely be both surprised and grateful, and will almost certainly return the favor.

Does Pain End?

HOPE

link

Slightly better times are here, but not in permanent way.  I am still experiencing a tremendous amount of hopelessness, suicidality, despair, depression, overwhelming sadness, non-stop crying spells, mind-blowing anxiety.  What I have now that is different, is each day I can sometimes find a little pocket of time that is not destroyed or taken over by the monsters in my mind.

If I am really careful, I can stretch that little pocket of time upwards of an hour before the lows inside of my head start to drag me back down.  The past week, I have been able to get lost in some jewelry projects, good quality time with LarBear, entertaining online chats, Kizzie snuggles, and some magic in the kitchen.

Now that I have these pockets of positive time, it almost make things worse.  It’s like a tease — oh, here, you can feel semi-decent for an hour, but then it will be snatched right out of our hands and you will be back to fearing your own shadow and crying off all the makeup you so carefully applied and choking back sobs until you feel like you could vomit.

So I have my hour here and there, and I force myself to do things, creative things, hands-on things, fun things, in those short stretches of time.  Because they aren’t long pockets of time, the don’t always come everyday, and I may jump back and forth out of a “good pocket” several times in the course of one day.

I am lacking in the area of my brain where hope is created, and really do feel like this is probably going last half past forever.  Or really, that it will change, but only change inasmuch that it will be just a different version of Hell.  So, I posted the HOPE sign at the top, because that’s what I’m clinging on to with my shredded fingernails.

Pain ends, pain ends, pain ends.  I repeat it to myself over and over.  I don’t buy in, I don’t believe it, but I repeat, repeat, repeat.  Because deep down inside, there is hope that things will be better, and that itty bitty, tiny shred of REAL hope is all I have to hang on to, as far as thinking my mental health will some day ever be in “recovery” or “remission.”

Because really, I just don’t believe it.  I don’t think “recovery” or “remission” can be applied words to what is happening to my brain, and I’ve never been able to understand the use of those words on this particular disease.

 

 

A Million Endings in My Mind (TW)

TRIGGER WARNING –thoughts of suicide

 

not how its going to end

There was a time in my life when I thought that everyone on the planet thought about suicide like I did.  That every depressed person obsessed over it, that it was at the forefront of everyone’s mind, even when the feelings of depression had diminished.  That is was the first thing every person thought of when they woke up, or when they drove over a bridge, or when life seemed even slightly too cruel.

My thoughts turn toward giving up at the slightest provocation.  They have been that way for a really long time.  Decades.  I’m not sure how it got that way.  I have (obviously) not given up, because I’m sitting here typing this, and haven’t given up (ever) in the sense that I have tried to end my life.  But, man, do I ever think about it.

All the time.  In good times and in bad.  The thought is always right there, hovering near the surface.  When I say I think about it in good times, the thoughts are always much more passive, such as wanting to sleep and not wake up or wishing that I didn’t exist.  Times other than the good times, the thoughts are quite a bit more graphic.

I think its possible that the thoughts themselves have become obsessive, in a way.  I used them as tools to get through some really impossible situations in life.  When life is harsh and ugly and you are being beaten over the head (sometimes quite literally) with your own illness, the thoughts that you wish you would never wake up are comforting.  The thoughts that you could just oh, say, slide your hand a bit to the right on the steering wheel as you take this curve make you feel a little bit more in control of things.

I’m not sure if anyone is going to understand that, and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to publish this post, because I fear that I’m going to have a whole lot of people tell me how beautiful life is and how I am cherished in it and how I have so much to live for.  Yes, I know these things.  The thoughts still come.  This has become about the thoughts and how the thoughts have taken over my life.

I don’t talk to anyone (at all) about this.  I fear rejection, stigma, and I fear having to look another human in the face and say, lying all the way, that, oh yes, I know things are never that bad that I should have these thoughts.  Because having these intrusive, repetitive, obsessive thoughts is not something I choose.  I don’t *like* these thoughts, but I do have to deal with them.  I do have to live my life, with them whispering about in my head.

I do a lot of living inside my head, I do a lot of not going places, and not talking to people.  Not going places I love to go, like to basketball games, and not talking to people that I love more than any on Earth, like my sister or my dad.  I can’t tell them these things, about these obsessive thoughts.  I can’t picture the words coming from my mouth, even if I think there is a good chance that they won’t immediately commit me to a locked ward somewhere.

If this post reaches even one person who can relate, who can understand what I’m saying, and they can know they are not alone with these commanding and hostile, yet sometimes just whispering thoughts, then that is all I really wanted.  So much of having a mental illness is feeling alone and misunderstood.  I get tired of feeling that way, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.  I’m tired with it, with the isolation and the feeling that no one is really grasping what is happening in my head.

But my story, it’s not ending this way.  I have a  million different endings churning in my head, vying for space and attention, and if I have anything to do with it, the ending I will forge in time’s book is that of a person who never fully gave up, even though the thoughts tried to convince her every day.  I may have to deal with the thoughts, but I can vow that I will do my best to not give in, and to continue to try and learn to silence, to ignore, to resist them along the way, as best I can.

 

Rapid Cycling Tempered With Suicidal Ideation and Clarity (TW)

TRIGGER WARNING — mentions of suicidal ideation and self-harm thoughts

not giving up

I have been pondering doing ECT again for the past several days.  According to my mood tracker app, I have had six days in a row now where I have struggled desperately with suicidal and self-harm thoughts.  Had I been using the app for even longer, it would have shown some seriously ridiculous rapid cycling.  The up, the down, it never ends.  This last stretch has been particularly difficult.

I have opted not to go to the hospital or the crisis house, mostly because it is too hard to be away from my natural support system.  With the near-constant help from LarBear, and lots of support from Mom and Dad, and the support of friends, I have managed to stay safe.  There have been many times where I was *almost* not safe, and there was some self-harm behavior that I DID engage in, but I am still standing, still in once piece.  Upright, as I told a friend yesterday.

golden gate

And that’s the truth — there isn’t anything in my life that isn’t *fixable*.  Unfortunately, it isn’t a “magic wand” kind of fix or a pill I can take or a therapy I can do.  It is all, I believe, a mixture of many things that keep me alive and keep me from making that final step into the abyss.  I hover over the line, testing my toes across the edge, but I consistently pull back.

Because LarBear.

Because Kizzie.

Because my mom and my dad and my sister.

Because Oscar.

Whatever the “because” is, it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that I still have a “because,” and even several of them.  Even at my very worst, I can almost always keep in mind that I don’t want to leave these precious people behind.  It is a blessing that I can think this way, and it is only when I am unable to see their importance in my life that I will put myself into a hospital or a crisis house.

Oscar’s birthday was the 19th, and I meant to do a birthday post for him, but mentally wasn’t up to it.  I am going to try and crank one out in the next day or so anyway — he is two years old now, so I am pretty sure he won’t judge me too harshly for not being on time.

Yes, because Oscar.

Yes, because my sister.

Thank you, baby Jesus, that I have my family, that I have my LarBear, that I have my friends.  Without them, things would be very grim indeed.

And KINDNESS.  No, kindness is not overrated.  It is simple, while being complex, and is really so VERY easy, even though sometimes it’s hard.  So, because kindness.  You never know what someone is going through, right at this moment.  Be kind.  Smile at someone.  You could save a life, without knowing it.  I know I have seen some smiles in my life that have kept me from wrapping my car around a bridge abutment, from stepping out a window, from picking up that instrument of self-harm.  It really can do it.  Please smile at someone today.

lightens the burdens

 

 

 

Two Inch Square Reminder

I would like to think that every day I am swimming a little bit closer to the surface of reality and contentment and “ok-ness.”

It seems today was very very dark and only on a few occasions could I see a greyish blue light around the exteriors of objects and words and people.  Otherwise it was pitch as night.  At this very moment, just the slightest grayish blue.  And then it all disappears and I am without any senses to guide me.

I am making such an effort to come up with things to please myself, to give myself a moment’s respite from hell, to wrack my brain for what might be the thing I have missed.  I ate a soft-serve vanilla cone today. It reminded me of my sister and McDonald’s and having fewer cares. It made me feel happy for a moment, as I was looking at a faraway memory.

Often the grey light will come from within a memory of my sister or Oscar.  I have the picture booklet she made of their first year as a family sitting on my table where I spend many hours.  I usually go so far as to only look at the cover, but lately I have allowed myself to look inside and it is almost amusing to laugh out loud at Oscar’s silly face and my sister’s beautiful and loving smile, all the while with snot and tears rolling down my face.  And I flip back and through it over and over, laughing, smiling, and feeling like there are things worth living for.

And I tell myself, well, Rosa, at least you can be grateful for one thing if none other.  In the here in now, you have remembered there are things worth living for.

This happens to be my very first indication that, while things could go bad again and likely will, for now I have a glimmer of hope that I find in a two square inch photo book.  Love you guys.

Treading Water, Full Speed Ahead

**TW FOR SUICIDAL IDEATION**

Stuck in time-space travel, living too far into the future, no focus, hyper-focused, zero attention span.  Do not care.  About that (although a little troublesome) or about much.  I’ve let most things I love and care about drop around my feet slowly, starting in August of last year, when my world was given the big smack-down and everything changed.

I’ve cycled through some hypomania and have as of late been mired in depression and super-fun mixed episodes, with a bit of giddy mania sandwiched in.  I have dropped blogging, family, friends, personal hygiene, my TV shows, my music, my books, my sanity, and the smoking and weight loss kick to find myself with a new boyfriend and far too much change and far too much crying, several times a day, every day.  Something is not right.

I feel as if I am living in a different world.  I don’t do the things that ground me.  I am trying new things and they sometimes make me quite miserable.  Cutting off ties to certain people leaves my belly churning and my chest tight.  On the flip of that, I am deliriously happy, ecstatic even at times.  And in the middle, irritable, wounded, striking out.  I am all and I am none.

I am eating Hamburger Helper and Ramen noodles and instant mashed potatoes, even though I can cook, and do cook well.  My body is so parched for moisture from a lack of self-care, that my feet are cracked, my skin rough, my hair thinning.  I do not recognize myself in a mirror.  I have important phone calls to make to set up appointments for my health and should try and see family more, but all I really want to do is stay up all night being whacked or lying in bed all day, broken.

I want to retain the good parts of my life and explore the new, rid myself of the negative or unhelpful, but I can’t make myself care enough to do anything about it.  I probably look fine, even good on the outside, like I am doing well.  But in mind and heart I have gone away.

I sometimes think about throwing myself on the mercy of the psychiatric hospital, or the local crisis services, but I don’t, because that only burdens everyone.  I stay safe because I keep boyfriend Larry at my side as much as I can.  There is only so much one can do, though, and he will get tired.  As with any other relationship, I am probably wrecking this one already with my craziness.

No real worries, friends.  I will keep on keeping myself safe.  These are only thoughts and feelings.  Reality is that there is love in my life and I would never do anything to hurt or abandon anyone in that fashion.

 

 

 

 

I Need A Hero

Just a few days ago, I was fine.  Bordering on good.  Feeling positive.  Not aware that bipolar disorder was going to smack into me like a Mack truck.  Not aware that all of those good feelings and positive thoughts would completely disintegrate.  I don’t know why I’m always so surprised.  This is always how it goes.  This is what bipolar disorder does.  It takes your perfect little sandcastle and dumps a boatload of water on it.  And then you’re drowning.

I am flailing at this point.  I have not been able to gather any willingness about me as of yet.  I am struggling and I am drowning.  I am looking for any outside source to make myself feel better when I know, deep down, that it resides in myself.  It matters not.  It appears that the people who are always in my corner may have become, over time, less sympathetic to my plight.

Well, that’s what it feels like, even if it’s not reality.  It feels like they are sick to death of the crazy Rose and only want the “feeling good” Rose around.  I can see it in their eyes, which they avert when I look directly at them.  I can sense it in the body language, the old, “oh, here we go again” shrug of shoulders.  The lack of a hug, the lack of an “I love you.”  The not being able to meet me in the eyes.  The plain and simple walking away.  I, and this 15 year bout with mental illness, have left them drained.

I don’t know what other people think, when a person with bipolar disorder goes through a long remission of symptoms.  Are they thinking maybe the symptoms won’t come back?  Or that they won’t be as bad?  Or that the person dealing with the disorder has the skills so will surely be able to fix herself?

What I do know is that this is two cycles in a month.  That’s a lot for any family to have to deal with, especially after such a long period of remission.  Are the fears back that this will go on and on?  Maybe.  I can’t ask because I don’t know that I want to hear the answer.  I know my family will stand by me, but I can’t help feeling all alone.

I really don’t know.  What I do know is that I do an awful lot of my pain and suffering in silence, because I don’t want to bother anyone.  And when I DO reach out, I am guilty and ashamed.  Why am I ashamed of something I have been dealing with for so long?  Because I see what it does to the people around me.  I’m not saying they would, but there is a small possibility in the back of my brain says that they could get tired of loving me if this keeps going on.

And it will keep going on.  My bipolar disorder is CHRONIC, as in, not going away.  I will have to deal with this the rest of my life, and I’m just not sure I can sometimes.  I’m not getting ready to do anything stupid, but those thoughts are there.  It’s never good when the thoughts are there.

I want to affirm and reaffirm that I will never take my own life.  I know that would destroy people that love me.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it.  Over the years, I have always kept myself from doing it in one way or another.  Right now, my nephew and my pup, are the two things keeping me going.  I don’t want Kizz to ever be without her momma and I want to watch my nephew grow up.  Those are two good reasons to keep fighting.  They are what I think of when I think I can’t do this anymore.

So for now, I’ll keep moving on.  I’ll take the extra meds the pdoc prescribed and I’ll try and stay busy and I’ll keep blogging on here.  There is a part of me that desperately wants to reach out to someone, but I know that maybe, for now, I have maxed that person out.  It is sad to me that I have done this, but it’s been a long row to hoe.  And we’ve only made it through the strawberry patch so far.

 

“Hero”

I’m just a step away
I’m just a breath away
Losin’ my faith today
(Fallin’ off the edge today)

I am just a man
Not superhuman
(I’m not superhuman)
Someone save me from the hate

It’s just another war
Just another family torn
(Falling from my faith today)
Just a step from the edge
Just another day in the world we live

[Chorus:]
I need a hero to save me now
I need a hero (save me now)
I need a hero to save my life
A hero’ll save me (just in time)

I’ve gotta fight today
To live another day
Speakin’ my mind today
(My voice will be heard today)

I’ve gotta make a stand
But I am just a man
(I’m not superhuman)
My voice will be heard today

It’s just another war
Just another family torn
(My voice will be heard today)
It’s just another kill
The countdown begins to destroy ourselves

[Chorus]

I need a hero to save my life
I need a hero just in time
Save me just in time
Save me just in time

Who’s gonna fight for what’s right
Who’s gonna help us survive
We’re in the fight of our lives
(And we’re not ready to die)

Who’s gonna fight for the weak
Who’s gonna make ’em believe
I’ve got a hero (I’ve got a hero)
Livin’ in me

I’m gonna fight for what’s right
Today I’m speaking my mind
And if it kills me tonight
(I will be ready to die)

A hero’s not afraid to give his life
A hero’s gonna save me just in time

[Chorus]

I need a hero
Who’s gonna fight for what’s right
Who’s gonna help us survive

I need a hero
Who’s gonna fight for the weak
Who’s gonna make ’em believe
I need a hero
I need a hero

A hero’s gonna save me just in time