Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pandora's Box - Fear

My therapist has asked me to write about one of the emotions that has been holding me back. I fear that if I dig deeper I will find that I'm an imposter and that I'm really not bipolar. That I'm making things up.

I know I'm broken, but I fear that I will find that I'm more broken than I expected. That no one will ever see past my brokenness to love me.

I fear I will always be alone. Alone like when I was pregnant and fell violently ill. When I told my son's father that I was pregnant, he never touched me again. Not so much as a hug. 

Women's bodies are strong, but pregnancy is so mysterious and confusing. You inhabit a body that becomes quite foreign. There were times I thought I was miscarrying because I had no idea what was supposed to be normal. I needed someone to hold my hand, even if I wasn't going to be alright. I wanted someone to hold me. 

I was so lonely, sick, and frightened.

I had to drive myself to the ER three separate times because I was so violently ill. My ex couldn't be bothered to drive me. 

The first time I was admitted to the ER, a tube was shoved down my throat and the vacuum switch thrown. The nurse left the room. I was alone watching the blood that had pooled in my stomach come flying out into a container on the wall. The machine should have been switched off after 2 or 3 minutes, but the clock in front of me showed each painful minute that went by. When the nurse finally came back in 10 minutes later, I was hysterical. She offered me a sedative but I refused it afraid that I'd caused so much damage to my unborn child, he probably couldn't stand the extra stress on his system.


I was sent to the high risk maternity ward where I promptly forgotten. No breakfast or lunch was delivered to me because no one remembered I was there. No one remembered me. The buzzer was broken so I stumbled down the hall, dragging a long empty IV bag behind me. The doctor didn't come until the evening of the second day because no one had told him I had been admitted.

In those three days I was in the hospital my son's father visited me once for an hour before stealing a box of gloves so he could paint his model figurines.

I had the love and comfort of friends and family at that time, like I do now. But you can't curl up at night in your friend's bed. And I stopped seeking refuge from nightmares in my parent's bed by the time I was 7.
Jeremiah's first Christmas. All six pounds of him.
I want someone to love me, someone who wouldn't be repelled at hearing the words, "I'm pregnant." Someone to talk with, to laugh with me and at me. To argue with. Someone to say, "I love you and I want to be with you."

But I fear that I will never hear those words. I am afraid that my illness will prevent anyone from ever loving me.

I was robbed of a happy pregnancy. Yes, I was fortunate to have a great joy once my son was born. My life was forever changed. But that vast loneliness was so painful.

It sounds strange and a bit perverse, but on some level  my ex's repulsion of me was more painful than my rapist's obsession with me. At least he had the courtesy to stalk me for 4 years.

I fear that I will always be alone.
My fear isn't irrational. I was left alone once. I fear I will be left alone forever because I'm not fixed. 



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

1-800-273-TALK

These past 2.5 months have been brutal since my son has gone down to visit my family. Without the responsibility of him around my therapist has been pushing me to dig deeper into the recesses of my cluttered, dark mind.

And there are emotions in there.

So many emotions.

Some emotions welling up are so new, frightening, and overwhelming that my chest physically aches. So much so that the one night I found it necessary to make a phone call to help me get through the night.
Source: http://wonderbandalice.deviantart.com/
Not all self-harming is obvious to the naked eye. I've struggled with this illness for over 24 years and up until 2 years ago, I've never had the courage to admit this problem openly. Over the past three months I have worked extremely hard with my therapist to develop cognitive behavioral coping skills and calming techniques that I have used successfully to stem the tide of crazy that swirls in my brain at times.

But that night, the night before Robin Williams would end his life, I had so many painful emotions bubble to the surface that for the first time in years I was scared of myself. Each coping skill I tried to implement failed to have a desired impact; I grew more anxious. I couldn't breathe.

All I could think about was hurting myself. Badly. Really, really badly. I wanted the trapped pain to be outside of me. The pain was so bad this time I wanted to drive a knife in my thigh. Stab and twist. Because a twisted wound can't heal on it's own.

I've never had feelings that intense before.

I had no desire, no intention, no plan to end my life.

I just didn't know how to cope. It was 1 AM and I needed to talk to someone. I just needed to say the words, "I'm in a lot of pain right now. My therapist is helping me work through some difficult things and these feelings make me feel like hurting myself. I'm not suicidal, I'm not going to hurt myself. I just need to tell someone I'm having these feelings."

And the voice on the other end of the line, Noelle, listened patiently to me. I rambled for a few minutes and felt so much of the tension flow out of my body. It was as if allowing myself to say these things out loud took the power away from overwhelming feelings. My pulse returned to normal and I thanked Noelle for her kindness.

I sent a text to a couple of friends letting them know that I had been feeling harmful, but I had made a call and was feeling better. One night owl friend called me within minutes and kept me on the phone for the following hour and a half. We spent the time criticizing and deconstructing The Silver Chalice, Paul Newman's debut film. (If you are sad and need a laugh, I highly recommend this film. From the Sharpie drawn sets and bending metal swords to the costume department's liberal use of drapery tassels, there is not one part of the movie that isn't hysterical.).

Today is National Suicide Prevention Day. If you or a loved one needs help please call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. I am so fortunate that there was a voice on the other end of the line.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I've Seen the Devil and He Looks Like a Camel Cricket

Send help! 
I repeat, send help!
This is not a drill.

 I am currently trapped in the bathroom by a cricket from hell. My smashing shoe is on the other side of the house.



In the meantime I'll be doing my scaredy-pants-bitch-dance


Friday, June 20, 2014

I think my subconscious is planning a murder

I find that when I go old school and write out my thoughts on paper I find my groove a lot sooner. Otherwise, I can sit and stare at the screen for hours, distracting  myself every 45 seconds to take a Buzzfeed quiz or see if there are any Facebook posts where I can leave snarky comments.

So the other day as I was not working on my novel, I came across this image on Pintrest and realized it captured a lot of issues that I have when I find randoms scraps of paper I have scribbled on. And even though I was in the middle of cleaning my living room not 15 minutes ago, when I found this paper I decided it's both hysterical and disturbing that I had to share it.

Maybe I was trying to write a one-liner opening for a murder mystery hidden in the depths of my brain or maybe it's a Hemingway six word story entry.
  • Depression era dancer winner takes all.
  • Be sure to grind the bones.
  • Her body entwined the lobster trap.
  • His dying speech was sesquipedalian.
  • The gallows, hungry for another neck.
  • Henry died; the psych ward silenced.
Not too sure where to go with that. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

No One Addresses the Pope as Frankie

Being Bipolar can be so weird and frustrating.

On the upside, when I'm on a creative roll nothing can stop me. Not the endless chatter or pleas from my 8 year old nor the prospect of watching an independent movie staring my favorite actor while sipping on a hard cider. 

The downside comes when my brain won't turn off and let me go to sleep. My eyes are sore, achy, and dry. My wrists have feel spikey and my butt has become one with the kitchen chair. I've taken to writing in a yellow spiral-bound mini notebook, words spilling out of my head, and pages rapidly filling up.  

I desperately want to sleep but fear that if I put down my pen in favor of slumber I'll lose the muse.

I have the plot story-boarded across my bedroom wall, so I realized the other day that I could write chapters independent of each other. While soaking in the tub or as I like to call it the "Writer's-Block-Away-inator" I came up with the name and back-story for an integral character.

So for a exerpt into Chapter (Number TBD) "No One Addresses the Pope as Frankie"

    I woke up days later. Or was it hours? I tried to piece together what had happened. It turns out when you come into a hospital unconscious with a head injury standard protocol demands that all clothing is cut off ensuring your last shred of dignity won’t stand in the way of all the diagnostic tests to be run. Sticky monitoring pads are Krazy-glued to your chest, neck, and scalp while various tubes are inserted to either pull out or push in fluids.
   I appeared to be in a private room. The shades were drawn but a dull light filtered under the door. A toilet flushed and the running tap suggested that someone was in a bathroom connected to this room.
    The light extinguished and the door swung outwards slowly. This person was taking great pains to be discreet, but the shrill squeal of the hinges gave it away.
    “I’m so sorry. I’ve woken you.”
    “No. . .it’s. . .it’s. Wait, am I dead?”
    “Why would you think that?”
    I looked at the man standing next to me. His voice was like warm butter, sliding across the top of a fresh baked biscuit. Stubborn auburn curls tumbled across his forehead. He attempted to tuck a stray ringlet behind his ear, but it bounced free like a naughty child escaping the confines of a smothering hug.
    His eyes. Those eyes alone I could talk about for hours. Magazine articles said that his eyes were slate blue. In TV interviews his eyes seemed to be green. But as I stared up at him, I realized his eyes were like the color an angry sea. I thought about the summer afternoons I would watch the afternoon showers roll in across the Gulf of Mexico. As the waves churned and pounded the sea wall, I could see colors of grayed sand, purple bruised waves, silvery minnows, and green mermaid foam.
    What?
    What the what?