I’d like to write than things have changed. That just isn’t it. If anything I sense the depression wrapping itself more deeply and settling in. Any hope I had of it lifting as quickly as it descended have faded. I know, in my bones, it is going to be a rough one. Every leaf that slides to the ground hurts. They signal the impending winter. The months of cold and snow and bleakness. Not just an environmental bleakness, but a mental desert. Just thinking about it drags me deeper. I fight to keep myself present, and not allow myself to think about tomorrow. It is only about today. Getting through this day, this hour, or even this minute. That is the only thing that will get me past this. I cannot allow my mind to stray too far. Unleashed it is out of control. I find ways to distract myself, even if it just for a while. A movie, something engaging, not stupid. A book, something moving, not boring. It seems to be that way across the board. It needs to grab me, otherwise I find all the same crap creeps right back into my head. I look around this place and see every fucking thing that needs repair, or is about to break. I could probably find them blindfolded at this point. I just never ends. I look at the horses and know we need to cut our numbers drastically. Yet, when I try to come up with ideas and plans I find myself standing still. I just stand there completely paralyzed by the magnitude of what we are facing. Now is not a time to be sliding. We can’t afford it, on so many levels. I have to be together. I have to be stronger, I have to be better. but then it just spins back….fucking unable to get my shit together and do something. Anything. This coming from someone who can’t even manage to eat. How can I possibly expect to get it together.
I have really struggled through the past two days. There is a deep sense of sadness and apathy. I see all this stuff around me, but can’t seem to engage my mind, or my body. It is almost like I am half here and half not. One part of me struggling to get by, the other lost in a haze. The stress remains unimaginable. I long for answers, and to have a path. Though that isn’t going to happen.
In session we talked quite a bit about suicidal thoughts. I so often find my mind straying toward them, I no longer see them as dangerous. Not all of them. The average fleeting thought is not something that should cause alarm or reaction. they just are. Not good nor bad. A normal part of my life. It is when they become intrusive and consistent. When they begin to push toward coming up with a plan, or weighing options. Then they are dangerous. I guess what I was trying to say is, they are not all the same. Not to me. I don’t like to talk about suicidal feelings and thoughts with people, because they usually all either panic, or avoid it all together. There is no need to panic. I don’t think panic works for anything. I guess for me, I just watch them and see what is happening. Just as I monitor my sleep, my mood, and my eating, I monitor when the SI comes around. Very often it is when I am struggling to find answers to a problem, or multiple problems. When I can’t see a solution, or if a solution would be very painful. Suicidal thoughts have always provided me with comfort, knowing I always have an option, I am never completely without control. Even when my life seems to have so little.
I have crawled thru these past few days, painfully aware of how far out on the edge I am. I do find comfort in my ability to remain rational. Even when the impulses are at their worst I will find some reason not to give in. Whether it be thinking of how I will demolish the lives of those left, or in just asking myself to give it time- to make sure I am sure. Time can do a lot of things. It can allow me to alter my perspective, and hopefully shift my thoughts.
As I sat setting traps for the rodents, my trapper friend handed me a handgun from his truck. In that split second, so many things went thru my head. On one had I was happy- easier means to deadly outcome, but on the other horrified by my thoughts. I thought of how completely it would change this guys world if I took that gun and then used it, not for woodchucks we were trapping, but for my own suicide. In that split second I made a decision. I politely turned down the offer of borrowing the gun. It was there, and I controlled myself. I can somehow manage to get by. I can drag myself along and stay safe.
not really much feeling like writing today. It has been a day that both had insight and anxiety. I wrote the letter to my partner, not really thinking I would share it, though somewhere in my heart knew I should. As I long stared at the Send button, my mind wandered over all the things I said. Was it too much? too honest? too scary? I really wasn’t sure I could bring myself to send it, but I did. I tried not to think about it and went about my day. Often my mind would drift and I would imagine what she must have thought reading it. When she called this afternoon I was worried. initially it was like all our other conversations, the horses the dogs etc. But after a moment or two there was a pause. I sensed I should keep quiet, wait for her. In that split second she started speaking I heard the person that I knew and loved. The person I would do anything for. It is so remarkable that we can say so much, just with the tone of our voice. Without even making a sentence. Gone was the irritated, angry and frustrated voice I had heard daily. How I wished she were standing in front of me. I believed her when she told me she really didn’t know. She had somehow lost me in all the stress, and the funeral and the loss of the horse. All of it had become this awful mess, and she didn’t see my suffering. Not clearly, and not in a way that would have allowed her to understand how terrible it was. I know it is so difficult to tell is all apart. But it is all out in the open now. She knows where I am and how hard a time I am having.
This is a starting point. A place we can hopefully work from as we create the dialog we need.
I’d like to think I could just move on. To a different place, and different life. I don’t let myself think of that. The times that I have only make me feel worse. More trapped and unhappy. I won’t allow myself down that route. Though I think it might be helpful to try to decide if this life and all that goes with it, is what I truly want. If I take any cues from my suicidal mind, it would be too easy to say no. But that is, just that, too easy. Far too simplistic and crude to grasp onto. I do not know if I can rekindle a passion for this work, and the animals. I’d need to explore why that passion left in the first place. If it is just the culmination of too much stress, physical work, loss and disappointment, then maybe it can be worked on. I’m not sure. I don’t know how to find my way back from here. I know I seem to be endlessly writing about where I am and where I am going. It is so much of what is going on in my head right now. I need to find something to blame, and it is real easy to point fingers. True, life is very stressful right now. But, it would be stressful wherever I am, regardless. Maybe it is all just a cop out, to not make the hard choices and look at what needs work. Far easier to look at the foot high stack of bills and say voila, then to look at a 15 year relationship as it crashes and burns. At the end of the day, if there is one thing I know, it is that I am not happy. I know I am standing still in a provisional life, not growing and changing. I am stuck, and my mind knows that. It is very hard to think clearly these days, so I may look back on these ruminations as utter bullshit. I know my thoughts are distorted. Much of it very black or white. It is colored by my anger and disappointment. I am still reeling from my partner’s choice to leave this week. It has left me deeply hurt. My gut instinct is to walk away. Whether that is in response to just this week, or a laundry list of reasons is debatable. Though my reaction is so strong to just throw in the towel and walk away, I can’t ignore that. It isn’t fair to her though, or to a relationship that has lasted this long and been thru so much. I am sure I have hurt her equally as bad, if not more so. She doesn’t have the corner on that block. I have often behaved in harsh and miserable ways. She has put up with a lifetime worth of shit in the time we have been together. I could easily hide behind the bipolar, but truth be told, I am an ass. Cut from the same cloth as my father. Impatient, demanding and difficult is the norm. So, couple that with the devastating depressions and it has been no easy ride. I often marvel that she is still here. Though, not really. The distance between us has grown so great, it bears little resemblance to the relationship we started with. We exist in our own worlds. Mine revolving around therapy, meds, and keeping myself together. Hers revolving around keeping the farm going, and trying to keep the bill collectors at bay. She will happily spend hours talking to friends on the phone, or to the people who come to work on the horses, but it is startling if we exchange more than a few sentences a day. The silence so deafening in this house, she often has her ipod on, or computer headphones. Hours go by without anything but the phone ringing. When we are in the car, either she or I are occupied answering email, or she on twitter. I try to engage her in conversations, but usually fail and give up quickly. If it is something way outside the realm of anything having to do with us, the relationship, we can manage. Anything of substance impossible. When did it get so hard? when did it get so bad? I honestly don’t even know. Was it last year? or the one before that? was it 5 years ago? I don’t know. It is such a sad thought. Not even knowing when a relationship fell apart. I think at the end of the day we still love each other. I don’t think that is gone. I may have just pushed her too far. Are all the years of chaos and shit finally adding up? As I have said before, I couldn’t deal with me. Even on a good day, let alone in the midst of a soul sucking depression attached to the couch. It is so easy for my mind to point the finger at myself. Just what I do, and have always done. Beth did something wrong, or fucked up, or wasn’t good enough. All terrific example of just how skewed my thinking can be. It is easy to get very depressed when your brain produces thoughts like that. Though I have to add, I feel there is a piece to this puzzle of her behavior that I am not getting. I know I am missing something. Some critical piece that would make everything understandable. Is it someone else? is it some problem I don’t know about? something she isn’t telling me? In all this silence it would be pretty understandable if I missed something. I’m not a mind reader. That is a huge part of the problem. We have lived together so long now, it is easy to just stop asking questions because you assume you have the answer. We read each other quite well. Has that lulled us into this silent complacency? It is easier to just go along thinking you know what’s going on, never stopping to check your facts. Assumptions are a dangerous thing, especially when a relationship is steadily being lived on them. Our problem is not in our love for one another, it is in our ability to communicate with each other. I think each of us fails to communicate for different reasons. We are very different in that way. I have spent most of my life on a couch, picking at all the corners of my conscience. There isn’t a question you can think of that hasn’t been asked of me. I know what it feels like, and I accept and understand that. I know how critical it is to talk through feelings and thoughts and behaviors. To my partner that is as foreign as space travel. There is no seeking guidance and comfort for 45 min each week. That isn’t it. Talking about feelings, what? we have to talk about those? are you kidding? No, it just isn’t part of the dialog, until things reach critical mass and then it is- you hurt me, or I am scared, or I am overwhelmed. More often displayed in tears and stomping off, rather than words. But I understand where she is when that happens. There is never a quiet moment of sharing what she is feeling. That’s okay, she didn’t grow up like that, nor has she been taught it thru years of therapy. It is one of the hardest parts of transitioning from session to home and back again. They are alien to each other. I cannot say how many times I wished I could have a moment like that with her where we connect. Not in a sexual way, but in an emotionally intimate way. That is what is missing. There is no sharing of deep thoughts and emotions connected to them. There is only the monotony of our existence and what is wrong on that day, in that hour or that minute. It is so very sad. How can we possibly fight thru all this, if there isn’t that type of connection. I know she hurt as deeply as I did when we lost the horse. Yet there was no effort on either of our parts to somehow make sense of it by sharing how we were getting on. There was a brief embrace here and there in the days that followed. But no sharing of our grief as we grappled with it, and continue to. This is what is missing.
Can this change? I guess that all depends on if we both agree it needs to, and if we both agree to work on it. That is a huge if. I cannot see her committing to couples work, nor do I see her being able to effectively change without doing her own work. That is a huge undertaking for anyone, let alone someone so resistant to it. I am sure she’d do great, and it would help her so much, but it does take time and commitment. and it isn’t easy, and it is painful. All things that keep your average person from seeking therapy. It is extremely easy to point a finger and say all the problems are mine, and the bipolar causes problems. But my bipolar doesn’t make her choices, and it doesn’t control her. She is a person of her own free will. She alone would need to decide if she wanted to change. She may be completely at ease with where she is at, I wouldn’t know. I cannot read her mind. Regardless of whether or not we work it out, I love her. I will always love her. I will never make light of all the years she has fought to keep me here and keep me safe. In her own way, she did the best she could do. Nobody can doubt that, especially me. She is wise beyond her years, with the heart that could span galaxies. With a deep sense of loyalty rarely found. She is indeed special. It is easy to read this blog and see her only for the shortcomings, but they pale in comparison to her capabilities. We are all a product of our lives, especially our childhoods. She overcame the greatest of odds and landed on her feet. So, yes, I do love her. More than words could ever summarize. I won’t even try.
Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be
suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it. Spinoza
As I read Man’s Search for Meaning, this quote stuck out. Frankl was actually quoting Spinoza, but that isn’t really important. It is the words of this quote that had me thinking. It is true that much suffering is caused by emotion, and our reaction to it. But does it, in fact, cease, if we make it clear? One could say that he is saying, to find meaning in it. I would think that would make suffering decrease. If there was some meaning in it, it would be easier to bear. I have thought much about this over the past day. Why this? How do I make this experience meaningful? To me it is just an endless loop. Traveling from the deepest lows where I feel as if someone if pulling my emotional skin back and repeatedly touching the raw spots left undefended. It lasts for hours like this. I no more can form a sentence, than collect my thoughts. It is a desolate wasteland, nothing of any interest, nothing of any meaning. Just deep grey, and quiet. There is nothing but the pain of that expanse. Even the phone can ring, and I cannot pull myself out of it. There is no hunger, or thirst. There is only the monotony of nothingness. Everything is blunted in an effort to lessen the suffering. I find myself still, in hopes of a shift. If only I can be still enough, maybe it will relax its grip on my mind. Maybe it will allow me some peace. If only for a little bit. There is no conscious effort to move out of that place, for fear of somehow making it worse. If I look at it too carefully it will become greater. So, you see, it becomes a catch 22. If there is reprieve in finding meaning, I cannot find meaning because I am paralyzed by the suffering. I cannot stop and look around, examine the emotions. No, I can hardly breathe when it gets that bad. Then, as quickly as it drops its leaden hell on me, it disappears. Not for long, but I have time to regroup. I have time to struggle back to my feet and try to make sense of it all, like I am now. In those moments I write. About what is in my head. The dark thoughts that cloud my vision, when I am in that stillness. When I am begging to be let go. It really is about control. I don’t feel I have any. I cannot seem to create the shift, it happens on its own. Though I know I can create more suffering. I can worsen the situation. If I can worsen it, why then can’t I better it? Does it only work one way? Is this an avenue that only goes south? I try little ways to improve the moments. Though they don’t seem to make a dent. They do not lessen the panic I feel at the descent. I don’t know if the stillness is self preservation. Is it a way to survive the worst moments? or is it a sadistic form of punishment? Is it only increasing my suffering by leaving me still in the proximity if such fear, and sorrow? I do not know. I’m not sure why my mind does the things it does. I would do anything to understand it. I agree the key is to find meaning. To look at my life, thru clear eyes, not those marred with dark filters, and to find a reason to keep going. I was questioning my life before this. Is that what triggered the response? Was it my final push toward honestly saying I DO NOT WANT THIS that brought me to this crossroads. Was it my openly admitting my relationship was a disaster? questioning its ability to weather this storm? Was that the trigger? The realization that my life was on a course without me. Sailing a course only at the mercy of the winds, no input from the captain. In accepting how powerless I had made myself, did I drive one more nail in my coffin. In my angry response to that reality, did I shift the momentum. Did I turn that anger back on myself? The despair and pain I am feeling a product of my mind now angry and lost. Furious at my own ineptitude? I am only searching for an answer. It would be just as simple to say it is the leaves drifting to earth as the sunlight diminishes and the days grow shorter. The chilly bite in the evening air trumpeting falls arrival. Is it the siren’s call to my tortured mind? Is that the root of this suffering? I don’t think it is simple, or straightforward. Though I will continue to search for meaning, and clarity in these moments of silence in between.
I am trying hard to figure out how I move forward. I won’t be so bold as to say learn or grow, just how to get by this. There is part of me that thinks it is not going to happen. That is a very tough hurdle to get over. Just how much will it take? Can I do it? Those are pretty straight forward questions. Often answered with comments like “you’ve done this before”, “you can cope”, “you have survived”. Yes, true. But just as easily one could answer, “you haven’t coped”, you’ve been in this deep before and fucked up”. Those would be equally honest. I know I have a choice. There is always a choice. If someone tries to say suicide happens without a choice, they are wrong. It is a horrible, sad choice to make. It is giving up, and giving in. It is admitting that you lack the ability or desire to take even one more step in defiance. Defiance of all that is beating on you. All the problems, and the pain and the suffering. I don’t want to die, I just don’t want to suffer. I don’t want to repeat this whole horrid process over and over. I don’t. I do not want that for myself. But the fact remains, I have responsibilities. There is no ending, not now. I have people depending on me, animals depending on me. It is standing here in the center of this that is just gut wrenching. There was a point in my life where I would easily have made a decision. Maybe all these years of treatment have done something. I feel as if my world has turned upside down. I am desperately hanging onto a life I am not even sure I want, with a partner that chose to walk out that door, when it couldn’t be any worse. I am wandering through my days miles away from everyone. I can see them and hear them, but it feels like it is from beyond a fogged window pane. I know I’m lost. I know that. I know how lost I am because the tears roll down my face at just the slightest contact. A text, a call. It doesn’t matter. It is just a hint of those people around me. I don’t understand this. I don’t know why I have descended so swiftly. I thought I was okay. I did. All I have to do is read back in this blog. How did I get here? How did it happen so fast?
Guess, the answer is somewhat easy. It’s called a mental illness. It is called bipolar. People don’t go from planning the future to rock bottom in a week’s time unless there is something the matter with them. The terrifying thing is this is forever more. There is no deciding tomorrow, I’d rather not be bipolar. No, it is what it is. And as I keep crawling here, that is all my sick mind wants me to think about. How many more times am I going to feel this terrible? How many more times will I have to tell myself, just wait it out, things will get better. What use is there in this? To what end is this suffering for? Why? What have I done to deserve this? I have never felt a physical pain that comes close to the torment in these moments. It is all encompassing. From the hairs on my head to the tips of my toes, every inch wracked by the endless pain of this existence. How could it even be possible? How can one mind create such horror. A mind that can be loving, and kind, compassionate and creative. How can it turn on itself? Tearing apart a being fighting so very hard just to get by. Leave me alone, I implore you. Just stop. Let me be. I don’t want this.
There are no answers. Just more questions and more uncertainty. For the sake of my loved ones and all the people who compassionately fight for me everyday, and for the animals that found salvation in me, I’ll promise to keep trying. I will. I must have faith in their ability to help me, and their conviction that I can get thru this.
the patterns are intricate and beautiful. Deep hues of red and blue. Hints of tan, and green. It is a lovely rug. I have always loved it, but today it was riveting. I couldn’t pull my eyes off it. They just kept tracing the patterns, over and over. Looking for hints of images in each of the blocks. Noting one looked a bit like a face. What? what is she asking? Why is this rug so interesting. Why am I so desperately clinging to it? Avoiding even her eyes. I can’t, I can’t even bring myself to look at her. I don’t want to hear her voice, or the questions she is asking me. I am fighting in this moment to just keep myself together. To look at her causes a ripple of emotion. One I can’t stop, nor can I control. Back to the rug. If only I can focus on it harder. I can control it. I can keep it together. Somehow I can manage to not come undone. I can’t collapse. I know that. It is what they all expect. Beth will just fall flat on her face again. As she has so many times in the past. She just can’t cope. She is sick. She is weak. She is useless.
I am fighting with everything I have in me. I am trying, why doesn’t it seem enough. Why can’t I get myself together? I don’t want to fall off this cliff. I don’t understand why I can’t let them in. She was two feet away, but I wouldn’t, couldn’t let her in. It seems so great, so huge, so out of control. It only takes a small slip. So I found comfort in the rug, and the door moulding, and the clock, and the books on the shelves. Anything but her. I left her office exhausted. Exhausted from the effort of fighting with myself. I was beyond tired. Knowing I had to get myself together to get everything ready for my partner leaving tomorrow. I am just so angry. It couldn’t be worse, but that means little. She is leaving. I am stretched to the outer limits of my ability to cope and I am about to be alone. I am about to have to deal with all this shit here, the never-ending shit storm of problems that happen every single day. There isn’t a day that something doesn’t go wrong. Some days it is little crap, other days it is awful. Horses get sick, equipment breaks. It is endless. NEVER stops. That is what I am looking forward to. Or dreading. Looking forward to, makes it sound so lovely and fun. No, there is nothing fun. Nothing lovely. Just the reality of it.
I can’t even bring myself to write about the funeral. Maybe another day…
We all have that person in our lives, or persons, that seem to have this innate ability to injure us. I don’t mean physically. I mean emotionally. They seem to be able to drop us to our knees with little to no effort. They seamlessly exploit our weakest spots, sometimes places even unknown to ourselves. The attack is normally out of nowhere. There is no time to erect barriers or bolster defenses. It is in that moment that we get stripped of our ability to defend ourselves. The damage often done in the blink of an eye. We are left shaken and lost. Raw and unable to comprehend what actually just happened.
I stood holding the phone, realizing what was happening. But I was just frozen, unable to retaliate. I was powerless in that moment. As small as I have ever felt. Diminished to nothingness. eviscerated by words hurled and used as weapons. I am rocked and unsteady now. Trying to piece myself back together, but the parts seem scattered in so many directions. Like a strong storm has flung them far and wide. I don’t even know where to begin. I know I didn’t deserve that.
I don’t know how to fix this. The shifting emotional soil beneath my feet only grows more slippery as the days pass. There seems little I can do to stop this. I have worked for years, trying valiantly to make sense of my world. I thought I was starting to grasp it all. I thought I had some control. I was wrong. I am not strong. I can be reduced to nothing. I guess all these years of work didn’t do a fucking thing. I am still a pathetic lost kid. No better than when my world stopped turning when that plane fell from the sky. I do not have it in me to fight this. I honestly don’t even care. I am done with this.
As I slowly wind myself down, toward some semblance of calm, I am thinking more about session today. I was focused, because much of it is there in my head. Quite clear, in fact. Many times session are a blur, this one is not. I think one thing is quite clear, I am forging a new path here. I am steadfastly refusing to go the same route I have traveled over and over. In the past I would reach a point of not coping and problem solving would start. Normally as a process of inpatient treatment. Everything that I was saying or doing in the months that led up to it fell on deaf ears. With the exception of Beatrice and Virgil. The rest of them are a bit like those three monkeys, see no evil, hear no evil….. It didn’t matter what was said, unless things completely fell apart, nothing changed. Well I am not fucking walking that road again. I will not come apart. I will not be the one they have to rescue, too weak or sick to function. This isn’t the way it is going to be. It is too easy to fall headlong into old behaviors and patterns, especially when they have been there a lifetime. There has to come a point when enough is enough. It just plain hurts too much to keep on like this. I am beating my head on a wall here. A wall made up of people too rife with shortcomings to be able to do what needs to be done. There is no excusing it anymore. If may have been fine when I was the SICK one. Too buried in my own shit to see the landscape. I am done with that. I alone will decide where my path goes. I will not be pushed or cowed. I will find some strength and foresight to create the next chapter. To be caught in this endless loop of crises after crisis, hospital after hospital, drug after drug. Enough. I do not think I can keep on that path and keep a shred of my dignity and my confidence. Every time we repeat the process I am reduced to nothing. I turn over my freedom, my privacy, my decisions, and my choices to others. There is only so many times a person can do that and still feel at all good about themselves. You no longer feel whole, or complete. Each time a little piece departs. How many times have I bowed my head and given up? How many times have I made that choice? It should not take a crisis for any change to come about. I have lost so much along the way. I am not willing to do it again. I can no longer expect them to do the right thing, they won’t. They will not fill that void, I have forever yearned to be filled. To look for it, is to be disappointed and hurt. I need to move on. Enough. The challenge now is to find the courage. To realize I am, in fact, able to create a future. A future I want to be in. If I just let myself get dragged along, like some piece of detritus flowing downstream it will end badly for me. Not in a dramatic sense, just a realistic sense. What kind of life am I living if I am not chosing my path and my destiny. Each day, that rolls into each month and further into years destroys me. Maybe not all at once, but in a slow insidious manner. Stripping me bit by bit.
I am trying to put words on this feeling. It is strange and creepy. I don’t even know how to put words on it. Just a strange sensation in my chest, and this constant restlessness. I can’t quite say it is an urge to move, ’cause it isn’t. I can sit still. It is like this sensation/vibration under my sternum, creating this resonance. If I were an instrument I’d say you could play me. It is taut and on edge. Sounds fucking nuts, but I cannot describe it. I don’t think I have ever felt anything remotely like this, though I can’t remember shit, so for all I know I have been here before. But I doubt it. I was hoping the seroquel would stop it, but it hasn’t. So, I’m just in this strange place where even breathing feels different. I guess it is just anxiety, taking some new strange form. Wouldn’t surprise me. Anxiety can do some pretty odd things.
The day was like all the Mondays, our non stop barn day, so I didn’t have a whole lot of time to worry about feeling strange. Just tried to get everything done. I tried my best to focus in session, but I was just so disconnected. It is hard to focus when your skin is crawling. I normally find myself relaxed and focused, not today. Even if I don’t start out focused, I can get there with a little effort. It will be a long week, with a memorial service on Thursday. We have to get our mini horse all cleaned and prepped to go, that is going to take two days. He is a mess! He never goes anywhere, so we don’t keep him all clean and shiny. He gets to be a horse and get filthy and roll in the dirt. We will scrub him and get him all neat. He will be great. Such a good little fella.