I struggle to find peace tonight. My mind fighting to find all that is very wrong right now. I could talk about CT and the loss of so many lives, but my thoughts are a bit closer to home. In the hours since the school shooting Facebook has lit up with the various opponents and supports of guns. And the various groups, mainly scientology that feel the use of psych drugs is the cause of so many problems. For me the past month brought both issues right into my arms. I was a staunch believer in gun rights. Just read back in the blog. I would ardently tell you that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. That may well be true, but there is something very wrong. Just as I, a mental patient, could walk into a store and 15 minutes later leave with an assault rifle, so too could the school shooter (and no I will not use his name). In fact, we owned the very same gun. There is no system in place to stop these weapons from falling into the hands of those who really should not have them. Statistics tell us that a suicide is 5 times more likely if there is a gun in the home. That is a pretty staggering number. I bought that gun for a number of reasons, but at the end of the day none were good ones. I am horrified by my actions. Despite my love and respect for my gun it came inches away from costing me my life. Were the gun not in the house that would never have been the case. This dovetails somewhat with the second half of my experience, which is the drugs. A number of elements came together to form an ideal environment for psychosis. Do we know exactly which one was the culprit, not really. Seems the steroids shifted things rapidly. In response the seroquel was increased quickly. Add in the lingering effects of propofol and there I was in the gloaming with an assault rifle to my head. Can we say for sure why, no. Can we look to the drugs? without a doubt. I have no history of psychosis, though some may feel a form of psychosis exists in the moments prior to taking ones life. The night in the storm with the rope, I can honestly say I was not here, not me in my normal mental state. Beyond that, there is no long history of delusions or hallucinations etc. No dissociative episodes, beyond my ability to “check out” when being assaulted. So how than did I react in such a foreign and terrifying manner? it appears the drugs are a key. So I have spent some time deep in thought since returning home from the hospital. This experience has made me question these pills I put in my body everyday, and have been for much of my life. I have this nagging worry that the problems are the meds, not my mind. Yes, I was severely depressed long before medication came into my life at 19 years old, but it was garden variety misery. Not this all out cycle of terrible symptoms and hospital visits. I maintained well on a single medication for years. The move up here caused a shift and a return to depression. From there it was drug after drug after drug. Not one, but often handfuls to create the perfect cocktail. Is it the medications causing this endless mayhem in my mind? Are they harming me? I have always had pretty strong faith in their ability to help me, but since the gun episode I have looked back and nothing but a nagging sense of doubt remains. I know it is being driven by the nonstop drug bashing going on right now. I know, the rational me, that they have helped me. But I can’t shake the doubt. It is a never-ending take one medication to come down, another to add motivation, another to quell anxiety, and another to stop the shakes or the muscle pain at night, and not to forget the mood stabilizer. Multiple classes of drugs combining to create this hailstorm in my brain. It is no wonder I can’t remember anything, or that I shake like a leaf. The neurologist examined me in the hospital, she said the memory could be tested with neuropsych testing, but that there wasn’t really a way to tease out what was causing what- how much was ECT, how much was meds, how much was just my brain.But there were meds we could try, but they had side effects. oh, and the tremor (shakes) well that was from the neuroleptics. She said lower the dose, but they might not go away, and don;t use the drug that helps them because I would probably have side effects including memory problems. Okay, seriously, if this doesn’t sound insane I don’t know what does. It is just this endless loop of drugs and drugs and more drugs. I understand why we are using them, believe me I do. But are they causing more harm than good? I just don’t know anymore. Amongst all the crap in my life right now, I have had this awful experience. It drove home, in a way I had never felt before, just what these medications can do. I guess I always just thought about the physical side effects, but never that a drug would have the ability to severe your connection to reality and somehow disable your ability to control yourself. I cannot stop thinking about the weight of that gun in my hands, and the disbelief that I was holding it to my head, having no idea how I got there. I don’t think I could honestly come up with a worse nightmare. But my brain tries. Over the days that followed the incident my nights were awash in violent brutal dreams. Blood and violence everywhere. they seemed to have stopped, but I still close my eyes waiting for the bloodbath to begin. Where is the violence coming from? I do not play video games, and rarely watch violent movies. This violent narrative seems to have set seed and grown in my mind. Is this the drugs also? I wish I had some answers, though I know at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how fearful I have become of them, I just don’t have the choice of turning them away. Add one more part of my life that I find myself trapped and powerless.
I returned to the 4000 acres to try again. Rather than get lost, in my head and on the trails, I found my way home. I guess you could say that is fairly symbolic of much that is going on. I was able to run, not lost in a haze but completely present in each and every step. I left the farm for the peace and quiet of my weekend long trail run. I could not bring myself to turn on the TV. There was nothing there of any good for me. It has been a rough week adding the endless awful news coverage would have probably been a bad idea. All I had to do was check my FB this morning and the first thing that popped up was a picture of the teacher who saved her students by hiding them. There I sat, crying with absolutely no notice. Nope, couldn’t do that. I headed for the hills. There in the silence of the woods, I just cleared my mind. On the good days I can run just to run. My mind empties with the very first step off into flight. like someone flipped over my overfull skull and left a pile of crap behind. In the emptiness there is only the breathing. Steady in, hold and out, in, hold and out. For every three or four strides I find the crisp air to fill my lungs. The very steady pattern grounds my cadence and lets me go and go. It was so perfect today, not too cold, or too hot. Just the dappled sunshine cascading thru the bare trees and leaving blinding patterns on the fallen leaves. This was all that existed in my now empty head, breathe, light patterns and the fall of my feet on the frozen ground. Mile after mile, breath after breath. If only I could have run forever. It would be paradise. To finally be able to exist in mindfulness, no racing thoughts, or dark worries. A space of no emotion, good or bad. The only thing speaking was the sensory information being picked up by my feet. Where they are meeting the trail. Whether the spot is clear, or whether I had to correct my stride to accept the presence of a rock or a root sticking out of the ground. No worry, just making the adjustments in balance and speed to assure a proper footfall. Up and down, around the bends and over the bridges. I lost myself in the moment. I wish I could live like that. Somehow halter that ability to tip over and empty my mind of ruminations and emotions. Sadly, I cannot. There is only the running to try to capture the fleeting sense of peace. I try to make it last. I fight to push farther, longer. Trying to hold on to that feeling, or lack there of. I can never make it though. My body gets sore, and starts speaking loudly enough to shorten my stride. I ignore it. set it aside and struggle to find the cadence. Telling myself there are some more miles in those legs. Today was so perfect, and so I fought. It wasn’t my usual distance, I was frustrated. I pushed on a bit, but realized today just wasn’t going to be a 2 1/2 hour run. I guess the week of immobility caused my fitness level to drop off a bit. Made me kind of mad. I had the perfect day to toy with 12+ miles. Ideal temperature, and trail conditions. As much as my mind wanted the time away, I could not get my legs to agree. I gave up. It wasn’t really worth injuring myself for a few more miles. Another day, another run. I was just happy not to have another On Golden Pond moment. no lost time, no vacant hours followed by panic at being in unfamiliar surroundings. I did make a conscious effort to mark my trail, leaving markings on the ground to find my way back. I found my way home, not that I wanted to. All the anxiety and frustration returned as I drove back to the farm. Mad I didn’t run for another hour, or day, hell another lifetime. Why couldn’t I just leave and never look back. I don’t know what is here for me anymore. I was irritable and unhappy. I tried to lose myself in a book while I had a post run soak. Slogging thru the last of Wally Lamb’s The Hour I First Believed. interesting considering Columbine has a very prominent place in the book. I could not settle. I headed up the hill to work the horses. I had put it off for a couple of days. I did enjoy the ride. That same beautiful sun, now low on the horizon. Long shadows painting dark panels across the footing in the arena. I found myself empty again as I just paid attention to the horse beneath me, and the one working beside me (ponying). I usually lead one and ride one, saves my back the wear and tear. It was a quiet again, just the ponies breathing with each stride (horses, unlike people, actually couple their breathing to their stride, often you will hear the steady exhale pattern while working them. It is rhythmic and calming to both them and to me). Today my grey was quite full of herself. The week off did nothing to diminish her fitness. I wasn’t so lucky. We worked for a bit and headed back in. My mind did not remain settled. The running and riding did not translate over, never seems to. It just doesn’t fucking hold, ever. Why can’t my life be peaceful. Instead it has to be filled with overpowering emotions that make me feel powerless to change them. I shared with Beatrice the random thought I had about that tidbit of psych info- the distance between the goal and the ability complete it correlates to unhappiness- greater the distance the more unhappiness. Is this place, and this life beyond my ability? too great a task? My mind telling me I am unable to complete the task/goal therefore my steady pattern of misery. No real break from it. The constant in all this is this place. Only since I have been here. The period spent in school and making a home with Diane was a far cry from this hellish 11 years. There is something wrong here. Very wrong. I could say it is me, and my mind, or I could point fingers at this vast undertaking, or I could blame the stress. I don’t have answers. I just know here isn’t good for me
I guess till I find them I’ll just keep running.
I published the blog entry earlier, and in hindsight it may be the very worst of posts for today, or all days. There are no words to express the horror of what went on in that CT school. Today was not a day to post about guns. I apologize for that. My heart goes out to all the families and teachers suffering after the tragic shooting. In the coming weeks we will learn more about this individual, and why he chose to harm so many. I can only say violence has become such a common place in our society. Whether that it because of guns, or violent games, or just the daily destruction of families as so many crumble under the pressure of a flailing economy, I do not have the answer. This shooting just raises more questions, just as the last ones did. However, none seem to ever really drive the change that needs to occur. Our mental health system is flawed, seriously. But that is an argument for another day. today there is only the staggering reality of so many young lives lost.
I have thought quite a bit on the drive home from Virgil’s office. Our session was straightforward and workmanlike. We discussed what needed to be touched upon. My anger at her had mainly subsided, to the point where it wasn’t registering when asked about it. I know none of what happened was really her fault. None of us knew what the steroids would do. Sure, she could have aired on the side of caution, but given the fact that my back, was indeed causing significant problems, it seemed a prudent course. We learned a lesson over the past weeks, maybe the really hard way, but at least we learned it. I’m here. I know now I cannot have a firearm in my home. I know you all are probably thinking, why the fuck did I have one in the first place. I know, it is a logical response. I just never thought of killing myself with a gun, i mean REALLY actually doing it. A transient thought, or image are not what I am talking about. I mean the slow methodical planning that often leads up to my previous attempts, or hospitalizations. I’ll be honest, I love guns. Don’t ask me where that came from. Nobody in my family hunts, or owns firearms. I can’t even remember handling one until I was in my teens. I held a .38 revolver belonging to a neighbor. She let me hold it and examine every inch. I did not fire that gun. But my obsession (I use that word liberally, not clinically) started long before. I had gun magazines beside porn when I just hitting puberty. Don’t ask me why, but they always had a dark secret space in my head. Always the blued steel/ black pieces, never had the same response to a wood and metal gun. They had to be black. The attraction only grew as I got older. As I went thru high school my thoughts remained. I cannot come up with a memory of when I first held or fired a gun. I am just assuming it was after we moved up here. Guns are everywhere in our part of the map. I can tell you which neighbors have firearms, I can even tell you what they have based on the sound of the all too frequent gunfire. It is almost a weird game of mine’s bigger than yours. It will start with a single shot, or maybe a couple. Within minutes (enough time to take it off the gun rack, or out of the safe, and load it) the next one will start shooting. I have a lovely elderly woman who lives next door. She will shoot at anyone that trespasses (she’s almost 80!!) so, needless to say when we moved up here I had to have a gun. Not just any gun, a black benelli shotgun. Oh I can just remember the glee of bringing her home and unleashing the power of a 12 gauge. Awesome. I loved it. There was something exciting and frightening about it. I was holding in one hand a killing machine. The raw explosive power, all in my control. I could kill something if I chose, be it human or animal. I was in awe. I shot her a few times over the next couple months, but mainly I was just content to look at her on occasion. She remained in the house. That was enough for me. Late into the fall hunting season, my partner noted a spotlight out on the back ridge, just as the sun dipped below the horizon. I ran down to the house and grabbed the 12 gauge. I now possessed the ability to harm someone. trespassing or lighting up deer (often used to illegally hunt at dusk using a spotlight, deer freeze in the light and the person kills them) were two very real reasons to want to have some words with someone. I carefully and quietly made my way all the way up to the ridge, a 1/2 mile from the house. I was approximating where I had seen the light last. When I got up there I racked a round into that chamber. I’m sure most people have some sense of that sound (think Terminator or some other action movie). A shotgun uses a pump action to set the round for firing. There in no other sound in the world that comes close. It is a cold hard lethal sound. In the dark I had given the trespasser a very clear message. Had I been in the dark and heard that sound I might need to look for some new underwear. I am sure he was in need as well. If the sound wasn’t enough I promptly told him to get the fuck off my property. I think I felt more powerful in that one split second than I had ever felt in my lifetime. I quickly realized it was entirely stupid, since he now knew exactly where I was, yet I had no idea where in the darkness he was sitting. I felt it prudent to rapidly move in case the dipshit decided to take a shot in my direction. (known to happen around here). I headed back, treading lightly and listening for footsteps in the fallen leaves. I unloaded the gun, since it is far safer to move without having the gun loaded. I nearly walked head on into my partner in the pitch black. We both jumped. It was funny, but really not, considering less than 2 minutes earlier I was holding a loaded gun.
It is clear that in my mind, and heart I have great respect for a gun. I don’t know how to explain it, but I would never intentionally use one to kill myself. I love them too much. It would be disrespectful. A gun should be handled with care, and with respect. To kill oneself with it is neither of those. I am beyond horrified with my handling of my AR a few weeks ago. I loved her. How could I? It is not me. no part of me, least not one I have any conscious sense of. It disgusts me. It frightens me. I held her, fired her, cleaned her. All of those things, but never to harm. It was not meant for that. Virgil commented on the sexual nature of the relationship. I cannot explain why it is what way. I can only think it comes from the visual introduction to the magazine images at the same time as the pornographic images, all coinciding with the sodomy by the barn worker and later the rape by my brother. But I know the sodomy and the gun images are definitely from the same time period, as the house is the same in my mind, and the orientation of the objects of art/ furniture are the same, most likely indicating a similar time. The guns and the coveting of their images was happening at the same time I was being initiated into a world of sex and violence. I do not know if I was objectifying them as my savior, or my escape? I guess I may never know. I think it may be a bit of guilt by association. They may well have been a harmless liking that suddenly became linked due to the abuse, and the hypersexual behavior and arousal I was experiencing after the sodomy. They may well have been dragged into this world by mistake, and found a very deep place of meaning because of it. Later my experiences at the farm of control and power only strengthened it. I do not recall any arousal that night on the hill in the dark, but I do remember the feeling of complete ability to dominate. I wished that fucker would step out from the bushes. I know in my heart I could have unloaded that gun into him. I was anxious, furious, and determined to GET HIM. I doubt it was the trespass, or the spotlight. It was the disregard for my property. My property, something that has been abused, harmed, desecrated and penetrated. His appearance on the ridge just symbolic, and I was ready to unleash years of hate, rage and pain on him, as he had just become any man. Those that had done so much damage, for so many years. That gun was my ticket to the upper hand. I finally had the ability to unleash destruction and harm in the blink of an eye. I love guns, not for their form, but for their ability to empower me. No harm can come if I am armed and waiting. I know in those waning minutes of sunlight, with the round chambered, I looked down to see my gun. I could not reconcile in my brain why I would hurt myself with her. All the impulses driving like a freight train put the barrel to my skull, not a desire to use that gun. It was the disparity that drew me to take the gun away. Sure my mind thought of every possible reason why pulling that trigger would be horrific. But I know it was my heart that stopped my hand. I loved her. I could not do that. To take an object I found a savior in, only to take my life with it, no it just does not add up. I know why I touched her and held her. I was apologizing. I had strayed miles from my unspoken bond, I had cheated. I was not faithful to her. I could not control myself. I held her in sorrow and in guilt. I touch her gently. every inch of her cold sleek body. I told her I loved her without uttering a word. My tears hitting her body language enough.
I know I can never have another gun. I understand that, but I need you to understand that is a loss. I will grieve for her. I will never again hold in my hands the ability to kill or harm, myself or others. I never had the chance to unleash that rage thru the barrel of a gun, but don’t think for a moment I didn’t wish for it. I lost that opportunity. I mishandled her. I let you down, and I scared all of us (though scared is not strong enough a word). God I wish it were different, and that I had never done any of that. Not because of the proximity to death I came, but for the loss I have now suffered. I doubt any of that is understandable, but it make sense in my mind. That blackened place hardened by abuse, trauma, and the willful destruction at the hands of men. A gun was my naive attempted at changing all that. Instead it nearly did the opposite. As often is the case, my choice was poor, and my thinking severely distorted. But I ask of you, would you expect anything else if you had been in my coming of age shoes? Would you have learned to love an object capable of unleashing all the unspoken hate and rage? I am not alone. Just look at the news this evening.
Nope, not really here yet. I just can’t seem to ground myself here. It all feels foreign, yet vaguely familiar. Home, but not home. Maybe it feels foreign because my heart just hasn’t gotten here yet. If you asked me where it is, I don’t think I could actually tell you. Granted this has been an exceptionally tough couple days. I cannot really remember most homecomings. Just a handful stand out. One time my mom and partner did a beautiful job with the house. It looked a bit like a magazine shoot. Talk about feeling foreign (yet it felt better than now). But the other times are just a blur. When did my life become such a haze? I just can’t seem to fucking remember anything. I would love to sit here and write about each time I came home, to be able to compare them. Looking at them individually might help me see a pattern. For all I know this is normal? god only knows what that means. Needless to say I don’t have any idea how difficult this was 2 years ago. Post ECT I have no idea what it was, or wasn’t. I guess it really doesn’t matter. I have to figure out a way to settle now. The past is useless. I went to polo last night in hopes of doing something in my normal routine. It was awkward just falling back into step, like nothing had happened. Thankfully, they are a good group of people. Most know me, some know more than others. It was a low-key polo evening. Most people were not present, so it was just a group of the regulars. These are the folks I feel most at home with. We are an odd little family of sorts. We all use polo to escape the stress of our lives. We all enjoy the speed. I’m sure they jones for it just the way I do. Last night was a fun, quick physical night. We played hard, and had more than a few laughs. It took me a while to get my head in it, but once I did I actually played well. We all root for each other, and there is much hooting and hollering when someone hits a good shot, or some ribbing when one of us screws up. It tends to be a great environment. Last night was one of the best evenings I can remember. Not so much because of the play, or the group, but because of the escape it gave me. I was able to rebound from saying goodbye to our old dog. It could have been an extremely bad night. I could have returned home to silence and loss. Instead I was with my polo family, being silly and chasing a little white ball. It took a while to cool out the ponies. I sat and let the day sink in. It seemed like there was so much wrong outside that barn door. If only I could hide. If I could not go home, maybe it would be okay. I got in the truck and sat in the driveway. Minutes ticked off the clock. I didn’t move. More minutes, more stillness. The adrenaline was finally dropping to a more reasonable level and I was starving. I drove far enough to get some food and again fell into a still miserable state. Every ounce of me fighting the impulse to take flight. If I didn’t move, I’d be able to suppress the desperate need to drive away into the night. I didn’t know where. I just knew it would be in the opposite direction. I understood if I allowed even a small motion toward the truck would lead to many miles. I remember this feeling well. It has visited before. I have submitted to its draw. There is nothing positive that comes of it. All it does is quell the destructive impulses and negative emotions for a brief period. The upset, and anxiety it causes to the people close to me make it a poor choice. I knew that sitting there. I knew in my heart I could not run. The sadness and sorrow of the past days slipped in and rapidly all the positive aspects of the evening with my polo family evaporated. There I sat, alone, crying and thinking a bit too hard. I had to move, since that wasn’t helping matters either. I texted my partner, and tried to put words to the tug of war going on in my head. She didn’t understand, and was quickly getting worried. I told her I would be home soon. I drove home lost in a fog of deep emotions. I could not pick out one from the other, nor could I tell you much about the trip home. I walked into the house and took my drugs like I do every night. I ran a bath and hoped the seroquel would calm the storm. My partner was up in the barn, so I had some quiet moments to regroup, and try to sort out the emotions. I knew I had to give her some explanation for the odd text, and the weird behavior. So there I sat, my headache abated and I began to relax. A while later she returned from the barn and we had some quiet time to talk. It started halting and awkward. I just could not quite get myself to find the words. She didn’t understand, and I could sense her frustration. I reached out, just a single outstretched finger. Without a word. There was no question, and no request. with no hesitation her fingertip met mine. there we were in the small steamy bathroom. Myself propped crookedly in the too small tub and she sitting beside me on the toilet. In that silence we connected. Our hearts reached out across our entwined fingertips. There was no need to speak in those moments that passed. I found some courage in that and tried again to explain. I know she still did not understand it, but she understood the depth of my pain and confusion. She could not understand why they let me out. I told her it isn’t the same, there is no stress there. I said I could not just stay locked away indefinitely. I had to come home. We both agreed it was just a terrible day. the loss of our beloved old dog wasn’t helping either of us. We sat in silence for a moment, never pulling away our fingers. She looked at me “If this is what this place is going to do to you than we should just sell it- get rid of it”. There it was, out there in the open. She was giving me an out, with her heart. She loved me enough to set me free. I felt it in my heart. I told her I wasn’t even sure a different place would have made a difference. I, with great love and care, was not willing to let go, for fear of hurting her. We love each other, far more than either of us ever admits. There in the bathroom, with only our fingertips we reaffirmed our love. Sadly, we remain in the same bind. There are no answers, only more questions. I do not know if staying here and avoiding hurting her only harms us both in the long run. Or do I take the offer of getting out and harm her in the short run? Neither seems acceptable. It only contributes to the feeling of chaos and confusion.
Home just isn’t home when the questions far outnumber the answers, but I have her, there is hope I can find my way back. There is love here, waiting, if just let it in.
It has been 24 hours since I’ve been back home. Wish I could say I was glad to be back. I’m not. I’m having a rough time. As this day has worn on it just seems to get worse. I want to be anywhere but here. I’m not saying I want to be in the hospital- I don’t. I’m not saying I’m suicidal Im not. What I am is struck by the deep sense of discontent. It just permeates everything. I’m not trying to be difficult, though my partner insists I am being critical. that is not my intent. I’m trying to settle and relax back into home. I just notice various things (this is the same now as it always is). Sadly she insists on taking this personally, as if she failed somehow. It isn’t anything to do with her if a client horse is a bit thin, or if another has too little bedding. I just don’t see the connection. But it triggered off a fight. I don’t need fighting at this moment, actually I don’t like it anytime, but this is such a tenuous time. There isn’t much I can do to make her feel better right now, since I was an ass and said the wrong things. I had just had enough in that moment and was reacting. I am finding myself a bit too reactive today. Not unfamiliar territory. It has been a really rough couple weeks. To assume it would be smooth sailing now would be stupid. I just didn’t think it would be this difficult. Guess we are well past the easing back into life thing. I’m just not sure how to counteract my desire to runaway. I’m not really thinking of anywhere in particular, just not here. Because my partner is right, I only see what is wrong, not what is okay. Not what she has been able to sustain without me, or what is alright. No, I just see the zillion things that add up to impossible. Herein lies the root of my sense of overwhelming panic and discontent. If I were able to leave them be, and not fixate so much on all of them. I wish I could look out this window and see the positive. All the things that are right, okay, or even just good enough. I’d take good enough right about now. I’d take just about anything but where I’m at right about now. I hate to be fighting and not be supportive. There is nothing but frustration and distance. I don’t really know what would remedy this. Should I just step back and leave her be? Should I push her a bit? neither seems all that positive given all that is going on. I know it is my indecision and frustration with this situation that is creating the ripples in this lake of our relationship. I know we really need each other right now. Possibly more than we ever have. The question remains, how do I reach out to her as we are both pulling away? There seems to be nothing but a unbridgable gap. I tend to give up and pull back into myself and my head, into the quiet and loneliness. There is no good in this situation right now. I am right back into the putting one foot in front of another. Looking the other way for just long enough to get some relief and then right back into an overwhelmed state. Back and forth, week after week. Beatrice is right, we do need to sit down and talk about the coming months. We are both together on this track, we need to sit down with her and talk about a plan (or plans) to deal with what is about to happen. Just avoiding talking about it at home isn’t doing us any good. Actually it is doing us both harm in the long run. I’m not sure that I can convince my partner to come in. I actually doubt she will. It will be more of the same. I will spend week after week of trying to work on my stuff. It is hard, often feels pretty bad. Each and every time I return home disconnected. The shift from a couch where I explore how to deal with what is coming undone around me to returning home to a world of make believe (nothing is wrong). The distance between the two is so great, I cannot reconcile it. That is why it is often so difficult to return home. (whether it be from a session or a hospital). The work doesn’t matter when the status quo is to pretend we can just hold on. I don’t feel that way, so why than do I spend everyday in the same b.s place. This doesn’t work. It just makes everything harder to deal with.
I have always had a rough time reintegrating into life after a hospital stay. It is difficult on so many levels. Walking out that door into the fresh air, all I could think of was getting in the truck and headed home. But not in a happy “oh i’m off to see the wizard” sort of way, it was more of an instinctual drive. To return to life, and to walk away from the immense brick complex. I often find the drive difficult, mainly due to the shift in pace, and the bizillion different stimuli coming at me from all directions. The speed of the cars, the sunlight, the sounds. None of these things exist in the carpeted cocoon I just crawled out of. Sure there were disruptions, and outbursts, but on the whole it was actually extremely quiet. Here in the truck hurling along 287, it was disconcerting. Eyeing the distance between cars, my brain fighting the instinct to worry. It is an extremely surreal experience, taking many miles to finally where off. I turned on my cell to find 20 texts, life knocking while I was not listening. My phone had not been on 5 minutes and it started ringing. I let it go to voicemail, while gripping the armrest and eyeing just how close we were to the car in front of us. I set to deleting texts and catching up. Same caller, phone started up again. fuck it, have to climb back on the horse at some point. I spoke with her about a horse situation at a rescue near us. This quickly became a conference call with a horse advocate from California. I spent a good 40 minutes fielding questions and listening to her concerns. In the meantime my partner stopped for some food. I continued on the call and ate while we headed north. There wasn’t much time to think and eat, and completely come to terms with going home. The rescue world is filled with endless problems, this call was just one of many like it I have dealt with. I promised to follow-up, and hung up. We were 15 minutes from home. wow, that distance really flew by. (just a note, i do not recommend eating pizza after spending a week barely eating. not fun) We made it home. I felt no joy in pulling into the driveway, though that may well have been influenced by my calculating just how fast I could make it to a bathroom. However, my mom’s car was in the driveway. oh joy. not what I needed to deal with that very moment. So, getting out of the truck I notice my mother is a mess. Not just a bit tearful, she was well beyond the ability to speak. I know her well enough, that she wasn’t crying because of me. She said something about our old dog. I knew he was deteriorating. I have known for a while now that the time was coming closer when we will need to say goodbye. What I did not know is that he has just come apart in this past week. My mother has always had a soft spot for him, and tends to get very upset if something is wrong with him. Today she was just beside herself. I gave her a hug and told her I knew and that we were going to the vet. D started crying, my mother is hysterical, so it isn’t all that out of the question that I was pretty close behind. I walked toward the house dreading what I was walking toward. It should have been a happy moment, returning to my home and all the animals. The moment I lay eyes on the poor old fella my heart just sank. If an animal can lose 20lbs in a week, I think he did. He was struggling to come to me and say hello. He knew I was home, but he couldn’t quite manage. It was just heart wrenching. He has been in our life for about 14 years. Such a long time. So much has happened in those years, both good and bad. He is a dog that was a once in a lifetime. Old and wise beyond his years right from the moment we met him at 12 weeks old. A proud and intelligent dog. Willing to spend his time with us, rather than gallivanting around like most puppies. He never ran off, or destroyed shoes. He was content to be, never needing all that crazy puppiness that drives us nuts. I have never in my life met a dog like him. Probably will never meet another. It is as if he has always known his place in the world. Completely confident, yet never a cocky defiant dog. Just a wonderful blend of confidence and intelligence. They don’t often come like that.
I could not even bring myself to look at him. I stood holding tight to the kitchen island like my life depended on it. Every last ounce of energy just left. It wasn’t the old dog I was turning my back on. It was coming home. I love him dearly, and cannot even stomach seeing him like that. Yet, it felt so much more than that. I was hoping walking in the door would feel ok. Not dreadful and sad. I guess it has a lot to do with the loss looking us in the eye. Not just our beloved dog, but this farm. I know grief and sadness. I have lost more animals than I can count. The depth of the pain I was feeling in that moment, and continue to feel now is not just about losing our old fella. I rarely allow myself time to feel like I have over the past hours. I guess I just don’t have it in me to turn it off, or even get numb. Instead, I sit here lost in a violent sea of sadness. This is not what I wanted. Not to feel so sick, nor to feel so sad. All I wanted was to ease slowly back into home. Try to make it a slow re-entry, instead I had a headlong crash into everything wrong here. Eventually I will become too exhausted, and these feelings will diminish. It is just hellish riding it out.
Headed home tomorrow. I have had a week of steady mood, compared to where it was outside. No real dark thoughts or suicidal ideation. Aside from the really vivid dreams, some pretty awful, I am stable. Should be happy right? It is tough, because I know I will leave here and step out into the chaos of life. There won’t be an opportunity to settle in and slowly regroup. It will be a fast transition. Work, work and more work. Guess that might be a good thing, since I will be so exhausted I won’t have time to think about problems. But it is still hard to leave the relative peace of this place (I say relative, since it is never 100% quiet). It did give me time to think and write. I had the opportunity to talk quite a bit about where I am at right now, and the challenges facing me/us. I’d like to think I could skirt these issues and just pretend they are not there. Go about my life, and run. That doesn’t work in the long run. In short stints, it may partially keep everything in check, but there are far too large issues looming. Put those on top of an inability to cope and it is a recipe for rough times. How then do we set about creating a plan to not end up here. I won’t say ever again, because I think that is pushing it. To come off of a ten year period with so many hospital visits and declare there will be no more is fantasy. Sure, I’d love to never set foot in this place again, ever. Let’s just hope it doesn’t happen. But still, there needs to be some more solid work on dealing with the stress and difficulties facing my partner and I. I would hope this work would include both of us, but I think she may still not be inclined to want to sit on the couch. On the other hand, I remain committed to doing the work. This may have been a rough episode, for all of us, but it does not mean we sit on our hands. We all need to move forward. Hopefully this isn’t sounding to optimistic. Since clearly that isn’t what I am. However, if I don’t keep working, it is truly pointless.
Rather than talk about optimism, and my lack thereof, we can look at working toward somehow closing the gap between my emotional mind- the nasty sadistic voice in my head forever berating me for every stumble, driving that perfectionism that sabotages me endlessly into thinking I am a failure, and the more rational side of my mind. The one that can rattle off the endless facts and figures. The one that understands this is a cyclical pattern. The part of my mind that knows I will cycle back up and out of darkness, or down out of high flying moods. I KNOW this. Just as I realize meds are a part of my life, as is therapy. My rational mind understands all of it. So how do we close the gap and find a place closer to wise mind, the blend of each. I am not really sure of how to get to that place, but it seems a far more realistic and sensible spot to live and think from. It may well involve far more mindfulness. It will be a place where beliefs are no longer based on feelings alone, but on objective evidence. (thanks to A.B. for that). It will allow me to move away from a life controlled by powerful emotions, and waves of impulses driven by them. It will not be about reaction, but more control. I doubt I will ever control my mood state, that seems impossible. Though I do feel when it is stable and controlled with medication I can attempt to manage how I react (or don’t) to stressors, even when they come out of nowhere, or are extremely triggering ones, like my family tends to evoke. There seems to me there has to be a better way than the one I am living. This path isn’t good for me, or anyone around me. So, either we keep on like this, or I change, because nobody around me is going to do that. It is up to me.
It has been a strange couple days. My mood shifted into a content thoughtful place. One might be able to go far and even label it happy. For me? Happy? really doesn’t much fit considering I am locked in a psych hospital. My last positive post, brought some questioning from Virgil. Guess my first instinct is to be angry. I wrote a positive optimistic entry, only to bring doubt. Nevermind I am sitting in her because of her urging. I think I have a right to be a bit pissy. I could take that one step further and say it was here approval that let me take the fucking steroids in the first place. So, angry isn’t that hard to grasp. But it isn’t blame. She wasn’t the one that made the steroids react with my brain and cause the chaos that ensued. No, that was out of all our hands. It wasn’t anyones fault. It just is. But never the less, I guess that post was well outside my realm usual. If anyone knows me, it is her. How many years has she watched me stare down a half filled vessel. If anyone knows my instinct to look only at the problems, and not often at the solutions, it is her. So I guess, she may well be right. That probably is just a mirage created by the shift in mood, nothing real to grab onto. It will be gone just as fast as it arrived. There may not be a way for me to shift my core, and I do think that pessimism is indeed part of my soul. It has been there long before anyone stared me down from across an office, or strapped me to a gurney. No, it was very much a part of me. I was always a quiet introspective kid, often worrying silently about what would go wrong, and when it did not I would find horrible scenarios to fantasize about. Yeah, I guess it is me. There may never be an optimistic me, rather I need to figure out a better way to ride out the days of worry, and anxiety. See them for what they are, just emotions sculpted from an uneasy psyche. She may well me right, optimism just isn’t me.
There will come a day when I can go with the flow a bit more. Note the problems, but don’t capture them in the vast butterfly net of my personality. Instead leave them free, note their existence, but just let them be. No need to hold them tight, and study them indefinitely. No need to pin them down and collect them, just as I did all those thousands of bugs as I child. They can be there, even completely surrounding me, but if I don’t hold on to them they never gain that hold on me. they never truly become powerful. I guess that would be a place I might get to, but for now I am far too busy, net in hand, looking for any and all problems and worries to catch. Surrounding myself in endless, countless numbers of specimens. Enough to make me question my very life, and my ability to keep on surviving.
I have spent many hours deep in thought here during my few days. It has been a time for me to be away from the constant interruptions, and chaos of farm life. It is in this space that I have just let my mind go with pen in hand. I have explored my fears, and my shame over not fully comprehending how I found myself in such a terrible place just a week ago. I have pushed myself hard not to accept this with my judgemental emotional mind, as a set back. But rather to move toward a place of acceptance, and kindness toward myself. I have allowed them to help me. That, in it of itself, is tremendous, considering just a week ago I turned my back on my help. I took a different path. I could listen to the cruel voice in my head that shrieks “failure”, but I am trying hard to shift myself to a stronger more positive stance. Where is that Tough Mudder woman that ran bravely and with great pride. She is there. Yep. Where is she? Can I somehow summon her? Bring back that strength and face this head on. Sure, I could give up. But that would turn a blind eye to the countless years of moments where I found courage and strength and survived. Yes, I SURVIVED. The worst of experiences, which would have broken most, yet I am still here. Still standing. This is a blip on the radar, nothing more. Unless I let it be. I can make this about failure, and I can accept that inner critic’s admonitions. But why? For what reason? Just because? There has to be a better reason than that, if I am going to give up hard-earned ground. I, foot by foot, clawed my way to where I got this past year. I did that. I had help and support. But it was my setting my mind to finding a way to move on. I started this blog to give myself a place to put all the many words I find kicking around in my skull. I didn’t have to do that. I could have let it lie. I brought it out there into the light. I allowed Virgil and Beatrice in, gave them front row seats to the good, the bad, and the scary. They have now seen it, not from across the office, but there on their computer. To read, re read and contemplate, just as I do. This blog has taught me much about myself. I had never before allowed myself to put words to some of these experiences that shaped me and rocked my confidence. To the most brutal where my very survival hung in the balance, both at another’s hands and my own. This has been my way of opening that door. I have let them in. We can move forward, it is only good that can come of this. I may hate that I had to come back into the hospital, but at the end of the day I am safe. I can live to fight another day, and move forward toward that strong, sound, proud woman I met in the mud this past October. She’ll be back. I know we can get there. The guilt and shame can be worked past, and I will be okay.