run

I took refuge in the cold and rain today. seeking the peace and solitude. With each step I forced myself to remain present. I held steady in a pace unfamiliar to me. It created and steady state of mindfulness because I could not wander. I had to focus and work to hold myself back from my normal nobrain run. I hit my 6 mile turnaround point comfortable and at peace. I kept going. In the grey mist I continued in my zen state. I passed my 12 mile turnaround point. It was just so fucking perfect. I had not left the farm intending to go long today. I had put in a solid 6 yesterday. I needed it though. I ran to run. I ran to lose all the pain and the heartache. I ran to reconnect with me. The me I know. The one that runs and leaves the world behind. The habit honed from time spent and miles logged. It was the perfect respite. I left disconnected. I ran to find myself. It was only about my feet hitting the ground and my lungs propelling me forward. I could have continued but common sense put the breaks on. I paused at the 14 mile turnaround and longed to continue, never stopping. That wasn’t realistic, especially considering I didn’t have enough fuel or water to push on. I can only describe the feeling of turning around as regret. Sad I could not run until I could no longer stand up. that I couldn’t run till my mind lost itself in the blankness of the exercise. I wanted nothing more. I know I am skirting masochism in that realm. To reconnect with my mind and body through physical pain. Though that is what I did today. I exchanged psychic anguish for physical punishment. It is okay. I was alright. I struggled late in the run as the falling temps, driving rain and a stiff headwind punished me. It forced me to dig a little deeper. I had to search for the tenacity and stubbornness to force my tired body to keep moving. I talked to myself. I good solid -get the fuck over it and keep running right around mile 13. I could have quit. I sure wanted to. looking down at my racing flats and wishing my feet didn’t feel so damn sore I told myself to get over it. Instead of running slower or giving up I ran faster. I pushed myself to the edge of what I had left. I showed myself more of what I have when I think I’m done. I gave myself a respite from the suicidal thoughts. They left me for the vast majority of the 2 1/2 hours I ran the wet roads. when they stirred up I focused back on my pace and my breath. It was everything I desperately needed. I returned home quiet in mind and body. The quiet born of fatigue and of the after effects of such a long exercise in mindfulness. think I found myself again. least for now.

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Chasing doubt

Instinctively I think there is a pure need to connect. A drive to figure out a way back to where we are most comfortable. To be understood. respected. loved. those are all pretty basic needs. Often an oversight until they aren’t there, either because they are in fact gone or because our mind deceives us into thinking they are. I’ve spent a long week or so fighting to find my footing and scrambling to make sense of it. It has become a teeter table. A steady back and forth between rational thought and irrational fear. Within the back and forth there are the emotions one might associate with fear and worry. Further there are feelings and impulses that seem to be operating in a very different privative realm. I should say I use the word for lack of a better one. These emotions and reactions flow as if from a broken pipe not a partially open spigot. There is a huge difference. I, in the years sitting and listening/ sharing come to accept my vulnerabilities. I may not know them all but I have earmarked quite a few and know when to erect a defense before I get leveled. This is different. This is being battered from storm I little understand though clearly grasp the severity.

I fought hard to shake off the diagnosis of Borderline. Never accepted it. Walked away from my DBT experience and hospitalization at more of a dead run than a walk. It unleashes a hellish desire to defend myself just to think about that time and that dx. Sadly the events of this past week have made me feel more like a borderline than I ever felt in all those years. It is horrifying to me on so many levels. Were all those doctors and therapists right? sure feels that way. I know that sounds terrible but I think I need to say in my defense I only saw BPD at its most severe. In seeing that and living it I have a very clear panic response when labelled as such. I lay the template of all I saw and came to understand and lay it over me it causes such fear and discomfort. so as wage a war with all these emotions buffeting me I can only wonder why now? How could I have put together a life worth living. Created a strong, albeit with issues, relationship that has lasted. As I saw it in the beginning that was doubtful. I returned to school. I stayed out of the hospital. I did all the things they said I couldn’t do. I proved them wrong. I was not a borderline. In the almost 20 years since I have grappled with deep dark depressions and many episodes of suicidal ideation. They were not fast moving like this, more a smoldering slow moving fire as opposed to this raging brush fire. This is evolving from somewhere deeper and darker. somewhere closer to my core identity and not a mood disturbance. I understand my depression. I own it and live it. It is familiar, sad, I know. this is not that. I think it is indeed the perfect storm I have discussed. The clocks changing the racy hypomania and the crash off that. That isn’t helping this. I know that. this is far more insidious. There is so much self loathing and doubt right now. The suicidal thoughts remain intrenched. It is a dark sad place. I hate to doubt myself to such a degree. I keep fighting to find a more rational process of thought but look at what I am seeing. I was okay. Least I thought I was. sure there were some tough spots. yes, this winter was hell but I was putting one foot in front of the other. I could run mindfully and put each day behind me like a task done. One more day I’d tell myself. Closer to the spring and warmth. Closer to some relief. and in an instant I am no better than the 20 year old batshit kid I was. Just that quick. How can I reconcile that? how can I figure it out and not doubt myself, my sanity, my health and my stability? Kind of hard. maybe impossible.
I don’t know how to stop all this. A 2×4 over the head maybe. I am as always scrambling to figure it out. process it, understand it. I don’t and maybe that is the problem. When I have lost my way I always knew Virgil would cast some light and I’d find my way back. the drugs would work and I’d climb out of whatever hole I had found myself in. Even after my suicide attempt I held tight to the hope she had I’d get better. I guess I’m lost without that. I have lost sight of it. I have allowed my fear and anger to cloud my judgement. As the anger has been replaced by hopeless sadness I wish I could go back and find it again. Instead I have given up and blamed myself. I have squarely thrown it all back on myself. I’m too fucked up. Too flawed. I let her off the hook. I swallowed whole the implication that this is mine. my overreaction. my problem. I should have held my ground. should have defended myself. I didn’t. and in giving up I let her defender herself. It came back to me. my issues. mine. yep, mine alone. I’ve lost confidence and trust in the person I thought was the only one who could save me. The only reason I was still living and breathing. I don’t know what to do without that. I am heartbroken. I know that. The pain is as raw and hard edged as any I have ever felt except now I feel it alone.

looking for a foothold. anything.

finding the center seems impossible right now. I’m in a haze and fighting for anything to hold onto. I try to convince myself it will shift back and that all this hurt will subside. I don’t believe it. As the meds pull me off into sleep I can only hope tomorrow is a better day. Maybe I can find a firm foothold I so badly need right now.

concrete setting

It is a familiar feeling as my body struggles to integrate another drug. Writing and thinking feels like moving through setting concrete. The world takes on a slightly hazy distant quality as if I am viewing everything through a partially focused lens. This is no different from all the others. I am a stranger to myself. foreign and edgy in the attempts to adjust and accept a new cocktail. There is nothing to do but wait it out and try to get through the day.
I remain ambivalent in my decision to publish the Manifesto. I don’t know that it was written well enough to make myself heard or understood. I want nothing more than to give answers rather than questions. There is so much to say though I lack the ability to translate into words and even if I could I am not sure I want to disclose all that goes on up there. I did promise this blog would be me uncensored. I have held to that. I have tried hard to let go and just write. I do not pause and edit, or rework an entry. That isn’t what this blog is about. If I was looking for perfect this isn’t it. If you’re looking for clean edited readable text this isn’t that. I doubt it ever could be. Not in my hands at least. As I walked away from session yesterday trying hard not to fall apart I wondered why. Why was I in such a terrible place? Why had I left far worse than I arrived? I couldn’t come to a decision about why that was. In the hours since my mind has wandered over the dialog, or actually much closer to a monologue. I walked in thinking of all that I had to say. I never got there. Instead I listened and thought as I so often do. I traced the emotions as they tracked across my head. fighting my instinct to run. Instead I sat and watched. I listened. I heard you defend yourself. Yes, I knew nothing of your life. Probably didn’t need to. All those words sat unspoken as I retreated. I lost track of them in the sadness I felt at adding one more shitty thing to your life. I know now why I stepped back and let it go. I heard you tell me I overreacted. I knew that. I had spent the better part of a week looking at it from every angle and trying desperately to sort the pieces. I wish I could have stopped you there. Instead I let it go and it shifted to depakote. I know I hurt you with my words written here and I doubted you. I am sorry for that. I never saw my reaction coming. I didn’t understand it. It wasn’t meant to hurt you. That I know that. Think it was akin to drowning and you just got caught in the thrashing. But we never touched it. Maybe it is better to just push it aside and leave it. stop thinking and looking at it. let the waves die down and move on. I know I left that session deeply sad and lost. I felt so wrong in so many ways. But most of all I felt defeated. I still do. Nothing seems to be better, only worse. I made my life harder than it needs to be all because I just reacted, never stopped to think. I do that a lot. I think I am my own worst enemy most of the time. I was so burdened and tired yesterday as I walked away. I wish it had gone differently but it is done. I conceded and taken the drug. that’s done. the rest I guess will drift off into the background given a time and space.
I’ll stop writing now since I don’t know that I am making any sense and thinking is just too hard right now.

Manifesto?

UNEDITED an intro- this entry was written over the course of almost two years. Written in bits and pieces and always saved as a draft. I never felt comfortable publishing it. Actually I still don’t as I do not believe it truly describes all that I experience and struggle with as my mind wanders off into the darker recesses. I am leaving it unedited for now with the intent of returning to it again at a later point. It is not in any way a goodbye, or an explanation. I have no intent of going anywhere. It is born out of a need to get the shit out of my head so it stops spinning and in the hopes of buying some peace and quiet up there.

This isn’t the usual manifesto. It is the voice of the suicidal mind. The thoughts and impulses honed over years. Slowly but surely shaping and developing into a formidable opponent. One might say the hardest foe of all. It is what life becomes when there is always a very dark guest residing in your head. Manifestos are often written to make oneself heard. Here is mine. For all the years I said nothing, did nothing and tried to feel nothing. This is what remains.

Being heard is important. Not just as an adult, but as a child. so much rides on our connection to those around us. When we feel unheard, or go unnoticed, little worries and fears become huge looming monsters. with nobody to reach out to they begin to tear us apart. slowly but surely. Doubt and fear become a way of life. That is no way to grow up.I can’t say it was all bad, because it wasn’t. I was loved. I was clothed, and fed. I was educated. I had a family. It didn’t hold together. It came undone. On so many levels life changed. It was in no way my fault, but I blamed myself anyway. Maybe if I’d been better, or smarter, or less demanding maybe the family would have held together. It didn’t. I withdrew. There were so many things wrong, but I didn’t know what to say, or who to say them to. I learned to hold on to it. I never let go. I held it and held it. Like a silent challenge to see how long I could hold my breath. But like holding my breath eventually I could not contain it and broke to the surface. I didn’t know where the line was, and often didn’t know what would send me over into a state of panic and overwhelm. I didn’t look at my thoughts and feelings in real-time as they were occurring. I pushed them back. They became the backdrop of my life. In the quiet they would creep back. Inch by inch they’d regain ground. All that effort I put into hiding them when I never understood them. Didn’t like the way pain and sadness made me feel. Instead of sharing that, I buried it. This went on for years. But there comes a time when you have to pay the piper for that approach. When the emotions found their way out, and they always did, it was hellish. Fierce and terrifying for me. It made me redouble my efforts to send the emotions farther into the darkest deepest corner I could find. I reinforced the doors, nailed the windows shut and pulled the shutters tight. For a time it worked. But they came back, worse than ever. They breached the locks, and seeped under the doors, flooding my existence with a pain so substantial it took my breath away. I knew I was no match for them, but I remained stubborn. Once again I fought to put them back. I worked harder and retreated. I fooled my young mind into believing I could banish them. But I was young, and stupid. I didn’t know I was up against myself. It was in fact, my nature. It was my nature, what it became in the absence of nurture. The pain returned. It came back stronger and more fearsome than ever. It pushed my young self far beyond anywhere it had ever been. In that darkness, overwhelmed and alone, the pieces slid into place. This world was no place for me. It was a place of pain, and fear, and trauma. It was cruel and unkind. It was not a place I wanted to stay. In those bleak moments my mind produced a solution. So clean, so shiny. just so damn exquisite. It was my answer to a psychic dilemma I could not solve nor endure. I had in that moment created an exit. Perfect in every way. I would often lie and stare at my ceiling thinking of ways to leave. To create the plan. But I was just a child. What of death does a child know? I knew enough. I knew enough to tell myself there was no more suffering there. It was a place of serenity and calm. There was no rape, or incest, or sodomy. there were no planes falling from the warm summer sky. There were no families left in ruin. There was only peace. No more uncontrollable emotions. No more battles to hold back the ever rising current pressing at all my reinforcements. I didn’t have a chance to figure out a different way. I had no idea. I was lost and it was my nirvana. So each day I would sit and wonder about what it would be like to disappear. Initially it was rather innocuous, and innocent. But the pain remained, and my misery was unavoidable. I redoubled my efforts and began to work out a plan. Again, I was just a kid. This was before the internet, and how to guides to kill yourself. Long before CSI, Criminal Minds, and all the other shows that bring death via entertainment into our lives each week. I was clueless. I knew a train could kill a kid like me, so each day I would walk down the tracks on the way home. Too stupid to ever think about actually figuring out the train schedule. So I never did meet a train, never had to make that split second decision about standing in the tracks or stepping off. I wish I had met that train, just so I could have known what my 12 year old mind would have decided. I know what it wished for and longed endless hours for, but I do not know what I would have done if I had looked death in the eye. I can only wonder, now, all these years later. I know that is where the seed was sown. It was the beginning of this life. The very start of when I learned death might be better than life as I knew it. To find comfort in spending hours contemplating my fate.

I hate to make it sound like my life was all bad. It wasn’t. I know many who live far worse and celebrate life. They never once look to death as a place to seek peace. I do not know what makes me different. I don’t mean different, odd. I mean why I am not able to look the other way. Why my young mind chose suicide as an active exit strategy. I often wonder if I had known someone who killed themselves, or if I had heard of someone killing themselves around that time. If it was some outside influence, and not, in fact, my own creation. I don’t know that it really matters. It was where it started. The late night whistle from the nearby tracks pulling me off into dreaming of death. From there it flourished quietly in my head. When things became too bad, or too stressful I would settle down the same path. Instantly giving up and shifting focus away from problem solving. I would become obsessed with planning. Around and around in my head I would go. Instead of using my energy to push on past the trouble or fear, I’d use it to create scenarios in my mind’s eye. It is remarkable how detailed and creative the mind can be. I saw every detail, every second and every inch. The scenario in my head so perfect, it would never be that way in reality. Suicide is dirty, and awful. It is heart wrenching and soul stripping. But there in the mind it is without those details. Each of the people who might be harmed, or reduced to nothing by my actions suddenly became better off without me. I see them happy, and without the burden and stress of me hanging on them. My mind whitewashed the worst parts of it to the point they get lost. It continues to now. The disconnect between reality and that place is so harsh. An act so brutal and disgusting becomes perfect and ideal. There is nothing tarnishing it. NOTHING. It is horrifying how easy it is to lose sight of the people I love and all I have worked hard to become.

As life tumbles on I walk a divergent path. I do both at once. Smile and make small talk. Conjure a facade of okay just to keep all the people around me moving and not looking. I can keep moving and living life while endlessly fantasizing about death. I hate to use the word fantasize since it isn’t like I’m dreaming of a beach or a shiny neon yellow pair of running shoes. Those are things people fantasize about. It should never be about ropes and syringes, and coffins. There should be some other word for this departure into an alternate universe. Divergent sticks, but think that is only because it is a movie title. Though I guess it is suitable for this purpose. I am different. I know that and it is okay. What I need to tell you is I find solace in my journeys. I return reborn and renewed just enough to make it through another hour or day. It keeps the panic away. Instead of losing myself amidst fear and uncertainty about the future I create an ending. There is no uncertainty there. I need that in my life. I need to know that I will not suffer. is that truly so awful? the need for an alternate space where there is no panic. As I look around at my life now I see only problems. Not minor ones either. I see the next foreclosure looming large amidst the tax bills and notices. I see the unpaid bills and the unfinished work. I see the loose nails and fallen boards. the flaking paint and the rusting metal. I see decay and disrepair. It haunts me awake and asleep. I see the winter’s damage beneath the receding snow and desperately attempt to hold back the rising anxiety. It is eroding all around me and there is nothing I can do to stop it. You might see a broken board. I see $s and an hour labor. When they all get added up it starts to feel impossible. Not because I lack the ability to fix them but because I lack the will and the means to replace them. I see the foot deep ruts from a tractor in hours spent smoothing, fixing and reseeding.

This manifesto is quickly becoming a whine. That isn’t what I wanted it to be. I have to make you all understand though I have no idea how to do that. God I wish I could put words on it all. I don’t want saving. Can’t you all see that. I want to dissolve out into my mind and find peace between the seconds as they flash past. It never stops. Time runs on and it feels so fast. I wish it could slow down so the decay and the damage might ease up if only for a while. It won’t. Instead they just pile up like the cords of wood in the shed. Many argue suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. what if the problem isn’t temporary? What if they are stacked like wood? what if they are not fixable? What if they lay deep beyond the exterior, superficial layers of bills and boards? What if they lay inside? rather than cords of wood they coil like pythons around and around waiting to smother you in pain. All those years of trauma and chaos feeding the snakes of suffering till they grow too mighty to be shaken off. As I work at creating a better life they wrap themselves tighter. I know what I’m up against now. I define them and pick them apart thought they remain far too tight to shake off. With each session I show you my pain and my fear. I lay my hands on their sleek pearly skins and come closer to understanding how vast their hold is. I battle to find some order and return myself to the middle. It is harder and harder. When I held back and refused to let go I could pretend they were not all that bad. that is all different now. I see only the infinite nature of my sorrow. I see the darkness all around. In every session it pushes back at me. I feel it. I try to shake it off. Run it into submission. Guess what? it never goes away. It may pale and find its way back into the edges but it NEVER leaves me. Your drugs will never touch this. It is me. Not a disease or a diagnosis. Not a episode or a relapse. this is who I am. The sooner you all realize that the better. I may not be savable. I may not be fixable. In fact I know that. You try anyhow, as do I. It is when I am worn down and tired that this becomes so evident. I wish it were different. I DO. you might not believe that anymore. I haven’t exactly had the best track record. I have worked to get better. I think I have dedicated much of the past 20 years to getting better. I have only taught myself that it won’t get better. It always comes back. I always lose myself to it. If only I can get you all to understand how demoralizing and sad that is. The disappointment mixed with fear as each year rolls past and each new episode blooms. Somewhere along the line it becomes one too many. It bolsters the divergent part of me and coaxes her one step closer to determining her end rather than be victim to the endless tides of sadness and unrest. If only I could stay as committed and valiant as the rest of you. I’m not.

Most will say this is the words of depression. The expression and action of a mind numbed by disease and not truly an expression of who I am. I cannot argue that, though I believe that much of this lies at the heart of who I am. It is not a battle against bipolar as much as it is a battle against a person carved out of pain and trauma. I spirit battered by one too many horrible experiences. I remember crossing paths with a bright energetic woman that could in seconds become and tiny creature harmed and screaming. She was the representation of how I felt though I could never come close to letting go and expressing the hurt I held on to. She had survived the worst abuse possible. Her mind had split itself in pieces just to keep going. We each find ways to keep on breathing and moving. We are slaves to to a genetic code that drives us onward. It is aberrant to chose otherwise. suicide does not grow from nothing. At its root there is some experience(s) that shift focus from surviving to dying. It doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen for no reason. The sad thing is I was so loved. Incredibly supported and loved by many. Though in amongst that were the traumas that tore away some of that support. The vast emptiness that swallows me whole started a long time ago. I can search my mind and look for its index case. I cannot pinpoint where, though I believe it was around 8 or 9. Standing staring out a bedroom window wrapped in a ragged red and white blanket longing for my mother to come back. She didn’t. Not then, not when I needed her most. and so I sat looking out at the sky and feeling my heart crushed in anguish over her loss. To my young self it seemed like eternity. Those years before she returned shaped me, or shall I say hollowed me. The people around me tried to make it okay. Without the love and care from my aunt and uncle I’m pretty sure life would be much much worse. you see I did have love and nurturing. I had a family it just wasn’t what my heart was longing for in that time.

In the confusion and the backlash from her moving away I struggled to figure out who I was. I fell victim to predators lurking behind friendly faces. Desperate for attention I walked right into it. I was an easy target, a lonely kid with absent parents. Perfect. I did things in those years that were filthy and shameful all in the name of connection and “closeness” to another human being. anything but alone staring out my window hollow and brittle tormented by longing and sadness. and so I lay down, I let them use me. But I wasn’t any less hollow after. sitting bleeding alone after being sodomized by a teenager I realized there was no love there. those that treated me so well and manipulated me didn’t love me, they just wanted something from me. something filthy and painful. and so I sat alone. hurt and bleeding staring at the odd pattern of the wallpaper while dreaming of disappearing. The train whistled in the distance. The departure was an easy one. But I remained. There was no easy escape except in my head. I railed against my keepers, my father, anyone that sought to control me. I wanted a life I couldn’t have and control I would never get. In those coming months I would learn how little control I really had while pinned beneath my brother’s 6′ tall frame. While the sodomy I had been manipulated into while at my most vulnerable the incident with my brother was shocking and horrifying. I didn’t anticipate it and I couldn’t stop it. Another bathroom with more blood and pain. another prayer for a way to disappear. It solidified my understanding that this life meant suffering and pain. that there would be horrible experiences and abandonment. that was a certainty. My lust for a train flourished beneath that reinforcement. How could it not? Where was I supposed to go with this pain? I didn’t open my mouth. I never told. I never shared. I stored it there with the train and life continued on. When I returned to my mother I though life would become perfect. I dreamed so long and hard of the day when we would be reunited. what I didn’t know what that it would come at a cost. I had to fend for myself amidst kids that didn’t much like outsiders. I didn’t understand bullying though I got a crash course as I started middle school. I tried hard to leave the train behind. I thought I had left it back there with my father. I made it quite a ways before it caught up to me. But High school brought another trauma and I fought to hold off the horrors of the past. They all came reeling back. Everything I buried and had forced myself to run from. the powerlessness and the fear triggered off all my old coping skills. I wandered once again in my head looking for a way out.

Leaving for school gave me a place to shelf it while life grew exciting and the future stretched out broad and fabulous. High brick walls and bright green english ivy colored my views. But soon summer faded to fall and the icy grip of winter turned everything bleak. I sought refuge in my closet, a behavior I had left behind at 11. Here it was back again. This time there was not train. But there was my mind with thoughts racing like trapped rats in a maze. Trying every which way to break free of the darkness descending around me. I didn’t have an answer so I sat in the dark trying to hold still enough to ease the thoughts crashing around in my skull. It didn’t work. There was no amount of darkness or stillness to quiet them. The drugs prescribed did little more that drive me deeper into the darkness. It became so bleak. I understood nothing of depression in terms of clinical disease. I had known darkness and yearning for death most of my life. I never viewed it from a illness perspective. It was just me. I learned a lot from my hospital stays. Mainly I learned about death. I was like a sponge absorbing every morsel of knowledge offered. Remember this was back before the internet. There was no easy way to come by this info. I stored it and held on to it. The train was replaced with a rope. I no longer thought of train tracks and whistles. they drifted off into my scrambled pile of childhood messes. I had a shiny new idea to hold onto. I didn’t realize how quickly I would leap from hoarding an idea to putting it into action. As I have written before I don’t understand what triggered it, nor do I know why it was such a rampant out of control week in that hospital. What I do know for sure is it taught me skills I never had. I descended into a place of pure impulse with no deterant (least not from myself). I met who I can become when I am unleashed and unteathered. It was a horrifying look at out of control and without boundaries. It was the very opposite of who I had always been. The hard line hold on controlling emotion and action was obliterated. In its place was a racing agitated lethal young woman. If I could get to it I was going to use it. The impulses felt endless, just as the pain felt bottomless. It enveloped me completely. and I LET GO. There was no, well maybe, or wait a minute. None of that. I felt the bite of my life draining away and welcomed it. I cannot describe the feeling of that last minute before consciousness slips away. The calm as the racing thoughts stop and the only beating is my heart. It is the calm and peace of ultimately making a decision and going through with it. There is something so empowering about that. In a world of pain and suffering and hollow emptiness wrapped in indecision and panic this is the opposite. This is true acceptance and ultimately letting go to a place beyond the here and now. To move away from panic and fear. To tame it and control it, even if it is for such a fleeting moment. That is the suicidal mind. That is the allure. I have seen that place. I have seen the sweeping grey as it all fades to black with the just the distant beat of your heart. I have felt the release into nothingness. There was no pain, no horror. No fear. there was only acceptance of a decision distilled from years of sorrow and loss.

One might argue that it is solely a product of depression. I don’t believe that. It has been with me all these years, in depressive episodes and outside of them. It shows me fleeting images even in the happiest of moments. It is always there waiting. Patient and quiet till the next time it is needed. With each stressor and change of season it often returns. Sometimes it is for days and even weeks. There right behind my eyelids with every blink. The sad thing is I often catch myself and recoil. for that split second I say you are really fucked up. and as quickly as I say that I return to my musings. Confident in my ability to leave them behind when faced with a person, or a task. I slide quickly from one to the other. In sessions I can leave them at the door only to find them there when I walk out again. They don’t frighten me even though I know how awful it is. I understand the risks of letting them settle in. I truly do. I don’t have a better way to cope and they have been a standby since I was very young. The experiences of walking all the way out onto that edge and stepping over did nothing but strengthen them. It erased a lot of the fears and the doubts. I still wonder often of what is beyond us. that I cannot answer and it does make me pause. What if there is something worse? Some terrible fate for a weaklings out. Some heinous punishment to inflict revenge for the harm done to so many. that may well be what lies after here. I do not know. I know that the suicidal mind doesn’t always pause to ponder such questions, just as it often doesn’t pause to consider the harm. I do think often of all those around me. I see them working and moving and striving for something as I stand still crippled under the emotions. I see what life could become without me in it. That in my absence they might be able to stretch and move on instead of caring for me, or worrying about me. I know that is quite distorted and does not take into account the pain and suffering it would inflict. I understand that. I do. I know it doesn’t sound like it. I want nothing more than to have both. To be free of this life and to have everyone be okay. Yes, back in fantasy land. I know. But I wanted to write this to shed light on what happens up there. To be understood. I do not mean forgiven. That would probably not happen. Forgiveness is hard to get to. Impossibly hard when you love someone so deeply and they wound you. This is not to seek forgiveness. I’m not going anywhere. I am only writing in an effort to explain how my head works and why it seems to work this way. I don’t have anywhere to be and am not looking for an out right now. I want nothing more that to have a place to deposit all the thoughts that bombard me every waking moment. To show you how quickly they arrive and depart. how they can settle in and make themselves at home at times and others be just a fleeting image. There is no way to predict how it will be, thought usually they remain present longer when the depression is at its worst. I need to make clear I am trying to show you the depression just enables them. It doesn’t create them, nor destroy them. These thoughts, beliefs and behaviors are me. Nurtured and grown slowly from a seed sewn long ago. I think you all believe you can eradicate them with therapy and drugs. You can’t. They will always be a part of me. If they disappeared I’d be lost. I hold tight to them so I can survive. It seems an odd thing, I know. I am holding fast to a very maladaptive behaviors and thought process just to keep on going. I know that. I can’t let go. they are the only thing I feel like I have any sway over. I can’t control them completely, but I understand them well enough to work around them. To pause them and come back to them as I need. This time is no different.

So much in my life right now is not all that okay. I am staggering under the weight of problems I cannot fix. It is horrible to be in this place and feel so trapped. Another person might go to a drink, or a drug. I go to my mind and lose myself in the oldest tales it harbors. The ones that kept me here when I was most alone, afraid and brutalized. I learned I could turn off my mind and body to retreat into this place. It didn’t matter how hard it got, or how painful it way this was always there for me. This is my life and this is how I have gotten this far. I see the awfulness of it. I see the pathology. but there is nothing normal about a lot of events in my life and there is far too much pain and horror to undo. It is forever. We cannot go back, ever. God I wish we could. For so many things, and so many horrors. I wish I could unsee them and unlive them. I wish I could uncoil these horrid painful pythons that squeeze away at my life and never let go. To be honest I wish I never thought of that train, or how to escape. I wish nobody had ever taught me to kill myself, and most of all I fucking wish I didn’t come to know how perfect the split second before nothingness is. I do. There is no going back. I have no idea how to go forward and live my life with this dangerous companion. I am sure you all would like it to go away for good. I know. I don’t think it is that simple. nothing ever is.

Doubting

I’m not really sure where I’m at right now. I’m confused and sad. I guess my stretch of middle ground deceived me into believing I was getting better. I was wrong. I went from zero to 60 just a bit too quickly. If a single email can fuck up my head to this degree I am nowhere near healthy and definitely not in the realm of okay. Session just reinforced that. I sat listening to a voice I know so well and wondered how could I have doubted her so greatly? How could a paragraph from a stranger unhinge me to that degree. I feel like an idiot and am lost in self-doubt now. Couple that with the hopelessness I feel about the meds and it is mind numbing. I have returned home trying to hold myself together. There is no distracting or hiding from this pain. I can only hold still and let it go in the hopes it eases up. I don’t understand myself, even after years of working at it. I don’t feel any better in the moments like this. I feel just as lost and hurt as I did when I started this journey. I wish I could feel hopeful as Virgil about the depakote. I don’t. I feel worn to the bone. This just one more in an endless stream of I think this will helps. I think this is going to make it better. I can’t even stomach writing it, let alone believing it. I feel like I have sold out and given up. I may once have been feisty and difficult. Not sure where she went. Instead I feel shuffled and dumbed down to and endless series of yes’. It doesn’t mean they hurt any less. I have found no peace nor acceptance I guess. yet another problem I have to add to the others. I am just so fucking tired right now. I can only wait it out and pray it passes on and I can come up for air. My only solace is I know this place so well. I have spent much of my life here. If only there was some comfort in that.

It’s Complicated take II

I’ve tried hard over the past couple days to find some perspective and sort the puzzle pieces. It seems there are many but the edges are hard to find. I catch a glimmer and they are gone. I see parts of the picture come together with no reference. What am I looking at? Are the pieces I’m seeing too distorted to truly cast light on whole thing. I still find myself struggling and fighting to just bring everything back together again. For some semblance of normal or okay. There is nothing okay right now in my head. Far too many moving pieces and nothing concrete to hang on to. Session with Beatrice this morning just emphasized that point. It is a terrible feeling to be so adrift. Is this all just backlash from the psychopharm? Is this a natural progression as my energy and emotion return after a brutal frozen winter? Is it some combination of all? The farm and the family issues remain as they have for a long time. They are nothing new. My struggles with my partner are not new either. What is it that shifted everything so hard into chaos?

Beatrice asked if I really thought Virgil had manipulated me. Well, that is tough to answer. Are my thoughts based in rage and not in reality? Am I seeing something that truly isn’t there? I struggle to answer those questions. If we take her out of the picture and look solely at the choices and the options as they exist for me I can say without a doubt it is. To take his words and see them as reality. I have a disease. X drugs are the gold standard of treatment. Without said drugs I am losing. I am giving up and passing on the best shot I have at stability. Note I am paraphrasing here. I won’t pull his words into this blog as I don’t think he ever intended for them to be read by anyone but Virgil. Taking that at face value I no longer have a choice. In my life I have tried hard to be responsible. I go to sessions on time. I show up. I interact in as much as I can on any given day. It is never easy for me. I learned at 20 there is no option. You comply with treatment or you will succumb to your issues, disease , demons . And so began this journey. I do like control. I have a personality that doesn’t lend itself to passivity. I learned to be that to comply with the role of patient. I was so hopeful once. I dreamed that her little rectangles of paper might lead me to a place of wellness. That I might be free of this darkness. But years passed and soon I dreaded seeing it. With each change and each failure I felt that hope slip away. My work and effort felt meaningless each time I felt a hostage to my emotions and my behaviors. I understood the harm these drugs could do and I understood that most would not work. I took them anyway. I fought to extinguish my anxiety and fear when a new med was started. and so it continued. After the ECT I learned it wasn’t just the meds I had to fear. None of these lessons helped me. Each instilled more fear and distrust. How can I reconcile the fact that someone I love and believe will protect me is the one on the other end of this onslaught. How can I possibly believe I have any choice when I know there is none as the psychopharm pointed out. Along this route I became a slave. I want to believe that in my compliance and responsiblity I am owning my care, and determining my path. I’m not. I am just going along and abiding by a course that is deemed the right one. I lost ownership of my life the first time I strangled myself. the first time the depression became deep and dark enough to obliterate all reason. I lost it when I earned a ICD9 code and a diagnosis. As years went by and episodes came and went I drifted farther and farther from me and closer to hopeless. To earn a lifetime of toxic medications is to mainline that hopelessness. It laps constantly in the back on my mind. with each day and each shift it calls into question is that alright? too much? too little? too sad? too agitated? too reckless? It bends and obscures the ability to find the middle ground and to truly figure out where okay is. Without compass points it is an ever losing battle . So the meds enter the picture because they might still the endless tide shifts so okay can be ascertained and marked for future reference. I don’t know where that reference is and I sure don’t have a fucking compass. I have wandered amongst deep anguish and pain for so much of my existence I cannot contemplate nor dream of a reality without it. It has shaped me and it has destroyed my ability to navigate rough seas. My personality tells me to row the fucking boat into the waves POINT AT THE WAVES AND YOU’LL BE OKAY. THE BOAT WON’T SINK while my conscience tells me to jump overboard-THE BOAT IS SINKING. YOU’RE GOING TO DIE. JUMP. There is no middle ground and there is no compromise. As the seas of emotion level out I see glimmers of who I might have been. I catch sight of the strong obstinate woman. But she is worn down and weary now. While once she might have argued and fought, today she looks down and sees only the chains. There is no losing sight of them. Virgil may try to she always has to convince me I am something I am not. When we met I may well have been but she’s long gone. She doesn’t come round for long and always loses the battle to a foe we know so well. I should be raging and fighting to get her back. I should want nothing more than to medicate myself into that person. I don’t. I have no faith in them anymore. I guess I have no faith in you anymore. I know you each will argue and point out all the well times. All the progress I have made. The growth I have sought and gained. Don’t you see it makes no difference. My thinking is as distorted and dark as it ever was. Only difference now is I can see it, hold it, identify it and ultimately stagger from the impact. Before it was always there and I could not tease it apart. I couldn’t name it and all its accompanying emotions. Now I know each. I see each problem and each obstacle. I feel each. There is no ignorance and there is no hiding anymore. I don’t feel any stronger. I feel like a hostage.

There is so much I cannot even begin to explain. so much I feel at this point. I want to trust that life will once again improve. I want more than anything to believe you will once again find some magic and banish this anguish. All I know is I must once again concede. To relinquish control to even have a chance. Can’t you see that the cumulative effect of that is wearing me down? To give in just so I might not give up. Isn’t it all just giving up in the end? I’ll take your drugs. What difference is there now? He was right. I just need go along and comply because to refuse is only to harm myself anyhow. My fear has no place here, only my ability to yield and agree. If there is anything this journey has taught me it is to let go. I’m all yours. I will swallow them whole and not complain. I will accept it and swallow my pride and my strength with each and every one. I’ll be a good patient just as I have always tried to be. yep I know, that’s just a sentence away from I’ll be good, please don’t leave me. and not ever to the likes of that guy. I see it now. I see it.

It’s Complicated

Think that is an understatement these days. I walked away from session this morning trying to tease apart all the moving parts and figure out what is going on up there. I can try to break it down piece by piece though I’m not sure I have the insight to complete that task. Here’s what I know and beyond that what I think of it all.

Email came in and I read it. Now here it gets complicated. There are a million different directions my mind went though I think on the most superficial level it is about meds.

Okay, so we have the medication issue. At face value it is just a choice in a long line of choices. I don’t like them. Don’t like the drugs. That is pretty easy to identify though it has a bit more to it than that. There is the feeling of losing control and lacking choices. The cumulative effect of years of feeling like I have no option but to comply and take them, even when they scare me and when I don’t want them. Dig a bit more and we have the overall feeling of powerlessness and the view that this is just an endless road. From one to the next. To refuse would be to sabotage my chance at normal, at stability. To know that if I refuse I have somehow failed myself. Distorted, yes. for sure. I know that. But isn’t there just a bit of truth to it? If I have “x” option and it is the so-called best option by refusing it I am in a way harming myself, or at least not providing myself with the best course of treatment. So there may well be free will and choice but is there really? If I refuse the best option and end up in a heap or dead, one can easily say that was my fault. I didn’t listen. I failed to take the wisest course and that what happened could have been avoided if only I complied. Don’t think for a second I don’t understand that. I do. The psychopharm’s words were not lost on me. What they drove home is how little choice I ultimately have. But that is only the beginning.

We have to dig a bit more and we arrive at his words echoing and deeply touching how very powerless this journey has left me at times. To be harmed in the pursuit of stability is nothing new to me. Incredibly sad to think about. I understand the desperation to even the keel when everything gets so brutally dark. I can see that. Most of all how much that is compounded when you add all the years we have spent trying. I know I have been impulsive to the point of almost lethal. I have brushed up against the very edge and not even considered the harm I was doing in those moments. I know it has happened a number of times. I understand with each terrible experience I have statistically brought myself closer to the morgue. That isn’t lost on me either. I know that when choices are made to try to alter the course they are done out of the all out desperation to halt the slide and stop the impulsivity. So while none are done with the intent to harm, and all are in my best interest since suicide would be worse, when I survive and walk away from an episode I am left grappling with what has happened. In some cases that is forever. don’t know how to forgive and forget. Ultimately it is my fault to begin with as it is my impulsive behavior that triggers the whole cascade of events. Were I not so fucking sick these would not be issues. If I had never strangled myself it wouldn’t be this way. There would be no full court press to shift the course. I’d be like every other depressed person that just gets by on some SSRI. That changed a long time ago. With each drug we have dosed our way across the pharmaceutical landscape. From fairly benign to where we find ourselves today. Knee deep in nasty atypicals and fast approaching Depakote. That didn’t happen overnight and I realize that. I’m here because we have exhausted the other options. Trileptal has been good to me, but not good enough. Ultimately it is my behavior and impulsivity that drives this endless 20 year path of medication after medication. I know that. But I think we have to go a little further because like I said, it isn’t just drugs.

I have spent almost 20 years being defended and protected by you. That isn’t lost on me either. I have seen you hold your ground against the worst my family could dish out. The more they questioned and bullied you remained. In my world I only understood a mother that would run. I’d never seen one circle the wagons. Instead of flight I saw stubborn perseverance. The more I pushed, or the family pushed the more evident it became. I came to understand that I didn’t need to live every day waiting to be abandoned. I did not have to guard myself so strongly and that I could show you “me”. It was indeed lost on me at 20. It is not now. I see the value and the necessity of it as I left the scared kid I was behind. It helped me grow and mature. There is a bond that cannot be denied. But in that bond is also a complexity that overshadows everything else. To have a strong maternal figure was critical to me, and continues to be. I believe we have indeed bumped up against that in this psychopharm debacle. It isn’t about drugs and free choice, not at its root. It was about betrayal and it was about losing faith. I have not felt this way since after ECT when all I could think of was why in god’s name would she let them harm me. I felt lost and let down. I felt abandoned. This is a bit different, though some of the same emotions seem to be stirred. This is about watching you give away your power to someone else. To defer to some prick and to let me see it. I don’t understand, but I know that you knew that this email would kick up some dust. I think more than anything you wanted me to make the right choice and take the depakote. Your desire to save me forced your hand a bit. When dangling the life minus seroquel carrot didn’t quite work you let someone else kick me when I was vulnerable. and kick me it did. Though in the final analysis yes, his words may well make me arrive at the right decision. What is left is my wondering why in the hell you’d do it that way. I think you know me better than anyone (short of Beatrice), so I can’t help but wonder why you would hurt me unless of course you felt it was the only way to get me to accept the medication, thus saving me (maybe). Just as you allowed them to do ECT without objecting because ultimately it was to save me. It circles back to my behavior, and my impulsivity. It colors everything, even the most important relationship in my life. am I to accept that I will be hurt because it is in my best interest? I guess I would have to come to terms with that, were it the case. Though I think that just leads us just a bit deeper.
In your failure to abandon me you have allowed me to see you as something more than human. Something perfect and ideal. The mother I never had and always needed. In that bold stubborn loyalty I was able to produce an idol. that isn’t lost on me either. Though I do think when there are mistakes they clamor off the richter scale because the vision of perfection is suddenly altered. In my mind the world tilts a bit and I find myself swimming in fears of abandonment because maybe, just maybe you might not be who I think you are. What if I made a mistake? Interesting to see how fast my mind is willing to give up an impeccable track record for some minor perceived slights. Though there I think we tread into my disordered personality and away from the bipolar. Hard to imagine I wouldn’t fall back on what was mirrored for me all those years growing up. I too am flawed, and I too recoil at injustices and slights with the blink of an eye. thank you mother. In the shadow of that I am indeed struggling now though I know, just as I recovered after ECT, I will once again find my way back. That is where the issue lies. I cannot continue to hold you there on high. It doesn’t work. you are as human and fallible as all the rest. The sooner I accept that and move on the easier it will be to cope when events like this happen. There is always be drugs, side effects and outside consults. Always. the past 20 years has proven that. There will be more challenges, and yes, more mistakes by all of us. I can and will accept you as less than perfect. I somehow managed to do that with all the rest of the people in my life. So we can keep going.

Love. I think that we do both love each other. We have such a long history. From the best of moments like college graduation and finding soul mate to the darkest of moments when I let go of this life and looked beyond it. I think ultimately we both need to accept that and seriously contemplate whether it creates too great a bias when it comes to my care. Is the instinct to protect too strong now? Is the desperation to save me too great? I can’t answer those questions as the reside with you. Is this willingness to defer to someone else a reflection of that deeply personal bond? Would it somehow allow you to obfuscate the guilt if it were someone else’s medication choice and I took my life? I know you don’t want to lose me. I don’t want to lose me. I do need to know that you are alright owning the decisions regarding my care. That we are not too close now.

I am not a shrink so I am only writing what is in my head, most is probably useless. I understand there is some intense stuff going. I just want to try to understand it all better so I can ward off land mines like this one last week. There is no blame here. No judgement. Sure there is anger but that is my default setting when shit gets too intense and unrecognizable within the swirl of thoughts and feelings. I know it is so important that we figure this out. We can do that, right?
B