It took me a day or two, well more than a few to shake the words I read. I wasn’t really expecting the fireworks that went off. But they went off. I guess we are all on the same page that I probably shouldn’t have read that email. Though we cannot change that now. I think one would have to think about how it feels to be in my shoes and in my head to understand the ramifications of that short read. It isn’t lost on my that somewhere in that pompous bullshit was good information. I didn’t need to hear it from him. I had already left my conversation with Virgil in a decent place and had very much come to terms with accepting a trial of depakote. I didn’t need to read it. Anyhow, I have been somewhat lost and sad in the days since. The sun is finally out and the weather was bearable yet I just didn’t feel it. I don’t know how easily I can leave behind the experiences of the past especially when reminded so bluntly. I don’t like to think I am angry with Virgil though something is eating at me. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Instead of my usual check in I would rather not. I feel myself wanting only distance. I am not even sure why. It isn’t her words that hurt me. I kind of wish I understood more about why I reacted the way I did and why I am backing up away from everyone now. It may be I just need some more time to process. I may need some space to repair.
I just don’t understand myself all that well.

Hope vs. Fear

The wall clock was ticking almost imperceptibly, thought I heard each time the hands notched forward. The mild discomfort had transitioned into a deep ache in my lower abdomen. I held still and counted the ticks on the clock. I let my mind wander and desperately tried not to think about it. My wandering was interrupted by the doctor. In his broken English he told me it’s just in your head. Go. go to the bathroom. My mind was trying to process what he was saying but I had lost track. This couldn’t be possible. Why in god’s name would I do this to myself. He reinforced his order for me to go to the bathroom. I rolled over and tried to get up but my body was just too shaky. beads of sweat rolled off me. In a half hunched over limp I slowly made my way back to the bathroom. Nothing. I stared at the walls and pleaded with my body to cooperate. I thought to myself how fucked up my head must be if this is what I was doing to myself. More minutes ticked by. I roughly calculated in my head how long it had been since I last urinated. That morning? or was it the evening before? I couldn’t think. My hands were shaking and the discomfort was edging fast toward pain. I looked at the bed. I could just curl up there. But they will just ignore me. No I have to be somewhere visible. so I returned to the hard bench I had been laying on. Least it was out on the unit and not behind a door. I curled myself into a ball and listened to the clock ticking. The sweat had soaked my shirt before the clock met the next hour. I was dizzy and disoriented. I had lost count of the minutes. As the next hour passed I couldn’t move anymore. To breath was deeply painful. I held on tight to the cheap molded plastic and began to think this is really bad. Up till that day I had had a pretty good relationship with my body. I’d had surgeries, but I had never been really sick. I was feeling sensations I had never before felt. My heart would race and I’d sweat more, but it wasn’t a normal sweat. This was an icy strange sweat. I was getting really scared. The staff just watched. I was starting to slide in and out of the present. I forgot the clock. The grip on that bench was all that mattered. I told myself, don’t let go. Hang on to the bench. It’ll be okay. You’ll be okay. But I knew I wasn’t. I had tried to plead with them. I had explained it had been too long. I couldn’t pee. Nothing. Evening arrived. I kept hanging on till I heard her voice. I had lost all focus at that point though I do remember her hands on my cold sweating body. Hey? I tried to look at her. I couldn’t move and was trying so hard to breath softly so as not to move at all. I heard the echo of steps away. No, don’t leave. I don’t want to be here with the clock and the bench and this pain. I didn’t do it. I don’t understand. But she didn’t leave. She just went to get the charge nurse. The one that had been ignoring me for the better part of the day once the dr said it was in my head. They were waiting me out. Waiting to see when I gave up and went to the bathroom. Sadly, I couldn’t. Instead I suffered. Instead I curled in on myself terrified of all these strange sensations my body was using to tell us just how dire this situation was becoming. I got lost again. I couldn’t stay awake. I didn’t want to feel anymore pain. My partner was chastising the staff as they took my blood pressure. I saw the nurse’s eyes as she looked in disbelief at what the vitals were. I was sick. Really sick. Not in my head but in my body. The drugs they had given me to try to halt my depression had just made me completely unable to urinate. In the course of a day my body had slowly crept toward a medical emergency. I didn’t know it. I knew something was very wrong. They told me it was my fault. It was my deciding not to go. Over the course of the day as my discomfort transitioned to pain and onward toward shock I was left alone. I was reprimanded for not going. I was told to stop. The sad thing is I didn’t know if they were right. As the nurse ran off to call the medical team I looked at my partner and prayed they’d fix it now. I feared they too would just say go sit in the bathroom. Instead I got a catheter. My vitals stabilized and the relief was immeasurable. The cold sickly sweat that drenched me earlier dried and I was able to get up and walk upright for the first time in many long hours. It was a lesson in feeling completely powerless. To my body, my mind but most of all to a system that writes off a psych patient’s complaints. I wish I could tell you that it was the only time that happened to me. It isn’t. The whole awful scenario repeated itself. I lay in the same ball praying for someone to fix it. The same hours clicked off the clock. The second time I was just somewhere way down the list of some overworked nurse practitioner. I begged the nurses, staff to go find a catheter. I told them just fucking find one and I will do it. I had the skills because the first round had fucked up my bladder enough that I had to know how to catheterize myself. The said they’d call the nurse practitioner again. Nothing. The same sickly icy sweat. the same racy heart. The same fear that this would go on forever. The same feeling of being worthless and small. In the same strange twist a visitor showed up and pitched a fit on my behalf. Sad how it takes an outsider to advocate before anyone responds. My begging fell on deaf ears. Her demands moved them. 1500ml drained. The average human bladder holds about 300/ 350 ml. In all the hours I was left to wait and told to drink water my bladder stretched to 4-5x its normal. Sad thing is that leaves permanent damage. As in forever. Not a week goes by where I don’t have reminders of that. The minutes sitting waiting to go. nothing. or the start and stop. the going so many times and not completely going. That is forever. That is the cost. So where is the line? When is enough enough? When have you tried hard enough, or not enough? Every drug has a cost. Every single one of them. Is it bad enough to create a medical emergency? maybe. maybe not. In the past 20 years, and the almost 30 meds, I have seen most side effects, both common and uncommon. I’ve had the side effects the docs shrug and say not possible. Like the urinary retention on Paxil. I’ve had colors in blocks float across my vision. Shrug. Only later to find out, oh yeah, that is from the higher dose of Wellbutrin. Don’t they all read the same fucking manual? I am sick of feeling like a crazy person when side effects come along. That indian doctor I met so many years ago chastising me for not going to the bathroom. His voice is what echos in my head. every time. Maybe I’m just nuts. Maybe it is my fault somehow. Try harder. Ignore it. I stopped reading inserts, and info long ago. They all cause something. Is it worth the cost? Guess from the dr standpoint it always is. The dizziness, the stomach upset, the weight gain/ loss. If the drug gets you to stable they are all worth it. If they haven’t killed you. When did it become okay for a medicine to cause 20+ lbs weight gain (average), metabolic changes and possibly diabetes. Is that ok? Is the trade off worth it? Being physically unwell but mentally more stable is fine. In what galaxy is that okay? In mental illness it is management not cure. This isn’t like chemo where the doctor can give you a course of tx to control/ kill the cancer cells. If you have 70% chance of recovering and getting to remission but you will go through hell physically to get there that is a decision. The decision is based on those odds. We have no fucking odds in this. None. It is a roll of the dice. Most of these drugs perform no better than placebo. A fucking sugar solution. Let me sum this up. I have, for 20+ years, subjected myself to more drugs than I can count with nothing more than a leap of faith to guide me. To trust, sometimes blindly my doctors as they write out script after script. That is trust. That is laying yourself out there while desperately seeking a better life. A more stable life. I have so many regrets. So many awful experiences along the way, but I keep coming back. I keep looking for that magic bullet that will somehow make my life better. There may never be one. I may never find stability. What I know I have found it more questions than answers. More harm than good. More risk than gain. That is what my journey has been.
Here I stand on the next step looking out on another journey. Do I walk this way or that way? There are days I look at the multiple pill bottles crowding my cabinet and think WHY? why do I do this? Is it all worth it? Each time I swallow those pills. It is mechanical and robotic. Completely without thought most days. I subject my body to everything in those little chemical nuggets. I swallow them with the faith that they can help me. I need them to work for me. As we have worked through each different medication and discarded it for another I try to think back over each one. What was good or bad. what was neutral. Some stand out, others are just a blur. I know it was a thoughtful and carefully plotted course. Each one was chosen for its likelihood of helping me. All had side effects. It is the ones we cast aside due to these effects that I ponder. Did I try hard enough? should I have just sucked it up and taken whatever it was? Is it my fault we are at yet another crossroads? Even if it is for lack of trying why should I feel guilty? Why should I feel like it is somehow my fault? It is my right to choose my suffering or lack there of. It is far harder to make a choice when you have no odds, no timetables, no proof any of them work. I watch as a friend goes thru chemo. I have seen her go from healthy, albeit with cancer cells lurking, to looking like death is waiting. I have watched her make choices and submit it weekly treatment in hopes of eradicating the cancer. The oncologist can give her pretty hard fast facts and numbers as to how effective the taxol is for her type of cancer. He can tell her this is what you will go thru after each infusion. He can even tell her you have this many weeks. That is something to hold onto. A way to push thru the illness and pain. The evidence to enable enduring it all. This isn’t like that. There is no timeline, no specific side effects that the majority tough out. There is no end in sight. All there is is faith and taking a risk. Nothing beyond that. That is soul crushing at times. Without a timeline decisions to continue or give up are difficult at best. Without a solid profile of efficacy there is no proof to hang onto. There is nothing. This is what it is to be a patient in this system. From the dismissal and the questioning to the never-ending request to take risks with little information to go on, it is what makes this road so hard. I have tried hard to trust, even when I have been let down and YES harmed. I come back each time. I return with the hope it will be better. That hope has been tested and even extinguished at times. It has been pushed and it has been bolstered. It remains. I only ask that it be acknowledged. I ask that the decisions I make be seen for what they are. That the risks assumed be noted. All I have done and all I continue to do is based on that hope.
My reaction to the email was in part a look back at this journey. Seeing all it has been and all it will continue to be. I try hard to remain hopeful. I force myself, even when scared and discouraged to try again. I don’t even want you to lose sight of the costs at my end. It isn’t just a piece of paper. It is another road untraveled. Another risk. My path thus far has left me with scars I will bear forever. They will never ever be just a pill. Please see that and know I get scared. The unknown has been unkind to me in the past. I no longer have blind ignorance to cling to. Nothing remains for me but the cold hard truth and the reality that this is my life and will be forever. That the hope and the fear both step off together onto a new path with each script.That takes a lot out of me every time. All I ask is that you see my fear and my pain. that you realize how difficult the choices are both to continue or to change. There is always doubt and there will always be fear. This is a long road and at times that fear eclipses my ability to remain hopeful. I do not refuse medications out of stubbornness or wilfulness but out of fear. It is a constant companion during this journey even as I try my hardest to make the right choices. My past and my experiences will always linger when another change occurs. I have been hurt and nothing will ever erase that. I want to get better and be stable though I often lose sight of it beneath that fear.

Herding Cats

Squirrel? what squirrel? Yeah it was a real tough task trying to stay on point during session. It felt a bit like my mind was being pulsed in a blender. A thought would come around and disappear again. I kind of gave up before I even started. The restlessness just seemed to grow the more I tied to sit still. I was listening. Least I think I was. Kinda like I am trying to write this. pointless. think herding cats would be an easier task.


(unedited) I never ever questioned our relationship. never considered a world without my partner. She is a constant. When things fell apart I knew she’d be there. This place and all the obstacles have been with her. I am seeing it all differently now and I can say I am truly terrified at the prospects. As we finished night check on friday at almost 11PM she said she was going to the supermarket. hmmm. Odd hour for that. I asked why. “I’m baking cookies for Maggie’s birthday”. I had to pause a minute and actually hear what she had just said. It was late and I was pretty tired. What?
“I’m going to the city Sunday for her birthday and I want to bring her something”
My mind was trying to take in this new information but all I was getting was alarm bells.
“You’ve never in our 15+ years together baked for me”
She looked at me and I returned her look. A moment passed.
“It’s nothing. I just want to give her something”.
I turned and walked toward the house, “Whatever”.
It was an argument I wasn’t going to win. Her defensive posture and tone told me.
Saturday night rolled around and she started baking. this coming from a person who does not bake. I have searched the annuls of my memories from life with her and never once has she baked. I stood in the kitchen watching her. I couldn’t stay silent in my worry.
“You have never once baked for me.”
She wouldn’t meet my eye and continued following the recipe.
“I just wanted to try in, that’s all” she said with far too much enthusiasm.
“Seriously, I don’t get this”
“It’s nothing, I just saw the recipe online”. This time with a tone and repeated with anger.
I leaned against the microwave and watched as she defended herself.
“Why are you do defensive?” to this she paused. We caught each others eyes.
“I’m not defensive, I don’t understand what your problem is. It’s NOTHING.”
This continued for a short while before I decided I wasn’t going to get anywhere and she was just ramping up in defensiveness. I walked out of the kitchen. I had nothing more to say and clearly it was going nowhere productive. But my gut told me this was amiss. Something wasn’t right. Why wasn’t she answering me directly? why was she so evasive and defensive? why was her response so out of place with a simple statement of You’ve never baked me cookies.
Sunday arrived and I headed out the door to polo. I was late. the clocks changing fucked my sense of time completely. On the way to polo I called her and asked when she was leaving, and when she’d be home. “We’re having lunch and then going to a show”. She said she’d be back for night check when I pushed a little. I hung up and couldn’t help but worry a bit.
By 8pm I was settled and watching TV. I looked at the clock and started calculating the hours. It had now been almost 11 hours since we spoke. I texted her. nothing. I called her. nothing. so I texted again. this time she answered that she’d call in a bit. obviously she was still in the city. I was a bit angry at this point. It was closing in on 9. and she wasn’t going to be back for night check. This in and of itself isn’t much of a problem, but telling me she’d be home and not being was an issue. Finally the phone rang.
“Where are you?”
“In the city going to the train”
“The truck broke down”/
“WHAT the fuck.”
“I don’t know it just died”.
“For fuck’s sake. We don’t have the fucking money.”
“I know.”
“What the fuck are we going to do now. It has to be towed. fixed. brought home”
“yes, I know.”
“Why the fuck did you have to go to the city with the truck, you know it hasn’t been working right”.
“The guy said it was just an injector”
“CLEARLY NOT”. and yeah at this point I was cursing and yelling.
It didn’t get much better and she hung up on me. That did not improve matters since how I was ready to break something. I dialed her cell.
“Where the fuck are we coming up with this $?:”
“Don’t worry. it doesn’t involve you. I’ll ask my mom”.
“What? Are you serious?”
“Yes. I will ask her”
“In all the fucking years we have fought and struggled to manage every crisis here you have always said there is no $, and you can’t go there for help.What changed now?
“What the fuck, you think I have been lying all this time and there actually is $. What is wrong with you??”
“No. that is not what I am saying, I am just wondering why it suddenly changed”
“I’m hanging up. I don’t need this shit. You are not helping matters at all. It is bad enough.”
“YEah you’re right it is bad. How the fuck are you getting home from the train? The dually is hitched to the trailer.”
“I’ll take a cab”
“If you show up here in a cab I will kill you. Do you hear me? I will fucking kill you. As if it isn’t bad enough, don’t fucking add that expense. I will come get you.
“No. don’t fucking come get me. I don’t fucking need you.”
“Fine. Fucking call someone. You always go running the rescue. Nice if anyone would actually return the favor for a change.”
“Whatever. I’m get home”
Whatever. My anger was still white hot though I realized this was going nowhere. I hung up.
I watched more TV and tried not to ruminate on all the possible outcomes and everything else that was at issue.
It was closing on 11PM and I had no idea where she was. I picked up the phone. At this point not in anger but in concern. No answer. Now I was pissed again. It is an ongoing problem with her. She never has her ringer on and never answers her phone. It makes be absolutely batshit. I have asked her to just leave the fucking phone on to no avail so here I was again getting voice mail. I redialed. this time she picked up. “why the fuck don’t you answer your phone?”
“It didn’t ring.”
“yeah, ok. whatever. where are you?”
Turns out she was about 2 minutes from home and our neighbor had given her a ride. In the next hour we said nothing to each other. I didn’t trust myself to open my mouth. I had seriously considered not being home when she returned since I was just that angry. In the end it was alright and I went to bed.

This is where I started my day. I said no more than two words to her as I headed out the door to Beatrice. Session was a recap of these events coupled with Beatrice’s questions and thoughts. I tried to stay present and listen though I was pretty much done as our session ended. I drove away trying to make sense of it all while trying to ward off the premonition that my world was ending. Everything just seemed to be coming undone at the seams. All the issues facing the farm and my life grew in magnitude as I let myself envision a life without her in it. I won’t lie. It was dark and bleak as the hopelessness slouched in the corners. I couldn’t get myself back. I couldn’t go home. I could not predict what I might do or say. Instead I ran stupid errand while my mind was lost. A couple hours elapsed and exhaustion was tugging hard at me. I had to go home. I don’t want to. Nothing has changed here. No words spoken. She left and came back with a hard look and a sigh of frustration as she always does when she thinks I am being a problem. yeah, this is all my fault. whatever. I don’t much know what to do as everything seems so fucking pointless. I’m sad and lost. I don’t know how to fix this, whatever this is. Th really sad thing is it might be nothing. But nothing doesn’t explain the evasiveness and the defensive reactions. Nothing does not explain the secrecy. It sure doesn’t explain the trip overnight to VA. I didn’t remember till today that is where Maggie lives. In the final analysis it isn’t the cookies, or the city, or the concerts. It isn’t even Maggie. The problem is I’m not sure I can trust her anymore. Attempts at rational conversation and questions implodes as the finger is pointed back at me. I’m the one who is behaving wrong. I’m the one that is making something out of nothing. I am the problem here. Sadly, it is so easy for me to shoulder that and accept it. I just throw it on with everything else that weighs so heavily on me these days. The feeling of betrayal still exists and this burden feels far worse than all the others combined. I don’t think I deserve this. Not now, not ever. but it has become my burden and I know I am buckling under the weight of this.

19 years

It is hard to believe it has been that long. 19 years. I’ve grown and changed a great deal since I crash landed in her office as a pissed off and anxious 20 year old. I had no means of communicating what I was feeling. Hell I didn’t even know what it was that was tearing me apart let alone try to put a name on it. I knew one thing. The woman staring back at me each day wasn’t going anywhere. In the early days I was convinced I could scare her off, just as I had the previous psychiatrist. I tried my best. Silence. Anger. Nada. She kept watching and talking. I sat and looked back. Despite my rage her voice of reason settled there in my head. Day after day. Week after week. We sat and looked at each other. More often than not I looked at the floor or the walls. The woven wall hanging, the diplomas. I didn’t want to meet her gaze because in it I saw an intensity that matched my own. It was a tough start. I’ll give it that. Countless times she pointed at the door and said “Do I need to walk you right back to that unit?”. I was so angry and frustrated but I didn’t want to go back inside. Months passed and I found some distance from my experience of being locked up. I was still angry. I still didn’t want to talk to her. Our sessions were lengthy and frequent. I was unsteady and anxious. I tried making a new life. I was young and bored. I lost my way and acted out and each day I had to return to her office and that piercing gaze. I wrote behavior analysis after analysis. Life was about committing to therapy and to change. It was difficult. The midsummer incident in Nyack shifted our relationship. Instead of fighting the system and being enraged about a psych stay I was suddenly in free fall emotionally. A man had assaulted me. I was vulnerable and fearful. Nights were endless. Days were anchored by my visits to Virgil. She kept me grounded in a world gone totally wrong. She stood by me through the pre trial and trial as the defense honed in on my weakness as a witness. The psych history, the medications, all of it making me less somehow. We got passed the whole disaster and settled into a slightly less prickly give and take. It was still hard. I didn’t want to give up my demons. I was terrified to even let her close. I wasn’t sure I could trust her even though she has stood behind me. It was two steps forward and three steps back. The work was painfully slow. It was an exercise in futility some days. The double sessions were epic. I wasn’t able to hold her off though. Eventually I started talking. I allowed her in, millimeters at a time. and so it went for a number of years. She saw me take my first steps back toward a life worth living. Supporting me one hundred percent when I wondered if I should return to school. I wasn’t convinced I could do it. I had such little faith in myself. She had all the faith in me. I went back. I proved to myself I wasn’t stupid. I showed that I could endure stress and not wilt. I could excel. She shared my excitement at each new partner. I didn;t think I’d ever have anyone again. Didn’t think myself interesting or loveable. after some brief fun encounters I found myself together with my partner. I knew she was different. I fell in love. truly in love. In those next few years I moved away from Virgil, though I always returned. When times were good it was just every few months. I thought all was good. I didn’t think my life would come undone. I had found love. I had a home. I had a job. It was able to build this life because of her. She had steadfastly stood behind me as I worried and fretted. As I raged and I fumed. It didn’t matter. She stayed. As the time neared for the move up to the farm I felt life shift. deeply and completely. It was different. I can still remember leaving her a message. I stood on the deck looking at the barn and listening to her speaking. I felt like a drowning person seeing a life raft. It was that monumental to me in that moment. I needed her more than I ever had and she was still there. It had been many months. That conversation started the next stage of our relationship. It was a rocky descent. The depressions of the next few years were brutal and unrelenting. The medications were numerous. The visits many. I remember her voice and the care she took in telling me I really needed to go back in the hospital. I never wanted to go back in. I told myself I’d rather die. But I heard her. Our years together had taught me she would never harm me. she was there for me, and would keep me safe when I could not. I returned to the hospital. more than a few times. It was a terrible couple of years. She helped me find Beatrice as the commute back and forth to her office was too much combined with the farm work. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made. and I wavered back and forth. I tried to be present in my sessions up here, but often I thought of her. I couldn’t settle. The work suffered. I kept sinking. I could continue recounting those dark days but I prefer to focus on the eventual transition to where we find ourselves today. It took a very long time but I have started to figure out I can do good work with Beatrice and that Virgil is the constant in the backdrop. She is always there. The daily email check in that helps me keep on trudging when I feel like it is all shit. Just a couple words is all I need. It completes my day. Sadly I don’t speak to anyone in my family that often, nor do I even want to. As I sat in her office this past week lost in the frustration and pain of this latest bout of depression I wasn’t even really present when she mentioned 19 years. It was as if she reached over and touched my heart. I couldn’t help but smile as my mind cast back over our journey. Remarkable in a world of disposable relationships and instant gratification. Nothing lasts anymore or least so it seems. WE have lasted. We defied the odds. A family bent on tearing us apart. A horribly close brush with death, a move to a distant farm. A new therapist. Questioning doctors that wondered if we should not move on from one another. that I was too dependent upon her to fully grow up. Well I think we have beaten those odds and to those naysayers and the family that hate her, I have grown. I have evolved as a human and shed my adolescent rage. I have found my way because she walked not far away assuring me, sometimes without even speaking to continue my journey. She let me go to continue my work with Beatrice. Always supportive of us. I imagine it hard for her, especially after being the only one for so many years. I do not think I could have found a better pair to help me continue on. Despite these rough days and long sad nights I know she is there. Always. I shudder to think where I might be today without her. I will not even go there. I believe everything happens for a reason. There was a reason our paths crossed when they did. I am who I am today because of her committment and patience. How many can say they have a constant like that in their lives? Sadly, I am sure it is far too few. When I look out at my life, even the worst of it these days, I still see how I have changed and how I have succeeded. I was just a fucked up pissed off kid that the drs had written off. I was the one they said wouldn’t get better. Never. EVER has she made be feel like that. Often I find myself frustrated because she just won’t go there. she won’t give up, concede defeat to this chemical warfare going on in my skull. no, she won’t. I’m not sick. Not mentally ill. Not defective or hopeless. No, to her I have always just been Beth. there are no labels, no judgements. Never. I have labelled myself enough for all of us and she is not willing to beat that drum for me. We have had our disagreements, and our wars. Thankfully over the years they have waned. I see no reason to fight her as I know all too well she is often right when it comes to me. In my most lost of moments I still find myself able to hear her. that is forged of years together. It doesn’t come easily to me. She knows that and I know it. Here we are 19 years later. Holy shit. That is a really fucking long time!! jesus, that is half of my years living and breathing on this planet. HALF. I am so fucking grateful and blessed. Words just don’t even apply here. Thank you. from my heart, my soul, all of me- the good, the confused, the brilliant, the anxious, the sad, the tortured, the willful and the stubborn. thank you. for I owe so much to you. I would never have returned to school, moved away, found my love had it not been for your steady reassurance that I could do and be whatever I wished. It only took trust and hard work. I was not destined to die or to suffer. I was not useless and stupid. No, I was an unwritten book with the chapters waiting to be written. I rise above a life of abuse and awful circumstance. I could shed the past and rise beyond what handicaps I was labelled with. I could be anything. In your eyes I saw mirrored for me the infinite possibilities. Always. To fly. To grow. To live unhindered by the suffering I felt sure I would carry forever. You are responsible for instilling in me the belief I needed to move on and grow. You alone. And grow I have. I could never have dreamed where I would be today when we met that first time. It is amazing. truly amazing. So, here’s to many more years together and to the hope that one day I can see in me all that you do. That I will one eventually come to see the endless possibilities and the untapped strengths I have yet to find. As you said It won’t all be okay. Life is not like that. There will be more pain and challenges. Life will continue to hurl curve balls. We cannot change that. But I know one thing I have learned after all these years, no matter what life throws at me, I have you in my corner. Always.

rock the boat Beatrice.

I know she’s frustrated. How many years can a person sit idle and listen to the same crap. over and over. an endless tide of pain and suffering that could be alleviated if only a decision was made and a direction decided upon. I understood completely. I was not bothered by her blunt dialog. I heard her words. I listened. The emotions came in a steady ebb and flow. Most of all the sadness at the realization this situation is probably fixable and has been for a long time. Yet rather than shift I remain stuck and paralyzed by my own fear. The fear of losing my partner, this farm, and letting everyone down. The worry of what will happen to all these animals. The terror that if I give this up I’ll never again have a chance at something like this. So in my fear I stand still. I let go of control and fall into the pattern of suffering silently day in and day out. I allow myself to suffer. In her words it is masochistic. it is. I chose this and in choosing it I give myself an open invite to wander the darkest corridors in my head. Is this my grand plan>? to slowly work my way into a corner I can’t get out of? to suffer enough to finally be brave enough to end it? why else would one chose to suffer? I don’t understand my choice. I know it is partially from giving the power to my partner. To worry she won’t leave this place. The fear that she will leave, abandoning me. But the reasoning is flawed. If I am only laying the foundation to end life why would any of that matter? Why would she abandoning me matter? I am the one poised to do the leaving. It has no logic at all. Maybe that is what is fundamentally flawed. I can’t think straight clearly. I chose suffering over resolution. why? Do I believe I deserve the punishment, so to speak? Do I feel so worthless at the core that it is acceptable to relinquish control and absorb the stress and uncertainty? I sat lost in my head and surrounded by stifling painful emotions yet I remained present. I didn’t flee. It didn’t matter because I had studied all we were talking about from every angle. I had been down this path in my mind. It was not new. I was a surprised that she pushed that hard and in walking away I wondered if I could put myself back together again. I found my way to the truck and let go of all the pain and worry swallowing me. It was many minutes later when I finally felt back in control enough to drive home, though in reality I’m not really sure how I got back here. I knew I had to say something to my partner since I think I prob looked like someone had died. It was a catalyst for a discussion that was many years overdue. Despite her instant defensiveness and a rough start we did have a solid discussion. Not that I know if it will get us anywhere. I do know that I said my peace. I made clear I can no longer live like this. Nothing may change, or everything will. I won’t know right away. I do know that we are in a different place than where we started the day. I guess the credit goes to Beatrice for rocking the boat hard enough to shake me out of my pain wracked stupor. It was a brave move that could have had a very different outcome. She must trust I am strong enough right now to take that push. I didn’t think I was. Guess I need to have a little more faith and stop thinking like a quitter. I’m to exhausted and sick to think about this anymore. My mind feels tired and wrung out. It has been a very long time since I have felt this degree of emotional and physical weariness. Not sure what to call it though it should have some name. for lack of another I’d say I’m well done at this point. Time to regroup, rest and climb back on the horse. but first, a long nap is much needed.