I am writing this on Tuesday afternoon, even though it won’t be posted until Friday. I have been home almost 24 hours. I walk through my house and still see reminders that the girls had been there just a couple of days ago, and they were once again gone. Without them in my home I feel like less of a mom, I am a mom in name only, I am not there to be their mom and that continues to hurt.
There is a six-pack of beer (minus one) in the fridge. I remember the night I drank it, and the horrible things I did and said to a friend of mine who is no longer even speaking to me. One of my most important friends and I very deliberately destroyed our relationship beyond all repair.
Everywhere I look I see where I had stood and yelled and screamed and insisted I needed the girls with me in order for me to stay alive. I remember the feeling of watching the police and the paramedics storm into my house, and I remember sitting on the couch refusing to speak. I remember seeing them all lined up in my living room and virtually shutting down. The eye of the storm had passed and there was nothing left but debris and shattered relationships in its path.
There are reminders of that night, of the past few months everywhere I look. I went through my Facebook page and deleted a lot of the most offensive things I posted. Reading all that hate and vile and evil, remembering when I posted them I saw nothing wrong with it. In fact I had kept it ‘tame’ in my head.
I can see now that I had hit rock bottom. Without the help from Chris, I would have continued my destructive behavior and wouldn’t be here today. I struggle with some of the same issues I had, but I at least make the choice to not engage and eventually it will get easier. I check in with friends every morning and in the evening, and anytime during the day when I feel a little help.
I have set alarms on my phone and when it goes off, I drop what I am doing and I take my meds. I don’t drink anymore, or take any other medication than what is prescribed. I put my phone down, and walk away from it. A lot. I am praying about things too.
There was one thing that I fixated on, I obsessed over, and it just intensified the mood swing. There are times, especially in the morning, when the urge to send the text or look for a text is there, so that is when I leave my phone in my room and go watch the news while having coffee.
As I sit here and write this on Tuesday afternoon, I am still haunted by my words and actions, and the end result, the people I hurt. I know that I can’t dwell on it, and I can’t change it, so I have to learn from it and let it all go.
I am working on that.
Years ago, while I was going through my divorce, I met a man on Craigslist. Oh, not like that. He wrote an amazing Missed Connection and I replied saying I’m not your missed connection but just from the way you write, I wish like hell I was. From that simple exchange a friendship was born, a friendship that carries on even today even though we are in different parts of the country, and our lives are vastly different.
For weeks after ‘meeting’ we exchanged emails that were very close to therapy for me. He opened my eyes and gave me new perspective and deeper insights. Somewhere in the flurry of emails he said to me “All of this has happened for a reason. Tell your story, and somewhere you’ll help someone whether you know it or not”. Recently he told me “you might not have written this story for yourself as a kid. But you’ve done good.”
I write a lot about my life with bipolar disorder. I lay myself bare, I tell it all, even though it is very possible there will be serious fallout in my real life. I tell my story hoping maybe someone struggling with bipolar disorder will find they are not alone, someone who is not yet diagnosed will see something familiar and seek help, or someone who loves someone with bipolar disorder will get some insight to what we live with.
The irony behind all of this is that none of my family understand my disorder at all. They don’t understand the overwhelming compulsions, they don’t understand drowning in depression, or the overwhelming mania. The wanting to disappear and raging at the world at the same time. The spending money on things you don’t need, and hating yourself when you get home.
They believe that coping exercises, or “happy music” are enough to stop the break down freight train barreling towards me. They believe this is just attention seeking behavior and I am an over the top drama queen. They don’t know about the overwhelming all-consuming pain and emptiness that I live with for months before I finally break. They don’t understand that there comes a time I am so tired of being strong.
Through both breakdowns the past two weekends, I wanted the world to disappear. I was so tired, and so angry, and in so much pain, and just done dealing with it all. I told everyone I talked to fuck off. I told the paramedics, the police, the doctors, my family, my friends, Facebook, everyone I came in contact with. Fuck You! Fuck Off! I was just so damn angry and in so much pain. I had been abandoned and betrayed. My life was only going to get worse long before it ever got better and I was just tired of the endless downward plummet.
I am not sure I have ever admitted to everyone exactly what I swallowed the night at the beginning of my mental break. I haven’t even admitted it to the doctors or my therapist. I’m not entirely sure the exact details are important. I woke up the next morning, I was apparently coherent much longer than I remember that night. I remember the night before there had been two bottles of wine, a few nights later there would be beer, and every night in between there was pills. None to any significant extreme, but every one of them an attempt to get through the next few hours, to shut my head up, to forget the pain, the abandonment, the betrayal.
I can write, I can string some words together and create beautiful sentences, and I can tell a touching moving story. I can not adequately describe what I went through, what I live with, what hell is in my head. I can not convey the battle I wage every day just to go out in public and appear normal. How do you tell someone you live with a constant dialogue in your head, your voice telling you how crazy you are, how any minute now everyone is going to see the flaws, the insanity, and they will leave you. And I am constantly having a full-blown discussion with my own damn voice in my head. Talking to myself on a more serious scale.
My life is never going to be ‘normal’ behind the scenes, no matter how normal I outwardly appear. I have lost the most important people in my life, and the odds are good I’ll never see them again. They have effectively cut me completely out of their lives. Starting with my daughters.