Category Archives: Everything Else

Waiting It Out


Could I let my baby cry? Could I firmly remind her that “it is time for bed” and walk away, in tears to the sound of her tears? Yes. I could. I am “strong enough”, if that’s what you believe it takes.

Last night my 10.5 month old had a rough night. We had a rough night together. There was very little sleep for either of us. At a little after 5 this morning we got out of bed grumpily and with little interaction. An hour passed. I dressed her in warmer clothes. Changed her diaper. Gave her a snack. Found some solutions for her aching teeth. We went back to bed. Grumpily and with little interaction.

We lay in bed together, tummy pressed to tummy, as I nursed her. It took a long time for her to settle in to sleep. She lay still, and close, and our breaths found rhythm together and our heart rates slowed. I studied her face and saw her fatigue and my grumpiness melted. I stroked her hair and her eyes drifted closed.

Once asleep she turned from me and laid on her back. I turned from her and laid on mine. In her sleep she reached out a tiny hand and wrapped it around mine. And my heart melted and I slept. My larger hand held in the tiny one of my sleeping babe.

Could I let my baby cry? Am I dutiful enough to do the hard thing if it is the best thing? Yes. Am I grateful that crying it out and controlled crying are Not The Best Thing? You bet! Moments like these is why I have, do, and will continue to wait it out. 

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Someday Will Come


Watching my baby girl sleep and suddenly I am struck with the thought that I don’t want her to know how much ugly there is in the world, how much cruelty and violence, how shallow and hateful it can be. It pains my heart to think that, after she conquers crawling and walking and close-mouthed kisses and sleep, there will be a darker world of things to learn. Some of it is important and necessary (there are bad people in the world), but some of it is so unnecessary! It saddens me to think that someday she will look at herself in the mirror and hate what she sees, someday she will feel less than she is and far from anything safe and secure. Someday our world will try to label her and box her in and she will have the choice of giving in or fighting back. Someday her eyes will be opened to a world where you have to fight culture and status quo in order to live free.

And just when I think I will become overcome with sadness at the thought of such pristine innocence tarnished, a friend reminds me that there will also be much joy to be felt and good to discover, there will be sights and sounds that will astonish and delight. There awaits her in this world such remarkable beauty to be found.

And so I breathe again, a little bit easier, reminded that if I were to spare her every pain I would be robbing her some of the fullness of her joy. I remember that one must understand darkness to truly appreciate the light; a smile seems brighter after tears.

Someday she will flush with the satisfaction of a goal obtained, an obstacle conquered. Someday she will know the love of a partner, someday she may know the bliss of a child.

There are many somedays. There is only one today. And so, as she sleeps, unaware of the battle in my heart and head, I snuggle her close. I breathe in her soft baby smell and focus my thoughts upon my own moment of joy, my own little bliss.

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Truth Is


I hesitate to put thought to paper
everything seems more real that way
and words feel so permanent
as if I’m committing to an emotion
I didn’t give my consent to feel.

Truth is, nothing feels right anymore
and I wonder how I ever knew
with such assurance
what right really was to begin with.

I once was found but now am lost
had sight but now can’t see.

I found this amongst some old writings of mine, it was written sometime in May 2011. Cyclical living, perhaps.

Diagnosis


I’m staring at a blank screen and thinking, I’m supposed to be sharing how I feel. And then I realize, I don’t have any idea how I feel. I don’t know anything about myself. I suddenly have no idea who I am, which parts of me are real, or what will remain of me. It’s sort of an astonishing feeling. I have known myself better than anything these last years, I have become excruciatingly self-aware. It’s become my art.

I have been sick.

I think to myself, I have always had these moments, a few oddities here and there. I’ve always been idiosyncratic, it’s part of my charm. So I can be a little moody, a little difficult; life can feel just so hard at times. Grin and bear it, everyone’s having a rough time of it.

I have no idea what to believe anymore. I keep trying to wrap my head around a concept of ‘normal’ that I no longer understand. If this is not really me than who am I? Who am I about to become? Will I like her more or less than I like me now? Will I feel normal? Who’s idea of normal?

I made myself an appointment with a therapist a few weeks ago. I was so tired all of the time and no one could figure out what was wrong with me. I felt guilty about being so tired all of the time, and it was making me sad. I thought talking with someone would help me soothe all those silly fears that I was going crazy.

I started to feel better just a few days before my appointment on Friday. My optimism seemed to be returning, and most of my energy. A little tired in the late afternoon but coffee helped. I was relieved,  time always does the trick, and a bit chagrined, I shouldn’t have made that silly appointment with the therapist.

I decided to keep the appointment anyway. Things had seemed pretty intense during the last couple of months and I’d been pretty scared a couple of times. I’d started to wonder if I had ADHD or some sort of developing OCD. I’ve been so all over the place lately that I’d started to actually worry if that diagnosis 6 or 7 years ago was more accurate than I’d given it credit for. So, I went.

Diagnosis: bipolar. Again. Shit.

And so here I sit, questioning everything. Everything. How many of my past mistakes can be traced back to this diagnosis? How many of my strange fears and anxieties could suddenly make more sense if this is true? How many of those long days of heaviness and nights of insomnia might I be spared in the future?

But what if she’s wrong? What if they both were? I don’t want to claim something that’s not true, to believe something is sick if it’s not. I think, I won’t keep any of the appointments I set up and I’ll pretend, again, that this didn’t happen and work a little harder to keep it all together. I don’t want to try only to lose hope.

My therapist said that medication will help me to not be sick, to help me feel more normal. I guess that means I’ll recognize whatever it is as normal when I get there. I just wonder which one of my ideas of normal it will be.

Do I really want to take medicine? Is that really necessary?

I argue myself back into disbelief and insist I’m going to stay there. There’s just too much unknown, too much risk to even begin to think about mental health. Things have been fine, things are going to be fine, everything is just fine.

But I can’t help but wonder, to be just the smallest bit curious…what if? What if it is possible that I could do more than just ‘get by’? What if I stopped dreading how many years are ahead of me and began to embrace the life of my future? What if the medication did help instead of hurt? What if the side effects are bearable, or even temporary, and turn out to be worth it?

What if I accept that I don’t want to live like this anymore?

There’s always hope.

Oh My God


The other night I sat down to write about some of the difficulties I’m having lately. I started with the question, “Where is God in all this?” I looked up from the computer, pondering this question, when suddenly it seemed that He was sitting at the other end of the table, waiting on my answer with bemused concern. The song “Oh My God” by Jars of Clay came on (if you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend it), and I began to write to Him instead of about Him. This is that.

I love you though I don’t know how to say it, I don’t know how to imagine it. I can’t love you the way I do people (sometimes I wonder if I can even do that), I love them through knowing them and I know them through my senses. I know how they look and sound and feel and smell and even taste, I know them because they are like me.

You, though, live in some foggy blend of my mind and my imagination.  I have ideas of you and beliefs of you, some of which I can trace to somewhere and some of which I plain made up.  I know the feeling that I relate to you, the way I think  you make me feel.  But do I really know that’s you?  What makes me think I can trust my mind?

When there’s more questions than answers, I try to stop wondering.  I know that I love you and I know that I need you and, sometimes, I know that I need those things more than I need answers.  I take a deep breath and relax in that, and remember that’s called faith.

Isn’t it?  Or is faith never doubting in the first place?  Do the faithful know more than I do?  The questions start again.  They’re troublesome.  There are so many memories of so many people in my head, saying so many different things.  Who’s to know what’s real anymore?

Deep breath.  I remember that you are real. 

I remember peace and calm.  I remember health and hope.  I remember that you are always around, no matter how many times I ignore you.   I prayed for bad things to go away, and they did.  I prayed for good, and it was there. I remember knowing without a doubt that when no one else was listening, you still were.

I remembered, again tonight, that when no one else understands, you do.  I remembered that when no one else has the answers, least of all me, you know.

I’m trying to remember how to ask you.  All I can think of is what I’m doing wrong.  How do I start?

“Oh my God.”

One More Breath


I want a drink. It is consuming every part of me, though today is better than yesterday. I don’t just want to taste a good beer or sip a warm wine. I want to get drunk. I want to get drunk and then I want to have a laughing, sprawling, too-loud-for-that-time-of-night party.

This would seem to be evidence that not everything is okay, I am not well. What I can’t seem to keep straight though is which came first, wanting to have a drink or being not well. I think I was not well before I wanted to have a drink. I think I feel like having a drink would help me to feel well, to feel myself, again. I think I’m honest enough to know it would take more than just one drink.

Here’s the thing. How exactly does one go about finding out who they are? And once they know who they are, or admit to it, how exactly do they go about being who it is they are? Seriously.

Yesterday morning I woke up and wanted to drink. By the time my sister showed up for leftovers lunch, it was taking every bit of will to not pour a quick shot of the whiskey in the freezer from the day before. “No one will know. You’ll feel so much better,” I told myself. The commercials on tv alternated between Crown Royal and Corona. I know very tangibly the moment that self-will fails, the feeling that tears at your chest. It started just before she arrived, pulling apart down the center, leaving me breathless, panicked. I didn’t have a drink.

It’s embarrassing to share just how hard it is for me to not drink. For dinner my boyfriend and I went to our favorite local gathering spot. I could feel the anxiety beginning in the back of my throat as we made our way through the crowd, me drinking Kombucha out of a wine glass. I pulled the kava out of my pocket, and sat at the bar to eat my salad. I didn’t have a drink.

I didn’t stop for coffee on the way home from his house today. I didn’t want to face a bunch of people I know. If there had been something to drink at my house when I arrived here, I would have drank it. I don’t keep alcohol in my house.

The entire time I’ve been wondering if I know who I am, questioning myself on every level, wondering if other people know who I am, doubting myself, doubting my relationships, remembering the past, wondering about the future, coming to decisions, forgetting them, fidgeting and anxious, always anxious.

I’m drinking iced tea.

This morning I sat writing a grocery list for this afternoon’s trip to town. I wondered if I was just playing the role, or if it’s healthy to push through daily tasks when all I really want to do is sleep. Maybe my boyfriend is right, maybe I just need to be busy. Am I supposed to give in to what my body keeps demanding, to allow myself this mood and sit and rest, or is better to continue to go through the motions, believing the mood will eventually pass.

I am exhausted.

But I got the grocery list made, and the house cleaned up, and an afternoon of errands ahead of me; because I don’t know what else to do. And the next time I want to curl up in an expressionless ball, I’ll probably just keep smiling and nodding through my day and wait for it to pass.

I haven’t had a drink in three months.

Games For One


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Driving without headlights
white knuckled steering wheel
Self-Destruct in the window
Am I coming or going?

Flying without wings
because falling infers accident
Going Crazy is the soundtrack
Am I singing or listening?

Ring around the rosy
is now a game for one
we’re turning and circling
till I all fall dead.

I am who I am who you want me to be who I am.