No Complaints

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hardshipI try hard to not to complain. I try even harder to try to always remember the incredible things in my life. But let’s be honest. It is hard.  When the chips are down, when the bottom has fallen out from underneath you, when the doors seem to all be closing, it is really hard to remember that there is something worthwhile in your life.

The last two years, and I looked it is about the two year anniversary, life has tested me in ways that I don’t think it is possible to prepare oneself for. I recognize that some of the things, or events if you prefer, are simply fate or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and some were completely within my control. It was a combination of lethal disappointment and in some ways hardship that I wonder if we will ever recover. Will those I love ever be the same?

I could lie and tell you that I have grown stronger or that these last two years have made me a better person. I could say that through the last two years I have become a better wife or mom, or even writer – but this too would probably be a lie.

I could blame my disease, my husband, my move, my own laziness – and all of it would be components. I could tell you all about bipolar when mixed with stress, disappointment and anger and weave a story that would at once make you feel sympathy and on the other make you feel like you have taken a journey only those of desperation could ever find.

I recently started going to church. But lately I wondered if I haven’t been going to sit in a church for pure ego. I am not much for secular religion and many times whatever the Pastor says angers me rather than lifts me where I want to be. But I realized that the reason I keep going is not in the hope of a God but in the vain attempt to be noticed by God. I find this sad; this need to be seen by any religious figure simply because I don’t know how much more I can take.

My life these last two years has had so much of the negative that there are times that I can’t remember those shining pieces that are such a part of my soul. I simply can’t see despite the laughter, or feel despite the love, or even understand despite the knowledge. It is like that elusive sleep when all you want to do is escape for a moment of time.

Like I said, I recognize that some of it is my fault. I certainly didn’t have to keep my children in really, really expensive childcare in the hopes that not only their social skills will be better but their brains would be constantly fed.  I didn’t have to give my children great Christmas’, instead budgeting tightly. There was no demand that I continue my prescriptions or my doctor visits. There was no one determining that work, my job, could not be.

But there were things so out of my control. My husband, his ups and downs, trials and tribulations which I feel so keenly. The debt that was piled for legitimate reasons but can’t seem to be managed.  The time my child went to the emergency room because of a call I made to make sure that he was okay. The job I wasn’t hired for, the sports my child had to play, the uniforms, the shoes, the new clothes my children constantly need because of their age.  These and a thousand other things are completely out of my control.

I recognize all these pieces. And I recognize all that I have, at least in my sane moments.

I have these children, these incredible beings that give to me more than I could ever give to them. I have a car, my husband has a job, and we are living virtually free under my mother’s roof. My family is, for the most part, happy and healthy. And I have the opportunity to try and be better than I ever knew I could be.

There are days that these gifts are so hidden I simply can’t see them. There are days when it literally feels that this world, a God, fate, or even my marriage is the cause of so much misery in my life. There are days when I simply walk out and get in my car with the wonder if this time will be the time that I drive away. Sometimes I think that I can walk away and literally give it all up. But the only way I would do that is in death, I wouldn’t leave my children behind. And those are the hard days, when I realize the release in death.

I try and not complain. But sometimes it is easier to whine about the truth of my life than to remember that I must continue working with it. Sometimes there isn’t any reason to get up in the morning and I know that I have to anyways. And there are times I recognize that I don’t have enough gas in my car to get anywhere.

I don’t try to be the Jones. I have no interest in being someone else. I just occasionally wish God would bend down and at least let me know I am doing it right. I just need fate or a random person on the street at this point to let me know that the path I am walking, the uphill climb to finding not peace but fulfillment is the correct one. Or if they wish, maybe they could tell me to give it all up and face the disappointing reality that the disease I live in has been right all along; I simply need to walk away.

And Then He Threw Me This!

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bedWarning: This post contains some explicit material. If you don’t want to know, please read something else. However, as it is part of my journey, I need to tell it.

God threw me another curve ball. Normally, at least at this point in my life, I am used to it. Having a disease like bipolar which by definition goes all sorts of directions means that I learned early on how to be elastic. And while I imagine there are those of you reading this post who think that might be cool, I would give anything to find a normalcy and stick to it.

My medicines have been changed recently. This means going though a period of a great high, then falling down that rabbit hole to see what life on the other side is like, followed by a period of depression that disturbed all those around me, to now this.

And this consists of not sleeping and having a sex drive for the first time in my life. I know that you want to get into the sex drive part, but first I think I need to talk about the no sleeping.

We all have periods when sleeping seems to, for whatever reason, be a little out of reach. Maybe we doze through the night, maybe we have periods of deep sleep punctured by periods of staring at the ceiling listening to others breathe. Maybe you took to long of a nap in the afternoon or maybe you slept in to long that morning. Maybe the temperature in your house was too warm or too cold and you are simply too uncomfortable to sleep. There could be a thousand reasons.

For those of us who live on medications not sleeping is a problem. For those of us who are mentally ill, not sleeping can lead to the bad stuff, the really bad stuff. For those of us who live on sleeping pills designed specifically to help us sleep and work against our disease, not sleeping can be terrifying.

I am not at the point of being terrified although if this continues I will be. Instead I simply shake that bottle of prescription pills and wonder why in the world it isn’t working like it should. And the dangerous thoughts about taking more than one start invading or taking an over the counter with that prescription begins. And these are the thoughts that combined with depression can kill. Its that easy.

Currently I am not sleeping and I have no reason why. I alternately stare at the ceiling, spend time in the bathroom, and then eat junk food throughout the night. I listen to my children breathe, I listen to my husband snore and simply wait. This is the time that the daydreams began to take over; dreams about the next book I will write, the research I need to do for that book, or even what I will do with a million dollars. And these thoughts in and of themselves will keep me awake.

I get out of bed to people in my life telling me I look hungover or exhausted. I get up to people pointing out the bags and dark circles under my eyes, and the continual loss of temper I display to my children. All things that I know but am helpless to do anything about.  I can’t take a nap and I can’t go to bed and sleep at night. And as this builds, if it builds, the danger will build along with it.

On top of being awake all night, I am also experiencing sexual desire for the first time in my life. Because I have been on medication from my teen years to today, I have never known grand passion or exceptional sexual release; I would even say I was one of those who could never figure out what the fuss was all about. Sex has always seemed like a pointless endeavor that is overall pretty boring. I could get close to a climax by myself with marijuana but even that I have learned was an illusion. It is no where near as strong as this complex and heavy compulsion to find a satisfaction that seems to be just out of my reach.

I hurt in regions of my body I never knew existed. I find excitement in the smells, the touches, and the feelings that for my adult life have only been something I read about in a book. For the first time in my life I know what desire is, what happens when a woman gets aroused, and what it is like to fly deep into the face of a incredible, if short lived, climax.

These feelings are uncontrollable, and unfortunately for me so unrelenting as to be painful. There is no release high enough, nothing that can get deep enough that gives surcease, and nothing and no one that can finally, finally give my body what it seems to be begging for. And no matter how many times I chase that happy ending, the next path is already laid for me.

I don’t know if the fact that I am feeling sexual desire for the first time is the cause of it being so strong. I have spent the last twenty years of my life wishing, praying, and chasing that understanding so that I too could feel complete and finally lay sweaty, out of breath, and satisfied. And now that I have the first feeling of desire, I can’t find the one component that I think is the most important – I simply can’t find satisfaction, even in the fourth climax today.

And like not sleeping, the pain of not being able to find satisfaction is a catch twenty-two. If I find pills, medications, the normal things my doctors prescribe to fix any problem that I have, will it actually cure the problem? And by whose definition of the problem are we trying to fix. Because I want to know this feeling, and I want to search and finally find that thing that gives me the understanding of the poets, the writers, the singers, and the damn beautiful, spectacular moments of nature that I have never been able to fully appreciate.

Part of me wants to stay up all night and try all the adult toys and adult scenarios that I have been reading about for so long. I want to try each position and each handy little device just to finally be able to feel what even my husband takes for granted. I don’t want missionary, face to face sex that starts with one or two kisses and quickly ends in nothing. I want to get sweaty. I want to find out what those authors know. I want to find out what makes people smile with a blush, and secretly stare at one each other from across the room. (By the way, I am not interested in feeling what I imagine porn stars might feel.)

Because if you think sex isn’t intricate to the game of any love relationship, I suggest you spend the next twenty years without any desire to have sex. And I mean none. No beating heart, no erections or wetness, no need for touch and no need for anything but a fast completion so that you can do something else. Feel that for one year, feel that for one day and you will know what it is like. Before this happened I couldn’t even look at a magazine article containing the most desired man on earth and feel anything but a general happiness for the man.

Sex is not only instrumental, it gives a sense of importance to the person enjoying it that you won’t find anywhere else. It gives a person confidence and it can give a person a feeling of self-esteem that isn’t easily replicated. The feeling that you are desirable can not be talked about; it has to be felt. And it has to be felt by both sides of the equation.

Sex is a part of a relationship, sex is a relationship. And I have had no relationship with my body for twenty years, it was just a fat thing that walked around in shoes with holes in it. My body has never worked like everyone else’s. I never felt a man’s happiness in getting to have sex with me for any other reason than they will simply get off; I have known the high of not only bringing someone else to a powerful completion but myself as well. There have never been games or trying new. It has been routine because I have never needed anything else.

But now that I have this new feeling, this new drive, I want so much more. Will it be easy to walk into an adult sex shop and finally shop for a desert to try…probably not. Will it be easy to experience all that my body craves…probably not. Will it be easy to get my husband away from hurt feelings that are twined with sex and need, now so new to me…nope. Will this feeling go away…probably.

But for now, I will continue this somewhat vain quest to not only sleep in my bed but to finally have satisfaction in that bed.

Barely Holding On

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sadLife is getting dark again. The pain of depression, the knowledge that my mind and my own self can bring me to my knees is hard. It makes it hard to get out of bed, it makes it hard to feel the purpose of this life; yet it won’t bring tears as that is too easy of a solution and too honest of a response.

I wish that I could no without a doubt that I will get back up again. I wish I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I could show them what I am really made of. I have felt this darkness before and I will go much further on this journey before it is over. But I want to believe that I am right here despite the map no longer accurately showing me the way. But despite the knowledge that I have been here, I can’t guarantee anyone that they haven’t seen the last of me.

When we talk of darkness that is this full, this all-encompassing, when the light is so far away from my own heart, it is hard to remember that I will again find my way through. There isn’t any promises that I won’t find myself looking at the blood flowing through my veins or I won’t find myself in a position that promises oblivion with a side of flying. I can’t believe for even a moment that cutting my self to find the pain isn’t the solution. I can’t cry, but I must find a way to let go.

Because if I don’t let go of the darkness, if my mind and my soul can’t find its way, than the easy becomes the answer. The easy means laying down my head with the knowledge that there is no one to save me. The easy means finding for myself the answers to questions no one wants to ask. The easy means letting it all go for the feeling of true peace.

I know that this darkness is a disease but it feels so real as to be normal. I can’t bring myself to find a reason to crawl out of the hole this is.  Despite the fact I know that it, like most things in my life, is honest defeat; I can’t find my way to push harder. I can’t give myself any hope – when I have been let down so many times before.

Being bipolar means you recognize that defeat is your standard operating procedure. Having a disease of the mind means that you know without a shadow of a doubt that the worse is more prevalent than the better. There isn’t a day that goes by that the purpose of the disease stays just out of your reach. So you suffer. So you expect. So you understand that the darkness while not your fault, is yours to bear.

There are no poets writing songs of hope and love that will move you to another world. There are no artists that can paint for you the destruction that is gained by the loss of hope. And there are no instruments that will ultimately give you the strength to fly to the safety of someone’s arms.

Being bipolar means you recognize defeat, but it also means that your brain gives you the knowledge not only of the darkness you have but the light that you will never have. Most people don’t have the knowledge of the ying and yang, the opposite plains of existence that can’t be seen at the same time; weight is usually only felt by one side. But those with mental disease know intimately both sides of the equation – the light and the darkness, the light and the heavy. It comes as a part of the disease; a part that it difficult to live with.

I would rather know only the sunshine or only the darkness. Because by knowing the very different we are constantly bombarded with the truth of the other. In our highs we know what comes afterwards. In our lows, it is impossible to remember that there is a way to the other side that is held up in our mind as if it is the garden of all dreams.

I know where I am today, I can feel it and I can see it. I talk myself out of chaining myself to this depression each and every second of this day. I talk myself out of walking away from the truth because I know to find that new truth, the old one must follow me. I know that I can’t escape the need to be alone, to crawl into my own soul; but I live with the knowledge that I can.

I wish I could use whatever would get me through the night. I wish that I could find for myself that single point between the two planes that will allow me to live like those around me find so easy to do. I wish that I could find that medium that will give me a moments respite from the devil and the angel. I wish I could find the middle that has no goals to win but no ends to lose.

Today will be another day of rain. It will flood into my soul and reminded that each breath is my choice. It will remind me that no matter how much I wish to not feel the darkness nor the light; I don’t have a choice. The rain will bathe my soul and keep the darkness from rising to the surface and allowing me to finally be weightless enough to fly.

Tequila, Lime And A Dash of Salt

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shotsI am a cheap drunk. I don’t mind this necessarily because it means my long nights tend to be much quicker than others. One of my favorite drinks to have is shots of tequila, wedges of fresh limes (and the thick ones) and a dash of salt. I have other drinks that I can tolerate, but there is just something about that quick burn of tequila that does it for me. I rarely drink the top shelf, instead just sticking with the normal Cuervo. And while I most often drink in groups, I would much rather drink alone.

There is something in my mind that is romantic about sitting at a wooden bar, on an old stool, taking my shots of tequila and passing the time people watching. There is something refreshing about being out and about, but at the same time all alone. There is something tempting, almost needful, about the old adage of drinking our troubles away.

I have lately wanted to go to my local bar and do this. Of course it means that I have to find a bar not loaded down with televisions blaring and the depression of people not looking for a drink but rather food. I have to find a bar that is small enough that I am not bothered but large enough that I am safe. And then of course, I have to figure out how to get home.

Most of the ideas I have, like this one, are pipe dreams. I won’t do it. I won’t find this bar – instead I write about it. I won’t taste that bite of tequila – instead I will write about it. I will put myself on that stool using the weight of my characters demons – and I will write about it. Being about to write is both a wonderful thing and sometimes a rather lonely bit of moment. You can write about life all that you want, all that you need, but it doesn’t mean that you can actually have it.

I have a lot of pipe dreams. And I have a lot of dreams that are as real to me as the words on this piece of a web page. Last night I had a dream that took me a long time to understand. You see I believe, desperately sometimes, that my dreams are trying to speak to me. Of course as they are solely my own thoughts I can determine who and what they are and what they are trying to say. I can think on them for hours until I get the answer that either makes the most sense to me, or at least makes me feel like I got it right. It truly doesn’t matter what others opinions are, these are all mine.

I spend time writing about my dreams, and at least giving my characters the same thoughts and feelings from the dreams that I feel. This makes the characters more real and gives them a sense of real world definition that we relate to. I try very hard, at least with my main characters, to use my own self and my own journeys to push them through to theirs. And often, if I think how well this works, my world goes a little bendy. How is it that my whole self, including that part of me that dreams, brings my characters the very things that they need to find their own ending?

Last night I walked and visited with groups of people. The people in the dream were in some ways recognizable to me, as some always are, and others were there but weren’t known directly by me. Each of the characters in my dream, at least those that made an impact, are supposed to be there. I didn’t have to know them for this to happen. And in the dream, these people or groups of people ignored me despite the fact I was walking right beside them.

At first I thought it was a simple matter of me feeling neglected in my life. But that wasn’t really it. The people knew I was there, knew that I was standing beside them, they just didn’t need to acknowledge my presence. And it was that realization that led to me wondering if my dream wasn’t simply about the feeling of being taken for granted.

I would wager every single human on earth feels like they are being taken for granted. If you have ever been married than you have felt this feeling. The feeling that life has gotten so routine, so normal, that no one has the need to recognize you at all. Not your contributions, not your feelings, not your hopes. It is as part of marriage as sex and fights about money. We get into routines, and we forget that there is a possibility that the person we love is no longer feeling the same love we have been giving this whole time. We can all try and say thank you for our partner doing something, or we can all sit down and have a nice time with the partner, really listening to their hopes and dreams, but the truth is very shortly after that moment each of us is guilty of going right back to that routine. I love to write about characters who fall in love, and then show that love, that devotion over and over. It makes me feel the possibility.

You can feel taken for granted at work (you do the details, others get the credit), you can feel taken for granted at PTA meetings (no one needs to volunteer, I will do it). You can feel taken for granted with your kids, your friends, your church. It is part of our life; and if you are interested there are about a thousand books and even more articles about what you can do about it. Personally, I can’t ever get around it, so whatever I do, whatever I read, won’t help.

My mother last night made an interesting statement to me. She was concerned and believes that much of my depression lately, much of my mental problems (with this bipolar) is because I am at home alone all the time. I wanted to laugh. I wanted to tell her that based on the life outside my home, I truly have no desire to be in it. It is easier and a whole lot more comfortable for me to simply bury myself in my own mundane and ignore the world around me.

If I look around this world and see the neglect, those that are taken for granted, those that are searching desperately for some sort of meaning in another human being, I become so thankful for my moments of complete solitude, that I get down on my knees and bow my head.

Maybe it is naive of me but I don’t want to place myself in a position where being taken for granted is the norm. And like you I recognize the price that solitude places on me. But what we often do to one another, in the name of love, is sad. I am not talking about the physical violence that leaves bruises and cuts, but rather the emotional damage that leaves scars that no one cares to go find. I get tired of seeing, even in my own marriage, the damage we do to one another and I wonder why we do it.

So maybe that need for that shot isn’t so out there. Maybe I want the oblivion that alcohol gives you.  Maybe it is simply a desire to push back the thoughts and the memories, and remember nothing but the blackness of naivete. Maybe it is a simple desire for one moment to forget about the reality and only taste the burn of that fire, chased by the tart of the lime, and the dash of something more than the lonely dreams I have.

Psyche

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VM - PsycheI found this poem by Virginia Moore published in The Saturday Review, July 1930 in a book.  An excerpt is below.

I believe that poetry means something different to each reader; it is the unique talent of the poem above all other means of expression. In few words and even lesser lines it can convey the exact thing that we are most looking for. For myself, poetry is a way to express myself quickly so that the pain and the tortuous hurt of the soul is released fast enough in the hopes that it doesn’t linger.

In my opinion, this poem is about rising above the deceit of life.  Each of us in our own way deal with the deceit of life. We deal with the disappointments and fears, the pain and the unknown. We do it with strength and with the breaking of all dreams. We do it because there is a moment of sun that reminds us that the soul hurt, the soul deceived will never be whole, but it cannot be truly destroyed – even by ourselves.

We each of us have a soul, a portion of our psyche that cannot be held by hands and therefore, cannot be destroyed by the spirits attempt to end us. We each have a soul that produces inside of us that which we may be able to ignore, but which lives through our hopes, our lonely daydreams, and often through the whispers of voices that haunt us.

A soul can’t be destroyed despite our best efforts. And though it can be deceived, although it can be crushed by the realities of life and those around us, it cannot be fully lost. When the world is dark, lonely and the weight of our own existence bears down on our shoulders until we can’t imagine anything but death, our soul searches for the sun.

We may not want to recognize this truth. We may not be able to recognize this truth. We may only be able to see the visible darkness of our own thoughts. But our soul grows and it calms, and if we just get though a little moment, maybe the next breath will be better than the calling death.

The soul that has believed

And is deceived

thinks nothing for a while.

All thoughts are vile.

And then because the sun

is mute persuasion

And hope in Spring and Fall

Most natural, 

The soul grows calm and mild,

a little child,

Finding the pull of breath

Better than death…

The soul that had believed

And was deceived 

Ends by believing more

than ever before.

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