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elemayerQuote: “Sometimes I’m the mess. Sometimes I am the broom. On the hardest days, I have to be both.” Ruby Francisco

I am a mess. And there are layers inside of me that are a mess. While being bipolar ensures that my daily life is chaotic and oftentimes disappointing; the mess I feel is somewhat wider, more full. It’s hard for me when I have to admit that I am a mess; especially when I find that I am using it as an excuse for the laziness and oftentimes sheer exhaustion that is so prevalent I can actually feel it in my veins. And these days that exhaustion is thicker than wine I don’t drink and brighter than my daughter’s night light.

As with anything in mental illness there are layers. There are messes that are directly related to the chemicals in my brain. There are messes that are directly related to the frustration or confusion that is coursing throughout my veins. There are messes that are only to be blamed on the outside forces that cause me to want to hide. There are messes that are related to unknown causes but that seep into my daily life and prevent me from simply moving from one moment to the next. Some are the diseases, some are the life that I live.

Inside of me is layers upon layers of sickness. There is the subtle but effective sickness that my brain was given at birth; and that mess can only be somewhat controlled by the many medicines I take. However, I have to admit that the mess in my brain while strange and oftentimes scary to those who love me, don’t really bother me. It’s like taking a new approach to a healthy lifestyle; at first, it’s hard but eventually it becomes the routine that you are used to. The world around you worries, your children are wary, but living in my own brain doesn’t often make me feel like I am lost. I know my brain and I know what it is capable of. So the mess of this bipolar disease is simply a familiar friend that must be understood in order to find a way to truly live.

Outside my brain I have been sick for over a month. This “sickness” has had antibiotics thrown at it, pro-biotics at it, plenty of fluids, antihistamines, and of course, the frequent consummation of pretzel sticks which seem to be the only thing worth eating right now. Being sick can obviously affect my bipolar but not in the direct way many people think. Being sick for a long time feels defeating. It feels as if I am in a perpetual motion sick ride that has no brakes or ports to rest in. This feelings of being out of control, of always feeling physically ill can lead to problems in my head. It doesn’t affect the chemicals as much as it affects the feelings of being simply off. The physical mess takes time to resolve itself but it can lead to so many other feelings and frustrations that it becomes more of a mess than a simple episode that my brain throws to the wind for the fun of it. It becomes a much more logical link; the physical hurts the mental.

I am a stay at home gal, which means in my mind there are certain things that need to be done. Yes, I need to do the laundry. Yes, I need to clean my floors. Yes, I need to desperately clean those bathrooms. But whether it’s the physical mess or the mental mess caused by the physical mess there isn’t enough gas for me to push the pedal and move in any direction. I know that my family appreciates all that I do and they never complain about the things I don’t do but it bothers me when I am in a strong enough mess that doing the simplest things seem like climbing mountains. Guilt is a part of my makeup. Frustration at my own self, disappointment of my own self is a part of my makeup. For me to not be giving my whole to my family, by not being able to navigate the actual mess in my world, is a chaotic circle that looks a lot like a drain finally going down. Mess makes me feel like I am going round and round and finally down.

I don’t like feeling like a mess. I’m an organized soul. I like feeling like anyone can come into my own space and I don’t have to rush around hiding the evidence of my existence. I like knowing what is in any drawer. I like knowing what is coming in my week. I like being as settled as possible so that when those great drains start to fill I am ready. I like being as settled as possible so that when my brain throws that next curve ball I have the space to catch it. I like the feeling of my stressed out husband coming home, seeing the organization and cleanliness, and taking a deep breath because it is one more thing he doesn’t have to do. But when I am a mess I fear the things that he will have to do in order to find his own peace.

Being a mess is like being sick. It lasts a certain amount of time. It takes up a certain amount of your own consciousness. It sits on your chest waiting for some sign that you can finally put it away and find your groove once more. Being a mess means that there are clouds that hide the truth; the truth written on the faces of those we love, the truth written on the wall in permanent marker. Being a mess means that I take more pills in the hope that I can have a that small break in the clouds that will give me a moment to smile. Being a mess means that I can’t hide what is truly going on for long; I simply don’t have the energy to hide the truth in a clean house, a clean wardrobe, and the laughter of my children.

If it were up to me I would head to my bed and sleep for two weeks. I would close the blinds, fluff the pillows and lay in the darkness just waiting for everything to pass. If it were up to me I wouldn’t leave my home even for the important tasks every mother must see to. If it were up to me, I would literally spin this earth faster so the time when I am pass this misery would be less and less. If it were up to me, whether I walked out of my life or stayed, I would make the best decisions solely for my own benefit. But it really isn’t up to me. Messes stay. Messes grow. Messes, whether in our head, or pressing down on our chests so that we can’t find the energy to move, are not cleaned by a detergent at the local store. It is like a ball of string that must be unraveled slowly and perfectly so that at the end you can finally find your way.

I talk about messes today mostly because I am tired of being tired. I wanted to get it out in the open, away from the depths of my mind, and into the earth so that it can find a way to finally blossom into something manageable and worthy. I wanted to state it out loud not to give a lesson, or to show a way to a lost soul, but simply so that maybe it will stop growing like a rabid animal that can not be controlled. I wanted to write down the word mess a thousand times hoping that my mind will no longer need the reminder of what is true. For isn’t it true that the only way to rid oneself of a cancerous attitude is by shouting to the world that what can’t be seen is as real as what can be felt.