Can you picture someone who can’t leave their home? Can you, for one moment, try and understand the sheer frustration of not being able to stand a block from your own home and talk to a good friend about the stresses of motherhood? Can you see windows, shining bright with the afternoon light, and know in your heart that you won’t feel it on your face? It is debilitating. It is frustrating. It is anger producing. And it is most of all embarrassing.
There was a time, not too long ago, when the pressures of my life would get to me and I could simply walk out my front door, get in my car, and drive until all the anger was gone. There was a time, not too long ago, when I could explore a new bookstore, take my children to a family event, or even sit down in a restaurant and not worry about my own mobility. There was a time when driving to my mom’s house was as simple as a stroll down the street.
My life is one of confinement and anger. Don’t get me wrong, the depression, the anxiety, the mania, the joy, has always been by my side; probably longer than I wish to acknowledge. But these days while the depression still sucks and the mania still scares the crap out of me, it is the anger and the anxiety that has become my closest companions.
The confinement, this inability to walk out my front door for any reason, has slowly stolen so many things from me. Things I didn’t know was important to have. And that is where the anger comes in; this strong, silent anger that is scarier than the mania I used to fear. My anger at my confinement is deadly and I know it.
To leave my home takes multiple drugs, including a couple of anti-anxiety medications. It takes me wearing a diaper because I am scared that I will soil myself. It takes meditation. It takes me sitting in the car for an hour prior to me even leaving the drive way. It takes energy. It takes sadness. It takes out the joy that I know is right there.
Some days, the good ones, my anger allows me to actually get in my car without any prep time, and drive away. But I can’t drive far, even on the good ones. I can’t go to the grocery store without panicking. I can’t go get my children a treat without panicking. When my anger does allow me to go, my anxiety only allows that to be a short trip.
I believe my journey to this point started the day I was called bipolar. The doctors, and there are always so many doctors, prescribed the best medication at the time. And that medication brought with it a thousand side effects; horrible side effects. And those side effects brought even more doctors, with more ideas, and more medications. And that led to a gastrointestinal doctor to decide the best cure for my constant constipation was another medication. But this medication was different; it caused me to have accidents and sometimes just near accidents. This medication made standing in line for a bathroom impossible. This medication meant that travel was not a possibility.
And for the year that I survived all those accidents, and near accidents, and the inability to do the simplest things, I learned. I learned that I couldn’t trust my own body. I learned that my body would and could betray me as easily as my mind. I learned that listening to others led to embarrassing situations. And I learned that every moment should be spent sitting right next to the nearest and empty bathroom. It was a hard lesson that made me rethink everything about the person I was. It was a hard lesson that got harder.
To get into my car, my logical brain has to somehow convince my emotional brain that millions of people go millions of places without once truly worrying about their digestive tract. My logical brain has to convince my emotional brain that the panic I feel, is imaginary. My logical brain has to convince my emotional brain that I haven’t been on that horrible medication in two years. My logical brain has to convince my emotional brain that my body won’t do all the things I am scared it will do.
If you have never had the pleasure of trying to convince your emotional self of something, let me be the first to tell you that it is nearly impossible. I only say nearly because your emotional side is big and sometimes a little chaotic. But try telling your teenage self that you did like the “bad” one in class just a little. Try telling your fresh from college self that you that first job may not necessarily be the best job. Try telling your emotions anything; try telling yourself that you aren’t feeling anything.
It’s nearly, and almost completely, impossible.
The media states that in order to find a way to leave my house I am just going have to dive in to that deep pool and hope I can swim. These means that to convince my emotional self that I am ok, I have to put myself through hell. I have to have the anxiety attacks without letting them get the best of me. I have to quiet my mind to all the thoughts that are moving through it as fast as I don’t even know how to describe. And it’s not a matter of doing it once; I have to do this over and over and over until something inside me finally snaps and sees the logical brain once again.
I understand the wheres, the whys, the whos, the whens, and those whats; but I don’t understand how I can make myself take a step out of the front of the door. I could give you a lecture on numerous topics involving many interesting and diverse subjects, but I don’t know how to teach my brain that it is wrong. I understand how this works but I don’t know how to fix what isn’t working in me.
And so I sit. In my kitchen. Writing about a confinement and an anger. There is nothing else I know how to do. There is no bright light for this one. There is blinding hate.