Blogging has been difficult for me this year. Within six months I’ve lost two close friends. Ulla (Blahpolar) died in September 2016, and Johnna (Painkills2 from All Things Chronic) earlier this year. Johnna played a significant part in supporting me through my grief over Ulla’s passing.
Johnna and Ulla were active and involved blogger.s Their avatars were everywhere. Their part in my life has made me a better person. And now they’re gone. And as life evolves and changes, it seems the ‘old crowd’ has scattered to the wind. I open up WordPress and feel the impact of those departed – the ones that faded quietly away never to return, the friends who kindly bid farewell as they moved on with life. And then the dead. Nothing is the same anymore and the bloggosphere feels so foreign and empty. I don’t adapt well to change. And I form attachments very quickly. While I have since made wonder new friends and know there are plenty of new friends to be made, loss is still so fresh that right now, I’m not sure what direction I will take with my blog.
Not to mention I can barely keep up with following everybody else. I feel so guilty. That I’m not present, reading and interacting like I used to. Life doesn’t leave me with too much spare time. There’s work, which is a mammoth undertaking, exhausting keeping up and avoiding mistakes because of my poor memory. Since my L5 lumbar spinal surgery, its difficult after a full day of sitting at work, to come home and sit and blog. I’m not a laptop-lying-down kinda person. And then there’s my bipolar personal management plan I try so hard to keep to – routine, vigilant for triggers and combating them, lots of sleep etc. Its hard work trying to be healthy.
Stay, go, limit interaction, change the purpose of my blog. I’m not sure. But when I figure things out, you’ll be the first ones to know. In the meantime, know my friends, I love you all and will do the best I can for now.
There’s a woman my age at work who has lived most of her life with one kidney. A transplanted kidney. Now its old and failing her. She’s been on the transplant list and on dialysis for more than 6 years. Over time she’s fallen ill, been in and out of hospital and come close to death. Yet to look at her you’d never say she was sick. She still works. She is always cheerful. I’ve never heard her complain. Never bemoaned her fate. She’s active, pursues a physically challenging hobby. She lives and loves without restraint.
I walked past her today, and overheard a piece of conversation. She said “I don’t want them resuscitating me, you know, you put your life into their hands”. This was said within the context of – she doesn’t want to die. She doesn’t want events to deteriorate to such a point where she would have to be resuscitated. She wants the surgery to run smoothly. Kidney failure or no kidney failure, she wants to live.
My immediate thought was one of jealousy, envious of her close proximity to death. Because I don’t want to live anymore. And so I became ashamed. Thoroughly disgusted by myself. While she fights to stay alive, I dream, plot and scheme about my own death. My thoughts roam hour by hour in an endless loop from hanging to drowning to guns.
So I told myself I was a terrible person for entertaining suicide as much as I do. For being selfish. For being ungrateful. For being lazy. For being a poor, useless excuse of a human being. But then I thought – while there is dialysis or an organ transplant for failing kidneys, there are no such options for my brain. While her blood is cleansed, there is no way to clean my mind of these suicide-thoughts. Thoughts that are purely symptoms. I have a brain that’s sick, with no way to be fixed. We are both ill. There should be no comparison. We just suffer in different ways. And there is no shame in that.
My mother killed herself when I was 19 years old. Today would have been her 74th birthday. Happy birthday, Mom. I love you xx
My friend, fellow blogger and occassional ‘sweary’ bunker companion, who, by the way, knows everything one needs to know about the variations of pies….. Sorry, I digress. Deon, you reached out with a heart full of kindness and a gift of insight, all wrapped up in my favourite thing – a poem, as part of your series Songs For My Tribe. It arrived during a dark moment and shed some light and warmth. So I want to say thank you. And now is as good a time as any to reciprocate and present you with a gift of my own. I made this shortly after Ulla’s death last year, but never quite knew how to give it to you. It’s a statement you made in a post that struck a chord with me. It was during a period of endless car troubles for you, hence the rusty ‘ole jallopy pic. So I present you with your very own, personal meme. I hope you like it.
I’m 44 years old. The only thing that’s stopped me from committing suicide is the fear of the unknown. No one has come back from the dead to tell me what lies beyond. What punishment, if any, lies in wait.
On the other hand, it is fear of the unknown that prevents me from living. And I mean really living, not just existing. Embracing life. Instead, I seclude myself from the world and all participation in its activities. Because I don’t know what will happen next. I can’t predict the outcome. The result of my action. And that scares me. It frightens me to the point that I don’t engage in life. Except for the bare necessities of the daily grind. And then I am left alone. With my thoughts of living and not actually living, and dying and not actually dying.
Fear of the unknown. Such irony. It stops me from killing myself as much as it stops me from living. So what lies beyond this fear? Life. Or death?
I’d been dating The Good Guy for a few months before introducing him here on my blog. Laura P. Shulman shared an insightful observation which I never forgot. Her honest words made me observant and helped guide me through the confusion of the conclusion that he really was a Trojan Horse. An alcohol-swilling, shamelessly-lying wolf in sheep’s clothing. A Good Guy gone bad.
Since ditching the lying, drinking Good Guy, I’ve existed on a diet of undereating and oversleeping. Trying to deny deep yearnings to contact him, I’ve plied my mind with Pinterest quotes…..
But with the roar of co-dependency in my ears, I admit defeat. Good love, bad love, I want him back. I contacted him, tossing away my dignity, and begged like a wounded animal. I’m ashamed. I know I’ve made the wrong choice, but I can’t seem to escape the vicious cycle of settling for bad love just to avoid being alone. And its weird. As with the others, I don’t even want to physically be around him at all. Maybe once in a while would be nice. But I prefer my solitude. Prefer them, distant, on the periphery of my life. I just don’t understand myself at all.
I won’t cry
for this goodbye
tears for him
would be a sin
a disgrace to waste my time
not one minute will I pine
he’s not worth the agony
or the vast insanity
instead I will live like he didn’t exist
because life does go on
despite what he’s done
what he’s done
has left me numb
Not a tear shall be shed
‘cos he made his own bed
liar, liar, pants on fire
falsehoods that you did conspire
a trust unstable
from your betrayal
a trust once earned
has now been spurned
a trust once honest
has lost its promise
let liquor be your mistress
while I go ’bout my business
I’m better off without you
a man whose heart is untrue
He lied. He drinks.
Every day as opposed to the ‘rarely’ he stated when we met. Quanity? Undertermined… because he’s a liar and I don’t believe a word he says. Why didn’t he at some point in the past 4 months tell me he drinks everyday?
I wanted to protect you
More like he wanted to protect himself. He’s selfish. He wasn’t protecting me. He wanted his cake and to eat it too. He knew drinking was a deal breaker for me. So he hid it. He kept it secret. He wanted both alcohol and me, not one or the other. So he lied. But since confronted, he has at no point said – because I love you so much, I don’t want to lose you, so I won’t drink any more. No. Instead he said….
I’m not one to force anything on anybody. So its up to you. Whether you want to just be friends. Its your choice and I’ll understand
But what he didn’t realise is he left me no choice. I will not be subject to having another man choose alcohol over me. So I took back my keys and told him to – go home and “unwind” from your hard day at work, and “chill” with a few beers. Then he threw a manipulation tantrum….
Great! I get robbed today and lose 2 cellphones and now I’ve lost my girlfriend. Thanks! Thanks a lot. What a great time to dump me
Excuse me? He made that choice. He did. He put himself in this position. He’s had four months to come clean with his little secret. And only guilty people keep secrets. He can’t have the best of both worlds. And my world does not contain alcohol. Or liars.
I love you? Horseshit. And here I was, all this time thinking, how lucky could I get – a man who boils the kettle for a cuppa after a long days grind. Turns out he can’t wait to get home to his beers. Well now he gets to spend even more time with them.
My Good Guy doesn’t take bipolar lying down. He is dedicated to researching and learning as much about my illness is as diligent as my own. I gain insight from his discoveries, and together we are developing coping strategies and skills to live cohesively amidst this madness.
Stress is what always brings on an episode now and I am pretty quick to figure out what is causing the stress in my life – bphope.com
He subscribes to the above site and sent me an article which I’ve found enlightening. One of the points addressed was the effect of stress as a trigger. Getting to know me, he’s noticed stress is my number one trigger. While I already know this, and may roll my eyes behind his back, what I didn’t realise was just how soaked in stress my daily life is. It can get confusing living within the confines of highs and lows, aggitation, mixed episodes, depression and panic attacks. Sometimes I can’t see the wood for the trees. But having an outsider’s objective perspective contributes to self-awareness and brings circumstances into a rational focus.
I don’t fit into someone else’s mold of how a person should live. This is my life and I won’t apologize to anyone for living it the way I see fit. – http://www.bphope.com
I find it difficult to love and accept myself. Living within the ever changing and cycling moods of bipolar can be an ugly existance. But The Good Guy is trying to teach me to practice ‘self-love‘. In fact he’s insisting on it.
To start cultivating mind awareness and switch off “autopilot mode,” which can trigger symptoms, Marchand suggests a three-minute breathing exercise.
He is always telling me “Breathe, babe. Just breathe”. In the beginning I was ungratiously annoyed by what I presumed to be a frivolity, a cliché. Something they say but don’t understand the fruitlessness of their advice. Until one day, stressed out at work, I realised I was holding my breath. And so I breathed. And breathed some more. Great big, gulping balloons of air exhaled inhaled and slowly exhaled with considered care. My heart rate went from a gallop to a trot, followed by a calmer frame of mind. And I began to cope again. I gained a lesson that day – not to presume an outcome without actually trying it first. What I consider a cliché was a fact. A truth. So breathe. It really does help in a crisis
What a triumph! I actually took part in a social activity. The Animal Anti-Cruelty League charity had a 4km fun walk; the fun part being we actually walked the rescued dogs. I joined a lift club/convoy with some ladies from work for the 80km round trip. I’ve never socialized with people from work. I’ve been invited but always say no. So once we got to the venue and I got out the car, one of the ladies exclaimed – Pieces! You’re the last person I expected to see here. She was thrilled I had joined in and kept telling me how happy was to see me there.
I asked for a fat, lazy dog to walk because I didn’t want to pull or strain my back. Well, Pebbles wasn’t fat or lazy… just old and we had a steady stroll along the marked trail winding through the farmlands, with plenty of watering troughs for the dogs. Out in nature, walking a dog, life really doesn’t get any better!
Pebbles wasn’t interested in leading the pack
Pebbles and I enjoy the scenery