Warning: Relapse


Honestly, I find the words evaporating before they can come into focus in my mind. I grasp at them, trying desperately to hold to just one. Please, just one to represent this. Let me have only one.

So, here I write. My first stream of consciousness entry since the very beginning of this blog.

Where to start? Is there really a starting point? The perfect place to run along the thread, coursing up and down, and through the fabric of my life. Maybe. Maybe not. I seem to get the idea that there is no beginning, and respectively, there is no end.

So, maybe I can begin with a narrative, rolling around in my mind, each time it stirs.


I am not perfect. My flaws are becoming more visible each time I look at myself. Painfully so. Everything feels so forced.

I make mistakes. I succumb to those words, the ones that usually just make a dull buzz in my head.

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In these times, the moments of darkness, it becomes louder, slower, more pronounced.

I. want. to. die.

A buried mantra, rising from dormancy.

My ears heard a beckon in my sleep. I rustled. I could sleep forever. Another summoning. In fact, I wanted to sleep forever. My eyes opened to dull grey haze, sunlight buried miles deep in cloud cover. And the words whispered to me, I want to die.

 

I had remembered my dream. It was a recurring dream, the same theme, different places, different faces. All but one. C.S.

In each dream, we are separated in some way, whether it be a wall or a world apart. We aren’t just separated, rather more like severed from one another. I am not whole. I feel that in the very depths of my shattered soul.

In this most recent recurrence, we were literally separated, not divorced, but not even living in the same place anymore. I shared an apartment with his ex-best friend. He was sick, and I took him to the hospital.

While there, I started to feel preterm labor. It was a child I hadn’t told C.S. about yet. Though we had T.D., I didn’t want him to feel obligated to stay in a marriage with me because of an unplanned pregnancy.

I just went back to the apartment. The same dingy, dark, trashed apartment that is always in my dreams. I must have done something really bad for him to discard and disregard me in such a way. I called him. I wanted nothing more than to be whole again. I needed him to come to my aid.

He refused. “Why would I want to come to that dump to see you?”

I begged. And he still refused.

I returned to the hospital, knowing that the labor would get worse. I just knew it wasn’t something that couldn’t be fixed.

Skip the labor scene. I don’t remember it, even if it did occur.

And, I went into a dark exam room, to lay on the bed with the paper sheet, in a paper gown. I saw a pad of paper sitting on an end table. I flipped through and it coldly read, “What seems to be your problem today?”

I threw it, and went to gather my belongings that were housed in a communal room, supposedly watched by a guard. Except when I went to look, they were nowhere in sight. I saw a woman sitting next to the man, holding my exact purse. I insisted it was my purse, and ripped it away from her. I pulled out my handmade keychain, looking for some proof I was who I said I was.

I got a nametag out and I had apparently been using a different last name since my separation. I went for my I’d in my wallet. A voice came from behind me.

“Her name is Em. I’m her husband.”

C.S. stood there, disappointed and disgruntled.

 

And I awoke, horrific feelings still intact. Worthlessness, abandonment, disappointment, heartache, soul-fractures, incompletely incomplete, with holes punctured through my being. I mourned that child. I mourned my broken marriage. And I wondered what lay in wait in my conscious life.

Noon. Lunch. Eggs and bacon for my son.

No excuses. Not, the infamous, “It’s five o’clock somewhere.” I poured myself a shot of Wild Turkey and nursed it. The next, I gulped. Sunday is a terrible day to drink in Pennsylvania. When you’re out, you’re out. So, I moved on to vodka.

Anything. I would do anything to erase that awful gnawing feeling. That feeling that you are being dragged into the pit, clawing and screaming as the inky blackness envelopes you, curling like vines upward, and strangling the very life from you.

I’m not going to launch into this speech about how embarrassed or downtrodden I am for my shortcomings. Not because I feel justified in my action as a result of a faulty rationalization. Because I am human. I have some permissible margin or error, right?

But, I will make certain admissions based on very stark realizations.

I was starting to get ready for work, when I realized that not all of my laundry had been returned to me. T.D. had clothes. C.S. was fine for the week. But only a few articles returned to me.

I started to get upset. Dressing for Pennsylvania weather is tricky. When the sun is shining, but it’s 30, and you know that you be out after dark later, it complicates things. Some of my classrooms are hot, and some are cold. I need layers. My sweaters were too hot.

I lost all confidence in any choice, and became flustered. T.D. screamed in the background and C.S. preached at me on the phone. I wasn’t going to make it in time. I wasn’t going to make it.

How could I even walk out of that door like this, without any guarantees that I could make it intact?

I want to die.

My parents pounded on the door. I carried T.D. down the stairs and set him down. I was shaking so badly, it caused tremors in every single electrified muscle. Halfway through the living room, my legs gave out. My whole body fell limp, and I could no longer live in my mind. I crawled to the door, and opened it.

I pulled myself onto the sofa and curled into a ball. And I cried, “I can’t do it. I can’t go to work like this.”

“Get yourself together,” my mother advised.

I wasn’t talking anymore. I was on autopilot, hyperventilating, “I can’t. I can’t. I just can’t, I have to call off.”

I did. My boss could sense the extreme distress in my voice. I lied. I told her the sitter called off because she was sick. I couldn’t bear to tell her the truth.

I’m in no mental state, because I’m having a nervous breakdown related to a recent bout of ultradian cycling that hurled me into a long awaited depression. You’re better off without me today.

And my mother asked, “Did something happen?”

“No,” I answered in a fractured voice, holding back tears, “this is just the natural course of things. This was three months in the making. Three months, almost symptom free. And now this.”

The grand herald of my depressive episode, here to announce it’s presence. And to present a list of events, in no particular, predictable order, that will push me further into this hell. This hell. This is mine. Of my own making.

And I have to face it alone. Because as of today, everyone in my life has made it abundantly clear that they are, quote, “Tired of my shit, because I’m always like this.”

That’s me. Like this. Fucking up since the mid-eighties.

This post brought to you by Tallulah, my Blackberry Bold.

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17 thoughts on “Warning: Relapse

  1. Oh dear friend, I hope you feel better. I know the brutal swings can leave such disaster in its wake. Do you feel the dream had much to do with it? I know dreams can cause me serious damage when they are so very painful… when they make you mourn for the past.
    I am sending love and positivity to you… please be kind to yourself. xoxo ♥

    • The dream is recurring, so I have doubts. It was just one of those pieces of emotional byproduct that added fuel to the fire.

      What can I say? I don’t want to go down that sideroad, then one where I start profusely apologizing. I let myself down. I let everyone else down.

      There’s no fallout on my end. Most everyone in my real life has been understanding and supportive. And if they aren’t then at least they are keeping it to themselves.

  2. We are all always “like this”. That is the truth. Human. As I read this I was sitting right next to you…in spirit at least. You are NOT alone, Luna. It is not so. You just need to know which opportunities to look for. Reach out and I’ll bet someone will be there, even when you don’t expect it. xo.

    • Everytime I hear that phrase like this, I get upset. It’s times like these that the divisons become more apparent. Like this. A state I get in with certain parameters. I insist that this, right here, is not typical of me. As soon as those words slip from my lips, they are immediately contradicted. It stands that 99% of the time, I am either panicked, frantic, or meloncholy, with dramatic flare intact.

      I don’t typically swear on my own blog. So, here we go.

      Basically, I have been told by a few people in my life that this is me set to normal. I spend the bulk of my time in this state, and anything outside of that is a welcomed change of pace. So, i sink deeper, still clinging to the scrap of anger. “Fuck you, that’s bullshit.” As long as I can keep aim away from myself, the anger is the only thing left between me and a steep drop into oblivion.

      That and comments like these. Where I know for certain that I am not alone. I am not the first person to walk this road. It’s not even as if this is the first time in my life I’ve walked this road. Why is it so foreign?

      • I don’t think it is foreign…maybe too familiar. Maybe that is why being “like that” breeds conflict, with your peers and within yourself. My advice, be… like that. Own every part of who you are because the other doesn’t exist without it. Some of us feel more than others. Or maybe we bleed more than others. Under no certain terms, be you. Good, bad, ugly and all the rest that come with it. Know that if you have done the work to feel these things… and I mean truly feel them, you will be ok. Nervous breakdowns and all. You are much stronger than you give yourself credit for. Oh and the people who matter WILL be there when it’s all said and done. I can guarantee you that.

        P.S. Pennsylvania isn’t so far from me.

        • Thank for that fresh perspective. I was thinking about how I am eager to dodge stereotypes and other’s perceptions. Why? So what if they are true? What does that mean for me?

          Part of it is the defiant feeling I get when someone tries to summarize me by using a subset of my behavioral repertoire. And that defiant feeling, admittedly, is built on a foundation of shame. It is awful for me to see at least a portion of the confidence and self-esteem I’ve worked so hard for dissintegrate. I have never had that. It’s precious and if it gets damaged or lost, I am going to implode.

          You’re right. The best way for me to maintain that integrity rhat I seek is to own it. To be it. And to know how to love it. That needs love too.

          But, this is no chicken or egg case. The depression begets the thoughts in the first place. And I watz aeay, me, depression, and delusion all together again.

      • Lulu, I’ve “known” you for a little while now and I can confidently say that you are a very sweet, considerate, empathetic human being that I am proud to call friend. Yes, you have bipolar disorder. Yes, you will have bipolar episodes. But that’s all they are. They do not make you a bad person. They make you an enegmatic yet beautiful human being. Anyone throwing about phrases such as “like this” does not know or does not understand the wonderful person you are inside. 🙂

        • *Smile* Your words mean so much to me.

          After I’ve had a few days to gain a little perspective, I can say that those who throw that out there, aren’t really doing so with particular malice. It’s with frustration and careless expression of it. We all make mistakes. I can forgive a person who is frustrated with me when they can’t seem to make it better.

          I know I’m not entirely “like that”. But, I do know that a part of me is. I think I can accept it, when I know that it’s a temporary set of behaviors.

  3. this dream is trying to tell you something. You should try to find someone, maybe your therapist but most likely someone who is gifted in interpreting dreams. I am afraid it might be a warning sign that you don’t realize it yet but your stress level, lifestyle, and routine may need to be adjusted. Is there maybe too much on your plate that has been tolerable but maybe in the long run bringing you down. I hope you find the answer soon.

    • I don’t know what the dream is trying to tell me. It’s recurring.

      I had a similar one that I considered to be my answer to the “what if” question about my huband and I. See, there are a lot of points where our lives crossed. We have never been totally outside of each other’s lives from the moment we met. But, there were times we spoke less, or weren’t speaking, or were appeasing a significant other by refraining from contact.

      I had always mourned the years we didn’t have together. It was a time where both of us were in awful, damaging relationships. This dream featured us, as young as we were when we got together, but we were seperated. We were married in my dream, but still living in the same apartment, a hallway apart. I woke up from a bad dream in my dream, something about being seperated from my husband. I dashed to his bedroom and threw myself at him, begging for him to hear me, to hold me, to not shut me out. But once my husband shuts someone out, it’s for good.

      It does represent a very real fear I have. But, I know there are only a handful of things that would cause that complete shutdown. If I committed a horrific act, cheated, lied about something really important, sabatoged him, hurt him, or our child, then that would be the result. Otherwise, there is only one thing that would cause a partial shutdown. If he thought that I was completely beyond redemption.

      Am I beyond redemption? Can I say that I won’t go beyond a certain threshold where he has just given up on me? I don’t know.

      I’ve been thinking a lot about the recurring dream. And seeing as how the only thing that changes is the setting, I need to focus on that imagery. I know hospitals are the most loathesome, restrictive place I could go. So, maybe I am worried that he won’t come to my aid if I can’t restrict myself.

      Does that make sense?

        • Often times, I feel guilt or responsibility for the way others feel about me. I can’t help that. I try to tell myself that over, and over. I can not change people’s perceptions of me. And why should I care?

          The only person’s opinion that matters is my husband. And that’s the trickiest part of all. In my relationship with Avi, I was emotionally abused, very badly. There is so much shame, anger, betrayal – so many emotions that are tied into that situation, and it sometimes bleeds over into my relationships with others (platonic and otherwise). I have control issues, without a doubt. Not of others, but of myself.

          Avi found a way in, and contorted my mind so much, it’s almost indescribable. My words may never do that justice. He had me believe that I was the one who was hurting and failing him. But, all he would constantly do was criticize, nitpick, and harass me. I was never good enough. I never did good enough. And he convinced me that was because I just wasn’t. I was fatally flawed, unlovable, and I was lucky to have someone that would “love” me, despite all of those things, and put up with my crap to boot.

          Avi’s opinion started to become the only opinion. I thought he was right. It was right in line with what everyone else in my life had hinted upon. At least, I thought so anyway. He is truly a master of manipulation, because my mind was once a very hard mind to even get into, much less completely break. Anytime a friend would show me a kindness, he would declare that they just didn’t know me the way he did. They were being kind because they felt sorry for me. But, the second I’d show my true colors, they’d go running. And, I’d have an episode, and people would disappear out of my life.

          He used my disorder against me.

          So, when it comes to letting anyone have an opinion or a say-so in my life, I have shifting boundaries. When someone close to me has what I feel is an illegitimate criticism, it wrecks my head. Either I believe it, and take it to the extreme. Or, I rail against that person. It depends on my state at the time.

          This is one of the reasons why I don’t let people get close to me. Not only for my protection, but theirs too. I don’t want to hurt them, because they unintentionally hurt me. And I don’t even want to get close to giving people a chance to intentionally hurt me.

  4. I get like this frequently too and people just assume I’m always like this and that it is some horrible thing. And why the depressions can be horrible and the manias (hypo in my case) and have devastating consequences and are just hell to go through sometimes. I always seem to come out with something positive, whether it be empathy a new realization, some new clothes there is always something. I haven’t been following your blog long but from what I can tell you are not “always like this” and it hurts when anyone uses anything to labels us especially a disorder we didn’t choose. Hope this cycle doesn’t last too long for you.

    • Thank you for your well wishes. It does disturb me that my closest family members would tell me this. No, we’re no strangers to this. But, I am kind of horrified when someone makes that kind of grossly negligent generalization.

      This was no misunderstanding or miscommunication. I gave plenty of chance for correction when disputing, but it was firmly insisted. You’re always that way.

      I always try to come out better for it, after seeing the trail of destruction in the rear view for so many years. Even if I can only write, so others will feel less alone in their struggle, that will do just fine.

  5. “Like this”–Something I think about sometimes. In the midst of my panic, etc., sometimes I think, it’s not me, it’s my issues. But then I remember that indeed I am “like this” about 70% of the time. So. Is it just me? I don’t know.

    Once I was with my family and had some sort of self-loathing attack. My dad and brother kept telling me why I was a decent person. Then my brother got irritated and said something about how they were “kissing my a**.” As if I’d been doing it just to try to get them to praise me. I didn’t tell him that was hurtful, but it still gets to me sometimes. He probably doesn’t even remember it.

    I’m sorry to hear about how you’re feeling. Hope you feel better soon. Here’s a *hug*.

    • I have worked so damn hard to not be like this for most of my adult life. There are certain like this‘s I can accept. I am moody, of course. But do my moods change at the drop of a dime? No. And it’s kind of like that. When someone makes a blanket statement like that, overdramatizing what this is, I can’t stand it. It’s harmful to me. I am more than this. It starts to chip at my self-esteem and my own self-image. People don’t realize how damaging that can be.

      But, I try my best not to let those things hinge on what other people have to say. I guess when I’m like this, it’s easy for that to start happening again.

      You’re right, he probably doesn’t remember. And that’s the problem. People just let these words and judgements fly out of their mouths without any mindfulness or regard for the other person. I didn’t say anything to the people who asserted that I was like this. I didn’t say a word, except my feeble protests. And even those came to a halt when others shrugged and said, “Yeah, whatever.”

      It’s whatever to them. Because they aren’t like this. And, you know, it infuriates me at some points. It makes me want to go around making blanket statements about them. Gawd, you know, if you’d ever stop talking about all of your successes, then maybe someone else could talk about something meaningful. Or Why don’t you actually face your problems instead of insisting that you know everything there is to know about me and my problems?

      Thanks for popping by to talk to me. I’m a little better. Work always makes me feel a little better. But, I’m still down there, sitting on a ledge. What’s going to push me off today, I wonder?

  6. There is so much i want to say and no words in my brain right now.. I just want to thank you for your honesty. And say that I’m so sorry that you are going through such a nightmare. when i read this last night it sounded like you WERE in a nightmare to me.. I hope you feel better so much.

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