Category Archives: afraid

And then …

there were none.

I’m standing on the front porch as the day completes itself.

The sun is setting over a field fresh with young wildflowers and high, lovely hay-grass that will grow tall and be mowed mid-summer.

It smells so good; nearly, but not quite as good as freshly turned earth in early Spring.

The soon-to-be full moon will shortly rise over budding trees freed from their winter solitude.

After this night, changes will come.

I am uncertain of the changes, but am trying to make myself ready for what will happen in my brain.

How odd this must sound.

I have things I must contend with that will very likely alter the way I see everything, including the moon.

It has been a difficult decision to make; this knowing that the way my brain perceives things and people and emotions will change.

I am only what I am, and if I cannot be what I am then I could very possibly be what I have always feared.

Nothing.

I have dear friends who are angry with me, who have not forgiven me for things I was not aware of.

While that hurts me now, next week it will likely be irrelevant.

There is a better then average chance then I will not remember that.

A curse more than a blessing for I am sorry but may not recall my remorse.

I sacrifice one madness for another.

Where, I ask, is the sanity in that?

This night, my last night without the influence of medication, I watch for the moon and hope, that when the lightning bugs come, I will be happy to see them.

I have always found joy in the lightning bugs.

For the first time I can recall, I am not an optimist.

That, in itself, frightens me.

And I dislike being afraid nearly as much as I dislike knowing I am potentially sacrificing my identity.

I suppose I am, after all, a coward.

image

                My niece, unafraid

Sometimes, at Christmas …

people are sad.

They are lonely and grieving and sorrowful for things they can’t change.

Even happy people get sad during this time of year.  They start thinking about what they have or haven’t done.

Things they’ve said or left unsaid.

They look away from the homeless on the street and the hungry in their own hometown.

The look for friends where there aren’t any and find reasons to feel sorry for themselves.

I can say this because I live it.  I experience it.  I understand it.

I am an optimist, but sometimes, my smile is painted on and my heart is heavier than I think I can carry.

I look around at my life and take stock as Christmas looms on the horizon, as the New Year stares me in the face and I think “what do I have to offer anybody?”

And then, like the soft light rising out of a foggy Spring morning, I am reminded that Christmas isn’t about me.

It isn’t about trees or gifts or money or family or friends.

It is about something so magnificent, so profound, so incredibly huge that it leaves little room to be sad.

It is about a child that was born of a virgin.

Not just any child.

The child.

The Christ child.

Think about that for a minute.

In this sex-crazed world, think about a young girl who had never given herself to a man and yet found that she was pregnant.

If you feel crazy, imagine what she was feeling.  Imagine what was going through her mind when she told the man she loved that, although she had never been with anyone, including him, that she was pregnant and that God had told her that it was ok.

How insane would that sound?

How could Joseph possibly trust her?

He trusted her because he trusted God and God trusted Mary with His son.

It sounds complicated and weird and yet it is so beautifully simple.

Who among us would not want to be chosen to carry the Savior of the world and who among us would not want to care for and love the one carrying that child?

Who among us would not want to be an integral part in raising that child, in cherishing Him, wiping His tears, telling Him bedtime stories, hearing Him say “I love you” as He wrapped His little boy arms around our neck?

I find that, when I think of the reason that we celebrate, the joy and inexplicable magnificence of it all, it is difficult to be completely sad.

Not impossible, for we are human and as humans, we can always find things to complain about, be sad about, be mad about.

We can always find ways that people hurt us or make us feel unworthy, who leave us wishing for more and hoping that tomorrow will bring the fulfillment of our dreams.

But if we let all the human emotions crowd our minds and hearts, we will forget why we celebrate to begin with and if we remember why we celebrate, then there will Joy unspeakable.

Yes, there will still be sadness and loneliness and melancholy … There will be loss, grief and memories that threaten our sanity … but they will, if we put them in perspective, be in their rightful place.

Behind joy.

Behind thankfulness and awe.

Behind beauty and love that surpasses anything we will ever find if we only see with our human eyes.

And because the feelings that threaten to destroy us are behind the Joy of remembering why we celebrate to begin with, we will live through them, move past them, learn from them and be stronger and more resilient because we have hope in something bigger than who we are and what we feel.

With hope, there is nothing impossible.

With hope, there is always the possibility of another day.

With hope, there is the image of Heaven.

Sadness can’t hold a candle to that.

My hope is that each one I know, each person I come into contact with, each spirit that crosses my own will know joy and that, even for a moment, the sadness will become obsolete.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

snowfall

Luke 2: 7-14

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And then there was light …

beautiful, blinding, mind-boggling, life-altering light.

That is the nature of bi-polar disorder, or in the more politically correct lingo, manic-depressive disorder.

The verbiage doesn’t change the nature of it, it simply makes those who have no clue about what it is, entails or emulates, feel better about saying it out loud.

Sometimes there is darkness, but when the darkness lifts, there is light.

And light in the aftermath of darkness is profound.

I would love to be able to explain this phenomenon, but I can’t.

I couldn’t even begin to explain it.

You either understand it because you live it or because you know someone who suffers from it or you are completely clueless.

If you are clueless, then there is nothing I can offer that will make the light bulb flick on above your head.  You will never know the depths or the incredible  highs of a brain that is well beyond your understanding.

I’m sorry for you, but can’t help your indifference.

Cluelessness  (not a real word, I don’t think) isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but without some understanding of what goes on in the mind of a bipolarist (also not a real word), there is no way anyone can possibly understand how incredibly wonderful the moments of clarity, without racing thoughts, without disorientation, without doubt and insecurities can be.

Without the chaos, the clarity doesn’t mean anything and if one never has clarity, then their accomplishments will be mediocre at best.

It is like walking into a green, summer field and seeing a triple rainbow arch over the green field that is covered by white daisies with yellow centers.

That is what the light is like.

A moment of pure bliss that allows dreamless sleep and pure and beautiful clarity.

It allows me to understand what I have been misinterpreting, to find the truth within the lies.

It really is impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t lost, at some point, control of their conscious thought and then when hollowed out, to crash and burn.

Crashing is not the best feeling in the world, but it is necessary.  It is like the control-alt-delete of the psyche and sometimes, it is at this point that people who pledge their friendship and loyalty jump ship.

How … well, convenient.

When I am depressed, well, I keep that to myself.  No reason to add fuel to the fire of the witch-hunters.

I am who I am and will be who I’ll be.

I don’t need validation from people who pretend to support me when they have no interest in who I am at the core, in the depths of my heart, in the center of my soul.

I am me.  I am not ashamed to be such although there are times when I am made to believe that I should be.

We bipolarists are not an anomaly.  We are a force to be reckoned with because not only do we have brains that see, feel and hear everything, we are able to function during these times of chaos.

That makes us talented and creative and imaginative;  and above all, it makes us survivors.

Those who take us for granted or think they can use us for their exclusive pleasure are the losers.

They didn’t get it.

They will never get it.

They lost the race when they rolled their eyes at our idiosyncrasies.

Our idiosyncrasies and oddities are what set us apart from everyone else and it is something to be cherished and embraced.

We are different, yes, and in being so, we are not cast in the same mold as the rest of humanity.

In my book, that makes us someone special and special is a pretty awesome thing to be.

I embrace it, even when I want to be rid of it, because it calls me to understand more than I should have to, endure greater disappointments than I should have to and to know more than I would have were my brain like everyone else’s.

It is at this point that I ask, who is normal?  Who can maneuver through a mindfield (not a mine field, a mind one) and end up standing, head held high, solutions in hand?

Kind of puts it in perspective.

I have been mocked by ones that I truly thought I could trust.

I have been shunned by ones who have know me for years.

I have been abandoned by ones that I would have bet my life I could rely on.

These things, these events, these setbacks have not broken me yet made me more determined to be who I am.

I am content with myself even when I am discontent with myself.

I am special and the people who are like me will understand completely and hopefully feel special, too.

I am misunderstood and  I am ok with that.

It means that I am a mystery and, let’s be honest here … how cool is that?

We are a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a riddle.

That makes us cool in the “you wish you could see what my brain sees” kind of way.

Yes.  I am bipolar and I take each moment, each second, each event as it comes.

It is amazing what you can see when you take one moment at a time.

I love my life and though there are times when I forget who I am and can’t string words together to make coherent sentence, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Not  a single thing.

I. Am. Me … and I’m good with that.

only one of hundreds of my favorite things about West Side  Market in Cleveland, OH and bipolarist comfort food :)

only one of hundreds of my favorite things about West Side Market in Cleveland, OH and a favorite of this bipolarist’s comfort foods 🙂

A moment of clarity …

is priceless.

Like fine wine from a stellar year.  A bottle unopened and virginal in it’s uniqueness.

A moment of clarity when all of the world is in color, without shades of gray, without confusion that masks the wonders as the snow on an old TV.  Clarity without aluminum foil to make the picture clear.

I love these moments.  They are like photographs that have been taken simply to remind me that this moment isn’t all there is.

There is more.

There is much more.

I am feeling hyper these days and that makes me anxious.  It is such a small step from hyper to manic and I work dilligently to not be manic.

It comes when it comes and I have no say about it.

But it hurts those I care about.

I don’t care so much about myself.  This is my life and I live it, but when it touches others, it hurts me on a level that is far beyond what I feel capable of handling.

I am me.

I don’t know how to be anyone else.

I don’t, however, want to be a burden to my friends.

Yes, I am hyper, but am not yet manic.

It is only a matter of time.

I try to close myself off from everyone when this happens, but there are a few that I lean on and hope that, when all is said and done, they will forgive me yet again.

They are the people who bring me back to reality when I stray and they know who they are.

I only hope they know I don’t take them for granted.

Just a day in the life.

It isn’t always pretty, but more often than not, it is.  I live for the “it is” moments.

I am a survivor and this impending event will not break me.

It may bend me, but it will not break me.

I get by with  a little help from my friends.

clarinethands

Beemer, a sweet Great Pyrenees, shows his Hollywood

Taking it easy, literally …

Sometimes, for reasons I can’t explain …

I cry.

And then, when I go to work, which unfortunately, I have to, I cry there too.

I try to hide it, but sometimes, it is obviously, due to the questions and odd looks, evident, for I am questioned.

Or maybe mentally assaulted is the better description.

Have you been crying?

What have you been crying about?

What’s wrong?

Why yes, I want to say … I have been crying nearly inconsolably for absolutely no reason at all.

None.

I have broken things that I don’t really care about, deleted things that I did and find myself on the outside of everything I hold dear to my heart … but that is simply a byproduct.

Just forty-eight hours ago, I was manic and driving 90 miles a hour to keep up with my thoughts.

But there were no tears.

Only euphoria.

But now, I cry just to be crying.

One jag after another until I have a headache and nothing, other than red and swollen eyes, to show for it.

I cry at song lyrics, at the rebuff from a friend, because the light turned red, for the homeless man I saw at the intersection.

I have no control over it.

I want to, but it is beyond what I am capable of.

For whatever reason, it pisses people off when you tell them you don’t know what you are crying about.

What?

Do they never, ever, ever cry without a reason?

Really?  Do they actually expect people to believe that?

Don’t worry, though, not everyone who swings between euphoria, ecstasy, and suddenly in the dredges of despair but still thinking in terms of the ecstasy factor, is nuts.

A few of us hold a golden trophy with our bipolar names on it, but not everyone.

It isn’t contagious.  Remember that.

It.

Isn’t.

Contagious.

And the oddness of it, in itself, is, in that in itself, there is oddness.

They want to know why.

There isn’t a why.

They want to know what about.

There isn’t a what about.

I used a gallon of the “it get’s the red out” Visine today.  A useless fluid that burns the eyes and does little to hide the fact that I was crying about nothing in particular.

Why is it so important to have something to cry about.  There are moments, such as the one I am currently in, that I cry because I simply can’t stop it.

I could make up stuff to cry about, but I shouldn’t have to.

I should be able to maneuver though this stage of my, what should I call it?, psychosis? without being put on the spot to try to explain the unexplainable.

Maybe I should start telling people I have a hangover.  Maybe that would be more well received than the response of I’m not crying about anything in particular, I’m just crying.

Because I’m nuts.

That always goes over well.

I’m nuts.

Does that soothe your mind?   Always have been and have little hope of being otherwise.

Sometimes I cry.

Get used to it or get over it.

If I am very lucky, it will only last a day or two and I can go back to being simply, though wonderfully, semi-manic.

I can assure you, it is much preferred.

I don’t get to the crying stage very often, praise the Good Lord, but when I do, I’m there.

Nothing that can be said, no pats on the head or uninvited and unwanted hugs can change it.

It is what it is.  Those who feel this way from time to time know, without a shadow of a doubt the sheer amount of courage it takes to move from one minute, one hour, one day into the other.

The rest of you … I will always be an enigma and I am tired of trying to explain it.

It is what it is and that is simply the way of it.

It doesn’t change who I am because this, accepted or not, is who I am.

If you know me you already know that.

If you don’t, you never will.

No hard feelings.

Tomorrow is a brand new day.

a light shining in the darkness, whether in day or night, is a grand thing.

a light shining in the darkness, whether in day or night, is a grand thing.

When the Halloween episode of Little House on the Prairie …

makes you hide under the covers and sleep with the lights on for a month, it sticks with you for a long, long time.  We’re working on what, now?  Thirty years?  Thirty five? More?

It sticks.  Trust me.

Ok, so maybe I am the only person, other than Laura Ingalls, who was terrified, freaked out and mentally assaulted at the thought of good-natured, sweet, gentile, patient, unassuming Mr. Olsen taking Mrs. Olsen’s head off with a sword and then answering the knock at the front door with an apron covered in blood.

Maybe I am.

It wouldn’t be the first thing, nor I regrettably admit, will it be the last, that freaked me out while having little or no effect on those around me.

No effect other than making them roll their eyes and mutter comments under their breath that they didn’t think I could hear.

I heard them.

All of them.

Well, most of them anyway.

Or I imagined them which, in my world, amounts to pretty much the same thing.

(For those who are unsure as to whom I speak, Laura was not a real person … well, she was, as she was an actress, but her character was just that … a character … made up by the ever talented, though now dead, Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I have read ALL of the Little  House books, unashamedly, multiple times over and do not  remember this particular scene in any of them.  I could have blocked it out, though, because that is what I do with disturbing images that terrify me and make me wet the bed because I am too afraid to put my feet on the floor, opening them to whatever may be underneath it, to walk to the bathroom.)

It wasn’t a scary show, but then neither was The Waltons and the episode when Elizabeth (whom I disliked a great deal anyway)  was becoming a teenager, made me feel the need for serious, long-term, ongoing therapy.

Knowing these things and, knowing as I do what a fraidy-cat, chicken-hearted, scare-baby (thanks Pollyanna, for scare-baby) I am, it is with horrified trepidation that I await the soon-to-be-received Netflix selection of True Blood that is even now on its way to my terrified-by-association mailbox.

The very thought of blood in my mouth makes my usually absent gag reflex perk up and sing the hallelujah chorus.

And still yet.

I can’t imagine what I was thinking.

Yes I can.  Peer pressure.  I succumbed to it.  Pure and simple.

I was recently introduced, by a friend, at least she was disguised as a friend, to Joe Manganiello, aka Alcide.  Well, not personally introduced for if I had met him in person, I would be bragging daily in that “I’m better than you can ever hope to be because I have met Alcide in person” tone.

I don’t know exactly how to brag efficiently because I don’t have much to brag about, but were I to meet that man in person, I would learn quickly.

Or at least fake it persuasively.

And I would become adept at lying, which is pretty much the same as faking it persuasively, but oh dear me …  the stories I would tell.

But all of that hinges on the the possibility that I had been introduced to him in person, when in reality, I wasn’t.

I had not heard of him before.  I don’t watch TV, watch the news, read the newspaper or otherwise partake in life as it happens outside my own definition of reality.

Sometimes I wonder why I don’t just strap a backpack filled with toast-chee crackers and hot mama sausages to my back and live my life in the mountains in a way that would closely resemble Grizzly Adams … or, more aptly, Mad Jack and Old Number Seven.

So anyway, after a brief diversion, I get back to the point; this video, filled with vampires, blood, gore, blood, violence, blood, sex, blood and a gruesomeness that I cannot even imagine … oh, and blood, in the mouth no less …  is on its way to my home.

I was told that this Alcide character didn’t show up until the third season, but to have a single solitary clue what was happening, I had to watch it from the beginning.  I have doubts, however, given my reaction after five minutes subjected to “The Living Dead”, which is not an HBO production, that I will make it through the first episode.

That statement is notwithstanding to the fact that the email from  Netflix with the photo associated with the show nearly made we wretch.

I have striven to be tough, more immune to outside influences, harder of heart and body and more like a living, breathing human being.

I really have.

But I’m not sure I accomplished what I set out to accomplish.

I wanted to be popular.

Like my sister.

I wanted to be good at sports.

Like my sister.

I wanted to have the ability to watch horror movies in the eighties with MY boyfriend instead of running out of the theater crying inconsolably.

Like my sister.

Just ask her.  It was a proud moment in her life.  Actually proud moments because she went on nearly every date I ever had.

But that is neither here nor there.  Actually it is or I wouldn’t have brought it up, but it shouldn’t be.  I’ll just say it that way.

And she, the sister I wanted to be like, watched “The Exorcist” with her friends while I cowered in my room with a thin wall between me and the TV and belted out show-tunes to keep the sound of the movie from my ears.  It was pathetic and likely still the topic of dinner table conversations of those who partook in that particular episode of my life.

And people wonder why I am warped.

I suppose, too, that they will be wondering why I am in the hospital on an overdose on stolen Xanax after only a few minutes of watching the pilot episode of True Blood.

Then they will remember this post and say “Oh …  yeah … well, I’m not all that surprised” as they bite into their warm, six inch, flatbread, tuna with provolone, spinach, avocado, red onion, black olive sandwich with jalapeno on the side from Subway.

Then they will go on with their lives while I gulp down Thorazine and fight off night terrors.

Peer pressure.

Do as I say, not as I do and avoid it at all costs.

I’ve got one hand in my pocket and the other one on an ancient typewritertypewriter

Abby, howling with ecstasy or insanity … either one workslaughingAbby