Tag Archives: sorrow

When I am manic …

everything becomes a challenge.  Thinking straight, keeping a single thought in my head, knowing reality from fantasy; all challenges.  I would be lying if I said that the feeling I get when in a manic state is anything but exhilarating, it is also exhausting.  The thoughts run through my mind at a speed that I cannot keep up with and the important things are often lost in the fray.  It is difficult to explain the whirlwind of thoughts and ideas to someone who has never experienced mania.  It is like being in a hurricane, protected from the wind and rain, but not the chaos.  How odd is that.  There are those who will read this post and say to themselves, “I know that feeling … I get it”.  At the same time, there will be ones who read it who say “that gal is as nutty as a fruitcake”.  But the reality of it is that I’m not nutty, or crazy or over the edge.  I am simply, at the moment, in a state of hypomania.

Manic stages are a part of my existence.  It took me a long time to realize that these episodes were, for me, part of normal life.  It is so abnormal to most people and they find it absurd on so many levels and simply, even if they try, cannot comprehend that the mind can warp at such a speed.  It is both fascinating and confusing, enlightening and disturbing.  I wish that there were words in my head to explain what I feel when I am in a manic state.  Though I have never tried cocaine, from the descriptions of those I know who have, it is similar to the feeling that comes when the hyperactivity takes over my mind and body and reality becomes blurred with fantasy; dreams become real and thoughts are not to be trusted.

I find it addictive, the feeling that nothing is impossible and all things are within my reach.  It is nearly a letdown when this feeling begins to ebb, which it must, if I am to survive; a disappointment to know that the chaos of my mind will, once again, become somewhat normal.  Being in this state does not change who I am at the core, but it changes what I am to the observer.  Try as I might, I have not found a way to harness the charge of energy that overtakes me and throws me into an atmosphere that is full of everything.  Again, to one who has never experienced such a moment, it is hard to explain.

Imagine being in a forest, a beautiful forest with the leaves alive and every growing thing beautiful with springtime in the mountains.  Now imagine that all the growing things have a personality and can interact, on a personal level, with actions and words. Being in a manic state is similar to that.  So much information.  So much stimulation.  It is like having goosebumps all the time.  Who doesn’t like goosebumps, right?  But constantly?  Not such a great thing.  But I am not alone in my experiences.   There are so many others who are in or soon will be, in the state I am in.   I count myself among the lucky ones that the manic cycles last only a few days as opposed to a few months, for I fear that I would really try to fly if it lasted more than a day or so.  Yes, I am one of the lucky ones.  But to those who live with this feeling day after day, month after month, I can understand how it would be so easy to try to find a way to put an end to everything.  To make it go away.  I spent one entire year of my life in such a state and am still wondering how I lived through it.   If it were not for the support of my family and friends along with the faith in my God that He would, eventually end this state of chaos, I could not have survived it.

There is nothing wrong with feeling this way, but it is difficult to function in a normally functioning world while in this place.  It takes extreme concentration and is, on every level, exhausting.  Knowing that there are others who face the same experiences is a help, but it doesn’t make living through an ordinary day any less stressful.  It is like fighting fire with gasoline.  The more I try to contain it, the more out of control it seems to be.  As much as the hypo-manic state makes me feel invincible, I am always glad to see it come to and end, for once again, I can feel normal in the sense of what the world deems normal.  I am different.  I don’t mind that. As a matter of fact, I embrace it, but being different has its limits and I am, almost always, happy when my thoughts slow down and I feel like I am, whether I am or not, in some modicum of control. I would not change my experiences for anything, for they make me who I am, but if it were in my power, I would change the perception of myself when I am not myself.  But life is life and I live with it.  And I’m not the only one.  That brings me comfort; knowing that I am not alone in my struggles.  I am encouraged.  And so a former blog post about encouragement comes full circle.  Nothing is as powerful as the sharing of life experiences.  It connects us all; I am not alone and for that, I am grateful.

octobersaturday-151

When you don’t get to say goodbye …

it leaves a void; a hole that can never be filled, a wound that never quite heals.  No one ever thinks that the last time you see someone will be the last time you see someone.

It doesn’t matter if it is a friend, husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, child.  It just doesn’t matter.  We always expect to have the next time.

But sometimes there isn’t one.

Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn that leaves us bewildered and wondering what, if we had  been given the chance, we would have said.

I found this out myself, first-hand, a few years ago.  I said goodnight to my husband and the next morning, as I did every day, left him sleeping when I went to work.  .

I, as every day before, left him a note telling him good morning and that I loved him, but didn’t wake him because there would be plenty of time when I got home for idle chat.  While I was working and running petty, unneeded errands, he left this world and when I got home, ready to share my day with him, he was dead.

There was no next time.

No next moment.

No next day.

I was devastated.

How could something like this happen?  How could there be so many things left unsaid?  So many dreams left unfulfilled?  So many moments that never found their way into the reality of every day life?

It is disheartening to find oneself with so many unanswered questions and unsaid words of love and devotion.  It seems that as time passes, there are even more words that come to mind that, if there had been the chance, I would have said.

We, none of us, have a promise of a single minute other than the one we are currently living in.  I learned a valuable lesson that day.  I learned to say what I was thinking, speak my mind and share my heart with the ones that are important to me.

But as all things, as the world continues to turn and time continues to pass, old habits find a way of re-entering my life.  I find that there are things I want to say, but wait because I am certain that now is not the time.  Or maybe I can’t seem to find the courage to speak that which is in my heart.

Either way, it means that I really didn’t learn anything from my experience and that all the pain and sorrow I suffered was for nothing.

What is it about being human that makes us hold what we feel so close to our vest?  To keep the thoughts and wanderings in our minds, hearts and souls to ourselves because we either feel that we will be misunderstood, ridiculed or simply ignored?

What is it that makes us feel that we are less than we are simply because we doubt our own importance in an ever-changing world?

I don’t want to be that way.  I want the people I love and care about to know that I love and care about them.  I want them to know that I think about them often, sometimes daily and sometimes several times a day.  I want to have the courage to tell people when they have hurt me so that they will know what moves my heart.

Time is fleeting and life is too short, even when there aren’t extenuating circumstances.

I look at my own life and instead of embracing it for what I have learned, I compare it to the lives of those around me.  I belittle my own experiences because in my mind, they are mundane when placed side by side with others.  I make excuses to keep my thoughts to myself and find reasons not to say what I need to say.

But if I don’t say what is in my heart, then if, while I sleep, I die, those words and thoughts will die with me.  The same goes for everyone.  There isn’t always another chance, another day, another moment in time.

Sometimes the last time really is the last time.

I try, sometimes, to remember the last words I said to my husband and I can’t.  I know at some point, I told him I loved him, but did he know just how much?

Did he know how I respected him for his knowledge and contribution to my growth in life and spirit?

Did he know that I needed him?

I can only hope where he is concerned, but in the here and now, with family, friends and loved ones, I have the power to tell them what I need them to know.  The power is mine and mine alone and if I choose to keep the words to myself, then if some unknown event occurs, the power that was mine will become a weakness I will be given no choice but to live with.

Life is short.  Don’t waste a moment.  Don’t miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them, are proud of them, are happy for them, miss them, are praying for them.  Don’t let the sun set on words unsaid for there is no promise that the sun will rise on that life in the morning.

Be well, my dear ones, and give each other the words that only your heart can say.  For tomorrow may not come and then the words will have no place to go.

spiritofjim

Standing still as shattered pieces fall …

and cut me over and over is something that I know intimately, but I realized today that though I know it, I only know a little piece of it.  I have tried to imagine, even while I know I cannot fathom such an atrocity;  losing a child.  Then to realize that not only have I lost my child, but that nineteen other children were lost at the same time is immeasurable.  I find that each time I think of such a horror, I burst out in tears for those who are facing that situation even now.  Knowing that the world is mourning my loss would be of little or no consolation when faced with an empty bed in an empty room in an empty house in a now empty life.  Knowing that there were nineteen different families who found themselves in the situation I was in would bring no comfort, only more bafflement, anger and grief.  I think I would find it hard not to be bitter even as I was grateful, that there are parents everywhere holding their children safe this night.  There are no words, no gestures, no deeds of goodwill that can even begin to bring comfort after such a senseless and brutal death of a child.  No human words or gestures, anyway.    Losing a child is losing a child, be it from sickness after months of hope and prayers or because that child is taken by the hands of a madman, a stranger, who decided to gun them down in cold blood for sins that the children had not committed. The little children are innocents and because of it, the battle becomes not one against nature or sickness, but of one against evil.  It doesn’t make the loss any less painful, but it does make it different.

I have spent the better part of the evening trying to wrap my mind around what a relatively small, close-knit community must be feeling at this moment.  I have not succeeded.  Each time I picture in my mind’s eye the tiny bodies lying shot to death, I have to remind myself that I live in a country where young children are not gunned down as they attend kindergarten class.  I tell myself that surely, there has been some mistake and that twenty children were not killed for a reason known only to a madman.  I tell myself that it couldn’t possibly happen where I live and then immediately seek out my nieces and hug them so hard that they complain about it.  I find that I cannot let them go.  They squirm and complain, but letting them out my arms before I have breathed in the scent of them, touched their sweet little lips to mine and stroked their downy hair is not an option, not for a while, not until I am convinced that they are real and safe and accounted for.  Something that twenty families in a small town in Connecticut will never have the opportunity to do again.  The sorrow and pain that I feel is no more than a drop of rain in a writhing ocean compared to theirs and that in itself makes me cry even harder.  I want to help.  I want to console.  I want to encourage.  I want to bring comfort.  But it is not in my power.

I cannot comfort them with words or gestures.  Their lives have been irrevocably changed for the worse.  What likely started as a normal day for these families ended in bone-crushing sorrow and depths of despair that cannot be described within the confines of this blog.  The cries and screams of mothers and fathers will echo down every valley and soar above the highest mountains for days and weeks and years to come.  Such sorrow cannot be contained and even though I did not hear them with my ears, my heart breaks at the sound I know is there and I find myself sobbing, yet again, for what cannot be changed.

I will do the only thing I know to do for them and that is to pray for comfort in a time of sorrow so black and so deep, an abyss that seems to have no way out.  Time, it is said, is a great healer, and from personal experience, I know that to be true … but time has never had to heal me from the loss of a child and I find that while I have compassion and a deep, deep sorrow for the loss, I cannot even begin to comprehend it.

Lifting up, in the name of Jesus, those who will be unable to stand for a long time is the only recourse I have.  But stand they will and fight they will and remember they will.  The road will be difficult and strewn with landmines and  obstacles that will take them backwards more than forwards; at least for  a time.  They will never get over it, may not get past it, but hopefully, can one day, come to terms with it enough to get out of bed in the morning.

This night, as the nation and the world mourns the needless loss of little children, may we join together and pray collectively so that a veil of protection can be woven around the grieving families.  Let us tear our clothing and throw ourselves to the ground to wail for that which threatens to suffocate us.  They have suffered enough for a lifetime.  Let us pray that that they can face it tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that.

The little children are in the hands of God, but the hands of their parents are empty and their hearts are shattered.  Join me as I pray that they will be able to find some measure of comfort in some aspect of this tragedy and that in time, the memories that hurt them so deeply now will somehow bring them the comfort they seek.  I don’t know what else to do.

soaringhawk

Romans 12:21 Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

so many thoughts …

seep through the filters and barriers of my mind tonight.  Part of it is, simply because it is true, brought on by the sudden death of my Uncle.  It is not his passing that I feel so strongly, however, but the emptiness, sorrow, anger, pain and need for understanding that I know, at this moment, my Aunt is feeling.  It is at this point that I want to say to her that everything will be OK (and it will be, but it isn’t now) and that time will heal her wounds (they will, but not yet).  There are so many things that I could say to try to bring comfort where comfort can’t be found.  The comfort comes in the wee hours of the morning when a certain song comes to mind, when the tears start and a after a few hours of mind-numbing, muscle-straining, heart-shattering sobbing, there is just a little more room for healing; a small window of clarity.  One doesn’t need to have lost someone to feel this kind of soul-cleansing sorrow; it can come in many forms.  I, myself, have found myself in this place many times over the years and I can say with certainty, so have some I have known..  No one is immune and no two people deal with it the same way.  Maybe it’s not the loss of a loved one or pet to death or some other tragedy.  Maybe it is the loss of a friend due to a move, the loss of a job after many years of faithful service.  Death isn’t the only thing that can cause us to fall on our face, confused, angry, uncertain; crying out to the only One who can ease the pain and heaviness of the burden we carry.  I think it is safe to say that if someone has one human that they can lay their thoughts on without fear of judgement, admonition or abandonment, then they are, in my mind, rich beyond what they could ever hope to imagine. I find myself rich and even so, it’s not easy pouring out my innermost secrets, failings and fears.  In my minds, they are bigger and more outrageous than anything that anyone has ever heard.  But that is a fallacy.  It is a trick and when it works, it works well; debilitating those of us who fall for its folly.  Don’t be fooled.  Spirit recognizes spirit; don’t be afraid to lean on people you can trust.  Ask yourself this; if the situation were reversed, would you want to be that human?  We all, even those of us who know we’re on a journey to somewhere better than this, need human contact,  That’s how we’re wired; how we’re fearfully and wonderfully made.  Don’t let your sorrow and pain separate you to the point where you become unreachable.  Let someone you trust share the load you carry, whatever the cargo may be.

33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world

What can you do …

when you are trapped between that realm of normalcy and  insanity?   A tough question with no easy answer.  After  years of battling hours, days, even weeks of rapid cycling, I still have nothing to offer.  When those times come about, it seems that we, as beings, cease to belong to the world around us.  Everything is distorted and there is no orientation or order to any of it.  It comes down to the ability to realize what is happening and take it, as much as possible, in stride, until it passes.  I’m sure there are many people who have no idea what “rapid cycling” is and do not recognize it when people they know are going through it.  To the “normal” person, it looks like acting out or even attention seeking behavior.  Without knowledge of the situation, it would seem, and aptly so, that the person you know has become someone that you cannot comprehend.  I suppose, without actually meaning to be, this post is as much for the people who cannot fathom a place of uncertainty,  and downright dubiety than for those of us who know it more intimately than we would like.

Rapid cycling is a real and, most often, a permanent thing.  I am blessed to only have this occur once or twice a year; not so in my youth as it would happen two or three times per month and could, in the worst of times, last a week or more.   It is not uncommon for rapid cycling to last for months or even a year, but for the rest of us, the lucky ones,  rapid cycling comes with little or no trigger and can last as little as four hours.  The mood swings are awesome and completely, enigmatically  exhausting.  By the time it is over, I usually feel like I have been ran over by a very large, heavily loaded truck.  My brain is foggy, my senses slow and my reflexes, at least for a short time, are nonexistent.  In the grand scheme of things, it is not dissimilar to a seizure that lasts for hours.  Right and wrong seem to meld seamlessly and, from previous experience, it is most important to try to maintain control during one of these episodes.  After all these years, I have learned the warning signs and work very hard to isolate myself, as much as possible, until it has ran its course.

I know, without reservation, that there are others who feel the same way.  It makes me feel extremely vulnerable to speak of such things, but one person’s experience can often mean the difference between making or breaking to someone who feels the devastating, overwhelming range of emotions that define who we are at a given time.  Everyone experiences, at some point, sadness and joy, but this goes beyond that.  It is joy that is so inexplicable that jubilant takes a back seat; sadness that threatens our very being and, in the midst, every conceivable emotion in between.

I subscribe to the supposition that most adults have, at this point, learned to recognize the warning signs and may even be able to pinpoint the triggers; for that reason, this post is not directed to you.  It is directed to younger people who have thoughts and feelings that they cannot understand and find that, when trying to describe it, the people they love and trust do not understand.  It is important to know that it is likely that they will never truly understand.  They will accept you, humor you, try to get you, but unless they have experienced the phenomenon, they will not ever really and truly know what you speak of.  BUT … that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who do.

Look inside yourself, learn to know the warning signs and be aware of the consequences of rash and often, irrational choices.  Even when you feel out of control, at the core, you are in control.  The decisions and choices you make, the roads you take, the destinations you choose will all define who you are in the end.  Just because you have moments of weakness doesn’t give you free reign to make poor choices.  It is of inimitable importance that one understands the state they are in and realizes that the choices they would normally make are much, much more complicated during this time.

If I can do nothing else, I encourage everyone to learn about rapid cycling so that when faced with it, whether personally or through someone they know and love, they will understand that it isn’t something that can fixed by advice.  It can’t be fixed by instruction or direction and it has no understanding of “buckling down”.

It just is.  And, as quickly as it comes, it will end.  Have faith that God will not let you destroy yourself and know, with certainty, that this too, shall pass.  I tell you this from experience so that  you, whoever you are, will know that you are not alone.

I believe in an Awesome God and know that the experiences and trials we face will help us help others.  If I didn’t believe in God and the unshakable Spirit of Christ, then I would be certain that I was cursed.  But I am not cursed, I am me and I will make the very best of it that I can.  Be encouraged and then encourage others.  Your life will be richer for it.

Cooking for one isn’t for everybody

Cooking for one.  There are tons of books and videos on how to cook for one.  How to make a dish so that it is sized for one person with leftovers for the following day.  Well, I have news.  When you cook for one, but have leftovers for another meal, you are cooking for two, but if calling it cooking for one with leftovers is enough for you, then go with it.  When my husband was living, we cooked together.  Sometimes he would amaze me with dishes that even the finest restaurant couldn’t touch.  I told him many times that I would put him head to head against the best chefs in the country any day of the week.  Cooking was a joy and a pleasure, but then it became a chore.  I can find no pleasure in cooking anymore.  I want to.  I want to be able to concoct things from a little of this and a little of that, but I just can’t seem to find the desire.  I still have the skills and the know-how, I just don’t want to.  I don’t want to cook something that nobody but myself can smell or taste.  It is one of the odd changes that took place in my life after the death of Jim.  Cooking used to be a balm for a bad day … huge, complicated Italian or Indian dishes, Thai chicken and curry beef … but somewhere along the way, it became a burden instead of a pleasure.  At first, I felt a bit guilty, as though I were letting someone down, but then I realized that there is nothing wrong with me or the way I feel.  Can I still cook?  Sure I can, and with the best of them, but do I want to?  Very rarely.  Instead, I call my mom to see what she’s having for dinner.  Many things have changed, cooking being the least of them.  For the first time in my life, I am honestly, truly on my own.  I have no one to answer to, no one to please, no one to cook for and no one to make conversation with.  At first, it was frightening, but as time passes, it becomes liberating and I find myself embracing the thought of being alone.  I realize that while I was trying to get used to it, I got used to it.  One can’t expect to adapt overnight.  It’s been two and a half years since I lost the love of my life and I am just now starting to  live without him.  If you’re still struggling, don’t beat yourself up.  The time will come when you will realize that life goes on and you can either live it or let it pass you by.  Choose wisely.

John 16:22And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

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It’s a little like riding a bike …

Cooking.  Something that I love to do.  Something that I haven’t done more than a handful of times in the past two years.  When Jim died, the love of food that we shared caused a nearly cataclysmic reaction in my psyche.  Food itself repulsed me and I lived for nearly six months on toast-chee crackers and Nekot cookies.  I would make a grocery list and buy the ingredients to make a dish … then I would get them home, put them away and eventually, throw the stuff in the garbage after it had turned rotten in the fridge.  I would buy milk and sometimes open it and sometimes not, but it always ruined.  Bread molded before even a third of the loaf was gone.  Each of these things, in its own way, reminded me that there weren’t enough people in the house to keep the food from ruining.  I could lie and say that the thought that I could eat the food and stop being so weird never crossed my mind.  It did.  When I threw out food that I had let waste because for whatever reason, I couldn’t bring myself to cook it, it crossed my mind.  When I fed nearly full loaves of bread to the dogs, it crossed my mind.  When I had to open the jug of milk to pour it down the drain, it crossed my mind.  But as quickly as it would cross my mind, I would put it aside to deal with later.  I spoke of this anomaly many times to my mother and sister.  The need to cook and the paralyzing inability to follow through.  A couple of times, I would make something or other and feel great, nearly high, from the accomplishment.  But the high was short-lived and it would be months before I cooked anything again.

Today, I turned a corner.  A real corner.  Not one that leads into another corner, but one that turns into a long straight road without obstacles.  I stopped at the store, came home, put up the groceries and then cooked supper.  It was not very good.  It was much, even for me, who eats jalapeno peppers out of the jar, too hot.  The pan seared spinach, though a beautiful visual compliment to the red tomatoes and beautifully browned chicken, was a bad idea.  All in all, it was pretty nasty, but it was mine and though it lacked in too many things to mention, it wasn’t burned.  It reminded me of when I tried a few years ago to ride a bike.  My sister and I must have ridden 100,000 miles when we were kids and I was hoping to get back into it.  I found that somewhere over the past few decades, my center of gravity has changed and balancing was no longer second nature.  Though I knew how to ride a bike, I had to make some adjustments in myself to make up for the way that I had changed over time.  But, it came back.  Not on the first try, but eventually, I was riding like I was ten years old.  Tonight taught me that I haven’t forgotten how to cook … I’m just rusty … and while the first attempt was a definite fail, I find myself thinking about how I can adjust the way I look at food to compensate for the changes that time and circumstance have made.  It’s a little like riding a bike.