Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thoughts




There are days when the pain in your heart is so overwhelming that you can’t think of anything else. 

With every breath, it feels as if your lungs are collapsing.  I’ve been there and back so many times before.  What could I do differently?  How could I change this piece of the puzzle?  It’s such an odd experience when you feel so empty but so full of pain at the same time.  The days are lonely.  The nights are hard.  When you sleep, you never dream of anything but grief. 

 
If actions speak louder than words, I’ll have to scream at the top of my lungs.  Words are all I have. 

For a very long time, I felt different inside.  It seemed like I could conquer my fears.  My only regret was the physical pain I had to endure, but I thought I was doing my best.  Every night, as I attempt to drift off to sleep, it hits me.  I’m terrified.  I am already so afraid of nothing and everything.  Things that haven’t even happened, things that might.  I can’t escape it. 

 
I never thought I would be so very alone in life.  I can no longer find the means to trust anyone.  I’ve been running around with my heart on a silver platter for nearly 15 years, begging someone to take just enough to fill the void, leaving what I need to give to the man I love.  Thank God for him, truly.  I hate myself that I can’t just accept our life and our love as enough.  I’m so grateful that he is in my life.  It nearly kills me that I can’t be the person that I need to be.

 
Thoughts keep running through my head.  You’ll regret this little breakdown when something bad really does happen.  Regret, regret…regret.  Why does it feel like I exist on the negative energy that word represents?  It’s so quiet here in this moment.  Yet, all I can hear is noise.  The tight feeling in my chest never seems to go away.  I’m bored with this.  Fed up with each and every emotion that grips me right now.  Why couldn’t it be something else? 

 
I’m terrified of the future, and I can’t forget the past.  I feel stuck in the present, silently willing myself to move forward, but so afraid I can’t.  I’m trying to grow and learn from my life.  But, I’ve studied this chapter a thousand times.  It never changes.  Don’t you dare try to tell me that I have to change it.  Do you know how often and how hard I’ve tried?  Every single day is a struggle in this life.  Right now I’m losing the battle, and will surely lose the war. 

 
My head is cloudy.  Words are jumbled together. Emotions are piled one on top of the other. 

Now nothing makes sense, and I can’t make the connection. 

 

Welcome to my Hell. Thank your lucky stars that you’re just visiting.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Until the End?



Once upon a time, there was a lonely young girl.  Even though she came from a large family, her siblings were all older and didn’t have time for silly games.  She spent many hours alone in her room playing with her favorite toys.  As she got older, she loved elementary school.  She liked almost everyone in her classes, and the teachers were all very nice. However, it wasn’t until 5th grade that she truly soared.  She met an extraordinary young girl with short blond hair, and eyes that made the shape of rainbows when she smiled. 

It didn’t take long for them to become inseparable.  The lonely young girl was the happiest she had ever been.  They made up games together, drew pictures, loved the same music and talked on the phone constantly.  The little blond girl lived in her subdivision, and it didn’t take long to get to her house on her bike.  They spent every weekend together.  They just laughed and laughed. 

Unfortunately, 5th grade was the only school year they spent together.  The little blond girl’s parents didn’t want to be together anymore, and she was moving away with her mom.  Even though it was only about an hour away, it felt like thousands of miles.  They sent letters every day and called each other until their parents yelled about the phone bill. 

Her father had visitation with her on the weekends, so they still spent every weekend together, and she almost always spent at least one school vacation with the little blond girl.  The young girl became lonely once again, but always took pride in her “Best Friend” with whom she shared everything.  Even as she got older and made new, very close friends, the little blond girl was always her best friend. 

Gradually, the lonely young girl began to notice that the little blond girl was changing.  When they both entered high school, they started to grow apart.  They still saw each other on the weekends, but not as often.  Every other friend that the lonely young girl had knew about the little blond girl.  They heard all of the stories and saw all of the pictures they used to take together, both of them having a love of photography.

When it was time to graduate high school, sadness came over the lonely young girl.  She hadn’t ever really like academics, and didn’t win any scholarships, or even qualify for financial aid.  While the little blond girl had a college picked out already and couldn’t wait to go. 
The lonely young girl knew nothing would be the same again, but she tried to be hopeful. 

She knew her best friend was having a great time with all of her new friends from the sporadic letters she received. 

They would get together every so often, and after some initial awkward conversation, they seemed to get right back into the swing of things. At least, for a little while.  They were changing, and the lonely young girl knew it.  They were leading two different lives, and the little blond girl just didn’t have a place for her anymore. 


As children, they had dreamt that they would grow up and live in houses next door to each other, and drive matching cars.  The little blond girl wanted children, the lonely girl did not, but they figured it would work out.  They swore they would be each other’s maid of honor in their weddings. 

The lonely girl spent a great deal of time missing the little blond girl, and clutching on to her happy memories.  Something was wrong with the lonely girl, and it was making her more and more sad.  The little blond girl didn’t seem to notice.  The lonely girl struggled in silence with a disease she couldn’t explain, let alone control.

One day the little blond girl told the lonely girl that she had met someone, and planned to get married.  She was excited for her friend.  All she ever wanted was for her to be happy.  The little blond girl started planning her wedding, and the lonely girl wondered who would be in the wedding?  Where would it be?  What color would her dress be?  She had yet to be asked to be in the wedding and was certainly not included in the wedding planning.  When the lonely girl had met someone a few years prior and began to plan her wedding, the first person she thought of and called was the little blond girl. 

One day, the lonely girl and the blond girl were spending some time together, and the little blond girl finally asked her to be in her wedding.  As a bridesmaid…and an afterthought.  The lonely girl, of course, agreed, as she still had just as much love in her heart for her friend as she ever had.  Eventually, the little blond girl announced that after she was married, she would be moving far, far away to start a new life.  The lonely girl was devastated. 

When the lonely girl finally did get married, it had to be planned quickly with not much expense, and the little blond girl wasn’t even able to attend.  However, they had grown so far apart that the lonely girl didn’t think her friend was upset in the least.  She had a whole new life.  The last time the lonely girl truly felt like she had a special place in the little blond girl’s heart was when she called her to tell her she was expecting her first child. 

Nothing was ever the same after that. The lonely girl learned to cherish any little bit of attention she received from the little blond girl and tried desperately to remain in her life. 

The lonely girl loved her friend’s family and attempted to keep in touch.  As time went on, they grew further and further apart.  Eventually, they would go months without speaking. 

The lonely girl wasn’t as much fun or outgoing as the little blond girl.  She wasn’t thin; she didn’t have a lot of money, children, or even like similar things much anymore.  She felt like a burden to her active, busy friend.  Still, if she got a card, a text message, or a phone call, she was ecstatic. 



Now at age 42, the lonely girl has become the lonely woman.  The little blond girl is now the little blond woman.  With a husband and three children, and a beautiful home in Chicago.  The lonely woman has never been able to afford to visit.  Maybe once or twice a year they will see each other for a birthday or a holiday when the blond woman comes home.  The lonely woman never feels good enough for her friend. 

While the lonely woman struggled with her disease, the death of her mother, and even her brother, she had hopes that the blond woman would reach out to her.  When the lonely woman attempted to take her own life in 2013, the blond woman did contact her husband to find out how she was.  However, the concern didn’t last long, and things returned to the way they were.

Even though she isn’t on the same level financially, physically, or intellectually, the lonely woman would reach out to her friend almost every week.  She sent her a text every time she was watching a movie.  Her friend sent photos of her children, which the lonely woman framed and hung on her wall proudly.  Such a beautiful family she had. 

It became crystal clear to the lonely girl that the blond girl had long since stopped calling her “Best Friend.”  While the lonely girl spent 30 years talking about her “Best Friend” or her “Best Friend in Chicago”.  She felt left behind and not good enough.  The blond girl had made a lot of friends in college that appeared to fill whatever gaps she might have in her life. 

Although she still tried, the lonely girl was still frequently ignored, forgotten or just plain left out of the blond girl’s life. 


Every single day, this lonely girl grieves the loss of the most amazing friendship she ever had.  It was as if we were meant to meet in 5th grade, and I never felt as if anything could keep us apart for long.  However, I have had no choice but to step back.  It has been far too painful to be left so far behind.  It kills me to know that the last 30 years, I put all of my heart and soul into quite frankly loving this woman more than a sister, and I have barely been an afterthought.  To the little blond girl, you know who you are.  I miss what we once were to each other.  I’ve always been proud to be able to say I’ve had you for a best friend since 5th grade.  But, that’s not true anymore is it? I guess life got in the way.  That may be true, but I firmly believe that if you love and care for someone, you are never too busy to connect with them on some level. It is true, I stopped texting, emailing, sending cards…all of it.  Do you want to know why?  Because it didn’t seem to matter to you anymore. I’ll always love you and cherish our memories.  I truly wish we had gotten to fulfill that dream of moving next door to each other, driving matching cars.  If you ever need me, I’ll be here…but I can’t face the pain of rejection any longer. 


I love you, and I wish you nothing but happiness. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Devastating Defeat

I have spent the better part of the last 4 months driving my husband crazy, making sure he checked the mail every single day, without fail.  I was expecting something that I thought was going to change my life.  I hoped it would change a lot of lives.  Perhaps, it would make ours better.  I would have finally achieved a goal that I had been trying to obtain since I was in third grade.  On November 1, 2014 a publishing company told me that they had every intention of publishing my book.  They welcomed me to the family and told me that my contract would be on the way.

At first, I checked in with my contact frequently.  Eventually, I would email him at the first of every month because I still hadn’t received my contract.  I was promised every time, that despite some difficulties they were having, they had not forgotten about me.  I was still going to be published. 

I held onto that.  Probably for much longer than I should have.  Finally, after reaching out once again on March 2nd, five months after first being notified of the deal, I received an email from someone I’ve never spoken to before.  She indicated that despite what I had been told, there was no contract and there never would be.  Even if they wanted to publish my book, they couldn’t because they don’t publish those types of books anymore.  Good luck. 

It was gone.  My dream was smashed into a million pieces, and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.  I had absolutely no hope.  I cried off and on for 3 days.  I still cry at the drop of a hat.  The few people that responded when I posted the news online, really didn’t comprehend the magnitude of the situation.  They don’t understand that telling me not to give up, or to publish it myself isn’t helping.  It isn’t as if I sought out one publishing company and when it fell through, I gave up.  Initially, I did try to publish it myself.  This costs money that we don’t have.  I was able to secure a few donations, but I never made a profit on the book, and honestly it was a joke.  It wasn’t professional, and my work needed more editing. 

After that, I had someone who was a publisher that I was working with.  This proved to be a frustrating and insulting experience.  I finally told her that we had to part ways.  For nearly a year after that, I contacted other publishing companies and was either turned down, or discovered that they would charge me thousands of dollars to publish my book.  This company was my last hope in every way. 

Every single day, I wonder what my husband’s life would have been like had he not married me.  Someone with a disease that they have no control over.  Someone who is often looked down upon and someone who is often forced to question the validity of the condition they suffer from.  This dream I had would have made it possible for me to never have to question myself again.  I know I could have helped people, and I know I could have helped me. 

I sit in my room every day and think.  I look back on all of the people that were once in my life, but aren’t anymore.  I think about all of the people that I once counted on.  People that I would have done anything for, and I often did.  Yes, there were times when I wasn’t the perfect friend, but I was loyal to them, and I was there for them.  I don’t know those people anymore. I have no family to reach out to.  For a short time, I thought I might be able to rally some people together to help me, and when I tried I was met with only a deafening silence. 

My heart breaks for all the time I have lost in this life trying to be a better friend, the better sister, better aunt…better wife.  I can’t burden my dad with all of this, he has far too much to deal with already.  I have my husband, and by God I am so grateful for that, but it’s times like this that I would give anything to have a real, honest, I’ll be right over friend.  Even a text message would help.  Someone that could be broken-hearted and outraged, even if they were pretending just for me. 

In a few weeks, I’m going to be 42.  I never thought I would be so alone.  I purposely sat down and tried to look into the future.  What do I have on the horizon?  What can I look forward to?  What can I plan for?  Hope for?  Nothing.  I have no idea where I’m going, or what will happen next.  At a time when I can barely get out of bed or stop crying for an hour at a time, I am once again questioning myself.  I was a fool for believing that I was good enough to make this happen.  I won’t even put writer on my profiles anymore.  Being able to form a sentence, or tell a story doesn’t a writer make. 

It’s been a long time since I have been this low.  In my future, all I see is more loss and heartache.  One day, my dad.  One day, my babies.  None of them will be here forever.  I’m alone except for my husband that I wish I hadn’t dragged into this screwed up mess of a life.

It hurts.  I am physically in as much pain as I am emotionally.  The sad truth is, all I can imagine is people reading this, thinking “Oh boo hoo…get over it”.  Believe me, if it were an option I would get over it immediately, but it’s not.  Am I feeling sorry for myself?  Yes, probably.  Do I deserve to?  Of course I do…and I really don’t give a shit if you don’t agree. 

If you can’t be here for me during this time, then I don’t need you in my life.  I’m hurt, I’m angry, I’m heartbroken and devastated.  I would expect that anyone that really cared could respect that.  I wrote this blog for me and only for me.  To help get some of this off my chest so I don’t have to carry it around with me.  I’m sorry if you don’t like it, but sometimes the truth hurts.  

I have yet to determine whether I will keep writing after this.  With each post, I always had my eye on the prize.  This would be a book one day, and I would live my dream.  Now I wonder if I was simply experiencing delusions of grandeur.  I have put myself out there.  Told my life story, and it was rejected.  Do you have any idea what that feels like?  I opened wounds that needed to stay closed in hopes that my story would make a difference.  Perhaps, on a small scale it made some sort of difference, but on a larger scale?  Quite simply, I failed.  Now I have to live with that. 



Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Chill in the Air





The cold winds pass through me and the days seem to drag
The pain I had hoped I could hide returns
Even when the sun shines, I feel lost in my thoughts
The best part of me seems to have drifted away
Always alone with my feelings, I am so painfully aware
I am met with silence when I long for laughter
I love like no one ever has
I hurt like I hoped I would never
My brain works overtime when my heart is broken
I look back at the life of the party and wonder why
Age, time, regret, grief, pain
It all steals my joy
My hopes and dreams are shattered
It takes all of my remaining energy just to be
Lonely.


-Rebecca Lombardo

Thursday, February 12, 2015

From A Distance



Most people are aware of the fact that I hate birthdays.  I hate getting older and I hate losing people that I love because they have gotten older.  It is also not lost on me that some of the most horrible things that have ever happened to me occurred on my birthday.  So, when I start to consider the possibilities of having a birthday party, I’m torn.  Perhaps I should just let this one go this year.  42 really isn’t a special number.  Then a part of me remembers that I could have not made it to this age, and I would like to celebrate that fact. 

In my head, I start to make up a guest list.  However, when I put it to paper, I am overcome by a harsh realization.  Anyone that I would possibly invite to a party, well honestly they are Joe’s friends.  Of course, over time they have become my friends, and for that I am grateful.  Yet, I can recall a time when I had a relatively long list of my own friends that I brought into the marriage that I could invite.  Those people have long since left my life. 

I have one friend, but she lives out of state and probably wouldn’t be able to make it.  It’s easier for me to tell myself that because if she said no, I would certainly feel rejected by my only friend.  This is what keeps me awake at night.  Have I spent so much of my life pushing people away, that there is quite simply, no one left?  Am I really that horrible of a person?  Don’t I possess any redeeming qualities at all?

I know I am quick to anger and accuse.  So many people have hurt me in the past, I can’t help but expect the worst.  Perhaps I spend so much time assuming that they can’t help but buckle under my expectations.

Do I push everyone away?  Is it easier for me to face life not ever having to compromise when I surely don’t want to?  I have no family nearby that I speak to, except my father.  He’s 85 now and quite possibly may have dementia.  Everyone else is out of state or cut out of my life.  It’s times like this that I question everything.  Why am I not good enough? 

I’ve given people that have hurt me chance after chance.  The outcome was always the same.  They hurt me again.  I’ve spoken of it often, but my suicide attempt in 2013 most assuredly scared off several friends.  Even those that had been around for 20 or more years.  I came out of the hospital to discover that I had lost several close friends due to my mental illness.  At this point, I’m really not sure which way is up.  

I would never want anyone that I do consider a friend to think that I didn’t care about them or respect our relationship.  Of course, I do.  I simply don’t have anyone in my life that I frequently see or spend time with.  Some of the people I consider close friends, I’ve never even met.  What does that say about me?  Am I just better from a distance?

When I begin to second guess all of my choices, and start to miss those that have departed, I have to slap myself back to reality.  I am aware that there was a reason for all of this, it’s just hard to see when you are so very lonely and sad.  I frequently tell myself that I let people go to preserve what is left of my sanity.  It’s true. I’ve committed myself to the belief that I would rather spend my days with my husband and my cats.

Perhaps I just need to accept that this is my life.  I have allowed this to happen.  I need to take full responsibility for my actions.  I guess the hardest part about this whole situation is knowing that I let people walk into my life, stomp all over me and then strut all the way back out again.  It’s stupid really.  I guess I just look back to the house full of people we had here for Christmas a few years ago, and wonder where I went wrong. 

To our friends that have stuck by me, thank you.  I don’t know where I would be without you.  Your support and love has not gone unnoticed.  I promise to use my past mistakes as lessons and try very hard not to push you away. 



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Love In A Bipolar World


When you find that special person that you know you want to spend the rest of your life with, you have to consider a lot of factors.  If you are bipolar, the list of considerations changes quite a bit.  Should you tell that person up front?  Will it scare them away?  What if you don’t tell them, and you experience depression, anxiety, even mania?  

I know in my situation, I met a couple of guys before I met my husband, and I was always brutally honest.  I never kept my condition from anyone.  I was sure to make it clear that there was nothing easy about my situation, and there would be ups and downs.  If the discussion ever warranted, I also made sure that they knew that kids were not in my future. 

Some seemed to think they could handle it, but truthfully couldn’t.  The first time my depression kicked in, they stopped calling.  Others were long gone before I finished the words, bipolar disorder.  Joe was different from the start.  He was kind and caring.  He seemed to accept my issues.  He came from a strong Catholic background, and I knew it would be hard to sell me to his parents.  Particularly with no grandchildren in the mix. 

It didn’t take very long for Joe to realize that perhaps I wasn’t right for him.  He suddenly dropped out of the picture, and I was left confused and alone.  I hoped my disease wasn’t what scared him off, but deep down, I knew it was.  Not many people know that about us.  Our first time trying to make a go of it, we just didn’t click.  I suffered through a series of mentally and sometimes physically abusive relationships after that.  I convinced myself that this was the best I could do. 

In May 2001, Joe started calling again.  I was guarded because I didn’t want the past to repeat itself.  My parents were thrilled, especially my mom.  She had always liked Joe and she was constantly worried about the other guys I chose to spend my time with. 

Joe confessed to me that he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about me.  That a couple of years earlier, he wasn’t grown up enough to understand what challenges I would bring to the table. We worked harder at a relationship this time around, and by the end of July we were talking about marriage and moving in together. 

When I look back on my failed relationships, I absolutely cringe.  I never should have settled for the pain and heartache I had to endure.  My self-esteem was so far in the toilet.  I just knew that since I wasn’t truly good enough for anyone, that men could treat me as such.  I just accepted it.  After you subject yourself to this for years, if something good comes along, you can hardly recognize it, let alone believe it’s actually happening. 

I’m here to tell you that you do not have to allow yourself to be treated like you aren’t worth it.  You are not broken, useless or a failure.  You have just as much to offer this world as anyone who doesn’t suffer from mental illness.  There will probably always be that little voice inside your head telling you that this one is going to walk out on you too.  Don’t let that voice take over! 

Relationships are hard for anyone.  They are even more difficult on those of us with bipolar.  I’m not going to tell you that it’s always perfect.  Once you find the love of your life, it’s pretty damn close.  Honesty, communication, and laughter.  You must have all of these.  Talk about your feelings!  Give them a voice.  Know that your spouse loves you for you, and for the happiness you bring into their life.  When you get down, don’t do what I’ve done in the past and offer them a way out.  It hurts them more than it hurts you. 

Anything worth fighting for is hard work, we all know this.  When you find love and acceptance in the eyes of your best friend, you will know true happiness.  Don’t doubt yourself or your relationship.  You will, of course, have ups and downs, there is no way around that.  Everyone does!  Yours will be a different set of challenges, and you must be realistic about that.  Just know that you can do this. 


All of my life, I have struggled to find something that I am actually good at.  I have finally found it.  Loving my husband so completely is my calling in life.  He means everything to me, and I can only hope that each and every person reading this can find that as well.  Being married with mental illness is not impossible.  It takes work, but it is more than worth it.  


August 3, 2001

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Am I Manic?



I’m in a good place right now.  It isn’t often that I get to say that, and certainly never out loud.  When most people get up in the morning feeling good, they understand that they’re in a good mood, and never give it a second thought.  Most people never have to stop to wonder, they just know.  There’s a part of me that will always question whether or not I am heading into a manic episode, otherwise known as mania. 

I’m laughing a lot, sometimes at nonsensical things.  I’m staying up too late, walking around singing, and reminiscing about the good old days.  Quite possibly, I am in denial about a few things too.  I’m getting a lot done during the day, and I seem to have a lot of energy out of nowhere. 

Mania is defined as - mental illness marked by periods of great excitement, euphoria, delusions, and over-activity.  I know for certain a few of those apply to me at this point. So, the question remains…should I continue to question where I’m at, because inevitably there will be a crash, or do I just go with it, and enjoy the ride?  

How I wish I didn’t have to spend every day of my life interpreting my own moods, and trying to plan for the possibilities.  Yet, this is my life and like it or not, these are the cards I’ve been dealt.  It’s the crash I fear most of all.  There’s no considering if it will happen, only when and how badly.  As my thoughts begin to race, I have more and more trouble focusing on the task at hand. 

Someday perhaps very soon, I will find myself deep in the depths of despair.  I don’t mean to sound as if I am dwelling on that eventuality, but I must force myself to be realistic and prepare for the worst.  I worry the most for my husband, who has been able to reap the benefits of my heightened mood, but will also suffer the consequences of my depression.  What a tangled web this disease weaves.  Being happy but not being able to enjoy the happiness?  Well, that’s borderline ridiculous.  Sometimes being so self-aware is a curse in itself. 

Today I can safely say that while I know in my heart that I have entered a state of mania, I truly and wholeheartedly fear for my future.  I will push those feelings to the back of my mind once again, and just hope.  Sometimes that is all I have to hold onto is hope. 


I will continue to be optimistic about what 2015 holds for me, but at the same time I am guarded.  This could be one of the worst years of my life, or it could be a great year.  It simply depends on the sequence of events. I won’t attempt to predict the future.  For now, I will continue to live my life the best I know how, and try my best not to be so hard on myself.