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

-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.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Anger Inside Me

I am angry.  Let me say that again, I AM ANGRY.  It repeats over and over again in my brain until it consumes me.  This is the type of anger that is so fierce, it’s almost as if you can see it.  You can certainly feel it.  Carrying it around as I do every single day, it now seems like a part of me.  Like another limb.  I could sit around for days and list what I have to be angry about. 

I don’t intend on doing that.  At least, at this point and time I don’t. 

I have a struggle going on inside of my brain nearly 24 hours a day.  The part of me that is desperately trying to find sense in all of these emotions keeps attempting to tell the other part of me to stop thinking about it.  You have this or that to be grateful for.  The anger has just grown too strong.  For every positive, there are 10 negatives and the common sense is beaten down until it can’t fight anymore. 

I’ve tried to reach out, to give my feelings words, to explain myself.  This isn’t helping.  It’s not even scratching the surface.  The worst part is, for a brief moment I can tell myself, this isn’t the time of year for this.  Try to find some joy in the season.  You know what that does for me?  Makes me positively irate. For the reasons I feel this way and the people who have brought me down to their level.

I’m not a stupid person.  I understand that if you wake up every single day feeling overwhelmed with anger, you are not going to be able to make your life or anyone else’s life the least bit pleasant.  That is the dilemma I face.  I’ve been mad before, furious even.  This is so different. There is a physical pain on the inside of me that just makes me want to scream as loud as I can until it’s finally gone. 

I don’t have a therapist.  This blog is my therapist.  Even if I did see a therapist, I doubt I would receive much relief at this point.  I am too stuck in the “Yeah….but…..” stage of it all.  If you come at me with a response, no matter how logical, I am going to yeah but you to death until you give up from sheer exhaustion. 
The feelings I have now make me understand revenge.  That need that builds up inside of you.  You can’t stop thinking about the desired target, or what you’ll do once you finally stand face to face with it.  My problem is, I am pretty well convinced that my target is my life.  I could backtrack and pinpoint certain people in my life. Exacting revenge against them would surely be sweet, but that is just not the kind of person I am.  All I am saying is that I get it. I understand the desire. 

With no answers in sight and the number of questions growing by the day, I know I have to find a way out of this.  My usual “coping skills”, which are not really coping skills at all, are no longer an option for me.  As I pat myself on the back for finding the courage to not turn to the darkest place I know, I find myself once again back where I started.  If it wasn’t for this, that or the other thing, I wouldn’t even have those thoughts. 

Of all the cycles I have seen in my life, this is by far the most viciousI know that I have got to find a way to stop it.  Each time I write, I try to find a silver lining of sorts.  If not that, I attempt to come to a conclusion that could possibly help me.  This is all that I have to offer: I am aware that this anger is eating away at me, at my life, at my happiness.  I will strive to do whatever I can to simply let it go.  However painful the process will be, I know that I can make it through it. 

I would take a moment now to wish you all a happy holiday season, but I know that it won’t sound sincere.  Not in my current state of mind.  Know that while I may not be filled with joy and good tidings, I do appreciate each and every one of you that has taken the time to read even one of my posts this year.  I hope you will continue to read them, but even if you don’t return again, know that I thank you.  You are what keeps me going. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My First Guest Appearance on Blog Talk Radio!

This is the archive of the show that I was on last night, November 26, 2014.  I am very proud of this, and I hope you will listen and enjoy. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!  You can post a comment here, and I'll reach out.  :-)

Thank you and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!