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.  


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!! 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/braininjuryradio/2014/11/27/the-science-of-happiness-holiday-stress

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Winter Blues





I think it’s time I start facing the fact that winter is here again.  I’ve never enjoyed cold weather.  As long as I can remember, I’ve been terrified of driving in the snow.  All I really feel up to doing is hiding in my house.  I know that I’ve been in a state of denial since about the middle of September. Just allowing myself to consider what is in store is actually causing a physical reaction.  I’m nauseated and very nervous.  On the cusp of a nasty panic attack. 

Approaching Thanksgiving once again, I am struck by how much I miss what used to be.  I never thought I would be in this position.  Very little family to connect with and certainly no close friends to invite over.  The only person I have even considered seeing is my dad.  I would like to invite him over, but he is in a lot of pain these days, and it might not be possible.  When he took that fall in August, I had a feeling life would change forever for all of us.

I grew up with a large family.  Four older brothers and one older sister.  Gradually, the family got larger as they married or had children.  Now, with every one of their marriages disintegrated, and a lifetime of bitterness between all of us, we will probably never spend another holiday together.  I looked forward to adding my little family to the group once Joe and I married. We are the only ones left standing.  Who would have thought?

I can’t even imagine putting up the Christmas tree this year.  I don’t know if I can do this.  Any of it.  I’m afraid.  So very scared.  I’m attempting to force my way through for the sake of my husband.  I took his family away by just my very existence.  I have lived for the moment when he opens his gifts for years.  This year, with finances not looking so good, I can’t even begin to start my online quest for a good deal.  I’m not going to lie, I am hiding all of this from everyone. 

I can’t face any more disappointed faces.  I can’t explain why “I just can’t” anymore.  I’m bored with myself and my irrational illness.  So very fed up with the various stages of uncontrollable sadness.  I know there are people out there that honestly believe that a person can just say, “I’m going to be happy” and it happens.  Maybe those people do exist, but in my world such a person is as fictitious as a unicorn or a leprechaun.  You would like to think the whimsy and wonder of such a being exists, but you’ll never see it. 

I’ve done that.  I’ve pushed the dark thoughts to the back of my mind far too many times to count.  I’ve told myself that you are going to be happy and enjoy your life starting…NOW. 

You know what happened?  Not a damn thing, because I am not one of those people. 

So, this year I guess I will just “get through” once again.  I’ll find a way because that is the only choice I have.  I can’t give up, because who knows how much time on this Earth my father has left?  I won’t give up, because the one man that means everything to me needs me to stick with it.  For those two reasons, I will make it through the winter, the holidays and the birthdays of those no longer with us.  No matter how difficult it is. 

Maybe I’ll find some joy this year.  It’s been gone for so long…maybe this year.