moving poetry

In case anyone is still reading … I have quite a few poems posted in this blog and in the menu pages above. I don’t want these to get lost in the mountains of words here, so I am moving the poetry and stories to a new site. It’s called “Fish Tales From The Deep” (not very clever, but I had to take whatever WordPress gave me). I hope to eventually mix in some stuff I haven’t posted yet, including whatever I can find in the old blogs and on the hard drive. Thanks in advance for checking it out.

home again

Trigger warning, I’m talking about suicide here.

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Nicole came home from the hospital last night, and she will be back in her p-doc’s day program starting Monday. She is medicated again, and I hope she will stay that way.

I know there are people with mental illnesses who believe they can be well without the pills, that coping skills and a support network can be enough for them. That is good for them, but I definitely need the drugs. Without them I would be in the same condition as in 2004-2006 when I was bordering on my own psychosis, I was suicidal, and I ended up in the hospital.

In Nicole’s case, having schizoaffective disorder, a lack of medication leads directly to another episode where she is not in touch with reality or logical thinking. That faulty logic leads her to the conclusion that suicide is the best option for her. That is scary for me and Mrs. Fish, and potentially deadly for Nicole. In that state of mind, a snap decision at the wrong moment could lead to fatal consequences.

I think she is like me in thinking that life with illness is really difficult. Several days ago, in her unmedicated state, she said she gets the sense from me that life is too tough to handle, and that I wouldn’t mind giving up. What she said is partially true. It is tough to live with my bipolar, and some days I wish I could give up (as I have written here before). Even on medication, I sometimes wish I was dead, but I don’t have a desire to act on those thoughts.

I know that despite the shit life gives everyone, there is too much goodness and beauty in the world to give it up. I forget this sometimes, but then a little reminder appears. I laugh in the middle of a bad day, or I see the colors of a sunset, or a squeeze play brings a runner home from 3rd base, or I see a snapping turtle while hiking, or I visit someplace I never thought I would see.

This is why I will continue to do everything I can to keep Nicole alive, whether she likes it or not. She still hasn’t learned to do this on her own, but I hope eventually she will.

a tough pill to swallow

Nicole is back in the hospital again. To summarize, she stopped taking her meds again, she had a severe depression and/or psychotic episode, she was clearly suicidal, and her doctor had her admitted.

We went to visit her, and she seemed better, but then we got into the discussion about behaviors that absolutely need to be addressed when she gets out. After arguing for about 30 minutes, the end result was her saying in a logical, clear-headed manner, that living life is not really worth the effort because of her resentment toward me.

I would like to think that is the lack of medicine talking, but I don’t think so. She has come to the logical conclusion that she doesn’t want to live, and that scares me. We can’t allow her behavior pattern to continue, but we are living with the fear that she will hurt herself if we push too hard.

I’m just lost right now. We have talked about family therapy, and I think we need it badly. But if Nicole won’t change and continues to talk about suicide every time we disagree about things, I don’t know how this will end. I’m not very hopeful at the moment.

rock limbo for spatial butterflies

In the past couple of years I have been afflicted with short fugue-like states where my brain simply refuses to work on any level. It’s more than just not being able to concentrate, it is a period of confusing, random, rapid-fire thoughts that flow through my brain like a series of rapids on a churning river. Usually it is manageable, but sometimes it is almost chaotic enough to cause a little panic. I feel powerless to stop these states. I’m not asleep, but afterward I feel like I have awoken from a disturbing dream, or maybe a seizure. There have been times when just before this state ends, I will reach out and grab hold of some thread of thought, and it sticks with me afterward. This results in strange imagery (which sometimes inspires a poem) or some random tangle of words that have no apparent meaning (like the title of this post).

This usually happens when I am mentally tired, sometimes at home and (more problematic) sometimes at work. When I am at home, I find myself sitting for maybe a half hour or more, moving very little, and maybe being aware of reality for a moment or two before sinking back into the fugue. When I am working, I am able to subconsciously keep myself just aware enough to click the mouse button on something to keep the screensaver from appearing (so I don’t look like I have been doing nothing for 15 minutes).

I’m interested by that feeling of perhaps waking from a seizure. Lamictal is originally an anti-convulsant drug intended for treatment of seizures. Drugs.com says that common side-effects include seizure exacerbation and confusion. In addition to these random thought fugues, I have times where I have tics that I can’t stop, and when they cease, it feels like waking up from a state of reduced consciousness. I’m not sure how these are related, but it feels like they are somehow.

escape

This town doesn’t need a name, it’s just a place on the road to somewhere else. It’s not a destination, it’s a part of the map that people avoid. This place is a starting point for some people, a purgatory for others, and a finish line for too many. Youthful dreams and old memories die here, and the cemeteries are filled with restless spirits who could never get away. Those who stay are forever scarred by the desolation of this town, a place where hope withers in the parched landscape. Those who do escape have a dark spot on their memory burned away by the searing summer sun.

And yet … something calls me back to the place it all began. Someday I will visit again, and part of me will die a little more.

haunted

I am haunted by the ghosts of the friendships I either pushed away or slowly allowed to slide into the past.

I have been so insecure that I am afraid of their rejection. I dislike myself so much that I can’t see why anyone would like me. My self-loathing, which is the result of years of emotional abuse and awkward social interactions, makes me shun the human interaction I am finally wanting again.

Maybe I try Fakebook again and reconnect with my old friends and see what happens. The biggest reason I hate Fakebook so much is because it reminds me of what I used to have, what I gave up, and what I need again.

Maybe just individual emails are the way to go with the people I truly miss. But how can I possibly have enough confidence to put myself in a vulnerable position, writing to long lost friends in the hope they don’t reject me, trying to not be too deep or nostalgic or inappropriately emotional, and yet being myself?

I like my friends that I had in the eighties, but what if it turns out I don’t like the people they have become today? I’m such a different person than I was 30 years ago, and maybe they won’t like me either.

Maybe I need all new friends instead, but again with the insecurity and lack of confidence.

I won’t solve this overnight, but maybe I can try a little every day.

do-over

I am probably a horrible person for saying this, but I would give up anything to have a do-over, to live a life without bipolar disorder. I know that everything I have ever done or felt or experienced would all be gone, and I would be okay with that. The people in my life would have never known me, and my memories of them would not exist. A new set of challenges and problems perhaps, but I would roll the dice and see what happens.

I know everyone has their own problems and circumstances, but I get really crushed when I see people around me at work or on Fakebook with their seemingly perfect lives, overachieving kids, career successes, awesome adventures, and so much more. I wonder what it would be like to trade places with high school classmates, maybe Laura or David or Lisa or Charlie, and see how they deal with the things I worry about on a daily basis.

There are always a handful of life-changing events in a person’s past, moments where the decision affects everything that happened in the future. Most illnesses never give you that choice, they just happen no matter what you do. Cancer, bipolar, dementia, leukemia, birth defects … all caused by a glitch in a the DNA that relies on trillions of chemical reactions to be successful. One error in the wrong place can fuck up a person’s life, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

another “about me” page

I had intended to share my story on another blog that accepts guest posts related to individuals’ mental health experience. However the post became too long and bitter and self-pitying. There’s no reason to inflict my bleak outlook on life upon innocent people. On the other hand, you can choose your own reading adventure.

My post is “my bipolar future“, under the “about me” menu above.

I’m sure it comes across as rambling and incoherent, which pretty much sums up my life and my writing. I’ve been blogging about my life with bipolar for 12 years. Surely somewhere in that mountain of words is something profound and enlightened, and maybe you could find it if you searched.

If you are interested, you could always look at ancient entries at Prehistoric Fish Tales.

eggshells and anger

During an argument the other day, my daughter told me I am afraid of my wife being upset. She said that is the reason I try to do everything possible to prevent my wife from feeling aggravated, not in a caring way but defensively.

I told her to analyze someone else and clean her fucking room … but maybe she is on to something. Sometimes I find myself acting rather obsequious right when my wife gets home from a long workday, as if I am trying to gain her favor by demonstrating that I accomplished stuff outside, or cleaned inside, or did some chores. There are lots of things I can’t talk about for fear of causing her to get stressed or angry.

Am I that afraid of other people’s negative emotions that I will do anything to avoid them? I have certainly spent a lot of time walking on eggshells around other people, whether the OB, my a-mom, my wife, or my daughter. My tendency is to hide, or choose my words carefully, or do something to gain favor or make the other person forget about being upset.

I have never been confident enough in my own feelings to be able to say what I want, for fear the other person will get upset or reject me. There was a girl I was friends with but I wanted more; talking to her was like trying to coax a skittish cat to come closer. I never really told her what I wanted, and she never got any closer to me.

I must be afraid of other people’s feelings, to the point where I suppress my own for the sake of avoiding confrontation or anger or rejection. Instead of acknowledging the value of my feelings, I roll over and subjugate my needs. My b-mom is an example where instead of being direct and telling her I don’t need a relationship with her, I choose to hide that my feeling so I don’t hurt her by pushing her a little further away.

And then a realization hits me: I act this way to everyone except for my son. With him, I am much more direct and sometimes confrontational (although rarely in a rude or aggressive way). Maybe subconsciously I feel like I have no control over anyone else, but somehow I can control him? This makes no sense, since he is an adult now, and I don’t try to treat him differently, but maybe I do.

bitterness and frustration

The urge to run away grows stronger every day.

I try to tell people things they need to hear, and they won’t listen. I know things that need to get done, but everyone works against me because they have their own agenda. I try to save money, but more expenses appear, mostly medical bills. I want to do things, but I get sabotaged or I am too lazy. People push my boundaries at work and have no clue that I am struggling inside. I have become afraid of thunderstorms, and I obsess about being crushed by a tree. I have had a tension headache for over a week, and nothing will take it away. I’ve been angry but I bottle everything inside because I’m told that I’m lashing out and dealing with the situation in an unhealthy way. I have a child who won’t do anything to take responsibility for her own life; she simply wants everything to be handed to her with no effort on her part, and refuses to make any positive changes for herself.

How did life get so fucking complicated?

But that’s not important. Just pretend everything is a-ok, suck it up, and keep working.

No wonder I want to run away, or have the inevitable heart attack and die.