One Year Later

Today marks the one year anniversary of my mother’s passing and while not something to celebrate, I tend to think of it as more of a “graduation”. Like do the hard work, show up and do your best every day and then you are rewarded with a ceremony that marks the ending of one stage/event and the beginning of another. Mom showed up without fail, every day for every child and every occasion. She did more than just her portion of hard work; she worked so her parents could have a better life, so her kids could grow up and enjoy a life of relative comfort, finances aside. Now before I go makin her sound perfect, she was not, just as none of us are. But she was a force to be reckoned with if anyone crossed her. 

My mother was my best friend, my biggest fan and also my cautionary tale; if depression is left to run wild in one’s mind, the damage caused may not manifest for years but once it does, I believe that is where the dementia and memory issues are born (just my personal belief).

One year later, Mom and I still catch myself picking up the phone to call you then I remember I don’t need to call you because you are right where you’ve always been; in my heart. And there you shall stay forever and ever. Amen.

  

Things I Strongly Dislike About Being a Girl (Everyone grab your sense of humor and feminists take a Xanax and/or just relax)

1) Crying. I really thought I was over this once I went through puberty and stopping caring about That Boy. Little did I know that having your face leak is a constant for girls and women alike. We can be wearing our Prada power suit, Christian Louboutin shoes and look like solid steel, but wait until the tears start falling; immediately a strong, successful woman morphs into a hysterical female who cries at the drop of a hat. All the tough talk of independence and man-like behaviors (never let them see you sweat/cry, talking constantly in sports terms) goes right out the window. Instantly the division of the sexes is reinforced; no matter how tough the talk, the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Tears are not welcome, tolerated or even understood. Of course, I am making sweeping generalizations and I’m aware of that. I know not all men are stoic, dry-eyed and emotionless. But the majority of the ones that I have met just channel their hurt feelings and wounded pride into anger, the acceptable emotion for manly men. I get angry and somehow it’s unacceptable. Go figure. If you cry, you’re (again) a hysterical female but if you get angry you’re just a bitch. I love that kind of wacky logic. 

2) People think I’m cute. I’m physically pretty small, apparently. In my mind, I’m 6 feet tall and bulletproof, but in reality, I’m 5’5” barefooted. Not a huge, overpowering form and no, I do not strike fear in the hearts of men when I walk in a room; it’s more like, “Oh look! How cute. She must be helpless and fragile and must need someone to take care of her.” Nope, that statement is completely false. I can take care of myself and while I may not be able to lift a VW bug off someone, I have the intelligence to avoid dangerous situations. Should I find myself in one, arm myself not with guns and bullets, but with intelligence in plotting, disarm them with dimples and cripple them with my cuteness.  

3) Everything else:

• Not being able to take off my shirt on hot days

• Not being able to (effectively and neatly) pee standing up

• Not being able to go my entire life without putting a razor to my legs, armpits or whatever else women are expected to shave off. (‘nuff said on that subject)

• The obvious monthly issue that even when it ends, another wondrous event occurs – menopause. Which brings more:

• Hot flashes

• Night sweats

• Mood swings

• Anger issues

All that being said, as I near turning 50, I think I’m finally starting to embrace my girl-ness. Nothing like a strong girl growing  into a strong, beautiful woman who is beautiful because she loves herself, estrogen (or lack thereof) included.

Thanks to all of you who have lifted me up when I was down, picked me up and carried me when I couldn’t walk and gave me love when I had none for myself. 

Thanks as well to each and every soul who has fought for all Americans and allows me the freedom to write this post.

Semper Fidelis

  

Hi Ho Hi Ho It’s Off to Rehab I Go

I mentioned AA meetings and rehab in my last post and now it’s become clear that an AA meeting or two, or five, aren’t going to do the trick this time. Like the wheels coming off of a bus, my mental grip is slowly veering towards OFF. Off of rational thought, off of positivity and the desire to live a long life and grow old with a barrel full of memories; the wheel has turned and we are moving towards the road of I just want to die, there is no joy, there is no peace, what’s the point? This, as I’m sure you agree, is not a viable option or a mindset we want to nurture and encourage to grow. So I saw my good Dr. Shrink last week and being the good doctor that he is, he referred me to an intensive outpatient program at the same place I had an inpatient stay for my first Blow Out the Doors and Kick in the Walls manic phase. I love how life circles around on itself, like a snake eating its own tail. So that, along with a new medication (yes, Virginia, there IS more medication!) I hope to be able to get back to at least Functional and Operational. I can handle all the thoughts hurling around in my head, but I cannot handle not being able to control my emotions (tears and anger, like peanut butter & jelly, always together) especially at work. Feeling like I don’t really want to be alive isn’t pleasant, but at least that’s something I can keep to myself.

The other part of this is knowing that when I do go back to work, there will be comments like – ooh! A month off work! Must be nice; wish I was “bipolar ” (the quotes are mine, as there is always the underlying sense that I am faking it, just want some time off work and/or attention. Even my best friend of over 20 years doesn’t get it. I seriously doubt she has ever searched the Internet for the word bipolar disorder or even read this blog once. So my hopes for understanding and educated views on my disorder are much the same as my hopes for world peace – it would be really nice if it happened, but I’m not holding my breath. This is on me and I’ll have to be my own cheerleader. I do have friends and family who know what I’m going through and have been seated front row for the worst of it all. I have a gratitude and love towards them I cannot adequately express. They have helped me out of the darkness, gave me the light of love to guide me and have also not hesitated to use Tough Love when the situation called for it. They have reminded me that I am more than my disorder, that I am stronger than I can ever know and that I have a purpose in this life and a destiny; to quit now would take away that joy and that sense of purpose, as well as cheat those lives i might help or even save.

So, Depression, Mixed State and Mania – you are on notice, you sons o’ bitches – I’m going to deal with you, once again. I’m going to ignore any thoughts of quitting and I’m going to kick your asses AGAIN. I’ll keep kicking your asses until I can’t fight anymore and God calls me Home. So THERE!

To Blame or To Change?

“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers — but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you’re the one who has got to change.” -Katharine Hepburn

Kate said it right and as always, with no sugar-coating. Blaming is easy; it’s a natural knee jerk reaction for most people. Deflect and defend is the game. Deflect criticism (and responsibility) and defend your version of the truth. 

After yesterday’s post, which was entirely motivated by my fragile ego and my frustration at not being happy but not unhappy enough to seek real change, I came across this quote from the Great Kate. It compelled me to read my post again. I now see the blame bombs flying freely in that post, along with a king sized portion of Poor Me and more than a hint of fatalistic flavoring. The question is what do I change? What am I willing to give up in order to make this work? More than likely, a good place to start would be the Ego; take that crazy bitch out of the drivers seat, muzzle her and throw her in the trunk for a bit. If I’m as smart as most people say I am, I would choose a part of me that will not drive us all of a cliff or to the nearest bar and get back on the road that the big people drive on called Life. Get real, get it together and get over it. Life is not fair, failure is a part of growing (thank you for reminding me of that Kimberly!) and I still need to grow. I will try my best to make this work and if it doesn’t I will make a change. What the change will be, I can’t say for sure but it will not involve any blaming. 

 

Failure -or- The Art of Sucking Shit

It’s funny in a not so funny way how my previous post was all about what a difference my friend JJ made in my world and now this post is about life without JJ and as you can tell by the title – it’s not a happy, warm and fuzzy post.

I have said before that I am a recovering perfectionist and that’s mostly true; to say that I am recovering would imply that I have had a measure of success in being ok with failure, in one form or another or at the very least, substandard (or imperfect) results/behaviors, etc. No, I am not ok with it. Never have, never will be. I know I can’t be perfect but that hasn’t stopped me from trying my entire life and failing. Failing to be perfect. Failing to be able to anticipate everyone’s need, be at their beck and call, ready with that Eager Beaver expression that just screams – “I live to serve and will be the Best Person/Employee/Friend/Patient/Co-worker you could ever imagine!” Failing to be happy when I feel angry, failing to feel grateful for a job that pays very well and sucks only a tiny bit of my soul away each day; failure to Dumb Down enough so that the glaringly obvious wrongs don’t make me want to seek out the perpetrator and inflict physical harm upon their sorry ass. Failure to BE PART OF THE ______ (fill in the blank) EXPERIENCE. Failure to comply, failure to assimilate, failure to meet expectations I don’t even know exist, failure to act like I’m not bored to tears when I have to sit another hour, listening to assholes with egos talk nonsense and try to one-up the ones who are actually intelligent and thus, silent.

I guess JJ helped me a lot more than I realized; I can’t walk down the halls without looking for him; I can’t deal with the level of shit running through my head and I can’t be perfect. Oh – and I can’t drink. Ain’t that a bitch? Who doesn’t love a nice drink of (fill in the blank) at the end of a tough day/morning/afternoon? I love them at any time of day and the more the better.

So, there it is. The crux of this uncomfortable feeling in my head; failure is what awakens my little drinking monster (I like to refer to it as The Crackin’ as in, let’s get crackin’ and have some drinks already!!!) and then it just won’t shut up. The only things that will make it quiet down and go back to sleep are rehab and/or AA meetings (the more, the better) so that’s where I’m taking my loser ass right now (AA, not rehab).

One (fucking) day at a time, right??