Still Me

During the week, I am almost free, close to unencumbered, a lighter version of myself. Then the weekend comes around and H comes back from work, and it’s like I’m under a guillotine, waiting for my head to be lopped off. There are drastic changes in me from someone who is mostly happy to someone who is mostly panicked and on edge. The see-sawing back and forth between being okay and being so far from okay is driving me insane.

I want to be permanently free. I want to be free of him, free to be myself, to dance in the rain like I did once all those years ago. Naked, bare feet digging into the sand. I want to be free to learn again, to sharpen my mind and to wake up from this intellectual and emotional slumber. I’ve spent too many years pretending to be okay, spent too many years lying to everyone I love about who and how I am.

I come here because I am a coward, because it’s easier to put things down in words when no one you know will judge you for saying that you’re miserable in your marriage, that your life’s become a sham, a sad shadow of what it once was and of what it will be. Because that’s just it: I know that this isn’t the end for me. A friend of mine told me recently that, although this section of my life is ending, it doesn’t mean that my life itself is ending. This is just the beginning of a new chapter.

Who will I be in my next chapter? Still me, but more compassionate. Still me, but kinder. Still me, but without the ceaseless challenges of trying to please everyone in my life. Still me, but more spiritual. Still me, but writing and submitting my works for publication. See? Still me, just a more vibrant, more alive me. Hopefully also still me, but a better cook. I say it partly in jest, but I would like to eat better in the next chapter of my life.

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inside my mind

late night and anger flashes 
fast as lightning, 
a steady staccato 
like a strobe light 
unnerving and disorienting

I am left 
with spots in my vision
left reeling and recoiling
damaged and distressed

I fight the demons
punching and kicking
pushing back 
against the fear 
that the nightmares inside me 
will win

late night 
and the monsters 
break their chains, 
fierce and teethed
with talons and fangs
they tear into me

and all I can do  
is keep fighting this battle
that blasts like thunder
inside my mind

a coping skills kinda day

Sometimes it feels like the Bipolar is destroying me. 
Sometimes it feels like I'm losing all control. 
Today is one of those days. 

I'm on medication, which has been (literally) lifesaving. 
I've gone from sleepless nights and long manic trips 
followed by debilitating bouts with depression 
to a more mellow, more leveled out kind of me. 

Lately, however, it feels like the Bipolar is winning. 
I think it may be time to adjust my medication again, 
because the insomnia's getting worse, 
and I feel like I'm losing myself, 
losing the good parts of me under all the tension, 
the anxiety, the frustration and the roller coaster moods. 

When things are stable, when I feel more in control, 
I'm not so angry and irritable, not so mad at life, 
not so jealous of people who aren't Bipolar I, 
people who don't have to fight the demons I have to. 

I want to be able to be both stable and passionate, 
both emotional and in control. What I don't know 
is if that is even possible. I heard somewhere 
that living with Bipolar I requires a lifetime 
of tweaking the medication, of going to therapy, 
of avoiding triggers and trying to be healthy. 

I suppose, for me, that's been true. I was diagnosed
years ago, and I've been going to therapy religiously, 
taking my medication mostly non-sporadically, 
seeing my psych on a regular basis and refraining
from indulging in any number of things that trigger
episodes-- things like casual sex or drinking. 

I suppose I just needed to get some of this gunk 
out of my mind. I needed to put down in words 
that I'm irritated, that I'm frustrated, 
that I struggle to feel like I'm an okay person  
when the moods make me feel like I'm failing, 
like I'm always on the edge about to fall off. 

Today is a coping skills kinda day, 
a day when I screen my phone calls and order out, 
a day when I try my damnedest to be gentle with myself. 

It's going to be okay. I'm not suicidal. 
That's always a plus. I'll pull it together, 
and go back to my usual zany self. 
But right now? Right now I am going to curl up 
with some music and lock myself
away from the world for a while.