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When Some Part of Your Life Seems Beyond Your Control

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God delays, but doesn’t forget.”  — Spanish Proverb

 

Each month, I find it more difficult to meet my expenses until the end of the month, on my fixed income. As each month’s end grows closer and I find myself without enough funds for essentials like food and medications, I find myself sinking into a dark hole of depression and anxiety. I worry that I’ll become severely ill, as happened last year, spending months in the hospital. In today’s still lingering economic downturn, it’s frustrating for anyone who has lost a job or met financial setbacks.  Those of us facing financial difficulty suddenly feel curtailed, with the rhythm of our lives changed in a way we never anticipated.  But the Universe slows us down for a reason.

There can be gifts in adversity.  They can give us some much-needed time alone, time to think.  Being alone gives us the chance to find ourselves in a new way.  We may be surprised to find some previously unknown inner resources.  A period of waiting through adversity can also turn us to our Higher Power, God, or the Universe when the solace we need is beyond the capacity of people to give.

It’s challenging to be able to do nothing when the world tells us that we must take action.  When action isn’t possible, accepting the circumstances of our lives enables us to experience the value of being, and not doing.

 


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Gemini ~ Naturally Bipolar and Anxious

 

I am bipolar and within the last year or so, have begun to experience severe anxiety and panic. In late December I had meltdown of incredible proportions. The extreme anxiety disorder is new for me; haunting me for a little more than a year now. Anxiety so strong, and triggered by the actions of my partner. For several years, he has promulgated a new behavior, “Babe, I’m just running up to the 7 Eleven to get some cigarettes; I’ll be back in twenty-five minutes.” As he walks out the door I always say, “Take your cell phone with you,” which he already has in hand.

That promised “twenty-five minutes” turns out to be days that he is away from home, not answering his cell phone or even calling. I refer to it as my partner “going missing.” My reaction begins with worry. Then I may happen upon something on the computer exposing the person he would be meeting and what they would be doing. A friend of mine has a husband who has nearly same behavior. She calls this type a “player” explaining that these types of men want to still run the streets, cheat on their partners or spouses. The “player” behavior is incongruent with the committed relationship my partner and I have. This friend’s advice to me was to be proud that it is me he eventually comes home to, giving me parts of himself his hookups never see. To this I say, “bullshit.”

Player my ass. My worry then turns to anger. I can’t sleep. I start calling my partner’s phone over and over. He calls it “psycho dialing.” The anger then turns to tears. I cry as I wander through the house, “What did I do wrong? I didn’t do anything wrong.” My speech becomes so slurred and difficult to understand that it has been described as though I had a stroke. Lately, I noticed a pain in my chest along with a rapid and what I describe as “fluttering” heart. Irritability for me is a sign that I am swinging toward the maniacal part of bipolar. Then deep depression, laced with that wicked anxiety and panic. I began taking a prescribed anti-anxiety medication called Ativan. I was eating it like candy.

This most recent December meltdown grew so out of control I felt as though the only way to be free of it would come through ending my life. I have been in this cold place before and placed a call to the behavioral health crisis line associated with my health insurance. I was referred to the Maricopa County Hospital. There I was checked out and cleared medically and it was suggested I sign myself in to St. Luke’s Behavioral Health. I’ve been there before too. St. Luke’s worked for me before. Back in 2005 I nearly ended my life with a mantra in my head, “I hate my life, I hate my life.” After two months they helped me see the world differently and I left there with a new mantra, “I love my life, I love my life!” I felt safe returning there.

I worked hard over the next three weeks, finding that each time I told my story, I felt more at ease and could see the flaws in my relationship. I realize the degree of my co-dependency and made a commitment to attend CODA (a twelve step group for co-dependents). I was placed under the care of the psychiatrist who followed me last admission. He wanted to take my treatment further than I agreed to last time. In my first admission, he suggested ECT (Electro Convulsive Treatment.) I refused it then because of the loss of one’s short-term memory as a side effect of the treatment. But this time felt different to me and I agreed to begin the treatment.

Finally. Something is Changing. I’m Beginning to Feel Better!

 

 

 

Finally. Something is Changing. I’m Beginning to Feel Better!

 

In the last couple of days, I really feel as though I’m wriggling free of this constant, lingering depression that I’ve been trying to cope with. Everyone around me, close to me, has seen my mood swings, my apathetic attitude, and the inability to summon up any motivation or initiative. I’m feeling better, and that’s telling me that this round may soon be over.

 

It’s important to me though to know what I’m doing that’s helping. I know that my interactions with Christopher have been much healthier – on both our parts. He’s not overreacting to what I tell him, and he’s also trying very hard to speak more quietly and not in his usual bullying way. He’s also been more cognizant of his expressions of love to me. His words are not at all hollow sounding or out of routine, but rather filled with tenderness accompanied by his touch. Christopher has also been lightening up some more stressful moments through humor, and that has helped me as well. I really have to hand it to him for his efforts. I’m very proud of him.

 

And as for my tools that I’ve been using, I have to say that I am communicating my feelings more. Not just to Christopher, but also to Vickie, Ralph, Joel and even Deshawn. I feel I have some true allies in my little group, and I feel loved. I believe also that having had Deshawn living with us for ten days contributed to my stress, anxiety and to the depressive state I was in. I don’t feel I am capable the way I used to be with Nathan, to raise a special needs kid. It took so much out of me while he was here. I don’t feel I did a very good job either. I forgot to make sure he took his meds one morning and he had a really bad day at school. Everyday at school was pretty bad while he was here. Deshawn also started some new behaviors which we weren’t prepared for. The first was a series of a very bad temper tantrum. He also began just “taking off”. He’d get angry with either Christopher or me, and then just leave. He wouldn’t always leave through the front door either. Sometimes, he’d sneak out the patio doors and jump the privacy wall.

 

So in looking at the contributing factors that helped begin some lifting of the depression, Christopher has made some very important strides in relating with me and communicating with me much more appropriately. I was able to complete the respite for Vickie, and felt a lot of relief with Deshawn back in his own apartment. I now know not to commit to something like that, especially for such a long period of time. I’m not the same person I used to be. I have some health and emotional challenges that require me to cope a little bit differently. Finally, just having some healthy people loving me and supporting me, gives me a platform to talk about all my feelings. By talking about them my feelings don’t seem as scary and I feel as though I’m not alone.

 

 

Where Is My Light?

 

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It seems as though my Light went out on or about the twenty-first of June, 2005. That was the day that my partner of 11years ended our relationship. From that day forward, and for many days thereafter, I could no longer stomach my life, or even my own existence. I wished I were dead. And with that thought in my head, a dull, constant pain in my heart began in my chest, My Light had gone out.  That bulb blew so hard, that I haven’t found a way to turn it back on again. Everything changed after my Light went out. No more jokes from me, and no more smiles either.  The way I look or the way that I live. I began hating myself so much, that all I wanted was to die. I wanted to be dead, or dying. One of the two. It didn’t matter. And then my wish came true. The first suicide attempt. Botched. The second attempt, failed. An admission to a psychiatric facility for management of my bi polar disorder and rehab for my addiction to crystal meth. I began faking my progress through treatment. I said all the right things that were expected of me by the staff at St. Luke’s.

And then I found out that I was not only HIV+, but in full-blown AIDS. At last, I was at least dying. My Light was really gone now. Everything I knew in my life began to fall apart and fell away from me. I couldn’t grasp anything that mattered to me. I couldn’t go back to the home Joel and I shared for ten years. Our pets were to be split up between us. Our furniture sent to be auctioned off. I would move in with my sister, apply for welfare assistance and hope for the day when I might be able to live independently once again. There was to be outpatient treatment, and twelve step groups. There would be no using of crystal meth, and no consuming of alcohol. I was watched as though I were an escapee from an asylum, someone on the verge of committing some terrible act of harm against society. Without my Light, I began feeling lost, alone, and afraid.

The only echoes of my previous life were those of the hurt, pain and suffering I inflicted upon those I claimed to have loved. There were dances in my head, of lies, deceit, cheating and manipulation. Without my Light, there was no life for me to love or for me to feel was worth living. How could Joel ever forgive me? I beat myself mentally until I felt that I was worthless, almost subhuman.

Then there were small sparks. An apartment. My independence. Welfare and food stamps. Friends to support me emotionally and to help me feel at least somewhat loved. A bigger spark still, I met my present partner, Christopher. Things moved quickly. We stated our love for one another the very first night that we met. He never left after that first night. We decided he would move in. This was my love at first sight experience. A glimmer of light. But not Light.

Something was wrong though with this relationship with Christopher. Our dreamy beginning suddenly turned cold and dark, as his temper flared, outbursts we eventually would call them. Physical harm. Hurtful, hateful words that still sting like a nerve pain. Without Light, life was in chaos. I couldn’t manage my life, Christopher couldn’t manage his, and neither of us could fully support the other. Our lights were shut off by the power company and for nearly three months we lived in darkness until we were evicted from that apartment. We lived in disarray. Whose fault was that? Why even bother to cast blame. Joel turned his Light upon me and I saw the way in which I was living, and it was not the way I have ever lived in the past. I could see it all, but only for a few moments. My ex-partner stretched out his arm and said he’d help me out this one time. This one time only.

A new apartment and a fresh start, but not the best choice. Close to the home I had with my ex-partner, and in my old neighborhood, but not safe. Still, life was not managed well. The car is lost, stolen, towed. Who really knows? We got caught driving it with a suspended registration and no insurance. I had to go before a judge and I still have not yet dealt with the fines. I should be filing for protection under bankruptcy. I can’t manage my money at all. And Christopher will spend it faster than I have ever imagined anyone spending money. My ex-partner remained by my side for a time, with ideas to make life manageable. He helped in many ways. His Light shining on me confused me then. I found myself fantasizing about being back in relationship with him. With every crisis in my life, I called him and was there. Shining some more of his Light so that I can see a little better than before. His shining Light revealed strange pathways of mine that appear when I make choices and decisions. I began to become aware that I wasn’t on the path that I should have been on.  Sadly, my ex-partner has completely severed all ties with Christopher and I, apparently having gotten in touch with some latent resentment and anger, for which he claims he will never be able to come to any form of forgiveness, the forgiveness from before, he says, wasn’t authentic.

Without my own Light, I feel that death is near. Surely without Light, my life shall end. I prepare for my own transition. Memorial service and the entirety of its music is selected, Last Will and Testament complete, disposition of the animals noted, Health Care Power of Attorney chosen. Now why won’t death just come? I’ve got to wait here in the dark? This isn’t even funny. I already feel so lost, alone and afraid. Christopher seems to be getting somewhat better though not really committing to taking his meds or going to therapy.

In my darkness I can’t see. Even my glasses are gone most of the time, worn by Christopher. I find a new area of discomfort in my gut. It’s vile and poisonous and comes through my darkness in the form of mean, hateful, hurtful behavior. Words that I know will cause equal pain and suffering to mine are hurled out against Christopher. And following these waves of anger grew despair and deep depression. A depression so deep that I can’t even move. Nothing looks good to me. I see no positive to my being here or my existence. My body feels as though each day, it is shutting down just a little more. I experience chest pain so severe that I have to stop and catch my breath and to rest until it subsides.

I take many, many pictures of myself. Christopher takes many as well. In these pictures I try to smile, as though I would be filled with Light, but each photo reveals a face that is contorted or in pain with each attempt. I look at these pictures and think to myself, “There is no Light living here”. I begin to edit each picture making each look even more gloomy, and dark.

With each day comes greater waves of anger and loss of self control. “I want Joel” I tell Christopher. “Joel will help me. He’ll rescue me. He always does. Joel is always there for me”. Christopher hears this many times over, and eventually begins to doubt my love for him. He believes it is Joel that I want. And if that’s the case I should go to him. But Joel has moved on. I have not. If I had my Light, maybe I could see my way clear, and move on from Joel. Or is that just an excuse to hang on to something familiar and someone who forgives and gives generously? My Light doesn’t even come on when I’m in the house we once owned together. It’s all so different and it doesn’t feel like my home any longer. All I hear are the echoes of the life we once lived there. Echoes of family gatherings and parties with friends. Of projects and crafts. And of course the things I did there that ruined the Light. Shameful, disrespectful, deceitful acts.

I miss the life that I had when I also had Light. Life was Spiritual. Life had a rhythm and a cadence. Life to me now, has a loud bullying voice that embarrasses me. Which of course I retaliate with my own viciousness that is sure to hurt. This life is filled with loss. The loss of things that was once dear and valued by me. Destroyed by someone who had no regard for their meaning and felt there would be a better use for them as an art project. The actual loss of a pet (Precious) and the impending loss of Cinder. I still grieve the loss of Pepper, Blue and CeCe. All of this is what I believe put out that once beautiful, shining, glorious Light that I had been filled with. Now, I have nothing. My writing this will certainly not please my partner. But it is the truth. I can’t go on living a life without Light. It doesn’t even matter how many days I may have left. Even if it’s just a few days of life yet to be lived, I would choose to have it filled with Light than all of this darkness.

I would like to know the steps I must take to reclaim my Light. How exactly do I get it back? Where do I begin? I wish to laugh again, and make jokes. I want a smile on my face to come naturally. I want to feel the love I have for another, and in turn the love one has for me. I want to turn to my God when I feel my Light begin to dim, to talk things out the way we used to. I want to enjoy the routine of life, and respect the entire world around me. I want to be responsible to the pets in my charge and give them the best care possible. I wish to cry less. I cry so hard that my Soul begins to hurt. And Souls aren’t supposed to hurt. I want my Light to return. It has taken much of my strength to cry out for help. But I did. I welcome feedback and feel assured that help will come. And so will my Light.


 

Procrastination is no Friend of Mine

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But yet, my life is riddled with procrastination. As a result, I have issues, dilemmas, unresolved business, projects gone uncompleted, money left uncollected, bills – many bills overdue and pushing me into bankruptcy, all because I procrastinate. My procrastination is a fear based reaction, or inaction if you will. You know, I can’t even bring myself to go to the mailbox at all to check the mail? I feel that so much doom and gloom is inside those envelopes, that I’m afraid to even get them out of the box. Christopher is the brave soul in our family that make the daily trek to the mailbox to bring home whatever news may be contained within those envelopes.

 

I have a legal issue hanging over my head, and I owe about $1500 in fines to the municipal court. No opportunity has been given for a payment plan, since I don’t have the money. The judge wants me to pick up trash along side Phoenix roadways and freeways, even parks. Given my health status, there’s no way that I would have the stamina to pull that one off as community service. Even with a note from my doctor indicating I wouldn’t be able to perform the duties of that particular community service, there is no other option. I have to go down to the courthouse and try and get on the judges court docket so that I can appear before the judge and plead for a payment plan. After my last visit to his honor’s courtroom, I’m afraid to face him again. It was one of the worst experiences I have had. If I don’t deal with this situation, and the fines go unpaid and sent to a collection agency, a warrant will go out for my arrest. Should that happen, my Social Security Disability Claim will go on hold, which will put a severe strain on Christopher and me financially. Once my fines are paid, it takes a lot of effort to get through all of the red tape to get my claim back on track. I’ve already had my driver’s license suspended, so I can’t drive.

 

The damn car is missing too, which makes matters worse. And quite honestly, I couldn’t tell you if it was stolen or towed. When the tags were taken after my citation for driving with a suspended registration and no financial responsibility (i.e. no car insurance), the car could have gotten towed at the last apartment we were renting, or it could very well have been stolen. We have never received any communication that the car has been towed, and of course even though I have had the phone number of the towing company, I never called to see if it was in their possession. I didn’t call the police either. To make this judge happy, and for him to believe that I’m not going to be driving around without insurance and a registration, I have to show proof that the car has been abandoned, or stolen. Just more “stuff” that I have to deal with.

 

For more than five years now I’d say, I have been aware that a company I formerly owned is owed about $300 in commissions by a small insurance company we used only once. It seems they lost track of us, and we show up on one of those “unclaimed funds” lists. Every year someone reminds me that my name showed up on the list. But do I deal with it? Of course not.

 

My procrastinating behavior is annoying to those close to me. It should. To them it seems as though nothing ever gets done. I find I work best from lists, and that my mood plays a significant role in my level of procrastination. Depression certainly plays a part, but so does my hypo manic or manic phases. I can be just too damned distracted to take care of business, or be just too “full of myself” on some days. There are days however, when I’m just too tired, or feeling too anxious about my health, the amount of time here or what it will be like for me to transition to clear enough space in my mind to think about making a list, or considering the priorities of that which is outstanding. I’d like to change completely, and be a person who has initiative, motivation and will power. I’m not sure it will be a lesson I master in this life time, but I shall certainly keep trying!