I’m losing my mind. I can feel it leaving as the house grows dark and quiet. I can feel the walls around me moving in for the kill, leaving me breathless and without escape. I am getting sick and I am too tired to fight.

I have spent the last eight months fighting for disability. I have spent the last year taking care of my mother, trying to get doctor’s to solve problems that they don’t seem to care about.

I am losing sleep. It is becoming harder and harder to grasp. I feel my eyes growing heavier, I lay down, and suddenly I am wide awake again. It is a cruel cycle that leaves me more and more panicked every time it happens.

My thoughts are scattered. I can’t seem to pin them down. It’s like everything is tied together but I can’t seem to figure out how.

Traditionally, the holidays are my favorite time of year. Everything is still magical to me, even at the age of twenty-six. The nights are cold and foggy and even street lights take on a mythical glow. Or at least they did.

Even the cold has been taken from me. I’m left to suffocate in the perpetual Texas heat. I want to be able to breathe again. I want to feel that sense of magic. But now I am losing my mind. My bipolar disorder has snuck in through the cracks and caught me unaware. I am too tired to fight. I am too tired to defend myself to my ever aggravating psychiatrist. I am trapped by exhaustion and yet I cannot sleep. So I suppose I must surrender. What that means, I’m not entirely sure. Do I sacrifice the holidays? Head to an inpatient program? Or do I ask for help? And if so, who do I ask? My mother is certainly incapable of helping me in her condition.

I know none of this is coherent. I’m too tired to polish the rough edges. So I suppose I’m just sending out my exhaustion, frustration and hopelessness into the universe.

“Sweet surrender was all that I had to give…”

-Sarah McLachlan, “Sweet Surrender”, Surfacing

I remember driving away from him. I knew it was over. I had given all I had to save the relationship and it wasn’t enough.

As I drove down the interstate, mile by mile gathering distance from him, I sobbed while listening to “Fix You” by Coldplay. I wished he had loved me enough to fix us.

I remembered the fight from the night before.

“I need more time. Just devote a little more or yourself to me. I can’t survive on breadcrumbs.”

I remember his angry eyes, his furious stance, his aggressive grabbing of my wrists, making me look at him while he replied.

“You’re crazy. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Just shut up, SHUT UP.”

If he just hadn’t grabbed my wrists I might have stayed. I might have blamed it all on myself. I was crazy. I was bipolar. I deserved what I got.

But the grabbing of the wrists woke me up. I knew he was done with me just as I knew there was nothing I could give him that would bring him back.

So, I fled through the west Texas desert. I fled with all of my belongings back to the only place I ever felt safe. I ran away from the only man I’ve ever given my heart to.

 

 

Seven years later, I can still feel his lips on my neck. I can feel his hand in mine. I can see his perfect smile beaming at me. I suffered immeasurable pain to have him in my life those short six months, but I don’t regret it. Even if, at the age of twenty-six, I have already experienced the great love of my life, I am at peace with that fact.

I found him. I loved him. I clung to him. And one day, with tears streaming down my face, I ran away from him; the dust kicking up behind my car, covering the past in a blanket of dirt and rubble.

I hate that you can take things from me I was never given.
You sneak in through secret corners, cracks I’ve neglected to fill.
There are pieces you take, holes you create.
I wake up in the morning feeling less than I did the night before.

Sand dunes and two little girls that will never know they have a brother.

You are the master criminal. Blameless and sinless in the eyes of those around you.
Sheer perfection shines back in the reflection of your warped mirror.

Three years of silence. Three years of growing less than I was before.

We are the unbreakable duo. The thief and the victim. The man that was supposed to love me but left me to the heat of the Texas sun, only to rob me in the middle of the night.

Leave me be, take no more. I ask nothing more of you than the sweet silence that is your absence, absolute and complete.

One day those two little girls will reach out, and they’ll know why they never met their older brother.

They’ll see that I wasn’t the only victim of your thievery. In that moment, I will take something from you. I will rob you of your reflection of perfection. Leave you stranded in the sand dunes I never got to see.

Leave me be father,
Until I can take everything from you.

So here’s a bit of levity amidst the utter darkness that have made up my previous posts. Today, was a well-rounded, totally fantastic day. As a bipolar person, I’ve learned to really take note of these because when depression does come around, it’s important to have these bright and cheerful days to hold on to.

I started the morning at 6:30, made coffee for myself and my grandparents (I like mine dark, strong to the point that even smelling it makes me feel energetic. My grandparents like hot water dyed brown). I then called my college admissions office because the goal is to go back to school (something I’ve been anxiously waiting to do for three years) in the spring. Finally, throwing caution to the wind, I joined a gym and then, in an even more extreme move, decided to actually go to the gym. Usually I tend to join gyms and then go back to watching Netflix, or perhaps raid the fridge. NOT TODAY! I drove to the gym, did two and a half miles on the elliptical and then did some chest exercises. I left feeling productive and insanely winded.

Side note: I am out of shape.

After the gym, I met my mom and sister for sushi and proceeded to praise whatever culinary genius came up with the concept. I swear, every time I eat sushi (and I’m talking about sashimi, not just the rolls) I’m surprised by how marvelous it is.

As an end to a perfect day, we went to the holiest of places, at least in my mind. We opened the doors of Barnes & Noble and spent an hour roaming the isles of books. I bought the new Dan Brown novel and then, (because they didn’t have the right edition, the one I grew up with) ordered the complete boxed paperback Harry Potter series on Amazon. I believe that now every single person in my house owns their own set. We are very dedicated Potter fanatics.

Side note #2: I know that ordering from Amazon while on Barnes & Noble wifi is a complete and utter betrayal, but nostalgia is very important to me.

I know this post isn’t poetic or full of depth, but I feel it’s important to document the good days along with the bad. My favorite movie this year was the live action Beauty & The Beast with Emma Watson. (I know, I know, it’s an extremely stereotypically gay choice.) One of the new songs, “How Does a Moment Last Forever” says, “Maybe some moments weren’t so perfect, maybe some memories not so sweet, but we have to know some bad times or our lives are incomplete.” I think it’s the same for those of us that suffer from mood disorders. But instead we must cling to the good days, the magical moments, because life can grow very dark, very fast. To quote my favorite character from my favorite series (Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban) “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” 

So, I’ll continue to remember the good days, I’ll continue to turn on the light.

Oh and as far as my admiration for Barnes & Noble goes, I’m not alone.

My father left my mother in a psychiatric facility the day before Thanksgiving. He told her that he would take custody of us and that he didn’t care where she went, but she couldn’t come home. She has just undergone multiple treatments of ECT. I was thirteen.

At fourteen I moved in with my mother after he lost the custody battle. It saved my life.  The five months living with my father had contained nothing but verbal abuse and neglect. So, at the end of the summer, when my mom asked if I’d like to live with her and my grandparents, I made the first of many tough decisions I’ve had to make in my life. I left all of my friends and a school I loved to live with a parent that would love me.

I exchanged a happy high school career for a happy family existence and I have never regretted a moment of it.

But there’s things I didn’t foresee.

I didn’t foresee being bipolar. I didn’t foresee taking over my father’s role as caregiver to my mother when she was bipolar. I didn’t foresee coming out to my father as gay and losing him for good. I didn’t foresee the constant social upheaval I would experience amongst my peers so horrific that it would leave me afraid and untrusting of the world outside my front door. Those things, I quite frankly didn’t count on.

Tonight, I am suffering from what Audrey Hepburn (or Truman Capote if you want to be literal) referred to as “The Mean Reds”. I am sad and anxious and heavy with the life I find myself waking up to. I am small. I am closed off and alone in ways I didn’t know one could be alone. I feel as if the whole world is going to swallow me up.

In the song “She Used To Be Mine” written by Sara Bareilles for the musical Waitress, are the words, “You’re not what I asked for. If I’m honest I know I would give it all back for a chance to start over and rewrite an ending or two.” Sometimes I think of all the choices I’ve made to land me in this bed typing these words; every decision that led me to a life so small and yet so exhausting. What could I have done differently? What would I give to fix it?

My father would have killed me. His disbelief of mental illness is almost as potent as his hatred of homosexuality. I can say with absolute certainty that I would no longer be here if it weren’t for my mom. Choosing her is never going to be a decision I regret. She is my best friend. She is my person, the one that never fails to understand. I suppose what I didn’t bargain for was that I would end up with just the people contained under this roof.   That I would be trapped within these four walls. I didn’t plan on this feeling of being trapped, of suffocating under a blanket of my own decisions. To quote Sara again, “It’s not easy to know that I’m not anything like I used to be. Although it’s true I was never attention’s sweet center, I still remember that [boy]… [He] is gone but [he] used to be mine…”