I’ve made my decision

This is an incredible decision to live… it is a struggle when you have bipolar disorder. Every day is a new struggle to make that decision.


I decided I didn’t want to live.

Things have been bad for a long time now.  My depression isn’t getting any better in spite of all the things I’ve been trying to do and all the changes in medications.  It’s been almost impossible to work.  I’ve complained for a while that there isn’t enough work to do to stay busy, but things finally picked up a couple of weeks ago.  But being so depressed it’s been all I can do to keep up with the bare minimum.  I just have no motivation and no energy.  I spend my day staring at the computer screen or out the window, waiting until it’s finally time to go home.  But it isn’t any better there.  As soon as I’m home I just wander around from room to room, checking email for the 100th time and watching reruns of shows I’ve recorded.  I…

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My Sister and Me

My sister and brother-in-law came back to their house this weekend to finish packing


everything and to take me back with them to Phoenix until I return home to my significant other in December.  I needed a place to stay, and they needed somebody to house-sit for the last few months so it has worked out nicely all the way around.

I have been almost completely alone for months, except for the weekly to bi-weekly visits from my mother when she would come up to take me shopping for supplies and to do laundry.  The house is in an incredibly isolated area with the only nearby houses being abandoned or vacant for years, no traffic, and the only noise is the sound of the wind rustling through the canyon.  One friend of mine recently opined via email that he likened my situation to that of the caretakers in The Shining, as I am highly sensitive to anything scary, it did not exactly give me the warm fuzzies.

So, I thought I would feel a great sense of relief, even happiness, knowing that she was coming and that I would no longer be alone.  I should be thrilled to have company, I am outgoing and love to talk, should be thrilled to be going to a city, I have long been a city girl… so, what is wrong with this picture?

I have spent the past few days thinking about my relationship with my sister; she is 10 years younger than I am, we also have an older sister who is 3 years older than me, and a brother who is 5 years younger than me.  This sister and I did not grow up particularly close, but then again, I could not say that anybody in my family was very close to any one family member, we all kind of just had to survive and then each just had to get the “heck out of Dodge” in our own way when we got the chance.
As we became adults, we have had bouts of going years without speaking, but that was mostly just me, being the black sheep of the family.  So, I have been in and out with this sister; and most recently, until I came up here to stay with her, I had not seen or talked to her regularly for several years.  However, once I came to stay with her, we were together every day for a month until she left to join her husband, and we had a great time, I imagine as normal sisters do; we laughed, we talked, we reminisced.

Then, Sunday afternoon as I was spending the day with her and her husband it struck me why I am not overjoyed at this reunion and at the prospect of spending the next month and a half with her and her family; I do not know how to just be a normal sister with her.  I was feeling incredibly melancholy that day, missing my significant other, at one point I felt like crying, but I had nobody to talk to, nobody to tell.  I could not tell her, I could not talk to her; we had never done that, we do not share in that way, we are not close in that manner.  I think that is what a sister does, what a sister is, what it feels like to be a sister, but I have no idea how to even open my mouth and say those words to her, nor she to me.

While we are blood of the same parents, we do not have that bond of sisterhood, we cannot communicate, we cannot share, we cannot love in that way.  We are each separate, in our own bubble.  I do not know her, but I know me, I am flat.

Once Upon a Time… I had a Friend


Whenever I talk to people about my past, I have a tendency to describe myself as having never had friends before.  I always say that “women and I just never seem to get along very well”.  Mostly, that is a true statement; as I verbalize this, the movie playing through my mind is high school and how I had a tendency to date boys who had girlfriends and how I developed a reputation for being “easy” as a result.


I was always different from most girls in that regard, when they would confront me and were incredulous at the fact that I was a cheater, I would become doubly incredulous at their stupidity that they had no idea at the definition.  The fact that I was unattached and could date whomever I wanted and that their significant other was the one who was being unseemly had clearly slipped past their tiny little high school minds.  As a result, I had no friends, and since most women appeared to buy into the same mindset, it did not look like I would find one anytime soon.


But, somehow, it always slips my mind, that for a few years I had a very good friend, even best friend if you will.  We were practically inseparable.  We were opposite in so many ways, but that was probably one of the attractions of the friendships and what allowed us to remain close for several years.


Even though she came from a broken home in the classic sense that her parents were divorced and she lived with her father and brother, she was so much more stable and together than I could have ever been.  She was confident, self-assured, and was easy to be around.  She was more of a friend to boys, but when she got a boyfriend, she was in a relationship for a very long period of time; unlike me who flitted from boy to boy and had relationships that overlapped, sometimes three at a time.


By the time high school ended, our lives were so different and we had gone so far beyond our separate ways that it was ten years before we saw each other again.  It was an exciting reunion as we made plans to see each other for the first time.  I was beyond exciting, as I really considered her to be the only friend I had ever really had in my life.  We spent the weekend meeting halfway between our two homes, we talked about our lives since we had seen each other, we reminisced about high school, and we talked about our future together now that we were back in each other’s lives.


We still could not have been more different, but it was an easy and seamless reunion, I could not have been happier.  I had no idea how much I had missed having a friend.  As an adult woman I did not realize how important a friendship like that was, so different from a mother or a sister, especially when you come from such a dysfunctional family with so many secrets.


We remained friends for a few months, when tragedy struck.


I went to her house for a visit, I was thrilled to have a weekend away from my husband and kids, I needed a break from life.  A year before I had been diagnosed with bi-polar manic depression, borderline personality disorder, and OCD.  I felt like my life was spinning out of control.  The weekend promised to be one of fun and freedom.


The first night I arrived, we went to a party at her friend’s house where there was alcohol, marijuana, and lots of people, everything I needed to make me feel like I was the life of the party.  The next morning I awoke to find my things packed and sitting by her front door, she was sitting in the living room drinking tea and invited me to leave.  I found out very curtly from her husband that I “got out of control” and embarrassed her and she never wanted to see me again.


That was it, that was the end of my friendship.  I have never seen or heard from her again.


So, when I say that I have never really had a friend before, I suppose it is just a mental block because of the damage that I did myself, or I did not deserve a friend.  Either way, the result is the same, I do not know how to be a friend anymore.


Wrinkles are a Reflection of Life – Embrace Them

Wrinkles and greys

Wrinkles and greys (Photo credit: spykster)

I have always prided myself on the fact that people think I look younger than my 44 years.  I have very few wrinkles, if any, around my eyes and mouth to give away my age.  While it is true that I have tried to take care of my skin throughout the years, have never smoked, and I do not purposefully lay out in the sun.

As I was having a conversation with someone the other day who was commenting on their own youthful appearance, they attributed their lack of furrows and creases to genetics.  So, I contemplated that and thought of my mother and grandmother and their appearance.  As my grandmother died in her early 60s while I was 18, I cannot recall her that well, and she looked the same to her for as long as I could recall.  My mother on the other hand has had a difficult life and aged very quickly from the time my dad was killed, she also has had a tendency to be a sun worshiper; so I could not necessarily determine my genetic outcome based on her skin.

However, I started to think about my lack of wrinkles as more of a reflection of my flatness.  The fact that I rarely smile, almost never laugh, and have very rarely laughed out loud all adds to the fact that I have almost no wrinkles.  When people look at me, I rarely have an expression on my face.  If I am smiling, it does not reach my eyes, it is superficial at best.

There are those rare times, those moments when I am caught off guard and with that special someone, when I can finally relax and just be myself, when I laugh; then I catch myself and feel self-conscious, and I stop. I am not proud of the fact that I cannot relax and enjoy life, it just is what it is.

While I am proud of the fact that I look more youthful than I am, there are times that I would change that fact to have smile wrinkles around my eyes and mouth, those lines that prove that I have laughed and lived.  I would like to have those creases and furrows that have proved that I have cried and worried, that I have loved and been loved.

I would like to have the lines to prove that I am truly not just the flat girl… because, on the inside, I am not.

Saying Goodbye to my Mom

My mother came up on Saturday for her usual weekly trip to take me to get supplies and to check on me while I house-sit my sister’s remote mountain home.  Usually these visits are filled with lectures about how I need to get my life together, how I should move on from my current significant other and stories about my children that leave me feeling like I have been a horrible mother.

This week started out a little different, as I was quite lonely; she had not been up in two weeks because she had been tending to another sister earlier in the week.  So, I was happy to see her on Saturday, and she would be leaving on Sunday instead of staying the usual two or three days.  As soon as she arrived, we immediately headed to town for groceries, and the lecturing started.  What was I doing with my life, what was going on with my significant other, when was I going to move on… I was feeling sick and dizzy.

Then, the stories about how she had seen my children and grandchildren started, and my heart sunk.  I love them with all my heart, but the fact that they will not see me is out of my control

Tear Drops

Tear Drops (Photo credit: Christina Matheson)

now.  I have asked her not to talk to me about them, but my requests fall on deaf ears, so the ear spanking continued all the way to the grocery store, about 30 minutes.  By the time we got there, I was emotionally drained.

We spent the evening eating frozen pizza, playing cards, I did my best trying to change the subject from my pitiful life but somehow we always returned.  So it goes, so it goes.

Sunday morning, we went to do laundry, walk around the old cemetery as we waited for it to cycle through, then came back to the house.  We wrapped up a few things that we needed to complete around here before she had to leave, then it suddenly struck me, my sister would be here on this coming Saturday to clean out the rest of the house since it has been sold.  I would be leaving with here.  Then I would be going back to Texas with him in two months.

I have no idea when I would get to see my mother again.  As dysfunctional and strained as our mother daughter relationship is, it is still a connection of sorts, she is still my mother, and I still love her.  I started to cry as we hugged goodbye.  She actually had a moment of lucidity as she told me not to worry about my children, that they would come around some day and realize that I am not such a bad mother.

I cried all afternoon as I thought about missing my mother.

Going out on a Limb

Rarely do I have what I would be to consider “good” or “exciting” news in my life, rarer still that I would feel compelled to share such news with my mother.  However, on Monday, I had just such an experience; I received some thrilling somewhat life-altering information regarding an opportunity I was being offered.  Normally, I have kept such news to myself, if I even recognized it, but I certainly would never share with anybody.  But, in an effort to grow emotionally, I wanted to take a step out on that proverbial limb.

Unknown flower-6

Unknown flower-6 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Often times, I have felt twinges of jealousy when I have met women who have wonderful mother-daughter relationships where they share everything, support each other, and are sometimes best friends.  I do not mean jealousy in that way where I would wish to deny them their feelings, but where I would like to have more of that in my life.  No matter how old I get, I never stop striving for at least a taste of that same bond.

Monday was one of my better days in a long time as I shared the joy of my news with other family members, friends, and my significant other.  I had a few people who were particularly supportive of me, sharing in my happiness and pride.  There are a handful of people who have been particularly encouraging to me; they were especially positive and continually reassuring even as I had a few moments of panic as I worried whether or not I was actually good enough to accept this challenge.

As I went throughout my day and weighed this new opportunity, not only for what I would gain immediately by the experience, but also for my future and what it would mean as it pertains to reaching my lifelong goals.  Monday was a roller coaster of emotions and I was supported by some wonderful people who offered me accolades each time I questioned my abilities and thought I should take a step back.

My biggest supporter has always been my significant other (a term I hate, as I find it very clinical, but he is not yet a husband, not quite a fiancée, and I feel rather old to say “boyfriend”, so… significant other it is), without his support and encouragement, I would never have had the confidence to seek out this prospect to fulfill my dreams to begin with.  I have also been lucky enough to have found a small group of friends who have been very caring, inspiring, and helpful.  They have become a surrogate family to me at a time when I have sincerely been in need of one.

So, on Monday, I was feeling the high of receiving great news and wanting to share it with those that love me and wish me to succeed, those that are proud of me and want to share in my joy.  This was one of those times that I wanted to share with my mother and was hoping that we could share one of those mother-daughter bonding moments that I have heard so much about.

I called her and was excited as I started to talk to her, staying positive and thinking about what I had to say, certain that she was going to be happy for me and that she would want only the best for me.  Her response seemed encouraging at first as she said, “That is really great news,” then, as usual, the other shoe drops, “but you should have done this a long time ago.  Can you imagine how much further along in life you would have been?  How much more independent?”

“Okay, Mom,” I said, “well, I have to go for now.”

I talked about it later with my sister, and she summed it up quite nicely, “That is just Mom.  She gives, then she immediately takes away.”

Choosing What Was Behind Door Number One

Colorful Door

Colorful Door (Photo credit: brentdanley)

When I was 19 I got married for the first time to a 9th grade high school drop-out, pot smoker who’s biggest aspirations in life was to become a rock star.  By the time we were 26 years old, he left me on New Year’s Eve after a seemingly innocuous argument over a ceiling fan we had just received as a Christmas gift.  As he packed his things into a cardboard box and I stood in the doorway to the bedroom door of our trailer home and watched, he summed up our life together saying, “I don’t want to be a dad and a husband anymore.  You have been holding me back from becoming a rock star.”

Of course, one paragraph cannot sum up ten years of a life with somebody; it started out when we were 16 years old, when I was a junior in high school and he was working at McDonald’s, already living on his own with some friends in an apartment.  We had the typical relationship of a rebel teen and a straight A student.  My parents hated him and thought I could do better, but it mattered very little to me, he was my way out of the hell that was my home.  He cheated on me, I cheated on him, but we were drawn to each other in a dysfunctional way.

When we got married, it was on a whim, no big plan with a fancy wedding… I was hundreds of miles away at my sister’s house and had just come back into town.  He asked me on a Friday, we made the arrangements on a Saturday and were married on Monday.  My mother was not even certain if she was going to be able to attend.  The day of the ceremony, my father offered him $2000 if he would just walk away; to this day, I am not certain why he didn’t.

In the back of my mind, I always knew I would never grow old with him.  I am a person who dreams a great deal; every morning I wake up and can recall very vividly what I have dreamt about the previous night, and I daydream and fantasize… he was never there in my future, not even the next day.  So, when we broke up less than a year after our wedding, I was not surprised.

However, as is typical of these types of relationships, we got back together for the last time; but this time, I got pregnant immediately. That solidified the relationship a little more, made it a little more real, required us to grow up a bit, but it was no more loving or caring than it had ever been.  And, six months after our daughter was born, I was pregnant a second time.

We went through the motions of marriage for several years.  Or rather, I should say, we were parents, no real marriage.  I loved my children, hugged them, told them I loved them, did arts and crafts, took them places, did everything I thought I technically should to show them that I loved them.  But somehow I knew it was fleeting, that we did not have a family.

And, I was right, that New Year’s Eve when he packed his box and left all three of us.  I learned a few days after he left that he had a 17 year old girlfriend that was pregnant.

Was it then that I started to have no affect?

Or was the fact that I had no affect the reason for him cheating?