Expiration

What a travesty it would have been

If wishes had been granted

If you’d listened to my aching pleas

Before they were recanted

 

What torment to ponder

The times that I would miss

The smiles

The tears

The laughter

That moment when we’ll kiss

 

Perhaps I’ll wish again one day

I hope that when I do

I’ll turn to you and realise

I can take a different view

 

A walk to the unknown

I want to go walking

Through verdant fields of green

Across the sweetest meadow

Aside the rolling stream

Basking in the sunshine

Dancing in the rain

Smiling at the butterflies

Whose ideas were the same

 

Nothing really matters

As I wander here with you

Not stormy clouds and rainbows

Nor stunning skies of blue

 

Say you’ll walk beside me

and never let me go

Stumble through the flora

To a place we do not know

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reclaiming my soul

You should know that I’m a dreamer; I am whimsical and ever so slightly odd. I am woefully socially inept but I try hard to get involved anyway. I am passionate and probably a little too rash. I long ago banished bitterness, hate and negativity from my life and from my soul and I do not invite it near me anymore. I practice painful honesty because secrets kept do more damage than the momentary discomfort of truth.  I care very little for material possessions which is lucky because I’m abysmal with money. I love my children more than anything they are the reason I am alive and I have worked hard to be more deserving of their unconditional love for me. I don’t like confrontation and will always strive to treat people with kindness. I am a thinker, an aspiring poet and an avid reader. I’m a hopeless romantic but sometimes I struggle with emotional intimacy. I am flawed. I am me. 

I have not always been this person. In fact I feel as though I have lived a great number of lives, each equipped with their own persona, in my relatively short time on this earth.

Somewhere, in the mess of lives that I have lived, I forgot who I really was. Or perhaps I didn’t ever really exist. I have sculpted this person from all the experiences of my past selves, I have moulded the mistakes into lessons and fashioned lessons into blessings. I have not created a perfect person – I have become a real one.

Living with the weight of mental illness is not easy but I have learnt that though some things are always going to be out with my control, I cannot use this affliction as an excuse. It does not justify bad behaviour or selfishness and it does not give me reason not to try. These are beliefs easier said than put into practice but I have made it my mission to push through the instinct to fester, to recline and revel in the misery that is mental illness. It is, after all, far easier to allow yourself to remain stagnant than to fight against the swelling, impossible tides of despair and hopelessness.

I didn’t realise when beginning this quest for balance and wellbeing that instead of pretending to be someone that I’m not once again, instead of another front or carefully constructed mask – I would actually uncover the person I was always meant to be. It lends a certain vulnerability to be you in every way and that is what I both love and despise about it but despite my reservations and discomfort I will endeavour to never be any less than me again.

I have worked hard to reclaim my soul, to live for the first time, to breathe. It is liberating to finally meet the me I should always have been.

If

If now is not the time

If your heart is not yet mine

If you need to take things slow

If I let you run the show

I’ll dream a dream of you

and dream again tomorrow

Hopefully the truth will be quick to follow

 

If it was never real

and all we are was lies

If I imagined what I feel

If the budding bloom soon dies

I’ll dream a dream of you

and hold it in my heart

and tomorrow perhaps

True love will start

Alone

There’s a melancholy stirring in the corners of my mind

A breeding swath of darkness

and its growing all the time

There’s an aching sense of misery

In the recess of my soul

I lost the will to fight it

or was it never my goal?

There’s a clinging sense of isolation

Within these barren walls

For there is only I

No other heart that calls

I thought one day I’d find you

The other half of me

but oh how I was mistaken

T’was nought but fantasy

Locked within my mind

With myself for company

What purpose does it serve,

this empty agony

 

The crossroads

I have come to many a crossroads within my life; I believe that we all do – some we notice and others we don’t but a choice is inevitably made nonetheless.

Here I stand at another crossroad; blurred vision and confusion marring my ability to make informed choices and all the while wishing someone would take it out of my hands – release me of this burden of free will. Oppress me so that I no longer have to make choices that hurt no matter which way I turn.

I am tired of watching the happiness seep out of my life whilst I contemplate what I ‘should’ be doing or thinking or feeling… When did I become so afraid of doing what I want and like to do? When did I equate my personal choices as those that bring me to the feet of mental illness? I have come to realise that even after all the progress I have made, all the soul searching and self improvement – I don’t trust myself. I view my choices through the lense of my past mistakes; I judge myself and I deem myself unworthy.

I spout affirmations ‘I am not Bipolar’ ‘I am a warrior’ … but what does it mean if I never make my own choices? If I always second guess my instinct and go with what I believe others will say or think, then who am I? Do I exist at all?

The ‘what if’s’ are eating me alive… they whisper doubt and suspicion and it is my great downfall to listen to their blackened words… What if I am wrong? What if I end up alone? What if I can’t cope? What if…

Is it sensible to look at a story from every angle? Does it just make sense to see the potential in every situation? Or do I doom myself to misery and torment in essentially, mentally at least, ending the good before it has even begun…

I feel isolated. Isolation breeds desolation.

How disappointing to be feeling this way when so many things are happening right now that make me feel blissfully happy. I feel almost as though I am doing something wrong in pursuing this facet of my life; I feel as though I am making mistakes at every turn and yet I have no way in which I can correct it… I want it all and that doesn’t seem to be within my grasp.

Routine has fallen by the wayside. A new relationship is posing a lot of new challenges and obstacles in the management of my mental health; and yet the new focus and emotional support makes it all seem easier to navigate and I am certain that, given time, I will reach a state of mental stability once again.

I think I know the meaning of life… finding glimpses of joy and bliss within the earth shattering pain and anguish or mutinous monotony that plagues us all.

Spring forward

I wonder how often our lives fall into sync with the earth. The petals fall from fragrant cherry blossoms, flowers begin to bloom and leaves appear – animals prepare to bring forth new life and April showers leave the earth fresh and cleansed. How keenly the spring mirrors the events of my own life… The ending of things past and the beginning of new, fresh adventures; How difficult it is not to sully the now with memories and fears of the past.

Today I had my very last appointment with my support worker and a couple of weeks ago I was discharged from under my psychiatrist’s care. I knew this was coming and I know it is the right time to sever these elements of support – they have done all they can for me – and yet, it leaves me with mixed emotions nonetheless. I say goodbye to what was essentially a very empowering, yet difficult, piece of my life (seeking and seeing through the help I so desperately needed) with a heavy heart and move forward with hope and the faith that I am able to maintain this wonderful level of stability. I also hold a great amount of fear and doubt though… What if I fall once again? Do I have the strength to get up again? Would I even want to? I suppose my fear has heightened now because there is no fall back – I am responsible for me, I must manage this condition alone and that is a scary prospect regardless of whatever support I may have around me.

I was thinking just the other day about the difference a small passage of time can make to a person… I am well aware of the difference I have made in my own life and even my personality over the past ten years but even the past two years hold a great significance and many accomplishments – My life now, but my outlook on life especially, is vastly different to what it was then. In 2012 I was watching myself begin to crumble again – I had to give up my English degree and accept that it was just too much pressure for me at that time… I sought help for my illness properly for the very first time, I did battle with family members who weren’t ready or able to accept my illness and realised exactly who I could rely on. I was officially diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and sent into therapy… I was a mass of anger, bitterness and pain.

Life is eons away from that now. I hold no anger or bitterness – Its often hard to remember the massive strides I have taken into health and the work that it took just to get me to a place where I could get up and out of bed every morning – take pride in my appearance and really love and respect the person that I am. I may not have a big career, I may not have money or any of the other things that other people use to judge success and happiness by but I have health, stability, I have the support of those who love me, self respect, two fabulous children and a future that doesn’t look quite so gloomy…

And so, like the spring, some things must end and others are just beginning. I am in a new relationship – one that feels healthy and right and wonderful. I am looking to maintain my management techniques in stepping up my meditation times and keeping busy – among other things. I remain painfully honest about anything and everything; even within my new relationship… it is not always easy to bare your soul for others to judge but the liberation that comes with knowing that you never need to be anything less than your authentic self and nothing is ever going to crop up an ruin your happiness, that freedom, is worth any awkwardness.

I move on; to new challenges, new adventures – and I take you with me Bipolar disorder – wherever I go, but on I move regardless…

Plenty more fish

I decided to take a giant leap of faith a few months ago and join an online dating agency – being an introvert makes it difficult to meet people outwith my normal circle – I’ve felt for a while that, mentally, I was ready to jump back into the murky swamp that is that of relationships and finally decided that I needed to be proactive about it instead of sitting around waiting for someone to come to me… of course, this also brings the threat of obsession and being caught in an endless compulsion to find anyone who will have me – I know this – and so I have been limiting myself, only talking to a small number of people, keeping things light and without pressure, talking about what I’m doing with my friends and family… painful honesty all the way because you’re less likely to do something stupid if you know you’ll need to confess to it later!!

Now, me and relationships have never been the greatest friends – I chose those who were interested and looked at them no deeper than that… This is so different, I’m me – the real, intense, emotionally lead, slightly dysfunctional me – not the best behaviour, trying to be normal version I would have used in the past and so I can tell if they actually like the me that I really am and if it’s too much, it’s too much… I’m asking questions, connecting with people, really scoping out who they are and how we might fit together and I’m enjoying it!

I’ve spoken to lots of men, met one (which was both terrifying and exhilarating!!) and that didn’t work out but isn’t that fantastic!! I knew it wasn’t right and left it alone!! I didn’t gravitate towards the loveliest, but most hollow of words – I knew I needed something different…

I can’t help but feel achingly proud of myself and if nothing else comes from this venture but that I will be content because I see how far I’ve come and I worked hard for this one!

‘You are what makes you happy…’

This is not a night of nothingness and yet it is exactly that. This night does not begin and end with me sitting here feeling the need to share and nothing of any meaning spilling from my fingertips; no, this night I sit with my soul bare, tears cascading, snot pouring in glamorous puddles… this is a night for sitting in the rain crying, not in melancholy but in pure exhilaration (A first!) because somehow, without knowing, we’ve reached a point of such significance in our life that it just has to be written, documented in minute detail – analysed to the last molecule, worshiped and shared… this night changes me.

And yet, nothing has happened tonight but the slotting of the pieces in mind. Everything fits, it all makes sense and it is wonderful.

I make me happy.

I promised myself that I would not be such an overwhelming person, so vocal about what I believe others do for me and the effect it has, after it coming up in conversation with my amazing friend which then grew into the worry, the fear, that I was somehow doing something wrong in gushing about how significant these people are to me – but now I get it, now it doesn’t matter. Because you said the most beautiful thing I’m just being me. This is me.

I am emotionally driven, I lead with my heart and my feelings and I always have and finally I have done what I never thought possible and let someone get close enough to me for long enough that they know this about me, that they know more about me than any other and love me all the more for it. That they care about whether or not I get hurt, that they give me the best advice; that they remind me that I am the leader of this bizarre thing we all call life. What more to call this pivotal person than friend? What more to give them than everything about me and love and support in return of theirs.

I get it now, I feel like I finally understand… I am the captain of my own ship and all those aboard are there only at my behest and will leave at my request… people will come and go – perhaps friendships too – but I never will and I am enough to make me happy, I can be whole whilst alone.

I was always lonely, always. I lived a life surrounded by love and family and all those other things that people crave and search for their entire lives… I created my perceived perfection on so many an occasion and yet it wasn’t it, it wasn’t that thing I had been needing and always I felt lonely, never alone but lonely… And all that time I never knew that all I was looking for was me, my love, my attention, my feelings, my conversation and once I had those everything else would fall into place… everything else would take a new significance because I had me so I needed nothing from others – there is no desperation, only fun, only love, only what feels good and right… I am what makes me happy.

Such a simple concept and yet one that I believe not many of us ever truly discover…

I never let a relationship, friendship or any other close attachment get beyond three years; that was my cut off – the point beyond which they were too close and I shut down and retreated… Now, almost five years into a relationship with myself (singledom!!), just over four years into the closest friendship of my life and many others that have come along with it, there are people that know the real me, the one I never knew was there and yet, despite my many faults, both I and them love me regardless… and so though I broach the horizon of new milestones, new lessons and perhaps eventually even a life anew, I stand still awhile and watch the rain; I cry this lesson out and soak it into my pores because it is a vital one that I shall take with me in my heart for the rest of my days, I will carry it along as though it were a lucky charm… it will be the thing I whisper as I close my eyes and the first thought as I wake.

I make me happy and I make me whole.

Choices

My mind has been an invariable fortress these past weeks. In attempting to spare the people around me from the negativity I feel inside I have shut everything and everyone out and retreated to that black place inside me; which is the lesser evil? Sharing your suffering and feeling a slight bit better or suffering in silence and leaving those you love in a state of blissful ignorance… and will suffering in silence bring about the end of my precarious grip on sanity once again?

~I know that my loved ones would insist that they are here for me no matter what mood, however negative. But is it not my responsibility to own this illness? It would be so very easy to drag everyone into this hellish pit with me but what good would it do, what use are they there? When I was in CBT with my fabulous therapist, Evelyn, she would tell me to use the people around me for what they are able to provide, whether that be nurture, companionship, sociability, fun… etc. She would tell me to learn what to expect from these people and not to ask any more of them than that. She would say that then I could enjoy their company without the nagging feeling that something was missing, without the constant ache for more than they were giving. Watch the people around you, take them in, learn who they are and their finer qualities and remind yourself often that those people are there for you in that capacity and no other… It seems such a cold way to deal with people; a detached and almost cruel way to view a human being, especially those that you are supposed to care for. But when social interaction is something to be forced, when you do not understand how to accomplish the basic need for that interaction then it is a logical form in which to view such a complex thing, such a difficult thing to comprehend. We all weigh people up in our minds, though often it is subconsciously, I need to do this in conscious thoughts. What good can I get/give from/to this person I have brought into my fold? If the answer is none then why remain close to them? I wish I had had that advice when moving into relationships as a young woman, I could have spared myself from a lot of bad situations. I wish I had thought of the good/bad I was bringing into my life. Of course a person bringing negativity or bad things into your life does not necessarily make them a bad person; just the wrong person for you… and that lesson is a hard earned one.

People in general strive for good, for positivity and so it is rare to come across a person who is purposefully bringing bad things to you. But desperate situations can cause desperate reactions and therein begins the great heartache and pain; I have caused a great amount of heartache and pain and I have also felt my fair share but none of this makes me or those others bad people, we were young and stupid, we were incompatible and impulsive; we made mistakes and were too foolish and naïve to know that relationships are a carefully forged things based on hard work and chemistry; not something to dive into and hope for the best and definitely not something that will come naturally to all.

I have come to the realisation recently that I have never considered a partner before jumping into a relationship with them; I was always amazed that anyone wanted me at all and that was the only criteria for them to fit – you simply had to like me. But that alone will not sustain a relationship and in the end it would always turn out not to be enough for me. I craved love so desperately that anything, anyone would do and so of course it was never going to work. I don’t know why I was always so terrified to be alone, I was so convinced that I wasn’t worth anything… I have more self worth now and if a potential relationship crosses my path it will have to be the right one.

I suppose another block for me in forging relationships is that I always felt so intimidated by men and still do often; my dad was a force to be reckoned with and we rarely saw eye to eye. Growing up with such an imposing male role model has certainly impeded my ability to connect and properly communicate with men. Though my interaction with men is slowly improving with the introduction of male friends and acquaintances.

I am still fearful that I will forever be alone and that nobody will ever want me; but I believe that I am strong enough now not to let that fear dictate my choice of partner. There will be no leaping into a relationship with just anyone – that’s not to say it will be the right relationship and that I wont still make mistakes but it will be one I am happy to enter into and that feels right to me.

As for my relationships with friends and family; I don’t quite know that to do there – they are so unfailingly supportive that more often than not I feel as though I am letting them down, I wish I could motivate myself to do more because there is so much more I could to improve my situation and my mental health but it feels so far beyond my capabilities, so out of reach that I cannot see a way forward.

I wish I had logged my thoughts and feelings way back from the very start of the decline of my mental health, through my psychotic break, the breakdown of my marriage and births of my children – through every bust relationship and attempted suicide because I am certain that if I were to compare then to now the improvements would be staggering to me but without that visual proof it is hard to remind myself and convince myself of how far I have come – how much lighter the darkness is compared to then…

I still struggle with the knowledge that there is no way to fix this, that this is my past, present and future and that management is my only way forward. It is a bitter pill to swallow; knowing that I will be mentally ill for the rest of my days and that I must forever manage this illness. I may relapse into uncontrollable swings and then once again have to climb the ladder of sanity… I will forever be fighting this battle – what positivity is there to draw from that? What hell awaits me?