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I don’t have the words.
This is not a problem that often comes up for me. Lucid, delusional, manic or morbid, I can generally put words to the experience. Not this time.
I’m not in exactly the same state as before I went to the hospital, but I’m not far from it. The stressors that sent me scrambling for help are still in place and still unresolvable. Tried and true tools for getting back on the Bipolar Bad-Ass track don’t work any more (or at least aren’t working now). Instead, older, unhealthy coping mechanisms are in play, and I drift through the day in exhausted apathy. Or my frequent blasts of anger turn me into someone I don’t recognize—defensive, bitter, paranoid, hateful.
I’m stumped. I don’t have a map for this place. I feel like I’m not asking the right questions or turning my face in the wrong direction.
By the time I got into the Partial Hospital Program (PHP), I’d decided solitude was the best option for me. My people skills had deteriorated to utter confusion. I was lonely, but the dangers and disappointments in connecting with others were too high a price. I knew this wasn’t the healthiest choice, but I couldn’t see a way around it.
In PHP, we talked about relationships, boundaries and community. My resolution to keep people at a distance had to be reconsidered. The counselors said the five people you spend the most time with are who you end up becoming. They asked us to look at who we hang out with, if they were our role models, and if not to think about who we would like to become.
I took that to heart when I came home and reached out to people I admire. Every day I spend time with those lovely friends, or talk to them, or arrange dates for another time. It’s incredibly hard work.
But the PHP staff was right. My heroes lift me up. They mirror my best back at me. Their light and laughter part the clouds in a truly biblical way. Still, there’s trauma in shaking loose of the folks I don’t want to become—the glass-half-empty folks. I’m just trying to spend more time with my heroes, not reject the others.
I don’t know how to do this, either. I’m fumbling around in the dark, banging my shin on the furniture and stepping on the cats. Worst yet, I don’t have the words to frame this weird, new place. I’m called to be patient, to keep moving through alien terrain until I learn the language, until I can decipher the code. I’m uncomfortable, and frightened and angry. But I must try to wait. Just wait.