A Head-Scratcher

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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.

20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Littlesundog
    May 11, 2013 @ 18:23:14

    I love the way you speak about your experience… so graphic and raw. You have been one of those encouraging, cup-half-full people to me, Sandy. It does help to have someone and something positive to help see you through. A lot of it IS wandering around trying to figure out where you belong in this weird, new place. I have thought so much about how I think my “wild” world could be good for you… but how to make it happen?? Then this morning, it occurred to me… keep writing. Keep giving people the positive messages that the wild animals bring. So my friend, I shall make more time to write! I love you so much… dear friend!


  2. LindaNoel
    May 11, 2013 @ 21:00:26

    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 did a physical and mental double-take on this idea… hmmmmm then noticed that I don’t hang around/spend time with anybody…well, reconnected w/old friend thru fb…but my therapist Bill is the only one I see regularly/monthly, besides light chatter w/a couple of hscleaning clients.

    My sister and I just last week realized we have very different worldviews and each of us think the other’s is immoral–her Satan vs my Life’s Diversity. So a big uncomfortable barrier to intimacy has been named.

    I’ve replaced my oldest Best Friend ice cream with fruit&veggie juicing and my one nearby feminist cousin just died.
    Feeling Loss. Get ready to add people and activities I enjoy to my life. Gently and thoughtfully.


  3. cat
    May 11, 2013 @ 21:54:48

    Hi there friend!! Keep reaching out and others will reciprocate…..you are doing great!! Its hard to change pattern behavior but I am here and so are others. Lean on me if u need to….I AINT GOING ANYWHERE!!! 🙂


  4. Moss Piglet
    May 12, 2013 @ 12:42:53

    Thinking of you Sandy Sue & book in the post asp. xxx


  5. Evolution of X
    May 13, 2013 @ 10:02:05

    I think two of my five people are dogs. I’m glad you have such lovely friends and heroes in your life.


    • Sandy Sue
      May 13, 2013 @ 16:49:55

      I strive to be more like my cats–except for the butt-licking.


    • LindaNoel
      May 14, 2013 @ 00:28:33

      Been thinking about having/being dog friend…big commitment…had 12 yrs with a darling mutt, jeez 27 yrs ago…lucky you…


      • Sandy Sue
        May 14, 2013 @ 21:04:37

        Dogs are a big commitment. That’s why I like cats so much (okay, just one of the reasons). They’re so self-sufficient. If I ever tried to “walk” them or throw a ball for them, they’d both give me the stink eye. They might bat at a paper wad once in awhile just to humor me, but they get all the exercise they need at night leaping on me and banging the doors. Self-sufficient.

  6. pegoleg
    May 13, 2013 @ 14:03:00

    The five nearest people idea is very intriguing. I need to work on not being one of the people who gets crossed off everybody ELSE’s list by being too negative.

    And you do have the words, Sandy, even if what they describe isn’t what you’d like.

    ps Is Hero #1 the hairy one?


    • Sandy Sue
      May 13, 2013 @ 16:48:26

      I can’t imagine anyone crossing you off their list, Peg. Even if you are negative at times (doubting that a bit), at least you’re a funny grump.

      Furry heroes are the best!


  7. LindaNoel
    May 14, 2013 @ 00:33:52

    hmmmm I read that as “Funny heroes are the best!” Oh! Well both: funny ones and furry ones. And a combination thereof is …I almost said ‘awesome’, but I’m old-fashioned about reserving that word for the Grand Canyon and such wonders.
    And, SandySue, thank you for including me in the class project — which can be amazing!


  8. Snoring Dog Studio
    May 14, 2013 @ 08:05:37

    Good words. Over the years, without realizing it, I’ve left behind relationships that were poisonous. I used to feel guilty about that, but as I get older, and feel like I have less time, it’s important to inject quality into my life, to surround myself with positive vibes. Do that, Sandy. It will help. You won’t feel so alone.


    • Sandy Sue
      May 14, 2013 @ 21:01:14

      Yes, leaving poisonous relationships behind is vital. This is taking it a step further for me in actively seeking out folks who are role models or who I admire. It feels very positive to me–not pushing anyone away, but spending more time with these heroes.


  9. LindaNoel
    May 19, 2013 @ 14:50:55

    I tried unsuccessfully to copy a photo quote here : It shows feet dangling above water… “Never waste your time trying to explain who you are to people who are committed to misunderstanding you.” 😉


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