Making It Real

handmade greeting card, collage artBack in October when I took the first week of Peer Support training, I applied to my sister’s P.E.O. chapter for financial assistance.  The ladies who interviewed me were lovely—kind, supportive, sure that the Iowa board of directors of their group would approve my request.  One of them had even read this blog.

It was a nice way to spend a morning, but I didn’t set my hopes too high as I still was in need to get money today.  I’d been negotiating philanthropy and human services long enough to know my chances of being disqualified for one reason or another were more likely than not.  The ladies said it would be after the first of the year before a decision would be made.  Okay.

After my wake-up call in January about my growing debt, it was hard not to hope for reprieve.  My sister called to say something had gone wrong with the application and had to be done over.  Okay.  A few weeks ago, she called again to ask questions that I’d addressed in my initial letter.  Okay.

I thought I was staying relatively detached.  There might be a slim chance out there in the ethers, but I needed to concentrate on the Work in front of me—finding the strength to stick to my budget without the stress triggering one more hospitalization.

And that’s really the bottom line for me.  How much can I push against the illness without blowing up?  How long can I keep with this budget and work on my compulsive eating?  I’ve never thought in terms of time.  There’s no benefit to that, is there?  There’s just today, doing the best I can, practicing my Start with One Serving mantra and doing everything on the cheap.  I know the intensity of this time is temporary, but I can’t focus on an end date when I don’t know where it is.

This week I received a letter from the P.E.O. board.  They will be sending me about half the money I asked for.  Don’t get me wrong—I’m grateful for it, grateful for anything, and glad the waiting is over.  But no immediate reprieve is coming.  Instead I can now plot out an end date to the extreme financial squeeze.  July.

That doesn’t seem like much.  Four months.  But when I look at the two months I’ve already spent doing this hard work, experiencing the worst of my bipolar symptoms with just my therapist standing fast beside me, I can’t comprehend four months.  I feel myself contract even more, hardening to anything but The Work.

This isn’t good.  Becoming rigid like this invites a kind of shattering that takes a long time to heal.  I need to let in some softness, find a way to play and laugh, figure out a way to be with people that doesn’t end in rage and resentment.  (Ah. I think we’ve hit on the agenda for my next therapy session.)

Because this shit is real now.  I’m not spot-training anymore, I’m going the distance to an actual finish line.  Can I pace myself and push my limits at the same time?  Am I ready to be a bipolar Olympian?

laurel leaf crownReady the laurel leaves, boys.  I’ll see you in four months.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathryn McCullough
    Mar 20, 2014 @ 18:07:12

    I have to agree–that’s a long wait. Glad you’re getting something, however–though I’m not really sure what PEO is. Hang in there, sweetie!

    Hugs from Ecuador.


  2. Littlesundog
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 09:36:32

    Becoming rigid, for me, is the crux of realization of the final leg of the race and tapping into the internal “drive” to reach the finish line. It’s not pleasant and it’s gut-wrenching. Each time we enter the race of some situation, we feel overwhelmed at the start.We plod along with all sorts of emotions along the way. We might get a second wind in there somewhere but it’s a hard physical and mental battle of endurance. You can do this Sandy. It doesn’t matter if you are running, walking or crawling when you cross the finish line. I know you can do this.


    • Sandy Sue
      Mar 23, 2014 @ 19:03:55

      I can’t say for sure (my memory is so unreliable), but if I make it all the way to July without imploding and ending up in the hospital, it would be a first.


  3. Sharon DeVinney, Ph.D.
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 20:04:14

    I actually do know what P.E.O. is. My mother-in-law was a member for many years. It is a great organization. So glad they are helpful to you. Hang in there, and keep writing!


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