Posts Tagged With: friends

CONTRADICTION IS CONFUSING

I have bipolar disorder, and if you are like me and suffer with a mental or physical condition that wreaks havoc on the inside without showing on the outside, then you know that its invisibility can cause issues; because people can’t see what we’re talking about.

As much as we try to explain, they will forget, misunderstand, and doubt. Sometimes, they will even judge.

What they seldom do . . . is ask.

So why do we want to talk about it all the time?

Imagine that we’re walking in the woods and you step on a stick that cuts through the bottom of your shoe and impales your foot.

“Omg! This stick just impaled my foot! This is so painful!” you scream.

“Oh, come on, you big baby, keep up.” I casually reply and keep walking.

“NO! STOP AND LOOK AT THIS!” you shriek.

And when I stop and see your mangled, blood-gushing foot with its protruding stick, I realize the gravity of your situation and the level of your pain. My expectations change. And so does my judgment.

Therein lays the problem. We can’t point to anything and show you our pain.

We have only our words.

So we talk.

We need you to know that we can function on some days, but not others, and we’re not hypochondriacs or whiney, and we’re not exaggerating, attention-seeking, or lazy and making excuses; no, we have a big sharp-ass stick in our foot that no one else can see.

The symptoms come and go, but the stick doesn’t. It is permanently lodged. We never know which days will hurt, so our entire lives we “play it by ear”.

“But you seem so normal”.

“What do you think, I’m going to meet you for coffee when I haven’t showered for a week and I can’t stop sobbing?”

Those of us suffering “invisibly” seem normal because you only sporadically and briefly see us at our best. At our worst, we stay home and isolate. You don’t know our endless struggles. And you can’t see when we lose hope.

How could you?

We’ve learned to hide it, fake it, and adjust to it in ways you’d never imagine.

When you see us looking confident and physically fit, it’s hard to reconcile what we say, with what you see.

With me, you’ll likely see the confident, positive, jokester with a passion for life, but rarely my depressed and troubled mind. When my symptoms are unmanageable, I stay home and ride it out for however long it takes.

It’s a double life.

We have the good life that people see; where we’re attending events and looking healthy and self-assured; and we have the other one, where we suffer secluded and controlled by symptoms that leave us helpless and homebound.

I never know which life I’m going to awaken to, so when it’s the good one, I will grab hold of it like a wet dishrag and wring it dry.

It’s no wonder folks get confused.

I say that I live a tormented and isolated life, but then you see me out in the world meeting people, blogging about shows, and posting photographs of parks and sunrises.

You don’t know that my attendance anywhere is rare and that I’m usually at home on my sofa; or that photography provides the only semblance of focus or peace, and is often my only saving grace from my own mind.

I say that I have issues with large groups of people, but then you see me at a class reunion, baby shower, or art show. You don’t know that being with a group of 12 causes more anxiety than the anonymity of being with 100; or that my ever-present camera acts as a protective shield against exposure to others and helps navigate my environment so that I’m challenged with fewer inquiries and intimate interactions.

This new realization came when a friend gently and bravely inquired about the contradiction . . . and inspired this blog. That’s when I realized that understanding invisibility isn’t always so easy and that conversation enlightens everyone.

Remember the last time you smacked your head and got a big nasty lump on it, and how you made your friends feel the lump even though they didn’t want to? You needed them to fully comprehend the measure of your pain; that lump was your proof of pain.

I have only my words.

I have bipolar disorder and this is how it feels.

***

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Antoine de Saint Exupéry, ‘The Little Prince’.

(Read, “About Me & My Journey”: http://wp.me/p2ckKM-tM, “Being Bipolar”: http://wp.me/p2ckKM-hF, and “Sensitive Steel”: http://wp.me/p2ckKM-vY).

 

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Categories: Bipolar/Depression | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

THERE IS NO TIME

We contemplate but do not understand elgin upclose

We try to control but settle for measuring

Like day into night

Summer into winter

Life into death

*

When joyfulness visits

we cling desperately

trying to preserve it

and hold it still

but it takes flight

and vanishes into happiness

*

And when the sadness comes

as it will in life

as it should

it stands forever frozen

full of emptiness and sorrow

CLOCK FRZN SNWY

*

The twisted tragedy

is that we fight to hold on

and struggle to let go

*

It teases and tortures

*

Years have passed since I lost you

Or was that just a breath ago?

I close my eyes and live a lifetime

and then I blink . . . and you are gone

*

In this magnificent remarkable life

there is sweetness in the rain

and comfort in a quiet winter morning

A WINTER SCENE

There is wondrousness

in birth, growth, change

*

And there is healing

in the laughter of friends

*

And there is love

*

These things cannot be frozen

but they can be captured and embraced

and treasured

forever

*

The bitter sweetness in the grieving

is that the greatness of our pain

is the measurement of our love

*

It is a blessed and glorious grieving

sunrise for blog

There is no time . . . there are only precious moments.

Categories: Grief/Healing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

CHRISTMAS MORNING

I awaken early. It is still dark. And quiet.

“Merry Christmas” I whisper to the dog as I rise.

Not too many tears this morning. I’m sort of tear-ed out. Although I fight the good fight, it’s been a long pre-holiday week of them.

I feed the animals and take my coffee to the sofa.

I switch on my Christmas angel and she quietly changes from glowing red to green to blue. She is my only decoration.

angel in globe

I pray.

I have already grieved those I’m missing and cried the tears of things that are no longer; the excitement of Christmas morning and gifts piled high around the tree, and the comfort of family gathered around the table for a meal.

Those seats are empty now. Those times have passed. As have too many loved ones. As do all the holidays anymore.

No more celebrations. Just endurances.

But that’s okay.

I think of friends who have risen early to ready themselves for a busy family day of gifts and food. They enjoy their quiet time to reflect and prepare. They fill my heart, but how I envy them.

My thoughts are interrupted by a commotion in the kitchen.

I look up to see that the cat is eating the dog’s food . . . and the dog is humping his Blue Bear.

((Sigh))

This time of year can be rough on some of us.

blue bear

Merry Christmas, my friends.

I wish you love, peace, health, and happiness.

xoxoJulia

Categories: Family, Friends, God/Spiritual, Grief/Healing, Holidays/Birthdays | Tags: , , , , , , | 26 Comments

THIS BIPOLAR’S FRIENDS

My greatest blessings are my friends. They are priceless.

They don’t walk on eggshells, and they aren’t saints who always understand exactly how I feel.

My friends are brave.

Although I may be cause for concern at times, they love me anyway.

They don’t give me exemptions; they give me allowances, just as I do for them.

I have found that the most secure people I know are also the ones who are the most patient and compassionate.

Maybe with the others, my unstable-ness scares their unstable-ness.

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(This was edited out of my piece, “Being Bipolar” a few weeks ago; please read it, if you haven’t already. And feel free to share it or post it on Facebook. It contains some information that you or others may find useful).

Categories: Bipolar/Depression, Friends, Kindness & Compassion, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

MY PLACE IN THE SAND

Do you remember the doggie-paddle; the canine swimming technique copied solely to keep even the simplest of human heads above water?  

Well, I’ve spent most of my life doing it.

And apparently while I was doing this desperate and undignified dance, and expending the endless energy required just to keep my feet paddling, my lungs inflated, and my big fat head afloat, life had somehow slipped right. . . on. . . by.

I was so busy treading life’s tumultuous waters that I failed to see the lifelines that were all around me. I was so frantically intent on staying up, that I inadvertently forgot about standing up.

But today is a new day and I have finally reached the shore! This rudderless wonder now resides contentedly on the soft and yielding warmth of a safe, new beach. My exhausted paddling feet are now retired deep beneath fine, cool granules of pure white sand, while once heavy shoulders blush in appreciation at the sun’s affections. New eyes look at the ocean today and through remembered treacherousness, they now see beauty. My heartbeat has slowed and my soul is quietly and gradually healing. 

I am very protective of my little stretch of beach. I’ve spent a lifetime paddling my way, earning my way, to this treasure.

This is my time . . . and this is my place . . . where loving and compassionate friends gather to uplift, heal, and celebrate life . . . and one another.

So, when I extend my hand to you in invitation, it is because you are my friend and can be trusted to respect my priceless little home here in the sand.

Even Heaven’s greatest delight is in the sharing.

So I thank you for joining me.

Now please take off your shoes.

Categories: Humor, Inspiration/Motivation, Mental Health, Nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

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