Posts Tagged With: hope

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

YOUR GIFT

I am thinking of you so far away.

You must be sleeping now.

Snoring and alone – waiting for me to place myself inside your arms.

Your sounds comfort and reassure me.

I long for you.

What you have given me . . .

– more than the food I eat

or the greeting cards I read

– more than the things we plan

or where we decide to meet

– more than the gifts you give

or the way you make me feel

You have given me something I can cling to . . .

hope

Categories: Holidays/Birthdays, Love, Poetry, Romance/Dating | Tags: , , , , | 28 Comments

IN A GARDEN . . . AS IN LIFE

We don our gardening boots and floppy hat

and brave the sweaty burning sun.

.

With aching knees and blackened hands

we love the dirt

that nourishes all our promises.

.

From the coldest winds

and driest heat

we protect our unborn bulbs

with acceptance

and a smile.

.

And long before she bursts open

and into glorious song

already we are in love

with the dream.

.

In a garden . . . as in life

our toiling makes no guarantee

of fairness or reward

.

but we do it anyway . . . on faith.

.

And sometimes . . . we are allowed

to glimpse

the gloriousness of a precious petal

only to have it

.

quickly fall away.

.

That is when

we must close our eyes

to see the flower.

LEAF TEARS upclose

Dedicated to all Mothers suffering the loss of a child.

Categories: God/Spiritual, Grief/Healing, Nature, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 33 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

PRECIOUS WATER LILY

A water lily is born in the darkness beneath the water, and grows upward, reaching towards the light. When it arrives at the surface, it is there that it blossoms . . . in the sunlight.

Similarly, our grief is born in the darkness of loss, where we struggle in our hopelessness to find the light again.

When we reach the surface, that place of bitter/sweet sad acceptance, it is there that we begin to grow.

The sun may not feel as bright, but it is still warm.

And although we are not the same as we once were . . .

WATER LILIEScloseup

. . . we can still blossom again.

In our grief we may be overcome by the emptiness and pain of our loss, and isolate. We want to seclude ourselves from what we need the most; the care and comfort from those we love.

It is good to say the words . . .

WATER LILIESblog

“I am not alone”.

 

Categories: Grief/Healing, Nature | Tags: , , , , , , | 36 Comments

AN AUTHOR, AN ANGEL & A HEALING BRICK

I lost my infant son almost 30 years ago.

He was my only child and I donated his tiny precious body to Science in the hopes that through medical education he could somehow prevent another person from knowing my heartbreak.

I knew I didn’t need a gravesite to honor him; I could honor him in my heart. And I didn’t think I needed a piece of granite to grieve him.

But I was wrong.

Last year, I learned about Richard Paul Evans, author of the book, “The Christmas Box”, and about a statue that he commissioned called, “The Christmas Box Angel Statue”.

The short version is this:

He wrote a fictional story in which he mentioned a woman grieving the loss of her baby while at the foot of a beautiful statue of an angel.

The book was published and soon grieving readers began inquiring of the location of the statue, and since it no longer existed, the author had one created.

It is bronze and beautiful, and surrounded by a hexagon of 800 paving bricks, which can be purchased and engraved with a name or message in honor of a lost child.

angel statue frm afar

There are now Christmas Box Angel Statues all across the country and each year on December 6th at 7:00 pm, there is a candlelight vigil held at every one of them.

Last year I got my son’s engraved memory brick. The first time I saw it, I was overwhelmed. I had no idea how desperately I needed healing. Until it happened.

I wrote this piece a few months later:

THE HEALING BRICK

Nervously, I approach the Angel Statue thinking I’ll have to search for my son’s recently engraved and installed paving brick, but I look down and there it is, nestled in amongst all the other little angels, his name in print, for the entire world to see.

This sight provokes something unfamiliar in me, deep in my soul, in my very core. I kneel down and through my thin grey slacks I can feel the cold, hard, roughness of the bricks on my knees.

“My knees could bleed as I pay homage”, I think, as if atoning, “let them; I would almost be grateful.”

I touch his name.

“Oh sweetie, look at you; you’re finally here.” I whisper.

006

Humbly, I bend down and kiss his words. Instantly I flash back to the hospital and he is in my arms again, and now I am not feeling the cold textured brick, but I am kissing his face.

I open my eyes, tears streaming.

Like a cat coughing up an unmanageable hairball, thirty years of guilt, grief, and torment begin to rise, large and ugly, from deep within and catch in my throat.

I remember when I was pregnant with him and how I didn’t watch my diet and I didn’t reduce my stress and I didn’t get enough sleep. And I remember laboring, and how I screamed, “Don’t let me die!” but I didn’t scream for the life of my own son.

“Please, forgive me.” I whisper.

I hear a guttural animal groan escape from inside me as the words allow my agony to detach itself and release.

I was like a broken bone that had healed misaligned and needed to be re-broken so that it could be set right and mend properly.

Michael’s brick has been my one quick SNAP! I am now re-broken, re-set, and relieved.

I am deeply comforted and grateful, and finally healing well.

*****

I cherish the moments. Please read, “WOULD I GRIEVE A SUNRISE?” at: http://wp.me/p2ckKM-cH.

Will you please share this? Too often the loss of an infant is suffered quietly and alone, and whether it was yesterday or 30 years ago, healing is needed. I hope that this helps you or someone you know.

For the location of a Christmas Box Angel Statue near you, or information about purchasing a memory brick, please visit the website of Richard Paul Evans at: www.richardpaulevans.com/angel-statues/locations.

Categories: Grief/Healing, Holidays/Birthdays, Inspiration/Motivation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 65 Comments

I’M GUEST BLOGGING!

Hey Friends!

On Monday, November 26th,  at 8:00 a.m. I’m guest blogging!

Cruise on over to LE CLOWN’S, “BLACK BOX WARNINGS”, at: http://wp.me/p2qxmy-do and pay us a visit!

I’ve reposted “Being Bipolar”,  and it’s been updated with TONS of additional pics, so please read it, repost it on your Fb page, and share it with everyone you know. Maybe it will help you to undertand an afflicted family member or friend. Or if that person is you, please know that you are not alone. There is help. And there is hope.

I wrote this right after the above piece:

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.” – Julia Kovach

NOTE:  While you are visiting LE CLOWN’S, “BLACK BOX WARNINGS”, at: http://wp.me/p2qxmy-do , please take a few minutes to check it out! Read some of his past posts and those of his talented guests. You will find them to be relevant, honest, and potent.

A special note to Monsieur Le Clown:  Thank you for allowing me a visit to your space! The information you share on your blog is beyond important; it not only informs, but can serve as an actual lifeline to those suffering silently and alone with mental illness.  You’re a real prince, dude! Blessings to you and those you love! xoJulia

Categories: Bipolar/Depression, Mental Health, Suicide | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

WALK OUT OF THE DARKNESS

This poem was inspired by last year’s experience at the “Out of The Darkness Community Walk”, which benefits The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, (see my blog: http://wp.me/p2ckKM-gC). FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THIS YEAR’S WALK (OCT 13th, 2013) OR TO MAKE A DONATION, PLEASE VISIT: http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=2358. Thank you.

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You’re hurt and bruised, feeling empty and used

You think you’re lost and you know you’re confused

Your problems are different from mine

But if you need it, I’ll give you my time.

*

You’ve found your voice, but you don’t know the words

You’re screaming for help, but you still feel unheard

You just want your pain to end

Come take my hand, my friend.

*

And Out of The Darkness together we’ll walk

I’ll be the listener who hears when you talk

We’ll reach out for comfort and learn how to cope

We’ll walk Out of The Darkness . . . and into the hope.

********************************************************************************************************************

For more information on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, or the Out of the Darkness Community Walk, or to make a donation, visit: http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=2358.

GERRI ASAM TRAGER, AFSP Board Member, AFSP Community Outreach Volunteer, Metro Detroit/Ann Arbor Chapter, Phone: 810-229-4266. The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention: www.afsp.org . Also see: www.outofthedarkness.org and survivoroutreachMI@gmail.

If you have lost someone you love to suicide: www.afsp.org/survivingsuicideloss

*IF YOU ARE IN SUICIDAL CRISIS, PLEASE CALL 1-800-273-TALK (8255)*

Because everyone matters.

Categories: Bipolar/Depression, Downriver/Detroit, Michigan, Grief/Healing, Inspiration/Motivation, Kindness & Compassion, Mental Health, Photography, Poetry, Suicide | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

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