Hope is a thing of the past. I don’t have it anymore. I haven’t for a while, to tell you the truth. I haven’t believed that things would get better. I’ve given up hoping that they will. I don’t have any faith in modern medicine. And if I’m being completely transparent, while I know that God could choose to heal me, I just don’t believe that He will. And, more truth, I’ve stopped asking Him to. I’ve let go of the hope that He will.
That’s where my faith is right now. It’s lacking. Along with everything else, it seems. I feel as though I am unable to do, or keep up with anything. I feel as though there are expectations put upon me that I cannot possibly meet. Maybe I’m putting them on myself. Probably am. Maybe I’m feeling them from others. Maybe not. I don’t know. Either way, I feel these expectations that I’m not meeting, that I can’t possibly meet, that I think I will never be able to meet. Except, I pretend like I can most of the time.
Like, I think it’s expected that I’m going to get better – that I am getting better. It’s expected that I should be gaining more and more independence. It’s expected that I should be able to get through my days – to maneuver life with this beast lurking over my shoulder – no actually, living inside me, threatening to completely take over my being, with less and less help, as I learn to cope with it. You know, just me and my skills. The two of us, like Thelma and Louise. Well, guess what, I don’t think so. I feel like a scared puppy who’s been thrown out to fend for herself in a cat 5 hurricane. I am scared, and lonely. I feel defenseless, and weak. I’m tired and worn down, and I cannot do this on my own – just me and my skills.
Yet, somehow it still feels wrong to reach out. Friends and family still don’t know what to say or do. They try, I get it, but generally I just end up feeling worse. They don’t have the skills or training to know how to handle me. They mean well, but at the end of the day, we both just end up feeling bad that they can’t help me, so what purpose does it serve to go to them? Someone please tell me the answer to that question, because I really want to know. And it’s just not appropriate for me to rely so heavily on my therapist. I know I already do, but it’s still a huge effort to not keep her as #1 on speed dial. But it’s f’ing hard. Asking me not to turn to her when I’m in distress would be like putting me in a room full of people who speak all different languages, and telling me I can only talk to the one other person who speaks english once per week, no matter what. I can talk to the others all I want to, and they can respond in their foreign languages all they want to. But that won’t help me at all.
But here’s the thing – I really want to respect her time. I really do. So I try not to bother her. I know that’s a shock to her. The problem is that I have so. many. issues. that take over, and I have so. many. moments (like my current moment) when I know I need help, and I need it now. And I have lapses in impulse control, and other things that have me, phone in hand…so back to not being able to handle all this on my own. How in the world am I supposed to do that? This cute little disorder of mine is not getting better. It’s not like my medication is making it go away. I don’t get to go in for a PET scan to see if it has shrunken in size. There is no blood test to track my bipolar markers to see if they are going down. No such luck.
Maybe I really am putting this expectation on myself, and no one else really expects me to be able to magically handle this on my own. But I kind of know how these things work. The idea is for me to become less dependent upon therapy – for me to need it less often. The idea is for me to learn the crap I need to learn, and be able to apply it on my own. I mean, that’s the super simplified idea, anyway. So why isn’t that happening? What’s wrong with me that that’s not happening? Why isn’t it getting easier? Why am I not getting better? Why do I feel like I’m getting worse, instead? Why? Will it ever get better?
I have my doubts.
I started reading a new book today. I have this thirst for knowledge when it concerns things that I experience. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes I think maybe it isn’t. This time, I think it’s a mixed bag. I doubt myself a lot – I mean, in case you missed that fact already. Sometimes, I even decide that none of this is even real, and I just need to suck it up, and get over it already. But then, I read things like I read today, and I realize just why I have such a hard time – because I deal with one of the most complicated mental illnesses that a person can deal with. AND, my particular variety is among the most complicated types. So there’s that. And this leads me directly back to my question – how will I ever be able to handle this without all the help?
Because I don’t see how. Medications only help a little bit, and in so many ways they seem to make things worse, if that’s even possible. Life feels out of control. And in order to maintain the illusion that things are under control, I use all the muscles I have to hold it all together. Everyday. All the time. But you know what? I’m tired. My muscles are tired. They are tired of holding everything inside this invisible box that society says I need to be in.
The neat little box that keeps me polite and professional, poised and proper. The box that doesn’t allow for too many emotions. Too many tears is depressing. Too much laughter is maniacal. Can’t be too loud or too mute. Somewhere right in the middle of these is just where I must be. That’s what is expected, right? Gotta make sure I am seen just enough, heard just enough; hair is properly combed and lipstick applied just so. Don’t venture outside the box.
Inside the box, I can’t do anything that would draw too much attention to me. I can’t stand out too much. I can’t speak up about things that might be controversial. I wouldn’t want to embarrass anyone. I wouldn’t want to cause a raucous. So I better stay inside the box, right? That’s my place, right?
Well, I’m tired of the box. I don’t belong in the box. I never did. I don’t fit the mold. I never did. I’m different. I always have been. I like being different. I don’t want to be just like everyone else. I don’t care if I am noticed for being different. In fact, I want to be noticed for being different. I want to be different. No wonder I hate the damn box so much. No wonder I am so tired of fighting against it.
The thing that’s in me that seems so awful, and frankly feels so awful, makes up a huge part of who I am. It isn’t as simple as just medicating it away. It doesn’t work that way. Somehow there has to be a way for me to live with it in a functional way. I don’t know what that looks like on a long-term basis. I know I can’t let it run wild, and I know I can’t squash it into a box.
There has to be some middle ground. Maybe there is hope. Maybe you have enough hope for the both of us.