Gone Too Soon

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post
but it’s one of those that is
also a Really Real Widow Post.

TW:  Mention of death by suicide.  Mention of suicidal thoughts

I check my Facebook memories every day.

I’m looking for old conversations, or pictures.  Those hidden gems from Parker or Kidlet.  Memories of Wonder Woman and I first meeting.  Signs of my growth.  Patterns of my various labels, mental and physical.

Today there was a note that a friend had sent to me 5 years ago, saying wonderful things about Parker and I, and how we were raising the Kidlet, and how amazing he was.  Parker and I met this friend while we were living in the homeless shelter.  She was a younger girl, sweet as could be, with a bright light in her eyes.

She was going to change the world.

I remember the day, it was only 5 months after she posted the note on my page, I saw people start posting on her page that she was gone too soon, and that they couldn’t believe she decided to go out that way.  I remember how hopeless I felt that she had died, and that it had been so long since we had seen each other.  She lived so far away and transportation was such an issue for us.

Gone too soon.

I thought of her after Parker died.  Wondered if they ran into each other up there.

Parker had just started a college semester.  Just that day her last book had been bought.  She had picked a new major and was excited about becoming an X-ray tech.  We were finally starting to see some light at the end of a very very long tunnel we had been in.

Gone too soon.

When I’m in the depths of my suicidal thoughts, I can’t hold on to the feeling that Parker and our friend left this world before their time.  All I can think of is getting out.

Right now that seems so foreign.  I can’t imagine wanting to walk away.  There’s so much left to live for, so much left to do.  I have degrees left to get, I have words left to type, lives left to change, words left to be heard.

There are sunrises and sunsets that still need to be seen.

But then the clouds obscure my view, and all I can see is the pitch black nothingness.  I just want to escape, just want to make the pain stop, I just want to free myself, and everyone around me, from the burden that is my life.

I have so much love left to give.  There’s so much love left to receive.  I don’t want to walk away.  It’s not my time, it’s not the end.  I won’t let myself be

Gone too soon.

Is that how this works?

This is a Really Real Community Post.

I’m completely new to WordPress in reality.  I’ve been writing here for going on a year (and brought over facebook posts from well before that) but I have no idea how this platform actually worked.

I was just using it to compose and edit my thoughts which I published and then copied to my public and private facebook pages.

Now I’m seeing there’s a really large community here, and I’m learning how to get involved.  I feel like such a beginner, still trying out my tricycle, not even moving up to a bicycle with training wheels yet.  I’m browsing through the reader and looking at different tags and trying to figure out where I belong.

But social anxiety is a thing even through the comment section.

I can see this being a wonderful community to belong to as long as I can keep all those fears at bay.

For quite some time I’ve felt like my words, in this space, were falling into the abyss.  I wanted to reach out to more, and I wasn’t sure how.  Showing people what it’s like from inside my head has always been important to me.

Sharing my story and speaking my truth has been my goal since Parker died.  Squash the stigma.

It’s hard to get rid of stigma when no one sees the words you write.

But at least it’s acted like a journal, giving me space to release the pent up words that needed a place to go.

To those who have followed me in the last day or two, welcome!  I look forward to sharing my story with you, and I look forward to hearing yours.

Mixed

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Monday is therapy day.  It’s one of my favorite days of the week, sometimes.  I get to sit and vent to someone who is paid to listen to me.  She gathers all of the information I dump at her, and then bounces it back at me in one giant picture made of the pieces that I often don’t see as related.

And yesterday what I saw is that I’m not just going hypomanic like I thought I was, but instead I am seeing the beginning of a mixed episode.

Late February and March are always hard for me.  The cold weather mixed with the longer days leads to a mix in my mood.  Mania and depression combine into one; what looks like balance is actually a life quickly vacillating between polar extremes.

It’s the reason I’m up up up and then crashing so hard.  The reason I want to do all of the things, but also can’t settle on any of them.  The reason I want to crawl out of my skin.

Yesterday when I got home from therapy I crashed hard.  I was angry, and sad, and frustrated.

I just don’t want to be bipolar anymore.  I don’t want to deal with this again this year after last years was just so bad.  I just want to be “normal.”

So I came home and I went to bed.  And I stayed in bed.  Five hours later, Wonder Woman came home and I was still just lying in the bed, awake.

I needed an evening of self pity before I could Self Saving Warrior Princess my way through this shit.

This is happening.  I don’t get to be “normal,” whatever that is.  I am bipolar and I don’t get to just will it away.  This is reality and I need to do the best I can with it.

I had already called my pdoc and we tweaked my meds a bit to try to make this mood episode as smooth as possible.  I have a MUCH bigger toolbox this year and I’m really damn good at using these tools.  I have an amazing support network.  I have lots of years of practice with mixed mood episodes except now I actually know what they are.  I planned out some logistical stuff so that I don’t spend myself into a hole or make other irreversible decisions.

This morning I got up, and I went to school, and then I went to DBT, and I did all of the things (Including waiting TWO FUCKING HOURS for my mobility ride home!), and tonight I feel much better about the whole situation.

This time of year sucks, but I can either focus on that, or I can focus on making it to the other side.

I’m gonna do my best to keep my sights set on the other side.

Missing her squared.

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

I follow a lot of grief blogs and Facebook pages and something I read today discussed how a lot of people expect us to just “get over” being widowed because we have a partner.

That just doesn’t happen though.

Anyway, someone goes on to mention that, when their partner goes out of town, missing them is like missing their dead spouse.  Even though they know it’s not the same, their subconscious still pulls up grief.

HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!

I consider myself this independent person, I thought I had stopped with most of my codependent ways, but when I miss Wonder Woman, I really MISS WONDER WOMAN.  But that doesn’t make any sense to me.  I know she is alive, I knew she is coming back, I knew she isn’t gone-gone, but it feels like grief.

It was nice to see this reflected in someone else’s words.

This doesn’t just happen to me when Wonder Woman is out of town.

She was unemployed for 6 months and we spent a lot of time together, and now she works long days out of the house, or our schedules are opposite and we’ll go from super early in the morning until almost bedtime without seeing each other.  It almost feels like those early days when I had to learn how to exist without Parker by my side.

Not the actual act of doing things.  Not that at all.  I’m fiercely independent now and will figure out how to do things on my own and being alone most of the day has only reinforced my ability to figure out all of the things.

But as soon as I realize I miss her, it knocks me back a few steps.  It’s a punch in the gut that sometimes will have me curled up in bed like the early days of grief, and I’m laying there wondering why I’m being so ridiculous.

I try to blame it on depression or being over tired or just anything but missing her, but the fact is, it’s grief.  It’s this weird feature of widowhood where my brain doesn’t quite know how to miss my partner without pulling up what it’s like to miss the one that’s never coming back.

And that’s why I will always be a widow no matter what other title I take on.

That’s why I don’t stop being a widow just because I’m in love again.

And while it’s a pretty crappy feature of this title, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

Russian Roulette

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Medication changes are a game of Russian Roulette.

Sometimes, trying to help one problem and succeeding, can flare another.

I started on a new medication a few weeks ago.  It worked wonderfully for its intended use and could, long term, make a significant difference in my ability to focus and follow through with things.

But there were immediate downsides.

I was more emotionally reactive and as it wore off I crashed and just wanted to sleep.

We played with dosages and timing, and my body adjusted and those side effects are less noticeable.

But instead I’m noticing other little things.  Not only can I focus in class and get my assignments submitted early, I’m working on homework for two weeks ahead.

I’m focusing more on my blog, more on how to find work, more on how to make things work, and more on all of this at the same time.

I’m having a harder time falling asleep some nights.  And I’m waking up more often throughout the night.  Yesterday I was awake for almost 24 hours straight.

When I do crash, I crash hard, and sometimes I’m sleeping for 10-12 hours.

I’m overthinking all of the things.  I’m in my head a lot and my anxiety is on overdrive.

Basically, I feel myself moving towards hypomania.

But it’s really hard to say if this is entirely medication related.  Late February through early April is when things get the worst for me.  This seasonal shift causes depression and mania and mixed mood episodes for me every year.

And the thing is, I don’t WANT it to be the medication, because it’s helping, and I can take it as needed to focus and I like finally being able to focus.  It’s a whole new world for me to sit at a lecture and watch the teacher and fully absorb what he is saying instead of being off in left field thinking about what I’m making for dinner that night.

But I also don’t want to be awake for 24 hours stressing about everything that my anxiety can drag up.

I don’t want to blow up my Facebook with post after post about things that I may regret the following day.

I don’t want to overthink everything that everyone says to the point that I’m going in circles.

I don’t want to try to solve all of my problems at once, when I know that’s not possible anyway.

I don’t want to feel this way.

Trying to solve one problem will often start another.  Or, it could just be the natural swing of things.  Or both.

I guess time will tell.

Two Screens

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

Today I found a picture of Parker I didn’t know existed.  It was like finding a treasure buried in time, and it was found at the perfect moment, when I was alone for the weekend to grieve in solitude.

I had the picture open, full screen on my computer, talking to her.  Asking her why she left, if she could have known that life really could get better?  I told her how much I missed her, how much she took from the world by leaving.  I told her how more people needed to see the light in her eyes.  How the world needed her humor, her smart ass way about things, even her stubbornness.  I told her how happy I was now, and I asked her if she knew, if she could see me now or if the afterlife was just something I needed to get me through those earlier days of grief.

I’m so undecided on that and probably always will be.

As I was talking to Parker’s photo, with tears gently running down my face, Facebook refreshed on my second screen and photos from the derby event came up, with a picture of Wonder Woman prominently displayed.  I opened it full screen on that monitor.

Two screens, two pictures, two woman who I love with all of my heart.

One love didn’t end just because the other began.

I couldn’t have predicted this as the journey life would take me on.

I wanted my forever with Parker, we moved to a state where we could legally get married when that was so hard to do, we looked forward to the day that we could be old and grey, talking about nothing in our rocking chairs on the front porch.

And that story was cut short.

I only get to talk to her through fireflies and pictures and the occasional “Damn it, Parker!” when something goes wrong.

And then in walked Wonder Woman.

I wasn’t looking for anything serious, I wasn’t ready to find my forever person, and I wanted to date around for awhile before settling down.  I wasn’t even sure if forever was in my vocabulary again.  Well . . .

I didn’t plan on writing this version of the story.  I didn’t plan on having these two pictures up side by side.

I’m happy with the story I’m writing.  Life took me on some treacherous roads, full of bumps and curves with some steep drop offs on the sides and I’ve made it this far.

I’m enjoying my journey.

Sometimes this journey includes talking to Parker’s photo and questioning the existence of an afterlife, while also missing Wonder Woman and making goo goo eyes at her photo because I just adore her!

Stay

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

TW:  Talk of past self harm and suicidal thoughts.

Like I mentioned a few days ago, a year ago was the start of a major crash for my mental health.  I spiraled in a major way and spent a few months wildly vacillating in a mixed mood episode.  I had near constant suicidal thoughts, I crossed the line into self harm, I completely raged out against inanimate objects, breaking some furniture in the process, I spent a few months in a partial hospital program and even tried out an intensive outpatient program that ended up not being a good fit.

It was a really rough six months give or take.

And it occurred during the first year of my relationship with Wonder Woman.

Part way into it, we moved in together, and she saw first hand, 24/7, just what my mental illness looks like when I’m not on even ground.

More than once I expected her to walk away.  I can’t say I would have blamed her even though it would have been devastating.

Instead, she stayed.

I think there’s a lot to be said for people who stick around through the worst.

There’s also a lot to be said for communication and boundaries during the hard times.

Often, when we are in crisis we spend the day alone locked in our head and all we want to do is vent when our partner walks in.  Allowing and even encouraging your partner to say, “I can’t be there for you right now, I don’t have the energy” when they have had a long day, can avoid resentment and burnout.  Realizing that our crisis doesn’t overrule their right to set boundaries, and in fact makes it more important that we allow them to protect their own well being while we are spiraling.

It takes a support network that consists of more than our partner, whenever possible.

Sometimes that may just be a therapist, or a crisis line, but often we can include friends and family.  Being able to spread the load out among multiple people when things get rough makes a huge difference.  It makes it easier to hear “I can’t today” but also makes it easier to find someone who is available when you need a support person.

But despite those two points, we can’t be afraid to let them in.

There’s a fine line between leaning on them too much, and not enough.  If we spend all of our time shutting them out, they’ll have no idea how to best support us.  You are ultimately the one responsible for your illness, but allowing your partner to be a part of the team that works towards your recovery can help them better understand you and your mental health, and ultimately strengthen your relationship.

Wonder Woman and I made it through that period of instability and as much as I’d love to say it’ll never happen again, I know that chances are, it will.  All I can do is hope that we’re as good at communicating the next time around as we were this first time.