Did I really wish for a good cry? How cute…

A good cry? HAH! I laugh in the face of a good cry. I don’t do ‘good cries’. I do forced-march-blind-with-pain purges.

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A good cry? HAH! I laugh in the face of a good cry. I don’t do ‘good cries’. I do forced-march-blind-with-pain purges.

Did I really wish for a good cry? I’d like to say ‘be careful what you wish for’ in a sweet, smug sing-song voice but really, I can’t. I’d like to have gotten what I wished for but I didn’t. For a couple of days, I thought I’d gotten my wish. I cried. It was good. It included a picture of a tragically cute dog. I was fooled into complacency and then – wham. Why do I always forget that this is not how it works? Is it some kind of pain of childbirth memory block?

“The Fantasy”beautiful-fantasy-girl crying

I am tired, stressed, and stick-a-fork-in-me done. It’s usually the end of a big project and regardless of the brilliance and beauty of the end result, I’m strung out. I need … something. In my romantic, wishful thinking lizard brain, I imagine that a ‘good cry’ will do it. Some sort of episode that generates cleansing tears of relief and transition. An event where I’m ensconced in pillows and heave deep, heart-felt tears into soft cloth hankies. I will emerge on the other side with a clear head, glowing skin, and resolve.

“The Reality”

I am tired, stressed, and stick-a-fork-in-me done. It’s usually the end of a big project and regardless of the brilliance and beauty of the end result, I’m strung out. I need … something. I search and search and try to do the right thing and try to take care of myself and have patience and try not to become progressively more and more of a raving bitch. I fail. I fail more. I fail bigger. And bigger and bigger until my failure combined with exhaustion tips me over the edge. I hit full blown PTSD breakdown.

Day 1 is spent being utterly shattered and wracked in agonizing pain. If you’ve never suffered this, I’m not going to try to explain right now. If you have, I feel you blanching in horror with me.

Day 2 is spent being hypersensitive to light, sound, thought, breathing, and whatnot.

Day 3 is energized. Today is day 3.

I’d like another option, please. I grudgingly accept that good cry is a dumb wish for me. My extreme brain chemistry doesn’t get the cleanse. But, is this horrid mental purge the only option? Is this the way it’s always going to be? No figuring, reasoning, bargaining or trying something constructive has eliminated this process for me. Holy crap. On the bright side, it is shorter than it used to be. I’m kind of functional after one day.

I have no pithy conclusion other than the truth. Will it set me free? Perhaps, in a way. It doesn’t change this currently inevitable process but at least I’m not lying to myself about it. Oh, and perhaps I should calendar this cycle. Remove sharp objects. Lay in bottled water. Prep for fallout.

Significantly,

Susan

My good cry – Meh

If a mental breakdown wants my attention, it should request an appointment.


Beware what you wish for.

I spent much of the weekend aware there was a straw ready to break my back and send me into hysterics. It was out there somewhere, lurking, ready to drag me under. To catch me unaware. Not actively seeking it but suspicious. Would it nail me at the photo shoot on Saturday? Or thrifting with my BFF? Or … what? Show yourself, coward!

The insidious straw (see my Blog from a couple days ago) pounced from the e-glow of the daily news. Lalala-lah. I’m curled up on the sofa reading the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on my iPad – we subscribe but don’t get the physical paper any more – which is it’s own story. The headline should have read: “Susan! Run! This is THE Straw”. But, no.

This undated rendered image provided by Activision shows canine star, Riley. "Call of Duty: Ghosts" isn't due until November 2013, but Riley has already become the breakout star of the military shoot-'em-up. After footage released earlier this year revealed that "Ghosts" would feature a four-legged soldier, the Internet uniformly wagged its tail in anticipation. (AP Photo/Activision)

A war veteran bomb-sniffing dog needs emergency medical care and there are no vet (pun not intended) benefits for repatriated canines. Bonus: She’s also suffering from PTSD. I immediately teared up. My brain started spinning. Injustice. Hurt. Anger. A deep need to do something about this situation and an inability to do anything.

Heartwrenching sobs later. I’ve been rude to my husband. I’ve cried for myself and everything and everyone and all the things that have ever happened in my life and everyone elses. It lasted for about 4 1/2 minutes – including the time it took to indignantly drag my sorry butt upstairs and away from the world. (Unless you ask my husband, who will swear it lasted about 3 days)

WTF?

A good cry used to lay me out. Not that I looked forward to it, but I could at least count on a familiar process.

Again, I feel gypped. Only, this time, I’m still wary as well. Will I craft a self-fulfilling prophecy? Will I worry myself into a mental and physical breakdown? This is so tiring.

Whatevs.

I know, I know… what about the dog? She is living with a wonderful young man – the guy who brought her home with him from Iraq – and she’s getting the help she needs.

Me, I’m moving on. I have a full schedule of stuff. If a mental breakdown wants my attention, it should request an appointment.

Have a good one.

Significantly,

Susan

I want to want a good cry

A good, cathartic cry might be just the wonderful storm that leaves the garden refreshed and ready for planting.


I’m mystified. I’ve assiduously accumulated plenty of worthy excuses to have a heart-wrenching sob. Not to brag, but I am an expert at tallying emotionally charged hoo-hah – storing it – nurturing it – and the moment that I can get away with it, having a total melt-down.

crying girlI feel gypped.

You tell me. Here’s my cherished, sharing-way-too-much information tally…

  1. A few days ago, I read the suicide letter of a friend.
  2. A few months ago, I suffered the worst and longest PTSD episode in years. The trigger is still dancing around the peripheries of my life.
  3. My Mom died last Thanksgiving and I couldn’t get out to the west coast in time to say goodbye.
  4. We closed Shakespeare in the Park about a week ago. We work all year to put on this show for a couple thousand people. It’s a massive undertaking fraught with success, failure, terror, financial ruin, and a stupendous show.
  5. My physical health is for crap and I’m having serious angst about taking care of myself. As if I don’t deserve it slash don’t see the point.
  6. And whatever is behind door number 3 where the grand prize waits just for me.

Yadda, yadda, blah, yadda, blah, etc… you get it.

Are my meds working? Is the mindfulness meditation working? What the heck?

Maybe I’ll get around to it later. Perhaps there will be some sort of straw on my camel-like back. The kind of non-event that makes it impossible to explain why one is sobbing uncontrollably. “They only had yellow widgets in stock!” Guaranteed to earn puzzled looks and a dawning suspicion that I do actually need an Ativan prescription and some serious attitude adjustment.

All kidding aside (right, let’s see if that happens) I do feel a suspicious lump in my throat. A good, cathartic cry might be just the wonderful storm that leaves the garden refreshed and ready for planting. But, for today, I’m dry-eyed and chugging along. There’s good stuff happening. I love and am loved. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Significantly,

Susan

This is better?


I’m not so numb.

Why was numbing was necessary?  Because it worked.

Why is it now not so necessary?  I’m guessing, because it’s not.

About a week ago, I spontaneously started to shed the need to numb.  I had a pleasant conversation with myself about this habit but I didn’t set out to change it.  It just did.  Or, is doing.  Happening.  Anyway, I’m assuming that the fall-out is detox.

Tell me again how this is a good thing?fidgeting

Detox = that totally fucked state of being where you are stuck between destruction and less destruction.  Where you kind of wish you could be destructive again but don’t know how to get back there.  Where you start scouting around for substitute destruction but nothing quite fits the bill.  Sigh.

It didn’t start out like this.  My initial decrease in numbness played out as an increase in my desire to show up and participate in my own life.  Okay, that’s cool.  It escalated to irritability, hypersensitivity and being generally critical of everyone thus making me a joy to be around.  Not so cool.

There is a lot of white noise and fidgeting involved in full-blown detox.  If you put your ear next to mine, you can hear the ocean.  There are people drowning in it, but it’s still the ocean.  The shrieking is seagulls.  And me.

Oh and the aforementioned fidgeting?  Joy.  Yeah.  Fidgeting as in tapping my fingers so hard and fast on the desk that the tips start to get numb – which is when I notice that I’ve been tapping.

My greatest fear is that this state of detox is my new state of being.  I can endure anything this horrid if it’s temporary.  Luckily, I have a best friend who told me that it is temporary and I believed her.  Because it’s better than not believing her.

I know!  I’ll distract myself by getting in the car to drive around and do errands.  Yes, that’s so smart, Susan.  Get behind the wheel of a massive chunk of metal filled with gas (as soon as I go get gas) and aim it at things.  And fidget.  Brilliant.

Poking fun at myself works.  A much better choice.

Significantly, SSF

Beautiful: A Good Dr.


The 7 Stages of Learning to Live with Being Bipolar:

1. Acknowledge it

2. Accept it

3. Deal with it

4.  Embrace it

5.  Re-deal with it

6.  Revel in it

7.  Incorporate and make it a resource.

Repeat as necessary.

1….

I have a good Dr.  Not a great Dr. but a good Dr.  My criteria:  He doesn’t discourage me from participating in my own treatment.  I’m one of those people who will read EVERYTHING about my diagnosis and then quiz said Dr. about my conclusions, so this is important to me.

Oh, and he’s smart and blah, blah, blah.

My Dr. also does not freak out when he asks me whether or not I’m thinking about suicide and the first answer out of my mouth isn’t “No”.  My answer is, “Yes, I do think about it, and I’m not planning on it.  I think that I understand how a person can experience such pain and despair that suicide is the only option they think they have left.”  He asks because it’s on the checking-in checklist.

So, no I’m not suicidal.  I am bipolar and we have a huge suicide rate.  It’s chemical and other stuff.  We also have a special handshake and now that my meds are evened out, I get to learn it.  Something else to look forward to.

Today, I am in “Acknowledge It” and “Incorporate and make it a resource” modes.  It took about 7 months and 4 med adjustments (aka Step 5) to get here, but here I am.

Hello.

As is often the case with most ‘7 Stages…” lists, I’ve popped around among them.  As is often the case with me personally, I want nothing more than to skip ahead to the good parts.  I mentioned my fast-forward to #5 earlier, but naturally #6 is a favorite.  There’s actually a website called Famous Bipolar People.  Hello Agatha Chrisite and Abraham Lincoln!!  Howyoudoin Curt Cobain (oh wait a minute on that one.  didn’t turn out so well.) Anyway, I’m awed to be in such good company.  The association I like most are the people who don’t eventually / inevitably kill themselves but hey we didn’t ask to join this club so I can’t really discriminate against other members – so hello Stephen Fry AND Ozzy Osborne (who’s not officially dead but we’re all kind of wondering what’s up…)

Being bipolar isn’t the only reason that people commit suicide.  I’m just dwelling a bit on a personal cause and effect chemical process because, frankly, it’s pretty mind-blowing to be unable to stop the thought “hey, I think I can understand it.”  It’s one of those hitting-bottom realizations that (hopefully) lead to step 1 and so on.  For those for whom it’s a personally painful thing, I deeply apologize and sympathize.  I take a light-hearted approach now because I feel it’s most constructive for me.  Writing about it is one way I’m accepting thoughts that I couldn’t control.  I’m better now, but it shook me up.

Anyway, back to step 1… It terrifies the shit out of me to acknowledge this.  I expect to be excluded from parties (although the social phobia that accompanies being bipolar often does that for me), to have all my conclusions held suspect (although as a person who voluntarily tries to start a new theatre company in this economy my conclusions should technically be held suspect) and to be generally shunned and whispered about (see social phobia above).

I started writing my own personal outing the moment I was diagnosed.  I have a strict anti-secrets rule and this is significant.  For various reasons, the first 4 posts I drafted were trashed.  This particular post was began on April 14, 2012.  It’s time to testify.  It’s time to release feeling scared, guilty and ashamed.  Period.  Exclamation point.  It’s time to own me again.  It’s time to re-embrace my strength and courage.  It’s time to be the person I used to think I was.  I questioned myself – my basic being.  I shook to the core.  I doubted the reality of my beliefs about myself.  That’s one of the things that this chemical imbalance does.  Well, it’s fucked, let me tell you.

It’s time to be able to talk about and offer perspective on a pretty damned significant thing.  Own it, baby.

O,O,O!  Speaking of ‘fuck’ you should have heard me on the phone with my best friend the day I was diagnosed!  Talk about ranting and wailing and gnashing of teeth.  In retrospect, I won’t share actual content because it was far less imaginative and erudite than I’d like.  It mostly involved repeatedly using the f-bomb in any ear-burning combination imaginable.  Adjective, noun, adverb, heck I’m sure it was a contraction at some point.  I owe her.  Again.

So.  Here I am.  Out of my personal closet.  Writing my own ‘7 Stages’ list.  Because that’s who I am.

Hi.

Significantly,

Susan