Almost 20 years ago, I filled a few suitcases full of my daughters’ clothes and comfort items – toys, blankets, etc. Threw a few of my own essentials into a bag, and escaped to safety. Once the dust settled, memories of baby books and other special items would fill my heart with sadness. I would find myself thinking “Where did I put that?” then remember that I would never again have what I was looking for. A program about a family that had lost everything in a fire gave me an idea for how to deal with my missing treasures. “It was lost in the fire,” became my coping metaphor. And of course, my children and I were safe. That was, by far, of utmost importance.
Then the most ridiculous thing happened, I thought of my beautiful Kelly green grosgrain pumps that had a bow on the heel. My heart broke and I began to cry. “Are you kidding me?” my brain screamed at me. For days I lamented those shoes, not the Steiff bear, not the girls’ pictures, not my books, or anything else of sentimental value. Those damn shoes haunted me. The reasoning behind this never did become clear, but I can only imagine that it was easier for me to deal with a silly pair of shoes instead of the heartache of leaving behind important mementos.
The Things We Leave Behind
The following are not my words, but they struck deep into my soul. After escaping the prison of abuse, anxiety and fear may govern the survivor’s life for a while. This plea for understanding exemplifies these overwhelming feelings. The simple fact that we feel we need to explain ourselves is evidence of the trauma we have experienced. We should know that the people who love and care about us do so unconditionally; but unfortunately that is a concept we’ve never been able to grasp.
I feel like I need to explain something to my friends. So listen: I love you all and I want to hang out with all of you. But on top of my kid schedule, my work schedule, my finances, and I’m trying to get back into school right now, I have my dumb mental health to deal with. Understand that most of my life, out of circumstance or not being allowed out, I have not ever had very close friends that I see in person very often. It’s a thing I have never ever experienced. So I love people, I love having friends, but sometimes they really really scare me and I run away. I’m like a skittish cat. I want to be pet, I want to connect with you, but it can take a while to coax me out from under the bed. And sometimes I can come out and then I need to run back under the bed again. You can lay there and stick your hand under the bed and talk to me, but who knows when I’ll come out again. I’m unreliable. And I hate that about myself. And eventually you just have to walk away from the coaxing, and I’m so sorry and I understand. And sometimes trying to coax me out makes me go deeper under the bed, away from you. And sometimes I come out. It’s impossible, I know. Talking to me through text helps me though, and eventually, sometimes I can make it out. It’s just going to take me a long time. Sometimes I’ll only see you twice a year when I really want to see you more often. And I’m so sorry. But I do love you, I’m still here under the bed, trying to figure out how to get out of here and be the kind of cat that loves all the guests and greets them and sits on all the laps and purrs. But I’m just not that kind of cat yet, and I’m so sorry that it’s so disappointing. That’s all. Hang in there for me, or don’t. Just know it isn’t you.
Once upon a time there was a woman who created beautiful and unique jewelry…or maybe she was just manic.
Once upon a time there was a woman who thoroughly enjoyed bread baking…or maybe she was just manic.
Once upon a time there was a woman who had a passion for life…or maybe she was just manic.
Jewelry designs flutter around my brain, a sourdough starter is bubbling away on my counter, poetry and stories dash in and out of my imagination…is it just mania?
A person who does not have bipolar disorder might say “Who cares what it is, go with it.” But a person who has experienced the pain of a manic episode would understand my fear. Mania isn’t just creative bursts of energy. Mania can be physical pain, embarrassment, humiliation, sleepless nights, financial ruin, ad nauseam. Mania is often followed by a horrific crash back into depression.
Questioning enthusiasm: Things I hate about bipolar disorder #362
“How can you be so stupid!” – shrinking
“You’re imagining things!” – shrinking
“You’re not wearing that.” – shrinking
“You’re an embarrassment.” – shrinking
“Your children are afraid of you.” – shrinking
“You need to find somewhere else to stay when you get out of the loony bin.” – almost gone
[whispered] “Mommy please come home.” – sprouting
“Just get here, we’ll help you.” – growing
“I’ve got you.” – growing
“You’re so brave to have survived.” – growing
“You don’t have to do this alone.” – blossoming
“This is amazing.” – thriving
Written for The Sandbox Writing Challenge #45 – “What makes you feel small?”