Hope-WTF

Hope: to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true; archaic: trust

Did I really produce this picture? Did this actually come out of my brain? Because I cannot remember the last time I actually felt hopeful. Does that make me hopeless?

My therapist recently asked me “What do you hope for?” My answer was “Nothing.” She looked at me oddly, “Do you mean you have no hope?” “Exactly.”

For many years during my lifetime I hoped for something from myself, employers, family, friends, lovers, life. The majority of the time, what I hoped for didn’t happen…so I stopped hoping. It’s interesting that the archaic definition is “trust.” Trust in whom? Trust in what? Nope, don’t have much of that either.

There are a multitude of positive and uplifting quotes to be found all over the interwebs (I typed “hope” into my search engine: “About 1,790,000,000 results.” My timeline is inundated daily with hopeful memes. Sometimes I just want to scream at the computer “Lies!” Sometimes I cry and sometimes hope tries to wheedle it’s way in to my brain.

There are times when I catch myself feeling hopeful, then I think “Oh yeah, that again. Sorry but no, not today.”

Doubtful

Interesting observation from my therapist…I’m crying, feeling hopeless; just finished 4 wks of some of the scariest depression I’ve experienced, 2 wks titrating off one med, 2 wks of no meds. I’m saying I’m not sure I want to try the new one I start tomorrow. It seems so pointless. Then she reminds me of all the self-care I automatically do, all the times I’ve dragged myself out of the pit, all the times I have gotten out of bed when I really didn’t want to.

Bipolar depression makes one forget how hard we fight, how strongly we refuse to give up. She reminds me of how much my husband loves me, how much my support network checks in on me, and how my family, whether by blood or chosen, honestly care. I realize I *can* do this. I never thought I’d get this far, but I have, and I will keep going.

Doesn’t matter how many times I hear things like this, it sounds like a HUGE lie…bullshit, utter bullshit.

Have I become such a good actor over all the years that I can fool anybody? My weekend was spent in fear of being by myself. Normally, I love being alone, but this weekend it scared the hell out of me. If I wasn’t asleep (thank you Klonipin), I was sitting outside with Greg (allergies be damned) watching him do exciting things like fixing the tire on his bush-hog (I don’t know how to correctly spell this farm equipment term).  Horrific pictures of self-harm fill my brain if there’s nothing else there. I’ll most likely do some drawing later, another form of therapy for me to get the crap out of my brain, but he’s back at work, and I’m on my own. Psych wards are useless these days, that’s considering one’s insurance will even pay for one to stay.

No point in calling the doctor,hospitalization is out of the question…none of those pesky tox screens for me, thankyouverymuch.

So today I draw, write, hibernate…one second at a time.

Evil returns…but then it’s always been there…waiting

The words swirled around in my head, doing a dance of destruction, making my two worlds blend into one. The one set of two simple words a fluke, a one time situation, said without thought, said without knowing. The other set having been heard over and over for fifteen years, but having lay dormant for seventeen.

And then I’m not here any more. Every day the worlds swirl together faster and faster, reality becomes quite blurred, then I see the other face. I hear the other voice. I can feel the punches in my stomach, I am actually doubled over in pain with something that isn’t real.

Finally the shell shatters. It took close to seventeen years to build a new, almost fully-functioning brain.  A strong woman built from nothing, a survivor. It took two words and the release of the conditioning that was carefully tucked away and sealed up with what I thought was a protective covering.

Soon all the old words take over…stupid, crazy, worthless, unlovable. All the old pictures of his face, his actions. Hearing his words, all of it apparently embedded in my brain. It all flashes over and over until I can actually see the shattering happen. I see the pieces blow apart, flashes of pain stuck in the memories of each part of my damaged body.

In my mind, the blade glitters with power. I can see it slicing through the flesh on my arm, my leg. The two-fold release of the blood. Punishment for being such a worthless human being and thinking that I could hide it all away for so long. Pain transferred from my brain, my heart, to something I can see. Something tangible. Something I can fix. I can’t fix what I can’t see.

But I really don’t think I can fix any of it all. I was just fooling myself and everyone around me.

I retreat to my safe place. It feels like too much effort to get the blade. I think of the mess I’ll have to clean up. I see the look of fear, pain, guilt, and yes…love, on my husband’s face.

My brain is tired, my body is tired. I cry myself to sleep. I dream of fighters getting knocked down, then standing up to fight some more. I dream of people, some I haven’t even met but know what it feels like, picking me up, wrapping their arms around me. I dream of my husband’s arms holding me tight, telling me how much he loves me.

I’ll try again tomorrow.

Death

Do other people think about death quite often? Is it only the mentally ill that think of it as an escape, an end to a seemingly never-ending ordeal? I can’t remember how often it entered my mind before I was married to Satan, but I do remember thinking of it several times in my teens and early 20s.

Yesterday, there was one of those silly quizzes that said it could tell you how old you would live to be, and my answer was 91. I can’t imagine, it seems totally implausible to me. I was 40 when I escaped with my daughters to the safety of another state. I was married for about 13 years, and I’d say most of that time it never occurred to me that I would live to see my daughters grow up. Death was imminent either by my own hand (to end the suffering-before I knew what was happening with my daughters), or by his. A few months before I finally had the courage to leave, it was the voice of my child looking for me that caused me to step back from the curb of a busy street with an oncoming semi-truck. Four weeks detoxing off of eight different psych meds and intensive psychological testing finally convinced me it wasn’t all my fault…it was safe to leave.

Years later, I sat in the bleachers at my eldest daughter’s graduation, tears streaming down my face, never having expected to live that long.

And then shortly after that, she was married to a very kind and loving husband. They now have three awesome boys, and she’s about to graduate from ASU. Once again, I never imagined I’d see any of this. But here I am, still kicking at close to 57 with a happily-ever-after life. Unfortunately, the specter of death still hovers in my head.

There have been only two times in the last couple years when nothing could pull me out of suicidal ideations. Then about a month ago, I had a plan (I’m not going to go into detail). Every night, over and over, I hashed it out, worked out the details until I knew exactly how I’d pull it off. Every psych professional knows, once you have a plan, that’s it…good luck. That’s the evil of depression, it doesn’t care how good your life is, once it gets your claws into your brain, there’s no common sense. No amount of cute kitten pics, thinking of your grandkids, or walking in nature can remove those thoughts. Reading every uplifting or positive saying is pointless; hugs, kisses, well-meaning platitudes from friends are all useless. It’s scary, very scary. The only thing that kept me from going through with it was knowing how it would affect Greg, since he’d been through it before.

Thankfully a med change has helped some, but now instead of thinking of my imminent death, I think of writing my will, who gets what, and how much to whom (not that there is much).

Death is always niggling at the back of my brain, I can’t get it to go away. Maybe it’s because it’s always seemed close to happening, maybe it’s because I have a mental illness, maybe it’s because the hopelessness will never really go away.

Is it just me?