I explain myself. I explain my idea. I explain my illness. The two men looking back at me stare expressionless. I can see it in their eyes. She’s insane. I feel the anxiety creep in. They’re not saying anything. They both look down, shuffle uncomfortably and move on.
I can feel the abandonment. I’m a lost cause. My face burns and I can feel the tears at my eyes. I’m hopeless and empty.
I’m here so you can help me but yet I feel far more helpless in your presence. I spend the next hour rehearsing what I’ll say to get me the hell out of this group.
I’m so fucking broken. My partner demands to know “what my fucking problem is”. I’m mentally fucking ill and not one of you god damn bastards can help me.
My toes are on the edge. I feel the momentum in my body swaying me back and forth, threatening to toss my body onto the rocks below. I want out. I want out of this hell.
Someone just fucking help me.
When I was born, my grandmother was at the hospital. The nurses wheeled me into the room, she immediately scooped me up and whispered, we’re going to be great friends.
She’s not your typical grandmother. She hardly bakes cookies and has a deep, raspy voice from every cigarette she sat and chain smoked at the local “hotel”. She’s full of piss and vinegar, independence and courage. When I was little she would take me to shows, theatre was our thing. As the costume designer for a local theatre troupe, we saw everything that hit that stage. We had free tickets to Disney on Ice, which I’m sure she muscled through just for me.
When I turned 16 and was openly smoking, I joined her at the kitchen table. This was a monumental moment, I was finally an adult. The kitchen table is sacred, stories are told, eras explained, wine is drank (and sometimes spilled) and the conversation is endlessly intriguing. I remember the way my Mom would hold her cigarette in her hand, resting her head against her thumb, laughing over a big glass of red. My Poppa would lean back in his chair and rub his belly. My Dad, hunched over his own cigarette, hands together, chuckling his silent chuckle. Those were the days.
When I was 22, I left my partner. I was seeking solace, I needed a place to hide. My Gram took me in before I could even explain the situation. We lived like that for a year. Sometimes we would stay up way into the night just talking and laughing. Other times we would meet at the kitchen table at 3am just to watch a thunderstorm. Neither of us speaking, just listening and smoking.
My Gram became too old to take care of her house and when my partner and I got back together we took it over. She moved into a little apartment in a seniors residence and we made the house our own. Unfortunately, after a few years she decided to sell and that was the end of our lovely little house.
But every Sunday, without fail, we still sit at her kitchen table and argue politics, she tells me stories of her youth, we go over family history and debate birth orders. We talk about my mental health, she reassures me and tells me of my greatness. We truly are great friends.
But, everything must come to and end and we’ve had a good run. This Decemeber she’ll be moving across country to live with my uncle. I feel as though I’ll never see her again. I mourn for our friendship and the kitchen table, I’m grieving the loss of my best friend and my Grandmother. My rock, my sanctuary. What might be a small wave of sadness some days feels like a tsunami of grief and heartbreak. I don’t know how I’ll do it without her.
For now I’ll soak up the moments, spending as much time at that table as I can.
Well I did it. I bit the bullet.
I received my formal diagnosis, I didn’t expect anything less than bat shit and Mama, I am officially on the crazy train. I’m doing a week by week plan, upping my Zoloft every 7 days until my next appointment, it’s about 4 weeks away. At which point we’ll introduce some sort of mood inhibitor for the BPD, just to take the edge off.
I’ll maintain visits between him and my counsellor. At some point I’ll see the in house psychologist. Psychoanalyze me baby.
The doctor kept reminding me that there was a light at the end of this tunnel. I wanted to take his pen and tunnel it through his forehead. But I didn’t. Baby steps, right?
Immediate side effect is the fuzzies, must sleep forever.
Taking a look at my life, I wanted to remember the last time I felt free. When I wasn’t someone’s wife and I wasn’t someone’s mother, before the all consuming chaos that is my brain took hold for good.
I was 17. We had moved to a new rural town that I hated. I was 3 hours away from my boyfriend and the school I was about to graduate from with my life long friends. I made the best of it. I met the most wonderful group of people. The summer before my 18th birthday was the best summer of my life.
One particular memory stands out. My friends and I had decided to rip all our clothes off and jump into the bay. We were standing on the town’s barging dock, 30 feet above the water, holding hands in the night. 3, 2, 1… Jump! The air whooshed by us as we broke the surface of that icy, black water. We plunged deep among sunken boats and drowned cars, shopping carts and bicycles. Nothing mattered. We rose exhilarated, splashing around, clamouring for the ladder.
Later, dried off and back in those rusted old trucks, I remember sticking my head out the window into the wind, this is freedom, you are a wild child.
We were in a place far away from the expectations of society. We lived in daisy dukes and flip flops, makeup was for the city girls. We let the sun highlight our hair, bronze our skin. We played in the mud and sat on the roof talking into the night. We danced naked in the rain and ran through the wilderness.
We were free. I was free.
Hush-a, hush-a, my sweet angel. It’s okay baby, Mama’s got you.
PTSD triggered, I’m leaving him. How could he do that? I thought I could forgive him, but I can’t. It’s okay baby, I’ve got you.
I’m homeless, they kicked me out. Please don’t rip me off. I can’t pay rent. I can’t afford groceries. Please don’t kick me out too. It’s okay baby, I’ve got you.
I need some where to stay, take care of me. I’m broken, please fix it. Eating disorder, bi polar, she’s just a kid. It’s okay baby, I’ve got you.
He’s abusive, I can’t leave him. He needs help, we need help. It’s okay baby, I’ve got you.
Can I borrow money? Can I talk to you? Please help me. Where are you? Why aren’t you answering? You’ll never guess what happened…
My plate is full, my belly is bloated. My life is stretched like an elastic band ready to snap, I patch the tears. I see the splits forming as the band stretches thinner. I need you, please call me.
You’re my rock, my best friend. Where would I be without you? Patch the tears, glue the splits. Yes baby, I’ve still got you.
You’re such a bitch.
Why are you over reacting?
You’re always so miserable.
Why does she freak out like that?
I’m beginning to make sense of it. Show some damn compassion. But I don’t know how. Can you please just show some sympathy?
You’re so cold hearted. Am I? Identity crisis. You’re wicked. Okay. I feel abandoned. How can anyone love someone they can so easily paint evil? Question everything, always. Trust no one. I’m such a bitch. I become the persona. I am evil. I am wicked. I play the part.
I love you deeply. I idolize you, please love me back. I hate you. You mean nothing to me. Identity crisis.
Everything is black and white, forget the gray area. I have no room for understanding. I’m just joking. It’s not funny. Learn to take a fucking joke. Identity crisis.
I’m 14 and I’m sitting on the computer room floor. I’m uncomfortable and I’m nervous. Would they shut up. My sister sits in my lap, my hands are covering her ears. My youngest brother nuzzles my shoulder. Please, just stop. My parents are yelling again. My Dad is leaving. No wait, my Mom is leaving. Dear god, someone just leave. My other brother has taken off on his skate board somewhere. I need to get out.
Bipolar disorder. My Mom is just having an episode. Deal with this, fix her. My father’s bags are packed. No, make her leave! Please! Your father and I are separating. Take me with you. Don’t leave me here.
Everything was always out of control but we found peace and love in the chaos. She’s been in bed all day. Again. Take the kids to school, pick them up. Attempt to make chicken fingers. The little one is refusing to eat. Just please listen to me. I know I’m not your Mom.
I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.
Who are you? It’s Mr. Hyde. Back away slowly. Who are you? Breathe in, breathe out. Let’s go shopping. She’s back. Everything is as it should be and the sun rises.
I’m 22 and I’m standing in my bedroom. My partner is sitting on the edge of the bed. You don’t love me enough. I throw the ashtray. What day is it? Why isn’t he listening? Please respond. I throw a bottle of nail polish. Just fucking answer me! He doesn’t understand. He doesn’t get it. I lost our baby. I’m abusive and he takes it.
I’m leaving you. I need to run away. I can’t look at the pain in your face anymore. Love me harder. I’ve got to get out. We stand there, watching 8 years of love crumble away. But I love you. It’s not enough.
But I love you. Okay. It’s been months and he holds me like it’s only been a day. Please forgive me. Of course. Everything is as it should be and the sun rises.