Unknown Longing

For the past few weeks, I’ve been having this odd weepy feeling.  The feelings come on very suddenly and leave almost as quickly.  In the moment, I feel close to bursting in to tears with no real idea of what’s prompting the feeling.  It’s a haunting sense of longing that I can’t quite place.

And then there’s the wailing.  It’s this constant chanted mantra of ‘I want things to be like they were before.’  Sometimes, the voice is very quiet and the feeling is completely one of longing.  Sometimes, the voice is an actual wail, full of panic and pain.  It comes from the very depths of my consciousness, and it leaves me feeling weak.  The weepy feelings spring from this sort of primal reaction, I know, but I don’t know the actual cause.  Which makes working to heal it only slightly difficult.

I need to identify what ‘like they were before’ means.  It could be any number of things.  There are the major changes– transatlantic move, deaths, et c.  And there are the more minor changes that became major in my mind– changes in relationships, my best friend moving to a new part of the city, et c.  There are many, many ‘befores’ in everyone’s life.  Some of mine are just a bit more pronounced than average.

As I mentioned a few posts back, the bit with my best friend’s moving to a new house in a new part of the town has been a rather large upset in my life.  I recognise part of that as feeding in to the current issues.  Quite some time before he moved, his mother had already moved out.  That was the point when the home I knew there broke.  I didn’t realise, at the time, that things would never go back to how they were in the flat before she moved.  That’s led to a feeling like unexpected loss.  Things changed forever without a thought of it; I didn’t know those last days before she moved would be the last days when things were as they had been when my best friend’s flat was home to me.

Herein lies an issue with temporal space.  My logical mind knows that, regardless of where he lives, I am at home with my best friend.  It is the person, not the space, that makes me safe.  Living with him and his mother gave me a sense of safety I’d never known before, though.  It’s the only time when the Really Bad People did not know my location.  It was the only time I’ve truly been free.  With that gone, and the recent hacking away at my space done by the Really Bad People, I feel like I have no steady ground.  And I feel like I never even saw the steady ground fading away.  I guess the longing isn’t so hard to understand.

There are so many causes for longing, but this is more acute than the grief bits.  They factor in, of course, but this is a longing for something that still exists– a sense of safety from the Really Bad People.  It’s just outside the realm of possibility.

It’s Not the Same

My best friend moved house.  There were problems with his former residence and the landlord, so he was basically run out of his home of over a decade, to the other side of his town, a distance more from work and to a house near a very strange intersection.  He’s doing well, and his mother is thrilled with their little house.  Her face beams when she talks about it.  Everyone seems to have settled in nicely.

I, on the other hand, am a mess.

The move has very little to do with me; the only real change is that I drive to a new spot to meet my best friend.  My mind, however, has been thrown in to utter chaos and is having a great amount of trouble falling back together again.  His flat felt like home to me.  It was the only place I’ve ever lived where, by some odd twist of irony and luck, the cult could not find me for several months.  In the safety of that time, I grew strong enough to get my own flat– also a first– and live in a place alone.  Now that things have fallen apart and I’m living amongst some of the bad people again, I always felt that flat would be my starting point again some day.

A great deal had changed since all the way back in 2005 when I lived with my best friend and his mum.  His brother moved in and out of that flat, his mum moved out of the flat and, temporarily, back in.  Things were quite tumultuous (to understate) for his family over this past year.  I trusted, however, that things would calm, the flat would remain, and the three of us would live there again until I got my strength up to move to my own flat again.  It was the centre point around which I was building my future, and now, it is gone.

I feel lost, even though I’m trying to see this over-reaction for what it is.  That isn’t helping, though, and the constant thought in my mind is that things will never be the same again.  Nothing will ever find its way to solid ground again.  I’ve spent time at my best friend’s house now and have even stayed over for a night.  It doesn’t feel like home, though, and it’s closer to the local cult headquarters.  I drive a distance out of the way to get there simply so I can feel I’m at a safe distance from them. This isn’t getting easier.

The people in the house are the same.  My best friend and his mum are the same.  The only thing that has changed is the physical location.  Yet, nothing *feels* the same.  It all feels different and somewhat scary, like I’m having to re-establish something I can’t quite place.  I feel selfish and silly because the people who were actually involved in the move and are living in a new space are fine, whilst I’m in chaos.  This isn’t mine to take on.  Still, nothing seems the same, and the central point seems to have dissolved in to nothingness.  It’s like my central point of existence is gone, and with it my chance to rebuild a life on solid ground.  The constant refrain in my mind is that nothing will ever be the same and nothing will ever be stable again.  Try as I might, I can’t help believing that to be true.

First Thoughts

My housemates are out of town, leaving me alone in the house for the first time in ages.  My first thoughts?  That it would be so easy to simply step out of this existence and in to the next incarnate.  I imagine what it would be like to do as my sister did and die with blood pooling about me, warm at first and cooling as it dried.  I think about how easy it would be to swallow a few too many pills and slip in to a never-ending sleep.  These things are, truth be told, like siren songs.  Dark, seductive voices that draw me toward an unknown destination that seems preferable, sometimes, to this one.

I know what it’s like to lose someone to suicide, and the thought of how my death would affect those I love is truly the only thing that keeps me here.  Over the years, my best friend has become a means of survival for me.  I look at him and think of what he would lose in terms of our friendship.  I’m not the most confident person, and my self-esteem is almost non-existent.  However, my FOC tell me they enjoy having me in their lives, and I owe them any amount of joy I can give.  My first thought when I’m alone, though, is how I can end my existence or cause myself pain as penance for something I can’t even describe.

Responsibility

Last night, I saw something that made me wonder why I’d ever considered suicide and angry with myself that I had ever tried– a look in my best friend’s eyes.

It was a look of trust that reminded me I have a responsibility to him and to the other amazing people in my life.  I have a responsibility to heal, to stay around, and to stand by his side just as he’s stood by mind.  We’re in tune, he and I, and I’m thinking one would be lost without the other.

I know I’d be lost without him.

Name That Accent

I was born a Scouser.  For most of my childhood, I held that accent, and my sister *always* held it.  Our mother (the Geordie) made us take diction classes because she couldn’t stand the sound.  Whilst my sister never got rid of it, I learnt to speak the Queen’s English, and my accent has faded quite a bit in these past 11 years of living in America.

Enter the multiplicity bit.

I don’t write about that often anymore– at least from such a personal perspective– but the past few days have been hysterical.  Apparently there is a young Scot with a fairly thick accent who has started chatting aloud to my best friend.  Poor dear.  🙂  He says he can understand her fine, and she does speak quite slowly.  She only learnt to speak aloud about a month ago.

So far, then, there are two Scots, a fair few Irish women, one who only speaks Irish, one who only speaks Welsh, and a Cockney along with the 250 or so standard English speakers.  One of the youngest has started referring to herself as International Little Peoples, which is hysterical.  And just about right these days.

Memories

I’ve been thinking quite alot about my mother lately.  We’ve just passed her birthday, and, for some reason, I’ve missed her more this year.  It might well be because of losing the baby.  I would love for my parents to have met their granddaughter, and with her death, I just wanted my mother there to tell me what to do next.  That pain has led, I’m guessing, to the sharper pain I’ve felt this year about my mother.  My brother-of-choice says I raised her and she raised me.  There’s no better way to put it.  We were allies and enemies, friends and strangers.  She was violently abusive when I was a child, but I loved her completely.  I still do.  Just not in a way that can be expressed to her.

My best friend and I were talking about good memories Friday night.  Those little memories of fun things you do with your family when you’re a child.  Those memories are precious; when we fixate on the negative stuff, thinking about even a small happy memory can rescue us from the past, at least in my experience.  My best memory is very simple.  It’s from a time before my sister was born and before my parents divorced.  I was probably about aged four.

My brother had gone to school that morning, and I’m guessing my father was at work.  It was just my mother and me.  She was in the kitchen, and I was playing in another room.  She called me in, lifted me up on to the kitchen counter and pointed out a little brown bunny in our back yard.  I asked if we could have it for keeps, and she explained that it was our bunny to watch from the window.  A very simple memory, but very special to me.  At that one time, we connected as mother and child.

There were, I know, other memories like that in my childhood.  Still, something about that memory has stuck with me.  I can still hear the excitement in her voice and feel her arms around me.  At that one moment, I felt safe.  It didn’t hurt, as well, that I got to tell my brother about it.  He was in school and having great adventures without me, you know.  But this was my moment to share with my mother and no one else.  I treasure it more than any possession I’ll ever own.

That memory got me thinking about something very odd– I am the only person alive who remembers it.  In fact, I’m the only person alive who holds any of the memories from my childhood, good and bad.  That makes the memories feel like rare pearls.  I feel like I need to be the one who chronicles our family history.  The one thing I’ve told my therapist time and again is that I feel the need to write out my story.  Now I know why.  It isn’t just my story.  It’s the story of my parents and siblings, as well.  It’s the story they can’t tell.  If I don’t remember it and chronicle it in some way, those stories will remain unwritten.  And they are far too precious to be tucked away in the dusty corners of one person’s mind.

Over the years, I’ve ‘introduced’ my relatives to the special people in my life as best I can.  My brother-of-choice and I knew each other via email whilst my sister was still alive, but he never got to meet her.  Still, I think it’s safe to say he feels very close to her.  They seem to have an understanding, even though they never met.  Only two people in my life now have actually met my sister, and they are 5000 miles away.  My best friend did meet both of my parents, but there’s so much about them he didn’t know.  They died just three years after he and I met.  No one in my life now ever met my brother.

So, I feel like the Great Chronicler.  The one person who can keep their memories from fading in to oblivion.  It is a responsibility that, until Friday night, I never knew I had taken on.  I hold the memories of these people– good and bad– in my mind.  They can’t express themselves, and I can’t truly introduce them to anyone in my life.  I *can,* however, tell their stories and keep their memories alive.  I just have to figure out how to do that.

Someone Else’s Been Dreaming

I haven’t written about multiplicity in a bit, largely because of the discomfort factor.  As this is, in part, a blog about that, though, I wanted to share the latest multiple hilarity.

This morning, I woke up with tears running down my face and really swollen eyes.  Obviously, someone had been sobbing.  I had no idea who or why, and one of the Little Peoples yelled ‘someone else’s been dreaming!’  He was a bit whiny.  No one wanted to be awake that early, but sleeping whilst sobbing is a bit difficult.  Here’s how the story unfolds:

My best friend and I typically spend Saturday nights together.  Last night, however, he had early holiday plans, so we were on our own.  Our plans have changed swiftly a few times this month, as I’ve said in previous posts.  The breakup of the routine in general, regardless of the people or person involved, shakes things.  I wasn’t surprised, then, when things were out of sorts.  I just wanted to know *why* they were out of sorts.

Lily, red faced and still hiccuping from sobs, announced to me that my best friend told her he was moving to Brooklyn for work.  She played back a scene for me- My best friend phoned with news, and we got together.  He said he’d taken a job in Brooklyn and asked if we were coming with him.  When we said we couldn’t, he said he’d keep in touch. Then, he phoned again to say he wasn’t moving to Brooklyn.  Instead, he’d taken a job in a town called Cretin in Texas.

The cavalier attitude should have struck me first thing.  My best friend and I are as close as two people can get.  I trust him as completely as I possibly can, and we truly love each other.  If he were actually moving far away, he’d handle telling us with much more finesse.  Still, it confused me.  I wasn’t sure whether Lily was showing me a dream or showing me a bit of time I’d missed.  I very, very rarely lose time.  With something as traumatic as learning my best friend was moving far away, though, I might well have blocked out the conversation.

So, not wanting to interrupt my best friend’s plans, I paced a bit all day wondering whether I’d seen a dream or reality.  Once mid-afternoon came, I sent my best friend a text.  We chatted a bit, and then I very tentatively told him Lily’s dream.  He laughed via text.  Being the amazing person that he is, he reassured us that he is, indeed, staying with his current job and location.  Lily’s dream was only a dream.

I feel like I should say ‘end scene.’

Unexplained Panic

I’m dealing with something I do not understand and hoping some of you who read this blog can give me some insight.  This is a rough time of year, of course.  We’re coming on the first anniversary of my daughter’s death, just passed the 11th anniversary of my sister’s death, and are in the middle of the holiday season to boot.  My anxiety level is so high it’s literally making me ill at times, and things are relatively unpleasant at the best.

The bit I’m not understanding is panic.  Recently, my best friend and I had to make a change of plans.  The small change in our routine really set me off.  I just had this assumption that he was out of my life.  That *used* to be a response– I would assume that spending time with others would make him realise how horrible I was, and he’d want me out of his life forever.  That has *not* been a reaction for a few years now, though.

Even more recently, he found himself a bit under the weather.  Nothing serious at all.  Just the typical pre-winter cold.  Again, I panicked.  Would he get enough rest?  Would we be able to see each other?  Would he, knowing how much changes were upsetting me, push himself to do something he wasn’t quite up to?  A million unpleasant thoughts popped about in my head, and I was literally worried sick.

Today, he got a bit of nausea.  Again, nothing serious.  Likely, it’s just lunch that didn’t feel as though it spent enough time with him the first go round.  That brought the panic to a full-on attack.  My mind immediately went to the idea that my best friend would die, and I’d never see him again.  That quickly led into the thought of not being able to spend any time with him at all over the next week, even if he did survive.  He has plans the next two Saturdays, so Fridays seem almost critical.

I am *not* one to panic.  As a matter of fact, I’m typically the one who stays calm whilst everyone else panics.  Why, then, are simple changes in plan or status making me panic?  Today, my reaction to my best friend’s stomach issue was a full-on panic attack.  He isn’t aware of that; it’s not his responsibility.  Still, I phoned him to hear his voice, so I know he *sounds* fine.  He says he’s a bit tired and has some lingering nausea, all perfectly normal.  I’ll be pacing the floors until I know for definite I’ll see him tonight, though.  Every minute of not seeing him seems to count double right now- it’s like my mind is registering the fact that every minute could be the last minute.

So what’s going on with this panic?  PTSD involving grief issues?  I have no idea what to call it, how to frame it, or how to work with it.  I also have no access to a decent therapist to help.  This is making what’s already a difficult time of year much, much worse.

Distractions

The last time I was hurt by the Really Bad People, one thing that distracted me was the thought that my best friend is coming with me next summer to see my FOC.  He hasn’t been there in three years, so I had to make it through.  That was a relatively constant chorus in my mind.  I had to make it through that afternoon so my best friend and I could go to the FOC’s house, visit with them, and see things in the city that neither of us has seen before.  This was part of the plan, so I had to make it through. I sang along with Del Amtri in my head, thinking perhaps I could see Justin Currie in concert again if I lived.  I thought of all the things I wanted to do and bargained with myself- ‘Just get through this, and you’ll be able to do those things.’

Over the years, I’ve used strategies like that.  I’ve sang to myself, composed little poems in my head, and done just about anything to take away from what was going on at the time.  I’m really tired of doing that and really unsure, in the position I’m in at the moment, how to get out of it.  I’m not playing the victim.  I am *not* doing that.  I’m just struggling with finances and things like that, only my struggle involves this lovely little group to contend with, as well.  As long as they need me and I’m in a position to be under their thumbs, they remain the ever-present spectral in my life, as they have for my whole life.  Nothing there has changed.

Hopefully, I’ll someday be able to say I’m free of these people, but I don’t see it happening in this lifetime…

Bipolar Disorder Sucks

to use an American phrase that sometimes says it perfectly.

I’m having trouble.  Today, I’m hypo-manic but rapid cycling all the same.  I can’t slow down my thoughts, which are racing from intense anger to deep sadness.  My hands are literally shaking from the energy, and I can’t deal with even the slightest of changes without going right in to a tizzy.  Good thing my routine is staying stable, she says sarcastically.

I just started a new work schedule.  I like my job and will always be grateful to have a paycheck.  However, the merge of our company and another has a great deal of my job mixed.  I do *not* like working for the other department.  We had very little training and are constantly being told by the director of that programme that we are horrible at our jobs, my coworkers and me.  I’d be much better if they’d bloody train me as opposed to giving me a twenty page model and telling me to read it.  Not helpful.

A major change like that affects my ability to tolerate small changes well.  My best friend is going on a well-deserved holiday.  In years past, I would have assumed he’d go away, realise he could do so much better than me, and walk straight out of my life when he returned home.  Now, I know with absolute certainty that things will carry on as normal once he returns.

The schedule shifts, though.  We miss a weekend together, and this time our Friday night will be cut an hour short.  Neither of those are big changes, but with the bipolar symptoms raising and the issues with work, the small changes become a big deal.  One of my insiders feels that our visiting with my best friend on Friday nights keeps him awake beyond his comfort level.  No matter how often we assure her otherwise, she holds the belief.  She’s taking this leaving an hour earlier bit as proof.

I’d phone the shrink, but she would immediately put me in the crisis unit.  She told me she would do that the next time I got unstable because the symptoms shift so quickly.  Unfortunately, that means I’m not willing to phone her this early.  I’ve started Zyprexa– the prn med– and am hoping I caught things early enough that there won’t be a progression.  I’m not hallucinating, which is a great sign.  In retrospect (as usual), I see symptoms that I should have picked up on earlier, but I’ve definitely started Zyprexa earlier than I did during the debacle over the summer.

I really hate bipolar disorder and the way it affects my life.  My job suffers, my friends are affected, and my general health gets bunged up.  I think a change in meds is necessary, as well as a commitment on my behalf to keep a more regular schedule.  Anti-psychotics are awful in terms of side effects and long-term risks.  If taking the Zyprexa keeps me from becoming truly psychotic, though, the risks will just have to be taken.