Coming Up For Air

I saw my therapist yesterday and spent the session reading her a few posts from this blog. Mostly about my bipolar. The agony of it and the prison it encapsulates one in. I was thrilled when she sat there, mouth agape and told me how powerful and good each one was. And how I had, had, to write a book about this. She said she has read hundreds of tomes on bipolar disorder but none come close to the actual emotions I was conveying in the posts I have written. It made me feel validated. It made me feel as if there was an audience. And for a moment or two, I could see my life as a writer coming to fruition.

I know the space I want to create. I have the furniture picked out. The drafting table, the chair, the window that would look over nature and water. The sounds that would drift through the screen and the fresh air that would caress my face. I see it, visualize it. I just don’t know how to make this happen.

Before I went into the session, as I was home taking a break from the work I did not want to be doing, I heard from a place I had applied to eons ago and was convinced my application was in the “no” pile (as we with this disorder have a great way of doing – creating a dark hole of thoughts that we will never be good enough). But surprisingly, they want to speak to me. They are interested, perhaps. I have a shit ton to do before I speak to them, but I finally feel as if some of the weight of this past year is being lifted off my shoulders. In terms of finding a place where I might be happy as well as getting the acknowledgement that my writing had value. I don’t know about anyone else out there who puts their life on the page, but for me it felt like winning a contest.

When the session was over, and I finally got home after returning to work for an interminable meeting, I decided to watch 10 minutes of a show one of my co-workers cannot stop extolling the virtues of. 10 minutes turned into 3 episodes before it was bed time, but it was spellbinding and difficult to let it go in the same fashion that a good book will hold onto you long after the midnight hour. Yet, its been excruciating this week to pull myself out of bed everyday and come in here, so I knew I had to stay on schedule. Schedules are so important from those of us with this condition.

One line during an episode stood out to me. It actually screamed at me, and I had to pause and rewind so I could write it down:

When you lose the love of your life, it make you love life less.

And that is what happened 13 years ago. I lost my love for life. In the blink of an eye. We never know when the reaper will call to us – unless we plan for it. But in losing my husband, I lost my love for anything. Good, bad, ugly, beautiful. The world was washed in grey – there were no colors, no birdsong, nothing that made me stop and appreciate that I was still here. Because that was the last thing I wanted. To be here. Or anywhere except with the man who was no longer around.

And that’s why death sucks. Because “poof”, in an instant the one you loved has left you. And I’ve been searching for 13 years for any sign, any, that he is still around. I’ve come to peace with a lot of this in the last year. Perhaps it has been living on my own for the majority of time. Perhaps it has been this blog. Perhaps I have finally come to realize that life goes on. My mother will die soon. This I know. I would rather it happen sooner than later, as her mind is almost gone. I fear what I will see in two weeks when I visit. My therapist asked if I had any regrets about this death and I told her no. No unfinished business. She made me who I am (sans the bipolar part) and I have only good memories of our years together. My husband was a different case – we had been married for only 9 months and had our lives in front of us. My future was taken from me that day, or at least the path I believe was set out before me.

I have been trying to find a map to follow ever since that horrid April day.

My husband once asked me if he was struck down by some odd disease that made him wheelchair bound and he could only “caw” like a crow, if I would stay with him. I told him of course, and every day I would move him to our back screen porch so he could talk to his crow friends while I was away. I have always loved crows and ravens. He did too. I called him “crow boy”. Lately I have been noticing more and more crows in my yard, on my drive to work and I have decided to think they represent him, and that he is still somehow looking out for me, regardless of how fucked up a life I created for myself in the wake of his death.

Maybe I am finally coming up for air. Or getting a reprieve from the waves that have been crashing over me. I just know that at this moment, I feel I can breathe a little better than I have in months. I know that the profession I chose I no longer wish to work in, but I have to keep playing the game until I find a way to make it as a writer. As anyone with this disease knows, we are always chained to drugs, doctors, prescriptions. And I need that coverage.

This could all change tomorrow. I could awaken in misery again. Or later today. Within the next hour. One never knows with this poison in my brain. But I live for days like yesterday and mornings like this one, where I hear the birdsong and the colors are alive in the world outside my office windows. I will always miss him. And life will never hold the same amount of magic that it once did. I don’t know if I will ever be able to love life more than I did before he died. But I am trying, at least for today, this moment.

© Sorrow & Kindness


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