“Love is never supposed to hurt. Love is supposed to heal, to be your haven from misery, to make living fucking worthwhile.” ―Mia Asher
“Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer, but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.” -C.S.Lewis
Today was difficult. Twice I walked into a room with a temper, and ended up calling one person when I was settled back inside my personal prison, and apologized for it. I’m lucky he knows me well enough to know that I simply disliked the unprofessionalism which was outside of our collective control. Praying for better days ahead, especially ones when I don’t feel like punching someone in the face.
Authors’ Note: POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING
If you cannot handle an honest take on life and discussions of depression and mental health, please do not read below this image. Thank you.
It didn’t set in until this month.
The majority of my days are Groundhog Day-esque. Lather, rinse, repeat. Dull. Uninteresting. Zero challenge involved. Over time, this method of “living” has worn me down. I’ve kept silent, but today I feel the need to say “I HATE IT. I hate everything about it.”
A little over a year ago I sat in full blown tears when I realized there was never going to be something in this world to cure me. With multiple diagnoses which are highly comorbid, I remember trying to hold back the tears by saying, “I can’t cry. I’m wearing $30 mascara.” I tried blowing it off. I tried using humor. I failed miserably, and no one noticed.
As someone who unintentionally fell into advocacy, fueled by my rage post the ER visit from hell that I still can’t fully talk about without going into the “red rage zone”, I spend a lot of time fielding questions and phone calls, dumbing down information for people so they sort of understand what I’m saying, and doing my best to help others. All while I’m dying inside more and more each day.
This past Spring, a nurse got in my face and asked if I was suicidal. I replied multiple times with, “I have a therapist. I’m fine. Thank you.” and ignored the question because, quite frankly, it didn’t pertain to why I was there. If I come into an office with pneumonia or go to Urgent Care or the emergency room with a broken bone, do NOT ask me if I’m suicidal. It doesn’t pertain to the injury or illness at hand, and medical professionals should NEVER scream and/or get into the face of someone who has a trauma history and a clear-cut diagnosis of any form of PTSD. If I had reacted by physically harming her (I romanced the idea for a good twenty minutes or so.), I would be in the wrong. I would have looked like “the mental patient”, or worse. By pulling myself together and reminding myself of who I am, that bitch still has a face. For now.
“Mental illness” is a phrase I loathe using. It’s a phrase that is incredibly hurtful to me, and always has been. Perhaps because it is so often said in fear, in blame, with malice, or with false empathy, I’m not entirely sure. I prefer to say “Everyone’s brain chemistry is different.”, which is accurate. I could probably get at least one doctor to agree with me on this.
I have openly and honestly discussed my battle with a difficult form of depression. For me, it is virtually un-treatable, so they refer to it as “Treatment Resistant”. I’ve failed more than twenty-five medications, and this year, I failed another. I just started taking something new (to me), but it’ll be a while before I know if it helps or hinders. My first dose definitely affected me and the side effects after the medicine left my system were not high on my list of “Let’s do this everyday”. On one hand, I am lucky because my doctor is trying new things and he has challenged us both with his commitment.
I also suffer terribly from anxiety, Complex-PTSD, and chronic migraines. Two of these diagnoses are hereditary. My headache specialist happily informed me that since my father got occasional headaches (I inherited my pain threshold from him. My father wouldn’t take so much as an aspirin unless something was bordering on emergency.) and my mother had a few migraines in her life, that I most assuredly inherited my migraines from one side of my family or perhaps both. This was nothing I didn’t already know.
Everything that makes me unique, smart, sharp, tough, witty, snarky, and a bad ass stems from at least one or two of my collective diagnoses. It does not make me better or worse; though people would love for you to believe anyone with different brain chemistry is going to either cause you harm or harm themselves. We are treated as lesser. We are labeled and ostracized. Within my own family, I’ve constantly been told I have nothing to be depressed about. I’ve experienced both exclusion, ridicule, and have seen everyone’s true selves. And yet, I see signs of various mental illness in a great many of the very same people who sit in judgment of me, feeling superior because they would never cop to their diagnoses, if asked. They are in denial, and I used the words “mental illness” for them because I have never seen anything special or unique about any of these individuals. I have never thought, “Wow. This person is something special.” When people describe me, it is usually in a positive light and the word “incredible” is often used. It is interesting phraseology, but I’ve also been told I “just want attention”. What crazy, delusional person would say such a thing? Fifty percent of my genetic make-up. 😦 I can’t take this person too seriously. If I did, they’d never walk, talk, or breathe again.
People often underestimate me, and they absolutely underestimate my ability to come back when challenged. If I counted how often a person has said I’m “so nice”, “so sweet”, “the kindest soul”, and/or “so caring”, I would be richer than Bill Gates. These are not words I’d ever use to describe myself. The inability to read non-verbal cues is apparently something many people either choose to suffer from or simply don’t realize they’re doing. If you spend two minutes looking me in the eye, you might catch a glimpse of the real me. “She may be small, but she is mighty.”
My mother once told me I’ve had the most interesting facial expressions since the day I was born; that she knew I was not only looking at someone, but I was also looking through them. She told me, “You see people exactly as they are. Not as they pretend to be. Sometimes, that scares people away, but it’s only scaring the wrong people away. The right people will always stick by you because you’re incredibly loyal.” When I think about those words, I can almost hear her voice again.
I have my moments. I can certainly be nice, sweet, kind, and caring, just not all on the same day, lest I ruin my reputation. 😉 I have limitations on how much niceness I spread around.
My physical and emotional pain is completely invisible. Unless I mention it, no one would ever know, and thus far, only one person seems interested in understanding the complexities of it all. I don’t have a lot of facial expressions. I’m predominantly quiet, unless I have something to say. And you’ll often hear the word “formidable” used in the same sentence as my name, providing the person is smart enough to grasp the fact that I’m not passive.
When other people talk about various forms of mental illness; OCD, anxiety and/or panic attacks, bipolar disorder, trauma, or personality disorders, they tend to be shocked by my openness and honesty. I suffer silently and I suffer alone. I have ceased to discuss it with family because I question their concern for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt someone’s concern was genuine. No one has EVER taken a call from me when I was in a crisis situation. People don’t call to check in on me, either, but they’re very quick to dial my number over the slightest thing bothering them, and I find myself exceedingly annoyed by the ridiculous questions I get via text almost daily. Loyalty, compassion, and the ability to be emotionally present are the things I provide, but they’re also the things I am not provided with.
So, it took me all this time to realize I am passively suicidal. And despite knowing this; people have consistently said or done something this year to hurt and upset me. My thoughts, feelings, and overall health has never been taken into consideration. No one has ever said, “Man, she’s going through so much right now. She’s fighting for her life. I’ll wait to talk to her about this until I see she’s feeling stronger.” My suffering is almost completely ignored. I wish people could see how horrible this all is for me and not attack me. I wish they could take my suffering into deep consideration; not as an excuse to avoid a discussion, no, but as a solid reason to know how close I am to the edge.
I can’t remember the last time someone asked how I was doing and it wasn’t someone in customer service. I can’t remember the last time someone genuinely cheered me up. I wish someone would understand how much pain I keep contained. I’ve never used my health as an excuse and I’ve never hidden behind it, but I often think people forget I’m human. The fact that I openly declared being passively suicidal should be enough to get friends and family to sit at attention. I can’t tell you how many times this year I truly believed my life was just moments from ending.
Because it was something I felt I needed to do, I went back into therapy last year. I was seeing someone once a month, and that particular situation worked well, until the therapist left the hospital she was affiliated with. She let me know well in advance, and even when she told me, it wasn’t a shock or a surprise, but it then took me time to find someone new. I saw two people, initially. One I automatically deemed “too young”, and I don’t mean chronologically. I mean in the sense that I didn’t feel she was prepared to genuinely assist me. She immediately got under my skin in a way that let me know she was not a good fit, and I also felt incredibly uncomfortable in the building her office was in, and the surrounding neighborhood felt unsafe and emotionally charged. I shouldn’t be going anywhere if I have to second-guess my personal safety. The second person was okay, but when she pissed me off in two separate sessions, completely twisting my words and practically stabbing me in the hand with a few of her questions, I was hesitant to go back. I mentioned it to my doctor, sort of in passing, and I appreciate the fact that he looked at me and said “Why are you trying to force it?” Beforehand, I felt bad. I never want to waste someone’s time, but he said the perfect thing to me in the moment, and there was nothing about his tone that bothered me. If anything, I was relieved that he knew me well enough to say something. He helped me get set up with someone in the same office, and thus far, things are going well. I feel like she’s got a good head on her shoulders and, because I laid all the dos and don’ts down in the first appointment, she has been good about letting me take point on how I want to proceed. She feels she’ll be able to help me, but she has no idea how hopeless I truly feel.
In the past when I’d read about how people were pushed by friends and family, or maybe one more than the other, into suicide attempts, it appalled me. I would think to myself, “No, not my family. They love me.” But the truth is, people like the idea of me, especially in passing, but love is rarely found in my life. I have friends who likely have more combined love for me than twenty family members, but my family would all deny this. It took me a long time to understand that love means different things to different people. Anyone who ever loved me unconditionally is long gone, and the pain of that sits deep within me.
I often hear people say “I love you.” in passing. It’s the end of many phone calls, but it means more to me than it does to other people. To me, it is a truth, or I won’t say it. There are many ways to say you love someone. It can be by helping them through difficult shit, or telling them to drive safely. It can be so many small and large things, and yet, I feel so devoid of it from people. My cats display more love when they look at me than most people ever could, yet I know many people are quite fond of me. It’s a short list, but I don’t doubt any of the people on it.
Inevitably, once this is published, I will get texts, e-mails, and a few phone calls. This will happen either all within a few hours or over the course of a week. People will ask me questions, pretend to be interested in what’s going on in my life, etc. I will also be accused of writing about each person in my life specifically, be accused of placing targets on their backs, as if I’ve got the time to psychoanalyze all of them and as if my readers are going to attack them physically in the streets! It is ridiculous behavior, but at least they’re all consistent. 😦 I’m supremely honest, so I MUST be targeting them. I mean really, the world seemingly revolves around a LOT of fucking people whenever I speak the truth. It’s baffling, to say the least.
All I want are some good days. Good moments. No pain. I’m desperately trying to survive this life. I’m tired of crying, something I almost never do. I’m tired of the emotional abuse. It is a horrendous burden to bear, especially when someone tells you you’re not being abused, or that you deserve every last ounce of hatred and vitriol a person can spit in your direction. I understand being upset or angry, but I’m tired of it being taken out on me as personal blame. Every time it happens, I reassess my life. No one should have to fight this hard just to stay alive.
It’s important to talk about feelings. It’s important to work things out of your system. Unfortunately, writing this was not a purge of emotion. This is an explanation of my daily life. It is slowly killing me, and those who know me refuse to see it.
I didn’t know until this month. I didn’t know how completely unimportant I am to people who should always have my back. I’ll stop here, though, because the emotional wounds are deep. I’m not sure there are enough sutures on the planet big enough to fix all the emotional harm that has come my way. But I’ll be damned if people don’t start backing off.
When you can’t see past the tears, and can’t breathe without feeling spikes in your chest, passive turns to aggressive, and absolutely no one is more determined than I am once I’ve made a decision. I need love and support right now, and if the people in my life can’t provide safety and a calm, quiet place for me to exist, then I need to stop being the dutiful family member and friend and prioritize nothing else except my own desires.
I know now, and this changes everything.
copyright © 2018 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. Further protected under the Digital Millennium copyright act. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
*Potential trigger warning*
I survived, and I’m always sorry when I do. Always.
Last week, a member of my family overdosed on prescription medication. It wasn’t painkillers or anything like that. In fact, I have yet to look the drug up, but I do know what it isn’t. It’s not lethal if you’re taking it responsibly, but it can be deadly if you’re being an asshole or you take four instead of one. That’s true for a lot of drugs we deem “safe”, which is precisely why the pharmacy tells you that if you can’t remember if you missed a dose, skip the dose, don’t double-up.
We don’t know yet if it was intentional or accidental, but she doesn’t remember what happened. I wish I could say the same. It took me roughly twelve hours to talk two different family members down over what happened. I’ve felt deeply depressed, unhappy, mentally, emotionally, and physically drained ever since. I’m in such a dark place and as I sit here, I realize no one has noticed.
I remember when I tried overdosing. I’d had enough and I wanted out. This was long before my Fibromyalgia diagnosis, and honestly, it was unnecessary back then, I just couldn’t tolerate what i was going through with zero support (much like I feel now). I can say with absolute certainty that no one noticed what I did and no one knew I did it. Even now, no one spends enough time with me to notice if I’m sick or not acting like myself because they don’t know me well enough to know what’s normal for me. I can’t laugh or be goofy or do anything without it being criticized or psychoanalyzed. I could do so many truly dangerous things and I am certain no one would notice. When would they have the fucking time?!
I’m not content living a half-life. I’ve spent the past few weeks in so much pain, I didn’t realize until yesterday just how badly I want it all to stop. The daily struggle. The forcing myself to get out of bed when I really shouldn’t be moving at all. The emotional struggle. The blackouts are so bad that I don’t remember most of today after eating breakfast and I’m concerned, because I think I hit my head at some point. My skull is on FIRE and aches so bad, I’m freaking out. I’m tired of forcing myself out of the house to do far too much because the one person who knows me best and knows exactly how to help me is hundreds of miles away and I haven’t seen him in a year and a half. The financial struggle is never-ending, and realizing that I’ve been unhappy before, but this is a whole other level of miserable is the icing on the cake of misery. This is something that cannot be broken with a positive attitude and smiley faces. This can’t be fixed with kind words and someone being polite. This is serious and every time I turn to someone for help, I’m given their equivalent of a gigantic middle finger. If someone does help me, they hold it over my head like a weapon. It makes it worse because helping someone should mean that you care, not that you show them hatred.
I do have a doctor’s appointment coming up, but it’s mostly for a diagnosis. A new one, because the old one is almost five years old and things change, including me. This is a fresh start and I don’t know if this doctor and I will click or not, but he’s only getting one chance to show me who he is and what he can do to help me.
Five years ago, I was in a different financial position, and while I was struggling emotionally, I kept it in check as much as humanly possible. I was making things work. My life came tumbling down less than six months later. Horror after horror, and I am suffering for it every single day. My doctor never billed me for my last appointment. He knew I had no insurance that would cover the visit at the time (Hell, the only thing my insurance was paying for back then was monthly medication and the occasional ER visit. My primary care doctor, at the time, was months away from dumping me as a patient when I needed help the most.) and that things with me were not okay. I never saw a bill from him. If he’d sent one, I would have paid it, but sitting here today, struggling, I see it as a major act of kindness in a world where there’s so little of it. In sixteen years, he’s probably bought a car or put his daughter through private school for a full year based on what I did pay him, so I don’t feel guilty about it. When I found out in late 2015 that he never put Fibromyalgia into my chart when he diagnosed me, thus making me look like an idiot and making me question exactly what the hell is wrong with me, I damn sure felt even less guilty. I was shaking with rage, and I still am. That one absent-minded mistake cost me DEARLY. And here I am, back at square one.
I feel like an insane basket-case, just waiting to explode. I’m looking at the pile of problems in front of me, which I cannot solve. I’ve got nowhere to turn for help, and I am scared out of my mind. I can let certain things go, but the realization of this particular problem and how important (and potentially damaging it could be) is making things worse. I suspect knowing that since yesterday is what caused me to blackout today. The stress is too much for my body. Stress can be so damaging, we don’t always know exactly how much stress we’re dealing with, until it’s too late.
Unlike many people, I’ve always understood the level of emotional pain it takes to make a person say “I’ve had enough.” I also understand the level of mental and physical pain it takes to say “No more. I can’t do this.” Most people never act on it, especially when they’re talking about it for several years to family and friends, but the people who, like me, keep it inside, are the ones more likely to act on their thoughts. There’s no fascination involved, we’re just done.
Today, I am 100% DONE. I have no idea how I’ve survived this far and I’m tired of worrying. Of not sleeping. Or praying and feeling like I’m all alone. There’s only so much hurt, disrespect, abuse, and abandonment one person can handle.
Will tomorrow be better? I don’t know. I never know. I can pray, and I am going to reach out for help to see if someone will have my back this week, but ultimately, once I’ve exhausted all options, I don’t know where I’ll be.
I’m praying for better days, but I feel lost and completely abandoned. The level of emotional pain for that is off the charts.
This is the aftermath of loss, grief, abandonment, abuse, and other things you may never heal from. No matter how strong you are, no matter how hard you try, there are some things you can’t do anything about. For me, that hurts almost as much as seeing how meaningless I am to others.
Most people would say “It’s the Monday blues.”, but those people don’t understand I feel like this almost daily. That’s not okay.
copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
I’d like to thank the two people who reached out to me with messages of encouragement, respect, and kindness after my last post about how horrible I am feeling (My feelings have only worsened.). Steven & Tasha; your words genuinely helped me and, from the bottom of my heart, they meant the world to me. Thank you both SO much. I don’t even have the words for how touched I am.
As for the rest of the world; I’m not really feeling people too much these days. Granted, I am not a people person on a good day, but it would certainly be nice if some people were more aware of their words, behavior, and attitudes towards me. I’m sick of being told how I am speaking, how I sound, how I’m behaving, etc., because I’m well-aware of my intent when I’m being human. If you don’t know my tones, then you don’t know how I’m speaking, how I sound, or precisely how I am behaving. I’m not two, and I don’t require psycho-analysis by people who really ought to save that for those who need it. You’ll only piss me off, and at the moment, I’d shy away from that if at all possible.
I believe that life, and people, has/have highs and lows, but what do you do when you’re stuck on LOW and don’t know how to rise, and cannot find a reason why you should? I’m hardwired to get up each morning, feed Cat and Kitten, sometimes feed myself, but of late, I’m so physically, mentally, and emotionally drained that I don’t know how to do it any more. “It” being “anything”.
I adopted Cat and Kitten to help keep myself alive. Cat was a foster from a kill shelter, so I felt like by rescuing her, I was saving my life, along with hers. Win-win. Kitten is from a no-kill shelter; and I love to support no-kill shelters because they’re crucial to the survival of so many animal’s lives. Unlike Cat, who has divided love/loyalties (I’d like to say she has a big heart, but I’m genuinely not sure she even likes me most of the time.), Kitten is my faithful companion. Even when I move her off of my blanket at three in the morning so I can get comfortable or grab a few hours of sleep, she forgives me in minutes. Cat holds a grudge if I move her or rearrange her on the bed. In fact, as I am typing this Kitten is making little sounds in her sleep and giving me her belly, instinctively knowing that I am by her side. She is named in honor of my original Tortoiseshell. I’ve noticed over the past two years that she is basically a gift from her; a true companion sent to go through life with me. She’s not a “replacement cat”, she’s a piece of my original cat that I know in my heart was sent to me. But lately, caring for both of them each day has been physically and emotionally taxing.
I have reached out to organizations to try to get emergency help in order to feel better, but after applying for insurance MONTHS ago (which should be underlined ten times), I still haven’t been approved, nor have I received anything in writing from them, which they’ve repeatedly promised each time I’ve called. The answer I’ve gotten is “You’re in the system. You should hear from us in approximately 2-3 weeks by mail.”, before I’ve been hung up on! There’s a reason they call them Massholes, and it’s NOT because they’re all perfectly well-mannered (a small percentage, yes. The rest? Not so much.). I believe they had roughly 30-45 days to approve or deny me from day one, and that I’d then have a period of time to appeal, if denied, but at this moment I feel like I’m stuck at square one. In turn, after giving them one final call this coming week, I am reapplying. I’m utterly tired of the bullshit, because this is clearly a runaround, so I am going to fill out the application they deigned to send me (I have my original documents from last year, all I have to do is insert the same answers), attach copies proving that I’m a legal citizen with a bank account, and fax it instead of mailing it. That way, I’ve confirmed receipt of the documents and won’t feel jerked around, as I have clearly been for all these months. I’m sick of paying for medication out-of-pocket when that $20-$35 (it ranges based on the discounts I’m able to find) could feed me, or my cats. Overall, I’m sick of the struggle of trying to live, and failing miserably. I need to be able to see doctors without cringing over out-of-pocket costs that frankly, I can’t do.
Everyone’s definition of “failure” is different. Not being able to take care of what is most important in my life; that is true failure to me. Not being able to protect my loved ones and keep them safe; that is failure. Thankfully, I care, I am emotionally present, and I’m not a vile human-being, so on that front, I am NOT a failure. I’d hate to be a heartless, cruel individual who only cared about herself. Thankfully, I was raised by two wonderful women (My mother and Grandmother) and selfishness wasn’t a part of their make-up, so it isn’t a part of mine. I miss them both more than words can say. Everything feels like yesterday in terms of loss; at least for me.
This evening I merely want to survive the mind-numbing migraine that exploded on me this afternoon in the grocery store, to the point where I had to run to the ladies room to be sick. 😦 That has never happened to me in public before (except after having blood work done, and that was one time), but after that I quickly made my way to the register and went outside for some fresh air, despite the fact that it was indeed freezing and took over forty-five minutes before I could feel my ears again. The smells inside the store were making me violently ill and the noise wasn’t much better. This afternoon I indulged in silence, darkness, and a nap, but it only made the migraine that much worse. At the moment, I am praying that three ibuprofen will kick in, along with caffeinated tea I’ve been nursing since three o’clock this afternoon. Some people need coffee to feel human; I need strong Earl Grey with real sugar.
This week and this weekend, I am definitely out of sorts, but don’t worry… I’ll be back soon with something I’ve been dying to write, but have kept under wraps for years. No more. The Beast Is Back.
copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
“For a torture to be effective, the pain has to be spread out; it has to come at regular intervals, with no end in sight. The water falls , drop after drop after drop, like the second hand of a watch, carving up time. The shock of each individual drop is insignificant, but the sensation is impossible to ignore. At first, one might manage to think about other things, but after five hours, after ten hours, it becomes unendurable. The repeated stimulation excites the nerves to a point where they literally explode, and every sensation in the body is absorbed into that one spot on the forehead—indeed, you come to feel that you are nothing but a forehead, into which a fine needle is being forced millimeter by millimeter. You can’t sleep or even speak, hypnotized by a suffering that is greater than any mere pain. In general, the victim goes mad before a day has passed.” ―Yōko Ogawa
I’m starting this the night before (Friday @ 8:30 PM EDT) because I don’t know how much writing I’ll be able to do tomorrow, mostly because migraines and lack of sleep have plagued my existence the majority of this week.
Tomorrow is Case Study #2’s birthday. I gave him three potential options for a really nice birthday dinner based solely on his past & current tastes, and things he has mentioned “really wanting” over the past month. Let the record state that NO ONE in history, be it family or friend, has ever cooked a birthday dinner for me, not unless it was a restaurant chef. At the last second, the plan that had been agreed upon became a huge fight. I think we can all safely agree that no man should ever piss off the woman who prepares 70% of his food. I decided to pretend he had a brain fart/age issue and wasn’t truly stupid enough to talk to me the way he did. So, off I went to the store this afternoon to procure the ingredients for said birthday dinner. By the time I got everything on my list, went through the self-checkout, because, believe it or not, the line was non-existent, and put it all in the car, I was ready to fall on the floor of the parking lot.
I left the store with a dull headache that slowly progressed into a migraine. My 23rd migraine, since the 5th of this month. I’m starting to lose my patience with Topamax. The side effects are ones I am used to, but they’ve been rough on me. I’ve been on 50 mgs successfully for a while now, so tonight I will increase it to 75. That means I already took 25 mgs and that I will soon take 50 mgs before bed. It’s not a great hardship, but remembering is half the battle. If there’s one thing I hate about Fibromyalgia, killer migraines, and stress, it is walking around mentally confused. I have yet to say “What day is it?”, but I do have days where I say “Not today. I need to rest my body.”
I have been sleeping like a jet-lagged monkey. Three hours here. Two hours there. Nothing consistent. This will continue until we turn the clocks back in November, which is woefully late considering it is already getting darker earlier each evening, and that is a huge part of what tells my body that it’s time to go to sleep. Darker mornings also mean that my body says “It’s still dark outside, we need to stay asleep.” Unfortunately, the mind does not always shut off when everything gets dark and quiet. Therein lies a huge problem.
26 September 2015~2:23 a.m. EDT
I slept for just under three and a half hours, waking up with an overactive brain. That quickly turned into post-migraine symptoms, which, if you’ve ever had a migraine, you KNOW is not a fun experience. I then found myself staring at Cat and Kitten who were quizzically inquiring as to my state of “If you’re not asleep, perhaps you’d like to feed us? Look how cute we are…” I honestly just want to go the fuck back to bed for eight hours and not be bothered by anything or anyone, but since I’m awake, I might as well accomplish something.
Laundry and pre-prepping Case Study #2’s birthday dinner are my first two orders of business. I can multitask like a boss. 😉 It will also give me time to decide what I want to say in his birthday card without resorting to “I’m sorry we’re related. I hope you never need a bodily organ.”
When it comes to certain family members, I believe they each have different roles they play in your life. We all have a family member we’d prefer not to acknowledge, or one we’re almost certain we might kill one day, if only by “accident”. I often say “I will kill you and tell God it was an accident.” The only problem is, I mean what I say.
In every family there is the peacekeeper, the overachiever/hero/prodigal child, the scapegoat, the outcast/black sheep/lost soul, and the mascot, etc. There are additional roles within the sibling hierarchy, but basically, this sums it up nicely and will have you looking at your own family if you’ve got more than a few siblings to speak of.
Not all families are like this, of course. In my family, the grandchildren were always compared to one another, as if our achievements defined us as individuals. I am the oldest on my mother’s side of the family, but I’d be introduced by my Grandmother long after she introduced my brother and his accomplishments. “This is my Grandson… He’s done this, this, this, this, this, speaks French, has an I.Q. of…oh, and this is his sister.” I would stare at her whenever she did it, because I didn’t see a need for such nonsense, and I let it slide. There was no need to argue with her or point out my own accomplishments, talents, or achievements. She didn’t understand them, so they didn’t matter to her. It didn’t mean she didn’t love me, she simply came from a different generation. I didn’t care about squeezing into the mold to suit people’s needs then, and I’m certainly not going to change now.
Where am I going with this? Case Study #2 is miserable to his core. Apparently turning another year older, turning profusely more grey by the day, looking more like Mr. Clean (He’d kill me if he saw this.), and looking forward to another year where he mistakenly gets taken for my father (Which cracks me up every.single.time.) somehow requires him to be a vicious animal. He is rude, offensive, disrespectful, unappreciative, and I am not having any part of it.
I’m having a difficult year and a few weeks ago his birthday gift “request” was somewhere in the ballpark of $750 before taxes, which in my mind, is a month worth of bills. I just stared at him, because there was no other normal reaction to have. Not once in my entire life have I ever gone so far as to demand (it truly wasn’t a “request”) such an expensive birthday gift from anyone. I am happy to receive books, CD’s, t-shirts, gift cards to my favorite stores that I never get to shop at because I spend my entire year working, etc. I have definitely received some amazing gifts over the years from generous family members, friends, and ex-boyfriends, but there are also years I went out and bought gifts for myself. I’ve never turned to a soul and said “I want THIS. You owe it to me.” NEVER. I’d like a navy blue Lexus for my birthday, but is it the most prudent gift in the world? No. I’d be happy with a nice pair of gloves and a matching scarf to get me through the coming Winter, or a really nice wallet. Something I actually need, and you can add up all of those things and they don’t even range anywhere within his “request” because I live in reality. No one owes me anything, people who give you gifts do so because they want to and because they can, not because you demand it of them.
I guarantee that a month from now, I won’t get so much as a card. Last year, he wished me a happy birthday and patted me on the head as if I was a dog. A few years ago I went away for my birthday so he wouldn’t ruin it. I didn’t get so much as a phone call. He, miserable bastard that he is, gets a beautifully cooked meal (I don’t keep rat poison on hand.) and one of his favorite desserts. I even got candles. I am a complete and utter moron. 😦
Misery may want company, but this year and from here on in, misery can kiss my ass.
copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
I’m a pretty dark person. I have a wicked sense of humor and I’ll say anything goofy to make someone laugh, but when it’s my life, there isn’t a lot I perceive as humorous. I’m not the kind of person who laughs at someone else’s pain or who enjoys hearing about someone’s breakups, divorces, illnesses, a death, etc. Laughing at other people’s pain is evil, in my eyes. When someone mentioned losing their Mom last week, I sat on my couch and cried. I’d already endured a rough week and hearing the words “My Mom passed away, but she’s at peace.” made me ill. I felt SO bad for this person. I was relieved that they had support from a spouse, friends, and family. That made me feel better for them, despite the fact that losing a parent at any age is one of the worst things one can go through. I should know; I’ve already lost both of mine. I’d give a lot to have even just one of them back. I spend every day of my life feeling like an absolute orphan.
I am good at listening to others and giving exceptional advice, but I’m not very good at listening to myself in an advisory capacity. The last thing I want to hear is the sound of my own voice. I spend a lot of time trying to shut the inside of my head up. I don’t do drugs, so that means I pull the covers around me (usually because I’m cold) and close my eyes. After a few minutes, kitten comes to check on me and she’ll cuddle in, which always makes me feel cared for. She’ll look at me with such loving green eyes and I know that she is conveying her concern for me. “Why are you sad, Mama? Don’t worry, I’ll stay with you. ” And she doesn’t leave my side until I leave the room. She is the epitome of loyal, and it is gratifying to see so much love from such a little person.
Cat also checks on me. These last few weeks she has been very observant of my unhappiness and has spent a lot of time watching me, cuddling with me, sitting on my lap at times, and looking for me. If I leave a room, she’ll trot after me to make sure I’m okay. She stares at me with her deeply knowing little face. I can almost hear her thinking “Mommy’s not okay. I always hear her say ‘I’m not okay.’, why doesn’t anyone listen to her?” I don’t know.
I’ve been so miserable that I’ve struggled emotionally in deep, dark places. Very few people have noticed and even fewer have shown me that they care. That’s okay, because it only proves what I already know; Most people live on their own fucking planet and aren’t aware that other people exist. Good for them, but please, stay the hell out of my lane or I will mow you down for shits and giggles. I have absolutely no tolerance for anyone who has their head that far up their own ass, though I am slightly impressed with their ability to physically aim so high. Since their heads never come out, there is no need to stock up on Listerine for the “great hose down of 2015”. I’ve decided to ignore assholes, douchebags, and vicious souls for the foreseeable future. I don’t care who the person is any more, I don’t need the stupidity and heartlessness.
Oftentimes people forget that all forms of depression can strike them down at any given moment. They can be the happiest person in the happiest place, and suddenly feel as though there are no words for their internal pain. Lying about it, pretending it does not exist, and blowing off the pain of others to make yourself seem stronger doesn’t make you better, it makes you afraid of being stigmatized. It’s 2015. Get the antiquated thinking out of your head and stop being an asshole to yourself, and others. It takes strength to treat a chemical imbalance. It takes strength to talk about it. You should be ashamed if you’re lying about it and hiding it. You should be even more ashamed if you’ve hurt friends that suffer because you can’t handle the fact that they’re stronger than you are. Yelling at someone who is suffering is not helpful. Screaming at them is even less helpful. You either want to help someone because you genuinely love and care about them or you scream because you lack proper communication skills.
I will yell when I’m frustrated, I will tell someone to back off or leave me alone when I am frustrated and need space, but the only person I abuse is myself.
I never know with any certainty if I will emerge from these dark places. Medication isn’t an option for me. I wait for new drugs to be released every few years to see if something new will be the answer. And by new, I mean NEW, I do not mean reformulated with a new name, which is what most pharmaceutical companies do when a major money-making drug is about to go generic. They will re-release it under a new name, having slightly tweaked it. If you’re not proactive in researching these drugs, you will spend years taking the same fucking crap, experiencing the same horrible side effects, wondering why you never feel better.
I am the exception, not the rule. Many people do find medication that works after some trial and error, even if only for short periods of time. I am chemically sensitive and I have been written off as “treatment-resistant”, which means that my brain doesn’t respond to all sorts of crazy chemical cocktails. No drug has ever worked for me on a long-term basis. Every time I “go dark”, it is up to me, and me alone, to try to pull myself out of the deep, dark hole before things get worse. I’m really tired of everyone’s opinions in regard to that. When you’re hurting, you want to be understood. You don’t want to hear hypocrisy or “That’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Um, NO. I will have this for the rest of my life. That my friends, is fucking permanent.
I will never be a perfect, blooming flower for anyone. I wish people understood that depression does not diminish who I am, it does not detract from what I bring to the table. It does not make me less talented, less intelligent, or less anything. If anything, it makes me the more interesting person in the room with a little more vibrancy at times because I hold a lot back daily. I don’t shine all of the time, but when I do, I highly suggest wearing sunglasses.
Here’s hoping I will soon shine again.
copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
WARNING: Potential Triggers
I’m a ridiculously intuitive person, which has the tendency of scaring people if they aren’t used to it. I live my life paying attention to the same things most people ignore. However, it is virtually impossible to ignore your body and mind when they’re screaming at you. No matter what bad thing it is that you may be going through, it is sometimes important to take a step back, allow yourself to feel what you feel, without apologies, and regroup tomorrow.
For the majority of my life, my purpose wasn’t clear. I don’t know if I ever considered the purpose for my existence. I had so many responsibilities, and I openly admit that I took them on myself. When most people would have been taking care of themselves for their “most selfish years”, I was taking care of two sick parents. I was dealing with burying friends and loved ones, and so it took until maybe this last year for me to say “Enough!” and begin focusing on myself. I now know that it’s not selfish to be focusing on myself at this point in my life, it’s survival.
I’ve been through some awful things, a lot of which I try not to focus on. There’s a saying about not looking back or you’ll only manage to hurt your neck. In many respects, that is true. I gain nothing from reflecting on pain, but I do gain something for having survived all of it. I know that I can get through the horrible, never-ending cycle of suffering, I know I can come out the other end a far better person than I was today, but it’s not a choice one ever wants to make. It’s “kill or be killed”, so you have to regroup and “kill”, even if only metaphorically.
In times like this, a lot of people turn to religion. I am not hardcore religious, but I am spiritual. I pray several times a day for the peace and the concept that someone Higher is listening to me. That someone Higher cares. Through trial and error, I have found that most people care about themselves, and they have no room in their mind or heart for anything or anyone else. I’ll never understand it. The average person cares about five people, or less. Are we such a selfish, self-absorbed, self-centered society that we take no time at all to care about the person next to us? I often hear myself say that if a situation does not directly affect me and/or those I love/care about, then I cannot put forth the emotion to worry about it. The point though is that I actually love and care about other people. I’ve spent a long time placing others before me, and I still do it at times, but ultimately I don’t have my head up my ass. I find it easy to be emotionally present for others, and a lot less easy to be emotionally present for myself.
I’m sick of my internal dialogue because it’s so abusive. It’s something I call “self-abuse”. You’re cutting yourself apart as if you were actually cutting, but there’s no blood, the wound is entirely internal and it grows daily. You wouldn’t even feel it if someone dipped you into the Dead Sea, because you’re already a walking wound of agony.
I can point out positive things in other people, but when it comes to doing the same for myself I usually say “I’m loyal.” and when asked how I’m feeling I often say “I exist.” I will never lie and say “I’m fine.”, because then I’d be lying to myself. I’m not fine. I’ve never been less “fine”, but because I’ve been through so many “not fine”, “not okay” times, I would rather not pick at the scabs, so to speak. How much negativity does one need to focus on before they become batshit crazy and hurt someone, or themselves?
I will never lie about often feeling suicidal. Never. I will never pretend that darkness doesn’t coat aspects of my life so thickly that it’s hard to see the light. I will never say it is a topic that is “off-limits” or “taboo” because the fact of the matter is, not everyone acts on their thoughts, but those that do aren’t weak. It takes an immense amount of strength to say “I’ve had enough pain.”
Many people advocate for “assisted suicide” for terminally ill patients, but what do we advocate for when a person cannot be healed in any way, shape, or form, through no fault of their own? Do we pretend the issue doesn’t exist and go off into our own selfish bubble? Do we say “That’s not my problem?” Do we walk away? Do we ignore it?
So many people have been unable to see the signs in a loved one and have later been devastated that they chose to end their own life. Instead of thinking about how much pain THEY had to be in to go there, to reach that point, all I ever hear is “How could s/he do this to me?”, “How could they leave me behind?”, “Why didn’t s/he tell me?” Bringer of honesty: It’s NOT about you.
It amazes me how people don’t look closely at situations or loved ones. It blows my mind how people choose to see the surface, and nothing more. It behooves me how few people ever say “I’m here for you, no matter what. And I will NOT judge.” Once a person commits suicide, people can lie ’til the cows come home, but they are absolutely judging. If you’re unaffected by the deeply personal pain of others, you aren’t human.
It is important to check in with those we love. It is important, and crucial, to look deeper. There will still be times when you will not see what a person chooses not to show, but there will also be times when a hug, a hand to hold, a kind word, a moment of inspiration, a thoughtful phone call, or card will pull a person back and show them that they mean something, that their life has value and purpose.
This will be painful for some people to read because they choose to avoid brutal truth. This may be painful for suicide survivors who are still left asking themselves “Why?” As a person who thinks about it deeply, I have very few reasons for not acting on my feelings. Those reasons become less important each day.
I am touched by the people who genuinely reach out to me in love or friendship. I am touched by the people whose actions say “I’ll always be here for you, no matter what.” But those moments, and people, are few and far between.
One day I may not be able to rely solely on my self-talk to pull me back. And the excuses you might very well hear in the wake of that will be: “I work 60+ hours a week, I have no time to talk.”, “I never returned her phone call. I feel TERRIBLE.”, “I didn’t answer her text message.”, “I stopped speaking to her because she was too honest.”, “She was so young, smart, creative, and beautiful…I don’t understand. She had her whole life ahead of her.”
No one will say “She was in so much pain, she couldn’t take it anymore and I understand.” No one. And that is truly fucking sad.
copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.