It will be two days until the Day my brother died. Some people may not believe it but he visited me. I was sleeping and I could smell his cologne and I felt like somebody was there and I was comforted in my grief. Kind a like when your dog comes back after he dies and you can feel him curling up next to you in the bed and you smell their scent and you swear that they’re there but of course they’re not. This is this is the same thing that happened to me two nights ago. I told him I loved him and went to sleep. I guess this was doing the twilight before you fall asleep. I miss him. I’m going to keep on missing him and I guess I’m going to keep on crying, but my heart aches less and my mind is not all there right now. I’m very anxious and I know this is the reason why, I miss him.
My brother died last year and although this hasn’t been on my mind all the time, it has been wrecking havoc with my subconscious mind. Depression, anxiety, anger and lots of crying.
At first, I didn’t know why I had slowed down, but it wasn’t hard to figure out why because his picture hangs in my living room. April 16, 2016. It marks the first whole year I’ve lived without his calling, the kidding around, the laughter and teasing. He was the best brother a person could have. He wasn’t perfect, but he took time with me. When I felt ignored growing up, I can remember him taking the time out of his play time, to teach me how to hold a bat and play baseball. I sucked, but that didn’t matter. He took time with me and showed me some attention when my other siblings were busy or teasing me for being the baby of the family. He never did that to me and that is one of the reasons I’ll miss him so much. He loved me and told me all the time.
I’m not back to where I was before March hit, but I’m getting there. My mother still can’t talk about him for long periods of time. He was her first born. I can’t imagine what she’s going through, although she did say she had her days earlier than mine. Without actually saying what ‘those’ days were about.
It’s still cold and it feels like the real spring will never get here. I wonder if I’ll go through this every year. I don’t like marking deaths of people, I feel it’s morbid. But my mind had other things planned for me. And I don’t appreciate it.
Someone told me and everyone is telling me to just ‘remember the good times’. That works for a while. But I guess I’ll always miss him, I don’t think that will ever leave.
This is the first family death where I was stable. My sister, my grandmother and my best friend passed when my meds weren’t together and every day was zombie day. The last time I was this stable, my favorite uncle died and it threw me off balance and landed me back in never-never land for years.
I can see that I’m much stronger than I use to be. I’m holding things down and looking forwards to things and although life isn’t perfect, what is?
I tend to worry. And now that I have registered for the conference, I’m still short on the hotel and transportation aspect. I know it’s early and I’ve got 3 months to save and hope for more donations.
As usual, I am being overlooked. I really want to advocate for mental illness and my way of doing this is through this book. By not being able to afford the hotel presently and by not being able to afford transportation. I’ve got myself in a tizzy.
My anxiety is rising and I just want to tell myself to calm down. But my head just goes someplace else and I feel like I’m biting off more than I can chew and as always it boils down to money. I hate the whole thing.
But I love writing. And I love where my book is heading. I can’t give up on that. It’s my purpose.
I always tell my therapist that I feel like I have no purpose in life. I have no children. No husband and can’t hold a job. So what is there to live for? I have no purpose in life.
Writing gives me this purpose. It makes me feel like I’m worth something. That’s just the reality of it.
Writing this helps me. It’s been going through my head all day and it’s only noon. I wake up at five a.m. each day, so it’s been a couple of hours. I need to take it moment by moment and hope that the donation drive picks up and I won’t have to cancel.
I don’t know what to think anymore. I just want to be relaxed about the idea. That would be nice for now.
I’ve just got to keep posting to FB and pushing this cause for myself. Keep believing in myself and try to avoid negative thinking.
So, I’m gonna post the donate link at the end of each blog post and hope for the best.
Today is my writing day, no television, no video games. Just writing and a few rests in between. I’ve already begun, but have to make a short pause to call my mother. I call her at least twice a day, once at eight a.m and then again before we both go to bed.
So far, so good. Pulling out old notebooks and polishing up my current story and Mozart in the background.
I’m hoping and taking things day by day. I get so anxious about things, even if they are months away. I need to stay in the moment and just hope for the best. It would be crushing not to be able to attend the conference in June. But just having tried and having failed, is better than not trying at all. Plus it forces me to write more and quit screwing around with distractions.
I plan to add more to the blog about my progress. I have one story done. Which needs some serious editing and maybe a bit more background or clarification of character. I’m leading my second story into a decline or rather extending the climax. I think I’ll extend the climax and add some more dialogue.
With a day to work on it, I should make more progress. Which makes me happy. Something which is hard to attain at times.
Yesterday was particularly hard. All I could do was phase out and just feel numb.
So it was a nap and television and app on the phone day. That’s all I could handle mentally and physically. I’ve got a busy week ahead and weekend. I think I needed that bum day.
I was thinking about my brother yesterday, in April it will be a year since his death and it’s beginning to feel like he was never here. I dreaded this stage. He’s in my soul and I will see him again at the resurrection. These are my beliefs, you have your own.
So much time has been spent being angry at him. Now I know it is time to start living and shake those feelings away. Work on this book and hope for the best.
I’ve been writing short stories about people with mental illness. Concentrating on characters who just happen to be ill and making them as identifiable as possible.
It’s important to me that these characters could be anybody. Not a stereotype or diagnoses, just a person going through a phase or situation.
My purpose is to help chip away at the stigma that is out there about those of us with BiPolar or Schizophrenia or depression and the list goes on…
I don’t want it to read like the PDA, but rather as a glimpse into someone’s life. There will be some triggering and tragic instances, but also some simple one. Which to a person without anxiety would be a simple task. But for those of us with anxiety, it’s a major undertaking.
There is a Writers’ Conference at Rutgers University I wish to attend. But money is an issue. When isn’t it when it comes to living on a very limited budget. I have to have the money for the conference and the money to get to and from the train. I’ll be taking a bus, to a train and then Lyft. Unless I can get enough to just take Lyft there and back, that would be heaven.
This is my mission and my dream. To get this book finished and attend this conference in June. Either way, I am writing this book.
The conference would put me in contact with publishers and fellow writers and give me a peek into what it takes to get your work out there. To find out if there is a market for my book or would I be creating one. I realize that I need to attend this conference in order to get a better understanding of what I intend to accomplish. In real terms and not just as a dream.
So, if you’re still reading. Please consider helping me attend this conference by clicking the link and hopefully contributing to my cause. Even if you don’t contribute a comment would be nice. We have to support each other and not be ashamed of who we are, and remember that our illness does not define us.
Thursdays are always strange days for me. Therapy and maybe something social. I think it’s the social part that sends the anxiety flying early in the morning. I did some writing on a second short story. I’m not worried about how good or how much editing I’m gonna have to do later. I’ve just got to get these stories out of my head.
Poetry is easier. I don’t rhyme all the time. I think there really shouldn’t be any rules to poetry. It’s a pure expression of the soul and how can anyone put rules on your soul.
I need to write more and I’m glad I did some writing today. But right now, the anxiety has got a huge hold on me and I have to go and do something about it before I scream.
I’ll take “REASONS TO STAY IN BED ALL DAY ” for $1,000.
There are times I wonder if my days are nothing more than a wheel of ‘mis’fortune. Not to say its all bad. I might win a contest for some small thing, or get to spend some time with my mother and utterly enjoy the whole day. Or get to sleep without shuttering from my mind wanting to get up, but my body not being able too.
All types of crap happen. And when you have more than one diagnoses, you don’t know what to pick. Is today a BiPolar day, depression episode or anxiety attack.
My anxiety has been on high. I worry about my mom and I have a morbid obsession with how I will react or live once she passes.
Will I lose my mind? What will I do when I need someone to turn to and no one is there. There’s this fear about being alone, since there is no one presently in my life.
I wake up, go thru my daily routine. We talk and then; the rest of my day goes by until I call her before bed. This gives me reassurance that someone cares.
My mother is my rock. And there are times I am hers, and I like that.
My anxiety levels go pretty high and without the xanax and occasional other med, I would be inoperable. I feel it build and build and I want to eat everything in the house and I pace and I shake and it’s one major mess.
That’s where I’ve been lately. Except the day I shut down.
There I was, sitting in the waiting room for my therapist and my mood hit rock bottom. I could just stare and barely talk. My therapist is so good, she helped bring me around, able to make eye contact and sentences.
Things have been strange. I’m still able to put in an hour a week to development of the book. So, I guess it’s not a complete loss.
There was a writing course offered, but I’m broke. Only $400 and it would teach you how to develop characters, plot etc.. Coursera is an incredible site. I’m just too poor. Oh well.
Will share again, when I am able.
Tried to get out of the house today. But I am just too tired. There are days when all I’m doing is dragging from one room to the bed. And no matter how positive I think or how much sugar or protein I ingest. My body is just too tired to move.
I’m off one med and waiting to see how I am feeling to see what other med I can be put on for the microplactinoma. Maybe they’ll just leave things as they are, right now I don’t know.
All I know is that I’m tired. Very, very tired. And I’m scared.
After all these years, BiPolar doesn’t scare me as much as physical illness does. Sure they can most of them, but I seem to be getting the ones that can only be managed. And that’s distressing at times.
I wrote this poem in April of 2016. I think this is a good time to repost it.
When we join to march on Washington to end Stigma against the Mentally Ill
The turn out will probably be small
I will be there, my mother and hopefully a friend or two.
But CNN, NBC and ABC will probably have better things to do
As I said, the turn out will be small
Maybe a local paper or a blogger
But it won’t make international news,
No BBC World for this strut.
Because in their eyes and closed minds
There is “NO” story.
As for the Marchers,
None of us will have guns or planes or buses to crash into building and mountains
None of us will have shot up a school or post office within the past few days
Many of us will have medication and a water bottle to take them with,
Oh yeah and sunscreen, because some meds make you sensitive to sunlight
You can get dehydrated.
If we get a hundred of us to show up
I would be quite surprised.
It’s not because our numbers are few, oh no
We number in the millions.
If you look to your left
If you look to your right and smile
We are there, the mentally ill don’t wear a Scarlet MI on our foreheads
But we are present.
When the March on Washington to help end Stigma against the Mentally Ill happens
The turn out will be small,
Not because of the numbers,
Rather, because the backlash the next day, will be fierce
For the one Television Station that does show up will broadcast our faces and
Bob from accounting.
And the next day, he will return to work and he will no longer just be Bob
No longer the guy they chat up at the water cooler and play fantasy football with,
No longer the Aerosmith fan in the next cubical, or the one who makes office lunch runs on Wednesday
No longer the cute guy from accounting, with the daughter on the honor roll.
He won’t be Bob anymore…
Bob will become, the ticking bomb
In the eyes of his co-workers and employer
The nut job next door, to his neighbors who use to admire his lawn tending skills
The crazy used to carpool with the other guys, until the March on Washington
And they all saw his face with the sign, “I am Mentally Ill… Let’s do lunch”
For each Mentally Ill person who makes the headlines
There are tens of thousands, who never will.
We fear losing our jobs
We fear losing our friends and our families
We fear losing our lives we have worked on so hard,
Day after day too keep together
like anyone else, with one slight difference.
The therapy, the meds, the coping mechanisms
The private break downs and possible inpatient stays.
All designed to keep it together, and we do.
So, when we all join to battle Stigma
The few of us who have come
I guess we will be there for the Bob’s and Jane’s,
Who can’t attend, because of what they are afraid they will loose.
The Stigma is that strong, the prejudice, the persecution.
Like Blacks and Gays, who have had to fight for years to be seen, heard and counted
I wonder if we will ever get our March, or Stonewall Inn.
We have always been the family secret to me hidden away somewhere since the days of Ancient Rome.
And here it is, here we are today and no one is willing to march with us or for us.
To identify our struggle,
We fight everyday, just to have a life and bring home a paycheck
We seek out treatment and help, when sometimes no help is offered or available.
When we can’t afford our medication and we have to ration out what we have left, if any.
No March on Washington will take place
Because we fear that the love and admiration we may have now,
will turns to fear from our family and friends
Once the mask is taken off and we are labeled.
So the mentally ill won’t come.
The media will pass, Bob’s job is safe
And we will continue day to day
We survive and we do it damn well.
Because we are strong and because we can.
You don’t have to broadcast. Or walk around with a t-shirt displaying your illness. But being open to discuss what its like to be Bipolar or Schizophrenic or depressed or have bouts of anxiety. Is a type of bravery, that most people who don’t fight the good fight, have never known.
The stigma attached to being mentally ill, dates back to Biblical times, so there is a lot of work to be done. To break down those walls and DIALOGUE is the best way to make them crumble.
There is no shame in being ill. Take care of yourself. Mentally and physically, the best way you know how. And if you don’t know how, just ask. It can be your doctor or someone you know who has gone thru the same battle or your therapist or even an online support group.
Education has always been the best way to battle Stigma and discrimination. And the more people know, the more those walls will come down and we can have free discussion and get help to people who need it.
I’ve been fighting this battle for over 20 years. And I am still here.
That’s a strong statement; I have many friends who can’t say that and I could not give you a simple answer to how I’ve survived, but “I’m still here”.
Never feel like you’ve been cursed or that you are less of a person because you have an illness. It may take a long time to get to a place of stability, and it may be shaky at times. But it’s all part of the journey. And if you take it day by day, moment by moment, you will be surprised at the inner strength you have.
Just reading this post is proof that you are strong. You want to know more and you are willing to do something. Don’t give up. There are answers out there.
Everyday I search for a way to survive, and somehow I am doing it.