“Well if I had one wish for you in this god forsaken world,”

 

dad and grandpa
“kid, It’d be that your mistakes will be your own…That your sins will be your own”(1)

That picture above is my Dad with his Dad.  I imagine this was taken up off Dry Creek Road out of Oakville, in the 1950s,  since that was where my family had lived(I think one last member of the family is up there)for generations.

jess-and-oatieI write today because it has been five years, today, since my Dad died.  I was visiting with my dear friend Colleen yesterday, whose late husband, my dear friend Jerry, decided about a month and three years ago that he could no longer hang out here in this life.  Jerry was over 33 years sober when his suffering was too much.  A number of us, who were close to Jerry, were with him the night before.  Jerry’s suffering was manifested in what the culture calls “mental illness.” I dont call it that.

I call it suffering from those “very deep seated, sometimes quite forgotten, damaging emotional conflicts,”(2) that persist below the level of consciousness. These conflicts can give our emotions violent twists which discolor our personalities and alter our lives for the worse. Though the harm we do others may not be great, the emotional harm we can do ourselves can alter our lives in ways that can be overwhelming.

tumblr_luxczfdocB1qzxyqfo1_400I write about Jerry and my Dad just to point out that society sees that there is something “wrong” with Jerry whereas they see no problem with the fact that my Dad died with emphysema, COPD, cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, had half his upper lip removed from smoking, had 3 bypasses and spent half of his last 3 months in a hospital.

All they offered Jerry was a lobotomy or institutionalization.  They threw everything at keeping my Dad alive

Since I am railing, Anti-Depressants are a fucking joke.  Jerry and the Fanatic and my friend Steve have tried a plethora of them and my observation is they have suffered and  CONTINUE to suffer more in the long run being on them than they have helped them.(I tried five of them and none of them worked so I stopped taking them and had to learn other ways to deal with my “depression”)

Dr. Gabor Mate has done tremendous work with heroin addicts in Vancouver BC.  He posits the theory, which I agree with,(after hearing many men tell their stories)that it is trauma which is the cause of our suffering being manifested in the ways they do/did for people like Jerry and my Dad.

America, stop traumatizing your children. We are traumatized so much that we continue to watch trauma being expressed and abuse being acted out in our culture and we call it “entertainment,” or news.  Its not.  It is a culture which profits off trauma and those who do dont give a fuck about those who they traumatize.

Peace and Love

(1) “Long Time Coming.” Bruce Springsteen

(2) A.A. 12 by 12, pg 79-80

123 SA, RW, Fanatic, Colleen, Ed, Kevin and Bretton.

People ask me why I almost always put the wolf and “pointy boy” at the end of a post.  They are the guardians of this blog.  They keep us safe and also remind us of how temporary this whole thing is.

 

A Fanatic’s Stand

11705167_974787129284904_7041944126048647665_nI stood as tall as I could for you. Standing right by your side. Ready to defend. Ready to pounce. You asked me to embrace silence. Simply listen. Be a witness. At first I refused. I boldly declared I would not sit at the table idle while bullshit was spit in our face. While wild accusations, unfounded statements, and finger pointing were inevitable.  Family drama is a hard game to play. Honestly, I don’t feel apart of the in law family anyway. Yet, I do not want my name, my compassion for others drug through the mud.
I think perhaps my compassion and empathy were pushed aside by my ego.  His side of the family is challenging. Mental 11403411_974787199284897_772848918054778421_nillness, rage, black and white thinking, denial, and blame run rampant. If I take a step back, that is also a day in the life of the fanatic at times.  I unconsciously packed my knee pads and shoulder pads for defensive and or offensive tackles. I was blind to this approach. My good friend had to point out to me that some in the family are sick and maybe I had the wrong hat on.  My helmet was simply designed to protect my husband as I believe he is a good man, and I hate to see him hurting at the hands of his own family.  If anything, they are unable to see how hard he tries.  But an empathetic hat could free me of needing to play hard ball.
How do you emotionally support someone else and protect yourself? This was the defining question of the trip for me.  Every 11694958_974787359284881_7962206104160224965_nyear I gear up for this, prepare. I place demands on myself that I will be the supportive one. I will rise up and be the strong spouse he needs me to be.  All attention and love will be directed his way.  The negativity oozing out of buffalo is powerful. It’s so easy to get swept up into resentments, old anger, shame.  Often my husband begins to question his own worth, his place, in the midst of the chaos.  I want to swoop in and reassure him he is okay, they are the bad guys.  But, you know what I didn’t do that. I sat patiently and heard his every single word, every single sigh, every single emotion.  I was present for his struggle.
I protected myself by breathing. Being open to his pain, but not needing to embody it as well. That was the most difficult for me as I’m a very sensitive person.  The trip was somewhat tainted by this air of confusion and hurt. I also hurt internally as some 11707660_974787155951568_4667623480132897462_nthings were said about me that assaulted my character.  I was shut down during a heated conversation.  I sometimes was the brunt of frustration.  But my love for my husband and my belief in him never wavered.  I continued to stand tall.
As I arrive back home to the safety of my surroundings I feel my own emotions bubbling. I am tired. In need of some self care. Maybe in need of a good cry.  I think I can look in the mirror and say I was the strong supportive wife I had hoped to be. I said few words, but my presence was powerful.  I held his hand,as he always holds mine, when he needed it most.
11144416_974787355951548_7417282000083361679_nI’m not stroking my own ego as I write this.  In my mind it’s my “duty” to support my husband. It’s just in reality, sometimes I can’t be present. Sometimes I have no strength.  Sometimes I am lost in the mire and unable to support myself.  I guess I am trying to acknowledge there are also times bipolar has got nothing on me.

123 RV, RW, JZ, PA, SA, Dwight, Virgil, Tom S, and all the “Dogs,” in Sac!

finger touching nose of babyPointy boy is also a guardian of the blog.  He guards our ability to have fun here! Thank you Ajaytao.

Fanatic’s Brotherly Love

beautiful-child1Do you ever feel like you’re dancing when you do housework? You know. Dancing around the issue you can’t face. Or the emotion you don’t want to feel. Or the racing thoughts that threaten your personal stamina. The real overarching issue causing me to clean every crevice of my house was the suicidal chatter.  I placed the medication bottles in the middle of the kitchen table. They quickly became my totem pole. I looked to them for answers, guidance, reassurance.  I envisioned the moment as a sacrifice.  I was giving myself up to the demons strangling my mind.  I could no longer bare witness to my own agony and despair.  The pressure and speed of my thoughts had to be doing structural damage to my brain.  I could feel the impending explosion.
Sprinting around my house from task to task, Starting one after another was the only thing keeping me from bowing down to those pills. I was literally afraid if I sat down I would drink the bottle to quench my agitation.  Round and round I spun faster and faster. If I indeed had a tether to reality it was unraveling.
I scribbled words onto a red piece of paper.  Revealing my pain. Asking for forgiveness.  Apologizing for being such a burden.  Insisting it was no ones fault. Begging him to believe that deep in his soul.  It was a tired explanation. What’s there to say. I mean really.  I can’t do it anymore. I simply give up. I love you tremendously. You love me incredibly.  Love cannot conquer my demons. My inner emotional pain.  The shattered pieces you 7-21-14-rose-jpegdon’t see.  I am sorry is not enough. But it’s all I got.  I can’t ask you to understand, but so hope you do.  At least some day soon.  You ask how I can do this to you? My sweet.  I don’t know.  It’s all too much. I’m being crushed.  I hurt in ways that have no words.  Silent pain is deadly.  I have fallen victim.
The pen falls heavy to the floor accompanied by tears.  My totem pole patiently waiting for me to pay homage.  As I weep, I pile up the wreckage I have created. Proof. Proof I am no good. Proof I am nothing but a burden.  The voices are becoming quite demanding.  Loud. Booming. Malicious.  My resolve cowering as hate fills the room.  The idea of getting up tomorrow makes my body weak. In the past, I’ve counted the pills obsessively.  No time for numbers.  My soul has been withering away for long enough.
dsc09494I reach for the pen. My hand brushes against my cat. A little life that would be impacted by my absence.  In between my husbands shoes lies the pen. I grumble he takes off his shoes wherever he’s at. Bathroom, outside, living room. Rarely is it the bedroom. I will never trip over them again. I scribble on the red paper. Last words: I love you more than you can ever know, Rhonda.
I refocus on my impromptu plan.  Staring. Bottles staring back. The house is clean. Laundry is folded. Nothing left to do.  My img_5264phone rings. My phone never rings. It’s my little brother.  He could need me right now.  I ran just to utter the words hello.  Turns out he did need me.  He needed to tell me he was thinking of me.
One red piece of paper sitting at the bottom of the shredder.  One fanatic with tears streaming down her face with a cell phone glued to her ear.  One little brother just wanting to talk to his sister.

finger-touching-nose-of-baby

123 RV, SA, JW, PA, PH, RW, JZM, TS!

Fanatic Falls

hillmanPoor poor little girl
With bruises on her knees
Ego split in two
One part victim
One part fuck you
Humbled once again by nature
Face to face with the dirt
Broken skin
Damaged sense of self
Cursing the universe
Why doesn’t God believe in me?
Has he simply given up?
Twisted thoughts mangle my mind
Down the trail I march
Bloodied shadow in tow
Wrong.
10604659_10204588969262700_7062526869842619097_oThis is all wrong.
How can it be I can’t run a trail right
At least a cracked skull would allow
The chaos
Nonsense
Bullshit
To pour out of me
Relieve me
Create space for peace and quiet
Stomping the ground
Leaving my footprint behind
Facing forward
Outrunning the demons
10660376_843231542383716_2204225344977835787_nUsed to be my solace
Music blaring
My body declaring
I will win this fight
Now
Down she goes times two
Hobbling
Crying
IMG958148 (2)The ridicule deafening
Defeated
Passers by stare
At the dirty mess
That is me

healthInSickSociety.krishnamurti-300x225

Fanatic’s Frailty

10633331_10152624694602978_8948054382377946607_o All I ever wanted as a kid was to be accepted. Red hair and freckles, plus being named after a song. I was ripe for the teasing. Not that every kid isn’t. I was just never given the tools to stand up for myself or believe in myself.  The only place I ever felt strong was on a sports field. But life isn’t really soccer or tennis or swimming anymore. I can’t really escape into those worlds as I did 30 years ago.
Here I am. 40 years old. An adult. And still I crave acceptance. I just want someone to look me in the eye and say I love you 20140821-125637-46597389.jpgjust as you are in this moment, and the next. And if this moment you are manic and depressed the next…It’s okay. You are who you are.  Please Don’t get me wrong, I am loved. Tremendously. Trouble is I can’t always feel it or believe it. Why would someone love a black and blue fanatic who can find no balance. Who swings from left to right and back again like a wild circus monkey. Who can’t hear your words correctly as they ricochet around the mind and become convoluted. Who misunderstands and rises up in anger and10516637_723862387694315_3614015457220500140_n self defense wrought with agitation at the slightest suggestion I try to be more mindful.
A self righteous monster comes alive and makes accusations, casts blame, doubts anyone could ever understand what I’m truly going through, how I truly feel, what’s really happening on the inside.  No amount of mindfulness can fix this massive gaping emotional wreckage of past present and future. I am simply a lost cause. The world. You. Me. Would be better off without me. No one needs an out of control manic depressive wreaking havoc in their life.
lavender-labyrinthjpg-33b96e17e96c5811_largeI am waiting to have my stitches taken out today. I think I should wear a hat to cover myself at work or out in the world. I don’t think you should have to look at me, my black and blue eye. Somehow it seems unfair for you to have to stare at it while we talk. I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable. Blah blah blah.
Let’s get real. I am so fucking uncomfortable right now. 10660376_843231542383716_2204225344977835787_nIt’s me who doesn’t accept me. I feel like a fool. A failure. You can see the consequences of my manic episode, of having bipolar disorder. And……..if I could only embrace the fanatic (young and old) with open unconditional arms I might be in a lot less pain. If only I was shown the way oh so long ago.

finger-touching-nose-of-baby

123 RV, SA, RW, JZ, JW!

Fanatic’s Fall

Fanatical Fanatic

mountain-lake-idyll-lake-bannalpsee-donald-kamp In the mesh of my bones
A piercing pain persists
But I’ve barely moved today.
In the blood red veins of my heart
Where the thickness resides
I feel thin and frail
Every footstep is heavy
Every breath is stunted
paradiseDestructive thoughts taunt
Memories of old haunt
Demons perched on the outskirts
Through the curtain is a hint of light
Yet the darkness within so deep
Starvation in motion
The outside world muted
Inside world unable to be tamed
tropical-oasis-indian-oceanChaos
Fear
Desperation and
madness
All vie for dominance
Yet collide unabashedly
My Tortured soul left
In a broken heap on the floor
Steeped in my own shame
hues-of-natureBlinded by my own self hatred
I wither
Another day lost
Depression my master

finger-touching-nose-of-baby

Fanatical Freedom!!

churchSometimes my mind is only filled with clutter and debris. It seems to grow bigger and bigger until it’s all I see.  Until I can’t breathe. Until I become short and irritable with others. Until I must retreat to a dark and quiet space.  There are certain times I can rationalize this behavior. But, other times, it seemingly comes out of nowhere. Just yesterday I had a lovely morning roaming around my hometown at a classic car show. Following that I went to the grocery store to pick up some favorite foods for breakfast. Skipping along in the store with no worries.  Issues at the register happened, but I pornwasn’t phased. However, once I arrived home the environmental cacophony of my house shook me. It was as if the hum of the ceiling fan, base of the stereo, meow of my cats, buzz of the dishwasher, and visual of ever building dishes in the sink literally came alive. They were choking me and robbing me of air, of communication skills. I was surrounded and could not move. I felt like a prisoner in my kitchen.  I snapped at my husband. He in turn snapped. I ran to thes_e12_RTX116XJ farthest room in our house, which doesn’t really exist in a 1100 square foot space.  It felt like if I didn’t find darkness and quiet I was going to explode.
I simply don’t understand why this happened in my home. Perhaps it’s just creeping into personal space. Similar scenario at work this week. Voices were booming from the hallwayIMG00282 and then crawling up the walls of my office. I could hear the printer, the copier, fast footsteps, phone conversations at rock concert level in headphones.  Mind you all these noises occur every single day all day a majority of the time and I barely register it.  Maybe this overwhelm happens to every last one of us, I don’t know.  Lately it’s bringing me tears and ultimately to my knees.  However, the one fantatics hairbright spot is that it lasts only 10-15 minutes.
The clutter and debris play out in real time. I was at a concert last night of my favorite artist. We positioned ourselves to allow extra space along a railing, a buffer of sorts. On the second tier I can take in the view of the crowd and the stage while allowing the music to penetrate me.  Eyes closed letting the words and beat reach into, eyes open taking in the artists every move.  All the while dancing. Letting go.
n2359Thor_mazlin900Sharp mementos when I realize how many people are there, how hot it is, how loud it is.  My eyes dart and pick out people, suddenly feel the railing against my body.  In front of me is a drunk woman stumbling. I am transported back in time when I was that woman. I see people staring, sneering at her.  That was me. I crawl into the guilt trap. Oh how many shows I must have ruined. How is it my husband is still here?  What a liar, manipulator I was.  Even not drinking, I have ruined shows in that Couple-dancing-photography5we couldn’t go because I was too depressed or had to leave because I had a panic attack.  What a fucking mess I am.
Back into the sound, the groove. Planted on the 2nd tier, above everyone, I feel like the spotlight is on me. She can see me, she is smiling at me. I dance harder. Will myself to get lost in the beautiful sound.  Will myself to leave the clutter and debris behind. Shove it in the back of mind. It will surely be there tomorrow.  Allow myself relief.  Join the masses and throw my hands up in the air.
navajo-creation-myth-john-stephens-poster2I did, I finally did. I was sucked into the magic healing of music. I swayed. I bounced. I laughed. I smiled. I listened.  She was singing to me.  I was singing with her.  Space was cleared for me to truly enjoy the moment.

stubborn-look1

Fanatic’s Fears of Failure

Eyes_of_fire_by_PSDtechI. AM. SORRY. I repeat these words sometimes on a daily basis. It’s not about humility. It’s about not understanding my place in the world. It’s about insecurity. Paranoia. Worthlessness. Essentially, I apologize for my existence. Far too many of my encounters with others begin with I’m sorry to bother you, but…
charcoal-sketch-lil-princess-geraldine-arlezaI don’t trust myself. Or maybe I don’t trust you. I’m not sure. I send an anxious email to my psychiatrist and I apologize for it. I think maybe I send one too many texts to a friend (A FRIEND!) checking on them and instantly backpedal with an apology. At work, I ask forgiveness for entering your office in a frenzied manner or for needing further explanation about something. The other night I thanked my husband for being willing to put up with me. It all seems like another form of saying  “please don’t hate me.”
Tuesday August 11th marks one year since Robin Williams death. IMG_0698 (2)Also on this date, I was pacing for 3 hours along a bridge with a serious plan of ending my life. I didn’t know about Robin until I saw it on the news in the hospital. I was profoundly affected by his suicide. I just thought if he can’t survive this, how in the world can I! Why do I even deserve to? He impacted many more lives with his witty candor than I ever would.  Past few days, well maybe weeks, I am sorry I didn’t follow through as he did. I am sorry to continually burden my husband, few friends, and my work. I’ve been unproductive, overly needy and absent in all arenas.
10576235_1478792175702340_1648178438_nSome days I just hurt. The hole in my heart expands w each breath and The blank space in my soul turns black. Some days the lies reach into me, bait me, define me, redesign me. I am left hopeless and become increasingly useless. On the couch I sit. Stare. Sigh with regret. I can’t explain what’s not tangible. I can’t explain what has no basis. After the third call of my name I turn to you. I look through you. Tears stream. I scream I am so very sorry. The dark chasm echoes over and over.
CP41782056Visions of the bridge. The sound of duct tape ripping. Cold wet air on my face. Cars speeding by.  The lonely walk down the pedestrian bridge. Splashing of frigid waters. The screaming echo of I’m sorry. Silence.  These intrusive thoughts are assaulting me. You see me navigate the world one foot in front of the other. But, for me I am the Tasmanian devil. Chaos. Complete disarray. Madness.  What is happening for me is invisible.
tumblr_luxczfdocB1qzxyqfo1_400I have a friend who asks me the tough questions. He said, how’s your suicidal thinking these days. I answered. I mentioned Tuesday. I don’t honestly remember what I said or how explicit I was.  I was most likely sarcastic and casting it off.  But it’s kinda serious. I immediately think I should apologize for that last sentence. It feels burdensome. I can’t seem to decipher truth from burden.  Perhaps I associate them. My truth will be too much for you, because I am not worth it.Screen-Shot-2014-08-15-at-5.32.15-AM

123 RV, SA, RW, JZ, JM, EP.  RIP Mork!