My determination hasn’t wavered. I am as gung-ho to make the most of today, and to avoid letting myself slip into the shadows of my mind, as I was yesterday and I am thankful for this small mercy. 

I had a very productive day yesterday. I started 7 projects, completely finished 2, nearly finished 3 more, and the last 2 will be done by the end of the week. By bedtime I was utterly exhausted and feeling quite proud of myself. Sleep came quick, which satiated my body and my mind. I was grateful to not lie away thinking but to instead drift comfortably into a sound sleep. 

Today was much like yesterday. I was a little slower getting started this morning, the coffee just not quite kicking in, but after my second cup I was rearing to go.   I started with cleaning Little K’s room, stripping his bed and washing out all of the linens, dusting his furniture and putting away the stack of laundry from yesterday. Afterwards I once again started in at my wood working projects.  By lunch time when Little K came home from school I had started 8 small projects, each in different stages of completion. 

So, I’ve been busy and productive, and do you know what I have noticed? I haven’t thought about being depressed or manic, wondered if I was high or low or just the right amount of balanced, or had the word bipolar even cross my mind. 

As I worked on various projects, my hands and clothes paint stained and my black leggings covered in dust from the sander, I was just me! This woman, engrossed in creativity and paint, was the real me.  I’ve missed her and I plan to make her stick around as long as she possibly can. 

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After my last post I simply wanted to crawl into bed and never get up. I’m not in a good place. I can recognize it and now the only thing I can do is deal with it! 

The line has grown fuzzy. I’m not sure where the bipolar ends and I begin and I have to figure it out. I have to try! 

Starting today. 

So I made a conscious decision to get off my ass and do something and by something, I mean anything- any little thing that will occupy my mind and prevent me from dwelling on how I have been feeling. I have to start somewhere right? 

I’m a trash to treasure enthusiast. I like to take things that are basically trash and turn them into something useful or beautiful, mostly home accents and things like that. So, once I had dropped my kids off at school this morning, instead of climbing back in bed, despite my body begging to do so, I dressed in my “work” clothes  (old leggings and an oversized button up plaid shirt that has paint stains in a million different colors), went into the basement and started working. An old wooden bread box got it’s first coat of fresh paint and an antique window pane got it’s first going over with my electric sander. Yes, I am a woman and I use power tools. I have a wooden flower box that’s also getting a makeover, and I have an old Christmas tree that will be turned into holiday wreaths or swags. There are a ton of projects that I can work on, and I plan to do just that this week…starting today. 

Starting today I will keep busy. I will find things to do to distract myself from the reality of what I am currently feeling. 

Starting today I won’t let the bipolar take over. I will look it straight in the eye and remind it that although it is a part of me, it’s not my entirety. Starting today I’m in charge. 

I’m at the bottom of the barrel. There is only one way to go-up- and I’m working hard to get there. 

Starting today. 

Lately I have been feeling as if far too much of my world has revolved around the dreaded 7 letter word that I’m trying to avoid talking or thinking about- Bipolar. For months I’ve read about it, written about it, talked about it, thought about it, and lived it every single day. 

I’m just so fucking sick of it! 

The lines have gotten fuzzy. Where does the bipolar end and the me begin? 

I know that any mental health problem will affect ones entire life, but am I allowing it to control my life? Before the diagnosis I wasn’t living a fulfilling life but I was living my own life, however miserable it might have been at times. I was going to college, and before that, working, and I was raising my kids and being an involved member of my family, a constant presence in the lives of the people I love. Since the diagnosis so much has changed. I now only work part time, 8-10 days a month. Why? Because apparently that is all my disorder will allow me to work. But wait! I worked with bipolar, full time, sometimes juggling 2 jobs at once, before the diagnosis. What changed? 

How is it that, after being diagnosed, my relationships became a struggle? I could easily show love, kindness, compassion, sympathy, and support before the damn diagnosis. Why is it so hard now? Why is it now so difficult for me to take part in family activities? It’s quite ridiculous. Take this past Thursday for example. It was my niece’s 9th grade prom. She’s starts high school next year. My sister booked a photographer to take some outdoor photos before we went to prom. I’ve dreaded it the entire day! I literally had to force myself to curl my hair, do my makeup, and get dressed up. I did it, an half assed attempt, and went along for photos. My sister was, predictabl, running late which irritated me to no end. I just wanted to get it over with so I could finally rid myself of the makeup, throw my hair into a pony tail, take off the dress and lounge around in my pjs! At the end of the evening I was glad I had went, and even felt a little guilt at having dreaded it so much. Why, I ask myself once again, are the simplest things so damn hard? 

The meds dull my emotions- this I know. They make me numb. Yet, I can’t give them up. I want to, so much, but I am painfully aware of what can happen if I do. I could go off the deep end, either high or low, and as much as I love the hypomania, I know at extreme manic phase could be major trouble. I’ve lowered my own dosages, without the approval or advice of my doctor, and yes, I know that’s not wise but I did it anyway and so far so good. My emotions are still dulled, but they aren’t non existent, and I have a little more energy during the day then I did before the decrease in meds. 

Still, my energy levels are low- meds or depression? I’m not sure. I feel, well, low. I’m not in the depths of depression, yet I’m not balanced or high. I’m low, but not at my lowest. 

And I’m frustrated. And angry! 

I’m frustrated that a disorder can cause so much turmoil in my life and that I am unable to rise above it. I’m a strong woman. I’ve overcome so many difficulties in my life, fought my way back from the pits of total and utter hell, and yet I can’t fight off the mood swings of this disorder or the miserable feelings of borderline depression, which is what I have decided to call this phase I am in. Borderline. Hovering on the border. I’m not quite in full fledged depression but I know I’m just a few baby steps away from it. 

I’m angry. I’m mad as hell at myself and this disorder. I’m sick of being under it’s thumb, of not knowing when or of it’s going to push down and trap me under it’s weight. I’m angry that it is stronger than I am. I hate that I can’t beat it, that it has more control over me than I have of it. 

I’m just so fucking sick of it! 

I’m sick of being sad. I’m sick of not having any energy. I’m tired of being tired, and depressed, and feeling helpess. I’m sick of not knowing when my mood is going to swing in the opposite direction, or if the person waking up in the morning is the same person who went to bed the night before. I’m sick of the lack of motivation and not living up to my potential. I’m sick of anxiety, of fear and dread. 

I’m sick of being bipolar. I’m so fucking sick of it that it infuriates me! 

I still have ideas, lots and lots of ideas, and I still have plans. The problem? Getting off my ass to take any action. I have absolutely no motivation whatsoever. All of these ideas and plans are locked away in my head to be kept for a later date except the later date never comes. Is is the bipolar’s fault or is it just me? Again, the lines are fuzzy. 

Where does the bipolar end? When am I just me and not the disorder that works it’s hardest to destroy any remnants of the person I am? I just want to be me! I don’t want to be bipolar anymore! I don’t want to have a mental illness. I want to be normal, whatever normal is. 

Can we do that? Can we simply choose to not be something anymore? Do we have the strength as human beings to just stop something from happening inside of us? Is it possible to turn off the bipolar, to shut it off, shut it up, and forget that it exists? Is there any possible way in which I can step out of the grasp of this disorder and, like the many other disasters that have plagued my life over the years, put it behind me and move past it, eventually making it merely a memory? 

I don’t want to be bipolar anymore. I need, desperately, to not be consumed by this disorder. If I had one wish, it would be wipe my memory clean of ever learning of this diagnosis, to completely forget that it even exists. I lived with it for decades unknowingly but yet, once the diagnosis came, everything changed. No, I wasn’t exceptionally happy before the diagnosis but I  do believe I was happier than I am now. How could  a diagnosis have such an effect? 

I don’t want to be bipolar anymore. I just want to be me. 

When pondering how to express exactly what is on my mind, and just what to name the blog post describing it, the laws of attraction came to mind. The thing is, there really are no laws when it comes to attraction are there? There are no rules that govern who or what attracts us or doesn’t. Attraction is one of the most primal of reactions and although we can control how we respond to said attraction, there is no way we can control the attraction itself. 

So what brings me to this topic today you ask? Only the strangest of attractions I have ever experienced in my life! 

I work as a personal care attendant in a private, home based setting, caring for a lovely elderly lady who is as much of a friend as she is a client. I have been there for several months during which time she has lived alone for the most part, until her son came to stay with her this past winter for a few months. Having him there has been an enormous help to myself and her other PCAs and he is a pleasure to be around. He’s funny and friendly and has a genuine love for his mother. He’s single, having been divorced for many years and has children who are older than I am. He’s 59 years old. I’ve been around this man for a couple days a week every week since just before Christmas. We’ve even spent time alone when I have given him a lift to run errands. We’ve chatted and laughed and joked with his Mom. He’s been great to have around and I’ve enjoyed work more since he’s been there than I ever did before. However, I was never, in any way, shape or form, attracted to him, not even in the least. 

Until today! 

Let me start by saying he isn’t your typical late 50s man. He is slim and toned, in great shape for even a 40 year old, has a full head of hair that is slightly salt and peppered which he keeps neatly trim and styled, is tanned, and dresses as if he were 40, which is exactly how he looks. Today he had been outside doing yard work and had come in and had a shower. I was doing dishes when he emerged wearing trendy jeans, a blue and white plaid shirt with the tails left untucked and the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, the light coloured fabric enhancing the tan skin on his arms. His short dark hair was slightly tossled, he wore a pair of sunglasses and he smelled oh so good. 

Something fluttered in my tummy and my heart rate sped up. What the hell? Where did that come from? In all the time that I have known him, saw him on a regular basis, even spent time alone with him I had never felt anything before, not even the tiniest twinge of attraction. Yet, there I was, standing at the kitchen sink as he stood beside me and talked, not hearing a word that was said, my cheeks flushing, and my stomach doing flip flops. He smelled good- a mixture or soap, some sort of cologne, and coffee. I tried to concentrate on the words that were coming out of his mouth and not the perfectly lined, white teeth that shone under his bright smile. 

Moments later he was gone, sitting with his coffee on the deck outside and I breathed a sigh of relief and tried to shake off the strange sensation that his presence had on me in that brief moment. Yeah, I couldn’t control the attraction that I felt, but I would also never, in this lifetime or the next, act on it. He isn’t even my type, not to mention the fact that he’s only a few years away from being a senior citizen! Where was my head? Well, that’s just the thing….initial attraction has nothing to do with what’s in our head, it’s just human nature. There are no laws of attraction, no rules in which we follow before deciding who we are attracted to. We don’t decide who or when we are attracted to someone. It just happens. It’s natural, even when it is rather strange and unsettling, and it reminds us that somewhere within us is a healthy, sexual, passionate person with needs and wants and desires. 

There are no laws of attraction and that my friends, is what makes attraction so much fun. 

I should have learned a lesson. I should know by now exactly what he is trying to do. I should be strong enough to say no, to turn him away, to turn away from him and walk away. I shouldn’t want this, want him, but sometimes the heart wants what the mind knows we just don’t need. 

Jay messaged me on Facebook while I was in the city for a few days, telling me to hurry and come home because he was getting lonely. I was heading home that day anyway, and just responded with “lol”. When we got home he called and then came up. The kids were outside and the house was empty. 

Like gravity, we were drawn to each other and to the bed. He had been clean shaven when I had left but his beard had grown back in a little while I was gone. I love his beard. I love how it feels as I touch his face while we kiss. I love how it feels on my skin as he trails kisses over me. We kissed, over and over. We touched. We rediscovered each other in ways we hadn’t in a very long time. We made magic together, the passion we had known long, long ago suddenly reborn if only for a short time. We were, for a couple of hours, Jay and M again. I was his, and he was mine. 

Afterwards we talked. The upcoming move came up and he commented that he would try to visit every second weekend. I asked why so often. 

“Don’t you want me to visit?” He asked. 

“Yes….but not that often.” I wanted him to visit the kids, yes, but the move was, and still is, a fresh start for me. Nothing had changed between us, I continued to explain. What we had just experienced was beautiful and incredible and felt so unbelievably good but it changed nothing. One incredible night together did not, could not, fix the years of turbulent marriage. It didn’t erase the addiction that consumed him. No amount of affection and intimacy could magically change the reality of our situation. 

I should have known what was coming, what he was expecting. He wanted his cake and to eat it too. He has hoped that this would change things between us without him having to make any changes himself. Once again, he was trying to suck me back into this twisted idea of a relationship that he has, where he can keep me at arms length, have me when he wants me, but still continue to live his life the way he wants without any real commitment or change on his part. Little does he realize, I’m not the woman I once was. I’ve changed and he’s played a part in changing me. 

I may not have been strong enough to turn him away but maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t about strength. I had, after all, gotten exactly what I wanted, and while there may have been a time when this would have shaken me to my core and turned my world upside down, it just doesn’t anymore. I was fine before spending the night with him, and I am fine after. Yes, sometimes the heart and the body wants what the mind knows you don’t need, but must we always only choose what we need? Can we sometimes just choose what we want, even in just that moment? I may not have needed that night. I know I don’t need him anymore. But, in that moment I wanted him and for once, I was taking what I wanted, whether it was good for me or not. 

It was one incredible, intimate, heart pounding, amazing night, but, it was just that- one night. It changed nothing and life, for me, will go on just as it did before. There’s no going back- just ahead. 

My apologies for having gone so long without posting. I was out of town for a few days, visiting friends in the city and once again longing for the day I can move there. The boys and I had a lovely time and are now back home and back to our regularly scheduled program. 

How are y’all feeling? Me, I’m okay. Just okay. I’m not down, I’m not up. I’m not happy, I’m not sad. I’m not high nor low. I’m just okay but I wish I weren’t. I wish I were happy and hyper and excited. I wish I were energetic, creative, and elated. 

I wish I were manic. 

Does that sound crazy? To wish for something that alters your entire world for a few days or a few weeks. To crave something that threatens your sanity and changes the way you see the entire world. Call it what you will, I long for it. 

Manic is when I am happiest, most energetic and productive. It is during the stages of mania when my self esteem is at it’s highest. It’s when I feel confident and able to take on the world.  I’m happy, and not just in the content form of the word but very happy, ecstatic even. I am moving and shaking, writing and painting, talking and laughing. I am me when I am manic, the other forms of me that inhabit my being during the time when I am not manic long forgotten. 

I want to feel like me again. I want to laugh and dance and be happy again. I want to be manic again. Call me crazy, but I wish I could be manic everyday. 

Jay called, as I was working on some painting projects Thursday afternoon. He was out of town, after just coming back from work, and didn’t have a ride home. He asked would I come to pick him up. Reluctantly, I agreed and made the 40 minute drive to get him. He had been drinking, as per usual. On the drive back home he attempted to flirt, touched my leg as I batted his hand away, and jealously asked about the new guy in my life, who I explained was just a friend. We mainly laughed and joked on the ride and when we got back in town he wanted to come to my house for dinner. My mama had cooked up something and he loves my moms cooking, and my mom, and the feeling is mutual between the two. 

It started with dinner. Then he lay down on our sons bed to watch a movie but Little K opted to go outside and hang on with his friends. Jay asked me to watch the movie with him, so I did. 

It started with dinner and a movie. At some point we were laying facing each other and he reached out and pulled me towards him, hard. I toppled towards him and our faces were inches apart. Those big brown eyes that reflected my own stared at me. My heart raced and my head spun. We kissed, our lips meshing together perfectly. We kiss the same. Exactly the same. Years and years of kissing each other would do that I guess. I was hesitant at first, but my thoughts were quickly lost in the feeling of his full, soft lips on mine, his beard tickling my face. 

It started with dinner and a movie, and a kiss. Then one kiss lead to several more and I found myself clinging to him, our mouths pressed firmly, urgently together. Breathlessly we stopped and I lay on his chest, both of us silent for a few moments. He spoke first. 

“I’m trying to decide if I should go down.” (To his house). 

I shook my head. Words just weren’t coming out. 

“You don’t want me to leave?” He asked. 

I shook my head again, my cheek against his chest. 

“Do you want me to stay with you tonight?” 

I nodded and he kissed my forehead. 

“I wish you didn’t have to leave.” He whispered. I knew what he meant. He wishes I weren’t moving to the city. He squeezes me tighter and I close my eyes and just enjoy the moment. 

He stayed the night and we watched movies and cuddled and made out like teenagers. Many times I heard my own words creeping into my mind. What the hell are you doing? But I quickly shut her (me) up as I once again reached out for Jay and crushed my lips to his, stroking his beard with my fingers, as he tangled his fingers in my hair. It felt so good and so right. We kissed and touched and pushed each other to the edge but we didn’t make love. Instead we fell to sleep, spooning, and woke up the next morning in the exact same position. 

The thing with daylight is, after the darkness of night, it brings clarity. As we had a coffee and a cigarette together on the patio the next morning the magic of the night before wasn’t there. In it’s place was the normal neutral demeanour. Was I expecting more? No, not really. Did I want more? Again, no. But the night before had shaken me, and after our coffee, and after I had dropped him off at his place, I began to rehash it over and over in my mind, and analyze it as I do with everything that happens in my life, a curse as much as a blessing. 

It’s a dog with a bone complex. Jay knows the kids and I are movingto the   city, a 4 hour drive from the town where all of us- the kids, Jay and I- had lived our entire lives. He’s scared. He knows I am moving on and that worries him. 

Like a dog with a bone, he only wants it on his terms, then wants to bury it until he decides to dig it back up and play with it again. Jay is the dog and I am his bone. Except I’m not his bone anymore. There has been too much hurt and betrayal, too many let downs and tears, and I am not the same woman I was when he decided to bury me last. I’m not his bone anymore. I’m not his wife anymore. 

I could get down over the whole incident. I could beat myself up over it, tell myself how stupid I was and what a huge mistake I made. But I won’t, and I didn’t. I did what felt good in the moment even if I knew I would regret it the next day. I took that chance and even though it rattled my chains briefly the next morning, I didn’t let it consume me. I shook it off and moved past it. 

I am not his bone anymore. The realization was actually very empowering. He doesn’t have the same effect on me that he once had, that power to suck me back in, to dig me back up and play with me until he was sick of me and then bury me again. He doesn’t have that hold on me anymore. 

It started with dinner, movie, and a kiss and it ended with me realizing…..I’m not his bone anymore.