No matter how many times I come to the writing platform and say it, nothing has changed. Inspiration seems to have flown away with the winter storms. Living among the current climates of unrest seems to have rested my writing spirit.
Bipolar is a funny thing. Often I feel myself teetering on a scale of manic to depressed. Over the decades, I learned to live within the ride of cycling. However, months have passed that I feel nothing.
A Great Sadness
Challenging as it is, I remain the strong tower of the responsibility everyone knows. We welcomed 2020 in recovering from tragedy and the loss of a loved one to overdose, taking an innocent baby with her. Two months later, I found my daughter unresponsive following a suicide attempt. Performing CPR is a moment I will never forget. I started this year on shaky ground.
People forget I suffer from mental illness because I have learned how to live with it so well. Gone are the days of mania takeover, unpaid bills, reckless behavior, and lost time. Also gone, the deep, dark depression that used to encapsulate me. Managing my bipolar gives people a sense of peace that it is behind me.
Maybe it is. Perhaps it isn’t.
Knowing myself, I believe something changed in depression for me. I may not be diving headfirst into darkness, but I am bobbing up and down in a sea of darker melancholy. If we feel everything in the worst of our episodes, this is a place of feeling very little to nothing now.
A while back, I was convinced I didn’t want to be here any longer. There was no plan of death, no anything. It was this numbing to everything around me, and autopilot for day to day living. With no mania interwoven in the fabric of my mind, I have stayed steady in this place.
I admit, to be here sucks. Bipolar was more comfortable to manage when I was actively engaged with multiple facets of who I am. Today, I am almost bored with myself, and I am not sure that it is safe. If I had to characterize it further, I would say I am detached from me. With a low key interest in this life, I fear what lies ahead.
Life Shuts us Down
I was away kayaking this weekend for the first time. We take an annual fishing trip to a small Nebraska town for my husband’s birthday. My days are usually spent lounging on a shoreline of a small lake or pond reading and spending time with God. Instead of reclining onshore, this year, I was out on the water and enjoying my quiet time while getting some exercise in.
We came home today, and I do not feel my natural rejuvenation, or as though we were gone a month. There came no reconnection with my husband, and relaxation with life, leaving me ready for the next six months.
My sweet trip is blah. (Is that a word?) We drove separately due to schedules, so I had a few hours coming home to consider what went wrong.
Life has gone wrong.
I no longer trust those hopes like ‘life will get better’ or ‘this too, shall pass.’ Playing the same scenarios over and over again has left me withered and cold. At some point in the last several months, I began hearing something inside, “Life has always shut you down, and it always will.”
Why be positive when life proves me wrong time and again? It’s not that I am negative; I am neither. I guess I am the ball in a pinball game. Pull the lever, shoot me away, bounce me off this and that, ricochet me to stay in the game, lose me in the dead zone, and I will reappear, ready to be shot off again. Someone else chooses the strength behind the shot, the protection in the dead zone.
That’s what blah is. The repetitiveness of life, existing with no control, no emotion, no feeling.
Is this a meltdown of sorts? For the first time in my life, I am crying out to myself- not a doctor, not family, not even God. I am internally wailing at myself to wake up, to feel, to live. Yet, I have zero response in me. I am too young for this painful journey.
In the last couple of weeks, I stepped in for my boss and hosted his Mid-Day Prayer Break. This was a new addition to his ministry following the pandemic that shut churches down. At first, I tried to convince him I was the wrong person for the job. “Shouldn’t we grab a member of the church” (I manage the church, but was a member of a different congregation before I began working there). I don’t think I’m qualified to lead anything. He sat across from me and smiled as he said, “You are part of this church family.” I told him I would before the weekend was out.
Each day as I began to lead this prayer time, with the steady help of a template, I felt encouraged and inspired. I felt closer to God as I read His Word and recited specific prayers to those who joined me on a screen. It felt good. I would get through each half-hour, filled with joy for a short time, but by days end, the great sadness would overwhelm.
I sat in the middle of the lake today. With only two other fisherman in the water and way off in the distance, and I began to sing hymns. I quieted my soul and took in the beauty of God’s creation. I felt like crying, I wanted to shed tears for everything feeling so out of rhythm. Yet, tears never came. Emotion never released, and here I am back home, feeling the same sense of loss and being lost.
I don’t know what comes next, or when things will change. I know I will continue to press into my Savior and to try. Maybe my new hobby will keep me going. Something about the waters of the earth give me peace. I can’t explain it, it has always been that way since the rivers of my childhood, and the first time I saw an ocean. If I could stay out there forever, I think I would.
There is hope, and I will keep searching. I promise myself.