I wonder how many people Tom Petty has walked through the darkness with?
I’m not sure if road rage is common for people with PTSD, but I can see where it would be. Near accidents set off that exaggerated startle response and fight or flight reflex and everything just cascades from there. Portland drivers have been fucking crazy the last couple of days. Just fucking crazy. Doing things like trying to get onto 84 west using an off ramp. That kind of crazy. I wrote a poem to my road rage:
Your Daily Roadrage Poetry
Like a branch
falling into the water
an immediate effect.
As you are an
so I shall be an asshole.
cut me off.
I cut you off.
red sports car.
What did you *think* would happen?
“Like any other view, non-harming may be a terrific principle, but its the living of it that counts.You can start practicing ahimsa’s gentleness on yourself and in your life with others in any moment. Do you sometimes find that you are hard on yourself and put yourself down? Remember ahimsa in that moment. See it and let it go. Do you talk about others behind their back? Ahimsa. Do you push yourself beyond your limits with no regard for your body and your well-being? Ahimsa. Do you cause other people pain or grief. Ahimsa. It is easy to relate with ahimsa to someone who doesn’t threaten you. The test is in how you will relate to the person or situation when you do feel threatened. The willingness to harm or hurt comes ultimately out of fear.Non-harming requires that you see your own fears and that you understand them and OWN them. Owning them means taking responsibility for them. Taking responsibility means not letting fear completely dictate your vision or your view.” –Jon Kabat-Zinn
Lice! Yes, nasty crawly little lice. I got a call from my daughter’s school Monday morning. I have been vacillating back and forth between cleaning and freaking out after I get home from work, ever since.
I remind myself that its from the cumulation of the week’s stressors, but still, I feel pretty silly that I finally went in for an emergency session with my counselor over lice.
We had a little bit of a bipolar break out in the middle of the night between day three and day four. As I was falling asleep, I started receiving some text messages from The Boy. He couldn’t sleep, he said. This is a common complaint from him. Obviously, he has a lot going on to trouble his sleep. It’s really one of those chicken and egg things. Is it the bipolar disorder which causes the sleep disturbances? Are the sleep disturbances just a physical symptom of being bipolar? Or is there some sort of physiological sleep disorder which affects his brain chemistry and causes, or at least magnifies, the bipolar symptoms?
I said some reassuring things –little hints and tricks he can do that I knew would help him fall asleep from past experience. I was already worrying about and dreading the thing that was coming next. He began with vague, but slightly pitiful, statements, like being all curled up under his blankets in a ball. Finally, he interrupted my sleep advice with the statement that the real problem was that he was lonely.
I’m going to give you the benefit of consideration of your bipolar disorder and not just assume you are the jerk you sound like. You are actually complaining to your now ex-fiancee –the person that you called the wedding off from, that you are lonely? The last statement that you made about our relationship was that we were “not even friends with benefits” –it was just too much effort for you to completely break up with me. That is exactly what you said. Never mind that you have been living as though we have a some sort of relationship–completely undefined–ever since our wedding was called off and you made these statements. That’s part of your bipolar disconnect. You just can’t connect reality with your actions and the things you say. You have told me that you don’t love me, said that you don’t want to marry me and trained me in the past few weeks to stop saying that I love you by groaning and rolling your eyes and responding with cruel statements and leaving whenever I say, “I love you.” You have left me to be more or less a single parent to our daughter over the last four years because you just can’t handle it. You have stated over and over for all kinds of reasons, reasonable to bizarre, that you could never ever live in my house, or even in my state. (For those not familiar with the Portland metro area, we live on the border between the states of Washington and Oregon, with him on one side, and me on the other. The physical barrier of the Columbia River between him and any people who care about him and might intrude into his secret world seems to be a crucial component in his mind -whether to prevent, or to maintain madness, is unclear. All of this is your choice. Yes, I understand that you have a mental illness, but other people with mental illnesses don’t outright reject their families and work on maintaining their relationships. Of course, a lot of other people with mental illnesses choose treatment. They take medications. They go to the doctor. They have a counselor to talk them through the curve balls that their mental illness throws at them. But you have chosen to go without treatment. You are alone completely by your own choice. I am alone, not by my choice, but again, by your choice. And you have the nerve to complain to me that you feel lonely.
I didn’t say any of these things. I finally said something vague along the lines of, “Well, we all have to make the choices that are best for us at the time,” and just continued with my reassurances to help with sleeping. And his final word was, “Sorry I even try to talk to you. I should have known better.” And then silence.
Of course, I know better then to stick my head into the hornet’s nest, so I didn’t say anything else either. I went to bed.
In the morning, you acted as if nothing happened. You started our day off by sending me a few texts about some mundane details of our lives. Asking about whether or not the car insurance payment went through and other such riveting conversational points.
You were very normal at lunch. Neither exceptionally nice, nor exceptionally terrible. I finally managed to articulate how I wanted to do something special this weekend. Your first response was to say that you could find babysitting for our daughter so that I could go away. I managed to resist taking that as rejection, knowing that in your mind you are such a terrible person that, of course, you thought I was rejecting you. I reassured you that when I said I wanted to do something special, I meant that I would like you to be there as well. It actually went rather well, except that we never did determine just what it was that we were going to do this weekend.
I’m surprised that I feel better today than yesterday. I sort of expected to be freaking out more and more as the week progressed. I had one bad spell around lunch. Around very late lunch…it was past 2pm before I heard from him regarding lunch. We text our lunch plans, since I’m usually in the middle of speaking, or in the office at work–both bad environments for a ringing cell phone. And his texts were so distracted and delayed that I was actually driving out to The Arbor Lodge for coffee and a cinnamon roll again, before he finally acknowledged that he was at his parent’s house and, sure, come by for lunch if you want. Remember how this one goes: panic, spelled P-A-N-I-C. Why is he not answering me? Maybe he’s suicidal. Maybe he’s in the throes of a bad mood swing and is going to rip my head off when I walk in the door. Maybe he’s in the arms of some hussy he picked up off of Craigslist, since he obviously doesn’t love ME any more… Yeah. Panic. And the brain ran away with the spoon.
So it turned out that he was just deep into a video game. Could be ok. Could be the beginning of a deep downward mood swing. Who knows: Welcome to bipolar disorder.
I’m home with the munchkin now, and again, surprisingly not too stressed. I’m kind of vegetating, but that’s all.
Here are my thoughts on this weekend: I want to commemorate it somehow. I said in my last post, that I just don’t want it to be like any other weekend. Maybe… maybe this is like when someone dies, and you need to do something for closure. I feel grief. I wish I could do something to commemorate it with him, but that could go so badly. I feel like it’s a damned if I do, and damned if I don’t kind of situation. If I avoid him all weekend, that in itself, is going to make me sad. And it could really launch him down the rabbit hole, if he’s nursing some guilt ready to turn into the Depression Monster. But if I’m around him this weekend, my very presence could set off a guilt-driven mood swing. Bad for him, and bad for me and our daughter if we’re in the vicinity of an explosion.