I wonder how many people Tom Petty has walked through the darkness with?
“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
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.
Apparently we’ve started a relationship curse.
Over the past few days we’ve had 1 friend announce their divorce (he’s moving out today), and another old highschool friend contact us asking for help in leaving her marriage. She is undergoing cancer treatment and the stress has been too much for her husband. He’s finally lost it and got physically abusive with her and the children. And then there’s our friend who has been in a relationship for 7 years and lives -up until this week- with her paramour. My now-ex-fiance headed out earlier this week to help the lady move out of the house. We were horrified to learn that during an argument her partner threw a chair at her. This is normally a very strong lady and I sent the boy out partially as a fact finding mission. Why hadn’t she called the police –or one of us to kill him? As you can imagine, being someone who suffers from PTSD as the result of domestic violence, I am very concerned when I hear about a friend in this kind of situation. Given her general character, fortitude, and good ol’ common sense, I just couldn’t understand why she hadn’t turned the jerk into the authorities!
But when he returned, he reassured me that all was well.
“After all, that man has been sleeping in the garden shed.”
“She made him sleep out in the garden shed for the past 3 days. All his stuff that he owns is crammed out in the garden shed with and he’s been crammed in there with it. As it happens, he does not own a sleeping bag or blanket.”
I forgot for a minute, she is one of my heroes.
And then there were two of the boys who have been in my foster care in the past. They both tore up the internet and my cell phone in the wee hours of the night in the throes of angst over their teenage break ups. This may not seem not as serious to you as some of these long-term adult relationships breaking up, but if you remember being that age you also remember those are some of the most painful break ups you ever experienced. At the time, anyways.