I wonder how many people Tom Petty has walked through the darkness with?
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.
It’s Monday of the week of our Not Wedding Day. The counter on our wedding website is in the single digits (I haven’t had the heart to even open it up and look at it, much less log on and KILL it.
(Here’s the skinny on the Not Wedding Day, in case you missed it: https://islandofmamabone.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/the-wedding-is-off-again/ )
I was determined to live in the now, and practice mindfulness, and try to be, if not happy, then content and not massively depressed. I pulled out my Happy Habits app, first thing and filled out my Happiness Journal for the day. I made a list of little stuff I could do through the day to stay calm and make myself feel a little better. I put my outfit together carefully so that I could add a few extra special accessories: a bracelet I received from a mentor to remind that I am making progress in a career I love–and people are noticing, a necklace from my baby sister to remind that I can find positive things in my past if I look for them and don’t focus on the negative, and a ring that my dear heart gave me early on in our relationship before his first big bipolar surge to remind me to look at the whole person, the whole experience, and again, to not focus on the negative.
I was fine through most of the day. Something maybe began to creep in around lunch–we normally meet for lunch because we work close by to one another–but when I contacted him, I found out that he was still helping a friend of ours move, because he didn’t have an afternoon shift today. I constantly prove to myself that human beings can feel two entirely opposite things at the same time. Because I was a little disappointed, but a little relieved at the same time. I settled for feeling good that he was helping a friend out, and spoiled myself a little with an americano and cinnamon roll from one of my favorite coffee shops. No, not Dutch Brothers:
And then toward the end of my work day we did some texting back and forth and I found out he was still tied up helping with the move, and I needed to go pick our daughter up at daycare because he wasn’t going to make it on time. I think I started to unravel during the commute. I forced down the doubts and sadness and Panic that were starting to well up. Which is a bad thing, when you get to that point, because no one responds well to force. Seriously–when you start making demands of yourself, you resist that just as much as you would if someone else was making demands of you. I snapped at him on the phone–I can’t remember if he called, or it was through text. Holes in memory–another sign things are going south. I snapped something curt and rude while I was trying to get our daughter into her car seat. If anyone’s had to get a kid on the autistic spectrum strapped into a car seat on a regular basis, you already know why this is a stressor for me.
By the time I got home, my brain was trying to take off on it’s own. Why was he spending so much time at this friend’s house? (Any one who’s every moved, already knows the answer to that one.) Were they talking about our failed wedding? About me? Again, ridiculous: this friend, in particular, would never do anything unkind toward me. Did he just go home without a word, because, basically, he just doesn’t care. I’m just a the world’s biggest joke because I do care… Folks, can you spell panic? P-A-N-I-C.
I do give myself credit for not giving in to the more paranoid notions and ripping into him for nothing, but I did finally start leaking some fatalistic misery at him through intermittent texts. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I suggested we take the friend who was moving out to dinner. (Ulterior motives: cheer myself up by spending time with a good friend, have a third party present to force us both to be on our best behavior, to allay all my weird fears about gossip and so forth by personal witness.) He texted back that our friend wanted to head out now because they had a long drive to Salem ahead of them…. “but how about we all go out for dinner together next weekend?”
“Sure. Sounds a lot better than burying myself in a hole and eating myself to death which was my Big Plan A for next weekend. After all, nothing better to do.”
Yes, I was a bitch. And in the throes of angst and self immolation at the same time. It’s an art form. On the plus side, I kept enough of a handle on my PTSD that I didn’t lash out in a direct attack even though my stress level was suffocating by this point.
“Oh.” He says. That weekend.
He asks if I even want to see him at all this weekend.
I tell him, “I don’t know.” I really don’t. The one thing that I think that I will not be able to stand is if it gets treated just like any other weekend. Right now, though, as I am typing this out, is the first time I’ve been able to articulate that. And I still don’t know how I’m going to explain it to him, to anyone.
Then he surprises me. He asks if I want to see him tonight, then. Hell, he surprises me so much, I say sure. He never comes over late on Monday nights. He politely lets me know when he’s on his way. He even sends me a text to let me know he’s driving up the hill to my house now. I’m not sure why. In the old days, before his bipolar disorder became so bad, I could have seen him reasoning out that it’s not good to surprise someone with PTSD who is in the middle of stressing out and panicking. But I really don’t think he’s been functioning at that level for years. Instinct? Some other motivation stemming from one of his own mood swings? I feel bad for leaning toward the cynical choice, but these days everything seems to revolve around his own slightly detached from reality world. So I just don’t know.
Anyways, surprisingly, we spent a nice quiet night watching old Avatar episodes on Netflix, and sharing some ramen. He surprised me further, by staying the night after I put the small to bed. And he didn’t complain to me in the morning about how he was always late for work when he stayed over on week nights and how that was all my fault.
I know, it sounds awful that I’m expecting the worse here, but part of living with someone with bipolar disorder–especially when its out-of-control and untreated–is waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Here’s what I’m thinking: if he actually feels bad enough about the wedding to modify his behavior in a way that is cognizant of another person… that’s gotta be bad. I mean he’s gotta be feeling really bad. And last time he felt really, really bad, he tried to jump off the St. John’s Bridge.
Any here you thought I was always posting pictures of that thing because it was pretty.