I’m a loser, baby.

I have no idea how I am still standing. How is it even possible to keep going when I am carrying so much? I beg my husband to tell me the truth. There has to be something more wrong with me, something I just can’t see. I mean, besides what is obvious to me. I have mental illnesses. I know that. I know how they affect me. In fact, I have several of them. Not just one. One isn’t enough for me for some reason. No. I have five of them. I’m also in recovery. Who wouldn’t be? Five mental illnesses are enough to drive anyone to find relief in something as simple as a pill. Unfortunately, drugs don’t get rid of the mental illnesses. I wish I had known that before. They just added to the stack of problems I already had. Stealing years of my life away. What’s left of me are shaggy remnants, a recovered photograph, bent, burned edges. A skeleton, hanging from a tree, bones clanking a chime with the wind.

Years of medication attempts, years of therapy, years of learning, years of working, years of failing, years of trying again and again. I think I have a pretty good handle on the mental illness stuff. I’ve gained the bravery to finally open myself up to making new friends and reaching out. This isn’t high school anymore, right? We are all grown-ups around here. A few of my co-workers became some of my closest friends. I was having fun with real people. I found REAL people. I could open up about my illnesses because these were real people. I was surprised at how easy it was, how nice it was to have friends to confide in. Share my secrets. Share my sadness. Share my successes. Share my happiness. It actually helped. They understood, they helped me. They invited me out. Did you hear that? THEY, invited ME, out! They let me sit in the back corner of the restaurant because they knew I needed to see the door. I needed to see if anyone was coming at me. They unfolded the linen napkins and took out my silverware because they knew I couldn’t stand to touch linen. They asked the waiters for paper napkins for me, lots of paper napkins. Because I couldn’t touch the ketchup bottle, it was covered with germs. I had to use a paper napkin to pick it up. And I couldn’t re-use that paper napkin because it was now covered with germs from the ketchup bottle. They didn’t laugh at me when my plate came and I quickly placed the fries on a separate napkin because my foods can’t touch each other (or the table, because it’s also covered in germs). They ignored my picked through scraps of food because I had to be able to see what I was eating and if something about it seemed off I had to hide that piece under another napkin. They were okay if I ended up not eating at all. And they still invited me to go out again. Even after having to cancel last time because I was having a panic attack or a migraine. They called me. They texted me. They checked on me. It was okay with them, that I was not okay. It was okay that I didn’t have to plan my every move to hide my secrets. Hours spent writing and re-writing a text message because I was so worried I would say the wrong thing and hurt someone’s feelings. I finally send the text, but still flattened with panic. If they didn’t reply, the guilt came plowing me down. I did something wrong. I knew it. I knew I would screw it up. I shouldn’t have said that. Why did I do that? What was I thinking? But no, then, it was okay. They didn’t mind, they understood, they stuck by me. They returned my texts. They kept inviting me. They kept encouraging me. How could I even begin to doubt their sincerity. I’m not imagining things. I really have found the right group of friends. I’ve got this, they get me. Pinky swear promises of lasting friendship.

Until. Until? Until another diagnosis comes. Are you kidding me universe? I finally think I have things going the right way. A great job, great friends, great husband, great kids, great home complete with my dream garden full of flowers and food and chickens and goats and dogs. But it wasn’t a joke. Now I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. I fall on the floor laughing and crying at this cruel reality. What in the hell did I do in my past life? Was I Hitler or some demon like that? I’m mean, really, come on. I’m a good person… I think. I don’t deserve this… I think.

Back to until. Until I could no longer work. I had to leave my job, but reassurances from my good, real friends kept me afloat. Echoes of promises made bounce in my head. It will be okay. I have fought before, I can fight again. I’m standing on the shoulders of those real friends and I can do it. There’s a lag between that confidence and the initial diagnoses. A lag of sadness, filled with grief, filled with denial, filled with anger, filled with self-pity. But I stay bright, I stay in touch, I stay connected, I stay sober, I stay friendly. But slowly, so slowly I hardly notice, the buzz of my phone wanes. I question myself, but those echoes of promised friendship are still there. I just have to step up my efforts to be sure I’m staying in touch. I initiate, plan, offer, invite. I don’t dwell on myself, I do all the right ‘friend’ things. I ask how they are doing, how are the new house plans coming along, how are the kids, is work going okay? Now my phone doesn’t buzz anymore. I don’t know why. The old tape, long tucked away, begins to play. It plays a tune that I hate. An earworm of devilish proportion, digging it’s way through my brain, into my heart, into my soul. Questioning every word, every move, every text, every action, every thought. Where did I go so wrong? What did I say? What did I do? I’m sure I’m guilty. I just don’t know of what. And since we aren’t in high school, we are grown-ups, I think I do the right thing by asking. What’s going on? Making sure it isn’t about me. Is something happening to you? Did you have a crisis and you are afraid to tell me because you think it will be too much for me to handle. I ask because I’m trying to do it right. I ask because, for the life of me, I can’t think of what I did wrong. All I did was get a little sicker. I didn’t do it on purpose. I’m still here. I’m still the same person. I can still talk, I can still go out, I can still be a friend, I can still eat, I can still listen, I can still laugh. So, why then? Why am I crying? Why am I covered in a blanket of guilt?

I’m begging my husband again. Please, please tell me what I don’t see. There has to be something that I cannot see. I swear I remember the details of our last conversations, our last lunch date. Maybe I have become psychotic now, unable to recognize reality, to recall the images, the words, the hugs, the promises. The tape in my head won’t stop. I’m back to the beginning. The loop replaying, day and night, telling me I am wrong. I am guilty. I am a bad friend. I am a bad mother. I am a bad person. My heart is broken. My truths are lies. I don’t belong here. This place is not for me.

He tells me I’m doing it right. He tells me I’m okay. He tells me it’s them, not me. He tells me my love is strong, my heart is big, my kindness is clear, my friendship is genuine.

But I’m crying. I’m crying so loud I can’t hear.

Those words aren’t on the tape.

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24 thoughts on “I’m a loser, baby.

  1. I commend you for getting out of bed and trying. I relate somewhat, with a few mental health dx’s and four physically I’ll and chronic issues. And yes, I too wonder what I did because crap just keeps coming. I support you in just making the efforts. Hang in there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It is was it is, but some days it just doesn’t seem fair! Still have to keep going despite what keeps being piled on. Sorry you can relate, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but it’s good to know we aren’t the only ones. I appreciate your kindness ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My heart goes out to you. I am an incest survivor w/ anxiety, depression, PTSD, migraines, and chronic hives (not to mention the host of side effects my meds cause). There is no calculus of suffering. What one person may trivialize wounds and grieves another. Your pain is your pain — one diagnosis or five.

    While friends and family can be an enormous support, they are not a measure of your value or your sanity. Even those not suffering from mental illness lose friends. Circumstances change, bonds are stretched then broken. And we move on. Life is like that. It doesn’t mean your friendships were worthless or your friends insincere. It doesn’t mean that you were such a “burden” or are worth any less.

    Coping w/ all you’ve been handed, takes enormous strength. You obviously have that. You’re still here.

    Life is more like swimming in the ocean than sitting in a bathtub. We can decide how high to run the bath or how warm we want the water. The ocean, on the other hand, has waves — sometimes tidal waves. That can get pretty frightening for anyone.

    It sounds as if you have a loyal husband. That’s a tremendous asset. You, also, have God on your side. He’s bigger than any ocean…or any diagnosis. He says, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11: 28). God doesn’t take all storms away. But He can use our suffering for a good purpose.

    And His love is real. You cannot be a loser with that. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words. In reality, I know that I am doing great and finding my way. But that doesn’t make those negative conversations in my head stop. Part of what’s helping me is getting it out of my head and written down. Plus, I’m finding many comrades here, so much love and support. I like the ocean/bathtub comparison – so true. Thank you again ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am sorry to hear of your suffering. I too have had twenty-four surgeries. Eighteen emergency surgeries since 2009. I have twenty illnesses and conditions, so I can certainly empathize and sympathize with you.Perhaps some of my post on my blog will encourage you. It helps to know we are not alone. There are many on WordPress that suffer horribly as well. Bless you. I hope you will accept my friendship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely feel inspired by you. And it’s only been a few minutes! Connecting with others is one of the reasons I started blogging so I’m happy to be learning that I am not alone. I hope you will find some inspiration from my writing as well. I will gladly accept your friendship, thank you so much ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That sucks big time.

    What a cruel joke, to find such **apparently** wonderful community, only to have it vanish when you need it most.

    I’ve noticed that when I get sick and disappear from the day-to-day scene, people avoid me. I think it’s because they’re uncomfortable with the me that is not the “me” that they associate with…me. I’m not the wise authority anymore. I’m sick! And for some reason, illness freaks people out. And they run away fast, lest it get on them like germs.

    Also they don’t know how to act. They forget that we are exactly the same people post-diagnosis as we were before. But they’re insecure with that. They have this wordless discomfort, a nervous insecurity around us. Nothing rational about it.

    How fortunate that your husband sticks by you! What a gift.

    I really relate to agonizing over messages. I obsess over every word I say or don’t say. I tie myself into pretzels going over minute conversations, text exchanges, emails….I’m working on being more tolerant of myself. I’m not young and it’s not easy.

    You’re in the middle of family life, which is waaaaay not easy when you’re ill. I hope you’re able to use this unplanned time off from work to enjoy your family as much as possible. I crashed through that part of life kind of like a football player (American football, that is), one hand out in front to clear away the opposition, clutching the precious ball under my other arm, barreling down the field like an Army tank.

    I crashed and burned. Now I’m just a collection of junk from my previous life. Can’t do much of anything except go to doctor appointments. But thank goddess I’m still walking on two legs! That is a blessing.

    Thanks for coming onboard over at Bipolar For Life! I’m very happy to discover your blog.

    Laura xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words and understanding Laura. I’m glad to be connecting with other people who get it and are having similar experiences. I wasn’t able to return to work so am now home full time and on disability. I also feel like a collection of junk from my past but I’m going to keep trying to put all those pieces back together. I know it won’t ever look or feel the same, but I’ll still be there, the real, unchanged me… It’s sad and funny that I look forward to dr.’s appointments just so I can get out of the house! Glad we found each other ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I had the same experience. When I was still able to work, I had wonderful friends from work, or so I thought. There was a group of us that hung out together outside of work. I thought these would be life long friendships……………..Wrongo!!!!!! Only one person from my place of employment even bothers talking to me anymore. I guess, because I’m sick, I’m not worthy of those friendships. I know I didn’t do anything wrong. I just kept reaching out and kept being ignored, so you know what? I said F%*(*% em…….I’m too good for them. I let em go, all of them, except the one. Pretty sad how people just dismiss us because we’re sick. I would never do that to a friend. Your friends need you most when you become ill…….I look at it as their loss, not mine. Peace out. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I couldn’t agree more! This is just happening to me now, as you can tell from my posts!! I do still have a few friends from work, but only one that I would say I’m still really close with. And she is stuck in the middle because we were all friends (they are still friends), we we’re a group of really good friends. And they all still work together. It’s been really, really hard to believe. I’m still trying to figure out if it’s real. I can’t imagine that I did anything wrong and I just don’t get it. What I hate the most is not knowing why and feeling so much guilt. I’ll probably never know. Add to that the fact that our job entails working with people with disabilities… it makes it even harder to understand. Maybe they get enough of it at work so they don’t want it outside of work. But it’s not like I sit and complain about myself when we are together. I try to be happy and positive and self-less. I would never do that to a friend either. I see my therapist tomorrow and boy do I need it. I hope I can get to where you are, their loss, not mine. Peace right back atcha 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You will eventually quit trying. It’s sad. I just don’t understand how people can be so damn fake. That’s all I can think of. I have 2 therapist’s because I’m really a hot mess. I have a very long list of invisible, chronic illnesses. I’ve had 18 surgeries. A million and 97,000 procedures. I have a feeding tube. I’ve had my left hip replaced, due to avascular necrosis. I have it in my right hip, too, and it will have to be replaced in the very near future. No, I am not 98 damn years old, but my body is. I’m in and out of the hospital all the time. My newest diagnosis is Dysautonomia…………….I’m still learning about that….that can be a lot of things. I do have Gastroparesis, which is one form of Dysautonomia. I fainted and I keep feeling like I’m going to faint a lot of times. Anyway, I see one therapist every Monday, and she works with me mostly with my pain and GI issues, and whatever else I may be freaking out about at the time I’m there. I see the other one, my original therapist that I’ve been going to for about 7 or 8 years now. I see her every Friday. I’ve not always been on this twice a week program, but I have been for awhile and it keeps me out of the nuthouse, where I voluntarily took myself a few times, and I’ll never do it again, trust me. I won’t write you a book tonight because I’m tired, but I have a lot to talk about, so feel free to say anything and everything. I look forward to chatting with you and following your blog. Peace out.

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      1. You can pretty much learn everything about me from reading my blog……I have quite a history…………I still have a lot more to write about, though……….there is more………….)

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