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The Melee in My Mind

Bipolar Disorder. What an illness, huh? It seems to wait, like a kitty under the covers, to pounce on your feet when you least expect it, and least desire it! Such as that cozy twilight of consciousness right before you drift to sleep.

Only that is not a good example, because bipolar disorder is no playful kitty. It is a life encompassing, joy challenging, disruptive and potentially deadly mental illness. More like a raging, ravenous tiger bursting out of the underbrush to drag you screaming into the dark.

It has been quite a while since I wrote about my mental illness, and not because it went away. It is the nature of it, that I shut myself up and bottle all the turmoil away, until a hairline crack appears, and the fizz hits the fan. I have been so busy, flailing away at life, downsizing, moving here to the west coast, setting up house etc., etc. This is much like how I used to claim to be clean and sober, which only lasted as long as my frenzy of work, all to come crashing down in a dead drunk in a week…or a day. Now I dont have the drink, or the drug, or the cigarette, or the parents, or the abusive ex. Just the moving, cleaning, painting, eating and locking all my worries up in a box.

I have been happier though, as I have moved forward and away from the physical address of so much grief. It really was holding me back, seeing their living spaces each day, moving through the “big empty” of it all. My new home feels hopeful and kind, like each room is a new friend, just waiting to be discovered. As the old dark colors and furnishings fade, and a new layer of pride of ownership covers the surfaces, it feels as if the same is occurring on my inside. A good sweeping out, and sloughing off.

It has been difficult trying to rebuild with altered puzzle pieces. Since the accidents of 2013, and the head trauma (TBI), I struggle to accomplish the simplest tasks, paying the simplest bills, and being on time for appointments being two “biggies”.

On days when the pain overwhelms, I try to just do the dishes, or make myself rest without guilt, which ,for a person with my issues is nearly impossible. I still hear the voices in my head, “lazy…stupid…useless…”, and I still miss the touch of a hand, the contact of another human who loves me. The years of caregiving for my Dad has left me broken inside, dry as a popcorn fart with the lack of kindness all those years.

I talk to myself constantly, using the soothing voice of a mother to a hurt child, to get me through the loneliest parts. When I am feeling too fragile, I lie on the living room floor on the dogs blanket, with them around me where I can feel their warmth and hear them breathing. I dont even mind the company of a flea… as long as it is not a verbally abusive one….

I know that this situation is temporary, that I must endure, as we all must. The Word makes that crystal clear. “The one that endures…endures…ENDURES!”

And so I shall. If you need me, I’ll be on the dog blanket…

By Susan T. Martin

I am an Artist, Poet and Author. A Survivor of Violent Sexual Abuse and Rape, I have lived thru Severe Domestic Violence, Twenty Three years of Addiction and Alcoholism, Family Dysfunction, Chronic Pain, Dependence on Opioids, and 2 Venomous Snake Bites...I have Been Stabbed, Shot at, Tied to a Tree and Choked Unconscious. A Quarter Horse Rolled on Me, as did a Lawn Tractor. I also Wrecked a Harley into a Tree! I also have PTSD and Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder, and spent my 18th birthday in a Locked Psychiatric Ward. I am so much more than this: I feel like a tiny seed that sprouted in a desert, and now has grown into a Passion Vine. My Art is my Voice, Screaming, Crying, Praying, Loving, Laughing, Healing- all in Riotous Color...