4/9/89 11:21 pm | 757a 24 february 2022

typewritten 33 years ago. found in the attic at the last possible moment.

darkness — thick, oppressive
congealing as if blood around an open breathing wound
i
am this
the wound
ed
panic steers this two-ton beast
not i racing
racing heart racing through mazed streets
dimly lit by infrequent lights
sudden dip
plunge headlong into wooded thick
et
cricket thicket surroundsound
i turn up the radio to shut out the nature
nature of this two-ton beast of steel racing heart racing.


I wrote this 33 years ago on the way home from somewhere/something stressful. My engagement party? I was less than a month away from turning 21.

I would have stopped to pull the car over to write this; wherever my first Filofax disappeared to, deep within its pockets lies a piece of looseleaf covered in my handwriting, tense and manic and completely out of control from the feel of it. This was about 6 months before I married my first ex-husband, The Sociopath. I hadn’t yet gotten anywhere close to the diagnosis I finally have, I mean I had finally gotten away from the schizophrenia misdiagnosis and was hovering somewhere in limbo, hinting around manic depression and clinical depression, but no one understood suicidality and ADHD back then, much less accounted for the PTSD I already had and would continue to have. I’m pretty sure by this point I had been put on Prozac which only helped to launch me fully into extreme mania.

The terror that I know that I was feeling that night, it is a familiar one. The time of year, well into the beginning of spring, added to the mania I know I was experiencing. Without understanding that this is how my body acts in spring, without any tools to help mitigate what would always be outside of my control, I can feel (finally, I think) really aware of just how much I have survived, and continue to survive.

I kept going when I had no proof of better times to come. I have that proof now.

I am that proof.
My proof lives in me.

It always changes; it always shifts. It gets better and it gets worse and it gets better again. Gam zeh ya’avor / gam zu l’tovah. This too shall pass and it is all for the good. גם זה יעבור זה גם לטובה

frustrating thoughts on a tuesday morning

your author, dressed for 29°F weather at 7a, sitting in the parking lot to medicate (description below)

It is currently 29°F outside, actual feel of 22°F. I am outside for my morning medication: today is cannabis and coffee. I’ve already taken my fish oil, but there’s no one to say anything about that if I take that in my kitchen. So I come outside after having dressed for the weather. This includes: underwear, thick socks, two pairs of flannel pajama bottoms, a long sleeved shirt over a short sleeved shirt, a fleece hoodie, my purple fuzzy robe with white stars, a knitted neck warmer, a knitted hat. I have spiked my coffee with hot cocoa mix and butter to make the warmth seem thicker and more long-lasting.

I have a medical marijuana card. Up until *very* recently, whole flower was not allowed to be sold in medical dispensaries. Smoking whole flower is the method of delivery that works best for me. If vaping worked for me, I could probably get away with vaping inside my apartment, although I really wouldn’t want to try. But it doesn’t. Smoking whole flower is what works. I no longer engage in practices that are meant to be good for me but in actuality, aren’t. Imagine if instead of taking your anti-anxiety meds by pill, you had to have them by suppository and you had to do that outside because that’s what the law dictated. Just because.

When it is colder than this, or when the weather is shit, or after dark (I feel like a D!sney princess out here sometimes, skunks ((Flower!)), raccoons, possums, cats, ALL the squirrels), I sit in the car. Even with the engine off, this is illegal to do. When I have zoom therapy and I am home I do it in my car or outside so that I can smoke. So that I can medicate. When I have zoom therapy and I’m at a friend’s house, I can be inside and warm and still medicate.

No other medication is subjected to restrictions and procedures like this. This is inhumane. Could you imagine if I told you you had to go outside for your heart medication if you weren’t well off enough to own your own home with private property? If I told you you had to take your cholesterol meds every morning but go outside somewhere on the street, what would happen?

And if I told you that unless you had the wherewithal, you couldn’t have a get-together with friends and have a smoke sesh. Have all the wine and cheese parties you want, every book club has its Bordeaux, every rehearsal dinner its Riesling, but no ma’am, you’re not allowed to enjoy this totally legal thing where you live, where you love, where you entertain. What would you do? What would you say?


People are going to consume where they are able to consume. Where they are forced to consume. This has always, and will continue to be what happens. By welcoming dispensaries and consumption lounges into Peekskill, by allowing smoking in specific areas of our many public parks, we are making our residents and visitors feel more comfortable and welcomed.

north of 4am

Up at four-something; the sound of an upchucking cat isn’t a noise to be ignored. Pushing him (gently) off the bed so I won’t have to wash the entire coverlet again. Tangled in the comedic/horror movie mess of giant bed + weighted blanket + CPAP mask and racing against the threat of a heaving animal simultaneously a thousand miles away and on top of me, I know that my day is going to be a fight.

The waves of depression and subsequent rapid cycling and eventual mixed states yesterday only subsided because I smoked myself into oblivion. I ate a shit ton of sugar and passed out. Took an edible to stay asleep.

Mojo.
DUDE.

I go to the bathroom, look at my phone, my email. I’ve been avoiding the actual mail and swiping left on my email like it’s a dating app. The email saying my rent is posting today.

Okay.

I’ve been looking at my balance, not buying things. Nothing. How do you get money?

You sell things.

You have things to sell. Good things.
You even have photos.

why, then.
why frozen.

Fogged.
Stuck.
Frozen.

I can do for Mojo, I can take pretty good care of him. If no one else.

It’s 6:14 in the morning and I realize I can’t go to work. I can’t control this today.
I barely could yesterday.
(there is no longer any thinking about what would happen if I had to, about how terrible it would get)

there is no longer any fear of safety.

that is a difficult sentence to write.
to digest.
I cannot breathe.
i cannot breathe.
.
breathe.

breathe.
.
What it means
what it means is that I can do what I need to do to care for myself without worrying about getting written up, or in trouble, or fired, or discarded. Left. Ghosted.
It means that I have compassionate people who care about my safety for my sake first.

My safety for me, not as an asset. A tool. A toy.

It is 6:27 in the morning and this is what that is, this rage, this dysphoria. This sadness, this depression.

This makes it so clear to me, finally.
The sheer disparity.
Reminders of how it felt.
The unpleasantness, the imbalance.
I don’t want that. Not ever.
Not even knowing.

So, now what.
Delete the playlist (again. It has one song on it.) Done.
Back away.
Understand this isn’t ever going to change. Really, though.
Understand you don’t have to burn it to the ground, either. Really. You can continue to walk away.

you know there isn’t always a trigger
but a lot of times, there is.

it is seven in the morning and I am inside as the rain begins to fall.
it isn’t, though, raining outside
but sure as a rainfall cools the planet
feeds the plants
smoke slakes my thirst, soothes my fear.

the sky is lightening, the grey becoming less so
enough to douse the harsh overhead light
and open the curtain.

Mojo in the foreground, backlit, sheer grey linen curtain gathered in the center. hanging from the window: a suncatcher in the abstract shape of a whale, made of driftwood and vintage beads, and a small astronaut 7:08am

I am worrying about how I will manage things
but right now the fear isn’t strangling me.
it’s sort of set apart, a bit.
It isn’t going to stay there, not today.
Today is going to be

(oh, Mojo)

better at home. Quiet, as I need.

it is seven forty-nine in the morning and
and there isn’t much getting done today.

That isn’t true, no. no it isn’t.

progress, however glacial a pace,
is progress still.

Cribbing from a master. 23 June, 2018

“…I cannot rest from travel: I will drink 
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d 
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those 
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when 
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades 
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name; 
For always roaming with a hungry heart 
Much have I seen and known; cities of men 
And manners, climates, councils, governments, 
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all; 
And drunk delight of battle with my peers, 
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy. 
I am a part of all that I have met; 
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’ 
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades 
For ever and forever when I move. 
How dull it is to pause, to make an end, 
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use! 

As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life 
Were all too little, and of one to me 
Little remains: but every hour is saved 
From that eternal silence, something more, 
A bringer of new things; and vile it were 
For some three suns to store and hoard myself, 
And this gray spirit yearning in desire 
To follow knowledge like a sinking star, 
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought…
…There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail: 
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners, 
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me— 
That ever with a frolic welcome took 
The thunder and the sunshine
, and opposed 
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old; 
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil; 
Death closes all: but something ere the end, 
Some work of noble note, may yet be done, 
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods. 
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks: 
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep 
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends, 
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world. 
Push off, and sitting well in order smite 
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds 
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths 
Of all the western stars, until I die. 
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down: 
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, 
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. 
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’ 
We are not now that strength which in old days 
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; 
One equal temper of heroic hearts, 
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will 
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

(excerpted from Ulysses, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

An Unquiet Mind. 1 May, 2018

On April 30th, 2002, eleven days after our first date, you told me you loved me.

We lay in your narrow bed in Park Slope, talking about everything and nothing at all. You said those three words. You took my breath away, Gary. You saw tears spring to my eyes, pushed my hair away from my face, and asked me what was wrong. I told you that I loved you too, and that I had something to tell you.

I took a deep breath, and began to tell you about my illness, the illness that has haunted me since I was 13: ultradian rapid cycling bipolar disorder type 1. It is incurable, and in my case, barely treatable. I gave you a brief rundown of my history, about the same that I would do with any new psychiatrist (two of whom retired while I was mid-treatment). I told you the truth: that I had never been arrested, never been hospitalized, and never harmed anyone other than myself. I told you that I had been on medication in the past, and that at that point when we were dating, I wasn’t on anything at all. I was manic pretty much all of the time.

At this point, fully expecting you to either recoil in horror or run away screaming, you surprised me by doing neither. You held me closer. I gave you the name of a book that I wanted you to read: An Unquiet Mind by Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. I told you that it had saved my life. I told you that I wanted you to read this book, do some research, decide whether or not you wanted to go any further on what would be an absolute roller coaster of a ride, and that I had no judgement if you didn’t. I gave you a brief history, of my medications, my moods. I showed you the many scars from where I had cut quite deeply into my arm. This is your out, I said. You can walk away and never look back, and I wouldn’t ever blame you. Not even a little bit. You hugged me tightly, and promised to read the book. I gave you my copy when next I saw you.

You read it. You said it wasn’t really for you, and was probably more effective for someone struggling with the illness itself as opposed to an outsider.

You wanted to stay, you didn’t want to give up.

The 15 and a half years we were together were an absolute roller coaster ride, as promised. There was a lot of good, and a lot of very, very bad. We never did give up. Not even a little bit.

One of the very last books you read was Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher. As always, you were listening to it on audio. You had it on whenever you were awake, which included a lot of times when I was getting dressed, or doing something else in the house. The morning that I discovered that you were reading it, I was trying to put on makeup in the bathroom. I was listening to the narrator describe my life. Weeping, I walked into the bedroom where you lay in bed listening. I motioned for you to pause the narration. I asked you why you were listening to it. You said, “Do you want me to stop? I thought it would help me understand you better.” I replied, “No. I want you to finish it. And then I want to listen to it after you’re done.”

Even before you had finished reading it, you looked at me with a softness in your eyes, a softness I hadn’t seen there before. You explained to me that you thought you understood now. At least a lot better than you used to. I said that I was grateful for that, and that I was trying very hard to not resent the fact that it took someone else’s story about my life to have you understand my life.

I asked a trusted friend about this phenomenon, and he explained to me that it’s common with people who are struggling with PTSD, for them to hear someone else’s story and be able to relate to it much better than if the person they’re more connected to is describing it. Curious, but true. I trust him; I trust you.

The very fact that you understood that I could be fearful of showering, or brushing my teeth, or opening the mail! or any of the small, seemingly ridiculous things that I had been unable, incapable of doing at one point or another along my way, whether or not you actually understood why but that you understood that it *was possible* and that it was real, this was mind-blowing to me. A breakthrough. More breakthroughs would come in those last six days you were on this planet. Incredible breakthroughs aided by drugs that you had such terrible reactions to. And the time and in between after you read this last book and the day you died is bittersweet.

You died, and in those last bits of time we had I know that you understood me more than you ever had done before. More than you had ever been able to before. I knew that up until then, you were incapable of understanding me, not because you were stubborn (although you were). Not because you were obstinate (although you were that, too). But only because it was truly impossible.

I am joyful because we had those last few days where we understood each other, where you understood me, where you understood exactly the hell that I had been through. Exactly the hell that you had wreaked upon me. And I know that you were sorry. We had the rest of forever to figure it out. And figure it out we did.

I love you. I love you now, And I love you forever.
Always,
glitter.