What If? Thoughts of a Lonely, Hunting Heart…

I’m feeling like crap, so I’m thinking too much, and wallowing too much, but I’ve also spent too much time lately trying to talk to my husband and mother about what is inside my head, what I’m going through. It’s lonely. It’s frustrating. They can’t handle it. They don’t want to hear it. And I keep trying and then figuratively bashing my head against the wall.

The people who read this blog and follow my journey are the purest form of support in my life. The comments I receive on Twitter and here on the site mean more to me than any other form of feedback, listening, and understanding.

You get me in a way that my closest family members and friends never, ever will. Because you’ve been through it. You know bipolar inside and out and that has helped you develop compassion, love, and loyalty that is on another level of the human experience. Pain does this to us.

So quickly, before I regurgitate my nonsense as usual, I want to again, again thank those that see my word vomit as real pain, as a loving, sensitive, good person having nowhere else to go. 

I don’t believe there is anyone besides all of you, and I mean anyone, that I can speak with as honestly and candidly and know that I will be loved and accepted. You all are the most amazing people ever. You keep me going. You really do. I can’t thank you enough.

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As I type, as I feel hollow and metallic inside again, sitting in the same room as my husband as he laughs and watches Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, I wonder what my life would have been like if depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder had never manifested inside of me. I felt it creeping in slowly, and thinking about it still scares the shit out of me. I think I tried to keep it away. I think I still do. Sometimes I still try and pretend everything is OK. That none of this ever happened.

But it did, and on some days I get a disgusted feeling. On one hand I guess I kind of believe I must be living the life I’m meant to live. Why this, though? My given situation doesn’t sit well with me on many days. This was what I was meant to do everyday? Heart beating, stomach turning, annoyed by every task, every movement, everyone?

This is it? What is this accomplishing? Feeling like shit on a consistent basis, spending money to see a doctor and therapist with the same result, the lack of trust that life is necessary? The dullness, the lack of color?

What If? 

What would it have been like if I could cope with my emotions? If I had a healthy, supportive home life growing up combined with a stable family history? Would I have applied to a top journalism university or Ivy League school? Would I have chosen another professional path? Would I have chosen a different partner?

My ambition has never left, it is my belief in my ambition that has wavered consistently in my adult life.

There was a point when it all hit the fan during freshman year of college, when I was at the apex of my undiagnosed bipolar illness.  think I chalked up that I wasn’t worth it. And that’s never left me.

Good Times, Bad Times 

During the first days of college, I was feeling inspired, I was beautiful, garnering the attention of good-looking men from out of town. It was a really nice feeling. I courted the son of a famous actor whose ambition was to go into Democratic politics. I was turned on by that. And he was tall, Italian, extremely handsome, and I knew he was going to be successful. I wanted a man of ambition, intelligence, and intellectualism for my own. At the time, he was it.

He was crazy about me. He wanted to take me out on dates, but I said no most of the time. I wasn’t over my high school sweetheart. By then, I was starting to isolate, and my depression was getting deeper. I confessed how I felt to him. I wanted him to hang on. He understood, he cared. And I went into the hospital. And we never were as close again. It was my fault, too. My fault.

There are some moments when I regret all of that. He was incredible, and probably would have made an amazing husband. At least, that’s what I imagine in my head. And I also imagine that he could have never dealt with my bipolar disorder. More likely, wouldn’t want to. Too successful and hot to deal with a crazy bitch. This makes me feel better. Yes, couldn’t have had him anyway.

After getting out of the hospital the first time during Winter Break of my freshman year, having been diagnosed with Bipolar II, I distracted myself by visiting an old flame stationed here in the South in the military. Again, fun, fulfilling, I felt happiness for those fleeting moments, I felt beautiful. I got attention. But it never materialized into anything serious. We saw each other on and off, but the most serious boyfriend at that time was a guy that attracted me for reasons unknown. I was connected to him, attracted to him. It felt as if he were electrified by me.

He told me the song Anna Molly by Incubus was about me. That drove me crazy. In a really good way.

And it was relatively short. It was passionate. It was fun. But I began to get more angry and paranoid and psychotic at that time. Mania was showing itself now. He did not like it. He left me and I was in pain. Sad. I lost him because of my issues. And his friends hated me, too. They hated me the whole time. They called me a succubus. 

I tried to kill myself about then. My life, my self-esteem was spiraling downward and out of control.

Unwell

I remember running around my university in the dark, in the fog, under lights, feeling like I needed to drive and never come back.

I went on a short vacation, suicidal and listening to a little too much Pink Floyd.

When I came back, I rekindled with my now-husband, an admirer from high school. One of many.

He was sweet to me, but sometimes just as distant. Overall, I knew he cared about me. He was just too worried about impressing his friends. I wanted something serious. We smoked a lot of weed.

That’s when I started hanging out a little too much with people who I would have never hung out with if I didn’t have bipolar disorder. I feel pretty confident about that, and in the last 5 years, I’ve thought about that a lot.

These were the rejects like me, including my husband, the people with daddy issues and mental problems, the ones trying to numb the weird feelings.

So we smoked and drank and listened to music and took ourselves away from the pain for a while. And it felt better that way. So the weed became more consistent. Sometimes the drinking was too heavy. We were all in it to live as fast as possible, because we didn’t care. I think that came from a feeling that no one really cared about us.

Suburban kids with mental issues and people problems, still with the possibility of a future. I haven’t seen a lot of those people now in several years. I don’t know where they are.

I love my husband, and he’s been good for me in a lot of ways. In the past year, though, things have changed. He’s angrier. Maybe things have caught up with him and he doesn’t know what to do. He doesn’t tell me much about any of that. But he seems bitter and he likes to numb himself as much as he can. He likes to laugh at movies and crude jokes. And he doesn’t want to hear about my illness or talk about feelings.

And I wonder, wonder. Would I be sitting here if I didn’t have bipolar disorder? I’m not saying I necessarily don’t want to be. I’m just wondering.

And Family

I love my family. And sometimes that’s my biggest fault. I care too much, I put too much energy into desiring the undying acceptance and affection of my mother, stepfather, sister (same patterns as husband).

I wonder if it’s just me, or if life would have been different if I had a different family. A different mother and father. What if my parents were still together, if they were another pair of more stable, less selfish people?

I understand why they have to be selfish. They too have been in a lot of pain. And they don’t have much control over their obsession over figuring out why they are in pain and what to do about it. I said it. I say it again. I’m the same as them.

What if I had a mother that actually wanted to see me engage in sports in school? What about a father that was at my high school graduation instead of 1000 miles north stuffing excuses down my throat?

What if they talked with me when I was fearful or anxious? Cultivated household compassion and peace instead of commitment to obedience and making a good impression?

Would I have settled for what I have now (and is it settling)? Would anything be different?

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Have you ever pondered what your life would be like if you made different choices? Do you regret anything? Do you find comfort in the way things are? 

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4 thoughts on “What If? Thoughts of a Lonely, Hunting Heart…

  1. You’re not alone in playing the “What If” game show, my friend. I think everyone has been a contestant at some point or another. Think of it like “The Price is Right:” you wait in the audience with anticipation, hoping that your name will be called. If it is, your run down that aisle like a raving lunatic and station yourself next to similar people. Some will make the best bid and win a chance to play a game; some won’t and they have to sit back down in contestants row, practically wearing the cone of shame. What if they have dressed differently? What if they had been louder? It wouldn’t have mattered. Someone will always be more successful, more happy, more of everything if we look at life in this way. Some will take the experience and say, “I spoke with Drew Carrey and had a helluva good time even though I didn’t win a thing.”
    I don’t want to sound preachy, but the experiences you have in the present are what count the most regardless of who you were, and where you ended up. We can’t change how others behave and react, but we can change ourselves. Come on down, Kat! You’re the next contestant . .. lol!

  2. Oh Kat, you’ve been in so much pain and I wish I could do something to help you. We all wonder “what if” and “what might have been”. I do that in regards to my ex fiancee. But I have no control over the past, all I can do is my best in the present. When I get too caught up in the past or the future, I start to flounder. I applaud you for continuing to try to move forward, despite less than stellar results. That’s really all you can do. One step at a time is sometimes the absolute best game plan. And I am always here for you whenever you need. I hope you know that in those dark times, when you are lost and in pain, I’m right there to comfort you.

  3. Kat, your pain is palpable and I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. Just know that you are loved and admired by more people than you realize. If I could, I would come to your house and just hug you to help take some of that pain away, but I can’t so here are some virtual (((((HUGS))))) for you. Please continue to hold on, it WILL pass. You know that. Take care, my dear.

  4. I had a lot of what if thoughts for many years and still do sometimes. I found “The Work” by Byron Katie to be so helpful. There a lot of youtube videos if you aren’t sure what it is. It isn’t meant to change your mind about anything or to make you feel bad about the thoughts you have. Just to help you find a process to sort through them. I struggle with my thoughts all of the time, and her approach provides an great way to just make peace with them and not have to wrestle with them all the time. The pain is real and I too am grateful for this place where I can share my journey with others who know how it feels. Love to you!

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