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A safe space to share stories and ask questions
not doing well... 
29th-Apr-2009 05:21 am
koikana

I'm not going to kill myself.

But I realize that every night, I am praying that God ends it. I have a beautiful daughter, and while I'm sure I'm a horrible mother, I can't leave her with MY mother.

I'm in pain, all day, every day. I'm tired. I'm useless, and I yell at my daughter, I never feel safe. I hate myself, I hate my memories, and I feel old. I'll turn 25 next month, but I know people who are 50 who seem to have sailed through life without a bump or scratch. I feel like every day since I can remember has been a battle, and I am exhausted.

I cry all the time now. My friends were over helping me clean, because I can't even clean under my own power any more. My daughter was being a brat, my dog was sick, chewed up the bathroom carpet, poo'd all over the bathroom, and chewed up a disposable razor and possibly ate one of the razor blades.

Suddenly it was too much and in front of two of my friends- one of them who doesn't know that much about my past and is a little... naiive, to be nice about it, about such things- I broke down. I slammed a 409 bottle against a door, sat down in a puddle of dog-dookie-409, and cried, shaking and moaning, unable to stop.

They're my friends, I should be able to... But... I hate it, hate it...

I hate that I can't be like a normal person.
I don't enjoy anything anymore, and everything I do makes me hurt. It sounds stupid, but it's not FAIR.

I'm on pills. I see a therapist. Trying to work things out, but I know that even if I never thought about those things again, even if my mother wasn't screwing up and I found a money and health insurance tree, even if my daughter magically could take care of herself... I'll still be bipolar, I'll still be sickly, I'll still have fibro... Everything eternally sucks.
Comments 
29th-Apr-2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
{big safe huggles} It took me years to be able to open up to my friends about stuff that happened to me. It wasn't until this year that I even confided the specifics.

While it is unbelievably nice to have a support system there with you with people who are closest to you... it's really hard to get to the point where you can tell them.

I wish I had better words. I'm sending you peaceful vibes.
29th-Apr-2009 03:52 pm (UTC)
you're right, it isn't fair. it isn't fair you're having to deal with these feelings now while, like you say, 50-year-olds exist who have never had to deal with so much.

but it's so easy to get stuck in everything that sucks that you can forget that no matter how bad things seem, there is good in your life too. when i'm hitting a particularly rough patch, it helps to keep a log of something good that happens to me each day. just one thing. sometimes it's as simple as eating a bagel. :] have you ever tried that? it really does help me to find something to smile about, even if only for a minute.

is it possible to also confide in your friends? it sounds like they are already pretty willing to be there for you. perhaps you could arrange for your daughter to spend some time with one of them, and your dog with another, for a couple hours one day this week so you can take some time completely for yourself.

*safe hugs* i hope things begin to look up for you soon.
29th-Apr-2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
you are normal. You are a normal person having a normal reaction to trauma and to having bipolar and fibro.

The obstacles in your life are big, and the daily struggle of having them and a daughter is monumental - and - you have the strength to get through. Times like this are when you cannot see there *is* a peaceful life, even if it's a peaceful life with obstacles, out there for you. There are times, dark times, when we cannot see a peaceful future - and that's normal, too! That's when we are here to tell you things CAN get better.

Because you're right - it's not fair - and it's good to vent that feeling. And I want you to know, even with a life full of obstacles and struggles, there is still something, every day, which is beautiful and peaceful and can fill your heart with enough joy to sustain you. We'll help you find what that is, as will your therapist. We can't find it for you, but we can tell you where to look, and you can find what it is in your life you can feel through the jumble of everything on your plate, which will help make life feel less like a curse.

And until then, feel free to use my own suicide prevention chant, inspired by my daughter, "Better a messed-up mother than no mother at all. My daughter is worth giving it another go, everyday."
29th-Apr-2009 08:36 pm (UTC) - the spoon theory part 1
I had a friend send this to me to help me understand why she has bad and good days w/ her illness(all her muscles are slowly umm..can't think of the word, but when I went to visit her, her legs constantly spasmed and every effort took a lot out of her...maybe having you read this will help you not be so hard on yourself and could give your friends a bit better handle on what you are going through--this "theory" can be used for so many things.

by Christine Miserandino www.butyoudontlooksick.com
My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.
As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?
I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn't seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.
29th-Apr-2009 08:37 pm (UTC) - Re: the spoon theory part 2
lj only lets you post so much at once

As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.
At that moment, the spoon theory was born. I quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell I grabbed spoons off of the other tables. I looked at her in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Lupus”. She looked at me slightly confused, as anyone would when they are being handed a bouquet of spoons. The cold metal spoons clanked in my hands, as I grouped them together and shoved them into her hands.
I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.
Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.
She grabbed the spoons with excitement. She didn’t understand what I was doing, but she is always up for a good time, so I guess she thought I was cracking a joke of some kind like I usually do when talking about touchy topics. Little did she know how serious I would become?
I asked her to count her spoons. She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of "spoons". But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting. She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn't even started yet. I’ve wanted more "spoons" for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.
29th-Apr-2009 08:38 pm (UTC) - Re: the spoon theory part 3
I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said " No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can't take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too." I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn’t even gotten dressed yet. Showering cost her spoon, just for washing her hair and shaving her legs. Reaching high and low that early in the morning could actually cost more than one spoon, but I figured I would give her a break; I didn’t want to scare her right away. Getting dressed was worth another spoon. I stopped her and broke down every task to show her how every little detail needs to be thought about. You cannot simply just throw clothes on when you are sick. I explained that I have to see what clothes I can physically put on, if my hands hurt that day buttons are out of the question. If I have bruises that day, I need to wear long sleeves, and if I have a fever I need a sweater to stay warm and so on. If my hair is falling out I need to spend more time to look presentable, and then you need to factor in another 5 minutes for feeling badly that it took you 2 hours to do all this.
I think she was starting to understand when she theoretically didn’t even get to work, and she was left with 6 spoons. I then explained to her that she needed to choose the rest of her day wisely, since when your “spoons” are gone, they are gone. Sometimes you can borrow against tomorrow’s "spoons", but just think how hard tomorrow will be with less "spoons". I also needed to explain that a person who is sick always lives with the looming thought that tomorrow may be the day that a cold comes, or an infection, or any number of things that could be very dangerous. So you do not want to run low on "spoons", because you never know when you truly will need them. I didn’t want to depress her, but I needed to be realistic, and unfortunately being prepared for the worst is part of a real day for me.
29th-Apr-2009 08:38 pm (UTC) - Re: the spoon theory part 4
We went through the rest of the day, and she slowly learned that skipping lunch would cost her a spoon, as well as standing on a train, or even typing at her computer too long. She was forced to make choices and think about things differently. Hypothetically, she had to choose not to run errands, so that she could eat dinner that night.
When we got to the end of her pretend day, she said she was hungry. I summarized that she had to eat dinner but she only had one spoon left. If she cooked, she wouldn’t have enough energy to clean the pots. If she went out for dinner, she might be too tired to drive home safely. Then I also explained, that I didn’t even bother to add into this game, that she was so nauseous, that cooking was probably out of the question anyway. So she decided to make soup, it was easy. I then said it is only 7pm, you have the rest of the night but maybe end up with one spoon, so you can do something fun, or clean your apartment, or do chores, but you can’t do it all.
I rarely see her emotional, so when I saw her upset I knew maybe I was getting through to her. I didn’t want my friend to be upset, but at the same time I was happy to think finally maybe someone understood me a little bit. She had tears in her eyes and asked quietly “Christine, How do you do it? Do you really do this everyday?” I explained that some days were worse then others; some days I have more spoons then most. But I can never make it go away and I can’t forget about it, I always have to think about it. I handed her a spoon I had been holding in reserve. I said simply, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve. You need to always be prepared”
Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day's plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count "spoons".
After we were emotional and talked about this for a little while longer, I sensed she was sad. Maybe she finally understood. Maybe she realized that she never could truly and honestly say she understands. But at least now she might not complain so much when I can't go out for dinner some nights, or when I never seem to make it to her house and she always has to drive to mine. I gave her a hug when we walked out of the diner. I had the one spoon in my hand and I said “Don’t worry. I see this as a blessing. I have been forced to think about everything I do. Do you know how many spoons people waste everyday? I don’t have room for wasted time, or wasted “spoons” and I chose to spend this time with you.”
Ever since this night, I have used the spoon theory to explain my life to many people. In fact, my family and friends refer to spoons all the time. It has been a code word for what I can and cannot do. Once people understand the spoon theory they seem to understand me better, but I also think they live their life a little differently too. I think it isn’t just good for understanding Lupus, but anyone dealing with any disability or illness. Hopefully, they don’t take so much for granted or their life in general. I give a piece of myself, in every sense of the word when I do anything. It has become an inside joke. I have become famous for saying to people jokingly that they should feel special when I spend time with them, because they have one of my "spoons".
© 2003 by Christine Miserandino Butyoudontlooksick.com
Please note that this story is copyrighted and should not be reprinted in any form without permission from the author. Feel free link to “The Spoon Theory” at www.butyoudontlooksick.com/the_spoon_theory - Thank you!
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