Lose Yourself

Amid the chaos of moving and trying to figure out where Will and I are going to go, there has been little time for reflection on how we got into this situation. But now that I’m on my second batch of papers for SSDI—the ones somebody who knows you well has to fill out—I can’t help wondering where the person I used to be went, and whether I can find her again. Or if she even exists anymore.

The condition of my house is a great metaphor for my life these days: besides being a disorganized mess, it feels like it’s lost its identity and now can only relate to the shambles in which it finds itself. It’s almost as if that other life, the one where I was a reasonably successful nurse, wife and mother, happened to someone else…..I feel like I’m standing on the outside of it looking in.

Perhaps it’s the advent of the holidays that makes me wistful for Christmases past, when there were decorations everywhere and plenty of gifts under the tree. I used to walk around outside at night on Christmas Eve and look at the house covered in bright twinkle-lights, pretending I was a stranger who just came by to admire the display and wonder about the family who lived there. Who were they? Were they happy? Did they have enough of everything? Then I’d smile because the house and the family were mine, and we not only had enough but had it in abundance.

That is certainly not the case this year. Last December, I wanted a tablet for Christmas (and got one); now all I want is a roof over my head. The thing about homelessness I fear the most is not the threat of bodily harm or of being swallowed up in the horrors of life on the streets, it’s the idea of being cold all the time. I’d almost rather be in Hell…..at least it’s warm there. Of course, the last time I thought about making those arrangements I wound up in a locked psychiatric facility, but I’m not that kind of depressed now and I’m not allowing bad thoughts to rent space in my head, not for very long anyway.

However, I must admit that in some ways this is even harder on me because I used to have a purpose and a defined role in life. I wasn’t always happy with it—in fact, toward the end I came to despise it—but I didn’t know how much I would miss it until I didn’t have it anymore. Now I just feel lost, as if I no longer play any useful part in the world, even though I know on an intellectual plane that I’m still needed and wanted. I just don’t know if it’ll be enough to sustain me when things get worse. My faith in humanity is not at its highest, but I have even less in myself.

So yes, I miss the woman who used to stroll around the yard at Christmastime, secure in the knowledge that my family had plenty of everything and that as long as I could provide for them, all would be well. I had no idea that the bipolar juggernaut was about to overtake me and sweep that life away in its whirlwind. I never saw it coming. One day I was fine (or so I thought), and the next I was in the middle of a mental health crisis, and the next I was losing jobs and applying for food stamps and getting evicted.

And as always, I wonder: what the hell happened?!




Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

4 thoughts on “Lose Yourself

  1. Yes, I wonder too – what happened to the ICU nurse who had that beautiful oak dining room set and the extra rooms in her apartment? The Saab just because she wanted one, and all the boyfriends she could want. No, material things don’t matter, but ability does, still, even though the lesson is, I am not what I do, I am what I yam. Small comfort when you’re moving into a shelter and applying for disability. What the hell happened? And yes the “I’m supposed to support my family.”

    So what would you say to her?

    Now say it to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thinking of and praying for you. I must have missed this part but why can’t your kids take you in for a short time until you land on your feet? I’ll bet you would do the same for them, right?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It is sobering, humbling, humiliating even, when we can no longer achieve as we once did. You and Will are in my prayers for a solution, even a short-term one to tide you over until you start to receive more benefits. Be kind to yourself. You do not blame Will for his illness, for his inability to work, yet you still somewhat harshly judge yourself for yours. Forgive yourself. Love yourself. You deserve you own compassion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Bp, do you ever think that some of the feelings and thoughts you are having are age related? Our loss of purpose, our losing sense of self? My kids are only starting in college, and I am beginning to understand why my own mother told me to be careful of the ’empty nest syndrome’. Of course I laughed at her, told her I’d never suffer that, I was too much of a career woman all my life to feel that; that was for mothers who stayed home and made their family their careers. But, some of what you are feeling sounds so familiar to me and not in a bipolar or depressive way! Whatever the reason, hang in there. Thinking of you…

    Liked by 1 person

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