God Save The Queen, Because I Was Too Broken To Do The Job

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Elephants // aren’t any more important / than insects // but I’m on the side / of elephants // unless one of them tries / to crawl up my leg
“Elephants”, John Newlove


Young man, / Seize every minute / Of your time. / The days fly by; / Ere long you too / Will grow old. // If you believe me not, / See there, in the courtyard, / How the frost / Glitters white and cold and cruel / On the grass / That once was green.
“The Frost”, Tzu Yeh


My mood, the way I’ve been feeling over the past two or three weeks, is not her fault. I think she is blaming herself for it, I think she has stopped responding because she is blaming herself for it… but I don’t know, because she’s not responding. If she were I think I’d tell her my mood has more to do with the size of my bar of soap than her decision she’s not in love with me.

Things between us started to fall apart about three days into her visit, and it was probably my fault. I was starting to fall just before she arrived, so when she got here I was suddenly responsible for making sure she had a good time and that meant… fuck fuck fuck fuck… look, our relationship was never going to work and I think we both deluded ourselves into thinking it would. You were damaged and I was damaged and I became a possibility, a potential way out of your life for you and for me it was… I’m still not even sure what it was supposed to be for me. I do know, however, that what I felt was real and sincere.

The causes of the mood I’ve been in for the past month and more, go back to my being unmedicated… I’ve been listless and feeling drained and nostalgic and feeling worthless because that’s how I’m supposed to be feeling. When we are in this stage of recovery we realize just how far time has moved without our contributions.

My world has been narrowed over the past three years until it includes my parents and a couple of close friends. Which is what happens when we’re recovering. We can’t be involved in the day to day events of a large group of people because their shit just gets mixed with our shit, creating a massive and festering mound of shit that we lose ourselves in. The blind can’t only not lead the blind, but they can’t lead the deaf or the mute either, and they definitely can’t lead the sighted and the “normal”. And that’s what happens… that’s what we try to do. We, the people with the real problems, lose ourselves in the mundane relationship problems of people who have the resources to deal with their own pile of crap.

So, the deeper into our recovery we go, the more we have to distance ourselves… not isolate ourselves, but pare down the list of people we can be around. And this means losing touch with people we care about. Because we have a disease that forces us to believe we can run really, really fast. And in order to recover from that disease we have to be idle long enough to realize we weren’t running fast… our legs may have been pumping but there was a huge wall in front of us keeping us from moving.

So recovery is us standing still while everyone else moves forward, and a couple of months ago I really started to learn how far I had been left behind.

At the same time she was coming to visit I was starting to find out about marriages and kids and friends and ex-lovers and former girlfriends. Then her own issues started to affect her and caused a depression while she was here, which pissed me off and exacerbated my mood. Then, after she had left, my monetary situation took a turn for the bizarre when my landlord handed me bills he had forgotten about.

Suddenly I was time warping back to my days living close to the street where food and soap were luxuries and that magnified the differences between my situation and those of the people whose lives had continued while mine had come to a halt… not just a halt, but had stopped — because of the disease and that fucking wall — eighteen fucking years ago.

Suddenly I was twenty and living in Ottawa with no money and not really knowing where or what I’d be eating halfway through the month, while everyone else was close to forty and working in a shitty job with a mortgage and a significant other who occasionally smelled like someone else. Suddenly I wasn’t normal again. Suddenly I was using a bar of soap that’s paper thin and eating noodles which cost .19cents for a package of MSG.

So her decision to focus on her recovery is the right one for her and her sanity — especially considering the last few paragraphs — but she should know that it’s not the cause of how I’ve been feeling. Maybe 20 percent. And my friends having moved on with their lives was maybe 12 percent. And my bar of soap was probably 10 percent. And the lack of food in my cupboard was probably 28 percent. And my taking the wrong pill and losing a weekend was probably 15 percent. And my grandfather getting older was probably 11 percent. And missing both the Lost and Heroes Finales was, maybe, 4 percent.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Depression, crazy people with no pants, Health, Lithium, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Mental Health, Punk and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to God Save The Queen, Because I Was Too Broken To Do The Job

  1. Oh love, I’m sorry. I was briefly following things but too dopey to figure out that it was you. I should have known. Not to mention that I’ve been wrapped up in my own world of “recovery.” What on earth is happening to us all? Falling apart all over the bloody place.

    And what is this about you not being medicated?! Come on! You’re one of the biggest med advocates out there…and I’m second behind you! Did something happen?

    Relationships are so hard. I’ve often thought about whether it is better to be with someone who is NT (that’s Neurotypical everyone–borrowed from Aspie-speak) or someone else who is mentally ill. Is it better to have the support and stability of someone who is more “grounded” for lack of a better term or someone who has “been there” and knows exactly what you are going through–or will that just lead to total chaos when you’re both wigging out in crisis mode?

    I don’t know if you’ve been following my latest trials and tribulations into the dating foray but I seem to have met someone and although it’s new I think I’m scaring the bejeezus out of her. And no, she is not mentally ill. She’s still around though and we’re talking so that’s good but after some of the blog posts that I am writing and she is reading–well sometimes I wonder for how long.

    Oh well, if it is to be, then it is to be, right? God, doesn’t mean that it hurts any less though, if/when you get dumped.

    And I wanted to thank you for giving me the prime real estate over here on salted…crap, I can’t believe you did that! My insane ramblings…all I’ve been doing is pathetic whinging. I mean, seriously. It’s gotten pretty bad over at PA’s place.

    Regardless, reciprocity is done…as soon as I head back over.

  2. Gabriel... says:

    Still on the pills, just took the wrong ones at a bad time. I take a sleeping aid and two Saturday’s ago, in the mid-evening, I realized I hadn’t taken my morning pill, so (like a rookie) I decided to take it and ended up with the night time one in me instead. It knocked me out for about six hours and left me groggy and useless for the rest of the weekend.

    I don’t think anyone except she, Puddle and myself knew what was going on… that was kind of the plan so there wouldn’t be any awkward explanations if things didn’t work out. And things didn’t, but a combination of my needing to be honest with this blog and my wanting to direct this post in her direction meant leaving a pretty broad hint in the title just to catch her attention.

    Yes, I have been following your latest T&T, and — if I can offer some advice — just be careful, in the beginning of a relationship you can start putting yourself second in order to accommodate the significant other. You must be ruthless about your recovery.

  3. Hey…well, I knew she was coming here as we passed comments on her blog aboot Canada as I am here as well but again, I just didn’t put it all together. No matter. And I knew Puddle knew.

    I kind of have to laugh aboot the blogosphere sometimes. It’s a bit or it can become like a virtual Young and the Restless or I suppose Corrie St. for any UK readers? I don’t know of any Oz references but I suppose that’s good enough for the Soap Opera business.

    Thanks for the advice. I guess you know me too well? PA always puts herself second regardless in so many situations anyway *rolls eyes*

    T&T, indeed. I think we should change that to TNT! KABOOM! Welcome to PA and relationships…

  4. gloomferret says:

    I guessed. But it was fairly obvious I thought…maybe I am just a big nosy beak and can sniff things out…I was hoping for some epic fairy tale ending…
    It doesn’t give me a huge confidence boost in my upcoming trip to Maine I can tell you that!

    Ah well, “Blessed is he who expects nothing; for he shall not be disappointed.”

    I torrented the lost and heroes finales, and they both sucked…trust me. Do you not partake in the torrent?

  5. Gabriel... says:

    If I started getting into downloading TV shows and movies and music I’d never leave this desk. And it’s not that great a desk. So when I’ve got the time I’ll read about the shows… it’s just I had planned to watch them, had actually left a note on my harddrive, but got too involved in whatever I was writing at the time… the reviews of Lost were actually pretty favourable. I’d given up completely on Lost pretty much at the end of last season. Charlie was one of my least favourite characters, and that hobbit-dude was also my least favourite hobbit, so I’m glad they kahked him.

    About QM and myself, I never thought it was that big a deal if “others” knew and, to be honest, neither did she. The idea was, basically, that there would be no explaining to be done if things didn’t work out… and yet, here I am.

    [I timeshifted this response… I actually wrote it at 2.17am on May 30]

  6. Don’t worry gloomy. Don’t base your future “endeavors” on our pathetic experiences (not calling you pathetic feartheseeds/senators in six/whoeveryouarethesedays.) I was referring more to me…

    I need to seriously start lowering my expectations too. But perhaps raising them of myself?

    Ow. My head is starting hurt (again.)

  7. Gabriel... says:

    I don’t think lowering your expectations of others is what you want to do… people with the disease we have should be looking for more understanding and more compassion and more of everything from the people we bring into our lives, definitely not less. We need people who can, and are willing, to help us. Everyone else is just in the way of your recovery.

    I’m not entirely sure how far along in your recovery you are, but in my own experience the first woman I dated during my recovery was a mistake because the pills were just kicking in and I was not paying attention to what they were doing to me… plus there was that whole “how can I better meet your needs?” aspect of dating, which really started getting in the way of my recovery. That was three years ago. There was a woman I dated last year who, if I had pursued it further, would have been an interesting fit if we were getting together now… but even last year I could see where her “difficulties” and “issues” would have eaten into the time I needed in order to concentrate on my recovery. Plus there was a young child involved and I can just only now barely look after myself.

    [I timeshifted this response, I actually wrote it at 2.25am, May 30.]

  8. krista says:

    You write eloquently about your recovery. I can relate so whole heartedly to what you wrote here.

    I wonder if you would be interested in publishing some writing about your recovery in a monthly newsletter that a little psych survivor organization near me puts out every month.

    Would you be into that? Writing about one page?

    It would be volunteer, but it would get to quite alot of people.

    Email me if you are interested to know more.

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  10. Gabriel... says:

    Note: Gloomferret and PatAnon… I “timeshifted” some responses to your, well, responses here.

    To “whatiwaslookingfor”: I’m glad you’ve found a place you’re been looking for… . Yes, I know who you are and, yes, I’ll be over later to take a look.

    And to Krista… thank you very much, I will think about it and email you my response. BTW, I’m a big fan of your site. Something you might be interested in… I have another knitting site in my blogroll on [the other blog]:


  11. Thanks senators in six. That’s an interesting comment as always. I think I was just being tongue in cheek really but no, you make sense. You shouldn’t settle. I agree with you that we all need someone that is supportive, compassionate and that can help us–absolutely.

    How far along am I in my recovery? Well, that’s a really good question. I mean, it’s an ongoing thing…this chronic nature of it. The second last time I was hospitalized–that was about three years ago, I thought I’d never see the inside of a hospital again! It had been five years since my last admission. And now, here we go/have gone again three years later!

    So, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. All I know is that you just have to keep trying to stay well and if you end up backsliding for lack of a better term, then you have to work hard at getting well (again.) I say again because we have to live with this for a lifetime. I’m not saying that it’s a prison sentence. You can take that attitude if you want to but it certainly won’t help.

    But I’m getting tangential…again. Relationships…complicated no matter what but they can get worse when we get all spastic. Or sometimes even when we’re not and we’re stable.

    I am very impulsive due to the combined Bipolar and ADD. Yay for me. I’m also naturally a very intense person. Yay for me again. No wonder I can tend to scare a lot of the NTs away! Hell, I’d probably scare a lot of the mentally ill people out there away too!

    I also have a quiet, withdrawn side and can eventually(?) mellow out and chill. It’s just perhaps in the beginning that I can be a little bit overwhelming?

    I don’t know…I can’t figure myself out. But I’m really nice…I am! Really! *grin*

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