I’m getting settled into my new place, and realizing how much more comfortable I am now that I am in a townhouse with one other woman, a good friend who I look forward to talking to when I get home. It’s like living with one of my sisters, and the thought of it makes me miss them. Growing up I never really thought one day we’d all be living in different states. The memories we share I cherish, and a random one popped up for me the other day about these two stray cats who used to come around the apartment where I’d lived with Mom in high school. My sister, the middle one, would come home from college and we’d talk about these strays, creating stories about their lives, and how the small gray one, who we’d aptly named “Little Gray” was the girlfriend of the orange one, aka “Big Daddy Orange.” So I sent her a text asking if she remembered Little Gray and Big Daddy Orange and she sent a cute emoji back to me. It’s those little random things. I could get all sappy here and talk about how she cared for me when I was a kid, when it seemed like no one else really noticed me or wanted me around. How we used to lay in bed at night talking. But I’ll just leave it at that for now.
For lack of a better word, I must confess I had a bit of a codependency relapse and reached out to my ex again. I’m not proud to admit I told him he’s made a mistake in this decision to leave me, that he’s missing out on what could’ve been amazing, especially for him, because I’m a good partner who would’ve cared for him, accepted him for who he is, and worked with him through anything. That all really pissed him off at first, but he came around. Maybe it was a good thing because he addressed the elephant in the room: his mental illness. As a result, I began to accept that he has bipolar disorder and I cannot change him nor does my love turn it into the relationship I want. He truly cannot help that he cannot commit to me because he’s so afraid of rejection and abandonment and it not working out. It makes no sense to me, how he can’t just commit, that it’s his very lack of commitment that makes it not work out. But it’s more than that. Do I really want to date someone who treats me how he does during his episodes? It’s not the episodes themselves that are the problem, but his reaction. I can no longer be ignored, and I must be able to express my feelings. So it turns out that no, I can no longer accept his actions, that pattern, so no, I won’t continue to try to work with him on it if I’m the only one doing the work.
Who knows what will happen from all of that. Probably nothing. A part of me hopes he’ll change and come back to me, and another part of me wonders if that’s what I’d really want in the long run. Because if he can’t change, I don’t want the relationship. It’s just so hard to let go sometimes.
So for a couple of days last week I lapsed into obsessively researching my ex’s digestive health problems that I’m convinced are related to his bipolar episodes because I’m studying nutrition and his GI doctor isn’t addressing the underlying root cause of the digestive issue. He needs to heal his gut so that he’s absorbing his medication and nutrients from his food. I’m undecided about the benefits versus the risks of taking prescribed medication for mental illness, but for now I believe he should stay on his meds. I’m not an expert or a healthcare practitioner and would never recommend someone stop taking their meds, especially not abruptly without the help of a practitioner. That’s how people die. One of my friends died that way a couple of years ago. She had seizures because she went off her antidepressants too quickly because the antidepressants are also anti-seizure meds though she was not epileptic to begin with. I later learned that she either overdosed or committed suicide; to this day I still don’t know. My guess is that she became so depressed that either using again or committing suicide seemed like a good option for her, and I am convinced she wouldn’t have done it had she not come off her meds so quickly. She was doing really well in recovery prior to that. It’s not that I think she shouldn’t have come off her meds at all—I really don’t have the answer to that. Maybe there are herbs or supplements people can take instead of antidepressants. It’s a hot debate in the recovery community as well as alternative medicine, and I have no opinion yet. Or rather, my opinion is to do whatever you can to help yourself as quickly as possible and then educate yourself—but always with the help of a trusted practitioner. My friend’s doctor should have advised her not to come off her meds so quickly—and maybe he did, I don’t know. Anyway. That was a big aside but I just wanted to get that out there. I want to write more on it later because it’s an important topic but that’s my view on that for now.
The other night my roommate and I watched “Sherlock,” each in our chairs like an old couple, and at the beginning of the show I asked too many questions and then asked if I was being annoying to which she said yes. It stung slightly but I was glad for her honesty because I’d rather have that than be the object of pent-up resentment that explodes one day. For her it was a big step because she’s like me, one who apologizes too much, afraid to speak her mind, and we both know these are behaviors about ourselves that have to change. That’s growth.
Recently I celebrated seven years of sobriety. I’ve been through a lot of life changes—marriage, divorce, death, two career changes (if you could call my brief foray into teaching college English as a part-time adjunct a career)—in the past seven years, and have not yet found a need or desire to drink over any of it. And that, my friends, is a miracle, the day of which seven and a half years ago I thought I’d never see.
Next month I’ll be 41 years old. Not much that has happened in my life was planned, and the few parts that were didn’t work out how I thought they would, but today everything has all fallen into place in such a beautiful way that I never dreamed possible. Finally I realize there’s no rush or hurry for anything. Finally I see that everything happens for a reason, and sometimes I don’t know the reason, but eventually life works out and I can be happy in spite of the down times and the unforeseen tragedies. Sure, I’d love to have a husband, a great career, and my own home, but having all of that won’t necessarily make me happy, any more than not having it makes me unhappy. Today I’m grateful for the life I live, my home, job, and my friends. It has taken a long time to get to this place.
Peace, love, and namaste,