Not A Letter: Life.
by pronounced "ahhh" like a sigh
I’ve been thinking about this blog post for about 2 days now. I wasn’t sure how to approach it. I wasn’t sure how to start it. I wasn’t sure if I should write it at all. Considering all that I share on my blog, twitter and tumblr, you’d think that I had already done difficult. Granted, there are subjects that I just don’t touch, so those don’t count. But as far as what I do choose to share, I should be okay.
Yesterday, was a tough day. Not really emotionally though, I’m having a bit of Paxil withdrawal so my head is going through all these little flash bulb pops which I can not believe to tell you how much it sucks. I talk a lot about being an advocate for yourself when it comes to your medication, if you choose to go that route. I don’t think medication is for everyone, not at all, but I know it is for me. It’s the only thing that works for me. It’s the only thing that allows my brain to settle and do what brains are supposed to do (remember trivia, tell your organs to do things… but I’m sure you can Google it.). My brain is broken so I need medication to make sure that it works properly. Simple as that. I don’t harp on it I don’t dwell on it. I might mention it every now and again, casually, but I know it’s a personal decision so the last thing I want to do is to appear as though I’m some pharmacology lobbyist. Trust me. I am not. If I could survive and live a ‘normal’ life without it, I would. Like millions of people in America, I don’t have health insurance. I’ve managed to find a clinic in Columbia, MD that treats and prescribes my medication for free or $2 depending on something I can’t remember right now. But I do pay the medication out of pocket. It varies anywhere from $80 to $200 a month depending on whether or not the medication is available in generic form or not. That’s a whole different rant about the FDA and HCR that I can save for another time or HuffPo Blog. My doctor doesn’t really know me. We talk about five minutes, I tell him what I need, he asks a few questions, he writes a prescription. That is NOT how it’s supposed to go. My doctors in NY and I were partners. We talked daily. Every side effect and sleeplessnight, no matter what time of day, I could call Dr. Goodman and he would take care of it the next day. That’s when I was a full time working/touring poet and I made more money than made sense doing it so I could afford it. It drained my savings. Every ounce of money I made while breaking myself touring, went to doctors and medication and the first time I was hospitalized, forget about it. The money was gone. I say all this to make a greater point which I’m procrastinating now so I should just get to it.
For the past 6 years, I’ve been dealing with my bipolar II diagnosis. For the past 6 years, I’ve been open about my struggles and triumphs. I first “came out” with my mental illness on my old blog/website (STOLEN FROM ME LAST YEAR!) and then carried it over here and then twitter. Most of you know, that I’m also writing a book about my journey and life living with mental illness. I write about it, I talk about it. I share everything I possibly can in hopes, that people can avoid what I went through. Which was feeling completely and utterly alone while I suffered and struggled both pre and post diagnosis. I’ve been so touched and so humbled by not only the outpouring of support but also the fact that so many of you have felt close enough to me to share with me your stories and to ask for help and just someone to talk to. And I’ve been happy to do that. I’ve given out my number to a few people because I sensed they were in crisis and I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t respond appropriately. I do not, under any circumstances, regret that for a moment. Even when people on Twitter were “subtweeting” negative things about me and the fact that I was “always talking about that shit.” Fuck them. I wasn’t doing it for them. I was doing it for me and the people I know needed to hear it. I wouldn’t change a thing. I still won’t.
I have to admit that lately, it’s gotten a bit too much. I’m not some “cancer survivor” who can tell you what it feels like and prepare you for the aftermath. I’m still going through it. Next week, it would have been a year since I made the decision to check myself into a psych ward. I was depressed. I was spiraling. I was of no use to myself or anyone around me. I had to get better so I went and with the most focus and dedication I’ve ever brought to anything, I told the doctors, “This is what I need. This is how much I need it. And I have to be out of here in 5 days to a week.” I was able to do that because I’d been there already. I knew what was wrong. I knew that I needed medication to stabilize. I wasn’t there to be explored or to find out what was wrong or to seek help other than to get the treatment I needed to begin to live the life I currently live. It’s been up and down. Medication is very hard on my body. I found a combo of paxil and wellbutrin that worked wonders for my depression but couldn’t figure out a mood stabilizer for the hypomania that both my doctor andI agreed on. Yes, we had to agree. He’d prescribe something, I’d go home and research it and ask people that I knew who had taken it and I would decide whether or not I would take it. I’ve been through all of them and I know my body and myself so I have to be careful what I take. I’m not a guinea pig. The one stabilizer I know works for me requires monthly blood tests that I sure as hell can not afford. So I’m still looking. He took me off Paxil last month in order to even me out. I’m not depressed, not even close so it was a safe thing to do to avoid hypomania, it’s something we talked about.
All that being said.
Between the book, the articles, the radio show, the radio appearances, the blogs, the raising Boogie, the life, I’m tired. A lot. I’m drained. Yesterday, I realized that I just don’t have a whole lot of extra me to give. I’m fighting to get my life back and it’s almost there. The next few months are going to be amazing and life changing but I need all of me to participate and still have something to give to my son. This really pains me to say and I’ve spent a thousand characters avoiding it but I have to as much as I love each and every one of you and the stories that you’ve shared and the way you trust me enough to let me know what’s going on with you, I just can’t do it. I’m an empath. I take on your stuff and I add it so I’m up at night worried that someone I never met in Idaho might not be okay tonight. And I worry that someone I never met in London might end their lives because I couldn’t get to them or respond to their email fast enough. I’m not saying that I dont’ appreciate and want to help. I will help. I’ll do what I can. I will send you info about where you can go in your area but I can’t be your life line. I can’t get emails and emails from one person telling me every awful thing that happened to them that week because I can’t walk away from that. It sticks with me and I have no clue what to do.
I feel awful because I know that I’ve encouraged you to talk about it and I still want to encourage you to find help and seek help. I will still talk about my journey and still be open about my ups and downs. I just can’t be responsible for yours because if you don’t get help, if I can’t respond to your DM or email or Youtube Message fast enough, then I don’t know what to do with that. And it’s draining. Yesterday, my mind was spinning because I haven’t been sleeping well, I don’t eat and I have so much work to do. By the time my son comes home, I’m struggling to stay awake while he tells me about how dinosaur bones are found. The emotional affects me physically. Even if it’s not my “emotional.”. I sincerely apologize if I’ve let you down in any way but I have to step back a bit for me. That means tweeting less. It means being careful about who I let in and out of my personal space. I have a lot to do. I’m enriched (hate saying blessed) to know that the next few months, I’m going to be able to build and help more because I’ll have access to resources and institutions and I’ll have the words. Right now, it’s just me. And I can’t be the support system for 100 people at the same time. I just can’t. This book is going to be one massive trigger and I need to make sure I’m okay while writing it.
I’m really sorry. If you’ve written me please don’t feel bad. If we’ve spoken, I absolutely do want to know that you’re doing well but if I don’t respond fast enough, I can’t take the guilt emails. I can’t take the “I thought you said you’d be there.” I said, “I’d try.” and I am trying and I gave you all I could. I need to have something left to do the work I need to do and to live the life I need to live. That’s all I can do.
I know I always say, “Never apologize for how you choose to take care of yourself.” and I still mean it but I feel like I’m letting a lot of you down and I”m very sorry for that. I just need to pause and step back and focus on the fact that I’m still in treatment and I”m still healing and I’m no where near the place necessary to carry anyone.
I’m sorry. I hope we can still support each other through these mediums. I”m still blogging. I’m still writing. I’m still on twitter. I tumbl for ya. I just have to keep it here. I need the other spaces to be less heavy.
Thank you for all of your love and support. And I apologize if this isn’t something you can support but it is what it has to be.
Love someone and mean it. If you can’t start with yourself…