Thursday, April 15, 2010

Loss and Loneliness

These past few months I have really been feeling an increasingly intense sense of loss; frustration, irritability, anger, sadness, loneliness, aloneness, abandonment, fear, terror, hopelessness...

The most important thing to me, my entire life, has been my family. I would do anything for anyone in my family. I feel my connection to family has slipped away, and almost disappeared, since my Mom died. The disconnection began before she died. As my mental health deteriorated, and hope of wellness began disappearing, my family started distancing themselves from me. In the past year my sisters have really pulled away, and my Dad has taken on a detached attitude...not replying to my e-mails, or making sure our calls are short.

I understand why. I get that it is overwhelming to be around me when I do not feel all up and bubbly. I just really miss my family connection. I miss being a part of the family like I used to be.

I miss me. So far I have lost my young and middle adult years to this illness. Looking forward all I see is being old and even crazier. The future seems unbearable.

Believe it or not, before I became ill I was a person people wanted to be around. I was a bit wild, full of life, ready for love, open to new things, was passionate, compassionate, (I think and hope) kind and caring. I was active, always had tons of energy, was inquisitive, questioning...though often a bit naive and gullible...mostly because I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings by questioning their motives.

I loved all kinds of music, loved to dance, go to concerts, loved school and lectures, was passionate about learning, read everything I saw, swam like a fish, sang like a manatee, rode my bike everywhere, campsites were my favourite resorts. I really loved to canoe, hike, and rollerblade. I felt one with nature, one with the world, the universe, my friends, my family. Basically I absolutely, positively and actively LOVED LIFE and all it had to offer.

Now, today, this year and last, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that...etc., etc. , I feel disconnected, disaffected, disillusioned, dismissed...pretty much destroyed.

All day I felt like painting a big banner that says, "I HAD POTENTIAL..." and unravel it as I hang myself from the bridge. I feel like because I am mentally ill and not "recovering" like everyone else seems to, like all the literature and studies say I should, like my family expects me to, I am blamed, or dismissed, or left to fend for myself. It is as if no one knows, cares or understands I need love, care, help. I feel really really really hopeless and alone.


Valerie said...


Friend of the Bear said...

Hi Aqua. I have been alone in the world too since my mum died.

It's clear you need other people very badly. I refer you to the comment I made on your last post.

Your pain may be too much for your family to deal with. Sometimes it is better to immerse yourself in a group of people who are not so emotionally connected to you - and who are therefore able to give you much more of themselves. And the caring, understanding and help that you need.

Who says everyone else recovers? Recovery is a buzz word these days in the mental health world. But very few people ever do "recover". Mainly it is about finding ways of lessening symptoms, of making lows less low, or highs less high, trying to reduce anxiety, learning to react to symptoms in a helpful way etc. But actual recovery is very rare.

Keeping one's mind in a reasonable state does involve constant work for some people. For some people it is their life's work - it can be regarded as their mission in life to keep their brain on an even keel.

Reconnecting with nature and with people needs to be your mission now.

In the past couple of days I have had two experiences where I got totally in flow and felt "at one" with nature and with the moment.

The first was when I took some photos (seen in my last post) of spring blossom. I was 100% absorbed in it and it was great. I can't remember the last time that happened.

Then yesterday I had agreed to go to a pottery studio with the lady from the mental health team who helps me get out and about. I didn't want to go at all. I only agreed because I felt I had to be a good patient and show some "progress". (Makes me feel like a nodding dog - whatever they suggest you just do it to keep them happy!)

How amazing that within a few minutes of being there I had just leaped right in and was making a Bhuddist inspired (no less!) candle holder. I had not even been able to think of anything to make prior to turning up. I was instantly immersed in the process. I am actually looking forward to going there next week - and I seriously haven't looked forward to doing anything for a very long time.

Yes, these are not indicators of recovery. They are just pockets of time when I was able to escape my illness for a while. But they are highly meaningful to me. To have time when I am able to step out of my illness is vital. I'm going to seek out more such experiences.

I know I will never recover. I have never met anyone who did recover. I have met people who are able to live a reasonable life with their mental illness in check though.

Sorry for this long and rambling comment!

Bearfriend xx

Valerie said...

bearfriend makes a good point by saying its more about managing the illness than recovering from it...

i relate it to losing a loved one or something like never truly heal from it, but you learn to live with it...

hope you're doing better today...

tracy said...

Oh. Wow. i could have written this. i, too, lost my young adulthood and middle adulthood to mental illness. My Craziness started at 18 and i have never been the "fun" person i once was since. i am now 48 and wonder what the future holds. i am married and what my husband has been through with me i would not wish on anyone. His anger about life always simmers just below the surface. We have an 18 y/o with Aspergers and i fear the damage my illness has done to him. i have no friends and my family pulls away at any mention of my crazies, except to shame me for what i have done to my son and husband, as if i don't feel enough shame about the emotional pain i have caused everyone already.
i am so sorry to have rambled. Thank you for letting me talk. i wish all the best for you.

Anonymous said...

Aqua, I found your blog a couple of months ago and sat and read all of your entries. My heart goes out to you.

Almost everything you wrote in this post is what I'm feeling right now. I can't get through a day without multiple episodes of uncontrollable sobbing. I feel like I've been deserted by everyone but my two cats.

I've been on disability for so many years and I feel worse today than I did years ago. My psychiatrist just left on vacation and I'm starting to wean myself off of my Cymbalta. It's not helping and all it's doing is keeping me from losing weight.

I have memories of this person I used to be but they're like watching a movie. They don't even seem real to me any longer. Thousands of dollars gone to my psychiatrist and I don't think it's made any difference.

I think I go so that I have someone other than store clerks to talk to..."how are you" "nice day today". I'm so tired of waking up each morning. I'm also sure that if I tried to end it, I'd end up screwing it up.

I do my very best to hide the way I really feel from anyone I come into contact with....I'm ashamed of who and what I've become.

I hope you find a way to beat this dark monster. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul. I realize you don't know me but, I care about you and what happens to you.