Crazy Looks Like Me, Crazy Looks Like You

It’s raining sheets, like unfolded plastic wrap falling from the sky. The clouds overhead are not dismally gray or black, nor are they white and cheerful, they are just the background for the rain, a neutral color of uncertainty.
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My younger sister, Shelly, sat at the kitchen table in the dining room, alone, her head down, her eyes unfocused. She had a tiny silver spoon in her hand and she was stirring her coffee, over and over again. I don’t think she even realized she was still doing it. I said “Good Morning” to her but she never answered.” She wouldn’t speak to any of us.

 

Shelly was wearing her same  blue striped pajama bottoms, the dingy white tee-shirt and a pair of thick, pink socks. She hadn’t brushed her hair, it seemed, for weeks. She wanted to just stay in bed and be alone, the only thing she would say was “I’m not crazy, do you think I’m crazy, because I’m not.” I bit my lip.

I wasn’t trying to be mean, honestly, but I had begged her to see a therapist and our parents forced to talk to someone and she went with them once, kicking and screaming the entire time. She never even went inside.

 

 

I didn’t know what to do, but I did know that this was not helping her. Staying in bed all day, getting up only for coffee or her one meal, a bologna and cheese sandwich on white bread with mayonnaise  that our mom would leave her in the fridge. Shelly told all of us “it was none of our business” but of course it was our business, we loved her and hated seeing her fall apart, a little more each day.

I didn’t know how long I could take looking at the shell that was my little sister, curled up in bed with the light off and no life coming from that room. She slept all the time. Once, I started playing music in my room, music I loved and thought she loved too. I thought she might enjoy it but she screamed and moaned for me to turn it off in such a violent, out of control way, that my parents immediately came and scolded me, they turned my music off. It was upsetting Shelly.

She needed help, she desperately needed help, she was getting worse and my parents and I couldn’t handle her anymore. Now, she was not sleeping at all and roaming our apartment at all hours demanding attention. I had a full-time job as a Customer Service Representative and I was already in trouble for missing too many “sick” days. Our parents were older and not in good physical shape and our little brother, Josh, was just eight, a mere baby himself and, of course, troubled and confused.

For a week we whispered among ourselves to arrange for an intervention, we knew something had to be done.  Time moved quickly, it was 4 pm on Tuesday and the day had come. I sat in the corner, biting my nails. I wanted my sister to get better but I did not want to be part of the intervention. My parents made me so II also felt like an accomplice and hated that feeling. I hated being in the middle of everyone.

We were all assembled in the living room, Shelly was in her room, sleeping. The people from Edgehill Hospital were waiting right out side the door. They decided that our dad should approach Shelly gently by first calling her name and asking her to come out of her room. She refused.”I’m tired” she murmured.”Maybe later.” After several more attempts and being exasperated, our dad asked her to come out again but I could hear the strain in his voice… Finally, in a fit of rage, he broke the door down, and started yelling at her. He screamed for a couple of minutes, his patience worn and suddenly stopped to find Shelly on the bed, still, not breathing, and cold. He called 911 immediately but we knew she was gone.

She died from an overdose of pills that she had accumulated for many years. We found two empty bottles of alcohol on the floor next to her bed. The note that she scribbled with a purple pen said this: ” I hate my life, it’s all black an” that was the end. She couldn’t even finish the sentence about her young life.

No one could speak after the initial gasp of horror, we each sat in our own corner, after the ambulance came and pronounced her dead. No one  spoke to each another, harboring our own guilt, our own excuse, our own irresponsible part we had in Shelly’s life.

All of us thought we killed her. I know I did, for sure.

 

 

 

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Standing at the crossroads (Carry on Tuesday)

Egretta sacra

Egretta sacra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The counselors in group say that everyone has a choice. They tell us that every single day. I think they are wrong. The therapists are like old, cranky parrots on repeat play telling us things about how drugs are bad and they can help people with depression or any mental health disorder but I don’t listen that much, I pretend to listen. We sit on a multicolored carpet which is dirty with potato chip crumbs and cigarette butts and empty Diet Coke cans in the corners next to the gray, rubber trash cans.

I sit inside my room, after lunch for “reading and rest” looking at the pale green walls. I come out only for food, meds, eat, group, private therapy or to play solitaire 50. There is one night nurse that I know and she comes on shift at ten pm. She lets me play cards by myself every night for 25 (half of 50) minutes.  Fifty is MY number. The number on my room says it is #3 but it is really #50.  My cards  always add up to fifty.  Nurse Kelly lets me play solitaire because I earned that privilege for my positive behavior. I know.

When I first got here a long time ago, another “inmate” told me I was in the silent mattress room for two days. I had to go in because they said I punched an aide but I didn’t. I’m sure. They must have made that up. I do not remember a lot of things now. I used to have anger “issues” but now when I feel angry I sit in my room, alone. Sometimes I crouch in a corner, words  popping up into my head like popcorn or toast from the toaster. I say stuff out loud, QUIETLY,  like “animals” or “sailboats” or “nuclear weapons suck, but I don’t scream it out loud. I want to but I don’t. I force myself not to. Plus, the medications make my mouth dry and fuzzy so it’s hard to talk. It’s part of my plan. I smile a lot that’s why Nurse Kelly likes me best. I have learned not to tell these things to any of the nurses or doctors or even my friend, Melissa. That’s how smart I have become here. I don’t tell them about the zombies and the power inside me either. That’s my secret.

I am standing at the crosswords of my life, do I let the zombies win or do I win?  I want power.  I hate it when they have the power, sometimes they try to scare me but I know I have the power and it is getting stronger.The voices in my head are getting louder, I put my hands over my ears. I  fold myself into the blanket and rock. The enemy laughs at me, they think they have won, they don’t know anything.  I spit up yellow bile, it lands on the floor. I feel angry but I tell myself ‘NOT YET, NOT YET. Tonight, after dinner and after I play solitaire 50. I have to be extra careful tonight.  For the past three weeks I have asked Nurse Kelly if she could come with me to the bathroom while smiling at her. She used to come with me but after one week she stopped (which I knew that she would) and she says “she trusts me.”

It’s time, the exact time I always have to go to the bathroom and I ask Nurse Kelly if she will come with me to the bathroom. She just smiles and waves her hand and smiles. I have to be extra fast tonight because I am carrying my secret wrapped up in three tissues. I wanted to have fifty tissues but I didn’t need to because 3=50. I whisper to the zombies under my breath.”Not for long motherfuckers.” I want to run to the bathroom but I don’t, I walk normally. I lock the stall. I take the special sharp secret from my pocket that I quickly peel away from the 3/50 tissues. It is shiny, silver, metallic, hard.  I put the secret present to my wrist and I quickly stab it in, over and over again. ” I WIN” I say out loud. I cut up and down my wrists and across them.  I see the blood coming out and I keep slashing until I can’t any more and then I don’t remember anything. Maybe we do all have choices, this was mine. Looking back, maybe I screwed up. I kinda feel bad for my parents. Nurse Kelly found me in the bathroom stall, dead at 10:50 pm.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Suicide Prevention Crisis

www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255): Suicide hotline, 24/7 free and confidential, nationwide network of crisis centers.

I Can’t Wrap My Brain Around This…Batman, Dark Night (Knight)

Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O’Donnell (Photo credit: Project M·A·R·C)

If I could pick one person, celebrity or friend, stranger or neighbor that I would want to spend time with today, I would pick Rosie O’Donnell. I wouldn’t pick her because she is famous and rich,  I would pick her because I think she is going through what I am going through now: shock and disbelief and utter, overwhelming sadness. I would pick her because she cares, because she is a mom and a woman and she had the nerve, or guts, to stand up to the NRA, perhaps not with diplomacy (agreed) but really…..look at us here again. Can you blame her?

The Colorado Mass Shootings at a Batman movie, midnight show.

I am a citizen of the United States and I am depressed and disgusted and I’ve had enough and so have many others. Gun manufacturers ruling our countries? It’s time NOW, politicians, all politicians to take a STAND and mean it. Why is that so terribly difficult?

I think of the families of these poor victims, waiting at home, waiting for news and it makes me want to cry. There is a great piece in Huffington News that is very well written that I suggest you read as well. This cannot go on, it should have been outlawed many years ago, think Columbine. I’ll be sitting home tonight, safely wrapped in a blanket, praying my children will be close by, giving each one an extra hug. To the families of the victims, I am so terribly sorry. No, I can’t relate because thus far I have not gone through your immense pain.

Will there ever be any sense made of this crime? I doubt it. Just grief, long, interminable waves of grief. I wish I could help. I know I can’t. I’m sorry.

Aren’t We All Damaged In Some Way?

it gets better

I’m fuming and furious about a recent post that mentioned me and another friend. For those of you who have read my post ” I Am A Tree” you know I’ve been working hard to keep my roots in tack, to play with the wind instead of fighting it, to learn to swim with the tide instead of against it. It’s not an easy job for anyone. Lately, however, I feel bad vibes spinning around in circles over my head. I will not let them land, I am fighting them, I refuse to drown myself for other people’s mentally ill and emotionally deprived lives. I have asked this person to get help many times. I’ve received suicide notes that bring me to tears, I have contacted professionals on how to handle the situation. I can only do the best I can do in any given moment; that’s true for all of us. However, I will not be talked about by other members when I am right here, present, front and center.

I don’t need to name names like other people did. I will not stoop so low. I also will not make idle threats, again and again, about leaving Facebook or blogs, or certain groups, and then reappearing after a day or two. I have tried to help people many, many times but I am not a doctor, a psychiatrist or a judge. I am a friend who wants to be nice to others, and I don’t want to be taken advantage of nor do I want any nice thing I may have done turned into a passive-aggressive diatribe.

Let’s face it, it’s a bad time of year for EVERYONE. I can tell you my dad died New Year’s Eve or whine about my childhood and not being understood but I am a 55-year-old woman who is now responsible for her own actions. I love my family, I love my friends, but I am not responsible for their actions.

I don’t like others speaking about me, as if I were not alive or present. Do I have problems? Yes, WHO DOESN’T?  We’ve had a horrid year but you don’t see me wallowing in it. ALL OF US HAVE PROBLEMS, IT’S CALLED BEING A GROWN UP. Life moves on, and I with it. If someone needs help, desperately needs help than they should do what they can to get it. If it means being an in patient, so be it, you would be safe there and not be able to hurt others or yourself. You need to take a role in your recovery especially when you have made your feelings clear about how you feel about your demise.

I am not a mean person, I try to be kind, I try to be a good person. I have many flaws but I am losing patience and respect. Whoever needs help, please find it, there is always a way if you try hard enough and having a spouse that you are HONEST with makes it even easier. Take a break from being on-line and concentrate on GETTING better. Everyone would welcome you back. Enough is enough. It takes a lot to make me fume, but I am at that point now. Thank you to another new friend who warned me about the posting, I sincerely appreciate it. (or am I not allowed to even say this?)

Get help, intense, emotional help. You are a talented person, you just have lost your way. You will get better, I am sure, and we all care. Don’t lose sight of the GOOD you do have in your life. Friendships last through many ups and downs, they are not that fragile, please get the help you need. I will be here with cheesecake and toast with butter and honey and cheddar cheese.

*This was written a couple of days ago, after the first blog. I decided not to post it. Now after the addendum, you wanted comments. Here they are. I care a lot but you have crossed the line. Please get HELP.