A dear friend asked me earlier on this year if I could write about Vernon & myself. Kinda how did we get together…
I have thought long and hard about this one, as our friendship has surely endured tough times and since I promised to never again minimize my own discomforts or anxieties, I mean tough times. More so than most people.
It has been over a year ago that we ran off together from a crazy alcohol and violence soaked lodging house and found ourselves on the street. My arm broken. My health in a poor way. We have stuck together through it all. Joined at the hip. Siamese if you please.
Our lives have followed such similar paths. We have endured the same bumps in life’s road. We have made the same mistakes. Share identical neuroses. A double bipolarity.
I left the library in tears the other day. I had been looking at my huge catalogue of photography that really took off when I moved to San Francisco and filed for a divorce from my ex husband.
The photos of me don’t lie. I am now a mere shadow of the confident vibrant chick roaming the planet happily armed with a camera at all times. I’m amazed at myself. I was everywhere! There wasn’t one graffed wall that I missed.
I had so much energy. I ran up the Pacific Heights hill from the Marina TWICE a day! I wanted to be the best and greatest artist and photographer in the world.
I couldn’t sleep. I needed to self medicate to even get a nap. I started to burn out, screw up at work. Argue with people.
I have since realized with the help of a couple of caring and dedicated professionals (and the wonderful Paul E Jones author and fellow bipolar of ’the up & down life’) that this was indeed a manic phase that lasted a year or more.
It’s so hard to remember when the tide turned.
But I hit a depression.
Not just a ‘I feel blue day’ but a whole body lethargy, an unbelievable feeling of complete & utter worthlessness and hopelessness.
Every day I thought of suicide. And I thought this was normal! Doesn’t everyone feel this way going through a divorce?
When life gets a wee bit hard ?
When things don’t work out right? I didn’t know what was wrong! And I’m a medical professional! A nurse for God’s sake! I had truly worn myself out trying to figure myself out.
Thats the problem.
Always overly analyzing my thoughts, actions and reactions. Its something I simply can’t turn off.
Except with drugs.
The divorce was an incredibly painful drawn out experience, as I was looking at paying him alimony for 10 years.
10 years! It seemed like a prison sentence!
I fired my lawyer, emptied my accounts, defaulted on bills and spent like crazy. I indulged myself in a million things that I hadn’t had during my marriage to an emotionally abusive control freak.
I tanked. So bad I wound up addicted to heroin and coke for 2 years. It could have been longer, I really can’t remember. But the physical scars are there to remind me…day in, day out.
The emotional scars a constant regretful companion along for the ride. For the rest of my life. I was fired from my job. Alienated myself from my family and friends.
I have been around and around the mental health care revolving doors. detox. counselling. crisis stabilization units…
I wound up quitting by myself and I have done well. It would be a lie if I said I had been totally clean for the past 18 months, but there is no way in hell, heaven or earth that I could go back to that kind of misery.
Barely existing from one fix to the next. Sticking myself for a vein 20, 30, 50 times. Eternally circling the drain…
I have called myself many things over the years. Stupid. Idiot. Addict. Junkie. Fool…
But, you know what? I’m alive!
I now call myself a survivor.
And with Vernon,
We are soul survivors…