This is the third in a series of episodes, detailing my dawning realization, that I have some mental issues, that I must address, or risk losing those around me, who mean so much to me. I do not know how many installments this will entail, because I do not have an outline, for this particular avenue, that my Life has chosen to pursue. Because I have always found writing to be therapeutic, I am going to share my journey with anyone, who cares to read along. Believe me, I am not having that much fun.
No Pain--No Gain
What got me into trouble initially, was incorrectly interpreting Annie’s attempt to contend with this “enemy” that was me, as a withdrawal of affection. As my emotions continued to trampoline around our living space, she took the steps, with which her counselor was supplying her, to meet this “enemy” head on. Her goal was that I be made to see, what those around me had been observing, for quite some time, that I was amping, totally withdrawn from those around me, and falling further and further behind.
I had this obsession, that there was a lack of interest in my writing, after a beginning, in which there was great support for me. At one point in time, Annie and I managed to develop a very efficient means of communication, which worked well for us, and that was for one of us to start talking, while the other one listened. The first person got to say everything that was on his/her mind, while the other took mental notes. Then the roles were reversed. It was during one of these sessions that I shared that I felt that Annie had completely pulled the cord, as far as being supportive. I claimed that she had just flipped a light switch one day, and that was it in the support department.
Annie agreed with me (much to my surprise) but said that it was purely out of self-defense, because I never stopped-never let up. I was simply amping to the point where those around me needed a break. What I perceived as a withholding of support or affection, was merely self-defense, and everybody has a right to look after number one.
What happened was I was so centered on my work, and on my “cause” as Annie referred to it, that I stopped caring what Annie thought about my writing, and started to simply do my thing, in isolation, as it were. I no longer read my pieces of writing to her, and I no longer worried that I was becoming more and more withdrawn into my world of words. I should have known the second I stopped caring about what Annie thought, that I was on the wrong track. Those of you who know her, know that one cares what Annie thinks. Whether you are a middle schooler with needs, (which applies to all 12-14 year-olds) or a colleague/friend, you care what Annie thinks. She commands that kind of respect.
Therefore, having reached this conclusion, and knowing that I had fallen into this category, I had to admit, that I was battling something, over which I have exhibited little control. That’s where the pro from Dover comes in. In this case, it’s Dr. Bigelman. I began my second installment of this series, by stating that I have always been open to counseling. I communicate well, and have faith in a system that is predicated on a two-way street. The therapist orchestrates the recovery process, and the patient follows the roadmap, does the reading, and cops to his/her role in the big picture.
I understand the concept of no pain/no gain. If there is no internal angst, then there can be little external gain. I had to go through the process of probing and prodding my childhood, to comprehend the origins of panic attack syndrome. I determined this origin to be physical, and not interpersonal. Now I needed to be able to evaluate how this panic attack syndrome related to my current issues.
Annie told me that 70% of people who suffer from bipolar disorder, also have some form of panic attack syndrome, or anxiety issues, so that fit into the pattern. Now, we are in the midst of regrouping, Annie having spent the past five months trying to maneuver the two of us into this specific spot. Though this past eight days are amongst the hardest I have ever spent, Ann needed to be able to break away, to finally make the point that my actions dictated that she bail.
Was I angry? Yes, no doubt. I felt that we were so close to our goal of having the two of us walk into a counselor’s office in Eureka, within ten days of it. I just could not let go of the idea that I had been abandoned. I now recognize that leaving for one’s own sake, must take precedence over staying for another’s sake. Annie could no more stay with me, while watching me deteriorate, than she could leave without antagonizing me. It’s just the way the whole drama played out.
How did I channel that anger? Once I found that my texts and my phone calls were not going to net a response, I channeled my frustration by cleaning house. Probably, in an earlier era, I would have gone out and split a mountain of wood by hand, or carried a tree out of a creek bed, because those are the kinds of activities which allow one to work off these kinds of frustrating developments.
When I got finished cleaning the entire house, I started on it a second time. By the time I was on the third go-round, I was up to window sills, and removing and cleaning dust-covered knick-knacks and antiques, refining my best Mendo-Maids imitation, as I set about to change the appearance of the order of household goods, so as to present the new me. But the “new” me, without the “old” Annie, is a shell of a man, because what is anything worth, if you lose the force behind you in the first place? Not much. Luckily, I saw that logic in time.