The Other Side of Me

If you ever enter my mind
Stay there, you’ll live
To fend it off and fool them all
Stay there

– Chevelle

Wake Me Up

What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just be okay with my life? I have a beautiful life. Beautiful family. Fun hobbies. Interesting job. Exciting goals. So why do I feel unhappy? Why do I keep doing things that hurt the ones I love the most? These are questions I often ask myself.

Yesterday changed my life.

My alarm goes off. I cringe. I have not slept a full night in so long. As I debate on whether I will get up to wash my hair or just hit snooze to rest a few more minutes and resort to a messy up-do again, I realize it is pointless to attempt to fall asleep. I still do not get up. I tell myself that today is going to be a better day than yesterday. I’ve always been the type who believes in the power of positivity. My faith in that is diminishing these days though.
I roll over and look at my husband. My Wes. Oh, how I love him, but oh the anger I feel towards him. Why do I resent him so much? I truly believe this man is my soulmate. Why do I hurt him the way I do?
I slump out of bed. Damn dogs. I wanted these dogs more than anything. We went through a few family pets before we found the perfect fit for our family. A German Shepherd named Shelby and a black Labrador named Winnie. They have been the bane of my existence for years though. I cannot even walk a few steps from my bed to the bathroom without tripping over the lab and being trampled over by the shepherd. Beasts.
I quickly throw my scrubs on and attempt to do something decent with my hair. I have not worn makeup in over 5 months, so that is beneficial when I barely have time to breath. I am a dental assistant. A 33-year-old, part-time, dental assistant. After 10 years of working in the dental industry, from assisting to managing multi-practices, this is where life has placed me. Back at square one. I cry. Why? Why can I not just be grateful for the job I have? I love what I do. I am good at what I do. So why is it never enough? Why did I walk away from a position I considered to be so big? I say I have no regrets. Why can I not stop obsessing over it though? Ugh! No time for unpleasant thoughts. My family needs to wake up and get ready. They will be rushed now because I wasted so much time fretting over my job in the bathroom. Again. Bleh.
I make my hubby’s coffee and I begin the weekday task of waking the kids up for school. The TV seems to be acting up again. No volume came on when I turned on the news. It is going to be one of those days, again. As everyone begins getting ready, I slip into go-mode and life is a blur until we get ready to walk out the front door. My husband works from home most of the time and was dressed to go in to the office today. I did not realize he was working at the office today. He had already planned to work from home today so our daughter could stay after school for her tech team meeting. Why does he stress me out like this? Oh, he says he did not forget and is coming home after lunch today? Why can he not just stay at home altogether to reduce the risk messing up? Why does he insist on driving an hour into Birmingham just to turn around 3 hours later to come back home? I just cannot let this go.
What nonsense! At this point, my patience is gone, and my anger level is outrageously high. I get in my SUV, kids all buckled in and smiling, and I back up into our flooded front yard. Before I speed off, kicking up mounds of saturated turf, I make sure my husband is watching because I want him to see just how angry I am.

But why?

I made it to the stop sign at the end of my street. What did I just do? Have I lost my mind? What grown ass woman tears up her own front yard in a fit of rage that was triggered by almost nothing? I am losing it. I feel it. I have hit rock bottom. It is raining a good bit and the kids are being so good and quiet. I begin to imagine driving my car into the trees alongside the highway. WAIT! This is madness. I do not have thoughts like this. Look at my beautiful babies. Why would I ever think a thing like that?
I drop my kids off at school. If traffic is decent, I might actually make it to work on time. Work. Another trigger for me right now. Why can I not seem to shake the negative thoughts that keep taking over my mind?
Anyway, if I just hit that tree hard enough, it will all be over. No more worries, anxieties, insecurities, pain, suffering, fear….no more hurting my family. But wait, that would hurt my family the most. Maybe if I just ran away. Where is that damn reset button? Life has that…right?
I’m losing it.
I called my husband. “I cannot do this anymore”. “Come meet me”, he says. I am floored that he actually stopped at our morning meeting spot, even after I peeled out of our yard like a psycho. I needed him though and I was so relieved to hear that he was still hanging on. I do not remember the drive to that gas station. Life has become such a blur lately.
Wes tells me that he cannot help me, but he wants me to get help. I know it is time. I have cracked, again. I drive to Urgent Care to see if my doctor is there. He is because he is amazing like that. After 2 hours of taking my doctor on a roller coaster ride from hell with me, he makes a recommendation. He asks me if I would be willing to experiment with something. He wants to put me on an anti-psychotic.
I am not a stranger to mood enhancers. Unfortunately, I have gone through many phases in my life when others would push me to get help. During those times, I was always placed on the newest drug to help “bring more balance” to my life, whether I was higher than any mountain or in the lowest of the lows. I never gave any of those medications a true chance because I always felt I knew better. I always believed that pharmaceuticals were more of a racket than a blessing. Of course, the doctor wants to put me on a medication that will require frequent visits to his office to “check in”. Of course, it is necessary for me to see my doctor every month, because that is normal…. right? Not! To me, this story is as old as time. Another intelligent individual using their skills and position to trap others in a place where they become dependent on something. I have always believed I was stronger than that and that I could overcome any struggle if I really tried.
Again, my faith in what I use to believe has been fading away these days.

I surrendered.

I did not question my doctor too much about our little “experiment” and he probably did not have any more time to spend with me considering I came in unexpectedly and cried to him for 2 hours. Bless that man. I nod and throw in the towel. I am desperate for help and will try anything at this point. I pick up my prescriptions and drive home. I look at the medication cocktail he wants me to try and I am somewhat floored. One is a nerve pill, one that we have been trying for a couple of months and found that it actually helps me. The other is one I have not heard of before. I do a little research on it. It is mainly used to treat Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and Autism in adolescents. What? Why would my doctor put me on something like that? Why was he really asking me all those questions earlier? He asked me a few questions that did not appear to be relevant at the time. Or were they relevant?


When I think back to the many doctors, counselors, and nurses I have cried to throughout my life, I wonder…Were they all suggesting the same thing? I have been on this roller coaster of mania for as long as I can remember. I am aware that I am an exhausting woman. I have been told this by anyone who has ever loved me. I often wonder how anyone can truly love someone like me. I try so hard to keep the peace and to bring stability to my life, but I am the one who also destroys it all. Why do I bring so much destruction to my life and to others? I love my family so much, but why do I hurt them so?

What if I have been battling against something I am not capable of battling alone? What if life does not have to be this way? Is there really hope for me? What if I slip into the darkness again and never come back out? Will I ever be okay?
Questions I have asked myself before, but now I am asking them with a new perspective.
I am beyond ready to get better. I pray for recovery and stability. I pray for strength for those who love me and choose to suffer with me. Above all, I pray for forgiveness, every day, for the life I have recklessly lived.

“Yet, no matter how deeply I go down into myself, my God is dark, and like a webbing made of a hundred roots that drink in silence.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke

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