Coming To Terms With The Truth Of Who I Am…

MaitriAcceptance8.21.14

I have written, for years, about living with Bi Polar disorder, PTSD, a severe anxiety disorder, and agoraphobia, but until an emergency trip to the doctor yesterday when my meds were changed, dosages raised, another medication added, somehow, and I don’t quite know how to put this into words, and it seems just ridiculous to say it, I didn’t know how bad it all was, but I cannot pretend anymore. I am a woman with mental illness, and life isn’t what I wanted or expected it to be. Today I started the process of applying for disability.

This is terrifying. I was married for 30 years but I am not yet 62 so I can’t apply for the social security benefits based on my husband’s work history. Too, since I was not only a full-time, stay-at-home mom but couldn’t have sustained a job outside the home anyway — I tried a few times but 3 months was the longest I lasted and I would end up crouching in the bathroom crying and throwing up off and on all day, I can’t seem to exist in the world as other people do no matter how hard I try — I have no work history to base the disability on in terms of how much I could get to live on per month. What this means, as best as I have been able to understand with numerous phone calls, I might get SSI if I’m lucky and that may well not be enough for me to live on if I’m lucky enough to get it anyway, and if I do other things to make money if I make much I lose the disability. And I am just one of thousands or more — many more — that deal with this every day. But that’s not why I am writing this. I have my official appointment on Monday morning at 9:05 a.m. and so as not to just go completely to pieces before then I have prayed and released it. It is in the hands of God and my angels and I hope for the best but put one foot in front of the other and go on with life in the meantime. No, what I need to write tonight is the shock of realizing that this is my life.

Yes, I have known since I was 18 and had my first breakdown after being sexually abused from 4 to 18 that I had serious problems and would likely always be affected, but I really thought that with enough therapy and working hard I could get through this. After 4 decades of therapy there is nothing left to say, just symptoms to deal with. I have been on medication and off and back on and for me on is definitely better. After 3 1/2 decades in therapy I was finally diagnosed as bi polar and when my meds finally got adjusted properly for this diagnosis things started to change, most important I stopped wanting to kill myself, or rather, I knew that that was not an option that I considered any more. Still, I had 3 other diagnoses to go along with bi polar disorder. In the Nature vs. Nurture argument I hit the jackpot. I got both.

When I searched for and found my biological mother at 26 she threatened to kill me. This is no joke. This is a long story and I won’t go into it all but she had been alcoholic and suicidal most of her life and though I didn’t understand it then I now know, based on other evidence at the time and years in therapy that she was almost certainly bi polar. Bi polar is genetic. It can be like a ticking time bomb but never go off, or something that lies dormant, but long term sexual abuse tipped the scales so that my biological make up clashed with my real life long term trauma and left me more than a bit of a mess, but still I just thought that if I had enough therapy, took the right meds (Or did alternative therapies which I also did, for years, but they just couldn’t get me right…) and back to medication with serious and firm self-care practices in place I could, well, not “beat this thing” but I could manage it. And I have tried, so hard, and I will continue to try, but it’s not enough.

There, I said it, and I can hardly breathe having just uttered the words, because…

We live in a society now where if you utter one negative thing “The Law of Attraction” is going to send you spiralling down into a hell of your own making because you weren’t positive enough. I watched “The Secret,” read the book, and every other kind of book on reading lists regarding the LOA, and abundance, and go on down the list because I have done them all. And I believed, and I wanted to believe, and I tried so hard, and I wasn’t doing vision boards to draw to me fancy cars and mansions and all those kind of things, though God bless anyone who wants and achieves them, I wanted to be okay, I wanted to be able to take care of myself, I wanted never to be a burden to anyone, I wanted no one to be ashamed of me, I wanted to live a life of helping others, I.wanted.to.do.so.much. So how have I made it this far?

This is the part that makes me embarrassed. I know that I have had help that other people don’t but I only have my own experiences, my own life, and they are mine, and I am not going to apologize for anything that I have had that blessed me any more than I feel better or worse than anyone who is in my position now. I was married for a long time. When the marriage ended I had alimony for awhile. When my mother passed I got some money to live on for awhile. Now I am here. That is the short version. This is a blog post, not a book, but the thing is, now I am here, and I am scared to death.

I am 60 years old. I don’t have a problem with age, I never have, but I am having a very hard time with being this age, and, with a basket full of mental health issues, I cannot do anything substantial to make money. Let me draw you a picture…

I am intelligent and talented but as a person with bi polar disorder organizing my life and managing my money is not something I have done well. When I say the latter I don’t mean I have led a fancy life, traveled, had expensive cars, or things of that ilk, no, I had what I now realize was a confused — I’m being kind — disillusional sense of who I was and what I was capable of. I started many small home businesses but I could not sustain them. I tried, so hard, and desperately wanted to believe in myself so as soon as I had an idea I bought every single thing one needed to start the business, I got going gangbusters in what I now realize was a manic phase, but I could not sustain it. In the last couple of years I spent a good chunk of the money I had left on mentoring, business classes, and things of that ilk because I so desperately wanted to succeed, to take care of myself, to prove to myself that I could do it. In the last couple of days I have realized that it is not possible for me to hold myself up to the standards others have. No, I am me, for better or worse, and I have to deal with who I am and where I am now. At 60 I am seeing myself for the first time.

I feel what I am about to say is shocking given all of the above evidence to the contrary, but life doesn’t always make sense and it surely hasn’t in mine, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I truly saw myself as a broken thing. Leaning back in my chair as my new prescriptions were called in I felt numb. I was given a new medication, the 5th, for an MDD episode, Major Depressive Disorder, which is not really a disorder according to the descriptions I have read, but an outgrowth of my Bi Polar Disorder, type 2, the depressive side of things. It is serious, it can lead to suicide, but I am not about to go there, I know that for certain. It does, however, feel crippling in light of my present circumstances. For me having to apply for disability feels like the message from the Universe is, “You’re screwed up, you are not going to achieve your dreams, go to the back of the line…”

I’m sorry, this is what I am facing. I am so afraid not to have enough money to get by that I am spinning, and my bi polar brain is hugging itself and rocking in the corner. I am so afraid I am teary writing this. And why write this anyway?

I am writing this, as I have every other hard thing I have written about for over a decade, because there are other people who, for their own reasons and life circumstances are in the same place that I am, feeling alone and afraid and like jumping off a bridge might be their only choice, but I know this, and if you are here with me know this, that that is not our only choice. I don’t know what the answer is but I will share my journey with you as I’m going through all of this, and if you can close your eyes and reach out your hand and I will take it in mine. We may be on opposite sides of the globe but we are not alone. I haven’t a clue how I am going to handle any of this, I can’t see around the corner to the place where I have at least a few things figured out and don’t feel quite so sick to the stomach, but I believe I will get to that place. Oh my God I am so scared, but the one thing that I do have is faith in God, and in right outcomes, and whatever is right for me in my life is going to play out, and I do believe that the more positive I stay, if not quite all rosy, if I am able to “Let go and let God,” then I will make it through, and that is what I am doing, I am hoping and praying for the best and letting go.

Will you breathe with me? We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, or the next day, I don’t know what will happen Monday morning at 9:05 a.m. but I do know this — whatever I have to do I will do. It scares me to pieces to say that but what other choice is there? I am sitting here with little pugs snuggled up to me and they count on me.  I have to figure out a way for them, and I will. I don’t know how but I will.

This is such a critical time with so much happening that there is no way to put it all in one blog post, it is a process, so if you need something to hold onto come back and read the next posts as I record this process and know this — know that I intend to put my little head down and take a deep breath and continue on up the hill. Like the Little Engine That Could I am going to continue on…. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can… by God one way or another I will figure this out because I have to, and right now there are mostly unanswered questions, and a knot in my stomach, and tears in my eyes, but right now, in this moment, I am okay. I will start here, and carry on…

MaitriNoHeartsBlackSz4

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Comments

  1. Sue Malone says:

    Such deep heart wrenching honesty…and yet…I do remember other times when you felt this broken, and then when you once again rose above to bring your sweet joyous and yes crazy wonderful self to the world. It is so incredibly scary, Maitri, I just can’t imagine, and yet I do believe that there is something there watching over you. It will get better, I know it will. Love and hugs to you Maitri

  2. Holding space for you and breathing .
    You are so Loved
    Xoxo
    Shanon ( Lhia)

  3. Thank you so much sweet Sue. My, we have journeyed long and far since we first met with the first Dragonfly Cottage 15 years ago haven’t we? I love you dearly and I am sending you so much love this night. We are women, we are strong, I have survived worse and I will survive this. Your note meant a lot to me tonight, so much, I cannot thank you enough dear friend…

    Love,

    Maitri

  4. I can envision that determined little train – and I can envision your cresting the hill and speeding forward. This is a harrowing time for you – and has been since the explosion rocked your life. Those of us who love you are forming a mighty circle of strength around you.

  5. Bravo for your courageous look at yourself, and the courage to not only look deep and see but to share your struggle in the hope of helping someone in similar circumstances. I know you will get through all this somehow. Your faith will hold you up. As Cathryn said, we are holding on to you and sending you so much love and positive energy. One day at a time, love. We are here. Rest well and heal sweet friend.

  6. Oh Cathryn and Paula, you sweet loves, thank you so much. I am afraid but at the same time worn out from being afraid. Kind of, “Okay, I’m scared, now where do I go from here?” I have acknowledged my fear, I have wrapped it in a warm blanket, and now I will move forward from here. I’m not quite certain how yet, but the way will be revealed. In the darkest hours the light does always come.

    Thank you so much for your continued, loving support. It means more than you could possibly know…

    Love,

    Maitri

  7. Oh sweet Lhia, thank you so much honey. What a lovely light you are in the darkness this night…

    Tend your tender heart with care…

    Maitri

  8. Dear sweet Maitri, you are such a wonderful person!!! Despite your childhood, inherited condition and life circumstances, you are an absolutely beautiful soul! For you to share your thoughts here, you simply never know how you will touch those who are suffering in the same way. I will pray that your disability benefits are generous and that you will thrive with your babies!!! Sending you all love and hugs, Dawn

  9. Deep breath. Yes. Such wisdom and courage and perseverance shining through in you despite everything. Wrapping you in thoughts and prayers of comfort, blessings, and loving support—may the road be smoother just round the bend!

  10. As lovely as all the LOA stuff is, it has created a society of what Debbie Ford calls “lightchasers” – those who refuse to believe they have Shadows and/or refuse to look at them…who ironically feed their Shadows whenever they fear they’re “not being light enough.” Anyone who’s been really serious about Waking Up has lived this lie at one time or another.
    We keep ourselves Real by acknowledging our Shadows and living in an Authentic & Transparent way…which means that every now & then, the world gets to see our guts. I am working on “telling my truth faster,” as SARK would say, and you, Madame Maitri, are one of my mirrors of Real Living. However many more times your life shifts, it will all be okay in the end – because if it’s not okay, it’s not the end! 😉

    Blessed Be,
    Victoria

  11. Dear Maitri, thank you for telling your truth in a beautiful way. Much love winging to you over the miles right now xxx

  12. Sending you love, dear Maitri. Know you have many hearts holding you!
    If you don’t know about the Hindu goddess Akhilandeshvari already, you might want to read about her. She is called: She Who Is Never Not Broken.
    “…But look, Akhilanda says, now you get to make a choice. In pieces, in a pile on the floor, with no idea how to go forward, your expectations of the future are meaningless. Your stories about the past do not apply. You are in flux, you are changing, you are flowing in a new way, and this is an incredibly powerful opportunity to become new again: to choose how you want to put yourself back together. Confusion can be an incredible teacher—how could you ever learn if you already had it all figured out?….”
    That is from one article about her here:
    http://tinyurl.com/3rlqjlp

    May you find peace.

  13. Maitri –

    We don’t know each other well, and I certainly don’t have the history with you that others here seem to have, but I had to throw my 2 cents in. 🙂

    You strike me as a beautiful, caring person. One who despite your struggles and the things you have endured, truly tries to be a better person each day.

    You may never know this side of Heaven, how many lives you have touched, or how great a difference you have made. Draw close to God, lean on His strength, and keep sharing your beautiful, open, kind heart. You are making an impact with your honesty and caring, and it matters… It matters a great deal…

    -David

  14. I am humbled by your story and reach out to you with love and admiration. Be gentle with yourself.. i see by the way you write that you have much to teach the world.

  15. Wishing you love and light. It’s been a rough 6 months here as well. Instead of figuring out how to climb the mountain to get to the other side, I’m trying to figure out how to go around it instead. One thing I’ve learned from college undergrads in recent years is to work smarter, not harder. My wish for you is that you can figure out how to work smarter, not harder, and that you are able to find a way around the mountain instead of going over the top.

  16. First of all – sending you warm, big hugs to the scared part of you….. now I have a couple of things – first of all about the Law of Attraction negativity/positivity thing – while I believe a person should be as positive as possible, I think that some of that can be hocum and here is why…. I knew Cathy Goodman, one of the people in that video “The Secret” personally. She had cancer and she was going to think positively and cure herself – no other treatment necessary because she knew “The Secret”…. long story short. She died!! Of the cancer that she was positive wasn’t going to kill her. Yes, we should be positive in our thoughts, actions and words – BUT we have to deal with reality too. You, dear one, are dealing with the realities in your life right now in the best way you can. You are doing what needs to be done and moving along. That, in itself, is a positive thing. Next point – I’ve known quite a few people who applied for disability and generally the ones who are successful have a lawyer to help them. There are lots of them out there that specialize in such things and don’t get paid unless you do….. Sending you love and positive thoughts that you will beat these money demons!!!!

  17. Please don’t beat yourself up about the disability benefits thing! My daughter just got off them after 5 years and I thought, “someone who deserves it will get this money” and I’m so happy it’s YOU!

  18. (( Maitri )) Holding you close, hearing your words spoken from your deep heart & soul .. sending much love, light and healing energy your way .. I will reply more in depth later .. I just wanted to let you know I’m sitting here with you .. and will continue to .. (( <3 ))

  19. Dear Maitri,
    My gram said that we get the burdens in life we can carry, one way or another, and when we learn from it and are able to look ourselves in the eyes, we have done OK in life.
    I don’t belief “The Secret”. It’s like the so maniest diet: it works for some.
    I do belief in facing the difficulties in life without self-pity and with care for others.
    You are such a huge inspiration for so many people!!!!!!!! The way you write is so clear, honest and deeply felt.
    When I was in hospital last year, facing death, I instructed my children to contact you in case I might die. And to tell you that you are one of the very few people who have truly touched my heart in a positive way.
    You comfort people, show them how to deal with problems, live on, and keep that wonderful love for your dogs and the people in your world.
    Something happens with people when they get to know you: they start to love you.
    Yes, we have to give up dreams when we get older. Some we loose, some we have to leave behind, and some just won’t happen at all.
    But we haven’t become bitter, or sarcastic, or manipulative. And, dear Maitri, that feels so rich. And dealing with you brings me to tears of gratefulness for knowing you.
    Huggggssssss.

  20. I don’t know of much I can say…others have stated my thoughts beautifully. Victoria is right on about the Shadows. I think The Secret was publicized so much and seemed to be
    “the thing” at the time. IMHO, I think that relying on God and sharing love with others is better. I am just so sorry for all the adversities that have befallen you and it turns my stomach to think of anyone even thinking of doing anything with a 4 yr old! Horrid!! If I could take all the child molesters and rapists off the planet I would in a heartbeat.

    You have an incredible talent for writing. You give so much to others ~ I know the blessings are going to be returned to you a hundred fold. I would like to advise you that when applying for SSI, normally each person is turned down the first time. I dealt with this so much when I was working. I don’t want you to be surprised, discouraged or bereft if, in fact, this should happen. My own personal opinion is that “they” think the applicants will just go away and not apply again. Whatever you do, don’t give up!!! You hang in there and we’ll all hold your hand…it will turn out ok in the end. Like Victoria said, it’s not the end! 🙂

    Please absorb all these wonderful words that people are sharing with you. Know that you are enough! You are being held in the palm of God’s hand and He will see you through. It’s all in His perfect timing too…please remember that. 🙂 I’ve had so many blessings and positive outcomes at the 11th hour. He has the Master Plan…we don’t.

    By all means, try to rest your body and your mind. We’re all here to support you and will not leave you. Sending you calming, peaceful energy and the strength to hang on!

    xoxo
    Pat
    (FanciPants)

  21. Trece Wyman says:

    Dear Maitri,
    I HEAR you. I GET what you are saying.
    I don’t have Bi-Polar, but I am deeply depressed, with some thoughts of suicide. I will be 63 in November. I stayed home with my children, so I am only eligible for SSI, like you. I have stage 3 lymphedema, with lipodema as well. I now walk with a walker, and have not left this apartment since April, due to the difficulty of navigating the stairs.
    All you can do, is all you can do. God knows.
    (((((HUGS)))))
    Trece

  22. Dear Maitri,
    Other than the diagnosis of bi-polar disorder (who decides these things?) I am very familiar with much of what you have faced and are facing. Here is what I trust to be true for me: It is all a process, the healing, the finding the answers, the finding of the unbroken and authentic self. Disability is there (thank goodness) to give aid to those of us who have reached a state of depletion that makes it impossible to earn a living. Regardless of what any other may think or say, you deserve that respite not because you are broken but because you need to rest in some measure of safety. There are a lot of in-between parts that have either slipped my mind or are too wordy and not necessary, for what I most believe for myself and for all of us is the importance of falling deeply, irreversibly in love with ourselves just as we are, as we always have been, somehow shifting our perspective to see ourselves as beautifully human in all our (in my case) disorder, confusion, etc., etc. Love in a way we’ve never known it, never practiced it, is our salvation. We are the question and the answer. You are brave beyond words. When we can make peace with what we see as imperfection, we have come a long way. One day, we look up and we/things have changed. No so much externally but within. (My opinion of the Law of Attraction is it is just something else that people try to sell us and when it doesn’t work they way they say it worked for them, we assume we’ve done it wrong. Lots of snake oil for sale out there. We need to be wary.) I hold you and your dear pugs very close to my heart. We are practicing wizards in very effective disguises, they don’t have a clue. My love, Marylinn

  23. Oh my dear beautiful friends…

    I don’t know how to thank you all for your loving responses, support and encouragement. This is truly the hardest time of my life but I do believe that somehow, in some way that I cannot yet imagine, I will come through this stronger. And it is easier holding on with so many loving friends taking the time to come here and talk to me, to pray with me and for me, to offer help and love and kindness. I will never be able to thank each of you enough for being present with me at this time.

    Much love to each and every one of you. I am holding you very close and dear tonight…

    Maitri

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