Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Process of Loving

It's nearly 3am and I can't sleep.  I'm kinda tired but my mind is alert and kind of racing.  Maybe I had too much caffeine today.  Or maybe I slept too late or too much.  Or maybe my bipolar mind has its own agenda and sleep just will have to come later.

Last night, before I went to bed, I had a lengthy conversation with a friend who is struggling with her own issues.  I think she's looking for answers and might be asking too much of herself in some ways.  I don't know; I'm not a professional.  But the professionals don't always know the right thing either.  I gave her the advice that I could come up with, drawing from my experiences in group therapy and the intensive outpatient program that I've been through several times with my episodes and after my hospitalizations.  But I still felt worried about giving a lot of advice, and about her once our conversation ended.

She's a fan of my blog.  This blog.  This practice that I've been developing and using as a ritual to work out some of my issues and try and achieve something bigger, so to speak.  I'm trying to write my memoir of my experiences, centered around my struggles with bipolar disorder and the diagnosing process, or all the processes I've been through to this point.  I've had trials and tribulations with medication combinations.  I've tried taking time off away from work.  I've tried monitoring my sleeping and my eating rituals with the "Social Rhythm Metric" that we use as part of our group therapy.  And all of these things work in concert to bring me forth in this world.  To help me manage my moods instead of having them manage or manipulate me.

I sense that my friend is feeling grief because she doesn't have the support of her family in the way that she desires.  I know what this is like.  It still bothers me that my dad doesn't have a functional relationship with my mom's sister, for example.  And it bothers me that my dad doesn't make more of an effort to contact me or spend time with me.  But I haven't expressed these things to him because I haven't found the time and the right words.  I can make a difference and take charge of this situation by taking the initiative to talk to him about it, and ask him for more support.  Then again, he might read this before I am able to talk to him.  I hope that he doesn't take it wrong, or end up being too hard on himself.  I understand that he is trying as hard as he can, doing the best that he knows how.  And I know that he loves me.  He does a lot to make that evident.

So this is turning into an outing of my dad, and that wasn't my intention.  But you have to go where the writing takes you most of the time.  I love you, Dad.  Know that is true.  You have done so much for me, instilled a great love in me that I share with the world when I can, when I feel my best.  You have made me the best that I can be.  You can be proud of yourself, because you were there for me, during my childhood.  You got me to go to college, and that may be the single most important and enriching thing that I have done in my life to date.  You had a vision, and you made it happen.  Thank you for that.  You rock.

I miss our weekly rendezvous, when we used to meet for breakfast.  That was a great ritual for our relationship.  We just spent time together, once a week, more or less, sharing thoughts and observations about the world and how to fix it.  That was another thing that you have done for me-- you've made efforts to spend time with me, just to sit across the table from me, and make me feel safe.  Safe to utter my thoughts and get them out from swimming in my head.

I feel a loss that we haven't done that in a while.  Things happen; life happens, and we get into other routines.  I was just noticing the other day that we don't speak on the phone nearly as much as we used to.  So I felt a lack, and that's where the support request is coming from.  I'd like to meet with you more than we have been these last couple of years.  Not your fault, or mine-- I don't wish to assign blame.  I just am asserting my needs to have more time with you.  So let's see what we can make happen.

There.  That feels better.  Makes me think of my colon, and what amazing work it does on a daily basis.  Don't always know what it's doing, but it is productive, and something makes itself evident eventually...

Something pulls you along, while the thoughts are dancing and the ideas are formulating.  One of my favorite quotes I learned from Anne Lamott.  It's a quote by E.L. Doctorow that goes something like "Writing is like driving at night.  You can't see beyond the light of your headlights, and yet you can make the whole journey that way."  Hmm.  I think I will look up the actual quote and list it here.

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” --E.L. Doctorow

There you go.  Talk amongst yourselves.


Gerri said...

Very moving post...

I love that quote! By the way, I have her latest book, which I will loan to you once I have finished reading it.

Love you!

Deb said...

To see Dad more, the offer of breakfast or Costco's frozen yogurt should do the trick. I think I can speak for those of us far from you that we wish we could see you more, too. At the same time, I'm so glad there is all this newfangled technology so that we can keep in daily contact. Love you lots, Brudder!