The depression I know is real. My heart is broken in every place, shattered.
I have lost so much, and I have no real idea how to begin anew. My feelings are so loud, so raw, so real. Bipolar illness shapes my mind, my thoughts, my decisions. I operate in the realm of the truth, so I can’t stand when people try and feed me bullshit or try and slip me an alternative truth that is more pleasant than the life I have been gifted. The truth is this, My reality and my truth are killing me and I don’t know how to deal with death and loss, my current reality. I don’t know how to go forward—-not when all I want to do is lie down on the floor and never get up. I hate my situation. How do I get out of here I often scream. I want out of this …..Where is the beauty? Where are the miracles? I feel nothing but pain. I want a different version of this story…..PLEASE. I am broken. That is the truth. I am lost. I am so far away from peace.
When a 2014 U.K. newspaper poll asked people if they had ever had sex with someone who had a physical disability, 44 percent said “No, and I don’t think I would.” From http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/03/sex-and-disability/386866/ .
I have cited this study taken in 2014 where 44% of respondents said they would not have sex with someone who had a disability because I feel I need to shine a light on my pain tonight. I remember crying about the impending loss of my leg one evening. A “friend” tried desperately to console me. They stammered and plead with me. ” Oh, Louise” “you will find a man who loves you, and he won’t care about your leg.” If they don’t think you are beautiful because you don’t have a leg then you don’t need them anyway”—- FUCK YOU – I would think. How dare you lie to me. How dare you try and make this reality different than it really is, because the reality of life is painful and difficult. People don’t like to admit truths. People don’t like to sit and listen to the painful reality of life. This is why they say foolish things. People say that GOD must have a plan, or whitewash the situation and try and make our reality seem less horrible than it actually is. So often I find myself trapped in this place. A place where people are unable to sit with my pain. They are unable to walk with me in my terror and fear …. they are only able to lie, and say things we all know are not true. “So, I said, you don’t think the next man I try and date will notice I am missing a limb? ….. My life has been so full of difficulties that I am afraid I cannot find the light anymore. I am afraid I cannot be optimistic about what’s next or even live in the realm of the hopeful. I cray and feel so disconnected from connection. I feel alone and scared. I feel this world is much like Buddha said it was….Life is Suffering.
About a year after my accident I wrote in my journal:
So here it is just about one year later. I am no longer near as angry. Now it is easy to say this— but that does not describe the unbearable pain that I have put myself and others through for the last 360 some odd days. I have been unable to discuss most of my fear because the moment anyone tries to help or console me I become impatient and angry. They don’t understand my head screams, and then sometimes my mouth screams it as well.
I have hated myself since I was a teenager. If it is not one thing it is another. My mind has always told me I am not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough….BUT NOW, BUT NOW all I can think about is why did I not appreciate all the beauty I did have—- before it was gone.
I find myself day dreaming—If I could walk, I would learn to dance….I mean really dance. I would mamba, cha cha, whatever ….I would do it. I think about hiking, and other outdoors activities I never believe will be possible again. It is so easy to focus on everything we have lost as opposed to what we have left.,,,
THINGS ARE SO DARK….I FEAR I WILL NEVER SEE THE LIGHT AGAIN….
My head collapses into my hand and and once again the tears of loss come. I feel like I have lost so much. Sometimes I cannot find one reason to continue. I am so tired of picking up the pieces. I was run over by a car in a hit and run in 2013 and let’s just say my life changed in a million different ways and in ways I never expected. The end result—- or at least the result as of 2017….I had my lower right leg amputated in July of 2015.
I had to make the decision to have my leg amputated, it was not a decision that was made for me. I did not wake up from an accident and learn that my leg was gone… After about a year and 1/2 of surgeries and another year of pure hell, my ankle would not heal due to a terrible infection. It was incredibly painful and so difficult to accept and cope with. I eventually learned to walk on my fucked up leg a little bit, but it was very fucking painful. I was so angry after the accident. I did not want to be injured. I did not want to lose control of my freedom again. You see, I have been disabled from the time I was 13-14, but it is a different kind of disability. It is a disability that no one can see from the outside. I have bipolar disorder and while it has shaped my life in every way you can imagine, it is not visible, at least not at first glance.
From the day I was run over I no longer felt like a woman. People stopped looking me in the eyes. Men stopped flirting with me. IN fact, Men rarely looked at me at all much less look me in the eyes.
Right as I began to accept that my leg was gone and that I was just going to have to find a way to go forward, I lost my 19 year old daughter to a drug overdose. Selena was my dear sweet daughter. She was a beautiful mess if ever there was one. She suffered every kind of difficulty. She too had mental illness much like mine. She too loved too much, felt too deeply, trusted more than she should and I miss her more than anything in this world. I feel I lost my reason for life. Here I am with all of this pain and now what? I thought I could make it through my amputation because it was important to show Selena that I could survive anything, but now? For what?
It is now the beginning of 2017 and I am still alive, working, and have not fallen into a sea of chaotic drug use, but believe me….I know I am not immune, and I know that I am running on slippery pavement. To be honest, I am terrified of the depression I suffer with and I am terrified of all of the difficult life challenges I have going on. Losing my daughter took my identify as a mother, and losing my health and body took my identity as a woman. Who is left? What am I now?
You see, I have been disabled most of my life. I consider my chaotic substance use and my mental illness disabilities but they can be hidden at least at first glance. When I messed my leg up and I was no longer able to walk, hardly at all, I experienced disability in a totally different way. I discovered a world — A world we all fear. A world that is quite different than what I was accustomed. People talk to you like you are deaf, or dumb or like you might talk to your pet. You don’t know how many times I have been in a wheel chair and somebody bends down in my face and says ” Did you have a good time”….very slow and loud, like am slow or have some sort of mental impairment. I no longer felt the staring eyes of men, or cat calls from construction sites, and all the little flirtatious interactions and sexually charged moments…bad or goood, right or wrong…..the little things are all things I have associated with being desirable. It is a world where you are pitied not desired (at least not my experience).
I am now trying to move forward with hope, but how I ask? With stories of faith? Stories I don’t believe told by those who have not suffered the same loss or endured the hardships? How do you listen to stories of hope told by the hopeful when you are without?
What is left, when it is ALL GONE!