I feel like I'm in this cage of numbness. I'm having difficulty talking to Ben about it, which almost never happens; usually he is the first, and often only, one to hear about problems with my family. But usually I'm emotional and crying immediately after something happening. This time I'm cold and empty with just slivers of feeling accessible on the surface.
My dad can't cope with stress, not since being diagnosed. He's lost multiple jobs due to complications with his illness -- outbursts at work, suicide attempts at work, simply being too emotional to handle criticism. This new job he had, had a lot of little things that he would get wrong sometimes; nothing that would freak a person with normal moods and coping skills out, but things that sent him into a tailspin. Mom was trying to help him and encourage him, but he was only able to see the worst in everything, and in himself. I guess last week at work he called her, freaking out about something his boss said, and Mom told him to come home. He tried to gather up his tools and everything to take home, but he was dropping them because it was a lot to carry, and I think he was crying, and then it sounded like he just stopped in the middle of the hallway and started writing his obituary. A security guard came up and questioned him and when he realized what was going on, called the police. Dad's been hospitalized for nearly a week on suicide watch; I guess he kept saying really suicidal stuff to the doctors. He's starting all new meds, with a month of day therapy in store and a new psychiatrist.
The fact is, we all kind of thought... well, he'll always be bipolar, but maybe he'll never be as bad as he used to be. This is his 15th time he's been suicidal, but he went 14 years between this time and the last time. 14 years is a long time. We all got complacent. He got diabetes, that seemed like a bigger problem after a while. He stayed, for him, relatively even.
And then this happens again.
I see the awkward little girl in eighth grade again, coming down the stairs, having her mom tell her that her dad is in the hospital for trying to kill himself. I see me in classes that day, cold, frozen, emotionless. I wanted so badly for someone to reach out to me and ask me what was wrong. But I felt such a deep shame that when my friend finally noticed, I couldn't tell her what was wrong; I told her it was a family problem that I thought I had to keep a secret. Behind that was the fear that I'd done something to put him in the hospital, that I hadn't told him I loved him that morning. That time, he was found with a slashed wrist in the stockroom of the RadioShack he managed, an Exacto knife in one hand, a picture of Mom and me and the boys at Disneyland in the other.
This time, there wasn't a knife or a bridge, so that's something. This time, I know it's nothing to do with me, and everything to do with feeling unbearably hopeless. I've come to the point where I'm not really angry at his suicide attempts anymore; I'm more angry at the rage and the mania that he showed when we were kids, the screaming and emotional abuse that poured out of him in hyperirritable manic states. I can understand, if be frustrated and upset by, thinking of suicide; I still can't forgive the day-to-day pain he brought us, by taking his medication erratically, by not going to therapy.
I can see those things with much greater clarity than I used to. I do feel sorry for him. But at the same time, I'm so fucking sick of knowing that suicide is always, always, always a possibility. And I'm still sick of the legacy it's left me -- anxiety, fear of/inability to feel angry myself, trichotillomania, dermatillomania -- and my brothers -- depression, anger, inability to communicate -- and my mom, who is married to a completely different man than the one she started out with.
It's such a complicated relationship.
I'm always afraid, with a phone call from my mom, that there might be some bad news on the other line concerning Dad or my brothers, who struggle with depression, rage, alcohol. Guess this time I was right.
And I still feel numb, numb, numb. I cried a little today, talking to my counselor I see for trich/skin picking. But it was like those tears were just seeping out around the massive dead weight I feel inside me, not providing any kind of release. I don't know when that release will come. Maybe when I finally talk to Ben about it. Maybe if I break down and cry. I don't know. This feeling is just so strange to me, me, who usually wears her heart on her sleeve, for whom emotions are usually powerful and immediate.
I've only felt this way once before, and that was a long time ago. I don't know what to do with it now that I feel it again.
I'm trying to take care of myself... exercise, favorite foods, cuddling with Ben. I was so off at work today, like half the vet I normally am. Luckily it was slow, but it was still obvious to me in the way I avoided eye contact with the clients, the way I holed up in the office.
I just don't know.
So if you have any words, or thoughts, or prayers for me... please let me hear them. Maybe that will help a little too.