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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

I’m a very private person. Trusting people doesn’t come easily to me. But sometimes I can’t help but look back at my life and see all the people that I had opened up to so much; people who aren’t my friends anymore.

I can’t believe that I let these people see so much of me. While I was awash in my own insanity I clung to them, letting them see everything in my mind. I had no filter at all and they saw everything. They saw me at my highest, speaking crazed plans for running about downtown and creating comic books together parodying our classmates and starting a band. They saw me full of paranoid delusions that my mom was going to send me to a mental hospital. They gave me a place to stay each time I ran away for a few days, fearing hospitalization or simply fearing my own power over my mortality. They would put up with my insane crying and wild depressions, complete with meandering conversations about the price of life.

There were so many of those people who served that function, at least a dozen total. Only two are still in my life. I wonder if those ex-friends think of me as I do them. I look back on our friendships and feel embarrassment and gratitude. I wonder if they see me as just a crazy bitch that they hung out with for a while. I wonder if they sit around, drinking coffee with one another, laughing when the conversation comes back to “You remember Ashes? What the hell was wrong with that chick?”. I wonder what their parents think of me after letting me sleep over uninvited because their child says that they’ll “explain why later”.

I keep these people alive in my memories rather than letting their time in my life fade away. I don’t know if that’s a good thing. I feel like my bipolar life can be summed up in the string of broken friendships that I trail behind me. The list of short-lived camaraderie has stopped growing by now simply because I don’t let myself get close to people anymore. I don’t want to have to remember another person in the past-tense. Without my bipolar forcing me to seek out others to help lift my burdens, I just don’t do it.

None of them stuck around other than Koios and Theia. Theia has been my friend for over 9 years. We went to the same middle school and high schools. She transferred to the alternative school that I was in a bit after I did. She’s seen all of my moods too, but she’s never shied away from them. She always speaks her mind about what I’m doing, but always in a supportive way. I know she cares about me. Theia is the perfect friend that I could ever ask for. I don’t know if she knows how much she means to me, even though I’ve tried to explain.

Theia and I are what I call “shit-weather friends”. Rather than a fair-weather friend, we’re there for each other when we really need it. We might go for almost a year without hanging out, but the second the other one needs support and a friend we’re there for each other. A few years ago, one of Theia’s friends died unexpectedly. I sped over to her house and we stayed up all night so I could comfort her. I can call her up crying for no reason and she’ll tell me to come over and we’ll talk about nothing and everything. Despite living lives that don’t often overlap, we’re still best friends when it counts the most.

While I wonder frequently about the people who used to be my friends, I know that the ones that are worth my time will stick around. I don’t fault those who were pushed away by my bipolar; I know I wasn’t (and still am not) easy to deal with. I think a lot of those friendships were too stressful for the other person, having to deal with my insanity and life of constant chaos.

Part of me still hopes that I can start getting close to people again now that my bipolar is more under control. I’m not sure if I remember how to have a normal friendship with someone that I haven’t known for years, though. Maybe I’ll have the chance to learn again.

-Ashes

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I’ve held off talking about my fiance because I couldn’t think of a good nickname for him. I really am that lame. In this place I will call him Koios. He’d probably like that.

We met online almost 7 years ago. We both had journals at one of the now-mostly-dead blogging websites that litter the internet through a community for a band that we both loved. I was 13 and Koios was 20. The age difference still makes us laugh; he jokes that I was either very mature or he was emotionally stunted for us to become such great friends despite being in different places in our lives. (And don’t worry, we didn’t actually start dating until I was 16. He’s not a total creep, I promise. It’s a bit weird, I know, but bear with me.) We started talking on the phone after a few months of chatting online, which led to talking for a few hours everyday, to talking for literally half of the day every single day of the week. He lived almost 3,000 miles away from me, but we knew each other better than anyone else in our lives. We told each other everything; about our what happened that day, what books we were reading, religion and politics, and memories and personal experiences. There was a rough patch in our friendship but not because of incompatibility. Our lives overtook both of us during the summer of ’05, but we came back to each other like nothing happened. After that summer we were completely inseparable, even though thousands of miles were between us.

He put up with my mania, talking his ear off without pause for hours and rambling on about plans to create an amazing art portfolio. He understood my utter silences at night, letting me be and not forcing me to talk. Some nights we wouldn’t say a single word for hours, but those nights weren’t as horrible as they would have been for me if I hadn’t been able to hear Koios’s breathing. We started reading books to each other over the phone. If I was manic, I’d read him a hundred pages and we’d discuss the plot and character developments, spiraling off into never-ending tangents. When I was having a down-night, he would read to me for hours from whatever novel he was sharing with me.If I was crying and I didn’t know why, sometimes he’d sing to me. If I was suicidal (and he could always tell somehow by the tone of my voice; he still can), Koios would beg me to just hold on until the next morning. Then he’d tell me stupid jokes or funny anecdotes about his life, or maybe ask me about something innocent and impartial until I was too tired to talk. He wouldn’t hang up or go to bed until he knew that I was about to fall asleep. He was–and still is– my nighttime guardian against the storms of my mind.

Koios had dropped out of college a few months before I met him but he is incredibly well-read in psychology. He should be a psychologist, seriously. He could decode an odd reaction of a RL friend of mine perfectly after hearing my explanation. He could read the psychological symbols of my dreams with literally frightening accuracy. After over 2 years of knowing me and my odd moods, Koios broached the topic of mental health after I said that I felt that there was something wrong with me. I knew that other people didn’t feel the way that I did, with wild moods that couldn’t be explained. He said “Yes, I think so too. I think your have a disorder, but I want you to go to a psychiatrist and see what they think.” Later he told me that he knew that I had bipolar, but he didn’t want to influence my opinion and fuck up my shrink’s assessment of me. I thought that I had bipolar too, but I didn’t want to admit it before I was diagnosed.

Koios helped me through my attempts to find a good shrink that understood me, and sympathized when I found another dud. He comforted me through my tears of frustration and desperation when a shrink told me that it was normal to feel suicidal every night and that I didn’t need her help. He suggested possible medications and helped me research them. He was the only thing that kept me going, even though I could only hear his voice. He convinced me that I wasn’t going to ruin his life simply by being in it, one of my biggest fears at the time. He wasn’t pushed away, despite my best efforts to “not be a burden” to him with harsh words and attempted emotional distance. He stayed by my side through everything, proving to me that I wouldn’t leave me when things got difficult to deal with. He proved that he loved me even with my depression and frightening hypomania by proposing to me on one of the most terrifying down-nights I have ever had, even though it was over the phone and not at the airport gate when I was flying to see him like he had planned.

He later moved out to where I lived to be with me and get away from his temptations to slip back into his drug addiction. I moved in with him on my 18th birthday and I never regretted it. We live in the easy comfort of an old married couple. We don’t have to speak to know what the other is feeling; body language tells us all we need to know.

Koios is the only reason I’m still here; the only reason I sought treatment for my bipolar and one of the main reasons I still take my medication. I don’t ever want to put him through the fear of losing me like he had to live with before, even though I know he would if I wanted to be off my meds.

We haven’t gone to the courthouse to get officially married because I would lose my parents’ health insurance, but we would tomorrow if I could. Our marriage is another thing that has to wait, thanks to bipolar. My yearly medication costs would surpass my annual income without insurance. Either way, the love is there. The marriage would just be a show for what we already have.

I’m so incredibly lucky to have someone like Koios in my life. I know many people with mental illnesses don’t have the luxury of someone like him in their lives. I try to appreciate what I have everyday, even though my life isn’t perfect. He’s made it so much more than what it would have been without him.

-Ashes

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