Bipolar and Back in the Saddle


My dad, the best cowboy I ever met.

In no uncertain terms my dad used to tell me to get my butt back up and do it again! It didn’t matter if it was a horse I’d fallen off of, which happened more than I’d have prefered, or if it was a friend I felt treated me wrongly. Do it again. Don’t stop.

I’m so exhausted. I’ve done so much thinking and writing notes and making Google docs from my iPad in the middle of night… I think you get the idea. The engine starts to turn over but it just never does.

Pressured speech – Bipolar, yeah, I do that.

Know what scares me more though? What keeps me tied so very tight under that horse I’m not going to fall off with chains, in the mountains, in the cold. What scares me more?

Racing thoughts paralize me.

I’ve been trying to slow my mind. Meditation. Exhaustion. Yelling. Denial. I don’t know. My attempts to do this have been weird.

My dad, the cowboy, is gone from this world. I can’t hold his hand or ask him if he thinks something is dumb. I miss the smell of … whatever the newest hobby he was into smelled like. Woodturning for example. Loads of smelling to be had. Fishing, drag racing, raising and training horses, woodturning (did I say that already?), stained glass. Smells. A dad smell.

I wonder sometimes if he looked at life in a way that I need to emulate. Look, he got mad, sure. He threw things, yelled, swore, threw more things, swore some more, made really horribly scary angry faces at us… But he developed time alone and away from everyone when he did these hobbies. I think going out in the RV and making stained glass were the only things he shared with my mom. Oh sure, we all rode horses and shoveled… you know. But I wonder if he could reset during those times.

Did he have racing thoughts too?

He once told me “You’re smart and you think faster than other people do. You’ll be done thinking about things before they start. You’re just going to have to deal with it.” (This is totally true, he said this. Okay, something like it.)

I mention this because I wonder if he saw this particular difficulty in me at that young age? I did show signs of Bipolar at a young age and, I admit, I was a shit to live with, but did he know? I don’t know how my mom didn’t send my dad leave me in the mountains somewhere.

I just never can slow my mind down. Unless… unless it doesn’t work at all. Chained, under the damn horse, in the mountains.

I took a video workshop on ADHD earlier this year. 10 weeks: 3 days in group for an hour and some time with an accountability group the other days. I learned a lot about – I learned that I don’t understand time. If I’ve mentioned this before, please hang in there. I’m just about done.

I am trying to build an editorial calendar where I can put ideas and things I feel strongly about. I can set them in boxes, and then I can move on. And when I’m stuck, silent and chained, I can see the boxes and what I’ve placed in some of them, and I feel hope. I force myself to put something, anything in at least one, little, short, 15 minute box – no – five minute box. Let’s settle with one minute. Then I can be done. I can do that. One minute at a time.

Tonight I’m in a brain fog. It feels like today has just slid on and on. Well, now I’m going to put on my cowboy hat and sit down. I’m gonna push back my cowboy daddy’s recliner (which I insisted on having I have despite the fact that, well, you’ll hear that in a second) I’m going to have to give it an extra shove and scoot my butt all the way back – and then I’m gonna swear. I’m gonna swear because the remote or my iPad or my book or my coffee or the kitten or whatever is way too far for me to reach.

I’m 5′ 3″ on a stool. When my butt scoots back in the seat my feet fly up off the ground and it seems I always wiggle them around like a very young kid. It never fails to amuse me that this was my dad’s chair. When I’m leaning back and can’t reach anything, and no one is around for me to ask nicely or hollar at or beg to get whatever I’m reaching at for me, I claw my way to the right side of the chair and start swing my arm around. I can’t feel anything so I keep at it. I can see myself in my mind’s eye and I know why the kids don’t help me – it is too damn funny to make me suffer! Little legs wagging up and down, swearing and muttering. Yeah, that’s funny, when it’s me.

My dad was a cowboy. What have I learned from him? Well, I have my eyes closed right now and I’m listening to the wind roll over all the plants and trees and bushes and in my front door and the open windows
(it is always windy here)…. and now I hear the bass of the moron driving up the hill in front of the house… and now I hear the wind.

Breathe. In 5 hold – count to 6 – exhale for 8. Do it again Robin. Do it again. Hear the wind. The wind here is the same as it is in the mountains or on the ranch? Daddy, he was the same wherever he was too. Oh we believe he had Bipolar 1 like I do, but I think he found better ways to manage it than I do.

When I feel I’m stuck under the horse I also feel broken. I feel like I can never be mended or fixed… or useful. Never mind that. First thing is first. Racing thoughts or frozen ones. Ouch. I think… I think that I’ve decided I’m not broken.

I believe that belief is everything. Yes, I acknowledge that I have an illness. Or do I? That’s a whole other train of thought so lets run quickly away from that. I have decided. Here and now. Maybe not tomorrow or tomorrow night. But today, now, I don’t believe I’m broken and can’t be fixed. I’m just stunned.

Stunned.

Fall off. Stunned. Get back on and go again.

I don’t want to be trapped in my own head. Time. Use the calendar Robin. It’s a better idea than you think. Stop being subborn. You’re not a jackass. Do it. It will make the chains loose.

When the sun sets it all ends with me. Counselors are left in their offices. Partners are in their own heads. Hopefully. Kids are in bed? I’m left with me. I take the drugs. I go to therapy. I try to act normal. But I am stunned.

I’m going to fill in one box before I go to my room to hopefully sleep for the night.

I’m closing my eyes and listening for the wind. If you’re indoors and can’t actually hear it, then make believe that you do. Remember, believe is everything. Hear the wind. Let it take you away.

“Daddy? It feels like I’ve been stunned for a very long while. I feel… and I think… that it’s time to be a cowboy.

Saddle up

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