A Day in the Life
Written By Gail L Stoltzfoos
A Poet and Writer In Mental Health Recovery
Author of: My Treasured Gifts from God
To relate one of my days as a bipolar I must
begin the night before as I settle into my bed.
It’s often a coin toss whether it will be “sleep or bust” –
long nights spent awake are the ones I most dread.
Best intentions, a sleep aid, even total exhaustion
are no guarantee that it will be sweet rest that I’ll find.
Thinking ‘mind over matter’ will the battle help me win
often does nothing to help, and isn’t that awfully unkind?
Looking into the next day’s calendar then has to become
an exercise in rearranging tasks for that much needed nap.
Sometimes it all seems too much to bear – I just go numb,
worn out from this endless dance I am always trying to tap.
When I worked, my brain would seek for some excuse
that would satisfy a boss’ query without telling the truth
that I suffer from a disorder that puts my head in a noose –
forgive if the imagery is too coarse and rather uncouth.
Who wants to tell others you were awake all night
as you ‘cycled high’ within your sick, racing mind?
Mentioning mental disease is met with that look of fright,
or worse, with harsh words both uncaring and unkind.
Now it’s morning and as others face their new day,
I’m trudging through the motions, daydreaming of sleep.
Once again wishing there could just be a simpler way
to live as others do with a set schedule I could keep.
The house needs cleaning, the mail pile is shockingly high
as I settle in front of the tube ignoring the undone chores.
Facing any small task today simply makes me sigh
as I escape the world cocooning safely indoors.
Feeding my hungry husband seems to be such a bother;
harder still is hiding myself behind this mask I wear.
Worried he’s wishing he would have married another;
fearful he will take notice and seek my emotions to bare.
Guilt my constant companion as the evening settles in –
I’ve accomplished nothing – almost too worn out to care.
Depression my first feeling as the next day I begin;
often content to remain idle as I simply sit and stare.
The ‘crash and burn’ is worse than any hangover
ever felt when young enough to chose that wrong path.
At least this disease does keep me straight and sober!
Adding drugs or alcohol would be very, very bad math.
The reality that this is how I will always and ever be:
relying upon medicines to adjust my daily mood
is, perhaps, the biggest ‘downer’ that saddens me.
Yet, the key to overcoming is to not just sit and brood.
Does it seem an endless hamster wheel existence to you?
Without my God to sustain I would be quite a mess!
He provides strength and courage; walks with me too –
easing my pain as he does my life sweetly bless.
My trials are minuscule compared to what so many face
who struggle with handicaps; awful injuries that maim.
This truth humbles me; forces my mind to staunchly brace
against the truth that it’s my bewildered mind that is lame.
I am thankful for the times I live in which do offer me
medicines that help control this frightful disease.
In days past I’d have been imprisoned; not living free…
this fact alone thankfully brings me to my knees.
Yes, it’s challenging to live as if on a roller coaster:
soaring high, feeling low – emotions oft’ beyond my control.
That’s why I keep blessings written in view on a poster;
asking the Lord’s protection for my struggling human soul.