Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Hi, my name is Lisa…

verb |riˈlaps; ˈrēˌlaps| [ intrans. ]
(of someone suffering from a disease) suffer deterioration after a period of improvement.
• ( relapse into) return to (a less active or a worse state) : he relapsed into silence.

Each day at the beginning of my outpatient program, we fill out a brief questionnaire asking about our mood, how we slept the previous night, whether or not we’re taking our meds, and if we had a relapse in the past 24 hours. Half of the program patients are substance abusers, so I always assume the question is for them, and I skip it. All of my attention is focused on getting ready for my court date, getting back my son, being his happy mom again. There’s nothing to relapse into, is there?

Why can’t you love me?

I’m working. I’m trying to be the administrator of my own rescue. I’m taking on my demons as if it’s the fight of my life, which it may just be. I’m trying to learn my way around loneliness, learn about solitude, work on the skills I know I have at my disposal to shake this emptiness. Reaching out to the people who keep me safe, who talk me down from the ledge. I’m doing ALL THE RIGHT THINGS.

I love you even beyond my ability to find words to express it.

Except that every single day, I do relapse. Not to a bottle or a needle, but to hope. Hope for something that isn’t there for me to hope for. This is my emotional landscape, a horizon line a long way off, with everything empty and flat, like a long dinner table set for one. The frustration of my impulses has become habitual, and whether I act upon them or not, they’re interfering with my ability to understand my despair, to find its root. One would think that with all of my upcoming legal battles and the (temporary) absence of Calder in my life, I would be able to do do nothing but cry for my losses, but ironically, the relapse I fear the most is that of hoping again.

How messed up is that?


Yes Is A World said...

This is a really beautiful post. Keep 'em coming. We're all here for you, relapses or not... hope or not.

I Hope So said...

but it's not messed up at all.

i like your use of the word 'relapse' when talking about hope.

i remember sitting across from my therapist all hungover and despondent and asking him if he thought there was any "hope" for me. and he said: what you don't understand yet is - who needs hope when you have LIFE? he then talked about hope being a drug that too many of us are addicted to. it keeps our heads in the future and eventually we have to hit rock bottom from our dependency on hope, the same as any other addict finally faces the realization that the drugs don't work.

i think that was very ballsy of him to say to me... i don't think i would have had the guts to say such a thing to someone who thought she was DYING from pain (no matter how silly that seems to me now that i look back on it, it's the truth. the pain was that intense). but it was exactly what i needed to hear. by him taking away my "hope" he woke me up just a little. and that was a very good thing.

who needs hope when you have life?

thank you for this post. you always seem to stir something in me one way or another...

BOSSY said...

Hang on kid. Hang on Hang on Hang on.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, you are so much stronger than you think. You really are. Believe it.

You are going to make it through this and come out the other side a wiser, stronger, and better woman. I have faith in you.

Anonymous said...

Bingo. Hope does not serve. A startling and brilliant observation.

flutter said...

hope *is* that line on the horizon.

Have the T-Shirt said...

I love what "I hope so" said. I guess I feel that if you have to tie yourself to hope, let it be the hope for a new future instead of hope for something that you clearly cannot have.

There was a time when I was in the kind of pain you are in. I have no idea if my pain was equal to yours, but I was struggling and too hopeful about regaining what I had lost. As silly as it sounds, I wrote a letter to my ex, a letter I did not send, never had any intention of sending.

The letter gave me the ability to say everything that was inside about what had been, the good, the bad and the ugly and then I said goodbye to the future I had always envisioned for us.

It gave me the ability to close that door for good.

It was heartwrenchingly difficult to get it down on paper but it was a turning point for me. Saying goodbye to the future I thought I had allowed me to begin to realize there was an amazing future ahead of me.

It isn't like I never relapsed back into hope, but when I did, I reread my letter.

It was like giving myself a pep talk whenever I needed it.

This post was beautiful, so very real. Getting it out is the only way to move forward.

Farrell said...

Easier said than done (and also a lesson I need to remind myself of), but if you keep yourself locked in the past, you won't ever be able to see the future. And you do have a future, and it is brighter, much brighter, than where you are now.
We are always here for you.

CresceNet said...

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Mrs. Chicken said...

The hope just might look different, that's all. A new hope.

I hope for you.