The Blame Game

I have been having a problem since my boyfriend Jason died. My problem is that I have been unfairly blamed for his death. 

Being blamed has taken a toll on me because a part of me blames myself. During these moments, I luckily have some people I can confide in to set me straight. 

The morning Jason died he confided in me some very personal things that I will carry with me forever. The fact is, I knew him better than anyone. He could never truly be himself with anyone except me. The closest second would be his ex-wife Shawna and they were still good friends and she is now one of my best friends. 

One of the first conversations Jason and I ever had was an argument. I had said that I believe people come into our lives for a purpose. He agreed, but then added that the people in his life were there for him to use whatever they had to give. I was not impressed, and said I believe we are all supposed to give more than we take. 

He did however make a good point. He said that just because that is what we are supposed to do, people rarely do that. He said most people are selfish and are always looking out for number one. His outlook, was if he gave more than he took, he would always lose. 

He taught me something about boundaries but I didn’t really get it until he was gone. Now here I am, having been stuck in this weird twilight zone with people who thought they knew him, and knew nothing. 

When thinking about this today, I realized something even better. Although his words were different for everyone, one truth remained constant. He stayed with me. He chose me in ways that hurts some people and infuriates others, but he continued to choose me/us. 

I’m writing this because I want to say why I blame myself sometimes and also what sets me free. 

I blame myself because the morning he died he told me he was getting clean and going to rehab. He had planted a seed a couple weeks prior which he used to his advantage to get treatment quickly and in a town he hated. No one would suspect him to be there. He said he wanted to marry me on his birthday and then he would be safe in rehab. We were to get married on his birthday, February 8, 2020. 

At first I was just elated that he was serious about getting clean. After several minutes I revealed my doubts. I couldn’t simply forget about everything that had happened between us. He said, “You never have to worry again. I’m better when I’m married, ask Shawna.” She later affirmed that what he said was true. However, I was pissed and had a right to be. Jason pointed out that so many of our issues stemmed from drug abuse. I agreed. Unfortunately, I lost a lot because of the issues. 

At that point, Jason was all I had…

My mom, sister, mother-in-law, and kids wouldn’t have anything to do with me as long as I stayed with Jason. When I expressed my concerns he told me he would do whatever I wanted, then he fell asleep. 

This is where the blame comes in…

I made some biscuits and sat on the edge of the bed, eating and thinking about everything. I knew one thing. I was pissed. 

I sacrificed a lot for Jason, and he showed up that morning without my car. I got more and more mad. Finally, I woke him up demanding to know what had happened to my car. His behavior was erratic and he grabbed his gun and pointed it toward the living room threatening to kill my friend sleeping in there if I tried to leave him. 

Instead of seeing the actions of a desperate man, I told him I wouldn’t marry him. He pulled the trigger and was gone. Immediately, I blamed myself. 

What set me free is this… 

Couples fight and argue all the time. Couples struggle with substance abuse and mental illness. Most of the time, they don’t kill themselves over it. Especially if everything is okay within them. When he chose to put that gun to his head, he made a choice. No one can make us act or do anything. We all have free will. 

Since his death, I have been blamed. It has been a problem for me, but now I am at peace. Jason had taught me boundaries, which I was finally exercising, and Jason, made a split second decision. 

I wish I could bring him back for 10 minutes. Just to tell him how much I love him and appreciate him for the things he taught me. The most important things, I didn’t learn until he was gone. 

I am finally coming to a place where I don’t worry about him as much. I feel him all the time. Especially now that my stuff is in my new place. It’s like a bit of his energy is forever ingrained into my belongings. Sometimes I hear noises that cannot be explained, but I don’t need them to be. I know he’s here with me. I know he’s watching and protecting. I know that the horror show our relationship could be sometimes was because we had a drug problem and he is now free from that. 

When Jason comes to me in my dreams, sometimes it’s like he is alive again. We are usually going about a normal day. Inevitably, he walks into the room I’m in, and instead of saying, “Baby, do you want a shot of dope?”, he says, “My kids make me so proud. You make me so proud. Look at you, you’re so strong. Call your kids and tell them you love them.”  

Jason and Keith are proud of me, I can feel it. It feels good. I hate that so much tragedy has happened, but the best gift I have been given are the lessons I learned from these experiences. No one can know what it felt like to witness Jason take his own life. I thought the heartache would kill me in those first moments as he laid lifeless on top of me. 

I can’t erase it. I can only move forward from where I am now. 

I am holding onto truths that are absolute. I know what the truths are and Jason knows them. That is enough for me. People always want someone to blame for deaths like Jason’s. I can’t change how some people feel and don’t want to. If they need to blame me to feel free, so be it. I’m going to close my eyes, let the love from Jason and Keith envelop me, and for the first time in my life, enjoy total and absolute…

Freedom.

A Bond By Tragedy

 I have been dealing with so much trauma, and I am having a hard time processing it. 

It’s so strange how one can be surrounded by loving, supportive people, and still feel completely alone in the world.  

About 2 weeks after Jason died, I had a meltdown that was pretty severe. I was hyperventilating, panicking.  I said, “I just want to talk to someone who has been through this. Because I don’t know how to do this.” My mama softly said, “Your grandma.” 

My grandma has been gone for 17 years, but the moment my mom reminded me of my grandmother’s history, I began to calm down.  My grandfather died by suicide when my mama was 8 years old. Years after his death, my grandmother had a boyfriend who also died by suicude. She went through it twice, and she made it through.

I feel a connection to her that I didn’t have before. Like we’re in a club that no one wants to join, but here we are. 

I still don’t understand how this could happen twice, as I’m sure my grandma didn’t understand either.  My grandma and I are different in the way that she never discussed anything with us about her husband, or her boyfriend. She never remarried, and did not date. She gave that up. 

It helps me to talk about it. It helps me to process what has happened, and trying to understand the effects the trauma has on me. I get overwhelmed easily, I can’t handle loud noises, I have vivid nightmares. Honestly, there are too many symptoms to name them all. I’m clean from drugs, and looking at situations while clean, is a whole new experience. I have to face the situation now. 

The truth is, I know I hold the key to my happiness. It is all up to me what happens. We stray from our path sometimes, and bad things and tragedies happen as a result. I have to start caring about Sarah more than I care about others. 

I feel selfish typing that last line. However, if I don’t practice self- care, I’m not capable of being good for anyone. My grandma picked herself up, and made an arrangement with Mama to live together and help raise me and my sister. I had 19 years of being raised by those 2 vivacious women.  My Grandma put everything she had into her family. It kept her focus on something else, rather than the tragedies of her past. 

I looked up at the night sky and talked to my grandma, and I feel she is telling me to put my focus on my family. They will help me get through this.

I’m not really alone…

There are a couple things I will do differently than my grandma. First, I am going to face these traumatic experiences head on. Also, I won’t turn my back on the possibility of finding love again. I love being in love. I truly hope it happens again one day. Until then, I need to focus on my family, and practicing self-care. 

I totally got this. 

Home

Home is such a nice word and I never realized how lovely it is to feel “at home” until recently.

Following my boyfriend’s death, our apartment no longer felt like home. I told a good friend that I felt like, I want to go home, but didn’t know where that was.

Several days after I said those words to my friend, she called me. She started talking to me about her mom. She is a widow and lost her husband tragically as well. Then she told me her mom needed a roommate. It’s my friend’s childhood home, and her family has owned the house for 33 years. Another awesome fact is that the house is in my hometown.

I went to meet my future roommate the next day and hit it off with her immediately. I got a ride to her house later that same evening, and I stayed.

The energy in this house is good, and you can feel the history. It’s comforting. I feel safe for the first time in a month.

I do miss Jason so much. I still keep looking at my phone, expecting him to call or text me. When I look at photos of him it feels like he could just walk through it and kiss my lips. I wish he could. A part of me wishes I had kissed his lips one last time. I couldn’t have done that though, I was too freaked out. He landed right on my chest, like he was sleeping there. I knew by the hole in his head that he wasn’t asleep. Fuck.

How do I get that picture out?

If only I had let him sleep that morning. If only we hadn’t been arguing. I can’t stop doing this shit to myself, and it’s crazy. Couples argue all the time and don’t wave guns around. They most certainly don’t put guns to their heads and pull the trigger, even if they think it’s unloaded.

I have this dialogue happening in my mind every freaking day. Usually by the end of the day, I’m mad at Jason. Jason and I went through a time when he was very abusive. It was awful. Sometimes when I’m feeling really angry with him for leaving me like this, it dawns on me that this was an abusive act in any situation. If he didn’t mean to die, then he was trying to scare and manipulate me. Abuse. If he did intend to kill himself, he wanted me to see it. He wanted me to suffer for my words. Abuse.

Immediately after I have these thoughts, I feel incredibly guilty. Milliseconds after Jason shot himself, I blamed myself. It looked like he did it because I had just said I wouldn’t marry him, after I had already said “yes” an hour before. He had pointed that gun to the living room where my friend slept and threatened to kill him if I left him. I told him that his drama, behavior, and bullshit was why I wouldn’t marry him. Then he pulled the trigger. I blamed myself immediately, before I even got out from under him. What I wasn’t expecting, was other people blaming me.

Now I’m on my way to me and Jason’s apartment. Our home. Only now, it’s not our home. It’s a time capsule containing bits and pieces of our life together with bits and pieces of me and Keith’s life together as well. I have to pack everything. I have to be out on the 29th which is exactly one week away.

Then, I’m going home.

Yes, It’s Me, Sarah & This Is Not Spam

It came to my attention recently, some people think that I’m posting spam, and then don’t read my posts or share the information I’m posting on social media. I get it. Those who really know me, don’t see me as a person to promote a cause or be particularly political in any way. That’s changed because I have changed…

I found the picture I added to this post, and it reminded me of my husband Keith. His stomach looked exactly like that after a suicide attempt where he stabbed himself so deep, that he punctured his intestines.

The night he stabbed himself we were at home watching Perry Mason, a part of our nightly ritual. At commercial, he got up from the couch and walked into the kitchen. I assumed he was after his favorite night time snacks, bread and peanut butter, but he returned empty handed and sat back on the couch.

The show continued and I happened to glance over to the couch where Keith was sitting, and to my horror, discovered his white t-shirt soaked in blood. There was so much blood gushing from the wound that it was pooling in the creases of his shirt and jeans.

I didn’t have time to panic. I grabbed a towel, applied pressure to the wound and called 911. I continued applying pressure to his stomach until the ambulance arrived, crying and trying to get Keith to talk to me. He said nothing. He just kept watching Perry Mason. Only after the ambulance left with him, did I notice the long, blood covered knife lying on the kitchen counter, and drops of blood on the tile floor. 

After his surgery, his stomach looked just like the featured photo in this post. That incident was his first suicide attempt during our marriage. I did not handle it well. I didn’t know what to do or how to help him. I have issues with mental illness and have had a suicide attempt myself, so you would think I would know exactly what he needed. 

I didn’t. 

The timeline around my suicide attempt is very blurry, and I don’t remember the actual attempt at all, just a fuzzy ambulance ride, and the horrible 2 weeks away from home. I do remember feeling so alone, although the word “alone” doesn’t give the feeling justice. 

The “alone” I was feeling, was like a panic rising up inside of me, akin to how I imagine someone might feel if they were awake during a surgical procedure, but paralyzed, unable to talk or tell anyone they were awake. Once the first incision was made, you found not only were you awake, but felt everything. Then you were screaming, yet no sound emerged. 

That is the “alone” feeling which makes suicide seem like the only option.

Keith made a second suicide attempt. I came home one evening and found him on the living room floor. He had stabbed himself in the stomach again, only that time, he inserted the knife 5 times. 

I handled his second attempt much better than the first, hardly leaving his side unless I had to eat or go to the bathroom. 

Following his release from the hospital, he was placed in an inpatient facility for a few weeks. He jumped off a bridge 7 months later…

I have to live with the fact that Keith is gone forever. Living with the loss of a spouse, or anyone really, is so incredibly difficult. Suicide adds something to the loss that doesn’t make the loss worse than others, just very different. 

Keith had support, love, understanding, and his family by his side no matter what, and still lost his battle. 

I am realistic in knowing suicide, mental illness and addiction can not be eradicated. However, with the most up to date information we have about the effects of trauma during a lifespan, and the reality of mental illness and addiction; I feel it’s incredibly important for those of us who are capable, to speak out about our experiences, to help put an end to the stigma attached to mental illness and addiction. So many people are suffering in silence and dying. 

I have been through the unimaginable in my life, and all while battling mental illness and addiction. It’s hard. The way we look at these illnesses as a society is wrong, and people are dying, going to prison unnecessarily, and families are being torn apart. 

So, no, this is not spam. This is the reality many of us live and the more that is said out loud about mental illness, addiction, and what these illnesses truly are, the more we evolve in mind and spirit. 

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It’s Not Really About Me


I find myself in an all too familiar battle. With me.

I’m at a point in my life where I’m unsure of my purpose. Like I said, it’s familiar, but (whiny voice) I hate it!

Most people can be satisfied by simply conforming to society and cultural norms. The outline is get married, raise a family, work hard, go on vacations, try not to get divorced (although about 50% will) birthdays, graduations, retirement, and then the sweet bliss of death.

Most people find their purpose in there somewhere. They might have their purpose instilled in them through religion or what they have been taught.

We live in a culture that puts children’s needs above everything, so it makes sense that most mothers feel their purpose is their children. Not to mention the human instinct to provide, care, and nurture our babies.

Some might feel their purpose lies in helping others and spend their lives doing acts of service. Some folks live their entire lives only indulging their every want.

My purpose has always seemed relatively clear to me, with the exception of this particular phase of my life.

As a kid my purpose was clear. Be a kid, go to school, get good grades, hang out with friends, make out behind the bleachers.

At 19 I became a wife, and at 21 a mother. At that moment I knew my life was no longer my own. I lived and breathed for my son. Then along came my daughter 2 years later. I thought I had it figured out.

I was wrong…

Through a series of unfortunate events, addiction, mental illness and a nervous breakdown, my now ex-husband was awarded custody of my babies. I was so lost. What was my purpose now?

I met Keith.

It was love at first sight. We were inseperable all but 3 days a week when I stayed with my Mama to give him a break from me. I’m not even kidding. Apparently I’m exhausting.

His struggle with mental illness was conspicuous from day one. We had that in common, but we ended up balancing each other out. It worked.

I could never remember to take my meds, but he reminded me. If I was having a particularly hard time, he set them in my hand.

Keith needed a lot of care and I could always seem to take care of him, even when I couldn’t really take care of myself.

Both of us couldn’t remember our own appointments with our psychiatrists, but I always knew his and he knew mine.

He pulled me back down to earth and I intermittently pulled the stick out of his ass. You get the idea.

When Keith and I began seeing each other he told me he was drinking himself to death like Ernest Hemmingway. I just said, “Well, if that’s what you want. Who am I to interfere with your death plan?”

Eventually, he saw his purpose was to be a good husband to me and mine was to be a good wife. We got sober. We had the kids every other weekend and for the most part, life was pretty peachy.

Mental illness won its battle over my poor sweet husband and he took an early exit. Since his death I have had 2 prevalent phases of “what now”?

The first phase was my “Blue Period”. I was sad. I was so lost that I literally couldn’t breathe. It was like I had to learn a new way to inhale and exhale to remain conscious. Just, lost.

The 2nd phase is my “Pissed Period”. One day I was sad, and then I started thinking about Keith making the choice to check out early, and it filled me with rage. How dare he? He made a promise to me and he broke it. He didn’t simply leave me, he left the fucking planet. He left me to fend for myself and I was suddenly so alone.

I’m coming out of that phase now but still struggling with my purpose. I can’t accept that my life is to be an endless array of fucked up occurrences sprinkled with slivers of joy. Sure, the joyous moments although few and far between, keep me from checking out early, but I need to believe it gets better. I need a reason to want a late checkout with a continental breakfast.

I love my children more than anything, but they are with their Dad and awesome step-mom and although they love me, they don’t need me. That’s a fun fact I had to learn to accept.

So, my purpose? YOU.

I think I need to tell my story and to a lot of people. I want the stigma surrounding mental health to disappear. I’m gonna talk about it. I’m going to talk about the real deal.

No sugar, no bullshit.

If I talk to 5,000 people struggling in silence, and 50 of those people begin to feel someone understands and then 25 of those people ask for help, I have succeeded.

I will never stop. I found it, my purpose.

If you are one of the many suffering with depression, mood swings, mania, OCD, schizophrenia, or have no diagnosis but don’t feel right, please reach out. If you don’t want treatment, there are alternatives. You don’t have to live like this, and suicide causes pain you can not imagine to everyone stuck here. The world is not better off without you. That is a lie your mind has made up. If you truly feel you have no one, or that no one gets it, e-mail me.

sarah.jones@bipolarlivingtoday.com or
inside.my.manic.mind@bipolarlivingtoday.com

My Sweet, Sweet Husband


Yesterday marked two years since my husband left this realm of reality that is our planet, Earth. He is out there now on the ultimate adventure and a part of me is a little jealous.

I’m not suicidal or anything, I just am so curious about what is beyond our limited knowledge and understanding of the afterlife and what happens to us. It’s fascinating.

One thing I know for certain is that we don’t really die. The part of us that is “us”, or the soul is made up of energy. The law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another.

I know Keith is still around because I feel him all the time. Sometimes I can even hear him if I’m quiet and still long enough to pay attention. Then there are the dreams.

He hasn’t come to me more than a handful of times in my dreams that I can recall. When he does though, it always seems like a real visit. It’s different from a normal dream. It feels as if we are in a different dimension and we are the only two entities that exist there.

Yesterday, I pretty much stayed in bed. I slept off and on and during one of my naps, Keith came. He picked me up from someplace and said, “Are you ready, dear?”

I ran up to him and threw my arms around him immediately in tears and exclaimed, “Where have you been?? You were gone forever, I thought you were dead!”

He replied, “Now, you know I’m not dead, right?”

I looked up at him incredulously and said, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I know that, but why can’t I see you anytime I want?”

He said something poignant to me and I remembered the gist of it when I woke up so I looked it up. It was a quote by the poet Emily Dickinson.

Keith smiled at me and said, “Forever is composed of moments.”

Frustrated I asked what he meant and he basically said that I have many things to accomplish while I’m here. Be patient and take nothing for granted. He said he will always be close by, keeping watch, and loving me. He said after my series of moments on this plane of existence, he will come for me and we can be together. Until then I must be satisfied with the lovely invasion into my sleep.

We ended our visit with something we said to each other every day we were together.

I said, “You are my sweet, sweet husband.”

He returned with, “And you are my lovely wife.”

Me & my sweet, sweet husband Keith. Photo taken two days prior to his suicide.