The Time I Can’t Remember

a soul-annihilating wasteland at which I once pointed a camera

A week or so ago a friend of mine recounted a story from 2001. (You’ll recall that 2001 wasn’t so great for me.) In a nutshell, the story went like this:

  1. I felt a friend of mine had been mistreated by a health professional.
  2. I lied to said friend, saying I had to run some errands.
  3. I instead went to the office of said health professional and gave a loud, emphatic, disgusted, and expletive -filled lesson on appropriate patient care.
  4. I did this in the lobby/waiting room, because I was refused a conference with the actual doctor in question.
  5. I returned to my friend, saying my errands were successful, and we took a nap in her dorm room.

I don’t remember any of this happening. She knows it happened because at her next doctor’s appointment she was asked about her crazy friend and the story was relayed to her then. Fighting the urge to call myself an awesomely loyal friend, I will admit that my behavior in this story was probably motivated by my mania-induced belief that I was sent to this earth to educate and enlighten those less fortunate in the ways of intellect and ethics. Megalomania and delusions of grandeur weren’t the half of it;  This story is really just the tip of the iceberg.

This brings me to the point: The Time I Can’t Remember. With my New Year’s Resolution underway, I have been forced to acknowledge the (many) things of which I have no memory. There were bridges both built and burnt, whose respective establishment and smoldering ashes are part of my everyday life now. In short, there are consequences.

And now I wrestle with a set of questions: How do I take responsibility for the consequences of actions I don’t remember? How do I take responsibility when I do remember, but know I wasn’t quite myself? I neither want nor expect blanket forgiveness. When appropriate, I have offered apologies and explanations. These have been met with varying degrees of acceptance and understanding. Having built bridges to wastelands and destroyed those once meaningful, how does one make peace with what can’t be ignored and can’t be mended?

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3 comments
  1. So that begs the question: are you wanting to make peace with the other or with yourself? If with the other, it takes 2 (or more, depending). All you can do is apologize and, if necessary, explain (attempting oh so hard to make sure they understand you are not using your disorder as an excuse). The rest is up to them. If they want peace they will allow it, if not, they will find some excuse to blame you further.

    Now, if you want to make peace with yourself, you merely (hahaha) do what you do whenever you make a mistake. You make your apologies to the other and you work at forgiving yourself. For yourself, you get to use the disorder because you KNOW it played a part and you know what part it played. And you ARE taking responsibility for your actions despite the disorder. You know you are takings meds to help with that problem of doing things you don’t remember. You know you are now in better control and are making better choices. And that goes a long way even if others can’t fathom that. You can only control yourself. ♥

    A little before your time, but…

    • said:

      “merely.” That’s awesome.

      I invoked that story in this post for the irony it presents vis a vis responsibility and ethical action. My difficulty here is in making peace with myself: my responsibilities, my failure to meet my own ethical expectations. (As I posted on your blog not too long ago, I try to avoid fighting battles with jackasses. So if my honest and conscientious attempts toward mending aren’t met with openness, there’s only so much I can reasonably do.) The metaphorical bridges (both created and destroyed) represent connections to others AND connections to parts of myself. I’m not sure where I’m going with this…maybe I’m going somewhere like this: Self-forgiveness is hard when I owe (read: “am ethically and morally obligated to give”) myself more.

      • Your “owing” is of your own making. Self-forgiveness is hard when you don’t believe in it. In fact, it’s impossible. I’m speaking from experience of course. Fucking my children up was the furthest thing from my agenda, yet somehow…And it is because of them that I have been forced to reconcile my expectations of myself with my limitations as a human being, not even as a bipolar. Obligations are human created as well, so it’s good for me to remember that as I embark on self-forgiveness.

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