Janet was my friend

12/29/12     5pm

Dear Jesus,

I don’t know if she believed or not, but I like to believe that Janet is in your arms today. Please bring her all the comfort and peace that she couldn’t find here and introduce her to joy. Thank you for the time you gave me with her. She is an amazing friend. Please be with Chrissy as she deals with this trauma and help me to provide comfort and support to the group. Give me strength to hold everyone up, to maintain my link. Thank you for giving me the resources and fortitude to do this. Thank you for hope.

In your name I pray, Amen.

Janet 2010

Janet hung herself.
I’m going to the donut shop now.
To be with Joe & Chrissy.
Janet was my friend.

Chrissy found her.
Janet was my friend.
I saw her on Wednesday. We worked, talked, had dinner.
I knew she was bad.
I didn’t know how close.

Was the cleaning up all part of the plan?
I doubt it.

She hung herself in the bathroom.
The bathroom we just worked on.
With the flowered rug.
And the Tinkerbell towels.

Janet was my friend.

We went to Noodles & Company after.
She bought me food. We talked.
She laughed.

I met Janet in 2004 in Henry’s group when she was living with her family in Borrego and getting ECT. She was a wreck, but she helped me. She would walk me through guided imagery. We talked on the phone hours a day. She jumped out of a car on the freeway, ran away. Her parents screamed at me. So much drama. But she was my friend.

I couldn’t tolerate her anymore and was glad she disappeared. I hadn’t seen her in years when she showed up at DBSA. I heard of a Janet and prayed it wasn’t her, but it was. I was scared it would be the same drama with her parents and Fidaleo and 17 drugs. But it wasn’t. She was different.

The crippling depression Janet experienced while at DBSA was a vast improvement from when I met her. She had skills, sometimes hope, and a desire for a good life. She lived on her own or with a roommate, drove a car, fed her cats. Those cats were her family, her reasons for living. And the whole month of Halloween.

Janet was a broken little girl living the devil’s fairy tale. With a body that wouldn’t die. But I guess enough is enough sometimes. Her body & mind were weary. It was time to let go.

I can’t imagine her believing it would work. One last try out of desperation. Care for the cats and care for myself. I don’t blame her. She endured years of torture, loneliness and pain. The people she wanted love from the most were mean to her. She had nothing left in the reserve. No doctor, dwindling meds, persistent severe depression. She had her note cards and her kitties and her best friend. She fought the good fight and now it’s over.

Janet was my friend.

I find myself grappling now with the what if and why questions. The words that have no answers. The words that need no response.

I’m going to the donut shop.
Janet was my friend.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012


6-6-10                   1:04am

I sit here quiet tonight. I just don’t have the right words.

There are a few people I feel very connected to. I’m not sure why. I just do. They have this energy. I just know that they’re special. There’s something about them I can’t quite shake. Like B-. When I first met her at an HD convention years ago I was in her group and I just kept staring at her. I didn’t know why but she was one of those people. And she kept staring back. There are three in my life right now. When they hurt, I hurt. When they’re happy, I’m happy. It’s like there’s a soul-connection. I don’t understand it but I know that it is.

Tonight I am quiet. I don’t know what to say. One of them is hurting and it is a heaviness I carry with me. I don’t get to choose it. It’s just there. It makes my face hurt, makes it hard to breathe. If I could just be quiet with this person. It is more powerful than any words. A hug. I know. And I’m here. It’s hard to send that over email.

Do you have a person or persons you’re just connected to? People who for no rational reason can take you on an emotional ride? People you believe too much, no matter what they say, just because they’re them? From whom a single text or picture can change your entire day or leave you thinking for weeks? And people who’s pain that has nothing to do with you can make you physically hurt? I am so grateful that I have these people. I would do or give anything for them. But tonight it leaves me quiet.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010


5-30-10                 4:29am

Is this what pretty girls feel like?

I’ve never had a problem with guys. They simply have not been interested. Except the over 40, creepy, crazy crowd and the dirty old men, but they’re easy to deal with. Not so lately. The guy I really liked might as well be dead. But for some reason everyone else, or at least a good portion of else, is now interested in me. I don’t know what changed.

N- asked me out last week, which really threw me off but now I like. But so did two lesbians, whom I turned down. Tonight it was the drunk guy who thought I was married to Uncle Dave. There is a quasi-business contact I have that I need to keep who woke me up today to ask me to a Padre game, or a movie, or dinner, or to go square dancing, or God knows what else. I can’t stand this guy but he’s so overly happy to talk to me. And I’m talking to a friend online now. I said that I’m craving Vienna pickles and that I hate feeling hungry. He comes back with, “And I’m craving you nake. [sic]” What? What a way to make a girl feel like a piece of meat.

I don’t quite understand, maybe because I’m not a horny guy. But these types of advances are not a turn on, they’re not pleasant, and they’re not welcome. Sure, I like compliments and I like to feel sexy (crying), but I can’t. I just can’t. I need someone to realize that I am not okay. I’m not.

I told him about a piece of meat and he says, “no. not a piece of meat. I would say more like a piece of art. something special. one of a kind.” It’s these things that make me cry. It’s beautiful. But hearing it reminds me that I’m sick. He wants the one thing I cannot or will not give him. I just want not to be ill.

When I was out with N- last week, as I listened and watched I noticed he was full of hope. Me, not so much. I am tired. So tired. And I would like to spend more time with him, but he’s exceedingly busy. I am exceedingly sleepy. And I need more than a few text message every few days.

There are these constant reminders of what I’m not. I didn’t want to go to that party tonight. Not because I don’t like my friend, but because it’s really hard for me to be around people who have what I want and people who are asking me what I do and if I’m in school and all those normal-people questions. I don’t drink, I don’t work, I don’t want to talk about my group, I don’t drive or have a boyfriend, and I don’t want to talk about any of it.

Gosh I hate myself right now. I don’t want to be having this conversation. (on FB) He asks the tough questions. They remind me of who I am and who I don’t want to be. I feel sad…

Ah damn. Light out already? Gimme a break, sun. I hate Daylight Savings. And I still want a Vienna pickle.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

A Good Party

5-29-10                 10:35pm

I’m so exhausted. Just got home from Jenny’s graduation party. I got to watch a family.

Tonight I watched beer pong, listened to a lot of loud drunk people and held Jenny’s hair as she puked and then yelled, “I can do whatever I want. It’s MY graduation!” Lol. I was mistaken for Uncle Dave’s wife (whomever Uncle Dave is) and then stalked by the guy who thought that. Fun. I watched a very talented 3 year old dance hip hop. The kid is amazing. I hope he sticks with it. I watched people take care of each other and I enjoyed the experience. I also got an idea for a business that I think could be very successful.

I’m utterly exhausted but feel good. Congrats, Jenny. Here’s to remembering your party. ;)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

You Suck

5-9-10                   3:18am

So, I was thinking about enabling tonight. Which really bugs me. There is this thing I see happen a lot. Toxic kindness. When you tell someone they look good even though they look horrible just so you don’t have to say it. When you tell someone, “Great job,” even though they just bombed. When you smile and pretend. How does that help?

We are doing people a great injustice by being kind. Sometimes it’s more productive for us all to just say, “You suck.” Like little girls growing up in dance. It does NOT help if you think everything they do is wonderful. God forbid their teacher does. If no one ever points out their mistakes, if no one says, “You look horrible. Send that back,” how are they gonna know? They will think they are just wonderful and one day get to competition and see all these other girls that are better. They will not just wonder why they didn’t win, but also why everyone failed to mention THEY SUCK. Helpful? I think not.

Who ever decided it was bad to tell the truth? I’m a bit, okay more than a bit, directly honest than most. But it’s usually not a bad thing. If it is, it’s still just the truth. Like I said to a friend the other day, “You’re getting fat.” Okay. It’s the truth. Maybe not a socially acceptable one to point out but it’s not heresy. NOT telling the truth, NOT saying “You suck” can be harmful. Now I know there are times when lying is necessary, but not as often as people claim. I think we’re just afraid people won’t like us. That we’ll hurt someone’s feelings. That we’ll lose friends. Well, what are our friends losing because we don’t tell them? Who doesn’t help us cuz they don’t know what we need? What embarrassment might we have saved had we just said, you suck? Think about it.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

Swinging – On the Other Side

5-9-10                   2:27am

When I read posts from M- I feel such compassion. I don’t know just what draws me to him. I’ve never met him. I only know him through FB. I think it’s the fact that he’s genuine. (My stomach hurts.) And the volume of genuine posts. If you make me think or occupy enough of my think-time, you become a close friend, whether I know you or not.

I noticed tonight he seems to swing a lot. Mood swings that is. Extreme highs and lows. Joy and strife. I was riding with my mom thinking about this. I felt concerned and wondered if he’d ever sought help. I realized it’s not really my place to ask but also that it’s not my place to kill the dream.

I realized – I’m on the other side. If I could go back to my days of creative highs and performance and laughter and joy and strife and craziness, would I? I have given up so much in the pursuit of not happiness but stability. And what do I really have? Not stability, less happiness, I guess less strife. Less psychosis. But there is little traveling, almost no dancing, no theater. My grand ideas are mostly limited to mental health and don’t usually happen. I have no degree. I have talent but I’m not doing what I love. I’d like to go to Fresno in a few weeks for a convention but I can’t afford it, have a choir performance and Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. I’d much rather do midnight workshops and dance all day.

I didn’t know what I was signing up for when I started taking medication. I just needed to get the Hell away from what was happening. I think if I’d been accurately diagnosed things might have been different. Maybe not. I remember the first night I heard voices. It was the scariest night of my life. I’ve been through a lot of scary things, but that tops it. My psychiatrist told me it was “normal” for people with depression to hear voices and not to worry, did nothing. (deep breath…) I would not go back to my days of skinniness and days of dancing and top of the world highs if it meant taking back the voices and the visions and the feelings and everything that went with them. But I yearn for those days. If you haven’t experienced them, you can never understand. It’s why we go off our meds. To feel them. Sometimes almost anything is worth getting that back. It’s like trying to convince yourself every minute that eating only peanut butter and jelly for the rest of your life will be as full-filling as eating as much of the best food you’ve ever tasted for a month and then starving.

This bitter perspective is not quite something someone new to mental health should hear or can handle. Would you jump at that? Maybe if you are desperate or REALLY like peanut butter. But it’s something they NEED to hear. But nobody says it. Nobody says to the artist, “This pill may save your life but you won’t paint the same.” No one says to the actor, “The stage might not be your friend.” No one bothers to tell the dancer, “By the way, in six months you’ll either be too fat to dance or you’ll be fat enough that you hate yourself enough not to.” No one says that. They should. But they don’t.

So I find myself on the other side. I’ve been through creativity and performance and crazy wonderful and terrible highs. And I’ve been through years of treatment and its ups and downs and effects. And now I’m here, on the other side. I think I’ve learned all I can from programs. Therapy keeps me going because it gives me someone non-judgmental to talk to. But I usually have the answer or it’s me that has to figure it out. I’ve been on tons of meds. I’m not on many anymore. And I watch people. I watch them feel and interact. I know when something’s wrong and sometimes what. Not much surprises me. Not much other people say scares me. And I want to help. What I have been through helps, but it doesn’t not hurt. It takes from you. It’s not free. Life in entertainment may be crazy but it’s a choice. Everything is a choice. (sigh)

I wish there was a way to get “better” without losing the creativity. Without losing what makes us us. On the other side now. I can’t cross back. Not for long…

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010