A Rickety Cage

It just occurred to me today that I am able to move through my day without the constant attacks. It feels nice to have a little breathing space and to be able to think about something other than depression. Yes, it is still lurking but I can ignore it for short bits of time.

My mind seems to translate from thought or feeling to analogy. I am not sure if this is common or not, it just seems to be an adaptation my mind has made to help me make sense of some things. Right now I am picturing my depression as a fierce lion. Even though the lion swallowed me, I was able to break out when I found the right help. Of course that didn’t make the lion happy and to be perfectly honest, it was scary for me to be out of that place. As bad as it was, it was a home I knew instead of this great big unknown that is home now.

It turns out now that escaping the lion didn’t mean I was safe and free, either. Since escaping I have had to work hard to learn new tools. These tools are meant to help me keep this pissed off lion at bay. While I was learning these initial tools the damn lion was chasing and nipping at me the whole time. It’s not the best learning environment but it’s what I had.

Finally I figured out how to put my new knowledge to use. I had to be pulled out of the lion’s mouth a couple more times, but now I have built a cage for it. It isn’t a pretty cage and it isn’t even a sturdy cage, but I overcame horrible odds to even build this.

With this rickety cage I am able to lock the beast up for short periods of time. The cage is too fragile to hold it for long, but the time I have without it makes it easier to learn. The more I learn, the stronger I can make this cage. At long last it feels like an endless cycle is moving in the right direction!!!

I don’t think I will ever be totally rid of the lion. I do hope I can learn to securely cage it and learn how to wrangle it if it escapes. This has given me a new outlook and I am even searching for ways to make myself more comfortable in this new world of freedom I am starting to live in. It amazes me what is possible when 100% of my energy is not devoted to that lion. Maybe I am not a lion tamer but locking it in a rickety cage seems like just as good a solution to me.

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A Nice Goodbye

Yesterday I had to say goodbye to my psychiatrist. Her and I had only worked together since the beginning of April, but it was a huge loss for me. I have not had the best of luck with psychiatrists and she was the best I have had. I met her under very unusual circumstances. Somehow a patient had smuggled in a lighter and started a fire in the hospital. No one was injured, but an entire floor of an already over crowded hospital had to be shut down. To make room, they sent me to step down facility in the community. This particular house was scheduled to be renovated and was not supposed to be taking new patients. The night I arrived I was greeted by a nurse who had a particular interest in making sure the LGBTQ community was properly served by the mental health system. He made sure I was assigned to the psychiatrist that he thought would be the best fit. I met her the next day and after a brief conversation she wanted to send me back to the hospital. I didn’t hide the fact that I was intent on taking my own life, but I had told her I wouldn’t until I was discharged. She considered it, talked to my GP and talked to me again, then decided to take a chance on me and let me stay. Because of the mental state I was in it didn’t fully register with me just how much of a risk she was taking on someone she had barely met. This was a totally open unit and she knew I had the means to kill myself waiting at home and a strong desire to follow through with it. I am so grateful now that she took a chance not many doctors would have taken.

We worked together for almost a month at this house before they had to close it. She made it clear from day 1 that I probably wouldn’t like her much and that was the truth for the first week or two. She wasn’t mean, but she also didn’t pull any punches. She was brutally honest with me but was always willing to listen when I disagreed. That sounds extremely civil, and it was never threatening in the least, but kids and a lot of adults might have been appalled at the language, tone and volume. It turns out that was exactly what I needed to get through to me at that time, too. She gained my respect as well because it was never one way. She listened when I told her she was mean and what she was saying was cruel. She somehow had a way of never dismissing my feelings while convincing me she was right. The few times she was not right she was quick to admit it as well. By the time the house closed we had a good relationship ad I half-heartedly decided to live a little longer.

My first week out I went to see my regular psychiatrist who I don’t get along with at all. We argued a little then she told me she was going on maternity leave for 4 months. I can’t describe how discouraged I was to be back in a place where it seemed there was no hope for me to get useful help. I was ready to give up again, but a couple of days later I got a call. While my doctor was on mat leave, the doctor I had for the past month would fill in for her. I had a little bit of hope again.

Her and I have worked together the last four months. It has not been easy and the work isn’t done, but I am in a much better place now than when I met her. She is extremely good at her job and she is an amazingly caring person. I suck at ending any kind of relationship, but this one had been so important to me I wanted to make a real effort to end it well. I think it worked. I was able to let her know how much she had meant to me. I told her how bad I felt that it had to end, something I don’t think I have ever been able to tell anyone. She totally surprised me again. For the last five months she had been caring, but was always very professional. Her feelings or personal life were never breached until yesterday. She told me she was having a hard time with the ending as well. Because of the work I am hoping to do, she said there was a good chance we would see each other again and she hoped we will. Then she told me she was proud of me. I am not sure anyone has ever been proud of me before, but she honestly meant it. She was crying as much as I was. The ending didn’t feel good, but it was so different than my past experiences. I am so glad that I happened to meet this wonderful doctor. Her future patients are very lucky!!!

Stop Yelling at Me

I don’t have a particularly large head as far as I can tell. I have never had to get hats custom made nor do I have trouble pulling shirts or sweaters over my noggin. It amazes me that so many people can reside in this average size head. On any day there can be a number of people from my past telling me what to do, or more accurately, what I am not capable of doing.

The last few weeks I have seen some of my dreams getting closer to reality. This is the first time in many years I have allowed myself to get excited about the future. When it was just dreams and vague plans it was great, but now that it is getting real, a couple of those people from my past have emerged. They tell me how much I don’t deserve to be happy and they tell me that I will just screw this up like everything else.

The truth is, I don’t screw everything up. Of course I have messed up but of course I have gotten some things right as well. I have been told that this is not so uncommon for humans. This is what my logical voice in my head tells me, I am more likely to do well and be happy than not.

I wish it was as easy as listening to that encouraging voice and maybe it is, but I have not mastered that yet. In my head the mean voices get louder. The more I don’t hear them or don’t pay attention, the louder they get. The main owner of that screaming voice was every bit like that. He made sure he was heard and made sure I knew how worthless I was.

The only thing I can do for now is ignore this voice and push through. My hope is that one day I can get that voice to stop yelling. I hate being yelled at, but somehow I expect everyone I know to eventually yell at me. When I am yelled at I am transported to a different time and place somehow. My reaction is never good and is normally something I will regret when I calm down, but in the moment I have no idea how to control it. Auto pilot takes over and steers me in the direction it thinks will keep me safe, I am just along for the ride.

Life with all these past voices and experiences shaping my present and future really sucks. How do I get them to stop yelling at me?

Hello Again

It hasn’t been an easy year for me so far.  I haven’t written here since March and that wasn’t a positive post, to say the least.  A week after that post I was back in hospital.  I assumed it would be like the other times and they would keep me a day or two and send me home.  If that had happened, that would have been the end of me.  On my third day there a mishap caused major water damage to another ward.  Because they had to make room in the other already over crowded wards, I was sent to a transitional unit.  A wonderful nurse that was working that night helped me so much.  He made sure I was assigned to a doctor who has been a great fit for me.  The staff and atmosphere at this unit was such a good and fortunate thing for me.  I was there a few weeks and through another quirk of fate, my doctor ended up at my community MH office so I have continued working with her.  It is only for a short while, but it has been good for me.  Last week I started DBT and WRAP.  Life is still a struggle but at least my support team seems to have more hope for me.  I am slowly getting back into the world, also.  More updates to come, there are some other exciting possibilities coming up soon for me.  

Speechless

I feel like I need to write something, but I don’t know what.  I need to feel some connection to something other than depression and darkness. I am so tired.

I saw my GP on Thursday.  She is a wonderful person and I know she is worried about me.  I hate that I am such a burden.  Just before I left her office she told me something that meant so much.  She let me know what she thinks of me as a person.  It isn’t often that I am a person to someone else.  Most of the time I am a patient or client.  This means a very controlled one way relationship with no chance to be real.  It has its place, but it makes me feel even more isolated to have no real relationships.  

Something in me snapped a few weeks ago.  On my son’s birthday, I gave up.  I have been fighting this darkness for a long time and I just couldn’t anymore.  I have given up.  I quit my meds that weekend.  The doctors think that is the cause of me getting worse, I think it is a symptom.  I reached the point where I can’t see a purpose to fight anymore.

I know I have been a pain in the ass to a lot of people.  I am sorry.  I don’t mean to be.  I was desparate for help.  I wanted a reason to keep going and haven’t been able to find one.  

My 1%

I currently have only two significant relationships in my life.  They are both professionals, my GP and my therapist.  I have no personal relationships.  I am afraid of relationships, I know how bad I mess them up and how bad I feel when I do.  I see my GP every week for a half hour and my therapist for an hour, that is less than 1% of my week.  Work consumes roughly 24% of my week so that leaves 75% of my week where I am completely alone.  To look at it another way, I spend 24% of my time to earn the money to just survive 75% of the time while I wait for the 1% of my time that matters at all to me.  Lately I have spent a good deal of the 75% of my time wondering why I bother at all.  Is it really worth it to keep fighting with myself and keep holding on just so I can go to work and make my appointments each week?  

Tomorrow is the Enemy

Tomorrow is my enemy.  Today has been no walk in the park, but I managed to get to work.  Once my day has started, I somehow manage to break it into chunks that can be survived.  I have made it to lunch, now I just have to make it to the end of work.  After that I just have to make it home, then dinner, then to bedtime.  It isn’t always easy, but it is mostly manageable.  Tomorrow is another story, though.  Tomorrow is always frightening and overwhelming.  I don’t even know if I will be able to get out of bed.  I am not sure why, but tomorrow can never be split into manageable pieces.  Tomorrow is always this big huge task that hovers just over the horizon.  It is dark and scary and full of the unknown.  The unknown is never good either!  The promises tomorrow holds will surely be the end of me.  Tomorrow scares me, I know I can’t defeat all the tomorrows.  I guess I am safe, though as long as the enemy is always tomorrow.  I know I am in real trouble when today becomes the enemy that I can’t manage.