Returning

I haven’t felt myself lately. Where “lately” is “the last nine months or so.” Maybe longer. I was so sick last spring semester that perhaps the depression was already at play, earlier than I thought, masquerading with physical symptoms. In fact, it seems likely.

(The good news about this is I’m slowly re-adding soy to my diet and with no ill effects!)

I first recognized it yesterday after I signed up to volunteer at an event in February. In days past, this would not be something of note, as I was frequently volunteering in some way or another. But in the past six months, I’ve been afraid to leave my bedroom, much less go somewhere public to volunteer. Not only that, but signing up to volunteer required me to answer questions like, “Describe your level of experience working with people with disabilities.” I didn’t write a Nobel Prize-winning essay to be sure, but a month ago, even two sentences would have seemed impossible.

I started walking home from school on days where it is nice (read: not raining and above 25*F) and running for 20 minutes with a toddler doesn’t tire me out to the point of being incapacitated the rest of the day. I can arrive on campus early and tolerate being around people for the “extra” time. I speak out, take the lead in discussions. I make witty reparte’. I look at what remains of my schooling and think, “This is do-able.”

I sit down in front of a blank page and can find a way to put words on it.

I am returning to myself, slowly but surely.

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Unexpected Vacation

I mean, if that’s what you want to call two weeks in the hospital. I’ll spare you details, but it was a couple days in ICU, then I got transferred to a locked facility which, so far as those things go, is a rather nice one. And I wasn’t made to wear the turtle suit, which was a welcome surprise.

I also had my own room and bathroom, which was great since I am not a people person, but really poorly planned in terms of safety. I had to have a “bodyguard” occasionally, but otherwise was free to “move freely about the cabin” as it were. For the post part, this wasn’t an issue and my room was just a place to escape the din of the dayroom and/or sleep, but I couldn’t help thinking about how easy it would be to use eating disorder behaviours while there. To my credit, I didn’t (much), but it was certainly tempting.

Overall, it was just a long, long stay and it is nice to have returned to the real world, where I can buy a diet coke and drink it at any time of the day and be trusted with pens not be forced to eat dinner at 5 pm, which is entirely too early. (But really. And the ward below us ate dinner at 4:15! I would have just lost it.) Unfortunately, the depression hasn’t abated much, and there is now the added issue of schoolwork. (Work-work I am eager to return to.)

The stress of this semester certainly played into this episode, though I can’t blame it all on that. On the whole, my self-care and taking time for me have been far superior to any other time in my life. This is a lot chemical, and I know that, but we still have no idea how to get me out of this pit. I’ve been on just about everything, which is why it begins to seem hopeless.

The doctor tried one medicine in the hospital that made me a bit hypomanic and so the doctor discontinued it immediately, much to my dismay. After many days of raised voices and complaints and me giving in by “taking” (er, cheeking) the medication he was so set on, he finally agreed to let me try this drug again. I told the doctor that I am not looking to be hypomanic all the time – I know that is not sustainable. But I’ve been maxed out on the only two antidepressants that ever worked for me for over two years. I don’t want to be hypomanic – I just want to get up in the morning and not kill myself.

All that to say, I have returned to school. And if my anxiety about school were high IN the hospital, it seems to be even higher out here. Mainly, just being on campus is throwing me into a bit of a panic, as I have class in an hour or so and am no doubt going to have to answer a number of questions. I really don’t know that I can handle all of that right now.

But I don’t really have much of a choice, do I? Onwards and (hopefully) upwards.

You Know It’s A Good Day In Therapy When…

Your therapist threatens to send you inpatient.  Twice.

In response, I attempt [unsuccessfully] to fight back tears because all I can hear is my worst fear:  You are never going to make anything of your life because you are going to be in and out of psychiatric hospitals for the rest of your freaking life.

It’s a fear I’ve had for a while — since I’ve been making yearly trips to treatment and/or the psychiatric ward a sort of annual thing.  And I’ve got to DO something with my life, right?  I’m “gifted,” I have “so much potential,” I could “change the world.”  Sure, if I didn’t have half a dozen psychiatric diagnoses that threaten to derail everything I have worked so hard for if my nutrition and chemical balances aren’t just so.

In general, I try to keep my emotions under wrap.  I just don’t have time to acknowledge them if I want to maybe possibly stay on top of my schoolwork and eating.  And who really wants to sit with the shit that’s beneath all my shame and self-contempt?

So yeah, when you ask me how I really feel, if I feel safe, I’m going to tell you.  I feel empty, sad, lonely, hopeless.  You ask me what I want to do and I’ll tell you.  I want to quit. I want to curl up in a corner and just wait for life to be over.  I want to speed up the process by starving and drinking and slicing up my arms and legs.

It doesn’t mean I’m actively thinking of suicide.  It just means I’m tired.  And yes, passively suicidal can turn to actively suicidal in time.  I understand your concern.  I understand that you can’t let me leave your office if you think I am even remotely a danger to self.  I understand all this professional ethics bullshit.

My point is, don’t push so hard if you don’t want to hear the answers.  Because dammit, A, if you’re going to push me, YES, we’re going to go into dark places and I probably WILL want to kill myself.  

But your suggestion of finding “someone else who can help me” is just as heartbreaking because you are, hands down, the most competent therapist I’ve ever had.  The only therapist I have ever really trusted.  The only therapist who is willing to put up with all my stupid games and push me and tell me I can have better and deserve better.

You haven’t given up and that’s the only reason I haven’t.

Untethered

I keep looking for words, but they won’t come.  Even poetry and quotations, which can usually break through the fog in my head and provide inspiration, fall flat.  My own thoughts are too morbid to voice, too dangerous to speak out loud.  I speak candidly in yesterday’s therapy session, regret it almost immediately.

I spend half an hour last night with a friend, taking inventory of all the pills I’d been saving, listening to her flush them down the toilet, then call my therapist.

I’m pissed.  I am skipping the gym for this.  I am scaring my friend.  I have made her cry.

And my escape route from this hell has just been taken away to boot.

Inevitable.  That’s what I told my therapist yesterday about my committing suicide.  It’s always just been…inevitable.  I’ve known it for years.  Everyone has.  It’s something of a small miracle that I haven’t done it yet.

My therapist tried to convince me that it would be hurtful to those around me, selfish to kill myself.  She asked what I thought their reactions would be and I stared blankly at her before muttering, “They’d get over it.”

And I wonder if dragging it out, slowly killing myself by starving, isn’t making it that much worse.  Is it not better to just get it over with and done and let people move on?  Is it not better to just be dead already and stop worrying people and sending my parents into debt for treatment that clearly isn’t doing a whole hell of a lot?

My sister and I planned a trip to Disney in two weeks.  I don’t want to go.

I don’t want to think about having to live another two weeks.