Still The First Morning

(These are a series of posts I hand wrote while I was inpatient on the crisis unit)

August 16, 2019 8:45 AM  Fifteen hours on the unit

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Trigger Warning: Suicidal Stuff.

I don’t belong here. I’m supposed to be in their seat. Studying for years to get here on the wrong side of the glass. I keep doing what I’m supposed to, keep trying to get better, keep fighting for stability. Just to watch it all fall down. What am I doing here, on this side of the glass. Why haven’t I made it to where I belong. Maybe I belong six feet under, maybe I keep stopping short of succeeding at that goal. Maybe I’m focused on the wrong goal. Maybe I should be trying harder to die.

The First Morning

(These are a series of posts I hand wrote while I was inpatient on the crisis unit)

Trigger Warning: Suicidal Stuff

August 16, 2019  5:30 AM.  Approximately Twelve Hours on the Unit

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Written with a tiny pencil

On paper

While sitting on the side of a bed.

Surrounded by stark white walls.

Woken up by the screams of a woman who wanted her meds.

Security was called.

Again.

It’s 5:30 in the morning.

“Are you doing okay?”

“Just great.” I reply “That’s why I’m here.”

Too many people packed into this unit, but more beds are needed.

Psychiatric Crisis.

We count the hours till we’re allowed out of our rooms.

We count the hours till meal time.

We count the hours till groups are over.

We start over again.

They count the hours till they can go home.

I’m not ready for home, even though I don’t want to be here.

My brain is still trying to kill me.

Even sitting here, among these four white walls, I look for ways.

I don’t want to

But my brain is like radar

Searching, searching.

Bedtime last night and they offer me something for sleep.

“Yes, please, I’m ready to not exist.”

“Wait! What? You’re not suicidal, are you?”

“That’s why I’m here.”

Love, Derby

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This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

And a Really Real Community Post.

And a Really Real Support Post.

And a Really Real Roller Derby Post.

Yesterday I didn’t want to go to Derby.  You see, Derby was the last place I was before I went to the hospital, so I was nervous about returning.  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel being there again.  I didn’t really give anyone that reason.  I made other excuses.

No one pressured me.

And, I showed up, I was late, but I showed up.

I was shocked when the league started clapping and welcoming me back. I was also embarrassed and unsure of how to react so I kind of buried myself in the bench I was heading towards.

It was completely unexpected. Yeah, I know most of the people on our league and chat with them. But I’ve always considered myself to be on the outskirts. Not really fitting in. Not really a part of it. That background cast that doesn’t need an understudy because no one would notice if they were missing.

So I was shocked when after practice everyone asked for hugs and told me they were glad to have me back.

This isn’t the reaction someone gets after a mental health crisis. It’s swept under the rug, it’s hush hush, it’s “keep her safe and watch her but don’t mention why.”

This was “we want you here and we’re glad you’re alive, thank you for getting help.” Loud and clear and in the open.

And then at the end of practice they gave me a card, perfectly suited for me, and signed by so much of the league. And then a journal with notes inside from so many different people, telling me how loved and valued I am, telling me why they need me here, telling me what they love about me.

At first I felt like it was too much fuss over nothing, like, it’s just me, what’s the big deal. I’m fine.

But the thing is, I wasn’t fine and I’m still not fine. This was an emergency situation and I just spent nearly a week in the hospital over it. I’m still healing from it.

I needed and still need these tangible reminders that I matter.

I think we all do, I think we all deserve to have tangible reminders that we matter.

I’m thankful to be part of the roller derby community, and Charm City Roller Derby in particular.

I guess I’m not as much of an outsider as I thought I was.

I love you all, CCRD.

Thank you for making me smile.

Pick Up The Pieces

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

(Trigger Warning: Mention of past suicide plan)

I came home from the hospital yesterday.

I walked into an empty sink and empty trash, but there were still obvious signs of my depression.

I needed them gone.  I needed to pick up the pieces that I had left scattered around as my brain fell apart around me.  I needed to sweep away the evidence that showed I was gone for almost a week. I needed the house to return to normal as quickly as possible.

I needed to reclaim my space.

I was exhausted but driven by a need that I couldn’t put words to. I hadn’t yet figured out why I was straightening the kitchen and cleaning out the fridge.  Why I was changing the litter and cleaning my desk. Why I was cleaning my craft room and doing my laundry.

I just wanted to sit down and play with relaxing things that I hadn’t had access to all week and I couldn’t let myself.

So I kept going through the house, cleaning this and that, working from one thing to the next until I had finished picking up all of the pieces left behind by my depression.  Until I had finished putting everything back in order.

We returned the 365 count bottle of Benadryl that I bought that last day home (with every intent of ingesting it along with a bottle of wine). We discussed whether or not any of my new meds were dangerous enough to be locked away.

And then we got dinner at the one place I had been craving the entire time I was eating hospital food (RoFo Fried Chicken of all things). And we got me the first real coffee I’d had in nearly a week (Holy Shit I missed coffee).

I sorted my meds for the coming week with the new dosages in place.

Eventually, everything was done, I felt like I had picked up all of the pieces.  I went to bed knowing I had wiped the slate clean.

From this episode.

Blurred Lines

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Trigger Warning: Mention of Suicidal Thoughts.

Chances are, this isn’t the last time I will be hospitalized.

I’ve always been really good about reaching out for help, and in the last couple of years, the line between safe and unsafe has blurred.

Most of the time the suicidal thoughts are just background noise. I can see them as just thoughts, and I go between seeing them as dumb, to seeing them as annoying, to seeing them as depressing.

But, sometimes I get actively suicidal, with a plan, time, and intent, and that’s dangerous, I’m not safe during that period. When that happens it can last for as little as 10 minutes or so.  Then just as quickly, I’m fine again, seeing a future for myself, knowing that the suicidal thoughts are just thoughts and that I can ignore them.  It may not get dangerous again. Or it may be dangerous again in 20 minutes or an hour. Sometimes the dangerous period lasts longer, even as much as an hour. Sometimes I go back and forth between dangerous and safe. We have no way of knowing when it will start and when it will stop. We have no way of knowing if it’ll be one episode, or days full of them.

Part of the problem is the fact that my active suicidal thoughts (plan, time, intent) pass relatively quickly. By the time I get to the ER, if I’m not actively suicidal, it’s really iffy if they’ll keep me. It’s borderline if they need to keep me, because the truth is, it may not come back.

I have a hard time reaching out for help when I’m like that, because during the actively suicidal moments I don’t want help. When it passes I feel stable enough that I don’t really need help any more, especially since sometimes the episodes are over.

Wednesday morning I had an extra appointment with my therapist via phone because I knew I wasn’t doing well. I knew I needed the extra support. I’m lucky to have a therapist who will fit me in (even if it’s a phone appointment) for a second appointment in a week whenever she can. I also text her when I’m having a rough time and she stays in contact during those periods.

We had discussed inpatient but decided on partial hospitalization because I was still future oriented most of the time and we didn’t feel I was quite at the point where inpatient hospitalization was warranted. Throughout Wednesday I got a lot worse and ended up making the decision to go inpatient instead.

This may not be the last time I see the inside of a psych unit. But I also won’t be inpatient every time I get suicidal. So far, with the help of some close friends and my therapist, I’ve been really good at making the judgement call.

I do the best I can to stay on the safe side, even though the lines are blurred.

 

What Happens When You Disappear?

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Trigger Warning: Suicidal Stuff.

What happens when you stop showing up?

When your Facebook page goes silent?

When you know longer appear at the places you frequent?

What happens when you disappear?

You can say your goodbyes to those that are close to you.

You can remind them you’ll always love them.

You can find little ways to remind them they did all they could do.

But what happens when you stop showing up?

When your memory quietly fades away?

When your Facebook friends slowly dwindle down?

Unfriending so they can forget?

When people move forward without you?

What happens when you disappear?

What happens when you fade away?

When you stop speaking your truth?

When your story is past tense?

When people speak of who you were?

Who you could have been?

(It’s a bunch of bullshit anyway.)

What happens when the fire leaves your eyes?

What happens when your skin is cold?

What happens when you stop showing up?

What happens when the groups go on without you?

When they never know what happened?

They are better off for not knowing.

They don’t even wonder.

You’re just not there anymore.

What happens when I stop breathing?

When I close my eyes and sleep?

What happens if I follow through?

It all falls down

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Trigger Warning: Suicidal Stuff.

I feel that knot in the middle of my chest.

Panic rising.

I’m supposed to be leaving for an appointment right now and I can’t even bring myself to call and cancel.

It should be easy.

I’ve distracted myself all morning with a project that I now want to throw away because it isn’t perfect.

I want to throw my life away.

I feel like I have thrown my life away.

I feel like no matter how hard I try it all falls down.

I’ve learned so many skills, so many things that are supposed to stop me from getting like this. Almost a year spent in DBT, and now I can barely bring myself to go to that. I’m not doing the homework.

I’m not functioning.

I’m watching it all fall down.

I’m supposed to be starting work in the fall, but how does one start work when she shuts down like this?

I once had a doctor tell me I was expecting too much of myself by wanting to work again.  Maybe they were right, maybe this is it, all I will ever be.

Maybe this really is all too much.

I’m tired of fighting, tired of telling the thoughts that I need to live for one more day, and one more, and one more.

I’m tired.

Just want to crawl back in bed but that will let so many people down.

So I sit here full of nothing, full of thoughts that tell me that I’m nothing, that I will always be nothing, that it will never be more than this because it will always come back to this no matter what happens in between.

Everything in my life is a roller coaster and I have yet to follow through with anything. What makes me think that’s going to change. I keep trying so hard and falling down again and again and again and again and again and again.

And again.

Watching it all fall down.

I have had the same hopes and dreams for 20 years and I’m no closer to them, swimming against the tide.

Maybe it’s time to stop fighting.

Maybe it’s time to let go.