3 hours

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

It’s 3 hours until I have to check-in.

I’m counting down the strangest things.

One last dose of my evening meds at home.

One last time taking my morning ones.

One last pet of the pupper.

One last pet of the kitties.

One last cuddle.

One last bowl of pho.

One last coffee.

One last post.

One last message on messenger.

One last text.

Counting down.

Holding all of these things dear.

I’ve asked myself, why is this so hard when so often I want myself dead.

Why does 2 months of my life seem harder than the end?

Why?

Well, I won’t be around to witness the aftermath of the end.

I won’t feel anything after that moment.

And I have to feel all of this.

I have to feel all of the next two months.

Deeply delving into my brain and hoping to scoop out the parts that ask for death.

Hoping to put more space between mood swings.

Hoping to give myself a chance at long term euthymia.

That midline of “normality” where I’m not depressed, and not manic, and not both at the same time.

And it may not work.

That’s true.

But I owe myself the chance.

I owe myself this work.

This opportunity.

And I’m glad I finally see it for what it is.

I just had to stop thinking through everyone else.

Worrying about what you would want me to do.

Worrying about letting someone down.

When in the end, I’m the only one that matters.

This is my chance at life.

My chance at recovery.

My chance at stability.

Me.

In less than 3 hours I have to check-in.

And I’m at peace.

17 hours

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Possibly the last one for awhile.

But maybe,

just maybe,

in the hustle and bustle of tomorrow,

packing up the things I need,

checking my list twice,

three times,

more,

maybe,

just maybe,

I’ll need to put fingers to keys one more time.

This is scary.

I didn’t know what decision I was going to make until the moment that I told her I was interested in coming onto the unit.

Even in the seconds before I was going back and forth,

back and forth,

back and forth.

But I think I made the right decision,

instead of the easy one.

Because this is hard.

I can’t decide what is scarier. The idea that I won’t pack everything I need, or the thought of the unknowns on the unit.

Of course, I’ve been to this hospital, I know what some of the process is like. But I don’t know much about the unit I’m going on to.

I have some insider information, but I don’t want to ask too many questions.

Don’t want to be,

too much.

So I wonder. What are the rooms like? What are the shared bathrooms like? What are the showers like?

How much of it will be comfortable for my body that is larger than life?

What activities are available? What type of therapy do they do? What will my doctor be like?

How much of it will be wholly uncomfortable when I first get there?

How much of it will I settle right in to?

I’m feeling confident in my ability to make friends. I’ve always been concerned about that. But lately, I see how I attract like minded people to me.

When I started on the other unit, I would sit in a chair in the far back corner of the room.

Alone at a table.

Quietly writing, or coloring, or doing word searches

(so, so many word searches in my 10 day stay).

Slowly people started joining.

Sometimes we would talk.

Other times we’d sit quietly lost in our own little traumatized worlds.

Coloring, writing, working on our own little minds.

Two of them are also coming to the trauma unit.

I wonder if they got there before me? Will I have a head start into meeting people?

Or will I find a corner chair alone again.

Quietly writing, or coloring, or doing even more searching for words.

(I bought 2 new books of them.)

I have a list, two pages, things I just can’t forget.

I have a suitcase, I’m only allowed to fill one.

So, I just have to make sure it’ll all fit. I only need a day or two worth of clothes, right? Fill the space with all of the other necessities.

Of course I’m kidding. I even made new shirts for the occasion.

How will they handle my CPAP. Will I be allowed to have it all of the time? Or will I have to check it out of the med room for every nap?

So many unknowns. So many what ifs. So many anxieties.

I’ve already taken my night time meds.

My melatonin.

And my brain is still racing with so many questions.

17 hours until I check in.

17 hours until the door locks behind me.

17 hours until my newest new normal begins.

17 hours.

Another day, Another post

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

We spent today’s group talking about life altering decisions and how we came to that decision.

Of course I talked about my upcoming decision regarding the inpatient crisis unit.

I no longer feel like I have to make the decision for other people, and that took a huge weight off. I think there’s still a little of that there, but it’s no where near as strong.

And it doesn’t catch in my throat and make me cry anymore.

But I kind of feel like I’m ignoring a decision that just has to be made.

I can’t ignore it forever.

One day, soon, I’m going to get the call.

I have to know what to tell them.

I both think it would be easier and harder if I could schedule this for a later date.

Easier, because I won’t miss my 40th birthday, a birthday that feels very important to me.

Harder, because I would have this date looming over me, just like I do now for a few weeks, but instead it would be for months.

I hate that I even have to make this decision. I’m still super frustrated and angry about that.

This wasn’t how things were supposed to happen.

I went down there doing a good thing for a horrible man. A man that spent most of his life abusing me in one way or another.

I did what I felt was right.

And this is the thanks I get.

A good deed never goes unpunished.

As they say.

Today someone brought up “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always get.”

Well, I’ve always used PHP and extra therapy to heal from traumas.

And I was working, adulting, living a full life. My suicidal thoughts were mostly quiet, and when they came up I could handle them.

And then a new trauma happened.

Do I heal from it the same way I’ve always done? The way that worked?

Or do I try something new?

Such a hard decision.

One I wish I didn’t have to make.

Just feel like it

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I just feel like writing. Again, there’s no real goal in mind, maybe a couple of points I want to hit along the way, but no end in sight.

I started PHP/IOP yesterday. It is normally a Partial Hospitalization Program in non covid times, but due to it being online, and there only being 2 groups a day (instead of the normal 5 or so), it’s considered an Intensive Outpatient Program right now.

The best and hardest part of each day is group therapy. It’s where I do the most deep, difficult processing. But it’s also where I get to know the most about the other members of our little group. Sevenish snapshots into sevenish lives (the number of participants varies day to day).

The other group often feels redundant. It’s a coping skills class of some sort, often covering something I’ve been over half a dozen times already. Been there, done that. But honestly, if I knew these coping skills so well, I wouldn’t be back here.

Maybe.

I keep trying to remind myself that this is a new trauma, and therefore I have to go through the healing process again.

And I’m sure, given my life, that it’ll happen again sometime in the future.

I think I’m a trauma magnet.

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Kidlet just called. These days his calls are fewer and further between, so when he wanted to talk for a long time, I jumped on teh opportunity. Not hanging up until I had missed most of my second group, and my lunch had grown cold and chewy.

And I would do it again.

I treasure the moments we spend on the phone, the moments we spend chatting on messenger.

I miss him more than I can explain. He was supposed to come out next week, but circumstances changed that into sometime next year. It will likely have been 2 years between visits by the time he makes it here.

Hopefully I can go see him at some point, but it isn’t likely to happen any time soon.

I just miss him. And there is a grieving process involved with that.

Empty nesting isn’t easy, even though it has given me a chance to live the parts of my life that I missed out on because I was such a young mom.

I think it was worth it to miss my second group to have a chance to talk to him for over an hour. A chance that I may not get for quite some time if I go inpatient.

A chance that might not come around again any time soon even if I don’t go.

And I’m still weighing that decision. The thoughts of it no longer carry that heavy, unrelenting knot in my throat. I no longer cry when the situation crosses my mind.

But I don’t think I’ll make a final decision until the day that I get the phone call telling me it’s time.

My therapist is still working on more information for me, multiple therapists are looking into alternative treatments (including EMDR, a type of trauma therapy).

There’s a lot to weigh.

Part of it depends on if I go into crisis again between now and then. The thoughts have been quiet, dormant, no longer flitting through the back of my brain constantly.

But I know they’ll be back, it’s just a matter of how strongly and how good I am at overcoming them.

My main coping skill when I get suicidal is to keep myself in bed, it’s a safe space where I can’t hurt myself.

The problem is, being locked in my bed means I have nothing to distract me and I ruminate on the thoughts continually. They don’t typically pass until I get myself up and get involved in something. But that’s scary because there are potentially dangerous things in the rest of the house.

My goal next time (and there will be a next time) is to get myself up and involved in something quickly, even if it’s just writing out one of my long, neverending, posts about how horrible it feels.

Writing helps clear it from my system.

And not those quick, rapid fire, one sentence posts that I throw out as a lifeline when I’m in the thick of things.

But writing, solid, in depth writing, sometimes with no end in sight. No planned out narration. Just a stream of consciousness flow that twists and turns where it will.

Write

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Today, I don’t really have a goal in mind with this post.

I just feel like writing.

Normally, I switch to piano music while I write, today I’m leaving the pop music on.

Never mind, I can’t focus with the words in the music. I get swept away by the lyrics and can’t find my own words.

Heh, I know this, but yet I still try.

Piano music it is.

I had a really productive therapy session yesterday.

Followed by a really productive group therapy session.

Today I have my intake for the Partial Hospitalization Program, and there’s talk about them going back to in person, which as much as that scares me from a Corona standpoint, it would be much more helpful.

Much much more helpful.

I’m back to weighing my options with this inpatient program.

I was telling myself I had to do it, because of my relationship, because of the people around me, because of letting people down.

But not for me.

Not for me. The number one person this is important for.

And if I go in there so upset that I can’t breathe when I think about it, it’s not going to do any good.

Plus, I’ve healed from trauma in the past by doing other programs, outpatient, and other things. I was doing well, I was working, I was handling my shit.

And then a new trauma got piled on top. That says nothing about how much I had healed before, this just reopened old wounds and added new ones.

Maybe I don’t HAVE to do inpatient, maybe I can heal the same ways I’ve healed before.

Or maybe I will do inpatient.

Either way, it’s not a permanent decision.

I can check myself out (with 72 hours notice) if I’m inpatient and not a danger to myself.

I can get reevaluated for the program later if I decide not to do it now.

So, I don’t have to think in absolutes.

I’m not crying as hard or as often, although the tears do still sometimes flow.

This is hard hard stuff.

This is really real stuff.

This is the stuff my life is made of, or at least part of it. The trauma is only one part of me and I have to take care of all of me.

Which may mean avoiding an opportunity that has presented itself because I’d be giving up too much of ME.

I can do this again later when I don’t have holidays and a birthday coming up.

If I still need it later.

Or I can do it now.

I’m not sure.

But I know I have to make the decision for me. For what I feel is right.

Not because I’m worried about being judged from outside.

Not because I feel like I’m letting people down.

Not because I feel like I’m too much.

For me.

The hardest person there is for me to care for.

Tears

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I spent 2 hours in tears yesterday.

At times they were sobbing, uncontrollable, chest heaving, choking tears.

I had to ask for comfort, because I couldn’t handle sobbing alone in bed.

You see, I know I have to go.

I know I have to give up 2 months of my life to have a chance at normality.

A chance.

And it feels like the hardest thing I’ve done.

Although I know I’ve been through worse.

“Can you reframe it as something amazing that you get to do?”

Maybe.

Eventually.

But for now I’m grieving.

I’m grieving the lost time with loved ones.

A 40th birthday spent on a locked unit.

Missed holidays.

The only contact being short phone calls, stolen moments when the phones are free.

I’m grieving.

I’ve talked to friends who have been there.

Who have been on the locked unit that isn’t fully fat accessible.

Chairs too small, asking for the few available accessible chairs, and only occasionally having that request granted.

This will be made worse by Covid.

They had removed most of the chairs from the seating areas in the unit I was n, leaving only enough to allow distance between patients.

Even though we all gathered at one table for socialization.

Did they leave the accessible chairs on this unit or will I have to fight for that.

Strangers surrounding me.

Strangers that will likely become friends over time.

Over the 2 months I’m locked away from everything I know.

And it’s harder because it isn’t my fault.

I did nothing to deserve this.

I’m accused of nothing but being traumatized.

I’m fighting back tears again, afraid of letting them start because I can’t handle early morning hours alone and sobbing.

I hate all of the people that did this to me.

Anger and sadness clouding my vision.

Of course this is an opportunity that very few people get.

Of course I should be thankful.

But for now I’m bitter and I’m grieving.

And I need to allow space for that.

Maybe later I can see it for the blessing it is.

The chance at normality.

The chance for healing.

But for now, I’m letting the tears flow.

Ruminating

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I’m supposed to go back inpatient in a few weeks.

Into a trauma unit that could potentially help me heal from all of the damage that’s been done over the years.

It’s around a 6 week stay, the average being 1-2 months depending on insurance.

And we’re living in Corona times, and that means no visitation.

Daily phone calls with a limited number of people that I love and care about.

But no face to face, no skin to skin, no hugs.

Up to two months on a unit with 25ish other people.

It’s a more restrictive unit than the one I was just on. No tweezers to get rid of the hairs that line my chin (thanks pcos). No razors. No pens or pencils, only markers and crayons.

Up to two months.

I’m supposed to go back in two weeks, give or take.

And I’m ruminating over the decision. It could be life changing, or it could be more traumatizing.

But it’s one of the top trauma treatment programs in the U.S., or at least that’s what I’ve been told.

It makes me want to cry even thinking about it. Holidays without loved ones, my 40th birthday spent on a lockdown unit.

And it isn’t my fault, damnit.

What did I do to have to make a decision like this? Why did this happen to me?

As the tears flow I ask myself, what is easy, or what is right? And I honestly don’t know what is right.

And I don’t even know what is easier.

Dealing with this all on an outpatient basis.

Like I’ve done before.

Where I’ve thought I’ve healed, until something else knocks me off course.

Or locking myself down for 2 months and hoping it works.

Hoping that timed showers with push buttons to keep them running, and shared bathrooms off hallways are worth it.

And months and months without seeing loved ones, even virtually.

Hoping it works, and I’m finally okay again.

I hate that I even have to think about this.

I almost hate that I came home, maybe it would have been easier to just stay there, on a unit without therapy, for weeks waiting for the trauma unit to come off quarantine.

Because even with the restricted visitation, the Corona virus hit the unit and so they let me come home to wait for my turn.

It could be 10 days, it could be a month.

But at some point they’ll contact me and tell me to come back, and I’ll have to know, by then, if I’m going to go or not.

And I don’t want to have to question this. I don’t want to ruminate over it for days and days and days.

I don’t want the life that’s been given to me, because I didn’t do anything to deserve this.

And right now I feel safe. I feel like I could do this with my therapist, or maybe another therapist that specializes in trauma.

I’ve done it before.

But maybe, walking away from my life completely for 2 months will give me a better chance at normality.

Could you do it?

Could you leave everything behind and walk onto a unit where you’re basically in a therapeutic jail?

Where every item you bring with you is scrutinized for how traumatizing it could be for another patient, how dangerous it could be, how it will affect everyone’s healing.

No books with any mention of violence.

No shirts that don’t meet their criteria.

I don’t know if I can.

I don’t know if I want to.

And now it’s consuming every down moment I have, wondering what the right decision is.

Gut turning unsure of what I should do.

And I didn’t do anything to deserve this.

Overwhelmed

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I’m overwhelmed.

The world is loud.

Maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t ready to come home.

But the place was making me worse, with no therapy available and no processing time.

But maybe, the world is a bit too loud.

With video game sounds and text messages and phone calls.

Maybe things are a bit too hard right now.

With sorting out meds, and figuring out why the wrong prescription was sent over.

And what I’m going to do about that.

And there goes the buzzing on my wrist again.

I was so used to being plugged in. The buzzing of my wrist didn’t stop for days after I was on the unit.

The phantom feels of phone calls and text messages.

But now it just feels busy.

Buzzy and busy.

Typing hurts my wrists, it’s like they aren’t used to this motion anymore. And it’s only been a week? 10 days? Something like that.

I’m tired, but the sound of the fan is too loud.

My oh, so, comfortable bed, is just too soft after the hard rubber mattress I’ve been laying on for days.

I take one of my as needed meds, something to take the edge off.

But I really wonder, am I ready to exist in this world where I have to organize my own meds and plan my own meals and figure out my own appointments?

They do it all for you in there.

If you don’t show up at the med window on time, they come and find you.

You eat what they give you.

They get you when you need to be somewhere.

Don’t get me wrong, it has it’s own kind of loud. But it’s different than here.

It had it’s own sort of overwhelm. But it’s different than here.

Maybe I wasn’t quite ready.

But I think I was.

This is just going to take some adjustment, again.

Being capable, again.

Being outside, again.