Rolling with it

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

(Trigger warning: Talk of suicidal thoughts)

Today was a no good, horrible, very bad day.

When the proverbial first punch caught me off guard, I reeled.  It took my mood down a few notches while I stood there almost helplessly.

I wanted to lash out. I wanted to overreact. I wanted to throw a temper tantrum.

But I wasn’t helpless. I vented, I spent some time cuddling with Wonder Woman, I reminded myself that there were other options. I started taking proactive steps towards a better solution.

I was proud of myself because I didn’t get sucked under.

And I was still wobbly when the second punch caught me.

It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t my fault. No one would listen.

I still have to pay for it.

It sent me sprawling across my bed.

The thoughts crept in, slowly at first, with very little power.

A plan formed.

I clung to my bed while letting the thoughts wind their way through my brain.

I kept reminding myself, “life is still good.” While my brain screamed back “it always comes back to this.”

I told myself “this will pass.” Meanwhile I heard the telltale gunshots going off in the back of my head.

I drifted to sleep while at war.

I woke up and it was still so dark, but I saw a patch of light somewhere off in the distance. I crawled my way out of bed. Tried to find the good. Kept looking for something to make that patch a bit bigger. I wanted to rip the darkness wide open.

I distracted myself.

I fed myself.

I let the thoughts pass through quietly.

I took their power away.

Silly thoughts, I’m just frustrated.

Silly thoughts, I’m just overwhelmed.

Silly thoughts.

Silly thoughts.

I’m glad I’m in a place where I have a fighting chance. It’s a war that will never go away. The thoughts will always be there, waiting to strike.

Silly thoughts.

Silly thoughts.

You won’t win today.

I Am Loved

This is a Really Real Love post.

I’m home!

I spent 5 days up in New York visiting one of my closest friends and her children. This is a trip I do a few times a year but this time I drove. I needed the long drive alone, something I don’t get to do very often.

I’m still not completely used to the relationship I have with Wonder Woman. I didn’t have to ask permission to leave town. I just told her I was going and made sure it was during a time when she could take care of the pets. We are so deeply in love, but we are our own people.

I’m used to codependency. We’ve been very careful to avoid anything like that. This is, by far, the healthiest relationship I’ve ever had.

And we still constantly and consistently show each other love, in our own ways.

Music is Wonder Woman’s thing. I have a few favorite artists that I play in rotation, occasionally throwing in a generic playlist on Spotify. Before I left she made me a mix tape, or actually the modern day equivalent, a Spotify playlist just for my road trip. It was the perfect mixture of her music, my music, and our music, including our song. I listened to it on repeat for most of my drive there and back.

Seriously, she made me a mix tape. I never would have thought to love her that way but I felt so loved by her with every song that played.

We texted daily, we talked on the phone at least once, but mostly, we just lived our lives while I was gone. I missed her (and she missed me), and by the time I left New York I was ready to be home and back in her arms. I’m looking forward to cuddles tonight.

I’ve missed them.

I am so completely loved in this relationship and I love her completely. But we are our own people.

It’s nice to be loved this way.

Tonight while I’m writing this she’s playing her guitar in the room near me. She’s doing her thing and I’m doing mine. We love that we can be in the same room working and playing, together but apart.

It’s nice to still be my own person while being completely in love. Two years in and I’m still not used to this.

Two years in and I’m still waiting for the major change. I’m waiting for us to stop cuddling every night or to forget to give kisses and say I love you every day. I’m waiting for the day that we stop showing our love through actions.

Two years in and I’m still waiting for our first actual fight. I mean, we have hard discussions, but it never turns into anything more than talking calmly and lovingly to each other.  I’m still not used to that.

I am so very loved, and I love her so very much.

It’s 3am

This is a Really Real Widow Post. With some Really Real Mental Health mixed in.

It’s 3am. Coffee too late and a touch of hypomania means I’m still awake.

I don’t want to be awake.

I have a full day tomorrow.

This morning (yesterday morning) there was a Michael’s ad in my email, and there was a pumpkin with Parker carved into it.

Parker isn’t the kind of name I normally see in random places.

I’ve been missing her today. I’m especially missing her at 3am.

I always miss her in small ways, but sometimes that comes to the forefront. Sometimes I can feel the old pain in my chest.

“I miss her tonight.” I send the text to our son.

I wish the ball in my chest would grow big enough to let me cry. Maybe then I could get some sleep.

Lack of sleep always brings a rough day. I wish I could rewind and undrink the coffee that seemed so appealing 8 hours ago. I wish I could rewind and take those pills out of her hand.

I wish I could rewind and change things so that I stop seeing that morning play out in slow motion.

I wish I could rewind so she could see my life now. I wish I could rewind so she could still be breathing.

I just wish I could rewind.

He texts back “Yeah, I do too.”

Then he asks if I’m safe. You know, because every kid has to worry that they might lose another mom that way.

It’s totally normal.

I joke because facing the reality of our fucked up life is made easier when I add some humor.

Life isn’t all that bad now. I have the space to be annoyed when I’m awake at 3 am. I have the spoons to type this out. I have a roof over my head that isn’t going anywhere.

I’m not suicidal right now. That makes life extra good.

I miss her tonight. That ball is still in the middle of my chest. Not quite large enough to let me cry this out. I want to be held and comforted, but it’s 3am, self soothing will have to do.

There’s no real point to this, no profound realization, no life lesson for me to pass on.

I can’t remember the sound of her voice anymore. Not all of the time. I was laying with Wonder Woman the other day and the thought hit me “Will I remember your voice after you die?” I’m engaged with full knowledge that I could become a widow again.

Life happens.

Death happens.

I’ve been watching her sleep more often lately. Making sure she’s still breathing. I even watch the cat and the dog now.

It must be on my mind how fragile life is.

Watching for the slow rise and fall of her chest. Panicked if I don’t see it right away. Relieved when she makes some small noise.

We listen to The Mountain Goats sometimes.

“I hope you die.” “I hope we both die.”

We add our own line “at the same time.”

I miss her tonight. Both of them. I miss the one who isn’t breathing anymore, and I miss the one who’s hopefully still breathing in the other room.

I need to go check again.

Maybe this time, I can fall asleep beside her.

Day Three

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

Trigger Warning: Suicidal Stuff.

August 18, 2019 7:05 pm  Three Days on the unit.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Today feels better.

The thoughts have settled into a dull roar instead of screaming in the back of my head.

The unit is still loud.

I can’t get a moment of silence no matter where I go.

Twenty-five beds, filled to capacity, eight people came in overnight.

Everyone has their own brand of crazy.

Some of them are easier to ignore than others.

I try not to judge. I try not to judge the people who are judging.

I try not to judge myself.

Today feels better.

I’m talking more, interacting more. I ask Wonder Woman for one of my skirts. I want real clothes.

I feel human.

I’m still so tired. Mental illness is exhausting. I’m not quite there yet. But,

Today feels better.

 

The Second Morning

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

Trigger Warning: Suicidal Stuff

August 17, 2019 7:00 pm  48 hours on the Unit

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Mood slowly rising but thoughts still whisper in the back of my head.

Safety surrounds me but plans still try and take shape.

It’s how I know I’m not ready.

Walking the halls, endless laps, straight lines, dead ends,

turn around and start again.

“2 south B it’s time for morning goals group.”

We somberly make our way to the activity room. Some of us doing the shuffle of too many meds, not enough sleep or simply lack of motivation to pick our feet up off the ground.

Depression is exhausting.

“My name is Tina my mood is a two I don’t have a goal.

The words come out in one rushed sentence.

“Why is your mood so low?”

“Because the thoughts won’t go away, my brain won’t cooperate.”

They move on to the next person.

Count down to the next meal. I’m eating too much in here and I know it, but there’s nothing else to do. Nothing else that I really get control over.

I need to get control over that though.

Maybe this isn’t the time to worry about weight. Maybe I can let that go for right now.

Visitors after lunch, the highlight of my day. One hours where I get to see a familiar face or two. And it starts and finishes with a hug.

I miss touch.

Even after just a few days I miss the comfort of cuddling with Wonder Woman. I miss hugging my friends. My brain is trying to kill me and I can’t curl up beside the woman I love.

But my brain is still trying to kill me.

That’s how I know I’m not ready.

Anhedonia

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Trigger Warning: Past suicidal thoughts and plans. Past self harm thoughts and plans.

Completely flat affect.

Complete absence of feeling.

Nothing.

The world wasn’t black because the world barely existed.

I felt no connection to life, no reason to keep living.

I couldn’t feel love.

I wasn’t afraid of dying.

I had plans and didn’t care if they worked or not.

Didn’t care what was left behind.

Didn’t care what mess was left to clean up.

I can’t remember a depressive episode like that before. I’ve had dark times where I felt like there was nothing, but there was still a feeling of dread within the nothing, I was still sad. This time, there was just

nothing.

I could tell that Wonder Woman was scared, but I couldn’t feel it.

I knew, somewhere, that I had to care, that there was a reason to care. I knew logically that she loved me, and I knew I logically that I loved her, but I couldn’t feel the emotion called love, I couldn’t recall ever feeling it, or what it might have felt like.

Maybe death would make me feel something.

Maybe sliding out of the car door and rolling down the highway would make me feel something.

Maybe sliding a knife across my skin would make me feel something.

Could anything make me feel something?

I knew that was a dangerous place for me to be, possibly the most dangerous place for me to be.

I didn’t care if I died, didn’t care that I was suicidal.

I got an extra appointment with my therapist. She asked that I not be alone for the weekend, asked that I get myself to the gym, stay busy, push myself to keep going until I saw her again, until I saw the doctor.

And now the weekend has passed.

Things aren’t so empty now.

I can see color again.

I see the world again.

I can feel fear again.

I feel love again.

I smile again.

I’m not sure what made me hold on through the absence of feeling. I’m not quite sure how I managed to reach out to others when I couldn’t even stay connected with myself. But I’m glad I did.

I’m glad I’m still here.

I hope I never experience that again.

Feeling depressed is better than not feeling at all.

That’s What My Therapist Say

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Trigger Warning: Suicidal thoughts and loose plans.

Yesterday, plans as I saw them, got derailed due to

one

stupid

letter.

A letter that someone I count on should have written months ago.

And now I’m in a holding pattern.

I don’t do change well.

Even when the change is just in my expected time line.

 

I’ve already been in a bad place, barely hanging on, just keeping the gunshots quiet.

“Shhhhh, it’s going to be alright.”

Dishes piling up before I beat them back down again.

Cheering myself on each night that I cook.

I’m worthy of another day of fresh air.

I am productive.

I am worth something.

 

But I can’t make it to the gym, I can barely make it out of bed, I’m making it to essential appointments but rescheduling the rest.

Does that cavity really need to be filled this week?

Nah, it can wait until their next available.

School work has spiraled out of control, I don’t know if I can catch up in this final week I have left.

 

And then I crawl out of bed and go into an appointment to find out their missing

one

stupid

letter.

 

I mean, in the grand scheme of things it’s no big deal. It’s the beginning of the month and as long as she gets this letter in within the next few weeks, I can schedule my last appointment and everything will be on track. But this is a delay, a wrench in the process, something I just couldn’t handle in my already depressed state. I could see six months of work crumbling in front of me. I could see the whole process falling apart, again.

I came home.

I climbed into bed.

I screamed.

I started wondering what would happen if I just took every pill in the house. None of them would kill me on their own, we’ve locked all of the toxic quantities away, but if I just took everything we had around here, every fucking last pill, would the mixture be enough.

I mean.

I haven’t cooked in days, the kitchen is a fucking disaster, the trash cans are overflowing, I’m not sure of the last time I showered.

I’m useless.

And now even this is falling apart, again.

I took an Ativan at the urging of a very wonderful friend.  Something to stop the thoughts from climbing all over each other and escalating.

I passed out into dreamless sleep.

I wake up to a Wonder-ful Woman holding Starbucks.  I swear she’s an oasis or some shit.

I’m not sure if I’m overjoyed to be holding Starbucks or miserable because reality is back.

(But come on, Starbucks)

Reality, the dishes in the sink, the kitchen where I don’t know what to cook and it’s dinner time.

I’m useless.

I’ll order pizza with money that I don’t really have to spend, but we’ve gotta eat.

I’ll spiral down the road of self hatred over how bad I am with money while we wait for it to arrive.

And eventually I’ll pass out for the night, still wondering if every pill in the house will do the job completely.

 

I wake up way too early. The house is silent except for the prancing of little dog feet.

There’s barely enough room on the kitchen counters to make her food.

I’m useless.

I hear the chords to a song in the back of my head but can’t quite place it.

I feed the dog. I feed myself some oatmeal and a hard boiled egg that I made earlier in the week, before I became so useless.

Oh yeah, it wasn’t that long ago that I was doing things.

I hum along to the song in the back of my head.

I take the dog out, I make myself some coffee and absentmindedly drink it.

I start thinking about the shower that I desperately need and that maybe, I think, I might be able to take this morning.

I look up some crafty stuff on the computer. Make a mental note of some supplies I need, but don’t impulsively buy them.

“Everything’s gonna be alright”

The song in the back of my head starts to come into focus as I climb into the shower.

“Everything’s gonna be okay”

I think of some little stuff I might be able to make later with supplies I still have at home.

“It’s gonna be a good, good life”

And maybe I can even start to tackle that kitchen.

“That’s what my therapist say”

I’m still not out of the dark. I feel it pulling at me from all sides.

“Everything’s gonna be alright”

I still have a ton of schoolwork that I feel completely overwhelmed by, and I’m not sure where to start.

“Everything’s gonna be just fine”

I still don’t want to leave my house or go to the gym.

“It’s gonna be a good, good life.”

But, maybe I should keep holding on for a bit longer.  Maybe

one

stupid

letter

isn’t the end of the world.

And maybe I’m not quite useless.