Watching Me Fall

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Trigger Warning:  Talk of past suicidal thoughts

I’m thankful that I started writing my story like this, and I’m thankful that I share my journey on Facebook where every day it reminds me where I was a year ago.

A year ago I was on a very quick spiral downwards.  I was in a very dark place and it wasn’t getting better.

I’ve been watching it happen, through my memories, day by day, since early March.  Post after post about suicidal thoughts, holding on, trying to decide what treatment option was best.

I forgot about the fear though.  I felt that the wrong move would certainty end in death.  I felt like I had to choose the right direction because I wouldn’t have a second chance.

I forgot how deep and how dark it was.  How much control it had.

The suicidal thoughts haven’t gone away.  I get periods where they are less severe and I’m able to easily flick them into the background.  Then there are periods when I thought they were still just as bad as they had been a year ago.  However, reading the post today I realized that there isn’t as much fear as there was.

I’m able to see a future even while I want to die.

I’m able to see mutliple options and I don’t feel as trapped.

A year ago I wrote that during the worst of it, I couldn’t even see far enough forward to imagine someone finding me and worrying about what that would do to them.  I couldn’t see past death.

Now, I’ve realized, even while I’m wanting to die and working out plans, I worry about what will happen when Wonder Woman finds me.  What will happen if it doesn’t work.  What will happen past the attempt.

I think about the future even while I’m thinking about the finality of death.

My therapist kept saying I was future oriented during my suicidal periods and I understood what she meant, but this makes me remember how much I wasn’t future oriented a year ago.

It makes me realize how far I’ve come.

And while my suicidal thoughts are still dangerous now, it makes me realize just how dangerous they were a year ago.

I can remember being there.  I can still put myself in that place and feel that emptiness and that desire to just be gone.  I remember the longing for wellness and the desire to stop fighting for it.

I remember how tired I was and also how driven.

I remember the terror of making the wrong choice.

Sometimes I think I’ve lost all of my progress when I spend a night fighting my own brain.  I think these skills I’ve learned are useless and I’m not fighting hard enough or learning fast enough.

And then I see a post like this and realize how far I’ve come in the past year.

How even in the worst of the darkness, my growth shows.

One Year Ago and Today

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Today my Facebook memories reminded me that one year ago I wrote a big, long, really real mental health post about suicidal thoughts I was having.

It was hard to go back and read those dark words from that dark space.

It took me back to that time where I got a message from a friend at just the right time to help me.  A message letting me know that she was thinking of me, even though she had no idea I was in such a dark space.

This is one of the reasons I do what I do.  So that a year from now I can see these words and remember where I was.  I can see my growth and my progress.  See the dark and also the light.  I can also see how far my writing has come in that time.

Today I’m fighting depression, but the dark, suicidal thoughts are mostly quiet, only peeking their heads out but not taking hold.  I have a plan to handle the pain that I’m in, which will hopefully give me some relief through the trip this weekend.

I still fight suicidal thoughts sometimes, nothing has really changed there, they still get really dark, really fast and I’m still learning how to sit with them without them becoming so dangerous.

I think I’ve gained a lot of skills in the last year, through my time in partial, and my time in DBT, but at the same time.  I handle the flow of my moods a lot better.

Things may not change as far as my moods shifting and the suicidal thoughts coming, but how I handle them has changed and will continue to change and get better.  I’m growing and learning and doing better.

And I still have amazing support around me, for which I’m quite thankful.

Another New Normal

Time to figure out another new normal.

Yesterday was the last day of the partial hospitalization program that I’ve spent the last 6 weeks in. Now I’m about to start a PRP and figure out how to structure the majority of my days without the benefit of full day program 5 days a week telling me what to do and when.

I’m going to miss it honestly.

Group therapy is hard to find outside of that sort of program, they don’t stay together because people don’t show up, and each time I end up in a program like Partial the one thing that works the most is group therapy and when I leave, I miss it terribly.

Last night I made a series of bad decisions with good intentions, plus had a lot on my mind about “what’s next” and ended up laying awake most of the night. Two hours of sleep does not make for a well rested Tina. I think I have therapy at 9 but then I realized the reminder never came out yesterday. I think we may have talked about her not being available this week . . . did we cancel . . .fucking concussion. I hate morning appointments because sending my therapist a text message ass early AM saying “did I fuck up times” is not on the list of things I like to do.

Also, I could use the appointment.

At least I ended up at the gym last night, even if it was from 11pm till midnight. I should know that 11pm gym means I won’t sleep. But I had made a commitment to myself. Figuring out how to make it all fit is hard work.

The intake for the new program is Friday. I’m not sure what it’ll look like but it’s only half day and I only have to go 3 days a week. I’ll pick from a list of groups/classes to see what fits me. None of it is therapy based. I’m not sure how long I’ll be there. It could be a few weeks, it could be indefinitely.

I’m hoping to get back to United Way at least one day a week. I miss them there. Slow and steady though. I’m trying not to take on more than I can handle. People keep mentioning NAMI to me as something to get involved with as well. I’m also looking forward to the meet up I’ve started. Lots of options for volunteering in a fulfilling fashion that would keep me going mentally, and help me with healing and processing at the same time. Not many for financially supporting myself though. It sucks that I can give my time away to all of these places but to do things in a paid capacity I need at least a bachelors degree.

Also . . .

I found myself saying, yet again, yesterday. “That particular thing you ask me to do is hard for me because of this particular thing that happened in my past so please be patient with me.”

Fuck.

Special Snowflake Trauma Girl is triggered again.

This wasn’t even a trauma thing that happened when I was younger, it was just a thing, but because of that thing on a top of other things, it makes me super anxious when . . .

Damn I’ve had a fucked up life.

It’s Not Fair.

And that’s not some kid temper tantrum saying I don’t like this.

That’s adult me saying fuck this. so many people had NO RIGHT to do most of what they did. And life should not have shit on me so many times, but it did, and I handled it the best I could.

I’ve spent too many years feeling like I’m too much when the truth is my life was too much for me to have to handle and it wasn’t fair TO ME and I kept handling it so anyone who can’t handle me needs to walk away (holy run on batman). I’ve stood up and handled this shit for almost 38 years now. I deserve people around me who can handle who I am, as I am Right Now while I’m doing what I can to get better.

And that’s the newest new normal I guess.

Damn . . . I hope I have therapy this morning.

Welcome to my life as I journal in a public forum, please remember the exits are here, here, here, here, here, everywhere! (I need to watch Aladdin again)

Text message just came in, I do have therapy this morning, thank goodness.

Change

When Parker and I first got this house we got a few cheap cube units, and along with the cube units we ended up getting a decorative box that became our change box. It was on clearance and it kind of looked like a treasure chest.
 
Pretty quickly the buckle broke off, and I saved it for a long while, saying I was going to glue it back on, but of course I never did, so it was this plain brown box covered in pleather.
 
Countless times we raided the change box for money for cigarettes or a soda or to get something to eat because the bank account was in the negative and the stamps were gone.
 
Bus fare, mobility fare, a few dollars for Kidlet to get something because he’s a kid and should have some money for something.
 
We never could keep quarters in the thing and we knew we were doing well if we threw a few dollars in there for safe keeping.
 
Kidlet knew he could raid it when he needed something and I knew he raided it occasionally just cause he wanted something but he never took enough to cause any major harm.
 
So many times we’d be completely broke but at least we could scrounge up enough change to get one last pack of smokes so that we didn’t lose our minds that night, maybe it would keep us going just that much longer.
 
Life seemed so much different, priorities were different.
 
I’m still shit with money, being so so poor for so so long means I don’t actually know how to save because I’m afraid of it. Bipolar adds another twist.
 
But I keep cleaning out my purse and throwing money in the change box and the other day I was moving it and noticed the hinge had popped.
 
It had gotten too heavy to hold all of the weight.
 
This has never happened before. There had never been enough time without needing to raid the change box that the amount of weight was able to reach that level.
 
Last night I threw the box away and switched everything over to other containers.
 
Today at PHP I broke down over the change in my situation and how she is not here to see it. How it may never have happened if she was here.
 
We would still be counting change the day before a holiday to get enough cigarettes to make it through. Wondering if the lights were going to get shut off on a holiday day, or if they had to wait till a day later. Wondering if a heat wave was enough to make them leave the electric on.
 
But at the same time I’m afraid that nothing really has changed and that at any moment I’ll stop being able to cover the bills, that I’ll lose the help I have, and that the lights will go out or I won’t be able to fill the fridge or that I’ll be scrounging through that change box.
 
It’s horrible when every single positive has this ghost of the past hanging over it, this fear that at any moment it could all be taken away. That everything could change again.
 
I know I would survive it if it did go back to how it was. I’m a survivor, it’s what I do, Resilient as Fuck, and all, but I don’t ever want to go back to that. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
 
Change is such a hard hard thing to deal with. It’s incredibly heavy sometimes.

Check In

Every morning in the Partial Hospitalization Program we have a check in group where they go around, one person at a time and talk about the night before and where our moods and mental health are currently.  I feel like I can recite the whole page by heart now.

I find that when I wake up now, I almost automatically check how many hours of sleep I’ve had, and then start checking to see if that’s more or less than normal.  (Last night was a full 8 hours, which is more than normal, the 1/2 of an Ativan is working well, thank you for asking).

Then I do a check through my mood in the last 24 hours as well.  Depression (2/10), Mania (3/10), Anxiety (6/10, yesterday was pretty rough but not as bad as it’s gotten in the past), Irritability (4/10, but I was able to control it), Mood swings (6/10 but could have been due to being over tired yesterday).

I’ve love to see a chart for all of the moods while I’ve been in PHP, I wonder if that’s something they have.  I know that I’ve gone up and down over all of the scales but as a whole, I’m down quite a bit and far more stable.

But it’s scary because as of a week ago I wasn’t this stable at all, but I wasn’t quite as bad as I was when I started.  And who knows where I’ll be in less than 2 weeks when I discharge from this program and start another, less intense one.  The suicidal thoughts can come and get out of hand pretty quickly and it doesn’t seem to matter how stable I am when they show up, it just takes something knocking me sideways.

I could spend this time worried about the next time that happens, or I can enjoy the calm of stability and focus on learning more coping mechanisms and getting as much done as possible, resting as much as needed, gathering as many resources as I can in the next days or however long I have until the next storm that may or may not come.

I hope for the best, while planning for the worst.

And each morning I can keep checking in with myself to see if I ever catch a pattern, is there something that can give me a warning.

Falling Apart or Falling Together?

The last couple of days has been a special kind of hell.

The kind that doesn’t really feel like a true hell but at the same time it does.  I’m just kind of here.  I feel hypomanic, I rated my depression at a zero yesterday, but the depression crashed in hard as I realized I was way sleep deprived.

I went to PHP and left from lunch because I was too tired to stay awake, I was getting too pissy and irritable and I couldn’t even keep my eyes open.  I feel judged and at the same time I’m judging everyone, not just there but everywhere.  It’s a symptom of my mixed episodes, I’m withdrawing.  Next is the suicidal thoughts.  It happens this way every time.

I went to my free meeting with the trainer last night.  First strike was her insistence that with enough exercise and physical health I could get off psych meds.  “That’s not how this works.”

Then the fat and size shaming.  Which I retorted with, “I don’t want to be small like you.”  She didn’t like that, she doesn’t consider herself small, and really didn’t like it when I called her tiny.  Fuck her.

Later she said “I thought you said you were a widow, you’re dating?”

You know what . . . fuck you.

It could be because I’m oversensitive and feeling judged anyway, but holy shit, don’t do that.  I deserve happiness and I’m so glad I have Wonder Woman.  I can be a widow and in love again.

Being over sensitive like this sucks so so badly because I feel like everything and everyone is trying to attack me and I respond in kind.  It makes life harder than it has to be but it’s not like I can stop just because I know it’s happening.  It takes time to get back out of this mood and in the mean time I want to isolate which is the worst thing I can do for myself.

I went to bed early and managed to sleep for 10 hours.  I woke up feeling drugged because of the amount of sleep but it was so so needed.  Two – four hours of sleep night after night isn’t enough especially with super full and emotional days.

Today I just want to crawl into bed and sleep more, but instead I got up, fed the animals, and soon I’ll get dressed and head to therapy before a full day of PHP, maybe breakfast with my girl beforehand.  Tonight I’ll either NSO or at least sit there and spend time with my derby people who I miss being around.

I’m tired of this fight.  I’m so so tired of the fucking roller coaster.  Sometimes I just want to demolish the whole fucking amusement park and let someone else clean up the mess.

But Parker already did that to me, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to do that to someone else.

Panic

Really real mental health post . . .

This was supposed to stop once the death date passed. I’m doing all of the right things, I’m going to PHP, I’m doing the work, I’m even going to the gym. I’m staying active, I’m staying busy, why is there a fucking elephant on my chest.

Why am I so fucking angry.

Why do I feel like I can’t fucking breathe.

Why can’t I fucking breathe.

I don’t know what’s worse, having a panic attack and not knowing, or having one, knowing, and still not being able to stop it.

Laying in bed and feeling my chest tighten, not wanting to fight against myself to breathe, knowing thats just going to make it worse, and at the same time feeling the need to fight.

It looks so peaceful on the outside but on the inside my brain is screaming. How many years did it take me to learn to stay calm through that?

The good news is, I’m learning to fight against my own instincts to fight. And by that I mean fighting in general. I’m not fighting myself, I’m not fighting the people around me, and I’m not fighting to breathe when my body panics. The bad thing is, my body is responding by making me panic.

More work to be done, more groups, more tears, more long days and exhausting nights, many many more panic attacks I’m sure.

This fucking sucks, but it’s still better than the alternative.