Will to live.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I used to have this feeling, when sitting in therapy, or the psychiatrists office, or at PHP, that they knew something that I don’t know. Like there’s some big secret they aren’t telling me, something happening in the conversations behind the scenes.

Like they know the outcome and just weren’t letting me in on it.

That feeling was so strong last year.

I haven’t thought about it in awhile.

But back then, last time I was here, I wanted to scream at them.

“Tell me, what does the ending of this story look like.”

“Does the main character live, or does she die?”

“What type of story is this?”

I hadn’t thought about that in a long time.

I’ve been feeling like I’ve taken 20 steps back.

Like I’m right where I started.

Like the past year has been useless.

But somehow, in the midst of this crisis.

Even while buying bottles of pills.

Even while checking into the hospital.

Even while sitting in the rooms at Partial.

Even though I don’t know what the ending of the story is.

I know the main character makes it out alive.

Of course, it’s kind of funny (and horrifying) that today they let me in on a little secret.

The last time I was sitting in the rooms at Partial, they weren’t sure what the ending of the story was going to be.

They had their own doubts.

Not that I was in immediate danger, they would have gotten me safe, but that overall, I hadn’t solidified my will to live.

I remember being that person. I remember the wish to die being so strong that I could feel death surround me. I remember that darkness. I remember feeling no connection with life.

I remember.

Suicidal thoughts are different now. Even at their worst. Even in absolute crisis. Even when I’m truly in danger.

It doesn’t make them any less dangerous.

They could still make me just as dead.

But there’s a will to live that wasn’t there before.

There’s a fight.

There’s a chance.

There’s a light.

There’s hope behind it.

Yeah, shit still sucks sometimes and I’m honestly not sure just how far I’ll be able to go with this fucked up brain of mine.

But at least we aren’t questioning my chance at survival anymore.

And I guess that’s some pretty significant growth.

In the grand scheme of things.

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.

 

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.

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.

Adultier Adult

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I had a conversation in therapy about the fact that I don’t feel like an adult.

My therapist asked why I don’t see myself as a grown up. I started listing off reasons.

I don’t have a car.

I don’t have a job.

I’ve always needed financial help.

I’m not independent.

I can’t budget my own money successfully.

I’m not successful.

I haven’t finished college.

I can’t hold a job even when I get them.

I can’t finish anything I start.

I just kept listing off one thing after another.

I told her I felt that my son was more of an adult than I am. He is truly, the adultier adult, like we always joked about needing when he was younger.

She pointed out that I raised him.

I told her that was easy, he was an easy kid to raise, mostly. He did a lot of it himself, unfortunately, while I was busy helping us survive whatever bullshit I had gotten us into that week, or month, or year.

She asked me if I’d judge anyone else so harshly.

Of course not.

But this is me, and I’m “so smart” and “so intelligent” and I “should be making more of myself” and I’m not.

So how can I really be an adult.

I can’t even keep my sink clear of dishes. I can’t even stay caught up on school work (and it’s at a community college, it’s not like I’m working a full time job at the same time, most of the students are).  I can’t even pay my bills on my own without spending too much money and needing to be bailed out again, and again, and again.

This all sounds very whiny.

I want to be so much more than I am. I want to be functional. I want to be . . . typical, for lack of a better word.

I want to be able to spend money on things I need and not get carried away by emotional spending to the point that I end up staring at a negative bank account for the third time in a month, begging for help, again. I want to be able to focus on the things I need to focus on and stop hyperfocusing on the things that don’t matter. I want a fucking car. I want to finish school. I want to be able to work and actually hold down a job.

I want to be a fucking adult.

I want to accomplish more in life then just surviving and keeping a kid alive until 18.

I want to do more.

I just want to grow up.

Partially There

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

A year ago today I finished the Partial Hospitalization Program. I just read the post I wrote upon leaving. The post where I was unsure, not ready, didn’t think I could make it without the daily routine to back me up. I was still fighting through a mixed mood episode, still dealing with sleep problems, still not quite stable but a lot better than when I started.

I was about to start a Psych Rehabilitation Program, which was a dismal failure and not where I was meant to be at all.

I had started looking into DBT, but couldn’t start there until I let go of my feeling that I needed a more frequent program.

I hadn’t come to terms with my intrusive suicidal thoughts. I still felt I had to make them go away completely. I hadn’t realized that I could coexist with them and learn to live safely in spite of them. Learn to label them as thoughts and let them be, not let them control me. I hadn’t accepted that they will likely be a part of my illness and my life forever.

I hadn’t learned that mindfulness is more than just meditation. I hadn’t learned the countless skills that DBT has taught me.

That PHP stay was really good for me, I learned a lot and developed a few friendships that I still have today (I wish we had more time to talk and hang out).

I also ended up with my psychiatrist, who is amazing. (It’s so difficult to find amazing providers when you’re on government insurance.)

And I have come so far since then.

I have had some mixed mood episodes since the one that landed me in PHP, but nothing that has lasted as long. Some suicidal episodes but they have lasted less than a day (from what I can recall).

I’m glad I do this, writing out my thoughts and posting them. I’m glad they show up every year so I can see how far I’ve come.

I don’t think growing is something that ever stops happening, but I feel like I’m a little bit further along. I feel like, since Partial, I’ve gotten closer to where I want to be. Like maybe. . .

I’m partially there.

 

What if I fall?

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Today I signed up for 4 fall classes.

The whole time I was questioning the rationality of this judgement.  I was doubting my mental state. I was wondering if it was more than I could handle. I was thinking of my past track record. I was pondering the chances of following through.

I was checking for any signs of a manic episode. Making sure my mental health wasn’t making commitments for me.

I know I have a busy fall coming up.

I should be able to schedule bariatric surgery for sometime in October or November.

I should be able to start working part time after I heal from surgery.

I will still have DBT and therapy and my other appointments and followups.

I will still need time for me. Time for self care. Time for fun. Time to make a life worth living.

So I mentally check and check again. Am I manic, am I rushing things, am I making this decision for the wrong reasons. Should I check with someone else and get them to make the decision for me. Maybe I’m not qualified to make decisions for myself.

Maybe I can’t handle this.

Maybe I can’t.

This is what it’s like. I question and second guess and never trust my own instincts. I never feel like I’m capable. I wait for the next time I’m going to fuck it all up. I wonder if I’m setting myself up for failure.

I don’t trust in myself because I’ve let myself down so many times before. Even though I haven’t had a full, long lasting hypomanic episode in quite some time, I fear that I’m making decisions based on grandiose opinions of my abilities.

But maybe I’m not. Maybe this is reasonable. Maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit. Maybe I’m far more capable than I believe I am.

Maybe I just need to try.

“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”
― Erin Hanson