Sentenced

I am pretty close to crying right now, which is unusual for me. Weirder still is that I want to cry because I shouldn’t want to cry. Perhaps I ought to explain myself.

I went to therapy today feeling pretty crap, and told Dr T how I feel stuck; nature isn’t ‘taking care of things’ (aka getting rid of me somehow) like I thought it would, and I can’t face actively ending my life, so all that’s left is to embrace life, however much that might terrify me. So I looked at Dr T, and said I would commit to living. We talked about some small first steps, and I left.

But something’s wrong. I don’t feel positive, or hopeful, or even okay. Today I’ve declared that I’m going to stop waiting to die, but if anything I feel worse than I did this morning.

Maybe this is because it feels like I’ve just accepted a prison sentence; a lifetime of going through the motions. I know I ‘could’ be wrong about this. I know I ‘could’ discover all sorts of surprises and opportunities that make me happy, etc etc, and then the sun might come out and shoot rainbows everywhere, but as you can probably tell, I don’t really buy it.

As I write this I realise I’m on the money – I feel really miserable because I’ve lost my imminent-departure delusion, and replaced it with more years than I’ve dreamed of facing.

There’s no winning this one.

A small surrender

I won’t fight you. Not today.

I can only salute your victory,

And watch as your hands claim me.

Paint my skin with blues and blacks.

Hollow my insides

Only to fill the space with lead weights.

I feel your leash around my neck,

And I can see this isolation tank,

But it’s okay,

You are depression

And I am depressed

That’s just how it’s supposed to be.

I can’t fight you, not today.

Let’s see how tomorrow pans out

Before you snatch that concept away

The Christmas that wasn’t

I’m pleased to report that Christmas was bearable, because it wasn’t Christmas. At least, it didn’t feel like it. Instead it felt like a really boring Sunday, and I could easily pretend Thursday 25th wasn’t special.

That’s not to say my family didn’t celebrate it, and I mean no insult to the efforts that went into it; it was just a little different. We had a small gathering of just five of us this year (no aunts, uncles, cousins, etc), and we didn’t play family games or roast a turkey. Between meals people were bored solid, and I ended up sat on the sofa playing CoD while my Gran stared at the wall and my Mum watched TV. My brother kept to his bedroom, glued to Netflix. Dad went for a walk. A dull day, that happened to include the Queen’s speech and a few presents.

My Mum bought me some art things, which qualify as my most thoughtful (received) gift. I’ve been introduced to the world of ‘Zentangle‘, which in its simplest form is dividing a blank page into sections, and filling each section with a different pattern (or ‘tangle’). The book I’ve been given suggests the ‘zen’ aspect of this comes from the practice encouraging mindfulness and meditation as you concentrate and draw…I don’t make much of it in that sense, but I’m enjoying making pretty pictures!

Or should I say ‘was enjoying’, as I can feel a low mood beginning to descend; sadness tinging everything I do, and a heaviness that’s exhausting to carry. But it’s okay – I’m grateful to have come this far through the holiday period without feeling too bad, against my nervous expectations.

Batten down the hatches

I can’t deny that I’m feeling pretty horrible right now. Horrible enough that I want to crawl into a small place and lie there curled up in a ball. I’ve felt on the brink of tears for much of today, which is unusual and uncomfortable for me, and my old self-harm urges are prickling.

I had therapy with Dr T around noon, and I tried to communicate this feeling to him as accurately as I could. I told him about yesterday’s ‘Do I want this?‘ post, and I think he understood. If I try and open any of the potential doors into the future, be it ‘career’ or ‘family’ or whatever else, pain starts to walk through (e.g. I might not like the job, or I could be a bad parent etc), so my defences slam those doors shut. Dr T says I think I’m protecting myself, when actually closing these doors means shutting out the goodness I need too.

He’s right.

That doesn’t solve anything.

It can never solve anything. have to. I have to find the motivation to open those doors, and face down the demons. Risk the hurt for the chance of something better. A meaningful relationship. A career that builds my self-worth.

And I want to scream as I write those words. They don’t seem real. They’re ideas that are here to taunt me, unobtainable, but so available to everyone else that they can’t understand me falling behind.

The problem with asking ‘Do I want this?’ is that it very quickly leads me to the questions ‘Am I broken?‘ or ‘Is this permanent?‘, and I can’t find positive answers.

I told Dr T this situation scares me because I’ve been here before. These questions aren’t new, and I know where they end – the one, logical, answer. My inability to act on it, like my seeming inability to recover, depresses me further, and makes me feel like my head should explode under the pressure.

I will not hurt myself. I will not touch those tools, or reach for the pills. I will not run away. Not today. I’m trying not to be that person anymore.

But the post-DSH/post-overdosing-me doesn’t have any better ideas for coping.

Coping. Continuing.

Reaching out

Days seem to be flashing past, and I desperately need things to slow down. I’m tired, and stressed out. I can’t seem to relax at all. I can’t switch off. And as I mentioned in my last post, I have a strong sense that this can’t last. Or more accurately, that can’t last.

At the Day Hospital (part of the psychiatric hospital) I once again found myself floundering after the morning sessions; I can only keep up the smiling for so long. I made another friend, and watched my friend from Tuesday slip towards being sectioned. That was painful. By the afternoon I was really struggling to engage with any of the activities, and when my nurse offered me a 1:1 I knew I had to accept it, even though I don’t feel hugely comfortable with him.

I laid it all out on the table – my mood is nose-diving, my stress levels are rising, I’m making silly mistakes all over the place, and ultimately I’m scared about how this might end. Despite my misgivings, this nurse came through for me. He listened, and instead of blandly reassuring me he drew up an action plan – he’s going to contact my psychiatrist, and ask the assessment (crisis) team if they can offer me any more support. He wanted me to see my GP about the whole memory/mistakes thing, and he’s going to phone me tomorrow to check how I am. I’m really grateful to him for all this, and I told him that.

Tomorrow I have my screening for the ketamine-infusion therapy trials. I did manage to tell my Mum about this over the phone, and she immediately said she didn’t want me to do it, at all. She reckons my brain chemistry is more ‘delicate’ than other people’s because of the reactions I had to quetiapine (Seroquel) /risperidone, so I shouldn’t take the higher risks of a trial-stage treatment. I do want to explore this treatment option, but I don’t want to worry her. I’m considering lying and saying I’m not having it if I decide I do want to go ahead with it. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow.

And take a breath

I’m pleased to report that I’m feeling a little better; the last few days have been horrible mood-wise, but in therapy today I was able to share the depth of this with Dr T, and he didn’t brush it aside like he did in our last session. It always surprises me how much sharing your struggles can help you cope with them. Unfortunately they haven’t disappeared, but they don’t seem to carry as much weight. It feels like I’m having a breather.

I have one exam left, which is on Friday afternoon. I’m slightly ashamed to say I effectively wrote-off my last exam; stuck in a nasty low, I wasn’t able to revise at all, so I just showed up to the exam hall and did what I could off the top of my head. It couldn’t be helped. Now I’ve seen Dr T though I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things before the next exam.

I’m still terrified by the thought of what happens after exams; part of my brain screams at me to get rid of my bottle of X while I’m halfway stable, but I don’t have the motivation to follow that through. I don’t know if the low mood is going to drag me back under, or if I’ll feel better with all the exams out of the way. Perhaps it’ll be a mix of both.

The only other piece of news is that Dr T reckons that ‘zoning out’ I’ve been experiencing recently is a form of disassociation. That’s kind of new for me, but ‘detaching from reality’ sounds spot on. 

Let me off already

After a truly horrific weekend mood-wise, Sunday night ushered in change. I wish I knew how it happened because it was quite striking; I spent the afternoon/evening riding around on buses (my safe place), battling tears, and when I got back to the house I could almost feel my low state flow out of me, leaving me pretty calm. I even slept for a solid eight hours without any sleeping pills.

Today I woke up feeling similarly okay, and was in a mindset to do something sensible with my expected chemical delivery (i.e. dispose of it, asap), until I remembered today is a bank holiday, so there’s no post. I then began sorting myself out for revision, but in this time my mood has gone through the floor. There’s too much to do, there’s too much I genuinely don’t understand, and there’s way too little time. I would seriously struggle with this even without the mental health crap. Add on to all of that that I want to cry every time I think about the house-situ (see earlier posts), and I’m back to feeling absolutely sh*t. 

I’m supposed to go out tonight and meet my brother. Instead I want to dig a hole in the ground, curl up, and have someone pour dirt on top. Alternatively, I would settle for a handful of Nytol.

I. Have. Had. Enough. 

I know it’s a huge cliche to liken things to a rollercoaster, but that’s what this feels like at the moment, and I WANT OFF. 

If the next six weeks are going to be like this, I’m telling you now I can’t do it. 

I don’t care what waits the other side, because whatever it is, I highly doubt it involves an end to the battles with mental illness.

But tomorrow afternoon will bring options.

We’ll see.