Working My Way Back

Struggling with relapse is hard. Even when you’re on your way out of it. It’s a fine balance between getting back to functioning and going back into the dark hole of depression. They both hold something good. The hole is familiar and easy to hide in. But getting back to functioning means not feeling so low I can reach up and touch the bottom. It’s between darkness and familiarity and feeling better with work. It may seem like a no-brainer but it’s not. It’s actually a hard choice. 

Working back to functioning is hard work and it means a lot of effort and awareness to things I’d rather stay numb and oblivious to. I know that the greater good is what I’m working towards. Having fun, living life, laughing, and participating, instead of burying, hiding, avoiding, and dissociating. It means having purpose and feeling better, thinking more clearly, and maybe even having some fun. 

It’s a worthwhile journey. But this time I am unsure. I am not feeling as confident about things. I have started this journey before. I have worked my way back several times already. I have somehow managed to find my way back. Whereas I can say it was worth it, with each time I find myself having to work my way back, it gets harder and harder and takes longer. And I can’t help but wonder if it really is worth it. If I most likely will find myself in relapse again then why try to come back in the first place? Why not stay in this darker place? At least this way the fall back the next time won’t be as far. 

It feels like a destiny of punishment. It feels like being knocked back down just when I finally managed to stand. Do I try again? Do I put myself again through the hard work and hard moments to come back? I’m honestly not sure. I feel jaded and cynical. I feel like I’ll just find myself back down in the darkness again and everything I did to come out of the darkness will be for nothing. 

Finding hope right now is hard. Whatever happens I just hope I’ll be okay. I’m really tired of feeling kicked while I’m down. 

The (Well) Mean(ing) Psychiatrist 

So last Thursday, a regular Thursday by most standards of late. Where I am feeling exceptionally low and trying to find interest in something, anything, besides the dark hole I’m sitting in. It is this Thursday where I also have an appointment with my psychiatrist. For a few weeks now I have been telling her that I am sinking lower and lower every week, and basically everything feels numb and holds zero interest for me. She suggested around then that maybe I come back into the hospital for a few days, so that she can change my meds and monitor me, and so I don’t find myself thinking, doing or attempting something with serious consequences that I can’t undo once it’s done. 

At that visit I agreed with her that, yes, it was something to consider but I wanted to give myself some time to try and come out of this on my own first. 

Over the next couple of weeks and appointments things got worse, and with every update I gave her that things weren’t looking good, she suggested again to come back into the hospital, “just for a few days”. Every time I agreed with her it wasn’t a bad idea but I was still holding out. For what, I have no idea. 

The truth was, I was afraid. I was afraid to go back into the hospital. It felt like I was a failure and I chastised myself that I had been doing so well and now had managed to relapse. I felt like I had screwed up. I put my psychiatrist off for those few weeks telling her that I was still thinking about considering it, and that I wanted to wait. (I have no idea what I was waiting for because the depression was not getting better. In fact, it was getting worse.) 

So I managed to put it off, and dodge her inquiries until this past Thursday when she asked me again, “why don’t you come back into hospital for a bit. (Again) Just for a few days, to help you and so I can monitor you while we re-work your meds.” This is what she told me. And despite my best efforts of trying to put it off for at least one more week, she asked me “what was wrong with coming back in today”, and I was stumped for an answer. She pointed out to me, “the depression is only getting worse, and if we wait, if I wait, I most likely will sink even lower and my thoughts will only get darker.” She was right. And I knew she was right. I knew she was right three weeks ago. And because I couldn’t give her, or me, a good reason not to, I agreed to the re-admisssion. 

Almost immediately though I regretted it. I panicked. I started crying and freaking out as they handed me an admission form.  It was too soon. Not yet. Slow down. Give me a minute, no, a day. Let me think about this. But too late I was filling out the paperwork and a room was ready. 

Damn it. 

For the next two days I sulked and pouted and wallowed in self-pity. I mean I wallowed. I felt like I had been abandoned. I felt like I was alone. And I felt betrayed, blaming my psychiatrist for preying on my weak mind, viciously ripping me from my home and my hole and putting me somewhere that can help me and most likely save my life. How dare she? 

But then, as I stubbornly laid in my assigned room, staring at the familiar dotted ceiling, I stopped crying and I really thought about why I was in hospital and why she felt it was so important for me to be there. I stopped acting like a child and realized, really realized, that she was right. She really was. I was in a bad way, and a part of me knew I would need help to get out of it. Professional, clinical, hospital help. My relapse wasn’t a failure. It didn’t mean I had screwed up. It didn’t mean I was a failure. All it meant was that I had relapsed. On my journey to wellness this is an obstacle, or a bump in the road, nothing that proper support and treatment can’t help me pull through. 

When all is said and done, I trust her. I trust her to have my best intentions at heart, and that her goal, no matter how stubborn and wilful I get, is for me and my well-being to be in a good place. I asked her during one of our recent sessions if it really mattered if I wasn’t here, and her response, without hesitation was “of course it matters.” At the time I felt like maybe she had to say that but now, I’m not so sure. I think…she may have actually meant it. 

I’ve said before that I feel like my psychiatrist is the leader of my support team, and this past Thursday I felt that more than ever. (Well, technically it was Sunday before I realized it because up until then I was the sulky child stuck in hospital by the mean psychiatrist. Note that I don’t mention how she asked me, and I responded yes. But no in my great wallowing I was not happy with her). She saw what was coming, and she knew that it could get bad. She knew I needed help, and since I wasn’t asking, she was. She knew that this was what I needed. To be honest, this may very well be the second time she has saved my life. 

I feel truly lucky to have her as my team leader, guiding me, supporting me, and encouraging me, on this long, hard, tested and trialled journey to wellness. With her at the helm, I feel like I have a chance. 

To my psychiatrist, I thank you for everything you have done for me. Thank you for helping. Thank you for supporting. Thank you for caring. I am so glad you decided to become a psychiatrist, so that you would one day be my psychiatrist. 

And for the record, it was my sulky, pouty, inner child who thought you were mean. I think you’re awesome. 🙂 

Losing Interest

The things I normally love to do are of zero interest to me right now. At first, I didn’t really notice because the one thing I was still showing interest in, my favourite thing to do, writing, hadn’t really disinterested me. It had waned, for sure, because I was nowhere near the level of writing output, or even idea output, as usual, but I knew that it was still there. Just subdued.

No matter how disinterested I get in things, somehow the writing always squirms its way in. It may come in the form of journalling instead of other projects but there is usually a sliver there. I hold onto that when the times grow dark.

But right now, even writing, even writing this, feels detached. I’m sorry if it comes across harsh that I’ve lost interest and don’t care. I never want my writing to be such a chore, in any capacity. But it has. I enrolled in a writing course at the university thinking, “if anything will get spark me back into at least having my sliver of interest in writing, nothing could do it like a writing course”. Weekly writing assignments, in class writing, discussing writing, and workshop writing, were all potential for that spark to come back. There wouldn’t be much that would excite me the way a course like that would. Except it didn’t.

I enrolled, and still no interest. I didn’t dread going to the first class but I wasn’t excited for sure. I was very meh about it. Whatever. I hoped that once I did the class it would stir something, but no. The first class was alright. I expected to come away with that sliver of excitement, talking about the course, the people, the writing, but nothing. And when in the following six days I not only didn’t complete the homework writing assignment, I completely forgot about it until the night before the next class.

I. Forgot. A. Writing. Assignment.

What the crap?

Me?

Something is not right here.

This was new. This is new. And I’m somewhere between not caring and being a little surprised. I’m now completely disinterested in ALL that formerly made me happy, or gave me pleasure. ALL OF IT.

I see my psychiatrist this week, and I think she will be surprised to learn of this as well. Either way, the course is out. Instead of wasting my time, I’m withdrawing from the course.

Wherever my interest has gone, I hope it comes back.