What a Difference a Year Makes

It occurred to me yesterday that it had been exactly one year since I had been hospitalized. One year since I had felt the bottom drop out and sought help. And it got me thinking of how far I had come, how far I still had to go, and the journey thus far.

At first, I thought I haven’t come far enough. I’m still struggling. I still have some very bad days, and I still have some emotions and thoughts that overwhelm me.

And then I realized that I was being really unfair to myself, and negating what progress I have made. When I actually compare where I was and how I felt last year this time to where I am and how I feel this year, I couldn’t ignore that I had made way more progress than I gave myself credit for.

Last year I was teetering on the edge, and was thisclose to standing on a ledge. I was inconsolable and suicidal. I was self-harming and doing anything I could think of to ignore and suppress all the pain. I was sleeping fewer than four hours a night and eating everything in sight. My dreams were killing me, with images and ideas that left me disturbed and scared so bad that they would wake me almost every night. I was afraid, hopeless, helpless, and I felt more alone than ever. I couldn’t even imagine seeing the next day, let alone a year later.

So I asked for help. I took myself, in my pj’s, crying my eyes out, down to CAMH 24-hour emergency down at College, and I asked them for help. I told them that I was afraid for myself and that I wouldn’t make it if I was left alone any longer. And just like that, they took me in. They said they could help and they wanted to. That floored me. They wanted to help me?! Why? Well I still don’t know why, and frankly I don’t need to know anymore. All I know is they did.

I spent six weeks in their care, and the team that was built around me, saved my life.

To be clear, they had saved my life, but I still wasn’t totally sure that life was worth living. And I was pretty sure that I would end up right back where I had started. It was only a matter of time.

I had very few illusions about my prognosis. I had been low before and somehow managed to claw my way back. Several times. Granted it wasn’t really ever a recovery so to speak, it was more just getting to a point where I could function. Enough to work and pay bills and keep a home, but just enough.

My relationships were stressed, at best, my health was on a downward spiral that I’m still working to manage, my work was a joke with no purpose or enjoyment on any level, and my thoughts were slowly deteriorating my will and my sanity. I wholly assumed that this time would be no different.

But…it was.

I don’t know exactly why this time turned out differently. I just know that it did. Maybe it was the team I had behind me, maybe it was the medication, maybe it was me, or maybe all of the above. Whatever it was I had somehow found a path towards living a life worth living. I was able to get into, not one, but three different programs that would help me work through my destructive coping methods, address my overwhelming thoughts and emotions, and teach me how to build a life worth living.

Every day poses an obstacle that can still stump me, and there are days where I am filled with uncertainty and anxiety, but I am learning, and despite the uncertainty and anxiety, I am making changes that are positive. I am learning better ways to cope that are not destructive.

It is by no means, an easy journey, and there are no guarantees that everything will turn out okay, but it’s farther than I’ve ever come before. It’s far more progress than I’ve ever made before. And the changes, so far, have stuck around. I can only hope that this is a turn towards a better life that will last.

And hopefully, this time next year, things will have improved from today, and I can tell of all the latest progress I will have made. At least, that’s the hope.

Until next time… 🙂

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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.