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Let’s talk about trust

Some things are hard to talk about. Real, raw, heartbreaking. Important, despite this. When you have thoughts of ending your own life it can be terrifying for those around you. The first time it happens, it can be terrifying for you as well. But then the thoughts become relentless, flood your brain like a torrential downpour, and soon enough they aren’t terrifying to you anymore. They never become normal, never comfortable, but you deal with them. You cope. In small ways, bigger ways. You tiptoe around them, always careful not to be swallowed up by them. Because they can become all consuming. And when the pain, the despair, hopelessness become too much; when you give up and have nothing left to fight with, that’s when it REALLY becomes apparent that you maybe can’t do it on your own anymore. I met with my case manager again today. We talked about the suicidal thoughts and she very calmly said to me…”You know what to do if things get to a dangerous point, and I trust that you will follow your care plan. I trust you”. Those are powerful words. Given as a gift. I trust you to make the best decision in your own health. I TRUST YOU.

But I didn’t know how to say I don’t know if I trust myself to make that decision. The hospital. Always a last resort, the last option. One I have been familiar with a time or two in my past. Essentially a place to keep you alive when you can’t truthfully say to yourself or others, I will be safe, in this moment. I will stay alive. It’s not a place to get well. Not really. But perhaps better than the alternative.

 

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This summer has been one of beginnings, changes, and challenges. I finished my second University course, (and pulled off a 91%) and decided that I would like to change my major from Psychology, to Social Work. If all goes well (and I hope it does), I will be applying to a new school in December, to start next May. I moved out of the dark, damp, musty basement that I have called home for a year and a half. My new apartment is bright, spacious, and perfect, except for one thing.

Have I told you about Ryan, yet? Somehow I met this wonderful man who is kind right through to his very soul. He is patient and supportive, gentle, loving, beautiful through and through. I broke his heart last fall/winter when I was lost in a chaos of depression and madness that left me gasping for breath and fighting desperately not to give up, when I had lost all hope and was drowning in despair. He never gave up on me, and we decided to try again. It was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Lucky in love. More than that, though. This man, he completes me, and I am so grateful to have him in my life. We talk about the future with hope and joy…one day there will be marriage, children (if life is kind). But just now, it can’t happen. You see, I only work part time, because of the mood instability, and the added stress of going back to school. I am a recipient of ODSP, though mainly they provide me with medication coverage, which allows me to continue the medication regime that helps me to keep semi-stable. My medication is extremely costly (about 1500.00 a month if I had to pay out of pocket), and I simply cannot afford it. The small stipend I get from ODSP every month allows me to pay my bills. If I were to move in with Ryan, I would lose my ODSP coverage. It’s a twisted system, and very frustrating. So for the time being, we continue on our way and dream of the day when I am done school, have a good job, can support myself, and we can be together….fully, as man and wife.

It’s a beautiful dream, but one day, it will be more than that. It will be reality. Lucky in love. Lucky in life. Lucky.

Depression is okay. I talked to someone about this today and he reminded me that depression, in and of itself, is not a terrible thing. It’s terrible if it gets to the point where you can’t function and you don’t want to be alive anymore, most definitely. But in and of itself, it’s simply human. We experience a wide range of emotions, and certainly when you are dealing with bipolar disorder, you experience that range to extremes.

The problem is, that in the moment….it FEELS brutal. All consuming darkness that is overwhelming and seems to suck all of the energy from you. Fills you with lead, and dread. It seizes you, consumes you, and leaves you like a fish on shore, gasping for breath. It’s not like you want to give into its whims, rather you do what you can to fight it. We talked about that today too…finding embodied activities that require you to be physically active in some way as well as engaging your brain. I have been going to the gym, a lot. Listening to music as a way to distract myself. Sometimes this helps, a little. Sometimes the gym makes it worse. I am my own worse enemy. My thoughts wreak havoc on my mind.

I have been on the verge of tears all day, and now, at the end of the day, when I have hung up my professional hat, they spill over. People talk about the highly functioning depressive, and that is me. I meet all my obligations and then some. I push myself above and beyond. People are always confused when I talk about depression. Because I am the last person you would expect to be fighting this demon. Always the smiling, laughing one.  Always. People think I am this fantastic person…I don’t see what they see. I see a run down house with a crumbling foundation that no amount of TLC could fix. Inherently broken; a shattered mess. But see, if you slap a new coat of paint on that irrepairable home, it doesn’t LOOK broken. People see my coat of paint and fail to see the decay beneath.

And maybe the truth of the matter is that I don’t want people to see the broken me. I don’t want pity, or disdain. I don’t want to see concern when I look into someone’s eyes. I want people to believe in the façade of a shiny new coat of paint. Fulfill the obligations. Keep breathing. Keep trying. We are all of us, only human. Struggling humans, when you get right down to the nitty gritty. We all have challenges and burdens to face. And on the days when the tears fall, I will try my hardest to remember that this is just mine to carry, but I don’t have to go it alone, and it’s okay to let others see the pain. Okay to reach out for help. Mood fluctuations, in their extremes, are hard to manage, hard to cope with. It’s been a hard couple weeks. I will tell myself tonight that it is okay. Okay to be afraid. Okay to be so exhausted that everything seems impossible. Okay to let the tears flow free. And yes, it is okay to be depressed. It is okay to be human.

depression-quotes

This depression is clinging to every fibre of my core. Destroying me day by day. Robbing me of any good that I could possibly see in myself. Darkness descends, causing rot and decay, leaving behind broken trails of what once was.

I spoke to my boss today. She is not willing to consider having me there part time, she assured me my job isn’t in jeopardy and said we would reassess at the end of January. I am on the supply list for now, the main supply staff filling my role. I can’t go back full time. I know this. I am tired….exhausted to the very marrow in my bones.

I trained for 2 years to become an ECE, teacher to the very young. Only to work two years before feeling like I can’t…possibly…continue. Where does that leave me? I feel like a failure. Pathetic and incapable. The prospect of job searching looming, smothering me.

It will be the 20th of January before I can see a psychiatrist, which is better than the original appointment date of the 27th. Ages. Impossibly long. How do I hold on that long?

No words

I haven’t written anything, in a very long time. I don’t have any words. They don’t flow easily from my mind, seamlessly to the page, as they once did. Likely, that is for the best.

Things I know to be true…this is a difficult time of year for me. Depression robs you of anything even remotely good in your life. Depression lies, but its lies are so consuming that they feel true. I’m tired. Not tired in the way that a good night’s sleep can magically fix, but tired in the way that simply existing seems too difficult.

I had a good run. 2 years of full time school, followed by nearly 3 years of full time work. But I am so very broken. Burnt out, just a shell. I cannot fathom work, and so I am taking a leave of absence for 2 weeks. I don’t think I can keep up the full time position. I really don’t. I don’t know if there is a part time option. I haven’t broached the subject, yet, with my boss. I don’t feel hopeful. But perhaps.

I am waiting, precariously, on a referral to a new psychiatrist. Maybe that will help. Maybe it won’t. I don’t know at this point, if I can be “fixed” this time. Again, I don’t feel hopeful.

People are getting festive. It’s that time of year. Christmas reminds me of family, love, friendship, kindness. I am trying to be positive. Trying to get on board this feeling of joy that sometimes permeates the very air at this time of year. I don’t seem to be succeeding very well. I feel broken, disjointed. Unable to see the love and light. I am not brave. I am not strong. I am tired.

Keep breathing, look to tomorrow…this too shall pass.

Life is Good; Life is Grand

I come back to this place of safety to spill my words into the abyss. Forever and always the same. Depression…yes. A touch of mania? Why not. I am so tired of this intricate dance. Don’t step that toe out of line, stumble, trip…hang onto that tightrope, your life hangs in the balance.

I am so lucky. I have a very good support system in place. Professionals, friends, family. I am loved, by many. I am loved. I know this. I am grateful. I repeat these words over and over again. “I am loved. I am okay. This is enough. I am grateful.”

We talk. Speak in gentle waves. Don’t rock the boat. “This will not last forever. There will be calm. The storm doesn’t go on and on, eventually there are clear skies at the other end.” And if you are talking about episodes, then yes, you are correct. They DON’T last forever; instead are waves which ebb and flow, waxing and waning like the bright moon which fills the sky and is a beacon of light even on the darkest nights. They pass, if you can just ride each wave as it buffets you, trying desperately not to drown.

And this is what I hold onto. There will be peace. It will come, in time. The waves will subside, and leave behind….calm.

Except. Except it does not. Because after one episode, there is another to quickly fill it’s place. This will always be the case. This is a lifelong battle, this battle for sanity. How long can you hold onto a tiny vessel as it falls apart at the seams and leaves you battered and bruised in the midst of a hurricane? I am tired.

It comes to me even in my sleep, this metaphor. I dream of drowning. It is not terrifying as one would expect. I do not wake, tangled in sheets and blankets, sweaty from thrashing to reach the surface. Instead, I watch the waves close over my head, look up through the blue green haze, and feel the air leave my lungs. The pressure in my chest is intense, and the water floods my mouth as I instinctively search for air. I do not fight. I am tired. And so I close my eyes against the haze, the pain, and everything goes black.

I am tired. I dream of drowning, and for a moment, that moment between sleep and wake, there is simply nothing. No hurt, no pain, no exhaustion. Just a sweet nothing.

Floodgates

I feel alone. Lonely. Stuck inside my own head, because it is too scary to let into the open all the demons that live inside it. I have learned it is important to talk to someone when you are feeling this way. But I feel stuck. When I try to talk about it, it’s like my throat closes up. In a chat with someone, I breezily talk about anything else…surface talk, I talk around the issues. A physical mental barrier. The dam that won’t let the floodwaters flow.

I can’t think of anyone I can be completely open with, except maybe one person, and he is hundreds of kilometres away, on another continent, fast asleep.

I log into facebook…surely there is SOMEONE I can talk to, but no. Why? Because they will look down on me? Because it makes me feel weak? Because I am ashamed? Because I can’t register with all of those people that I am not always the happy go lucky person that they see? Because I don’t know how to say…help. Please help me. I feel lost, and alone. I feel weak. I feel ashamed, you may look down on me…but please,,,please can you help me?