Note: The following is a raw, honest, mental-health related post. I know some of you don’t like those. I write this for three reasons:
- It is crazy cathartic for me.
- It helps me feel less alone
- It helps others feel less alone.
If it’s not your sort of thing, no hurt feelings if you skip it. Otherwise, grab a cuppa and read on:
One week ago on Tuesday, my therapist recommended I go to the hospital for stabilization. I wasn’t allowed to leave the clinic until I saw a psychiatrist for a “risk assessment.” I sat in the waiting room, terrified out of my mind, for 2.5 hours to wait to see her. Sometime during this time period, he called my husband (something he’s only allowed to do if he feels I’m in imminent danger) to tell him how concerned he was.
And then the bottom dropped out of everything I’d been trying so hard to hold together.
I ended up declining the hospital – with the support of both the psychiatrist and the PA who’s my normal prescriber – but I (gladly) accepted a new medication for sleep, and I (gladly) accepted an increase/change in my regular day-to-day meds. It was time, and I needed it, and I knew it.
The past week has been horrifying and messy and painful, but….
I’m glad it happened.
The entire situation, especially the call to my husband, rang a bell that couldn’t be un-rung. I’ve known I’d been spiraling since the middle of June. And I kept pushing, kept holding it together, kept pushing some more. And I spiraled more and more and more until I said the things to my therapist (Tony. His name is Tony) that made him concerned, that set off this whole chain reaction that just made everything …. stop. It dropped me to my knees. It forced me to admit that at the present time I AM NOT OKAY. I am safe – it feels important to make that clear – but I’m not okay. I’ve hit rock bottom. The lowest rock bottom I’ve ever hit.
For the first few days after that appointment, the world came to a standstill. I slept and I cried. For about 5 days straight. I cancelled a chat I was supposed to do; I cancelled all plans; I emailed my professor to ask for an extension (and she was wonderfully kind and gracious about it); I had Mike run the kids to their activities; I had Mike deal with all the conference stuff that came up; I had Mike deal with, well, basically everything. And I just let myself be there, in that deep, dark, scary place. Again, I was safe. But I stopped trying to pretend that I had everything together. I stopped trying to pretend that I was okay. And I’m slowly, so very very slowly, starting to make motions to heal. The overwhelmingly positive thing about hitting rock bottom is that there is nowhere to go but up.
As for today? I’m still not okay. I’m still not able to deal with most of life. I’m not able to deal with people needing me (good God, all the emails!). I’m not able to deal with questions. I’m not able to deal with extraneous noise. I’m not able to deal with anyone or anything else but me.
That sounds selfish, I know. But depression is selfish. It is a selfish, selfish beast. And I’ve decided that it’s selfish for a reason. It’s selfish because when it gets to this point, you HAVE to be selfish. You HAVE to be selfish in order to get well.
So in the interest of selfishness: I’ve gotten dressed four days in a row (which sounds silly, but if you’ve ever been depressed, you know it’s a really big freaking deal). I’m getting up. I’m making myself do things around the house. I’m writing this blog post! The meds are starting to kick in, though at the moment they’re mostly making me drowsy and a little bit – or a lot – out of it. I hope I’ve written in complete sentences.
I have a couple of friends I’ve been texting with, but if I may, a little bit of honesty:
I want to be left completely alone.
Except I don’t.
I want to hear reassuring words.
Except I don’t.
I want someone to remind me to put on pants and get myself some tea.
Except I don’t.
In short, I don’t know what I want.
The only thing I know for super sure that I want (and this is actually something I said to Tony the day this all went down) is for someone to SEE ME. I have never felt more invisible in my entire life. And I pick up my phone, and I scroll through my contacts, and my thumb just hovers. This one is not very good at listening; this one would probably rather talk about herself; this one is very anti-psychiatry and psychotropic meds and there would be thinly veiled judgement; this one minimizes everything and would likely think I just need a good night’s sleep. So I set down my phone, and I text no one. And these are friends! People I love! It makes me feel terrible, and…. selfish. But, well, see above. I feel selfish, and alone, and just want someone to see me.
Yet at the same time, I’m pushing everyone away.
Depression is a terribly manipulating monster. But I’ve beat it before, and I’ll beat it again. It’ll take time, and effort, and patience, and gentleness, and grace (so much freaking grace). It’ll take faithfully taking my meds that I often hate myself for having to take. It’ll take even more visits to Tony that I often hate myself for having to make. It’ll take ACCEPTANCE, for who I am, and what I am, and where I’m at. Even if no one else can see me, I can see me. Right here. Right now.
And I’ll do it.
A quote I recently saw that resonated so deeply it hurt: It helped me, so maybe it will help one of you.
We’re going to be okay.