I am okay now ~ a reflection.

Mindfulness Meditation. It’s what I just now attempted to do. I managed it for a whole ten minutes by focusing on my breath. When my mind wanders, gently bring it back to my breath. According to Dan Siegel, a wonderful psychiatrist and researcher who has written several books, we can rewire our brain and our neural networks just by practising focused attention. If I am not in tune with my emotions, or if my emotions are overwhelming and dysregulated, I can practice mindfulness and eventually that practice, even if it’s only five minutes a day, will help me, in the long run, to be more aware of what is going on inside. Dan Siegel calls it “the sea inside.

I am drinking hot tea. I have delicious-smelling candles on. Today is Sunday. Instead of going to church, I decided to cook steel-cut oatmeal, which takes about half an hour to cook, and I opted for my mindfulness practice to be my church today. Sometimes we just need to be quiet and calm. Sometimes being around lots of people, albeit that they are friendly and smiling, can be, well, just not the right thing at that time. We are all different and we all have different needs. Today my need was turning inward and spending time with myself. It really feels good. I even watered my plants today! That’s a huge accomplishment because it doesn’t often get done. My avocado plant which I grew from seed is about a foot and a half tall and over half a year old. I am very proud of this accomplishment.

Dan Siegel also talks about “the rim of awareness.” This is in his book called “Mindsight,” which I am listening to. It is read by the author himself. The rim of awareness is like a bicycle wheel. There is the outer rim, then the spokes, which are like our different thoughts, and then the inner circle which is the “hub.” I think of the hub as my safe place. Right now my focus is on feeling safe, and if that means I need to sleep twelve hours a day because it feels safer than experiencing my strong emotions, then so be it. I used to get very angry with myself for oversleeping. There was a time in my life when I have slept and stayed in bed for 22 hours a day, multiple days in a row. Now I am not so depressed and this sleeping a lot is still a protective measure and a defence mechanism. I am defending myself against the difficult thoughts and emotions which come up.

Now that I have been in therapy for over ten years, well, I have a better understanding of the sea inside. I can name my emotions. Another saying in psychology is, “name it to tame it.” It’s true. If you can identify and put words and a name to your emotions, then it gives those emotions less power by the simple blessing of your greater awareness. It’s a powerful thing, awareness, conscious awareness and focused attention.

In my mind, it has been many years since I left the man who had abused and controlled me for almost a decade of my life. I left him in 2012, not knowing whether I could survive without him because he made sure I depended on him entirely, in every aspect, and also knowing that I would not survive another day living with him because I was extremely suicidal and had attempted to take my life several times already. I am safe now. I have to remind myself that no one is abusing me. No one is criticising me or putting me down. No one is telling me what to do. No one is making me do things I don’t want to do. No one is hurting me on the inside or on the outside, physically. I pray to God that he protects my mind, my soul, my body and my spirit. I pray that I remain safe and that the nightmares don’t come back. He has been in my dreams lately, occasionally, but he no longer scares me. I have my power back. I have the power I always knew I had but was too afraid to exert.

I am okay now. I just have to keep telling myself that. Sometimes I feel not okay, and those times are difficult to get through. As my therapist always reminds me, “feelings come and go but I remain.” It works every time he tells me that. It’s like a mantra which gives me comfort and reminds me that I don’t have to let my emotions take over and control me. I get to choose to be okay and I am choosing to be safe.

 

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New Year’s Hopes

It’s the new year. I could say I have been waiting for this day to come, but I haven’t. It just came. But I am more than just surviving. I am thriving. At least, that’s what I would like to think. I’ve been back at work for three weeks now. After a leave of absence of three months, being back and even doing well is quite remarkable.

Today is a sunny day. It’s nice. I hope that it will be a sunny year. We often think of bad things, like how I spend more than I make and that that is a problem. But bad things aside, there is room for hope. I hope that I never have to go to the hospital again. I hope that I don’t have any more suicidal episodes. I hope that I can just live my life. “Speranza” is the word in Italian for “hope” and it pops into my mind now and then.

April 13 of this year will have been the seven-year anniversary since I left my abusive ex-husband. Seven years is a long time, actually. Then it will be ten, then twenty, and I’ll have made such a meaningful life for myself that I won’t even have to look back at what was. Of course, there will be a day, I know it, I’m sure of it, that I won’t feel the need to count the years or give any credence or energy to the fact that the anniversary of my departure has gone by. I’ll just be living my life.

I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately. I honestly don’t know if my poetry will ever actually get published, but I am okay with that. I share my poetry with people I care about and occasionally I will hear back on how much they appreciated reading my poem. Appreciation goes a long way. Other than poetry, I haven’t actually been writing a lot and I know I need to get back to it. I have my leather-bound journal that I write in occasionally, but the two blogs I have running have been rather neglected. I love being able to express myself with words. The written word is something very special. It’s not like oration, not one bit.  You get to put a little bit more thought into something that is written but not said.

I am feeling hopeful. The emphasis is on the “am.” As in, I am. I am and I will be and I will just be. I want to exist. I want to be here, on this earth, living my life. No one is telling me what to do, and I am in charge of my own life. After a lifetime, it seemed, of having every aspect of my life controlled, the feeling of having control of my own destiny is quite remarkable too. How do I describe this feeling? It’s a feeling of satisfaction, of comfort, of self-worth. Can self-worth be a feeling? I know it’s a state of being so I’ll include it in my “feeling” category.

I know I’m going to be okay. I just know it. My dog has been with me for a year and a half already. Every day I walk him, I feed him, and I pet him. I give of myself to him and for me this is healing. Doing everyday things is healing and it’s a part of building my life. If I can just keep on doing everyday things, with calm and peace, then those days will become months and then years, and then a whole lifetime. What am I going to do with my life? Am I going to have children of my own? I still have some time for that left. A lot can happen in five years, and in five years I will be forty years old. From a certain perspective, that’s quite young still. That means that I still have my “whole” life ahead of me. So many things can happen in the decades to come. I just want to be a part of it. I choose to be an active part of my own life. I choose to live. I choose life.

Letter to Myself

Dear Me,

You are worthy. You are so incredibly worthy. You matter. You matter to me. You matter to your Mum and your brother and your other family and friends. You are compassionate. You are caring. You make a positive difference in other people’s lives just by existing. Your existence brings joy to your mother. You used to be her baby and you are still her child even though you are all grown up. She loves you.

Your therapist cares for you. If he didn’t he wouldn’t have been there for you, regardless of your ability to pay him or not, every week for ten years. He has always been there for you. It’s okay to feel angry at people you love. You have a right to your feelings. You have a right to feel whatever you are feeling and to have those feelings be validated.

Here is what your girlfriend said to you recently, let’s memorialize it once and for all: You are beautiful, inside and out. You are intelligent. You are intuitive. You are compassionate. You are giving of your time and love. You are also worthy in every respect.

It’s easy to forget these things when you are feeling down and depressed. It’s not always possible to control your depression but you can take steps to have a more positive outlook. You can remind yourself that you are worthy and that you matter. When you feel like taking your own life know that this feeling will pass. Feelings are there to inform us, and we don’t have to act on them. Practise opposite action and do something nice for yourself when you don’t feel like practising kindness to yourself.

Remember your GRAPES from CBT: Gentle with Self, Relaxation, Accomplishment, Pleasure, Exercise and Social. Remember that doing something in each of these categories every day actually does help. Plan it out at the beginning of the day and try to keep that plan in mind. Remember to take deep breaths and let your belly expand. Don’t just breathe with your chest. Use your gut. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. You can do this.

You are strong. You are resilient. You have been through so much worse. You have overcome some of the darkest of times. You are who you are and nothing less. Who you are is everything and you are everything that matters. You are the best you that you can be. Your existence, your well-being is paramount and your survival means everything. Each day that you live you bring hope to others. Each day that you live you bring meaning to the lives of those who were not so fortunate and who lost their battle with depression.

Remember that depression is an illness and you can fight it. You have the tools. Rely on the people around you. Reach out and do not isolate yourself. Pick up the phone and call someone. If you are still reading, then you have proven to yourself that you don’t have to act on your feelings. You can use distractions. You can remind yourself that you are loved, and how much you are loved. Don’t forget that God loves you too. Prayer can help and there is no set way to do it. You can pray however you want and whenever you want. The Lord is here to help you.

With lots of love,

Me

In Recovery – It’s a Process

It has been over two months since my last suicide attempt. I had overdosed on one of my medications. Luckily, there was a part of me which didn’t want to die, and I texted a friend who immediately called 9-1-1. The ambulance showed up right away and it was six weeks of inpatient hospitalization after that. I was released mid-October and I have been in recovery ever since. I have made some poor decisions during this time as an outpatient, but have also remedied the bad results of those poor decisions.

You know, I just want a normal life. I just want a normal life. What does that look like? To me, that looks like working 40 hours per week and then doing things that normal people do. That is, not what depressed people do. In depression, all I want to do is to sleep. Part of what they teach us in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is to practice “opposite action.” That means that as much as I want to pull the covers over my head, I choose to do something else instead. Sometimes sleeping 12 to 20 hours a day doesn’t feel like a choice. It feels as if it is happening to me. It doesn’t feel as if it’s something that I am choosing to do. But the fact is, one always has choices. When I am feeling depressed, I usually choose to do what depressed people do, not what non-depressed people do.

Depression sucks the energy from you. It leaves you feeling worn out, exhausted and exasperated. It is relentless and negativity reigns all of the time. Negative thoughts and a negative outlook on life and your future are not uncommon. Hopelessness sinks in and you barely have the energy to move from the bed to the couch, let alone to take out your dog for a five-minute potty break.

I want to do things that living people do. It’s not that I am dying, but when I feel depressed it is as if my spirit is dying inside of me. I want to have the energy to do things, like drive somewhere pretty to go for a walk outside in nature or to have coffee with a friend at an actual coffee shop rather than at home. Living people stay connected with their friends and loved ones. I will tell you, I am trying really hard at this. I am making a concerted effort to text message and WhatsApp message friends and family whom I know that care about me. I want them to know how I’m doing and I’m not into posting things like that on social media, so it just takes more effort to stay connected.

Before I was admitted into the hospital, that is, before my suicide attempt, my energy was at an all-time high. I felt invincible and felt as if I could do anything, including taking the world upon my shoulders. I wanted to start a non-profit organization, do poetry readings around my community, find and interview for a new job, take some college classes, do my regular volunteer job while still working full-time and so much more. I was doing all of those things simultaneously and my energy was going in all sorts of directions. There was no one thing which I was focused on. I was all over the place. In spite of having had 11 ECT’s (Electro-Convulsive Therapy affects mostly short-term memory), I remember what this time back in August was like. It was like being on a high, high on something, high on life. My mind was spinning and I thought anything could be possible. I talked with people and got them to buy into my great/grandiose ideas.

Now that time is over and I can reflect back. I am two states away from my home, visiting my mother and her husband in a very rainy part of the country. The day is gloomy and you sure appreciate sunny days like yesterday. I am on holiday. This is a vacation away from the loneliness which encompasses my time at my home. My roommate moved out in September and I have been paying the whole rent on my own since then. All I have is my dog. The people around me don’t always have time for me. I have to learn to love myself even when I am alone. Rupi Kaur, my favourite modern poetess, says that if you are feeling lonely, “you are in desperate need of yourself.” I completely agree.

In my CBT course, I am not allowed to ingest any substances including alcohol. Here at my Mum’s home, I have broken the rule. I better not tell anyone lest I get into big trouble. However, I only have two more weeks of that course left before I have to go back into the “real” world and resume my 40 hours a week of work. It’s going to be okay, right? Yes. I have to tell myself that. I have to tell myself that everything is going to be okay and have a positive outlook on the future. If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t have much. I have to remember that I am valued. Being with my Mum, I feel so worthy, like a worthy human being. She pays so much attention to me and gives me everything that I need including just the right amount of delicious foods. It’s Thanksgiving week and I just want to enjoy being okay right now.

Second Day Back in the ICU

I was supposed to be in training this weekend for children’s volunteer bereavement training with a local hospice organization. I feel badly for not being there and for not having notified the coordinator. However, maybe it was meant to be that I did not do that endeavor.

I told the nurse staff that my goal today is to not act out so that I can get out of the ICU. My one-on-one for the AM shift seems pretty nice. I want to do what the floor staff do. They are good at their jobs and they don’t put up with shit.

It’s lunch time. I am sitting with a lady who has an eating disorder and who hasn’t eaten food for five days since she got in here. I encouraged her to eat some of the carrot and celery that I was eating. She ate and then thanked me.

I’m not feeling particularly profound right now. I simply am trying just to make it to tomorrow without hurting myself. I was in tears last night. What the nurses said was not comforting but eventually the Ativan kicked in. I felt like I had screwed everything up in my life and that I don’t know what to do with my future. This and the false notion that no one cares about me was causing me a myriad of anxiety last night.

My stomach is not full and it hurts. I have been eating but not much. To compensate  I have been consuming liquids. My goal is to not get fatter while  I am inpatient. It’s not like I eat very well when I am on the outside either.

I don’t want to go into my room. I don’t want to stay at this bench with no back support. I don’t want to join group on the patio and I hell of don’t want to be in the day room with all of its fake fluorescent lighting and sterile environment. Being in the ICU is a no-win situation. They don’t even offer yoga mats to sit on the ground. The only good things are that there are more staff and that I can be kept safe.

I have not had any profound revelations today. In fact, not much has happened. I slept for a couple of hours this afternoon and I was very tired. I think it was after I took Ativan for my anxiety. After dinner I had a nice conversation with a woman who is a quarter Italian and I think she said her family is from Piacenza.

I can’t believe I’ve been hospitalized for two weeks now. Once I get out I never want to come back as a patient. I don’t like any of the male patients here. They all scare me. I try to not interact with any of them at all. I wonder what the doctor and me are going to be talking about when he comes. I haven’t tried to hurt myself today yet. Not once.

I look in the mirror and I see a face. That face is neither bold nor timid. It just is. It’s not an angry face but it is a tired face. Being in the Intensive Care Unit is not energizing. It can be exhausting. Every once in a while you make a connection with another patient and it helps to pass the time. Sleeping helps too. I have been on Ambien for the last few nights and I don’t like the way it makes me feel. I don’t like being forced to feel drowsy and I believe it has been giving me bad dreams.

I haven’t been recording my dreams in my journal. My doctor believes that I have regressed in my treatment. I think he thinks I’m wasting my time because in his eyes I am not moving forward in my treatment. He tells me that I like staying ill and being the victim. It makes me angry that he says those things because my ex-husband always accused me of “playing the victim,” whereas he was the true victim to my manipulations in his mind. I wish my doctor would just arrive already for our session so I wouldn’t have to think of this anymore.

There are so many people in the day room watching Bruce Almighty tonight. It is affolato (crowded) and so I am finding space for myself in my room, which I share with a lady who constantly sleeps. She only gets out of bed at mealtime.

First Day Back in the Intensive Care Unit

I feel like shit. I didn’t eat breakfast and I’m hungry. I ate a whole think of bran flakes. Now I feel better. Group is about to start. I went to group for ten minutes and then walked away. I put a phone chord around my neck. They took me into a back room and said I need to make better choices. By the time I got back to group it was over. My back and neck and head and arm are in the hot sun. Another patient is asking if everybody is going to kill or poison her.

Afternoon, shift change. My one-on-one has been very nice to me. A few times earlier today she had to take the telephone chord away from me because I was wrapping it around my neck. Here is an imaginary conversation:

Dr.: Why do you do those things?

Me: I don’t know. I want to hurt myself.

Dr.: Yes, but why?

Me: I don’t know.

Dr. Are you looking for attention?

Me: Maybe.

The truth is that I do want attention. I also want to hurt myself. I want all of the attention I can get when I want it. If I have a need which needs to be communicated I am most likely, at this time, to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Maybe I just needed attention earlier. Maybe I needed to be verbally reassured that I am safe and the primal emotional id part of me took over before my ego could stop it. In many ways too, misbehaviour is a choice. I have a choice to engage in unhealthy behaviours, ones which harm me. What do I gain from it? Love and attention? Or at least the latter, minus the first.

When I was a child I learned that love included anger and the only way to get physical affection was to act out, even if the attention was negative and the physicality punitive. So why is this behaviour showing up again 25 years later? I’ve felt like I have been punished so much in my life by the bad things which have happened to me and so I have to continue this cycle of abuse and punish and hurt myself. Don’t I deserve better than that?

From one perspective, acting out on my impulses, testing boundaries, and finding out the consequences within the boundaries of a controlled hospital environment is safe. Out in the real world if I were to exhibit any of these behaviours I could lose friends, lose my job, or lose my life. Then who would take care of Samuel?

This realization elicited a long and forced sigh followed by putting my head in my hands and bowing forward. It causes me to feel much more deeply depressed. The consequences of my actions is that I am coming to some realizations which are sobering, as I apply and integrate my emotional growth with my mental intellect. These are things I don’t care to intentionally look at because the realization of the truth hurts like a punch to the stomach and reverberates for some time. There is a part of me which would prefer to continue to act out on my emotional impulses and behaviours without reigning in my cognitive functions.

I regress, literally. I received a phone call from my mother. Talking with my mother often causes frustration, especially lately. I don’t know how to express the anger in a healthy manner. It’s not something that she says, necessarily. It’s just her. She agitates me and I am realizing I don’t want to talk with her. I almost wrote that I “don’t want to talk with me.” Maybe she reminds me of myself. I doubt it. It’s more about the relational pattern we have established which has been developing since birth. And to tell you the truth I don’t have any bandwidth to deal with other people’s problems. So at the end of the call I was kicking the wall. Then I went to sit on my bed, hugged a pillow, and took deep breaths. I had to lay down for a while before I could continue to write. Writing is helping me processing. I’ve been up since 6:00 AM and I don’t like getting up that early. My hour-long nap before shift change helped.

Thoughts About Getting Triggered

It’s almost 5:00 PM, so basically the end of the day on a Sunday. I haven’t done laundry for three or more weeks. I am struggling with keeping dirty dishes out of the sink; it just seems to pile up as if I have no control. My roommate gave her 30 days notice several days ago and I haven’t had the heart to begin to be able to cope with it. It was a difficult week and I feel as if I am suffering.
Today I got triggered. It was in regards to the idea of having a massage at my friend’s bridal shower, which will be at a spa in a few weeks. I have been going back and forth with the ladies organizing the event. I let them know I don’t want to be touched. Just the idea of it brings tears to my eyes. I don’t want to be touched because between the ages of 16 and 28 I was touched inappropriately and raped countless times by more than one man. It all makes sense to me now when I put it on virtual paper. Because I got triggered I decided to lay down and take a nap. Three hours later and some distraction by Ted Talks on YouTube and I am doing better. That’s just one day, half a day, of my life.
Right now I have the urge to go back to sleep. I feel as if I can’t cope. My head is spinning and not everything around me is making sense. But my emotional support dog is in my lap and that helps to ground me. I am responsible. I can do things with my life. I have the ability to do anything I want to do, except for when I get triggered. Something needs to change. That doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t seem fair. It’s not fair that other people (such as my former abuser) get to go on living their lives whilst I am suffering. Yes, I know, others suffer in their own ways too. But these are just the sort of thoughts which run through my mind. I now desperately want to go back to sleep but I am going to try to write another paragraph.
I might get to see my psychotherapist this week. It has been three weeks since his office transition and I have subsisted off of phone calls. But it’s not the same as seeing him in person. I wish he worked on Sundays so I could talk to him today. I wish I wasn’t busy all of Monday and Tuesday so that I could have the potential of seeing him. He said he was going to find an office close by because I live close to where his office has been for the past many years. But it’s a little bit further than I would like it to be.
I am valid. My thoughts are valid. I am allowed to think what I think and others aren’t allowed to judge me even though they will. I need to validate myself in order to give credence to that which I am. I am me, and that’s enough. It’s enough to be me. I don’t have to be anything I’m not, because, for more than six years, I was exactly that which I am not. I was living a lie. I was suffering silently until, after an unsuccessful suicide attempt at the end of 2011, I left him on April 13, 2012.
I’m okay. I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay. I made a new friend. We spent time together last night. I’m not sure I understand his motives because he keeps wanting to do things for me. At some point, I might take him up on his offer. Of doing something for me. Damn, I just feel like I am suffering. What really got me was the hospice volunteer training earlier in the week. We did a death awareness exercise. I had to step out of the room because I was crying inconsolably. It brought up grief from my father’s death in 1987. It happened over 30 years ago and I think it’s still going to affect me. It’s going to affect me for the rest of my life and triggers are going to happen. And I won’t always be able to sleep for 20 hours like I did in reaction to the painful emotions I was feeling. I took a day off work and I just slept the whole time. I didn’t want to deal with the pain of being conscious and alive.
Right now I have tears in my eyes. I haven’t been suicidal for three months. Three whole months! That is something to celebrate, it really is. I had a fleeting thought of “I should just go kill myself” but I was able to push that thought aside. It’s not fair. It’s just not fair. I don’t want to have those sorts of thoughts. I just want to live a normal life devoid of grief and full of happiness. But we all know life isn’t sunny all of the time.

Having Anxiety About Money Worries

Money. Why do I always worry about money? What is it? I have had high anxiety about this topic for several days now. I even considered renting out my bedroom and sleeping on my couch in order to save some money. I make a decent income. But my monthly expenses are high and I do not save money each month. I’m in the negative. I don’t know what to do. I mean, yes, stop buying clothes and stop travelling to see my family. But the latter isn’t going to happen, I need to see my family. That’s several hundred each trip. Then I just keep watching the level of my bank account go down, and down, and down.
I’ll be getting a refund from my Healthcare Flexible Spending Account and that will help. But it won’t make up for the extra $3,000 I’ve spent this year that I probably shouldn’t have spent. After taxes and health insurance, I make $650 a week. That’s enough, right? But lately I’ve had appointments here and there and I’ve been working 32 hours a week and my weekly income has gone down to $450. That’s not good.
If I made $80k, that would be amazing!! Unless I lived in a place where the cost of living is much higher. But my training, education, and such warrants that my salary is much less. Plus, it’s not a salary. It’s hourly pay. So if I take some hours off, then I don’t get paid. If I made more money, I could be putting away some of that income for my retirement. But I’m not. I’m not saving for retirement. How do people do it? How do they make ends meet? What the hell am I doing with my life??
I need to talk to my therapist. I know. That’s it. I just need to talk to him. But he’s in between moving offices so we have a phone call scheduled but I don’t get to see him in person. It’s far better than nothing. And I’m hungry. I’m not trying to not eat but I’m just going to sit with the hunger for a while. Because in an hour I take my lithium and I always have to eat with that or I become nauseous and throw up.
It has been 10 weeks since my last episode of suicidal ideation. Ten weeks with no crisis. It’s amazing. It feels amazing. I really think the lithium is helping because nothing else really has changed in my life other than that I have been dating men here and there. I just went to a training on working with transgender individuals of colour and the challenges they face. It was inspiring. Now I’m considering dating women again. I don’t know! I just want to be happy. And it would be nice to find a partner to get through the ups and downs of life with. But that hasn’t happened yet. Not yet.
I’m going to be okay. Positive self-talk. Everything is going to be okay in the end. I don’t need to rent out my money. I just have to keep working hard and keep doing what I am doing, and eventually, all of this hard work will pay off. I will be able to get pregnant and have a child and find more of my purpose in life by being a mother. I will be taking two infant and toddler classes this Fall at a junior college. I can’t wait to see what I’ll be learning. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s nice to have things to look forward to. Really nice.

​Experiencing a Mild Depression

I just don’t want to do anything any more. That’s not true. Earlier in the week, I had tons of energy. But my energy has decreased and it bothers me. I slept 14 hours last night and this morning. Maybe 15. I have my weekly therapy session in just two hours. My armpits stink and I need to shower. Instead, I’m just going to cover it with deodorant later on. There is a pile of dishes in the sink and an unwashed pan on the stove. My dirty laundry basket is overflowing as usual. But what really matters is that I am feeling okay and I have my little dog in my lap. He seems pretty content to be here with me. That always makes me feel better.
The tea I am drinking right now has chocolate pralines and strawberries in it. It’s a black tea. It’s a small pleasure to enjoy right now. I finally got the courage to make tea for myself after the last two hours of not doing it because it felt like too much effort. That is all in my mind, right?
I’m dating someone. We’ve been dating for about three weeks. I really like him and he makes me feel happy. He is well aware of my depression because I told him about it. He has an undergraduate degree in psychology and had already figured out that I have depression before I told him. Here were the reasons he knew: the scar on my arm, the oversleeping, the co-dependency on my dog and the fact that on my dating profile I said I can’t do without my therapist. So, there you have it. He already knew. I didn’t know he knew and I was well prepared for him to reject me and decide to not date me because of this fact. But that wasn’t the case and I was so relieved!
That’s it. I have to recognize it when it comes. I am feeling depressed. I am feeling down. I don’t often recognize when this is happening, so realizing this right now is like having an epiphany. I am feeling depressed. Maybe just a little bit. Maybe a lot. Maybe I will feel less depressed after seeing my therapist. I mean, I always feel better after seeing him. I don’t pay attention much to my depression these days. If I am feeling down I am usually able to work through it, meaning, I concentrate on work during the week. I think work is a good distraction from my feeling depressed. It’s good for me. Plus I have to pay the bills.
Time is going really slowly right now. It’s basically noon, but it was 11:54 for way too long and now it’s only 12:01. I don’t know what’s up. I’m having tons of thoughts and time is going very slowly. I know I want to finish writing out my thoughts here before getting ready to go out for therapy. Maybe it’s a good thing that my new man works four 10-hour days Friday through Monday. Because if he had weekends free then we would likely be spending that time together and I wouldn’t get any of my stuff done. Why is it that I just don’t want to do anything right now? I don’t understand this state of being. Now only two minutes have passed and I feel like a sloth because time is going so slowly. It doesn’t exactly feel good.
My dog doesn’t seem to be bothered by any of my human failings. I need to focus on approaching life from Samuel’s perspective, which is in-the-moment as things are happening. He doesn’t have the mental capacity to worry too much about what happened in the past and about what is going to happen in the future. I completely forgot that today is Pride Day here in my town. People are out and about celebrating LGBTQ in the gay neighbourhood in town and at a very large park. Weeks ago I thought about participating but right now I’m glad I slept. I can’t imagine having to expend that sort of energy right now. I best start getting ready to go to therapy. It’s a rough life I have, I’m telling you! (Yes, that’s a joke 🙂

This is a Part of My New Life

My goal in therapy now is to no longer feel suicidal. My biggest dream in life is to one day become a mother. I want to be an emotionally resilient mama so that I can be strong for my baby. We are adding lithium to my three other medications that seem to have been working and I’ve been on them for years. My doctor said there were studies done a long time ago which indicated that lithium can reduce suicidal ideation. It’s worth a shot. “Lithium is a salt,” I said. “Yes,” he told me. “And they don’t know exactly how it works,” I continued. “That’s also true,” he replied. “It’s for people with bipolar disorder,” I said. “Yes.” He was playing along as I wanted him to. “But I don’t have bipolar disorder,” I reminded him. “No you don’t,” he said kindly, “but it also works for other diagnoses.” That was enough for me. I was sold.

 

“We’re only giving you a whiff of lithium at 300 mg. We won’t be going up to a therapeutic dose which can be 1,200 mg,” he informed me. “Can’t you just give it to me in a snifter and I can take a whiff of it that way like they do with hard alcohol,” I asked cheekily. “I meant that metaphorically,” he said with a smile. He is always in such a good mood with me, even when I am not. I love my doctor.

 

I have been writing incessantly over the last three months. I am publishing on my new public platform on Psych Central twice weekly. I talk about my mental health challenges and I’ve gotten a few positive responses, which of course is always encouraging. Whenever I am experiencing intense emotions, I write. When I am feeling okay, I write. All I do is write. But I recently got a comment on my Depression Muse blog which inspired me to write here too finally. I’ve been wanting to do this for some time. My entire life outside of work is consumed with writing for my new blog. There are certain rules you need to adhere to, like that titles for the blog posts need to be 8 – 10 words long for Google searches to pick them up and that posts shouldn’t be longer than 1,200 words or so. But with this blog, Depression Muse, there are no rules. I fucking love it.

 

I’ve had Samuel for over a year now. I can’t imagine my life without him. This 12-pound furball of a dog is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life. I’m serious. The day I get a partner to sleep with me in bed, meaning that my dog-child shouldn’t sleep with me any longer, well, that will be an adjustment for us both. I love having his little belly rising and falling with each breath within arm’s reach so that when I am having a nightmare I can put my hand on him and come back to reality in a relaxed way. He grounds me to reality. I love him with all my heart.

 

Earlier this week on a whim I downloaded a dating app. I had used this one before, OK Cupid. I had to rewrite my entire profile from two years ago and put all new photos up. I can’t believe that just two years ago I was still regularly indulging in alcohol even though it is clearly so bad for me. It is a depressant and reacts with my medications. It’s so bad for me. It even gives me nightmares, just one glass, as I recently discovered on my Italy trip. Not good.

 

So two days ago I decided I want to find a man and have lots of amazing sex which might then lead to us making a baby together, which is all I want in life. I was originally planning to go to a sperm bank. But maybe having a partner to help raise my child wouldn’t be so bad after all, even though there is this thing called co-parenting where you actually have to work hard and agree on stuff. I sexted with a man for two hours Thursday night. By Friday night I was feeling guilty about it because as poet Rupi Kaur says, I want a man to know my mind first before my body. So maybe I don’t want to find a man after all. I have no fucking idea!! And that’s completely okay. I am okay with not knowing exactly what I want and not being able to predict the future.

 

It’s Saturday morning and I have a date in a few hours. It’s at a coffee shop at 10:30 and so I am making sure to not drink coffee at home right now so that I’m not on a coffee high for the rest of the day. Actually, having too much coffee doesn’t feel good. It can mess with your heart rate and your mind and you’re on this artificial high for several hours, and then you crash. Dang, is coffee a drug or something? I hadn’t thought of it that way.

 

This guy is white and eclectic and I’m interested to see how the conversation goes. I’m not at all nervous, as I think that these dates are a dime a dozen. I think women are lucky because it’s easier for a woman to get a date with a man than for a man to get a date with a woman. I’m just saying. But this time I am definitely going to let the man pursue me and he must absolutely court me. God forbid I jump into bed with the first man that I connect with. I better not!!

 

I think I’m going to go eat breakfast now. It’s 8:00, awfully early for me on a weekend day. I really want coffee and I might have to indulge in spite of my coffee shop date later this morning. I’m curious to see if he will even show up! Well, Samuel is such a big part of my life, I am definitely bringing him. And I think I have a dinner date in the works for next week with another man. I am going to suggest a place where I can bring my dog to sit on the patio with us. Samuel is a part of the package and he has my heart!