More On My Inpatient Experience

I am about to have my hearing with a court official. A lady who is a patient advocate came and spoke with me. She is going to speak on my behalf. I’m a little bit scared because the prospect of speaking with a court official is daunting. I’m so glad that I live in America. I think that the health system, especially for mental health, is better here than it is in the U.K., for example. Even the ability to have a court hearing is amazing.

An older, retired couple is coming to visit me at noon today. The doctor said that the levels of my liver went up today, which I guess is not good. My poo has been black, which is the charcoal they made me drink right after the overdose. I can’t believe that it’s five days later and the charcoal is still in my system. It was so disgusting to drink. Let me say one thing though: I think I’m glad to be alive right now. Had I died, my mother and my brother would have been devastated. You can’t recover from something like that, when someone close to you dies of suicide. I don’t know and cannot know what it’s like because it hasn’t happened to me, but I can imagine. I can imagine.

Now I’m just waiting. I don’t know if I will feel like typing this up later for my blog. My new roommate, Olga, is making her bed and straightening her things. There are some construction workers directly outside of the window so we have the curtains closed and the light on, instead of using the daylight. Honestly, right now, I am just waiting for my hearing and I am curious to know what the result will be, whether I’ll get to leave or not.

I am on a 14-day hold and I have 11 days left. That does not mean that I have to stay all 11 days if the doctor deems it safe for me to go home. I did not win my court hearing. The court official ruled that I am still a danger to myself and that I need to stay in the hospital. There is something called a writ of Habeas Corpus and it’s a hearing in the actual courthouse. To me it’s not worth it and I know I just have to work with my doctor and his treatment plan. My former doctor here, his wife died, and that is why he is not here. He must be at least 75 years old now.

My friends should be coming any time now. I put on a fresh shirt for them because I had sweated being out in the sun on the patio earlier today. My shirt stunk! I should probably get my hair trimmed at some point. It has been a year and a half since I last got my hair cut and there are a plethora of split ends.

It’s about late afternoon. I’ve definitely had urges to hurt myself. Definitely. I need to see my Samuel again, my little dog. I have to make it out so I can see him. My poor little dog without his human Mommy. Poor thing. I bet he misses me too.

When we were doing beading to make bracelets, I snuck some pieces of the plastic elastic band into my pocket and then once I was in my room I tried putting it around my neck. But it didn’t do anything so I threw all but one piece away. The bedroom doors have windows in them and the bathroom doors in the bedrooms have no locks. It’s better than in the ICU where the bathrooms had only curtains for doors. Damn it. I want to hurt myself so badly. But I am fighting the urge by writing. Writing is my anchor and my life vest; it keeps me afloat.

I got angry earlier and I was having anxiety. They told us at the wrap up group that we get 30 minute sessions on computers but the computer itself has a timer for 60 minutes. Rhonda, our floor staff, the lady with the red hair, told us to speak up if we want computer time. So I asked both women who were using the computers when I could return for my turn and they both said, ¨I don´t know.¨ I got angry on the inside. After telling a nurse about what had happened, I went back to my room and writing saved me yet again.

I took the velvet art I had made today and turned it into a postcard. I addressed it to my Mum and her husband and left it at the nurse’s station to be mailed out. Then, after I had gotten some decaf coffee from the kitchen, which was still open because the patients were finishing up dinner, my roommate started talking to me. Her name is Ana and she came to America when she was six years old from Russia. She is 27 and got married at the same age as me, at 22. Several people have told me that I look a lot younger than 35, so I guess I have that to my advantage. I need to get out of here so that I can see my dog and pour out my love onto him. I need to get out, I need to get out and I need to live and to stay alive.

 

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My Experience of Being Inpatient

The inspiration to write doesn’t always come. Sometimes I just have to make the decision to write, sit down, grab a pen, and see what comes. Then, once I get going, writing becomes easier to continue. It seems less daunting.

I haven’t written any poetry since I’ve been here. Just a few pages in my flimsy hospital-issued journal. The first few days that I was hospitalized I just didn’t get up out of bed. Not at all. My body was completely exhausted after what I had put it through. The overdose of over-the-counter medication really messed up the functioning of my liver, but apparently the liver is one of the organs that, if treated well, can regenerate itself.

My doctor is going to d/c (discontinue) my one-to-one patient status. This means that I don’t have to have someone following me wherever I go, including to the bathroom and the shower, and having someone watch me while I sleep.

It’s snack time right now and one of the benefits of having a one-to-one is that I am allowed to go to places where other patients cannot go. I already had my snacks half an hour ago and right now we are sitting out on the back patio where the calming water fountain is and no one else is out here.

My inpatient doctor just added a new medication on top of the three I already take. He said he doesn’t want me to kill myself in response to me saying I don’t want to add a new medication. I can’t really argue with that.

I graduated from the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) to ITP (Intensive Treatment Program). It’s a step up in the world. Plus, not having a one-to-one any longer is a huge accomplishment and it’s one step closer to getting out of the hospital altogether. I have certain responsibilities at my job and in taking care of my precious Samuel, my adorable puppy who is no longer a puppy because he is eight years old now.

I am thinking about writing a poem. It’s nice to be thinking about that rather than thinking about ways to hurt myself.

We had our afternoon community meeting. I was able to get a shirt from the donations pile and I really like it. It has flowers on it and they are teal blue. The floor staff are talking about when they are going to be taking their lunch breaks and about a nonspecific incident that happened on Friday and who was the first responder.

I need to be off of my one-to-one so that I can shave my chin hairs. Most women, I´ve discovered, have the unfortunate pleasure of having to deal with chin hairs. Some pluck, some wax, some shave, and some do laser hair removal treatments which is what I have been doing.

A bird flew down to the ground near the entryway to the patio and pulled out a Fig Newton from under a chair. He was very bold. When he got done he flew away.

The Immediate Aftermath of My Suicide Attempt

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Today is mother’s day. I took an overdose several days ago and now my liver isn’t functioning so well. Basically, I damaged my liver. There is hope for recovery, physically as well as mentally.

On Wednesday, I left work early and headed to Costco. I had already made up in my mind what I was going to do. I know that a week from now, this is all going to be a blur and I won’t remember much of anything. The 24 hours following my overdose we like living a nightmare. I texted two of my friends what I had done. I also texted the crisis hotline. I pretty much passed out on the floor of the entryway to my home and my neighbour gave the cops the passcode to the lockbox under the stairwell where an extra set of keys was kept.

Before I realized it there were about ten people in dark uniforms inside of my home. By this point I couldn’t interact intelligibly, however, as soon as they got me on the emergency gurney, I fought them and tried to get out. So in addition to the seatbelts, they strapped me down by my wrists and my ankles.

Honestly, I can’t believe that people make such a big deal about wanting to kill themselves. I don’t get it, why saving a life is so important. Its like you feel all alone, isolated and hopeless and all of a sudden all of these people show up to try to save your life. It doesn’t make sense to me.

I just had my nurse read the previous paragraphs and what I wrote really touched her. She got tears in her eyes and she told me that life is a gift and that life is precious. Her name happens to be ¨Precious.¨

Just Your Average Sunday of Suffering…

Why do I have to suffer so much? Can I just please minimize my problems in a self-deprecating way and say that others have it so much worse? I have a car, a nice home, a good job, so how could things possibly be bad? Well, I could be dirt poor or super rich too and still suffer the same as I’m suffering now. Depression has nothing to do with socioeconomic status, although, those who have money get the best treatment options. For example, there’s a DBT program (dialectical behaviour therapy) but it would cost me an extra $1,100 per month and that’s just not in my budget. My roommate is listening to something upbeat right now and it’s driving me crazy. I want to tell her to shut it off.

It’s Easter Sunday. Happy Easter, everyone! Well, the “happy” in there is just a figure of speech and well-wishing but it does not apply to my Sunday. I actually made it to a church service, the last of four services offered by my church. It started at 11:30. I cried when the band played the introductory songs. Then during the service, I cried a bit more. Then when I went for prayer at the prayer team at the end of the service I cried a lot more. I told her that I wanted her to pray that my depression doesn’t kill me. She’s obviously experienced with knowledge in this area because the first thing she asked me was, “have you ever attempted?” That was just over six months ago, my last attempt, but I’ve attempted many times before. Her second question was, “Do you have a plan.” I answered “no” and I was being truthful.

There’s a traditional Italian cake called a Colomba and it’s very similar to the Pannetone they have around Christmas and new year’s. My Mum sent me one and that’s literally all I’ve eaten today. I finished off the day, after a long nap which prevented me from self-harming, with some beans, cooked kale and sundried tomatoes mixed together. The rice had gone off so I had to throw that away. Yesterday I stayed in bed all day. From 10:00 PM Friday night to 9:00 AM Monday morning I’ve been out of bed for a cumulative four hours. My back was hurting this morning from having been in bed so much. Being asleep during the day and having nightmares just seemed easier to bear over being awake and having to deal with the reality of being alive.

I didn’t want to die yesterday, but today I was on Twitter and saw an article about a young woman who had suicided. There were photos of the self-harm scars on display and it completely triggered me. I went from wanting to cut myself to thinking about jumping off a bridge or somehow drowning… okay. I’ll stop there. Let me just say that I let my imagination run a bit wild whilst I was texting with the crisis line. They have my name saved because they knew my name without me telling them. I guess I text in for help a lot. Their main concern is that I don’t have a plan that I’m going to carry out immediately and if I do they would try to get me help. It’s mainly just someone to talk with when the most painful and overwhelming emotions are happening.

Now I’m overwhelmed and exhausted just having typed out that last paragraph. I’ve been wanting to write a post all weekend but just haven’t had the energy. I barely have any energy now. But the last time I showered was Wednesday night so that’s one thing I have to make myself do tonight. I don’t know what it is, but in my mind showering is one of the hardest things to get myself to do. The actual act of it isn’t but it’s the stories I tell myself in my mind that make it hard. I would just rather never shower and at the same time, I can’t go to work with a greasy head of hair. I discovered dry shampoo which is amazing, so amazing, but since my last roommate moved out six months ago I haven’t bought any. I would always just use hers, with her permission of course.

I got behind on handwashing dishes so I am running the dishwasher now as they were beginning to pile up high in the sink. I don’t consider having to run the dishwasher a failure, however, I do feel bad that my roommate has to put up with my dirty dishes being in the sink. I do not know how some people are just so diligent about washing a dish right after using it. That almost never happens for me. I just don’t have that kind of motivation, perseverance, diligence, or whatever you want to call it.

I think that’s about enough from me for today. I thank you for attending to my words, my lovely reader, and for being a part of my life for these few moments which you have spent reading my journal entry. Thank you for letting me be a part of your day and I truly wish you all the best. Even though I suffer from depression, I am a loving and caring person. It’s much easier to love other people than myself. That’s why I tell my therapist I love him, because if I can’t love myself then I at least have someone I can love. Everyone needs love in their life.

A Reflection on Coming Back to the Present Moment

I have just been waiting for this moment, a moment where I can sit down and have the motivation to write a journal entry in my blog. I think about it a lot but the actuality of doing it is more daunting, even cumbersome. So here I am on a Sunday morning drinking French Vanilla coffee from a special mug with my small dog in my lap and laptop off to my side. I can hear birds chirping as I have my patio door open, which typically is a rare occurrence. The weather is so nice outside, I just decided to slide the door open.

These are sensory things, grounding things, things to keep me in the present moment. If I notice what is around me, and follow my senses of touch, taste, sound and smell (am I missing one?) then I can stay in the room. However, my mind wanders and goes to other places, far-off distant lands which have nothing to do with my present surroundings. I suppose that is called dissociation. I can be sitting with my therapist and he can be talking and I won’t have registered any of the sentences because I was still busy in my mind bringing myself back to the present moment. My therapist is kind and patient and he doesn’t mind repeating himself for me.

Last week I was suicidal. That was maybe a week and a half ago actually. When I am feeling suicidal it’s like there is an emergency happening in my mind and there are invisible and silent alarm bells going off in my body telling me that I am in crisis. I can be sitting quietly at my work desk and someone could walk by and not notice anything unusual, whereas in reality I am panicking and frantically texting with the crisis hotline to get help and calm the emotional storm. But that’s really what it is, isn’t it? It’s a big storm, something you really have no control over, but you have to hold onto the fact that it will eventually pass and the waters will be calm again and the clouds will be gone, letting the sunlight shine in. For many years I lived in a fog of dark, dark clouds and the possibility of the sun shining into my being was close to nil. These days, things are different. I still feel suicidal but I seem to be able to get out of that state more quickly than ever in the past.

Just over six months ago I took an overdose to end my life. You see, however, I didn’t really want to end my life as in dying. I wanted to kill myself as a punishment to feed my self-hatred and mostly to end the suffering which consisted of overwhelming emotional pain and a deep sea of sadness. There is more sadness these days in my life than anger. Yesterday, seven years ago, is the day I packed up my car and left my abuser. It was either going to be leaving him or kill myself because I couldn’t go on living like that. I have many memories and at times they are intrusive, and I find it best for me not to verbalize any of those memories, lest they become more real and concrete in my mind to the possibility of retraumatizing me. So these images and memories come up as flashes in my mind which involve the visual aspect of memory as well as thoughts and words associated with that memory. As long as I don’t say any of this out loud then the images will fade away. If I were to describe them it would just extend my discomfort.

Those images, those flashes of memory, used to scare me and make me feel that I was living those moments over again and again. I couldn’t sleep with the light off because many bad things happened to me at night. I have to remind myself even now, that nothing he did to me was ever my fault. He was ill in his mind and the things he did to me were not okay and not normal. The sad thing is though, that it was my normal. I didn’t know any different. I was young and naive and I didn’t believe in divorce. Even though I’m the one who physically left (he changed the locks to our home right away) there was a big part of me that couldn’t imagine life without him. He had controlled every aspect of my life including what I wore and how I got my hair cut. I had no say, and when I did try to refuse or speak up or say no, it would be met with emotional turmoil because, in a sense, he punished me by making me feel bad and by making me believe that everything that happened was my fault and not his.

That’s enough talk of the past. I just realized I was starting to go to a bad place in my mind and I needed to come back to the present. I was verbalizing things from the past which are better left there, in the past. I can hear my dog snoring in my lap, which is very comforting and which I happen to think is adorable. My coffee is now luke-warm but still tastes good. I think I am going to make scrambled eggs for breakfast and of course, I have to use a whole bunch of salted butter, to make it really good! You see? Now I actually have a smile on my face and there is less tension on my cheeks, forehead and eyebrows. I’m back where I need to be, in the present where I can hear the birds singing. My roommate just woke up and her noise will also help keep me in the present.

From suicidal one week to looking to become a first-time homebuyer! Really. Due to circumstances, which is that my landlord wants to sell the place I live to me or to someone else and that I can’t afford it, I have begun to work with a real estate agent. I know nothing about home buying and now I am about to hopefully become an expert at it. I can’t afford much but I am hoping to buy a two bedroom, two bathroom condo. My commute to work will be extended by at least an additional half hour if not more because I cannot afford to live any longer in the central location of town where I live now. So there you have it. I’m thinking about my future whereas just prior to that I didn’t want my future to be continued at all. It’s just that, I don’t actually want to die. I just want the pain and sadness to end. That’s what plagues me. That’s what makes me suffer. That’s what needs to change and I myself need to make that happen. I’m going to keep working hard at it every day and when bad things come up in my mind, I will always do my best to come back to where I am in the now, the present, the reality of things. For memories can seem real but they are not and they are not happening any longer. That’s the hardest thing, to remember they aren’t actually happening when I’m remembering them.

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it. You know, very few people read these words that I write yet I appreciate every single person who lets me know they read my journal entry by clicking on the “like” button. It warms my heart that my story, my experience, my words, became a part of your life if only for five or ten minutes whilst you were reading this. Thank you for existing, thank you for being you, thank you for gracing my words with your attention, and I hope your day continues with peace and comfort. Just remember, when you are suffering, you are never alone. Let me say it again: you are never alone.

From Suicidal Back to the World of the Living

I recently reconnected with an old friend or acquaintance whose existence I had forgotten because of ECT’s – electroconvulsive therapy treatments. I was suicidal last week. Really suicidal. Do you have any idea how much energy is sucked out of you when you are suicidally depressed? It takes all the energy you have and you’re lucky if you can spend 12 hours out of 24 hours awake because all you can do is sleep. You sleep because it eases the pain of being alive and experiencing the painful emotions which plague you and which won’t go away. But as always they end up dissipating and going away and then 4 days after you thought you were going to have to go into hospital so they could keep you from making another attempt on your life, you feel differently and all of a sudden life isn’t so difficult any longer. It’s a whirlwind to experience, a major storm in the middle of a deep, dark sea of despair and hopelessness. And the only reason you choose to stay alive is that there is one person who, next to your mother, has never given up on you, and that’s your therapist. I stayed alive for my therapist this week.

I am no longer feeling suicidal and the pain has subsided and now my life is back to the painless nagging worries of how I am going to manage to get five loads of laundry done before Monday comes around. Thank God for my dog, he has saved me so many times. His presence in my life is a Godsend and I am absolutely in love with him. His wheezing loud snoring breaths as he sleeps next to me are comforting and as long as I know that his little 12-pound body is right there next to mine, then everything is right with the world.

When you feel suicidal, that’s because there is something which precipitated those feelings and triggered them. I am well aware of the situation which triggered my suicidal ideation. I made the poor choice of putting myself into an unsafe situation with a man, and that’s all I am going to say about that.

My landlord wants to sell the condo I am renting to me. That means my monthly payments will go up by about $400 which is over $4,000 per year which is a lot. I’m contemplating it but if I don’t buy this place then I will have to move and I’m pretty content where I am right now. I’ve been living here for over three years and I don’t want to move. Wednesday I was going to check myself into the hospital and four days later I am considering buying a home to hold onto for the future. I’m actually thinking about the future now. Isn’t that amazing?

My therapist suggested I join a DBT skills group as a reminder. DBT is Dialectic Behaviour Therapy, it’s a form of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and is very useful for dealing with overwhelming emotions. They teach you skills to use when you get the urge to harm yourself. It has been helpful in the past and I know it would be helpful now. I am thinking about joining a group, I just have to make the actual decision.

Now that I’m not suicidal what shall I do? I could touch the electric keyboard that I haven’t busted out for over a year. I could paint, I could colour with my fabulous gel pens in my adult colouring book which I haven’t touched for a year, I could do some handwriting in my journal… then there’s the practical side of things. I need to get my shoes repaired, have the tires on my car rotated, do laundry, do the cooking for the week because I never have energy during the week to do any cooking… all of these things to do. I never end up doing many of them. Today I am going to church, then going to see a friend for coffee. Back to the world of the living.

Sometimes

Sometimes I just want to shout out. But not Hallelujah. It’s more like, “Aaaaah! Urg. Ugh. Grr. OMFG.” Yeah, that’s what I want to convey. I just can’t stand having mental illness sometimes. I mean, it’s an illness, a real illness and it’s not the same as a physical illness so people don’t always give it credit. Damn the stigma.

I’m travelling up North to see my brother and my Mum is flying in. He’s going through a divorce but we still intend to enjoy the trip. My Mum bought squid ink pasta because I had brought some to her from Italy last year, but do you know how expensive this stuff can be?? It’s crazy expensive and it doesn’t taste much different than regular pasta. It’s a normal thing in an Italian grocery store but not in America.

I’ve been spending a lot of time cultivating my online community on Instagram. It just feels good to connect with people who are also passionate about mental health. I’m not much of a person to pick up a book and read and I definitely don’t spend my time watching television or movies, it just doesn’t interest me. So if I spend my time on Instagram, then so be it.

I’ve started to perform my poetry. I’ve been writing for years and years and now I am finally making it a point to “get out there” and let the world know that I exist. Of course, it always starts small, like at an open mic in my town and my community. But I would like for more people to know about my poetry one day. I happen to think it’s very good! I put my heart and my soul into my poetry and it really consumes my life outside of work.

Work was stressful this week. I didn’t feel suicidal until Thursday but Monday and Tuesday were long and by Tuesday night I was craving alcohol to drown out the noise and depression in my mind. Wednesday I gave in and had a glass of wine at a restaurant that is within walking distance from my home and I got incredibly drunk off of it. Then the next night I had some bubbly at an event. I think I’ve gotten it out of my system now. For the last five weeks straight I have been crying during my therapy hour. It’s like the trauma memories all build up inside of me and then I can release it when I am in a safe space, such as therapy. Thank God for my therapist and God bless him.

I like that I can talk and write without a filter here. I mean, for the most part, my blog is anonymous, meaning I don’t share my given name. Eventually, I might come fully out with my story of past abuse and resulting depression, including many years when I was suicidal every single day. But for now, I just enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts and feelings and my life experience as it unfolds. I am grateful to you, my reader, for soaking in the words I have written and letting it be a part of your experience today. In a way, you are experiencing my experience through my sharing. I think that is a beautiful thing.

My grandmother’s third death anniversary just passed and I didn’t make the time to call my grandfather for the occasion. I should probably call him today. Duty calls (to make a pun). Oh, I’m so punny! I love that expression. Hey, I’m just trying to have fun with words here leading off of a not so happy subject like my grandmother’s death three years ago.

So now both of my grandmothers are gone and I have one grandparent left, on my mother’s side. The word for “maternal grandfather” in Hindi is “Nana” and that’s what we call him. The word for “paternal grandfather” is “Baba” and that is what my cousins call him. It’s not very complicated when that’s what you grew up knowing all of your life.

There is an organization for at-risk youth which I volunteer with a few times a month. Even though it makes for a longer day, working 8 hours and then being with the kiddos for two and a half more hours, it gives me energy. I enjoy it so much that it regenerates my energy and fills me with happiness and hope. This job means so much to me. If entry-level positions in the mental health industry didn’t pay so little, that is what I would be doing full-time. But since I have to pay the bills and rent, I work at a bank. I do pretty good work there too.

Today I have to do laundry, go grocery shopping and maybe to Target to get paper towels and water filters which we are out of. But I’ve literally been putting off some of these tasks for over a month. Every weekend which comes around just wants to be filled with poetry creations and through my art I have no time for practical things such as getting a filter for our drinking water jug.

Right, so now, this is long enough and I bid you farewell until the next time. Thanks for taking the time to be a part of my life experience by reading. Loads of love!

 

 

 

Fear Of Living

I’ve been afraid of writing a blog entry for a while now. I have been imagining that it will take out a lot of energy from me and be exhausting and I wasn’t sure I could spare the energy. As always, so many things are going on in my life. Last year when I was in the hospital I met a man who was a suicidal drug addict, I didn’t know about the drugs at the time. He convinced me to let him into my home and then over a two week period proceeded to spend thousands of dollars of my money on drugs and stupid things like an electric guitar. I finally got him out of my home and now his friend, who gave me money which this guy spent, is threatening to sue me. Oy Veh. That’s the last thing I need right now. But he has no legal recourse over the monies? I have no idea. Oh, God.

Anyway, so I’ve got that going on. My brother is going through a divorce right now and I feel sad for him but I know that he is a strong person and will come out okay on the other end. There are just the technicalities of who gets what upon separation, money-wise, asset-wise, debt-wise. It’s just so complicated and it’s bringing up memories of my own divorce, which was just awful and so emotional for me to go through. Of course, there is a difference here: my brother’s divorce does not involve a history of domestic violence and abuse as mine did. There I said it. It’s out in the open.

Now what. What else? I’ve been really into my poetry. This is what has been keeping me afloat. Keeping me grounded. Keeping it real. My world of poetry saves me. When I finish writing a poem, I feel accomplished. Any time I do anything with my poetry, whether it’s making art out of my poetry, or anything really, I feel joy. Speaking of joy, I spent 30 minutes this morning reading a book out loud in Italian. That is a language which brings me joy.

So even though I have all of these difficult things going on in my life, it is possible to find a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve been sick and out of work for the last week and so I have lost a lot of money. Thank God I have just enough money to survive right now but I’ll never be rich, especially not if I want to be a writer or a therapist. I haven’t written in any of my blogs lately, not at all. I have been silent, mute. The only thing about this blog is that I can write in a stream-of-consciousness manner without holding back, just as it comes to my mind so it gets written onto virtual paper. There is a certain process that the mind goes through which is different when you write out your thoughts versus just thinking them, wouldn’t you agree?

So what am I supposed to do with my life? Keep my job, focus on happiness? There’s a man who is interested in me and I’m so hesitant because I’ve been hurt too many times before and deeply wounded. Because my first marriage was such a co-dependent relationship, I would have to say I’m a virgin at relationships. I don’t even know what it takes to have a healthy relationship! What am I going to do about that? Go into something new and unknown head-on? I don’t think so! Caution is a must.

So I just titled this post, “Fear Of Living.” All of these difficult things makes life difficult to live. Does that mean I can’t move forward? Not necessarily. But it makes me want to deal with the difficult things less and less, and the less regard I pay to the difficult things the more urgent and looming they seem upon me. Like there is that $1,000 hospital bill that I have six months left to figure out how to pay. Well, that just sucks big time. I don’t fucking know what to do about it. I just swore because swearing is one way to get out anger and frankly, hospital bills make me feel angry. Angry with myself, angry with the system, angry with the world, and most of all, angry with my ex-husband for abusing me and getting me in this mess of mental illness and suicidal depression in the first place.

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.

 

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.