First, let’s get one thing straight. This isn’t an advice column. I’m not an expert by any means. Nor am I asking for advice. I just want to commiserate. It’s a mutual understanding. I do have a story to tell. I want to be heard. And you’re there, on your digital device, just willing to listen, even if for a little while. I cherish that. I value your time. I value your great listening ability.
I’ll be candid and honest. And I’ll change real names to fictitious names so that the people around me can have some semblance of privacy, although, in my mind, everything’s already out in the open. I simply have yet to write it down. The people who have wronged me. Those who have righted me. And everything in between.
I’ll write as I can. As my life permits. Heck, you might even see two posts in one day! The thing is, my mind is always churning. And rather than sit with those thoughts alone, I do want to share them. As it is, I’m sitting here writing this introduction with a glass of red wine and some fresh strawberries. Like the strawberries, this post won’t be as fresh in a few days as it was when I first wrote it. But that doesn’t lend any less importance to each syllable of my voice. Because this is my voice.
Alcohol doesn’t bode well for someone who is on psychotropic medications. I’ll be the first to admit it. But if I can stay within the limits of moderation, then maybe, it can grant me some peace. I live within walking distance of a fast food sushi joint. I wanted to walk over there and get a large hot sake with a side of seaweed salad and maybe an eel roll. But instead, $12 at the grocery store bought be a cabernet sauvignon and a small container of red, sweet delight.
I’m on Latuda and Lexapro at the moment. I stopped taking sleeping medications over a year ago because I didn’t want to be dependent on them. Even if it takes me over an hour of laying in the dark to fall asleep, I’d rather do that than be on meds. My depression is situational and biological. When I was eight, I remember telling my mother I wished I was dead. My first suicide attempt was an overdose and cutting at 16. From 17 to 23 I survived, but barely. But it was that relationship, which began at 16 and ended at 28 which did me in. I didn’t realize that it was abusive, because the abuse began gradually. By the time I was married at 22, it was in full swing. Yet I saw it as a loving relationship. In reality, there was much manipulation, codependency, a firm belief that I was worth nothing without him on my part, and a firm bout of extreme narcissism on his part.
Now I’m 31, and financially responsible for myself for the first time in my entire life. It’s invigorating and exciting and completely scary all at the same time. Some days, I really don’t know what to do with myself. Most days that is the case. So, I just sleep. I used to have hobbies, pleasures. I still have pleasures, but they appear on a much smaller scale than they used to, like tonight’s pleasure of wine and strawberries. And having my sweater on. And having a blanket wrapped around my legs and a computer that still functions, limping along on it’s ancient hard drive. I have gusto. I have what it takes to survive. But often I am bogged down by thoughts of worthlessness and shame and guilt and… the big one: anger.
Anger isn’t something I’ve figured out. In all my years of therapy, it still confounds me. I still don’t recognize it when it pops up. When I’m in therapy during a session, I’ll start pounding my fist on the couch, without being able to verbalize it. Are you angry? He asks. Yes, I say. I am. Most of the time, I’m angry with myself. Angry for not being able to live a life that I want to live. Angry that nowadays I spend most of my time in bed. Angry that the emotions I feel aren’t the emotions I want to be feeling. Just angry. I’m allowed to be angry. My therapist validates that. It feels good to be validated.
I have a depression support group which I attend. It is very helpful. I don’t go every week, but most weeks I do. The weeks seem to come and go very quickly. I also have hopes and aspirations which I haven’t realized yet. It has been my dream for the last five years to go back to school and to study psychology, but I think all I can manage is listening to podcasts by PsychologyInSeattle. I can’t handle studying for the GRE. I’ve tried and it’s just too much. The math is too hard. The quantitative sections are just difficult. The only thing I’d be good at is writing that damn essay. English was my favourite subject in college.
I’ve tried to commit actual suicide probably five times. More like ten. I’ve been hospitalized for that and ideation just under 15 times. The medical debt was so oppressive that I decided to file for bankruptcy. I have no idea if that was the right decision to make but it’s what I chose to do, and now I have to live with it for at least seven years. My suicidal ideation was especially severe in the last three to four years, however, it has been eleven months since my last hospitalization. I often feel as if I need to be hospitalized. They take care of meals. They dispense medications. There are other people (patients and nurses) there with whom I can socialize so that I never feel alone. It’s a very attractive proposition minus the bills which would result.
If I wanted to treat myself, my therapist says, I could get a room at a fancy hotel and order room service. I could get all the room service I wanted. And, my take, is that even that is less expensive than spending a night at over $1,000 in the hospital. Damn.
What am I supposed to do with myself? My life? I have so much to look forward to. Even though I hate having roommates and I would much rather be living alone, I’m not dependent on anyone else. I manage to get myself up during the week to go to work and I just passed my first 90 days at my new job. Everyone at DBSA applauded when I said that last week. I should be grateful to have the job, but I’m not very. I haven’t worked in over five years and I’m still not liking it. It’s a huge adjustment. I stopped working in 2009 due to an unbearable situation that my abusive ex-husband got me into. I’ll go over it in a future blog post some time. So I left work, then I left the relationship, and then I tried to leave this world. But there are some people who still care about me, one of those people being my therapist, without whom I do not believe I could live. I promise I’m not dependent on him. He promotes my independence. I normally see him every week and I’m even taking next week “off” to practise my skills of living that I’ve learned from him.
I used to do photography. Avidly. I even had my own photography company for a few years. Not that I made any revenue. But I was branded and did marketing and got gigs. I used to knit. When I moved my entire hope chest was filled with knitted scarves which I desperately needed to give away. I had thought about starting an Etsy site and selling them. Nothing came of it. I just kept knitting. Now I think I’ve forgotten how to knit as it has been over a year since I picked up needles. I used to paint. Seriously. I had an entire painting studio set up in my apartment. Walls were taped off with plastic covering and I had canvases that I filled with my creations. I was going to sell my art. I even had it up in a coffee shop at one point. Nothing came of it. I gave away most of my art to friends. The things is, with my photography, my knitting, my painting, all of my art, heck, even my writing, I can’t put a price to it. It’s not sell-able. Sure, a person has to live and pay for food, but how can you put a price on your creativity? Does it somehow de-value the artistic expression?
I want to write a book. I want to write a book about my experience. I’ve wanted to write a book for the last three years. But first, I’m going to tell it on my blog. Then, we’ll see. It would be great not to have to work and to write books all day. It takes commitment and diligence in order to finish a book and to publish it. There’s poetry too. I wanted to publish my poetry, but I didn’t want to put a price on it. Poetry is there to be enjoyed. You shouldn’t have to pay for it. It’s like Dante Alighieri. Priceless. On the web. Available everywhere.
I am a polyglot. I speak multiple languages. Three of them aren’t my fault. They came to me by way of living in the countries and having mandatory school training. English, German, French. The one that is my fault is Italian. I speak it too. It has been ten years since my fluency has waned, but it’s still there and I would love to be living there right now. I would simply have to find an alternate source of income, since jobs there are scarce.
Top of my class. I graduated college with honours. I graduated high school with a good grade point average. Nothing to top the intelligence of my twin brother. But good enough, really. Good enough to get into a good school. Now it seems, I’ve forgot how to study. It takes practise. It’s a quality I don’t possess right now, diligence. It’s easy to practise my mantras, to do my DBT GRAPES, or at least give myself credit, to make it to therapy every week, to reach out to people when I’m down, to make it to work no matter how much I don’t want to be there. But it’s not easy to study. Never was. Yes, it was. When the material was something I loved, like Italian, it was easy. Anything about Italian history, culture, the language, I’m down with. Get me going. It’s the GRE that I’m afraid of. It’s like a big question mark on the path of my healing. Is that question mark going to be answered? I’m never too old to take the GRE. Don’t get me wrong. I’m just too scared.
So, what now? Go to sleep. Try to live my best possible self through another day at a job that I don’t enjoy. Know that I am making a living and earning the money in order to stay independent. One day at a time. That’s all I can muster and that’s all anyone can expect of me right now.