I am sitting with my legs crossed, Indian style, with my back supported by my sturdy couch. I stubbed my toe earlier and it hurts a little but I don’t mind. I have a white blanket on my lap, and my frail yet faithful old computer laptop without a battery, plugged in, sits on top of that blanket. My shoulders are stooped and relaxed. I ate brie cheese and crackers and then a whole baked sweet potato. My stomach is not wanting for more. The house is completely quiet save the faint murmur of a television set coming through the wall of my neighbours’ abode. I even completed errands after work: I went grocery shopping, stopped by the ATM, and finally picked up my next month’s supply of medications. Therefore I also feel accomplished.
I have a helper. He helps me in every way. I have known him for almost two years but we have never spoken on the phone. And there is a three hour difference in our time zones. Whenever I feel anything, whether it’s lonely or sad or upset or angry, I send him a text message. We talk almost every day. He is absolutely wise and I have no idea where he gets his wisdom from. He always knows the right thing to say to help me. He offers encouragement, emotional support, even crisis management when I am about to do something stupid. He is always there for me.
Most recently I was angry with my helper. I was angry that he wouldn’t let me harm myself by not eating. I was angry with my therapist and not eating was supposed to be my way of asserting my own will and fighting the invisible battle in my mind. My helper told me I am intelligent and that I should see that my therapist cares about me, that others care about me, and that everyone I know wants to see me happy. That’s all they want for me!
He helped me to see that not eating was a very bad idea and it’s because of him that I am eating properly again, and I am so glad for it. Every day feels normal, not exhausting, not anxiety-provoking. I am able to get my work done and when I come home I conclude my day with whatever it is that I do: cook or microwave, eat, take vitamins and pills, change into pajamas.
I am terrified of someone being angry or upset with me. It turns my whole world upside down and to be honest, I kind of panic. After 32 years I still haven’t quite figured out how to handle it. Was that because I grew up in a household where I was yelled at a lot? I know that felt awful. In eight months at the job I’ve had two reprimands from my boss and each one was agonizing, with shame and guilt ensuing. I thought my helper was angry or frustrated with me. I thought he might stop talking to me for a while, and I so depend on him right now as a daily support. He told me that he will always be there for me. He may not agree with some things that I choose to do, but he will never stop supporting me. It was the best feeling ever, to hear and read those words. He will never leave me. The opposite of my worst fear.
My therapist also has said he will never leave me. But I recently broke my old promise that I made to him years ago, that I would not harm myself intentionally, and that if I needed more help I would go to a hospital to be evaluated for inpatient. The goal is to keep me safe. Since I broke that promise, I can’t expect him to keep his promise of always being there for me. I’m worried that at some point in the future he might leave me too.
I am very anxious to see my therapist. I need to know if he is angry with me, or frustrated with me. That does not feel good, the not knowing. It’s the worst. I need him to tell me that he is not angry with me and that he wants to see me get better. I have to remember that he does care, and he needed to do his part last time I saw him by being stern and unmoving with me. He would not budge on the issue of self harm and took it very seriously. At the time I wasn’t coping well with his reaction and I, in turn, responded not in a mature fashion.
It’s so good to know that someone cares, and I will go to bed peacefully tonight knowing I have a true connection with another human being. It is sincere and supportive and everlasting. That connection will never go away.
I will see my psychiatrist next week and he will likely increase another one of my medications. He has already discussed the possibility with me. He takes my wellness very seriously and my psychiatric well-being is actually in his hands. He is responsible for helping to alter my brain chemistry to affect change. I am only responsible for taking what he orders for me as prescribed, morning and night.
I have people rooting for me. I have a network of people that I know, who know of my past struggles, who have seen my improvement in quality of life and mental health, and who want me to continue on this path toward complete wellness. I want wellness to be my normal state of being in this world. I know I can do this. I am doing this. I am so, so worthy of a life worth living.