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!

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Letter to the Victims Compensation Program

Letter from the Victims Compensation Program:

“You recently submitted the application listed above for crime victim compensation.”

“We reviewed the application and found that we do not have everything we need to consider it complete. We need additional information before we can continue to work on your application. Please provide the following information on the attached form and return it to us by mail or fax within 10 days.”

“No good cause reason for late application”

“The law states that an application for compensation must be filed within three years of the date of the crime, three years after the victim turns 18, or three years from the time it could have reasonably been known that a crime took place, whichever is later. Additionally, an application based on any crime eligible for prosecution under Section 801.1 of the Penal Code may be filed any time prior to the victim’s 28th birthday. The Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB) may, for certain reasons, consider extending the filing period.”

“You submitted your application past the filing time limit, but did not tell us why. To help us determine if the filing limit can be extended, please answer the questions on the attached Late Reason Reply Form.”

“The law authorizes the Board to establish maximum rates and service limitations for reimbursement of outpatient mental health counseling services. Regulations provide an incremental approach to outpatient mental health service limitations. A claimant is limited to an initial number of sessions (15, 30 or 40) depending on how he or she qualifies.”

 

My response: The crime did not just take place in 2005. It was 6 years of abuse that I suffered, which ended in 2012. As a result of crimes committed against me I have suffered 4 years of mental health issues including suicide attempts. I did not have the courage or emotional strength to go to the district attorney with my story until last month because I was previously too suicidal and would have likely made another suicide attempt had I come forward sooner. The DDA was willing to open the case again based on my previous suicidality and I am asking you to reconsider as well. I did not know the victims fund existed prior to June 2016.

At Peace

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.