Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, March 28, 2016

A few years ago Tabitha was going through some terrible times. She would have breakdowns every day - sometimes more than one a day. I never knew when those would happen. I could make no plans because I didn't know when the school would call me to come get her and take her home (or to the hospital, if necessary). I lost a job because I was so stressed I could no longer concentrate. I was making mistakes. I couldn't do the work. My life was no longer my own.

I remember waking up one morning and thinking that I wanted Tabitha to just end her life, not because I didn't love her or because I wanted her dead, but because I had reached the end of my ability to cope. I was too tired to continue, uncertain whether she would be alive in the morning, unable to work or schedule my own life because I never knew what would happen each day. In short, I was exhausted to the point that I could no longer feel empathy for my child nor could I think logically.

That experience put a barrier between my daughter and me. Even now, while I love her with my whole soul, I'm unable to feel that love as deeply as I might otherwise. Therapist says that when we are in situations such as the one Tabitha and I lived for over a year, the effects are similar to those of abuse. It will take time to heal.

There has been a gnawing fear inside me, as I've gone through the stress of the last couple of months, that I am becoming a Tabitha in the lives of the ones who love me. That one morning they will awake and think, "I wish she would just take her life and get it over with." People can't live with constant stress without being affected by it. I know this. I'm pretty strong, but the type of stress I was enduring with Tabitha brought me to my knees. The stress I currently experience has driven me to the edge. I've shared some of that with people close to me, sometimes asking for help or support. But it worries me.

I wonder, how can the people who support me be unscathed? If they truly love me, how can they not feel the trauma? When this is over, will it have destroyed any past or future closeness? Will they feel about me the way that I feel for Tabitha? Will they love me and be happy that I'm making progress away from the place I'm currently in, but be too tired of me to want to spend more time or deepen relationships? I know that no one has stress-free interactions with the people they care about. But I've been the one who has needed help for so long. And unless I'm able to change things soon...

I don't know how to finish that sentence. I'm pretty sure there's a second half to it. I just can't make my brain figure it out.

Tolkien Boy tells me that it's a two-way street, and I help other people, too. I have difficulty seeing that. He and I had a misunderstanding recently over some chat messages. As I go back and read the conversation, there seems to be nothing there that would be upsetting to anyone. But I didn't say the things I was feeling. Things like, "The questions I'm asking you are important to me. I need some answers. And asking you is really difficult for me. It makes me feel vulnerable. The fact that I'm not being taken seriously when I've finally found the courage to ask is really hurtful. I'm frustrated. I feel angry that I asked in the first place. And now I feel afraid."

But if you read the words I said, it seems that I'm mildly put out, but not really affected by the conversation. There is humor in the few attempts I made to ask my questions. In the end, there is a large pause followed by my messy attempt to express what I felt. It was ineffective. I was upset about the whole situation for three or four days. Now I just feel stupid about it. And I feel like it was completely my fault. Tolkien Boy has never volunteered to be the person who answers my questions. It's nothing to do with him if I feel vulnerable asking. And chat is not always a good way to ask anything that makes me feel vulnerable. In short, I messed up. Again.

Josh has been wonderful about trying to contact me, and responding when I write stupid things in my blog about how bad my life is. But our timing sucks. I don't think we've had one conversation in the last four months that has lasted long enough to talk about anything. We like talking to each other. We laugh a lot. But he's had a lot on his plate lately, and I've wanted to ask about so many things. I just haven't been able to because of the timing of the conversations and because I've been distracted by myself. In short, I messed up. Again.

I attempted to contact an old friend with whom I've not spoken for a couple of years. The lack of speaking happened not because of any friendship rift, but because our communication largely happened online, and he became a bit scarce as he worked on some career and schooling things. And I wasn't in any shape to call him. I guess he felt the same way. But I texted him and set up a time to talk online. And I invited mutual friend, Tolkien Boy, to join us. And then I sat back and watched them chat. I had nothing to say. Before Tolkien Boy joined, my friend asked how I was doing. It seem inappropriate to say, "Crappy. My life sucks. I'd like to die pretty much every day. Thanks for asking." So I changed the subject instead. But I never did talk to him. In short, I messed up. Again.

AtP asked me if there are any flowers here yet. There aren't. I think, maybe, he wants me to tell him fun things, let him know that I'm okay and I'm happy. But I'm too tired to do that yet. I want him to think I'm better, though. Knowing someone you care about is not doing well is a stressful thing. And I'm the person who's older. I'm supposed to be fine. "There are no flowers. Maybe next week." And the conversation dies. Because I messed up. Again.

If I sound scared and frustrated, I am. If I don't, clearly I'm still having difficulty saying what I feel. I'm so tired of feeling this way. I'm so tired of feeling like a life-sucking, joyless person.

Yesterday I smiled at a little girl I do not know, and she told me she loved me. I'm thinking maybe I just need to smile more and talk less. It feels nice to be loved by someone who doesn't understand that I'm not really all that lovable.

Done feeling sorry for myself. I have a rehearsal in three minutes.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter 2016

This is usually a beautiful day for me. I love Easter.

Today, though, not so much.

I'm not better yet. As Therapist would say, "...still on the verge." Which means, essentially, that I'm functioning well, and working hard at becoming healthy again, but not yet stable.

Therapist said I should not remain quiet about what is happening with me. To do so brings more shame and stress. But he also said it's a good idea to choose carefully the people with whom I share. And it's interesting. When I've talked about it, I'm met either with complete silence or a pretense that nothing out of the ordinary has been said, for example:

Me: I've been having a difficult time. Dealing with some suicidal depression. I'm working through it, but it's hard.
Other person: How about those Dodgers?

On the other hand, there are some who completely acknowledge what I'm saying with this response:

Me: I've been having a difficult time. Dealing with some suicidal depression. I'm working through it, but it's hard.

Other person: You're one of the strongest people I know. I'm certain you'll be fine.

I suppose this is my own fault. It's what I always say. "I'll be fine. I'm always fine." But the truth is, I don't know that I'm going to be fine. I'll probably keep saying it because it makes people feel more comfortable. But it's a lie.

I've never hosted this type of depression for this long. I've never felt so incredibly alone when going through something like this. I've never felt it constantly at the edge of my mind, reminding me that things aren't right yet. I'm a little scared.

When I try to talk about it, I feel a little stonewalled. "Get help." "Have you talked to Therapist?" "Stop working so much." "Maybe you're not trying hard enough." I'm paraphrasing, of course, but do the people in my life even know me?

For the last decade I've worked my butt off trying to make certain I get help when I need it, regardless of the personal, emotional, and financial cost. And Therapist keeps tabs on me. He doesn't check up on me constantly, but if I send a chat message, text, or email, he responds immediately. Yes, I've talked to Therapist. As for working so much, I've been cutting back. The truth is, I make more than enough money. Even with Darrin not working, we've been fine. I can take time off. Yesterday I did. And I went on a date with my husband. And not trying hard enough? I don't know. Maybe that one's true.

I told Therapist about this. He said all the things I knew he would. People want the best for me. Getting help is important. Talking to a therapist is important. Taking time to rest is important. Not giving up is important. When I didn't respond, he asked, "Sam, what would you like them to say or do?"

What would I like them to say or do?

Call me unexpectedly? Tell me it's okay that I"m not doing well? Remind me that they're on my side and I'm not alone? Let me cry? Give me a hug for a really long time? Tell me I'm loved? And, I suppose, remind me that they don't want me to die because they like having me around?

I don't know.

I can't say that no one has done this for me (Josh). So I don't know why I want this from more people. Clearly I'm not focusing on the "important" things.

That's how I feel on this Easter morn. I'm a little too self-absorbed to sing, "He is Risen." I just want to stop feeling like I want to be dead and I don't want to rise again. I just want to stop. Well, not all the time. Sometimes I feel okay being alive. That's progress, right? Right?

Crickets. Always. This is not a popular topic. This is why we have therapists. So I'll stop talking about it to other people and keep it behind closed doors - confidential - invisible.


Happy Easter.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Pilgrim Song

Therapist called me last Wednesday. I had sent him a very short email that morning, briefly letting him know about the suicidal thoughts/depression/plans that exhibited themselves the week before. He called me about an hour after I sent the email which surprised me. He's kind of busy.

Therapist asked why I hadn't contacted him earlier. I said I didn't know. He knew I was lying.

Why didn't I contact him?

I think I'm afraid he's too busy for me now. We've worked on my particular brand of weird for about a decade now. From my perspective, I've made very little progress. He says I'm wrong.

I think, no matter what I do, I'm afraid this will be my life forever. I'll work to manage PTSD symptoms. I'll feel like my life is balancing out. Then stress will come and without warning, I'll be looking for ways to die. I'm afraid Therapist will be upset that I can't seem to manage PTSD when I'm under stress - that he'll say I'm not using the tools I've been given - that he'll tell me I'm failing. Therapist says that's not going to happen and that he thinks I'm managing very well, given that I've been unable to use available medications (the warning labels at the bottom of the ads are talking about me, personally), and that I take the proper steps to get help when I'm in trouble. He says he doesn't believe this will be my life forever.

I think I'm afraid that Therapist will go away. He did once, years ago. He moved far away. And I ended up in the psyche ward of the hospital. Because I told him I was fine. Because I didn't want a referral. Because starting over made me want to vomit. So I became suicidal instead. And I went through three counselors who told me they weren't equipped to help me. And while I value their honesty, it sort of sucks that I had to find Therapist again and drive 14 hours round trip to see him again. And I'm afraid not that he'll move away again, but that he'll tell me he no longer wishes to work with me. Therapist says that's not possible. He's not going to do that. But I don't think I believe him. Except I believed him when he called me on Wednesday.

I think I was blindsided by the fact that I became suicidal in the first place. I didn't see the signs. It just happened. I woke up on Monday morning and realized an hour later that I was obsessing about which pills in my house would kill me the fastest. And on the off-chance that they didn't, I was trying to remember where my father keeps his gun. And then I cried because going to that place felt natural and right, and fighting it felt horrible and wrong. And then I was embarrassed because I thought if anyone I loved knew what I was going through, they would probably not love me back. Because who wants to love someone who wishes to be dead? But Therapist says it was right to tell Darrin, and to talk to some other people, and to take the day off work-- my first in about six weeks. He said no one will stop loving me.

So I came here tonight to try to make sense out of everything. And I saw the comments written by Josh and Jenn-Van. I sort of saw Josh's comment earlier, but I couldn't really read with any degree of comprehension at that time. My brain had exploded. But those things helped tonight, though. It's good to know that someone who knows me, and someone who does not, will take time to comment when I'm distressed and trying to figure things out on my blog. So thank you. A lot. And also, Josh, thanks for the very inopportune, spontaneous phone calls and chats. Those were helpful, too.

I took a trip last week. And I spent time with people. And there were moments when I felt valued. I just don't know how to hold onto those. I heard a song on Sunday - one I think is lovely and that has some good memories connected to it. One of the lines is "I'm going to live forever." It made me cry. Not because I'm going to live forever, but because I'm going to live. And it won't be easy. And Therapist says it's entirely possible that another day might come when I want to die. But he says to contact him if that happens, and he (and many other people, he says) will help me remember that I'm going to live.

Monday, March 7, 2016

This morning, very early, I called a suicide hotline. And then I hung up. Because what would they tell me to do? Get help. Go to a hospital. Call a friend. Talk to someone. But there's really no one around at 4 a.m. And if I get help or go to a hospital, someone has to pay for that. I'm fairly certain I won't be released from the hospital for rehearsals, nor will I be able to work online while I'm there getting help, and I don't have insurance, so I don't really know how that bill would be paid. It's sort of a stupid system, if you think about it. Probably I feel this way because I'm working lots and lots of hours so we have money to live. But it makes me want to die. But if I get help for that, I have to work lots and lots of hours to pay for it. Which sort of defeats the purpose, right?

Talk to someone.

About what? There's nothing to say. And everyone will just walk away from that conversation feeling worse. I am not really in the business of making other people's lives miserable.

So why did I call the hotline in the first place?

I'm not sure. I was in a bad place. It seemed a logical step. It felt less logical after the number was dialed. Maybe I just wanted to tell someone I'm having a hard time right now. But it's not like that can change right away anyway. And telling someone just makes me feel stupid.

So calling was a bad idea.

I got a haircut on Saturday. That was fun.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

I Googled, "I'm sad" today. The result was page after page of ways to cheer up, interspersed with the odd mental health article/exam which will help you know if you're depressed or just sad.

I don't know why I did that.

Maybe it's because I feel absolutely bound right now. I am not allowed to say I'm sad to anyone. And if I do, no one knows what to do next. Sam is sad? That's not possible.

And Google wasn't really any help. I haven't been through ten years of therapy without learning ways to deal with depression and sadness. And actually, it's not that I don't want to do any of those. I just want to know that it's okay for me to be sad. Because I am.

So I'm telling my blog. Even though it can't hug me or sit with me while I allow myself 15 minutes to be sad (seriously, if anyone ever did that, I think we'd be giggling after 5 minutes-- that's just who I am), and it can't tell me that it's okay for me to be sad, I can still say it in my blog. And there's no guilt in it. I've made no one uncomfortable. I just wrote the words.

The end.