Friday, October 30, 2015

hell.

hell.

people, i've been there and back many times over the past five years. each time i travel a little less further inside and make it a little further past its powerful gates. my most recent trip to hell was monday with an overnight stay into tuesday and i began to climb out wednesday.

what prompted this trip you may wonder.... well, i feel into a very common mistake people on anti-depressants fall into. i was feeling good and wanted to get off of my deplin and pristiq - or at least see if i could do with less - so with my dr's permission i got off of deplin a month or so ago. i felt fine (i thought) and so i asked him on the 16th if i could go down to 50mg on the pristiq - he agreed. i decided not to make any changes until i saw dr huse on the 23rd. i thought maybe he'd give me something to help during the transition. a week ago today i started the 50mg and didn't get any extra supplements from dr huse - he said if i started feeling worse to call him. saturday i had horrible vertigo. i have decided tho that if given the choice between working with a migraine or vertigo, i choose vertigo. both sucky choices but i can manage my vertigo a little better than a migraine. anyway - sunday i go to an earlier congregation at my church and they were having a special program where all the children got up and sang/spoke about jesus. i cried. a lot. below is my favorite song from the program.


after the program i drove out to see s. we had a wonderful visit and i felt good - happy. it was so nice to be with her and enjoy her company. she's such an amazing friend. after i drove home and went to bed - all the while thinking i'm ok. looking back i notice that my thoughts were getting angrier/more reactive. anyway, monday comes and i have my morning session with susan. during it she says some things that really pissed me off. i believe if i had been on the medicine and been able to think clearly i would've been able to ask her for clarification/used skills to help me understand what she was trying to say. i know that what she said was out of genuine concern for me but in my altered state i felt confronted. i remember driving home but i literally cannot recall what happened from 11:30-3:30 that day. the next event i remember is deciding to cut. it was the best way i could say "f u" to susan. the pain, the blood, the burning, the red - all reinforcing. i felt so much better. the first person god put in my path to get me to a place where i was willing to get back on meds and get help was heather, dr huse's wife. i called the office because i needed some product and she said with so much care and concern in her voice, "how are you?" i was emotional and told her what had happened. she said one of the most brilliant things i have heard, "just because you're not doing something right now doesn't mean you will never do it." that brought me a measure of peace as i began to realize that not everything i want has to happen now. that night i slept really well - the pain helped me stay grounded and sleep soundly.


for the past 3 1/2 weeks i have been working 11 hour days on tuesdays and thursdays. coming from a very different schedule where i'm used to napping a few times a week if not daily and waking up later and not having a ton of outside pressure - these days have been kicking my ass. i usually have conversion symptoms on those days - so while working an 11 hour day i'm doing it with a migraine or vertigo. i'm not having full out seizures, which is good, but i'm having conversion symptoms and it's hell. i told myself this past tuesday, that if i could make it through the first half of my day my reward would be to cut. it worked like a charm. every time i began to feel stressed or worried i would think of cutting and the stress would go down immediately. it's similar to suicidal ideation - day dreaming about doing something harmful releases stress. i stopped and bought a knife and band aids on my way to my second work place. i was angry and yelling at god in my head "if you care about me at all and want me to not do this you better send a person because i'm just not going to listen to what i should do!" a lady came up to me in the parking lot asking for a ride but i dismissed her - she was probably the person i demanded god send me.... i got in my car and cut. it felt so good. later at work i had a moment of willingness and decided to act on it and reach out to my friend st. i knew out of all the people in my life she would understand the spiritual/religious, mental, counseling and holistic parts of my life - all of which felt out of sync with each other. i began texting her and went on and on. during the middle of our long text conversation my co-worker k came and asked me to come help with her group. i usually don't help out with the groups but i was happy to do it. she asked me to write on the board the two group's answers to skills they can use to stay clean/sober. as i was writing it clicked that each skill i was writing was a dbt

i went back up front and a few minutes later she came and said she wanted to talk to me after group was out. i told her she didn't have to and she said she knew that but she wanted to. i went back to texting with st and got some clarity - finally! - and felt like i had a small grasp on the situation. k and i talked for a while that night and i am so grateful for her insights, wisdom, and listening ear. as much as i didn't want to be cared for in that moment - as much as i wanted to go on a cutting, self-destructive bender all week - i felt a spark of connection and knew i couldn't go on like i was. she asked me to make a "five alive" list. five things i'll do every day to stay alive - and i would add the dbt saying - to "make my life worth living." i couldn't commit to five - so she said three! i later decided on one and will work up to more. i couldn't believe i had found a sliver of hope. being disregulated is the pits because i throw out even the good things that happen. i told god that night that if he wanted me to call my psychiatrist and counselor he better tell me in a dream - because again i was not going to listen to what i should do. i must matter to god - he must care - he must know me and my limitations - because that night i had a dream about doing my chain analysis (in dbt if you engage in problem behaviors you have to chain it all out to see what you were thinking, feeling, doing and how you could've acted skillfully) with susan. she was not mad - she didn't hate me - it was a matter of fact process and i learned from it.

wednesday morning i woke up feeling worse than tuesday or monday. i was irritable, tired, moody, and all in all felt like shit. i did my "five alive" breathing-prayer-breathing and asked god to make my day what he would have it be. wednesday was nothing like i planned. i went to my foot dr - ended up at the dentist - called my psychiatrist (telling him that i was not going to the hospital - period) and called susan (telling her that i knew because i engaged in problem behavior she probably couldn't talk to me until our next session but that i was trying to fix what was going on). 

i really do love my psychiatrist. i know i matter to him. he called me back and i could hear the concern in his voice as he asked me what was going on, what i had done, and then gave me instructions to get back on meds. susan also called me and told me to come see her later that day. i decided in between all of that that i was going to visit c, e and baby i. i needed baby lovin', kid time and to feel connected to my friend. i had a headache but managed to make it to susan's. we talked. she said she was concerned/worried about me. i told her what happened. we talked about how miscommunications can happen and how what she said to me monday was not received by me in the way she intended. we made a plan for how i can better say "f u" to her :) ha! and that i can email her my thoughts if i am upset by how a session went. we also talked about how to make our coaching calls more effective. exposure therapy is what i'll be doing next - but i have to be free from self harm behaviors for 8 weeks before we can do that, protocol. that's a huge insentive to me. i really want to do exposure. not because it will be fun but because i feel like it is the tool that will scrape out the metephorical infection i've been living with for five years. we both agreed before ending the session that we had learned a lot from this experience. it was not how we would've chosen to learn things, but we did learn.

thursday i finally told my mom all that had been going on. i was so grateful for her reaction - she did not cry or overwhelm me with ideas of what i could do or hide all the knives, things i can see her wanting to do to keep me safe. instead she told me how proud she is of me and all the hard work i've done and continue to do. she asked me if there was anything she could do for me. and then she let me be. it was an incredibly positive experience. i had my 11 hour day and managed it well. i had a check in call with susan. i also texted s that "i f'in rocked" for taking my meds - because i really did not want to - and that i deserved a huge prize. she's going to send me one :) i also texted k and told her how i was doing and st to thank her for all she did for me.

today i woke up with a headache. i was irritable and tired. i felt dead/hollow inside. i went to dr huse's and laid down in one of his rooms until it was time to see him - and when he came in to get me we decided to do the session in that room since i was already settled. thursday night i had a dream where i was told something very specific. it was so specific that it woke me up, so i wrote it down. i didn't know what it meant - it was talking about my hormones and gave me instructions on what to take to help heal me. i figured dr huse would know what to do with that information so i shared it with him. i laid on my stomach on the table as he worked on me. eyes closed, slow heavy breathing as i felt myself begin to relax. i was still grumpy as all get up and figured i would stay that way for the rest of the day and if i was lucky i'd be able to sleep it off. 25 minutes into the session my eyes popped open. i started looking around. i started talking to him. i laughed. 10 minutes later i sat up on my own. i felt totally different than when i walked in the door. it was a complete 180. i was alert, responsive, happy, as he said, my "personality rounded out." i couldn't believe the difference. in his beautiful, calm way he told me that going off the medication and having this response was not a failure. in no way had i failed. it was an experience that gave us information. when i decide to try getting off meds again we will need to give my brain more support. he echoed what susan said about me not being able to remember all the details of the past few days - susan said it is trauma related - dr huse said yes plus there was not enough dopamine in my system to help me grab onto and retain all my memories. he also told me to walk in the grass everyday barefoot for grounding purposes. what a neat idea! i'm actually excited to try it and see if it helps me.

i came home and ate a lot of mac n cheese and watched tv and took a nap. i just rested. i am amazed at how much has happened in one week. i don't feel like i'm in hell anymore. i still feel close to it but each day i take steps farther and farther away from its gates. i know as the medicine continues to work and i find myself in a stabler place that i will look back on this week and be amazed by how clearly god's hand was there, taking mine even when i was being rebellious, and leading me to people who i would listen to and who would help me get back on track. god has my back. k said to me that we're in "god's gang" - ha ya, we are. i wouldn't wish this experience on anyone but like dr huse said - it gave us information. it gave me information. it gave susan information. it taught us a lot. 

someday soon i hope to use my self injury experiences for good - i want to be part of a support group and one day be a sponsor to others going through this.

i'm constantly changing and becoming better.

and i've just got to say it: I'M AMAZING!


my theme song this week

Saturday, October 17, 2015

the congreve cube

i am - "stuck." "oh, to my floor?" "no, sir." "then what?" "like as a person." that's from mr magorium's wonder emporium. i love that movie. i resonate so much with all of it. i am stuck - on how to write what i'm feeling/thinking. i just wrote an email that was hard because i had to be dbt about it. both/and - acceptance/change - her feelings/my requests. i think that's what sucked the creative writing juices from my soul because i had so many thoughts in the shower - and now they're gone. maybe down the drain with the water. wow - i am glad i didn't publish my last blog post. it started out as a blog post but then i realized it was so personal and angry that i needed to send it to s. so i did. ya'll are welcome. i signed the letter "-the hulk-" and i was a big, angry, raging green monster that day. i am proud of myself for the progress i have made. most of the changes i have made cannot be seen. they are internal. changes in my thought patterns. calming of my anxiety. thinking "what's the worst that could happen?" and NOT coming up with catastrophes but rather likely outcomes. it's so fascinating in my brain. i wish you could see it. the thousands of dollars spent on my therapy is working!


"unlikely adventures require unlikely tools" :)

i feel - calm, a little tired, and grateful. dr huse is helping me so much! i am able to stay awake for 12-14 hours and that's a miracle. i do not wake up tired every day. i still hate mornings and the sun but i'm not tired all the time - i never thought this day would come. i am managing my headaches/migraines without prescription meds! how cool is that?? i am also decreasing my xanax - off of one depression med and weaning down on the other. god promised me years ago that there would come a day when i would no longer be on prescription meds - at the time i did not see how that was possible. NOW i see it - dr huse was/is the key and i'm so grateful. i feel excited for the christmas season. i can't believe it's here already. i can't believe that i've survived this year. so much has happened. i can't believe i'm working. my life really is a miracle.

i think - susan is right. i am not as much "clinically depressed" right now as oppressed. i am wanting more independence in my life and am having a really hard time navigating to that. a lot of my feelings are not sad feelings but irritated, annoyed, frustrated, angry feelings because i'm not where i want to be. i'm far from where i was but not where i want to be. i need to trust that if god can get me off my meds he can put me in my own place again. HE has that power. yes. he does.

i know - i'll be alright - that my creative writing juices will come back - that there will be stupid people no matter where i go in life.

i want - to cut. ya, i really do. i miss the communicating it did for me. if i wanted family to b a c k o f f i just had to show them the cut marks and then enjoy my solitude. i long for the pain - the scars - the blood. i know i'm feeling more stress in my life so this is a good test to see if i can manage it. susan reminded me that cutting now would not get me closer to my goal of independence but push me back. i'm trying to remember that when the urges overwhelm me.

i wish - i knew what to get my parents for christmas. so often i'm irritated with them that it's hard to want to get them anything. yet in that same moment i know they have financially made my healing possible - so i get mad at myself for being mad at them. god must have put us in families because they are the hardest environments to survive. 
hell. yes.

i will - continue to be mindful of the moment and enjoy my saturday. the weather is lovely, i'm surrounded by owls, and this moment is a good moment.

i will not - let anger cloud my vision of who i can become.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

day to day act

"Never underestimate another's suffering because you can't see it. Many cry anguished tears in between the day to day act of living. I'm one of them."
-Rachel

I am - leaning against my bed. I like to slump over in this position because it stretches out my legs and back.

I feel - Better after seeing Susan this morning for the second time this week. Yesterday, wow, yesterday was a totally different story. I was a mess. I was angry - think Hulk-like anger, and cried and cried and cried. I sobbed at work and in the shower. It was a very difficult day. I wanted to act on self-harm urges but after making a coaching call to Susan, she reminded me that if I do that it will only set me behind in my long term goal of independence. She also said - contingent on me being skillful last night - I could come see her this morning. I guess I really don't want to disappoint her - and have come a long way with my skills - because I chose to remain skillful, tolerate the emotion, and see her today for additional help/support.

I think - hmmm - many things are coming to mind - all of them jumbled. In this moment, I think I'm going to be ok. I think S is right - my future is bright. Susan and I were talking today about not putting worry energy into the future. She said there's a concept in AA that asks, "What's the next right step?" We did that for my day today by mapping out what the next right step would be for me, hour by hour. That I can do. That is manageable to me. When I start to think about all that is expected of me, all that I want to/need to/should do, all that I'm not doing, I shut down. So tonight I think I'll just do the next right step.

I know - I am being blessed by God. There is so much more to him than I understand. There is so much more mercy he has and will extend to me. Have you heard the saying, "There's no such thing as standing still - you're either moving forward or moving backward." I decided I don't agree with that. Depression does a number on the brain. I have never felt so abandon/alone then these past 5 years of struggle. My thinking about my faith has wavered. Susan says she sees me as a very faith-filled person, fighting to know what I believe. I have seen (and do see) myself as a failure in my faith for not doing everything asked/required/expected of me. As I began thinking about my walk on the Road to Salvation I decided if I couldn't walk the path right now at least I could stand facing the right direction. Then that seemed too much. So I decided to sit facing the right direction. Sit and wait. Wait until I had the strength/courage/understanding to pick myself up and carry on. Into my mind came gently the image of Christ sitting next to me. I was so comforted by that. He will walk with me - and when the walk becomes too much - he will sit with me. He understands my complex challenges better than I do and so he is completely capable of looking on me with mercy as I sit and wait. I do not feel like I am going backward. And I'm not actively moving forward. I'm sitting and waiting. And that's ok.

I want - To be calm as I begin working 11 hour days Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next month. Ha, actually I want to pop some pills that will increase energy and decrease anxiety, but they would end up cancelling each other out. So I'll just move with a quiet perseverance and breathe in each moment as it comes.

I wish - I could think this clearly all the time. Guess I'll just have to have therapy, followed by a support group, then a nap, and a cupcake every day if I want to feel this level headed - ha! I wish I didn't feel like damaged goods. I wish I could find a guy interested in me.

I will - Shower tonight and have my sister S braid my hair so I don't have to fix it tomorrow.

I will not - Hate myself, look down on myself, or call myself names. That doesn't inspire me to do better - it squashes the little motivation I have to keep living/dreaming/creating.