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.
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