How can you advocate when you want to be dead?

I’ve felt so sick today  and I hate my life because I’ve had zero energy to care after the kids or to even tend them really. And all I’ve wanted was to lay down and spend the day sleeping. I want to die. I wish I had the means because right now I feel so completely useless in this world of mine that I’d rather no longer be in it. I’m not making positive changes in anyone’s lives, I’m more like a waste of space. My advocacy dreams keep ending up being just that,…dreams, Dealing with 4 kids and a busy husband, my volunteer efforts come last. And it sucks. I have nothing for me and it hurts in a way. I just want this hurting to stop.

 

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Day 9: Change can suck sometimes.

This writing thing is hard. I don’t think I realized how hard it was coming up with something new every day until I started trying it. I’m glad I’ve got my schemas going on and can discuss those, but it’s hard to keep writing when I really don’t want to. Just a quick note here, I thought I could write about my 5th schema tonight, but it’s just not happening. When I started I was in a great mood, and was motivated, and had energy, and life was amazing. And then I cycled.

I feel like crap, and I just want to curl up into a ball and not deal with anything. I’ve fallen into this deep pit of despair and see no way out, so I’m just struggling to stay afloat. This is the hell people with bipolar live with. I go to bed and have no clue what emotion I’ll be dealing with when I wake up the next morning. I’ve been crushingly depressed the last 2 days, and for absolutely no good reason. I was happy as a clam for a good few weeks, there was no reason for things to change, but they did. All I can do is wait as patiently as possible for this dark cloud to lift and the sun to come out again. I get so sick of waiting patiently though. I get so sick of the sun going down so often and for no reason. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I don’t see me living a long and fruitful life going up and down like this. I can’t hack it. The people around me can’t hack it. I mean, don’t freak out, I’m not suicidal now, but that option sure looks more and more appealing the deeper I fall into this black hole. And its not even because I see no way out. I know this too shall pass, and I’ll feel on top of the world again, but I don’t know when. And even though I’ll cycle back, I know I’ll then start playing the waiting game again for the next time I crash. And I don’t want to live like that. It’s a bullshit way to live your life. It’s a horrible life to let others into because it becomes their hell too.

I mean, in fact, life is going rather well. My husband got offered his new job, and he starts in 2 weeks, we bought a new car yesterday that is ten times nicer than any one we’ve ever owned before. We’re paying an arm and a leg for it, but with Josh’s new job, we can afford it. I want to refinance ASAP though, just so we’re not continuing to pay an arm and a leg. I try to live as non-extravagantly as possible for some reason. We’ve been through two unemployment eras since this depression hit, and I like to keep our debt to income ratio as low as possible. You know, just in case. I think this preparing for the ‘just in cases’ in the worlds are wearing me out. It is physically and mentally exhausting trying to worry about every scenario that could go wrong, and yet I keep doing it. Josh is sitting over here happy as a lark about his new job, and our car, and the change that is happening all around us, and I’m lying in bed crying about nothing.

I think what is really eating at me is the change that’s happening all around me. Even though it’s good change, beepers don’t do so well with change. I mean, our insurance is changing at the end of the month and we’ll have copays again, and our prescription costs will be higher, and yeah. We met our out of pocket back in March, so we’ve been enjoying free healthcare since then. Starting in August we’ll be paying for services again. I’m trying to think of what all I need to have done in the next 2 weeks before we roll over into a new insurance plan, lol.

And then there’s the housing issue. I found a house. A glorious house. A gloriously perfect house. And it made me realize that we’re not going to live here forever, and that’s another change I’m not prepared to deal with. We didn’t get the gloriously perfect house, someone else jumped on that offer before we could, but that’s okay. God works on his own time, and when it’s time for our gloriously perfect house to appear, it will. But I’m already overwhelmed and depressed about the thought of packing everything up, and going through the work  of moving into a new place, even though it’s at least a year away before it happens. I am not being very mindful right now. Right now, mindfulness sucks, and is hard, and I don’t even want to deal with trying to do it.

So that’s been life the last few days. My mum is super worried about me, and Josh is super worried about me, and I just don’t care. Right now I’m teetering on the edge of destruction, so it’s a good thing I see my psych doctor tomorrow so I can talk to him and see what he recommends. We’ll see if he thinks I’m dangerous enough to be admitted. I mean, idt I am, just because I’m not actively suicidal, but he’s a new doctor, so I don’t trust him too much just quite yet. And besides, I made a goal of 31 blogs in 31 days, and well, they don’t allow electronics on the psych ward, I wouldn’t be able to keep up if I missed a week of blogging. I’m giggling at the thought of trying to get my inpatient therapist to approve letting me have an hour a day to blog for ‘therapeutic’ reasons. I make myself laugh. I love it. Josh thinks it’s cute how much I manage to amuse myself. I’m like a puppy chasing it’s tail and being perfectly happy.

Speaking of puppies, I have to share with you the cutest story. My son is 3, and one of his favorite things to do when he’s not being Batman is to be our puppy. He’ll crawl around and bark, and come over and nuzzle our knee to get petted. If only he’d show some interest in potty training, he’d be the perfect pet. Well, our 18 month old has a speech delay due to mild hearing loss, so she doesn’t talk or anything yet. She makes a lot of sounds, which is good, it means her hearing is probably either improving, or just staying mildly impaired. So, I guess needless to say, when she does something with sound or anything interacting with us, we get wildly excited. I tell you about my son’s game of playing puppy so you’ll understand this story with my daughter. She’s been walking since the end of March, and doesn’t generally crawl anywhere anymore. But for some reason the other day she started crawling around on the floor going ‘ruff, ruff, ruff’! Believe me, it doesn’t sound like that, but whenever we say it, she gets down and starts making the same sound. It is so freaking adorable. If I had it captured on video, I’d be linking it for your viewing pleasure.

I’m glad I made the decision to write tonight. I’m actually feeling a whole lot better now than I was when I first started. There’s still so much more I could write about, like my disgusting house and how depressed I am about it, and how hard I am on myself for not being able to keep it clean, but that’s related to my unrelenting standards schema, so I’ll save it for when I finally write about that. I keep making the goal to get one room a day clean, and my poor mum, she was worried enough about me today, she came over and helped me achieve my goal of getting the kitchen done. Me, my oldest, and my mum all worked on it, and it’s nice and sparkly now. With any luck, I’ll have the urge to finish up my living room tomorrow, and then I’ll have two nice and sparkly clean rooms. That will thrill me to no end.

What brings you up when you’re down? How do you respond to change? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Being inpatient…again and again…and again.

I recently spent close to 3 weeks inpatient psych after 2 suicide attempts. 20 days away from my 4 kids. On one hand it sucked terribly, on the other, I suddenly was forced into discovering ME, and figuring out who Tricia was when she wasn’t being a mommy or a wife. Not that this was my first venture into a psych ward, I had severe postpartum depression after my last child was born and spent 2 weeks inpatient then. I also spent many weeks in the psych ward after a mental breakdown in my early twenties. Not to mention the in and out stays during my teen years. So, back to my most recent visits…

I actually had two forays into inpatient stay, one lasted 8 days, and the other lasting 11. The worst stay was those first 8 days I was gone…I had a terrible doctor who refused to put me on the right medication, instead she opted to put me on Haldol (an older antipsychotic used in the treatment of schizophrenia and acute psychotic states and delirium)which did me no good at all. She refused to prescribe my Concerta, yet continued my Suboxone, and refused and anti-anxiety medication at all, choosing to let Haldol replace any benzodiazepines.  It did such little good because it caused such extreme sedation that I was practically a zombie. I gained no valuable experience from that stay, being unable to attend therapy or groups and whatnot. So after 8 days of no good at all, I was released because I was considered to “no longer be a threat to myself”. This clearly wasn’t true because not even a week later I had a much more serious suicide attempt, thus landing me in a different hospital further away from home and family.

As much as I resented it at first, this actually proved to be a godsend. I had a doctor who actually ‘got’ me, because he understood bipolar disorder. He immediately put me back on the medicinal regimen I had been on  6 months prior to my inpatient stays. He listened to me, he didn’t hide things from me, he was honest with me, and I felt I could be honest with him as well. He respected the fact that I knew my body best and was educated enough about my disorder to know what was effective and what wasn’t. I was back on my Welbutrin, Abilify, Xanex, Concerta and Ambien that day. (After my experience at the previous hospital, I quit the Suboxone and swore off all narcotics for good.) Now that I was in a controlled environment, I discovered that Xanex wasn’t the best anti-anxiety med for me, given it’s short half life, and my extreme anxiety.  My doctor and I made the decision to try Klonopin instead, even though I had not had good results with it in the past, because I was willing to trust him and try it again. Miraculously enough it worked wonders for my anxiety this time, and it lasted much longer than the Xanex.

So with my meds fixed, I should have been good to go home after a few days right? Wrong! This hospital had several different psychiatric units, and I was on a unit exclusively for women who had suffered trauma or abuse at some point in their life. We had a very rigid schedule from 7 AM until around 4 PM, which is when we could finally have some downtime. We spent at least 6 hours a day either in therapy or in classes; learning valuable new skills and learning new coping skills and gaining new insights and perspectives on our lives. The therapy groups were very DBT based, and I’ll never forget some of the practices that were taught. We were given schema diaries, and had to discover our ‘life traps’, which are  negative beliefs about the world that affected how we behave.  I had done the schema diaries before, but never took it seriously until now. This time I was given a starter kit, if you will, on how to proceed with life going forward once I left the hospital.

I’ll never forget the staff there, ever. I’ve never been inpatient anywhere where there was so much true compassion and genuine caring for the patients in the staff’s care. From the head nurse to the therapists, to even the cafeteria staff, these people cared about us and we could feel it. It gave me the courage to actually reach out and allow myself to be vulnerable, and to open up about issues that had never seen the light of day. I actually did the homework assignments, I actually did the workbook assignments, and I actually discovered who I used to be, and who I could be again. It was liberating, and yet terrifying at the same time. I’d spent so many years suppressing my emotions, I had no idea how to handle them now that I was allowing them to surface out. I was in a great place to learn how to cope with them in a safe manner. I also finally had a clear game plan for therapy out in the real world. I knew what direction I wanted to take, and what I needed to work through. I went into that hospital as a broken woman, and left with a sense of purpose and hope that I’d never felt before upon any other discharge. My husband swears that if I ever relapse again, I’ll go back to this hospital because they did me the most good that he’d ever seen.

So how did I end up spending all this time in the hospital anyway? I mean, after going so long on the outside without needing to be admitted? You see, I had quit taking all my meds a few months prior, for a multitude of reasons… which did me no good at all, but for some reason seemed like an excellent idea at the time. I lasted about 5 months without any meds; five miserable months in which I had a few days of functioning, and then many days where I simply couldn’t even get out of bed to properly care for my family. It was a rough time and I feel horrid about how it affected everyone around me, especially my kids. I know they suffered the most by not having mommy totally there. Thanks be to God that I have a wonderful husband who was able to be there too and pick up all the pieces of the mess I was making.

It all really started spiraling downward when my cousin hung herself and left her family behind. I’d been having suicidal thoughts for awhile but couldn’t bring myself to do anything about it because I had my family to think of, right? Yet suddenly here was someone who was able to overcome that and leave it all behind, and if she could do it, why couldn’t I? Not very rational thinking I’ll admit, but what bipolar person thinks rationally when they’ve been off their meds for awhile? No justification there, just an observation. I got more and more depressed, I started fighting with my husband more and more, and there were more and more days that I couldn’t get out of bed and function.

The one who bore the brunt of this, to my shame, was my youngest, who I felt was to blame for all my woes. She suffered the most because she was the most helpless of my kids, the least independent and the one who needed her parents the most. She could sense my disinterest and clung to her dad all the more tightly, distancing our relationship even further, even to the point where I felt giving her up for adoption would be in her best interests because I felt I was doing irreparable damage to her, simply by being her mother. Fortunately, small children are quick to forgive, and also quick to give their love to those willing to receive it and much of the damage I had done has been repaired since I was released this last time. I’m so grateful to have been given a second chance with her and that she has responded so well to my new attitude and sudden interest in her. My other children don’t seem to have suffered as much, they were very happy to have mommy back home, and wanted a lot of snuggles at first, and I made sure they got them. I still make sure they get their snuggles now, in fact.

What was the point of this rambling post? I’m not sure really. Maybe someone will come across it and find some hope in that there is quality treatment out there, that there are good hospitals out there, or maybe someone will feel like trying therapy again, or maybe going to their doctor to try yet another medication again, or whatever positiveness that can be found here. I hope someone can find some positiveness in my little ramblings here because I found hope through what I went through, and I want to share that with the world.