*Warning, this post may be a trigger for some people. It mentions major depression and passive suicide ideation.
I’m sitting here with a severe migraine and I’m certain that’s why I simply want to die, but why do I feel that way so much on other days? Let’s face it, my life is going better than it has in a long time. Yes, I’m having a really bad migraine right now, it isn’t as bad as it was last night or I wouldn’t be able to type this, but it’s still pretty dang severe. However, my migraines are much better overall. I’ve had 5 migraine free days this month! That’s enough for me to be dancing in the streets! I haven’t had a month with 5 migraine free days in….Oh, I don’t know how long! I have a house of my dreams, an amazing husband, wonderful neighbors….So why am I so sad? Why do I sit here and question if I should actually exist? How can life be so much better, and yet I feel so bad so much of the time? I have this urge to just run and run and run. I have this compulsion to pack a bag and leave. Where would I go? Why do I think that would make anything better? In reality I know it wouldn’t, after all, I’m trying to get away from myself and no matter where I go, there I am. I simply do not want to exist.
So these are these are the things I asked my psychiatrist last week, why am I still so sad? Why do I feel no better when everything in my life is going so well? She said, “It’s not what’s on the outside that’s bothering you, it’s your brain chemistry that’s out of balance.” Yeah, I knew this, really I did, but I’ve never had it this bad with everything going so well, and that’s a bit too simplistic for me. So I came home and started reading, I wanted to know more about this “brain chemistry” of mine. I found this article in Harvard Health that explains things really well in language I understood, and I thought some of you might find it really interesting too. What Causes Depression? Onset of depression more complex than a brain chemical imbalance.
More about me….We are still working on getting the ketamine approved. It seems as if it might actually be happening soon, or at least we will be getting a definite yes, or no from the insurance company, instead of this extremely long hold up that both me and my doctor are extremely frustrated over. If they come back with a “No”, I don’t know what the next step will be.
I’m doing everything I’m supposed to to try to be better. I’m eating well (most of the time), writing a gratitude journal every night, writing affirmations every morning, I’m trying to move more, I’m meeting new people, making friends…..All of this is very hard for me. I’m pushing myself beyond all my comfort zones and I’m still doing it, I’m trying so very hard to get better. At least when I’m focusing on those things I don’t have time to think about other things, but then I have days like today when all I can do is sit here because it hurts so bad and I think, “what’s the point?” I was supposed to go to coffee with my neighbors this morning, and I had to get Stuart to cancel for me because I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow it hurt so much. That’s a great way to make an impression, huh? I’m so tired. I’m just so tired of trying so hard, it just shouldn’t be so hard.
I know it isn’t always this hard.
I know it can get better.
I know it will get better.
I KNOW I WILL GET BETTER.
“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” ~Seneca
For over a year now I’ve been hit with one thing after another. Last Fall my bipolar medication stopped working and I basically had a psychotic break with the mania/rage going way out of control and battling a lot of medication side effects before we finally got that under control. Then I had a severe UTI that caused hydronephrosis in both kidneys, I had a cyst removed from my scalp that got horribly infected and I had a reaction to the antibiotics. In April the severe intractable migraine started and has continually gotten worse; over the last couple of months I’ve been having an escalation of cluster headaches, at least one a week. and now my antidepressants have stopped working. All this while we have been looking for a house, in the worse housing market I have ever seen, and we have to move from our rental by the end of November.
It is any wonder my brain has decided to check out?
In 2016 I started having seizures during an extremely stressful time of my life. It was determined they were psychogenic non-epileptic seizures. You can read more about that in this post: Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures What Are They? Since that time I haven’t had many, only a few and only in times of great pain (like when I was in the ER for my migraine) or extreme stress (like after a vertigo attack that happened during the mania). Lately they have been coming regularly. It is increasing my pain levels dramatically. When I have a seizure it looks like a grand mal seizure. It starts with my right hand twitching, then the arm goes, and the whole right side twitches and curves back, my head draws back, my muscles are all tight and spasming. It is very painful, and my neck and shoulder on the right side still hurt so much. I feel tingly on that side, and I just feel so off. During the seizure I am mostly aware, but I can’t do anything. Sometimes I’m not as aware, sometimes I’m very confused when it’s over. I always cry when it’s over. I feel so exposed, vulnerable, scared, and unsafe.
Just a year ago I was doing so much better I bought a car. I was driving, cooking, shopping, painting, swimming…. I don’t understand what happened. I’m not asking “Why me?” or anything like that, I’m simply confused. I know we made a major move, but I was doing pretty good for the first few months we were here, so I really don’t think it was the stress of moving. But I guess one stress could possibly have snow balled into a bigger stress… into a bigger stress… into more illness…but who really knows. All this could have happened no matter what. It could have happened independently, but it just happened to happen one right after another I suppose.
Where does it leave me now?
Migraines – I’m still starting Aimovig on the 28th for my migraines, but I won’t know if it’s working for 3 months. I just finished a round of steroids hoping to get a break from the pain, it did lower the pain level, but they made me so sick I couldn’t enjoy it. (Oh boy was I sick, Meniere’s and steroids do not mesh well together, at least not with me). I may go to the pain clinic to get injections in my neck, I haven’t decided about that yet. Just a little scared about that one. Oh, the Migranal nasal spray is working as a rescue medication, thankfully. It doesn’t completely take it away, but it comes close, so I am having a little bit of relief twice a week. More than I was getting, but as I said, it doesn’t take it all away, it takes it from a 10 to a 7 or maybe, if I’m lucky a 6. Ah….a 6…but that is a rarity.
Mental Health – I started a new antidepressant, Trintellix, on Tuesday. I’m to try it for 2 weeks and if it doesn’t work we’re going to try Ketamine. I’ve tried everything else. This should be interesting. I’m working with both my psychiatrist and my psychologist about my seizures. I need to get my pain and stress under control. One step at a time. Just one moment at a time.
Home life – We’ll be moving into one of Stuart’s dad’s houses the beginning of November. The house Stuart grew up in. We aren’t sure if we’ll continue to look for a house to buy, or if we’ll stay there and renovate his house. The house is a bit further out than we planned to live, so we’re going to live there for a while to see how we like it. Kinda cool that we can do that. I’ve just been freaking out a little about not having a home, and needing to settle down. I’ve been feeling so lost and temporary ever since we moved from our house, six years ago, but it’s been so much worse since we moved here. When we moved here we basically got rid of everything. We have 2 chairs in our living room, and one is very uncomfortable. We have no dining room furniture. Our home is very sparse. We did not plan on renting for this long. It’s just so hard on me. This has just been so hard. I need stability. I NEED IT.
Right now I feel very alone, vulnerable, and scared. The only place I feel safe is in my husband’s arms. He literally saves my life every day. I told him that if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here any more. So much pain, both physically and mentally…it’s just so much. And my amazing husband told me that he loves me so much, he never wants to lose me, but it also makes him feel guilty because he knows how much I’m suffering. I don’t know how I ended up with such an amazing man. He’ll never know how much it helps me to know he hears me.
I have so much, a wonderful husband, a roof over my head, nice clothes, good food, access to quality health care, support…. and yet I’m so unhappy. I’m so very sad. It hurts so much. My thoughts are consumed with pain. I find no enjoyment in anything. A friend posted a question on her blog asking if you found out you were going to die what would you regret not doing more of….and I could not answer that question. First I thought, not helping others more, getting more involved…. But then I tried to think of something I enjoyed that I would wish I had done more of, and I had nothing. There are things I used to love to do, but now…..not so much. My art…nope. Cooking…too much work. Taking pictures…can’t see it. I can think of nothing. All I do is sit and color by number. And that’s not for enjoyment, it’s to take my mind off of the pain…the migraine, the chronic daily headache, the back pain, the neck pain, the hip pain, the bladder pain, the pelvic pain…so much pain every day.
life is suffering. life is pain. life is ever changing. life is impermanence.
Today’s Mindfulness Monday is not really quotes on mindfulness, they are mindful quotes on mental health. There are more quotes than usual, I actually found over 30 that I liked and finally cut it down to these 7. After each quote I will explain why I chose that particular quote. I hope you will bare with me, as most of you know I’m working through a mental health crisis of my own, and working on this post has helped me feel not so alone. ***Please note that this post contains a frank discussion on mental health issues including suicide ideation.
“Beautiful fake smile.
All it takes is a beautiful fake smile
to hide an injured soul and
they will never notice how broken you really are.”
I chose this quote because we I often use a fake smile to get through the day. Whether it be because of my physical or mental illnesses, that fake smile makes others believe I’m okay, and that makes dealing with the general public, and sometimes even those closest to me, easier. I don’t have to explain, I don’t have to deal with the awkwardness…..the fake smile, is a shield I use to deflect the judgments from others.
“Be proud of every step
you take towards stability,
no matter how big or small.”
I have been feeling like all the work I’ve been doing to overcome this crisis has shown little improvement. I chose this quote because it reminded me that even the smallest steps toward my stability are worth being proud of.
“I’m still me no matter
my mental health”
Earlier today I texted a friend how afraid I am that this is my new normal, all the anger, and simply being a bitch all the time. I’m no longer a nice person. I told her, “I feel like I’ve lost Wendy” I chose this quote simply because it reassured me that Wendy is still in there somewhere.
“It’s exhausting to fight a war
inside your head
every single day.”
If you don’t have a mental illness I don’t think you can ever understand this quote, if you do, I doubt I have to explain why I included it. This constant battle going on in my head is driving me insane….or perhaps I’m insane is why I have the battle in the first place….these are the kind of questions that bombard me all the time lately. Every… Single….Day
“Surviving a psychiatric crisis is one thing.
Overcoming one is something completely different.”
I hope to somehow understand this, and hopefully so will my husband. Right now we are in survival mode, overcoming it is going to be a long, hard process. (I’m not sure it will ever happen completely)
“The bravest thing I ever did
was continuing my life
when I wanted to die.”
Okay, I’m admitting something here so other’s my hear my pain, and will perhaps not feel so alone. Each day since this crisis began has been a fight for my life. More than once I’ve thought it would be best if I were not here. I’m not being selfish, of looking for the easy way out. I’m hurting the person I love most, over, and over, and over again. When I’m having the most severe emotions, rage, despair….and the psychosis (auditory hallucinations) I cannot see that removing myself from this world would hurt him worse, I can only see that I’m causing him so much pain, and at that moment I believe that if I’m wasn’t here it would be better for him…and others I love. I want to remove myself from the situation. Actually, that’s exactly it, I am simply trying my hardest to get away from the war inside me, I simply need to escape. The pain is just too great. Please do not judge me, if you do, keep it to yourself, my psyche can’t handle it right now. I am not in danger, my husband and my psychiatrist know about this and I’m being watched….like a child….I hate it.
”You know when you’re in a bad dream
and you’re trying to run, punch, kick, or scream,
and your body just won’t move?
You open your mouth and nothing comes out.
You feel frozen or in slow motion,
and no matter how hard you try to fight it,
That’s how it feels to battle mental illness.”
When I read this quote I thought….Yes!! It is often like that. I feel like I scream and scream and even when I’m making noise it makes no sense. I’m stuck, I can’t get out. I just want me back again! There are so many people who feel like they aren’t themselves after they start their psychiatric medication, especially those who are bipolar I, like me. I will admit, when I first started my meds I wondered if the changes in my moods were making me less….me. I was losing part of who I identified as me, but after I was stable for a while I realized that the real me was the stable person. I no longer had times of extreme mood swings, I no longer did so many dangerous things, I felt more in control. Yes, I missed being able to pain for days on end, I don’t feel I’ve been as creative, and I miss the times I could read 2-3 books in one day, but I don’t miss buying a car I couldn’t afford, or having sex with someone and not remembering it, or losing days that I don’t remember. That wasn’t me. When I’d relapse, which has never been as bad as this crisis, I’d run to my doctor immediately for help. I didn’t like that feeling at all, I was suddenly not me. And suddenly after 20+ years, I’m having a severe crisis. It scares the hell out of me. I will say, I think I’m better today than I was 2 weeks ago, but I still have a long way to go.
I just want to be Wendy again.
***by the way, the photo above is a self portrait I took a few years ago. I haven’t been in the mood to take many pictures lately, and I felt this photo was appropriate. (all right’s reserved)
I have been one of those people with good intentions who have simply said the wrong things, and for that, I’m deeply sorry. I have been there, yet I still don’t know what to say when a friend is in their darkest moments. I need to always remember, I didn’t want to die because I didn’t feel loved, I simply wanted the pain to stop. It helped me to have someone sit with me, hold my hand, and simply be a witness to my pain. It helped me to know that they would help if they could, but that they didn’t try to force this false help on me. I know these things, but it’s very hard to do these things for someone from afar. I can’t simply sit with someone when they are in pain if I can’t be physically with them. Often, when I reach out to someone through texts, or messages, I don’t know what to say after that initial contact. Silence is unacceptable when you are texting. I want them to know that I care, and I simply want to be there for them. I know I can’t fix it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to.
Jack Surguy mentions something that I found helpful for me; by accepting that everything changes I can take solace in knowing that these feelings will not last forever. (even if they feel like they will) When I’m am suffering I know that it will end, that is actually my mantra when my emotions are all out of wack, “this will end”. I guess it’s a variation on “this too shall pass”, but that sounds trite to me for some reason. I promise no matter what you are going through right now, good, bad or indifferent, it will change.
I hope you find both of these articles interesting and possibly helpful.
Right now my wrist is killing me, so I need to stop typing, but after the deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, I felt I needed to talk about this, I want to do better. I want my friends (you) to know I love them, that I care, and that I respect their pain. I want them to know this every day, not just times like these.
* photo by W. Holcombe. A red yucca plant viewed while lying down looking at the sky. I found it stunning.
On June 30th my father died. Yesterday was his birthday. I would have thought that I would be filled with sad emotions, instead I’ve been filled with a renewed lust for life. All we know really is life and death, I’m thinking that his death made me realize just how lucky I am to be alive. I may have a lot of hurdles to jump over every day, but I’m alive and I will thrive.
Often when you have a chronic illness life becomes so hard we don’t care to live any longer. I know I’ve been suicidal, more often I’ve simply felt that I didn’t want to wake up. I simply didn’t want to exist any more, it was just too hard. Since my father’s death, I’ve realized that I’ve been wasting what life I’ve been given. Yes, I’m sick and I can’t do a lot of things that a normal person can do, but there are a lot of things I can do, I just need to figure out my limits and live within those without wishing for things to be different. Wishing for everything to be different makes life miserable.
Losing a parent can make you reevaluate your life. For me it made me realize I haven’t been appreciating my life. I realize I want to live. I may not enjoy every moment of my life, my life may be hard, but it’s my life and I’m going to live it!
During this holiday season, I wish you all a life well lived.
**all images on Picnic With Ants created and owned by Wendy Holcombe unless otherwise noted.
On this the last day of Mental Health Awareness Month I’ve decided to tell a little about me. I have a story. I feel it needs to be told. If for no one else, this is for me. (This is the very condensed PG version.)
Something was wrong. I didn’t know what it was, but I was wrong. I was wrong inside. I didn’t react to things the way other people did. I knew it. I could see how other people were different. I was always told to be myself. But I just wanted to be like everyone else, I didn’t understand what it meant be “myself”. I spent days in tears feeling like I had this black cloud over me. At a very young age I longed for my life to end. Other days I was flying high. I could not control my thoughts from going everywhere, I could not control my actions, I could only follow them. This wall all considered a natural part of growing up. I was just a moody child, then a hormonal pre-teen, a troubled teen…. I look back and don’t know how I, or the people closest to me, survived. There are many stories from this time that are very hard to tell. They may come out at a different time.
My ups and downs carried on for years, and years, and years…. the older I got the worse it was. After all when you get older your actions have many more consequences. However, when the moods were swinging to either end, those consequences simply didn’t exist in my mind. On the down swings I was fighting for my life, literally. On the up swings I couldn’t rationalize things. I couldn’t see beyond the emotions.
After a failed suicide attempt at 25, I finally started getting some mental health treatment. I was told I suffered from Manic Depression, and was put on Lithium and an antidepressant and started seeing a therapist. Maybe if I had just been able to stay the course that I was originally put on life would have been different, but things changed.
I was re-diagnosed a number of times. Things changed so much over the next few years it was a constant battle of up and down trying so hard to get a grasp on reality. The biggest mistake that was made, I was told that I did not have a mental illness, I had hypoglycemia and the fluctuating blood sugar levels were causing my mood swings. I was so relieved that I didn’t have a mental illness. I was normal like everyone else. I simply had to watch my diet and everything would be alright. I believed this for years and tried so hard to control everything with my diet. If things got out of control, I would beat myself up for not following my diet strictly enough.
People couldn’t see just how bad I was because I was still able to hold down a job, even if I changed jobs frequently, I seemed normal, I was just “moody”. I went through friends like water. Friends I made when I was manic, couldn’t stand the depressive side, and friends I made when I was depressed, didn’t understand the up me. Friends I made when I was in my normal state couldn’t understand my swings and they simply disappeared.
I had a job, but I also had a lot of debt. I lost days. There are huge gaps in my memory. I’ve met people while I was in a normal state and had no recollection of meeting them before. I didn’t remember men I obviously knew very well. I did drugs. I stayed up for days. Risky behavior? There were no thoughts of the risk. Nothing could hurt me. And if it did, so what? In both states there was not much thought about my own safety.
Then the day came when the depression took hold so tightly I held a razor to my wrist and started to slice. I just made the most cursory of cuts, deciding exactly the way I should do this, how deep did I have to go, how much would it hurt, how long would it take….then suddenly I thought….The Mess. There will be such a mess and my roommate will find it. Someone will have to clean up the mess. That thought saved my life. That thought gave me enough pause to call a suicide hotline. I would not tell them where I lived but I promised to go to the out patient center of the mental health department and talk. I drove there, and when I got there I talked and told what happened that night. I could not promise I would not harm myself if I left. I honestly don’t know if I could have or not, but I knew I needed someone to help me. I needed to know for sure that I could get through the next day. I knew if I said I would not be a threat to myself or others then I would not get the help I desperately needed.
Since I was not able to say I would not harm myself I was not allowed to leave, I was told I as going to be admitted to a mental health facility. I admit I actually felt a relief. I suddenly felt safe, at least for the night.
The police came and took me to the hospital. I was entered as a non-voluntary admission. That is the only way my insurance would pay for this, but I had insurance now, this was what got me into this facility instead of the state hospital. I had no idea the amount of debt I was about to get into. I needed help, that is all I thought about. I no longer cared what people thought of me, I no longer cared if this would follow me forever, I only wanted to lie down and never wake up. I knew these thoughts had to stop, I knew if something didn’t change I would end my life, soon.
(If you would like to know more about my stay in the mental hospital please see my post: Inequality in the Mental Health System.) The stay in the mental hospital changed my life forever. I was there longer than I thought I would be. The little overnight stay turned into two weeks, but when I left I was in the mental health care system. I had group sessions set up, I had an appointment with a new psychiatrist and therapist. I had a new lease on life. With another wrong diagnosis, Borderline Personality Disorder.
Soon after starting to see my new psychiatrist it was then determined that I do indeed have Bipolar I disorder. I started being treated with Lithium and other medications again and things finally started to get on track.
It took some time to get the medication just right. It took a lot of time in therapy. It takes a lot of work to get things right and get better. It takes a lot of work to keep struggling through the system. It takes a lot of work to help yourself when there doesn’t seem to be an out.
I’m a lucky one. I was able to find help. I was able to get a correct diagnosis. I was able to get a treatment plant that worked. I’m still able to get the help I need, when I need it. So may people are not as lucky as I am.
There are many obstacles in getting mental health care. I fought hard to get where I am today. I still fight hard to ensure my mental health is a priority. I will never give up.
Too many people are fighting for mental health care and have so many obstacles in their way. If you are one of these people, please don’t give up. Reach out. In my experience, things don’t always go smoothly, but getting help meant my life is so much better than my life was before.
Recently someone asked me to write a post on what I felt depression was like. Funny thing, I had just read a post over at Bipolar BarbieQ that included that very thing, I think everyone could get a lot from her post I’m the Queen of Run-on’s it is an honest gut wrenching post and I wish all of you would read it. (yes this is the second time I’ve shared this post, I really like it.) She also had this really cool graph in her post, so I’m going to steal it.
Most people think that Depression means you are Sad. Even Webster’s Thesaurus will say that Depression and Sadness are synonyms. Well yeah, you are sad when you are depressed, but there is so much more, so very much more.
When someone says they are depressed, that means they are sad, when someone says they have depression, this is a mental illness. When you look up the definition of Depression you get both answers, “(1): a state of feeling sad :(2): a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
I think feelings of Depression can vary from person to person. Profound Depression is all-consuming. You don’t just feel sad, it consumes you. You have difficulty doing anything else because your feelings are so torn up. It spirals down to the depths of your soul and you are trying your best to claw your way out. Depression can also have states of severe anxiety mixed in, feelings of paranoia, feelings of suicide. When you are just sad, you don’t have all of these other emotions consuming you. With depression you often just feel numb most of the time. Nothing can bring you out of that darkness. You find joy in absolutely nothing.
The definition above mentions “difficulty in thinking and concentration”…yes we can click that off my list. “A significant increase or decrease in appetite”…oh I eat, I want comfort food, or anything that might make it in my mouth sometimes. I’ve actually envied people who lose their appetite when they are depressed. “Time spent sleeping”…now this one is tricky. Sometimes I sleep a lot, sometimes I can’t sleep at all. Normally, I have a very hard time sleeping when I’m very depressed. “Feelings of dejection and hopelessness” YES! That is the overwhelming feeling that I have, HOPELESSNESS. “Sometimes suicidal tendencies”..this depends on just how deep my depression gets. Normally I am not suicidal but I’ll wish I wouldn’t wake up. I’m just so tired and hopeless, I don’t want to have to deal with it anymore.
Something they don’t mention, I cry, a lot. I’m an emotional person anyway, but when I’m depressed I cry every day, many times a day. Not just a few tears, I sob.
There are other feelings that get all mixed up when I feel depressed. I feel very guilty. What right to I have to feel depressed when there are so many tragedies in the world? What am I putting my husband and friends through when I’m like this? Why does it keep coming back, it must be me?
I get angry. Angry at me, angry at everything. I try not to speak to people because the thoughts in my mind are so snide. Why can’t they get it? Why can’t they do things the way they should? Yes, in my mind everything needs to go the way I think it should, then I’d be happier. I want to control, everything. I think that’s because I feel so out of control. I lash out. Some of this must be someone else’s fault, if I can find out who then I will have to feel better. I feel so alone. I try to isolate myself from other people so I won’t hurt them, even though being alone is the worst thing I could do. I never said I was being logical.
When depression takes hold of me I used to believe it would never end. Now I know it will and that helps me get through it. It makes me seek help. I keep telling myself, “This will end. This will end.”
I do not just have Clinical Depression, I have Bipolar I disorder. That means that, unless I’m stable, I will have severe manic states and depressive states. As I said, I used to think when I was depressed that nothing could pull me out of it, but then I’d be okay for a while and couldn’t believe I ever thought that way. Then I’d go manic and think that nothing could harm me. After a manic swing, I couldn’t believe I ever felt that way. I’m lucky that I’ve been mostly stable for a long time now. I will have break through depression sometimes and need my medication adjusted. My new psychiatrist told me that often when people get older they have fewer manic swings but battle depression more. That’s why he prescribed a drug that is for Bipolar Depression, and it seems to be working well.
If you are having any symptoms of depression please seek out professional help. It doesn’t just go away. Psych Central lists the first steps to getting help, and a list of professionals in your area. You can find this information here. Where To Get Help For Depression.
If you are having suicidal thoughts please call
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1 (800) 273-8255
This is a stream of thought post. I just needed to talk and get some things out. So no fixing of grammar or anything. One thing I do want to say before you read this…..I’m not suicidal.
Is everything just so hard right now or is it the life through steroids?
I feel like I’m slipping away. I don’t know who I am half the time. I’m really not handling things all that well….yet in the next moment I am….then I’m not…then I am…then I’m completely melting down and that has been the last two days, and
I just feel like a weight is on me that I cannot lift and it is crushing me,grinding me down further into the ground past the point of breath….I’m buried alive….why, why cannot I still just not die.
Oh I am so ashamed to feel this way. I am just so tired. So tired of feeling the ups, the downs, the hope, the devastation when life kicks me in the gut over and over. And I can’t believe I’m actually writing these feelings out here where everyone can read them.
I do not feel like this. I don’t. This is not how I handle things any more. It has to be the steroids messing with me…it has to be….
But then…there has been so much loss lately…so much stress…and I found out yesterday that it is worse than I thought.
When you can’t hear very well…..let’s face it, I can’t hear at all without my cochlear implants on and working, and for a while now things haven’t been sounding right. So conversations with my husband have not been as communicative as they normally are. I have always been so proud of how our relationship has been so good, because we communicate so well. When you can’t talk a lot, communication seems to fail. He thinks I hear things I don’t. I think I hear things he said differently. And things simply do not get talked about. I’ve been feeling like we just talking much about stuff….and when we do, things just don’t get anywhere, we just get a bit frustrated because I don’t understand things….well…I really didn’t understand something, and I got really upset about it yesterday. I lost it, completely broke down, and I’m still spinning about it.
I thought our finances were doing ok. Not great of course. Tight. We do have a mortgage and rent and everything. But I thought we were ok, not in the negative ever month, being able to pay our bills…paying off credit cards….ect. We aren’t. We are still in trouble. I’ve been spending money recently. I’ve told Stuart when I was going to, or asked him….he didn’t say…”we really shouldn’t be spending”. No I haven’t gone crazy, but I’ve spent when I didn’t need to. We bought Christmas for our niece and nephew that could have cost half what it did. He said, “It’s what we would normally spend.” This makes no sense to me. I’m so distraught. He said….that in about a year we should turn the house over to the bank. What? and we can spend money on gifts??? I can buy things for me? NO. I knew we were in real trouble when Kiki started having diarrhea Friday night and Stuart said, “Oh Kiki please don’t get sick, we can’t afford it.” What? We discussed this before we got a dog. If we couldn’t afford a pet, we should not have gotten one. In my opinion, that is one of the worst things a person can do, and I know Stuart feels the same. (I know we would have found a way if Kiki would have needed to go to the veterinarian, but that comment really scared me.) We are in this situation because of me. We have not been able to sell the rest of the stuff out of the house, or get the house on the market because of me. No, the house may not have sold yet, but we are nowhere near even getting it ready. All because of me. I have gotten too sick for him to leave me alone to go to Durham and take care of things.
Now, how can I not feel guilt about being sick?? How can I not feel guilty for every doctor appointment I have? How can I not feel bad about every extra thing we have to spend because of my illnesses? How can I not feel bad about the trip we have to take to Duke….tomorrow?
We were talking about taking me to special clinics to look for more answers…..HOW could I even think of this??? I cannot allow my husband to lose everything for me. I cannot allow him to work so hard at his life and never be able to own another home, never be able to retire, never be able to do anything but take care of me! NO! I will die first. Please, please, let me die first. I simply cannot live with this guilt or with this lack of quality of life. How do you choose? How do you choose? Am I selfish and allow him to sacrifice everything for me, to help me…where it may end up there is no help, that I will end up just like this forever. Or do I stop it. and say enough. I accept that life will be like this.
I have ups. We’ve seen this, over and over. I have some good times. I had them not long ago. I went for over 4 months feeling so much better. Then I have times like this. Will I be like this forever, or will I have the good times again. Who knows. I cannot predict the future, and I have to stop making up the worst case scenario in my mind.
We have to get more stable financially before I can allow him to sacrifice any more. He does so much. He is so exhausted so much of the time. He doesn’t even see that it is because of me. At least he loves his job now. It is not draining him. He really enjoys it. I don’t worry about him so much there, but am I jeopardizing it? I hope not. Right now that is all I can do. I have to trust that his boss really is as understanding as he says he is. I have to believe. I know his hours are flexible….I hope they are as flexible as they are making them. He does a lot for me. They work around my appointments. Sometimes he leaves in a moments notice when I have an attack. He always gets in the hours, he gets his work done….he says that is all his boss is concerned about. But I am concerned. I do not want him to risk this job over me. (they did just put him in charge of a project, so they must believe in him, right?)
I have to be more involved in the finances and everything as often as I can. I have been hiding. I have not been able to handle the stress of it. I do not deal with instability.
I’m not dealing well with not being able to do anything. With not being able to help at all.
I’m simply not dealing well.
I do so wish we had some help. I wish someone would give us a maid for a day as a Christmas present. Or better yet, a maid service. We used to have one, got a great deal on Groupon, had a maid come in just once a month, and it was perfect. For this tiny place, I’m sure it wouldn’t cost much….well for some. But it would get the deep stuff done. Things that just don’t get done…..oh who am I kidding, a lot doesn’t get done lately. (I think that’s why Kiki got sick, she found something on the floor, I swear she’ll eat anything she finds!)
I’m tired. So tired. Between the spinning head and the aching back, sleep is hard. And now my brain will not shut off….I worry.
Please Please tell me I will be able to deal with this better again after I get off of these dang drugs! But then will the awful vertigo get worse again? I live like that either.
Note….At this time one of my medications has stopped working, my psychiatrist has replaced it with another medication, but at this point, I am not stable. I have recently read through the past year of my blog and my personal journals and feel I haven’t been completely stable for a long time, but I have been manageable….most of the time. When I reference Bipolar Illness below I am referring to Bipolar I. There are different types of Bipolar, when you think of classic Manic Depression, you normally think of Bipolar I.
This post is going to come from the heart, and will reveal things I haven’t freely talked about outside of my therapist’s office.
From all the tests, and talking, and everything else psych doctors do, my psychiatrist feels I have had Bipolar tendencies most of my life. My first suicide attempt was at 11 years of age, but it wasn’t the first time I thought of it. It just isn’t right for an 11-year-old to think that dying would be for the best. I remember my sister and I had been arguing….I think…I don’t remember what it was about, or if it really even happened. I guess that wasn’t important. I know I silently went into my parent’s bedroom, they weren’t at home, I opened the top drawer of my father’s chest of drawers and took out his pistol. I knew nothing about guns. It was in a little holster thing. I don’t think I even took it out….after all, wouldn’t a bullet go through that leather? I put it to my head and pulled the trigger.
Nothing happened. I tried again……Nothing. By this time I was shaking and thought my sister might find me, I replaced the gun right where I found it, after all it didn’t do me any good. I don’t know if the gun was empty, if the safety was on…or what. All I know is that it didn’t do what I thought it would. What I wanted it to.
How can an 11-year-old child be so depressed that she puts a gun to her head, and pulls the trigger? Was I scared, yes. But not because of the reasons you may think. I was afraid of being caught, afraid of doing it wrong, and very afraid of who would find me and have to deal with the mess.
I didn’t tell anyone. Not for years and years, actually, not until recently. Since then I’ve had 3 more suicide attempts and serious thoughts and plans for others. When I’m depressed I simply cannot believe it will ever get better. The lady in the dark is whispering her promises that it will be better with her, and she is all I can hear.
When I’m more level, or a bit manic, I cannot believe I would ever think that way. I even have a hard time when others are feeling suicidal. How could that be? I have had a number of friends reach out to me when they have felt the cold comforting hand of death reaching for them and they are so very tempted to reach out and take hold. I often just can’t understand how they could feel that way. They have friends, they are loved…look, they have me. But didn’t I have friends? Don’t I have friends? Was I not loved? Then why…why can I feel it would be so much better if I simply didn’t exist? Please don’t get me wrong, I can empathize with my friends who are going through their own darkness, I talk to them and understand their feelings…or at least most of them. But feeling suicidal is very personal, each person has their own demons. I know I can’t understand all my friend is feeling because their demons are their demons and I can’t hear or see them. I can only see the light on the outside, and try to help them see a little glimmer of that light, just enough to give them a bit of hope. However, I would never judge a person who cannot find that hope….that flicker of light that they need to help them out of the darkness.
Many people think ill of those who commit suicide, and even those who have fought the battle and continue to fight. I’ve heard how it’s the most selfish thing someone can do. How they are doomed to everlasting hell. I don’t think like that. I know many people who contemplate suicide do so because they think they are such a horrible burden on the people they love. They are trying so hard not to be selfish. They do not want to cause those they love any more pain. Yes, the pain from the suicide is something a loved one cannot get over, but to the person who is deeply depressed and sees this as the only way to save their loved ones…it is the most selfless act they feel they can perform. Do I think someone who commits suicide is doomed for everlasting hell….no, personally I think they have already been living in it or they never would have committed suicide in the first place.
Suicide is not performed by people who are mentally well. I will never judge a person until I have lived their lives while looking through their soul. A mentally ill person does not see things the way a healthy person does. My views on suicide are just my own. Please do not judge me. And please, at this time, do not argue with me….I’m not even sure I could handle a grown-up discussion of different views. You see, I’m having trouble with my medication, and I’m not stable. I need to release some of these feelings, but I’m not stable enough to debate them. I promise, when things are better, I will open this discussion up again, if anyone wants me to, and we can discuss it then.
Oh, the Bipolar…..That is what I started to talk about isn’t it. It isn’t all about the depression that takes me to the depths of my own hell. There is that other side, the euphoria of mania. It can be so seductive. Many people who are Bipolar I, will often stop taking their medication because they feel numb. No, they don’t miss the depression, but the mania….it’s like a drug. Some of the best artist (of all kinds) have been Bipolar, or more as it was more commonly known, Manic Depressive. When one decides to go off their medication, I don’t think they think about the depression that seeps the life out of them, they are thinking of the high they get from the mania. Speaking from experience, it is so very hard to feel that high of creation when you are taking your medication. I used to have sparks of inspiration and spend days in my studio, never leaving, barely sleeping….painting, and painting, and painting….I have never felt that surge of creativity since I started my medication nearly 20 years ago. Do I miss it? I could never express into words just how much I miss it! I do not believe I have created a piece of artwork that stands up to anything I created before I was diagnosed. So yes, I miss it. But do I miss it enough to risk the rest….NO.
Bipolar doesn’t just include the extreme lows of depression and the euphoria of mania….it also includes uncontrollable anger, confusion, for some a loss of time, and a myriad of other symptoms…always to the extreme. I used to notice when I got happy from something, it simply didn’t stop. I didn’t just get happy, it kept growing and growing….oh it’s so hard to explain, but that’s how I felt about most of my emotions. The emotion would start, like any normal person’s emotion would, but my emotion wouldn’t stop….it grew, to the point where I felt the emotion was no longer mine, I was the emotion. I have huge gaps where I simply lost time. I have no idea what happened during that time. There have been out of control arguments, but I can’t remember anything about except the anger.
When I first started getting serious with Stuart I decided I had to be honest with him if we were going to have a real relationship. It was very hard to tell him I have a mental illness, I am Bipolar. Due to this, I have no idea how many men I have slept with. He took it like the man he is, with grace and sympathy. He held me while I cried and explained more about my illness. How I was being treated…ect. (He is a very good man.)
There is much more to my story, some I can never tell, because I simply do not remember it all. Some I can tell…perhaps I should write a book. *smiles*
Please forgive any typos, or grammar errors…or anything like that. I started to proof-read this and needed to stop. If I have offended anyone I apologize. I hope I have brought a little bit of understanding about what it means to be Bipolar I. Or what it means to be me.
Kelly, over at Fly With Hope is doing an amazing series this week about migraine and suicide. (She also talks about how those with chronic illness, and chronic pain are in crisis.)
In her words:
“My goal is to decrease the stigma of the discussion of suicide so that we might be more supportive in the chronic Migraine/chronic pain community on this issue.”
“Please check in every day as there will be posts with (anonymous) contribution from the chronic Migraine and chronic pain community on topics related to chronic Migraine/chronic pain and suicide including how to cope when you are close to the end of your rope, personal stories from those who have been there, on suicide and faith, a post especially for loved ones (family, friends, caregivers) and links to other blogs/articles on Migraine and suicide.”
One of the contributors to this series is me. I don’t mind anyone knowing, and some of you may recognize that it’s me when you read it.
Please know, if you are ever in that state, if you ever feel like you just can’t cope….or even before you get there….Please feel free to get in touch with me. Email me! I will gladly give you my phone number and we can chat….or if I’m not hearing well, we can IM or text. Just know you are not alone.
I’m a firm believer that everyone with a chronic illness should have counseling. We need to be better equipped to deal with our situation. My husband and I see a therapist together. It has made this intolerable situation, much more …well…tolerable.
But if you need a friend to talk to…I’ll always be here. Many of you have touched my life in such a way I couldn’t begin to put words to it. After such warmth, love, and compassion from so many of you…I have promised to always be there for those who need me.
Again, please check out Kelly’s blog this week, this should be a very moving series. Kelly has chronic migraines, and Meniere’s.