Never Thought I’d Be Here – Part One

On Thursday morning I was reading something on the internet, when I started to feel uncomfortable. All of a sudden, that feeling erupted in a full on trigger. I immediately turned into a mess. I became that 14-year-old who had just been broken by someone she had looked up to and trusted. Images and emotions consumed my mind and my body. The emotions were far more powerful and painful than the images themselves. I felt like I was dying.

I wanted to phone my therapist right then and there. There was a huge battle going on inside me. Trying my hardest not to give into that desire to call her. We only had an appointment for Tuesday (yesterday). Then, I don’t know why, but the thought came into my head to phone a psychiatrist (I’ve been wanting to go to one for a while now). So I picked one of the two that was recommended, and phoned her office in a state. I couldn’t stop crying. I knew I couldn’t afford to see a psychiatrist, so why I felt the need in that moment to call her, I can’t tell you. She was so nice to me. I wanted to find out what her fees were, and instead she asked me whether I was on a medical aid. I am, so she suggested that I book myself into the psychiatric clinic where she works, and then I won’t have to worry about paying anything. I could see her first thing in the morning. I was so upset that I agreed. Psychiatrist had to keep reminding me to breathe.

So early the next morning, I packed my bag and made my way to the clinic. I can’t remember much about that morning. I remember seeing my psychiatrist, and being a nervous wreck.  All I know is that I was so scared. Not even scared. Terrified.

I’d never been in a psychiatric ward before. Later that day, I would feel ashamed that at my age, after having avoided it for all this time, I was now in the very place that I never thought I’d find myself. But shit happens, and now, in hindsight, I’m glad I went in. I was in the general ward, so it was voluntary and I could be discharged whenever I wanted to. But Psychiatrist recommended that I at least stay a few days.

The next thing I remember is lying on the bed in the room I would be sharing with two other women during my time there. I don’t even remember how I ended up in the room. I have no memory between sitting with Psychiatrist (even that is a blur), and finding myself on my bed. I had even unpacked my bag during that time. What the hell? Dissociation, that’s what the hell. I was curled up like a baby, unable to stop crying. Feeling disoriented, confused, and terrified. I didn’t know what was going on. Could I leave? Or was I trapped there forever?

Lying on that bed, I just wanted Therapist. I felt like a five-year old wanting her mommy after waking up from a horrible nightmare. As I mentioned earlier, I had fought against the desire to call her on Thursday, and plenty of times in the course of our relationship. But this time I couldn’t fight it. I wasn’t in touch with reality. I phoned her. So you must know the extent of my distress for me to have done that. The phone call is a blur as well. I can’t really remember what I told her, and what she said. But I can remember the feelings. How soothing and comforting her voice was. It felt like she was holding me. After our call, I continued crying. Partly because I felt like Therapist really cares, and I could feel that care. I guess it was tears of relief? I don’t actually know what it was. I was also still crying from the overwhelming feelings I had been having since going in that morning, and the day before. A little while after that, I started to feel more calm. Slowly coming back to reality.

This might sound really strange… Even though I am glad I had gone in and my experience had been pretty good, I still feel traumatized from Friday. I’m not even sure why. But I know that speaking to Therapist that day, made it a little less traumatic.

In the next post I’ll write about my experiences in the clinic, and what I’ve learned from it.

Darkness, Please Leave Me Alone

I’ve been trying to come up with something positive and inspirational to write on my blog for a change again. But no matter how much I try, I can’t grab a hold of anything. And you know what? I feel incredibly guilty about that. My whole life, my mission has been to help and inspire others. To be strong for them. But right now, I’m failing at it. I can’t even help or inspire myself right now. I’m not that strong.

Over the past month, I’ve had one good day. One. The rest have been clouded in the thick fog of depression.

I know I must move. But everything is such a effort. Just walking down the stairs takes so much energy out of me. I know I must do things. But I can’t focus for too long, and don’t enjoy those things I love as much as I used to. I know I can’t stay in bed all day. But sometimes I can barely move. It’s as if there’s an unseen force pressing down on me, and I’m powerless. Trapped under the heaviness.

I’m so tired of feeling this way.

Struggling With The Faceless

I thought I was fine.

So then why have I been struggling so much these past few days?

The worst part is that I don’t even know what I’m struggling with. It’s like there’s a dark hole somewhere in my mind, and I can’t grab hold of anything specific. Anything that makes sense.

My girlfriend woke me up last night with the words “what’s wrong?” or “what’s going on” (can’t quite remember which), and holding tightly onto me. I had apparently been thrashing around in my sleep and shaking. Did I have a nightmare? I can’t remember. I was just aware of my physical body in that moment of waking up. I had no emotional reaction at all, other than being disorientated.

I compare how I’ve been these past few days to last nights experience. Sensing something or more than one thing inside me, in my body, my mind… Yet unable to actually emotionally distinguish or feel what’s there. It’s as if I’ve fragmented or become disconnected from myself. I can’t even call it dissociation. Even ’emptiness’ doesn’t seem to explain it.

It feels like I’m suffering, but I have no idea why. It feels like I’m being tortured. But by what? I have absolutey no idea.

Have any of you experienced this, or know what might be going on? Also, I’d just like to know whether it’s possible to feel suicidal even when not feeling ‘obviously’ depressed or low?

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“Just Be Positive”

I feel this post should come with a warning of ‘excessive language’. So there you have it.

“It’s not that bad.”
“It could have been worse.”
“There’s always a silver lining if you just look hard enough.”

Okay, stop right there.

Those words are all well and good, but

When said in the wrong way, or at the wrong time, it really pisses me off. And I know I’m not the only one.

It’s so invalidating. “Shut up and just listen. Listen to me, instead of spouting that bullshit.” I want to say.

Happy, positive quotes don’t make me feel better when I’m in a bad place. It makes me feel horrible. Because what’s wrong with me that I don’t feel that way? That these words don’t make me see things differently? That I can’t just repeat it over and over again and make it really sink in when I need it to?

I am just so sick of hearing people tell someone who has just opened up to them, that they should just look at the bright side. No, I’m sorry, but the sun doesn’t shine all the time. Sometimes it’s fucking dark and the rain is coming down in torrents. Can we control the weather too?

“You’re bringing it upon yourself”. Fine. Then that’s my burden to bear. It’s not your problem.

Just because there are people out there who have it worse than me, doesn’t mean that my problems and feelings are insignificant and should just be swept under the rug. That’s why I’m in the place I’m at right now. Where everything I had locked away in a great big closet and tried to forget about has come spilling out. There are things scattered everywhere, while I’m desperately trying to pick them up and shove them back in. But the more I try to shove it back in, the more I realize there just isn’t enough space anymore. So now I have to sit with, and sort through all these things. It’s overwhelming, and I don’t know where to start.

“I can’t drown my demons. They know how to swim.”

I’m allowed to feel like my life is shit sometimes. Just because I feel like that, doesn’t mean I’m oblivious to all the good. I can still appreciate a beautiful sunset, be grateful that I have a roof over my head, food to eat, somewhere warm to sleep. Despite what it seems like, I do count my blessings. But sometimes, I just can’t.

I’ve realized that by putting all this pressure on myself to “just be positive”, to be optimistic about everything just makes my anxiety sky rocket. I’ll be positive when I feel positive. I’ll embrace that positivity then. That feeling. But I also need to embrace the less optimistic emotions when they arise. Because they’re a part of me too.

I struggle with work. I don’t just get stressed from time to time. I’m almost constantly stressed. Why? Because I have to work harder to keep myself together and ‘stable’ than a lot of other people. Also my brain mixes things up, struggles with the most basic things sometimes and gets confused and overwhelmed way too quickly. It’s been this way with all my jobs. Even the one I enjoyed. The one I enjoyed still had me running to the bathroom when I got too overwhelmed (which also happened a lot), to hurt myself. The only reason I lasted that long at that job was because my boss helped me with some of my work. There were certain things I continued to struggle with and understand even after 10 months. On the surface, everything looks fine and dandy. But underneath, that’s where the struggle really is. Just because I’m apparently ‘high functioning’, doesn’t mean that things are easy. Yes, I’m truly grateful for my job, but I still get those moments where I just want to walk out and not go back. All thanks to these fucking emotions that aren’t happy just showing their faces… No, they have to punch, kick, bite and scream too. I had a face off with the scissor in my stationary holder today. It was a battle. But I ended up screaming instead. Silently, inwardly with all the force I could muster. I was so frustrated. In that moment, life and work just seemed shit. I wasn’t capable of seeing the good right then and there.

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Looking for the silver lining in a moment of turmoil, is like glossing over the very real pain and emotions. A silver lining can be found after I have calmed down somewhat, or when I’m ready to see it. Because pointing it out will not help me see it any clearer. I need to experience that moment for myself.

When we’re in the throes of something, forcing ourselves to just ‘be positive’ isn’t helpful. We’re essentially shutting down our very real need to accept what’s happening, to be able to deal with it effectively and move on. Healing doesn’t come from seeing the bright side. It comes from dealing with the emotions that arise, in our own time, and at our own pace, so that the bright side of our experience or pain can be seen in all it’s glory. And sometimes there just isn’t a bright side. There’s maybe just a less dark side. But sometimes that’s okay too.

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I fucking hate lemonade.

Rant over.

 

Nature’s Gentle Healing

I went to my favourite spot on the beach yesterday. After a really bad few weeks, I needed to just get away from everything and everyone, if only for a little while.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I live in a beautiful city with plenty of sandy white beaches, green parks and spectacular mountains. Amazing scenery no matter where you look. Yet, I’ve been neglecting a crucial part of myself. The part that feels content in nature. The soul that draws strength from natural beauty. Despite my best intentions when I moved here to connect to that part of myself more often, I haven’t spent much time outdoors.

I had been feeling especially depressed the whole of last week, but on Thursday morning, it was even worse. I had this intense desire to just stay in bed. To not go into work. But my rational mind told me that it wouldn’t be a smart move, since I’m still new there. So, with great difficulty, and fighting between the emotional and rational mind, I somehow managed to drag myself to work. I found myself wondering how this could be so damn difficult. Even putting one foot in front of the other was a challenge.

As the morning progressed, I felt myself becoming more and more unstable. I even started crying at a harmless comment made by the lady training me. I can’t even remember what she had said. I had no rational reason for crying. It was so embarrassing, but in that moment, I just didn’t give a damn. I couldn’t stop it this time. This lady is in her early 60’s, so I guess it felt a little safer than crying in front of someone younger. But still… A big no-no for me. Crying in public is not acceptable (for me- I don’t see it as a problem when others do it). She came over and hugged me, and I kept apologizing as the tears kept coming. She told me that she’s had plenty of people cry on her shoulder during her lifetime, what with her being an “old lady”. She was really sweet. But I didn’t really want that hug. For some reason, I felt she had crossed a boundary. I wasn’t comfortable. I’m the type of person who craves touch, and hugs are especially important to me. But it can’t just be any type of touch, or by just anyone. I have to feel comfortable with the person.

Anyway, I found myself on the verge of quitting my job. It would have been an impulsive move, which I knew spelled disaster. So instead, I picked up the phone and made an appointment with my doctor for the earliest available appointment, which was an hour after my phone call. I knew if I could just keep myself together until then and not do anything impulsive, I’d be okay. It was a battle, but I did it.

I was a wreck. For the first time in a while, I wanted to just end it all. I thought of all the pills I had, and just how easy it would be. I was close. So close to walking out, going home and going through with it this time. I hadn’t been sleeping (which always makes things seem so much worse) and it was really getting to me. I couldn’t focus, I barely knew what I was doing most of the time. I don’t want to mess up and make stupid mistakes at work. I decided to go to my doctor to get sleeping tablets (she didn’t give me a lot- a good thing), and while I was there, I spent the majority of the appointment in tears. I wasn’t as embarrassed crying in front of her though. I asked her whether she’d write me a note to book me off work for the remainder of that day, as well as for Friday. She knows my diagnosis, and she knows me relatively well, so she agreed. In my state, I just couldn’t work. Even my Clobazam (that she had prescribed me a few weeks before) hadn’t made much of a difference on Thursday. Just as a side note, I don’t take it every day. Just sometimes before bed if I’m feeling particularly anxious and paranoid, or in the day if I feel I need it. Sometimes I’ll only take half. I try to use it as little as possible.

I spent the majority of Friday and Saturday alone in my room. I didn’t want to see anyone, or talk to anyone. I just wanted to read, listen to music, write and daydream. I spent a lot of time daydreaming, which has always been my escape and has helped me cope through the most difficult times of my life. I had stopped daydreaming a while ago, and maybe that’s why everything has become too much again. I realized just how much I need it. It’s my lifeline. Yes, it’s not reality. But reality sucks sometimes. Anything to help us cope, right? At least it’s not destructive, which would have been my other alternative.

I was supposed to meet a couple of friends on Sunday, but that went bust. But I won’t get into that here. It wasn’t a good day and my emotions were all over the place. Before sunset I felt this need to just run away from it all, with a craving for the ocean, so I got into my car and drove down to the closest beach. It was a lovely, warm late afternoon.

As I got out of my car, the gentle smell of the ocean greeted me as if with open arms. There were a lot of people around, and usually that would make me anxious, but not this time. This time all I could think of was the feeling of the sand under my feet, and the big beautiful expanse of water in front of me. As I sat down, the wind wrapped itself around me, like a hug, and in that moment, I felt safe.

On Saturday evening I had experienced one of the loneliest nights I’ve had in months. And usually when I’m lonely, going out and seeing people with their families and friends makes me feel even worse. But not this day. There was no ache in my heart while watching couples and families walking along the beach, laughing and having fun. I was so in tune with nature, that I felt deeply connected to it. It didn’t matter that I was alone. Because I wasn’t truly alone right then.

The sound of the waves filled my ears, like a beautiful song. How could I feel alone when I had all of this? I was connected to something deeper than myself.

The way the setting sun cast shadows on some parts of the sand, leaving other parts bathed in a beautiful soft light. Even the footprints left behind had a certain kind of beauty to it. Did the people those footprints belonged to feel sad, happy, in love? What was going through their minds as they felt the soft, cold, wet sand beneath their feet? Were they so lost in their thoughts or conversation that they didn’t even feel it?

I felt this gentle inner healing. This relief from the intensely dark period I’ve been in. I still feel the sadness, but it’s not crushing. I realized that even this sadness is beautiful. It means I can feel. It means I am human.