He Reached into Me

DON’T believe everything you think! My husband said to me with a hint of frustration.  My mind is a scramble right now. I keep picturing a ball of yarn. Just a mess of string coming and going every which way.  To unravel it would take great strength and patience.  This is how I would like to approach my life at this point in time.  Getting out of bed proved too much for me this morning. I couldn’t even make it to my outpatient program, which really has no expectations.  Thoughts of taking a shower, getting dressed and driving 20 min plunged me deeper into the mattress with a pillow over my head.  Facing the world in any capacity was just too much.  So I stayed in the comforts of my blankets.  Plus, when I am asleep I don’t have to think. I don’t have intrusive thoughts.

However, the countdown to work has also begun. I really can’t afford financially not to start back on Monday as my benefits will be cut up and I cannot afford mentally to sit in this house alone much longer.  I know these things. I want these things.  Yet, depression was like a ton of bricks holding my body down. I am still processing the suicide of my friend.  Rather, I think more importantly what I am doing is shutting down because I cannot handle that processing. I barely talk in group. I barely talk to my husband. I barely leave the house. I barely eat. And I haven’t worked out for 5 days straight. These are big red flags for me.

I finally got up about 11am. The only reason, and I repeat the only reason, is because my husband asked me to cook something which takes a bit of time.  I already feel like I am letting him down, so I wanted to follow through on his request.  Luckily, it’s an easy recipe and one I have made before, so not much thinking or measuring involved.  Somewhere in there I sent an email to my pdoc. I guess it was somewhat distressing. Moistly I was expressing my disdain for myself and failure as a person, wife, daughter. I don’t remember what else.  I put the lid on the pot and went back to bed.  Not 10 minutes later my phone rang from the hospital. I did not answer.  The message left for me was I am very concerned about the email you sent and if you do not respond in 10 minutes I will send the police for a welfare check.

Well that got me moving. I immediately called me case manager back, and got her voicemail.  I repeated very calmly the police did not need to be called, not check was necessary. At the same time, I was getting dressed. My inclination was to run.  If the police arrived at my house and asked me questions, and I was honest in the slightest, I would end up in the hospital for Christmas. I quickly threw on some clothes and headed to the busiest place I know: Target.

As I was outside locking my door, my case manager had called back. She thanked me for responding.  The email I sent was not even to her, it was to my pdoc. I guess she has forwarded it on. We had a 10 minute conversation where I know she was sizing me up.  She is new to me. She is just covering for my usual case manager who is on vacation. She knows me VERY well and perhaps the police threat might not have come.

I was very agitated but answered her questions. She asked if I understood why she had to make the demand. I said no the email I sent wasn’t to her and I made no threats to harm myself, I only expressed how I was feeling. I didn’t state that I had a plan.  She reminded me I wrote the previous night I went to bed with a plan, and I reminded her neither of which I followed through on..clearly stated in the email. I didn’t want to argue. I told her I was having trouble talking about my feelings, I don’t know what they are right now. I just know I feel like shit inside. I started to get emotional.  She reiterated how much they care and want to make sure I am safe.

She wanted to me to explain what the rest of the day looked like. I had looked like a long stay in bed before I got scared. I didn’t have a plan. I have kickboxing class tonite, or I know there is a group tonite. She then demanded I attend the group tonite and the outpatient program the next day. I told her it wasn’t fair to put extra pressure on me. I didn’t need the weight of letting more people down if I couldn’t get myself there.  She is still in training, not yet fully a doctor, and I knew she couldn’t order me to do things. She said she would confer with the director (who I Love) and call me back with a plan.   So, she did stating they prefer I come to the group since I missed the morning session, but it was up to me.  She emphasized she really hopes to see me tomorrow morning.

With great hesitancy I went to the evening group. I just wanted to be left alone. It was too hard and too painful to process my feelings. I didn’t know where to start or what was truly bothering me: sadness, anger, guilt.  The lead psychologist is amazing. He has known me for 7 years or so. He is so very kind, gentle and just soothing when he talks to you.  I find that he is magical.  Just when I thought for sure I would be mute and unable to speak he approached me in a way that allowed me to take my time and say what I needed to say.  He prompted me quite a bit, just resonated with me with one of his own experiences. I took tissue after tissue. I couldn’t look up at him. I felt like I was going to explode, yet I felt safe with him.  The room was quiet and his words were soft. I have always appreciated the way he works with people. He can reach anyone.  He reached me when I was so closed up and closed off I was ready to bolt for the door.

He helped me see it wasn’t my fault. It’s understandable to have survivor’s guilt, but not carry it around for too long.  I have to trust I did what was best for me at that time.  Just 3 weeks after quitting the group I entered the hospital with profound depression and psychosis. The journey has been long and almost too much to bare.  He suggested I could give in to the voices and cause another tragedy and ripple effect by taking my life OR I could move forward and just keep doing the best I can.  When I can be there for friends, I will be.  If I want to check on them more, I can. But, I need to be kind and compassionate towards myself in this moment. He always shows me I can rest my hand on my check and just hold it there for a few minutes reminding myself I am okay and I deserve love, time and attention too.

I just learned the magic psychologist is moving on. He has taken a Clinical Director job at another facility. I will miss him.  He is the heart and soul of the outpatient program.  He has such heart.  He reminds us how brave we are each and every day to face our inner battles. To look inward and want to make changes takes such strength and perseverance.  To come to a group full of strangers and air our issues and feelings takes courage.  He always made me feel warm and safe even at my lowest, even lost in psychosis.  He is a remarkable man and I will miss him.

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