It’s been a hellish week. In session today, as I’m telling E how alone I feel, she asks me if I’ve been blogging.
“Not so much,” I say. “There’s nothing to write. I’m very depressed. I can’t see a way out of this. Everything I’d been doing, things that I thought were working, have all turned into dead ends for me. What is the point of writing about that? I don’t want to discourage others.”
She thinks I should keep writing, so I am, good little obedient client. But if you already feel discouraged or despairing, you might want to skip this post. I won’t be cheering you up.
Why I am not any more hopeful than I was a week ago:
- The lithium makes my stomach hurt so I can’t eat in the morning but hasn’t done anything for my mood.
- I reached out to 19 psychiatrists listed on my new insurance plan. Some only treat children. Out of those who treat adults, most are not accepting new patients. I have two left that haven’t yet responded to the messages I left last Wednesday.
- I feel very alone and told myself maybe I need to reach out more. So I told a couple of people just a little bit about how I’m feeling. One said, “Oh, too bad, hope you feel better soon.” One said, “That sucks. Maybe we can get together at the end of January?” I don’t blame them–they have lives, and I know I’m not fun to hang out with. But I feel like there’s just E, who I see once a week, and then for a week, I’m on my own again. It’s a long time.
- I feel I should try to talk to my husband, so I did yesterday. But he got off on the idea of convincing me that I wasn’t a bad person, so I should stop thinking that way. It became frustrating.
I’m starting to think there is a big pot of rage in me, getting hotter and hotter, and Depression’s job is to clamp down on it and keep it from boiling over. To do that, she ends up having to make everything, not just the pot, small and meaningless.
I tell E in therapy that if the lithium doesn’t help, I’m thinking about just going off medication. I’m not sure it’s ever helped me. I’ve only turned suicidal when I’ve already been on psychiatric meds. Maybe I’d still be depressed without them, but who knows, perhaps it wouldn’t be as intense?
E looks skeptical.
“Don’t worry,” I say. “I won’t just stop taking everything over night. I know to wean myself off of it, so I won’t get so sick.”
She frowns. “I’d still rather you do it under supervision of a psychiatrist. I hope you’ll find one you like, someone you feel you can trust.”
I doubt it, but it’s nice she hopes so.
She wants to know what helped this week. “There were three times this week,” I tell her, “when I felt better for a few hours. One was after I saw C [for a mind/body therapy appointment]. I think it was the touch and the work on my neck, on pressure points. One was after I burned myself on Saturday. That released something, and I felt better for maybe half a day. On Sunday I had a rescheduled massage. I had a very hard time letting go. I swear I spent half of it weighing the pros and cons of different suicide methods. But towards the end the noise in my head quieted down, and I felt calm. That lasted for the rest of the evening.”
She doesn’t love that burning myself is one of the things in there, but out of that list we have the brilliant insight that there’s a role for my body in this. She wonders if we can build off that in non-harmful ways. Hot tubs or hot springs? Ecstatic dance? She lists some options in town. I think, ugh, sounds like a lot of effort. She tells me there’s an incredible anger workshop on an island in British Columbia. Not only is that a lot of effort, but it’s expensive and it’s in March. Whereas I am dying right now.
She asks me, “Where do you feel it now, this pain, this depression? Where in your body?”
“It’s in my neck,” I tell her. “And it’s like a blockage in my throat.” She’s convinced this means I have more to tell her. But I don’t know what that would be.
Based on the title of this post, I planned to tell you I am not only still hopeless, but also that I am still trying despite the despair. Here’s the evidence:
- I reached out to 19 psychiatrists, which took hours.
- I went to therapy session even though I knew E couldn’t do anything.
- I did not scream “Are you effing kidding me?!?” when E suggested things I could do to make myself feel a little better.
- I have spent a long time thinking about different ways to kill myself but I haven’t allowed myself to research any of them.
I can’t believe I need to make it through another week now by myself. How is this even possible?