I hate that recovery isn’t a straight line. That you can go up and up and then something happens and you fall down. Down into the deep pits of hell and you have a choice to either climb out or just give up.
I feel like for most people, it’s like driving a car. Everything is going good and you hit a pot hole. There’s no damage to your car, so you just keep driving. For me, it’s when I hit that pot hole that my car breaks in half and I’m left stranded. I have no idea how to pick the pieces up and put them back together and start driving again.
Of course, logically, I know that I’ve been here before. I’ve been through worse before. I can overcome this little set back and come out on top again. I can pick my journey up where I left off.
But right now, I feel like I’m in the middle of the freeway with a busted up car and no ideas how to put it together again.
I’ve been away from the blog for a while; I’ve had nothing to say.
Recently, I’ve been having a hard time with my anxiety and depression. I can’t tell you which one is worse.
Anxiety is making me leave work, throw up, panic, and pace. Depression leaves me feeling drained, empty, alone in my struggle, and makes me think of scary things. Having both of them at the same time has just been hell.
I’ve been isolating as much as I can, which probably isn’t healthy… But it keeps me from hurting people. At the same time I’ve been trying to reach out to my support system, my mom, my aunt, my husband. I’ve leaned so hard on my husband that I’ve been worried about breaking us, breaking him.
In my hell, I hear things. That I’m better off alone away from people, better off dead, better off going to the hospital. And I seriously considered calling the crisis line to get help, because it got that bad. I thought I needed to go inpatient.
What triggered this episode of hell for me? One of my triggers is stress at work. And work decided that I could move to day shift. I thought, maybe, I was stable enough to handle it. But working in a nursing home during the day is a different beast entirely. For 12 hours you’re on your feet, answering call lights, transferring patients, changing patients, feeding patients, doing things that a normal CNA does. However, I am not stable enough to handle that environment. And then, the girl who’s supposed to be my partner, the girl I rely on to make it through the day told me she’s going part time. I understand why she needs to, and there’s nothing wrong with her leaving, but I relied heavily on her. Too heavily, I think. This, and the general stress of day shift, triggered the snowball that rolled into an avalanche.
So I called in a few times, left work early. Got in trouble for leaving and not coming to work. Was told that I needed to work on my attendance. Was told that the director has my back and will be my biggest cheerleader, but I have to show up.
Thursday was particularly hard for me. My husband and I just moved into a new place and I was unpacking things. I like to decorate, but the nails wouldn’t go into the wall. And I couldn’t leave because I didn’t have the car or a house key. So I got frustrated. By the time my husband picked me up, I was getting into a funk. By that night I was depressed and trying to find ways to avoid going to work. I wanted to smash my arm with a hammer, cut myself with the kitchen knife I found unpacking, overdose on pills. Anything to avoid going to work the next day. I took an Ativan to make the noise stop, the thoughts slow down. I got some sleep.
The next morning, I got up for work and I cried. I was panicking. I called in.
Later that day I called my boss and told her that this wasn’t working. I asked if maybe I could work less hours a day, or switch to nights. The compromise was to move back to night shift working 8 hours a night. That’s going to cut my pay some. But I think I can handle doing that better than I can the twelve hours. Something has to give. I have to work. And I can’t be in panic mode everyday. I can’t be suicidal over going to work.
I’m afraid that it bothered my husband more than he let on. He said he was upset, because when I made the call I wasn’t thinking clearly. But he says he’s fine now and he just wants me to be happy. Two years ago when this happened I just quit, so I’m making progress. I’m still working, just not as much.
Things can only get better from here, right?
The last time I blogged, I was manic, I was on top of the world.
Then came the crash.
They say the higher you go, the lower you fall, well I believe it. I crashed hard.
I’ve been noticing some things about myself lately, that I really don’t like. And I’ve come to realize that my self care has taken a backseat to everything. There are other things, little things, like not watching what I say before I speak, or not eating properly. But the self care, that’s a big red flag that needs to be addressed. It shows me that I’m getting bad again.
I’ve noticed that my depression makes me not care. I couldn’t careless that I haven’t showered in a week. Meaning that I, literally, stink; my hair is an oily, greasy mess that hasn’t been brushed in days; my face is oily and dirty. I don’t remember the last time I brushed my teeth or put on deodorant. I’m just going through the motions of making it through the day.
I’ve noticed that I was doing these things even while I was having my manic episode, but I think I showered that day, I can’t honestly remember.
I know that I’m not eating like I’m supposed to, if I even eat at all. I’m surviving on caffeine and water. But not enough water at that. Because I simply don’t care to take enough care of myself.
I’ve been so busy working, or trying to work – as I haven’t been doing a fair job at my job, just enough to keep up appearances – and trying to take care of everyone else that I don’t care what happens to me. I’m not suicidal or anything like that. I simply don’t care.
When you get to this point, you have to start caring, which is hard. But no one is going to take care of you but you. And you can’t care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. So I’m starting to try again. Picking myself up, dusting off everything and trying again. Because I’m a caregiver to many, it’s my job, but it’s also my reality. And I know that I can’t pour from an empty cup.
So if that means that I have to take an hour for myself, to center and refocus, I’m going to have to start doing it. And I’m going to have to start showering again, because this has gone on long enough.
If you’re at this point, I want you to know, it’s ok. But you need to take care of yourself. It’s one of the hardest things to do, especially if you’re taking care of others. But you matter, and that means you have to matter to yourself too. Get up, get showered, brush your teeth and your hair, meet the day. Or just sit out in the sun for a bit. Take the time to recenter yourself, meditate, read, relax. But come back to self care. Realize that you’re not alone in this fight, and many others are going through the same exact thing you are. It’s ok. And you’re going to be ok.
With peace and love.
It’s hard to go through depression. It’s hard to have suicidal thoughts. It’s hard to be put in a hospital. It’s even harder to get back to reality.
In the hospital, everything is easy. People tell you what time to go to bed, what time to get up, what time to eat, take your medicine, when you go to therapy, when you can go outside. You’re cut off from social media and the outside world, there’s a whole world living inside a building. And it has its own schedule, its own ebb and flow.
The reality of the world is that life doesn’t work like that. There is no one to tell you when to do something. No one to make sure you’re following your meds. Mostly you’re on your own. And then there’s work, life in general and the stresses that brings, social media, and your very own mental illness to deal with.
When the doctor tells you for the first time that you’re bipolar, it can be jarring. It’s not something that people want to hear. But it doesn’t have to be something that brings you down. It doesn’t have to label you. It just means that you have to manage the world differently, keep up with the medications and doctors visits, go to therapy if that helps you, make sure you get adequate sleep, eat right, things like that. But you learn to manage with that. And you can. It’s been done before, you can do it.
And you don’t have to do it alone. I’m here. I’m here for you. I’m here to help. I’m here to make sure you take your meds and eat, but you have to let me in too.
I’ve been in the hospital, I know how low stress it was compared to out here. I know what it’s like to not want to face the reality of going back to work. I also know how it feels to not be able to do it, not be able to face it. And I can tell you that it’s ok.
The point is, I’m here. And I’m ready and willing to help when you’re ready.