Well, it’s been about two weeks now, and I’m still feeling depressed.
Actually, it’s getting noticeably worse.
My fears that it won’t go away on its own (even after discontinuing the Wellbutrin), I’ll have to quit tutoring, and have to do TMS again are all looming on the horizon. Not to mention all the related issues.
I have little interest in doing anything; my ability to focus and concentrate have gone out the window, I sit and stare a lot, feeling like I’m lost, and I’m pretty irritable. There’s more, but those are the biggies.
And the hole in my heart is back.
I saw my pdoc’s nurse today (she’s fantastic) and we went over my options. Like any good therapist or psych nurse, she didn’t *tell me* what to do, although sometimes I wish they would. Instead, we talked about all the stuff going on in my life and she pointed out some things that maybe I didn’t see before.
So, I have some decisions to make regarding treatment options, how to spend my time, etc.
Looking back and dissecting it, I can see that there were warning signs a couple months ago. I started having random, passive thoughts of suicide, but they left just as quickly and mysteriously as they came. So I ignored them.
Since thoughts just pop in and out of our heads all the time, I know there’s nothing I could have done to stop them from coming. The important thing is what you do with those thoughts – ruminate on them, entertain them a little, or tell them to go away.
I suppose I could have told my therapist, Kim, about them when they started, but I figured Why? They just go away, they’re not doing any harm. At that point, I figured they were just like any other thought. Just a little more intrusive.
But now that I seem to be in a depression, those thoughts are lingering a bit longer. Don’t worry, I’m not in any trouble and I have no plans to die by suicide. But when they linger, it gets scarier.
So I finally told Kim all about it yesterday, and she was concerned. She was quick to point out that I have DBT skills I can use, rather than let my thoughts hijack my brain and run. All I can say to that is how tiring it is to “do the work”. Every. Minute. Of. Every. Day.
It may sound easy, but it’s not. If you’ve ever done anything that’s mentally and/or emotionally tough and had to continue doing it with no end in sight because your life depends on it – well, you get the picture.
When you have a mental illness, you have to be vigilant or else it will take over your life. And by God, that’s a lot of work. Keeping myself balanced and maintaining my mental health is the most important thing I can do for myself (and for my loved ones). But Jesus H., it’s hard work.
ALLOW ME TO RANT A BIT
Only a few people on the planet know this, but several years ago, I had a very specific plan to take my life. I won’t give you any details; let’s just say I put a lot of thought into it and left no detail out. Thankfully, my “Wise Mind” took over and I ended up in the hospital instead. They were quite concerned that I had a plan and the means to carry it out, so they made me stay. I think I was there for a week that time.
The thing is, over the last few days, that plan has reappeared in my head. It doesn’t mean I’m going to do it; it means I’m in a lot of psychic pain and am looking for a way to stop it.
Which leads me to my next two points: First, nobody attempts suicide for attention. They attempt it because they’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. No one actively chooses that kind of situation.
And second, suicide is not “selfish”. I call bullshit on that in a heartbeat. Living through the constant pain and suffering, continuing even though you wonder if you have a future, surviving irrational and intrusive emotional rollercoasters – that is selfless. Especially when the reason for doing so is to try and keep others from suffering from your death.
You know what I think is selfish? Wanting someone to stick around even though they’re going through all that shit and their brain is trying to kill them. How would you like to go through that every day for months, years, or decades?
THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD THERAPY
Okay, let’s change gears a bit.
I know there are good therapists and not-so-good therapists out there (and pdocs and nurses, too). I’m here to tell you that I have had several awesome therapists over the years and a few mediocre ones. I feel like I’ve been lucky.
A good therapist can help save your life.
Several people I’ve met throughout my life have said something like this: “Yeah, I tried therapy, but I didn’t like her. I think I saw her twice and then I quit.”
If that’s the case for you, I feel bad for you. A good therapist can change your life (so can a bad one). They can help you look at things differently, get rid of bad habits by helping you create new ones, listen without judging (SO SO important!), and just generally be a positive influence in your life.
That’s what I have with Kim, and boy am I glad.
If you’ve tried therapy once or twice but haven’t found the right one for you, keep trying, please. It’s worth it. Yes, it can be difficult to deal with emotions, and you need to be honest and vulnerable with your therapist so they can help you. But that’s better than keeping it all inside and trying to figure it out yourself. Easier, too.
I can say with a great amount of confidence that I would have been dead long ago if it weren’t for the therapists I’ve worked with (and the pdocs, psych nurses, the meds, the TMS, my most excellent support network…it does take a village).
So if you’re struggling, please consider trying therapy again. Ask your friends for recommendations. Read reviews on Google (but remember that only really happy clients or really pissed off clients tend to leave reviews, so take them with a grain of salt).
If you don’t connect with your first therapist, try another one. Same with psychiatrists. That’s one of the reasons I like going to mental health clinics rather than private practice therapists: They have many options.
Heck, the agency I go to has like twelve offices that provide the following services: therapy (duh), psychiatry (for meds), case management (to help prevent crises), ARMHS services (for help with daily living tasks), and more. They also have DBT and chemical dependency groups. My agency alone has about ten therapists. Like I said, if you don’t connect with one, you will with another.
Anyway, therapy has saved my life more than once, and it has given me a life worth living (finally!). And I believe that every one of us could benefit from some therapy once in a while, because, you know, life.
Give it a thought.
IN A NUTSHELL
- Things aren’t going so well for me right now.
- But I persist!
- Suicidal thoughts are really scary.
- Take them seriously.
- If you need to, find a good therapist (yes, they’re out there!)
- Life, difficult though it may be at times, IS worth living.