irony – why? why? why?

up until a year ago, for as long as i could remember, i wished i was not as healthy as i was. living into old age just meant more time of suffering which i didn’t think i could bear. but now that i am happy and actually like living, i’m facing all kinds of health issues! it turns out i’m not as healthy as i thought i was. aside from chronic depression which needs to be constantly monitored, i have few different serious medical conditions for which doctors are concerned about. when i didn’t want to live i was too healthy. now that i want to live i’m not healthy enough. i felt something like this could happen, just didn’t think it would happen so soon after i started feeling good about life. ūüė¶

just wondering, God, do you want me to live out my life or not???

hmmm wait a minute

i don’t really know why. i thought when i started working that i had to appear all put together. but in these blogs i had been completely honest and at times maybe even too honest? but i realized after reading a blog from a member of our church that there can be no anonymity to my story because it isn’t mine to keep private but testimony to God’s working and healing in my life. when i look back on the posts i have written, it’s such a relief that i don’t feel the way i used to feel. i had been too depressed to have hope or to think things could be any different. but God showed me the impossible was possible. i haven’t been hospitalized in about a year which is the longest stretch of time i have gone since getting depressed in 2002! praise the Lord!

i wonder if things i wrote and will be writing are age appropriate for youth group members…but then i realize as far back as i can remember i was unhappy…help didn’t come soon enough…hope was all too far out of reach…and if i could have known when i was younger that i didn’t have to feel that way, that God could and would help me, my life would have been totally different…and i think over time this blog will be helpful to those who are struggling with depression, despair, hopelessness, etc. so i’m not deleting any posts i wrote.

when i was in high school, a close friend of mine died before reaching age 16. she ran away from home and possibly took her own life. would she have been too young to read posts i have written where i am writing from place of pain and suffering that she would have identified with? if she could read any one of my posts and find hope that her life might be different if she could just hold on, i mean, if i would bring her back through anything i could do i would. but i can’t bring her back to life. but maybe other people who are feeling hopeless and lost might find encouragement that as badly depressed as i was that i am no longer feeling that way. i didn’t think i would live to see this day…but slowly but surely, God healed me.

my dad always said when i recover that i would be able to help others who are suffering as i had suffered. every time i heard that, i couldn’t believe that day would ever come. but now it has. and so here’s hoping and praying that any of the things i wrote gives hope rather than discouragement to others who feel lost, hopeless, depressed, suicidal… it’s something of a miracle actually. so i can only think God healed me. about a year and a half ago, my psychiatrist had lost hope that i could get better. she thought ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) was the only hope i had left. i didn’t believe her then and i certainly don’t believe her now. the only hope i had was in God, not ECT. maybe for some people ECT is what will improve their chronic depression. but for me, it wasn’t.

so anyway, long story short, blogs on this site have been written with honesty that might reveal emotions and thoughts that may be shocking. it’s all true. i lived through it. and i’m here. i made it to the other side. and when i couldn’t make it on my own, i had help from others, prayers, encouragements, hospital visits, phone calls, e-mails… thank you.

be still my soul

“be still my soul: the Lord is on your side; bear patiently the cross of grief or pain; leave to your God to order and provide, in every change he faithful will remain. be still my soul: your best, your heav’nly friend, thru thorny ways, leads to a joyful end.”

i was having a hard time last week in the midst of DTR (defining the relationship) with my bf. so my bible study group leader sent me words of a hymn to find some peace in the words of the hymn. and wow what an encouragement and comfort the hymn has been to me. i don’t want it to be the case that through thorny ways i will be brought to a joyful end. but i think that is what is happening. and i am thankful, for the Lord is on my side. things may or may not turn out the way i want them to. but i know that God will order and provide for all my needs. it’s just hard for to take a blow in the heart.

Top 5 reasons for (a mini) OD

1. when despair and suicidal ideation are not at full blast and the troubled person may see things might be better tomorrow but sees no way of getting through the day without incurring more damage to his/her sense of well being.

2. when a troubled person in question has narrowly focused intense experience of what triggered his/her emotions, urges, ideations of various kinds, the person could care less about how permanent the damage is going to be on his/her body or life. just need a quick solution to get out of the jam that seems to suck the life out of the troubled person.

3. perfect opportunity: when clearly other coping mechanisms don’t seem to work (ones taught in group and individual therapy), the target action, the self destructive behavior which has never gotten itself taken off the roster comes in as a pinch hitter or a pinch runner if you will (using baseball terminology) to get the aggitated person out of an emotional/psychological/physical jam.

4. for more advanced mental health patients/clients – you know a full blown out od/mis-use of prescribed or over the counter meds would land you back in a psychiatric ward for a few days at the least, if not week or months. and you also know when you come out of the hospital, certainly more time has passed. no one promises you that things are going to be easier now after you put in some days in the hospital. no one makes that promise because fact of the matter is, things get harder before they get better. i don’t just mean there are more difficult obstacles to overcome. but also, whatever is going on, by choosing not to engage in target behavior you are choosing to take on the pain, anxiety and suffering that you were trying to avoid by engaging in self -destructive actions.

5. why should i give up what i have until you show me something better? here are skills i have learned in DBT group to self soothe which engages five senses in a positive way to bring positive feelings to be experienced. and there are also many other ways of reflecting what you are doing either by consciously pushing it away or actively picking up something that is unrelated to the crisis you are having. all good right? perfectly sound. except i’m picturing someone in extreme pain such that inflicting physical pain seems to be a better alternative, so what’s the idea here? walk up to him/her and hand over a soft silky scarf and ask them to touch it, feel it, smell it and see it with some kind of hope or promise of their pain alleviating somewhat?

on any given day, on a good day, sure i might be able to go for a walk, enjoy being in nature blah blah blah. but then on a bad day, fair enough, by practice one hopes to use these skills to feel better even slightly better. land when it doesn’t improve the suffering then what? the patient hasn’t practiced it well enough under less stressful conditions or maybe the skill in question is not one that works for him/her. but something ought to work.

and when all else fails, well, then we’re back to square one. go back to your old ways of coping, i.e., your target behaviors, until you find ones that are not as damaging can replace the target behaviors.

sucks to deal with psychiatric issues!

i’m still here: last will, burial site, funeral homes

i haven’t written a post in a long long time. i suppose things are okay. i’m still breathing. what else is new?

couple weeks ago, after coming back from california, the entire week i had difficulty breathing, mainly due to anxiety i think. then on the thursday of that week, i felt so so sad that i started crying. i put aside my jewelry worth keeping, put them in envelopes for my sister and cousin to hold onto until their daughters get old enough. it was crazy! i was totally sad even as i was sealing the packages. i wrote address on them and they were ready for the post office or ups. i didn’t make it to ups or post office since i was so sad and had to move onto take care of other affairs!

i started researching online for burial sites in cemeteries. i didn’t really do a good job finding cemeteries that are offering free/open space for ground burial. i looked up funeral homes near my place to check out which of the funeral homes near my place would be most convenient for my friends and family. i found out that you can make arrangements with a funeral home and tell them ahead of time what kind of casket you want and reserve space that suits the needs or tastes of the deceased. there are three or four funeral homes within mile or two distance from my place.

i found legalzoom.com online somehow. the site is like turbotax for last will, living will, corporation, patent or other kinds of legal document. it didn’t take that long to answer the questions. within 20 min i had a” last will” online! i didn’t pay so i don’t have a hard copy or e-mail version of the will. it gave me ideas about what kinds of things i should settle/decide before i die so that when i’m not able to tell friends and family what i would have done, they would know exactly what to do with my stuff.

i was able to keep myself from actually engaging in a self-harming behavior by logically (as much as i could) considering the outcome of impulsive overdose or any other means of attempting to end my life. i knew (from past attempts) i didn’t have nearly enough pills to do anything more than get a good night sleep even if i pushed down every single pill (both over the counter and prescribed medicine) in my possession. i considered other means of bringing my life to an end. i considered hanging myself but decided against it because i didn’t have any rope, i don’t think my belts would really hold me up since i gained so much weight during past few years, and our bathroom, unlike may others i have seen in movies where people have hung themselves, there is nothing structurally strong enough to tie toe rope to! anyway, i was able to come to the conclusion fairly fast that i didn’t have the means to be successful and if i am not, then i might end up in some hospital that i don’t like and be at the mercy of health providers who seem more interested in clocking in than helping the patients.

it’s good to be smart, or at least fairly intelligent. it’s true that i could probably figure out most anything i want to find out by doing research. so on the one hand being resourceful can be deadly. but as it turned out on that thursday, you can talk yourself through your impulse to do reversible or irreversible damage to yourself by thinking through one step at a time, being practical and realistic about the outcome.

having come to the conclusion, as one does in a math proof, that it doing anything just to do something would be foolish, i gave myself a week to reconsider during which time if i kept feeling sad, hopeless and suicidal i could acquire materials i needed or at least come up with a plan that would have some chance of bringing the desired outcome.

i entered a scheduled event in my calendar on my iphone a week from the time i was suicidal. the title of the event and place, well, i couldn’t very well enter the specifics if i don’t want others to find out, right? so the title of the event was “untitled” and place of the event was “unknown.” it would have seemed mysterious to others what event was supposed to happen a week later. but i knew and i was aware of the time passing and that there would be a kind of a “critical” decision point once again a week later.

fortunately, starting the next day, i noticed i wasn’t feeling the intensity of pain and emptiness as much as the day before. i was not nearly as sad and i wasn’t crying uncontrollably without having a clue as to why i was crying. so the week passed and i didn’t accomplish something each day to prepare for a successful attempt at “final exit.” i told my therapist and he was pretty calm about it the whole time i was describing what had happened and how i was able to not act on the impulses. anyway, he just asked at the end of the session, do you need to go to the hospital or are you safe? it’s amazing how much trust exists between my therapist and myself and probably also between other therapists and their clients. i said i was feeling safe. and that i didn’t need to go to the hospital. and that was that. he said see you next week. i said good night.

sadness is creeping in like a spider under the moonlight

two days ago, as i was driving home with a friend, i told her that i felt like i could cry. ¬†she said, go ahead, cry. ¬†but i couldn’t. ¬†i felt sad. ¬†i felt like i could cry. ¬†but i really couldn’t. ¬†i came home and changed into what i called “moping clothes.” ¬†i crawled into bed and lay there motionless. ¬†a little while later, my sister came in and asked what i was doing, so i told her that i was moping and that i felt like i could cry. ¬†so she said something, something like, why don’t you just cry then? ¬†whatever she said it turned on my tears that came and came for the next hour or so. ¬†i’m not kidding either. ¬†the first half hour i was crying as if i were weeping for the dead. ¬†i would cry, and then get the hiccups, you know what i mean? ¬†my pillow was getting soaked and wiping the tears away with my hands wasn’t doing a good job of getting rid of the moisture. ¬†after about 30 minutes of hysterical crying, i cried somewhat toned down, softly. ¬†i was sobbing and sobbing. ¬†the whole time, i was crying out to God, as i have read the psalmists cry out to God in times of their despair. ¬†i cried out to God that the pain/suffering/affliction whatever i am experiencing in my life was too much for me to bear. ¬†i didn’t want it anymore. ¬†i asked God to take away the pain or to take away my life. ¬†anything that would pop into my mind seemed so sad and all i could feel was sadness. ¬†i felt broken. ¬†like a mirror that shattered and is now missing shattered parts of itself and can’t be put together again as a whole. ¬†on any other day, i might have been tempted to take matters into my own hands. ¬†but two nights ago, i chose to just sleep and to let sleep be the relief i so badly needed and wanted. ¬†

next day i felt better. ¬†that’s not too shocking since i felt so badly the night before. ¬†it’s hard to imagine how i might have felt worse. ¬†i woke up with red puffy eye lids, like i stayed up late and rubbed my eyes too much or something. ¬†i had therapy later that day. ¬†i told my psychologist that i had cried the night before for about an hour. ¬†he didn’t seem surprised. ¬†he just asked, what were you sad about? ¬†i told him that i didn’t feel sad about any specific thing. ¬†i was just sad about everything and anything. ¬†i was just sad about my life, sad to be experiencing life in the way that i do. ¬†i can’t remember what else we talked about during the session. ¬†i left with a sense that my psychologist was alerted to the fact that i was feeling pretty bad. ¬†we went over a crisis plan that i have been working on at a program i go to once a week. ¬†i have a list of people i want helping me and making decisions on my behalf if i am unable to do so. ¬†i also have a list of people who i do not want involved in my treatment plan. ¬†i have a list of medicine i take every day. ¬†i have a list of medicine i am willing to take, should they become necessary. ¬†and then there is a list of medicine and treatment they should not give me. ¬†

it’s kind of an unsettling feeling to not know when i might have to check myself into a hospital. ¬†it’s unsettling to know when i might burst into tears. ¬†and when i do, i have no idea how long i am going to cry for or if i am ever going to stop crying. ¬†i sense that there is sadness somewhere in me that has been hidden, buried and kept in check. ¬†and for whatever reason, the sadness is refusing to sit back and let things run smoothly. ¬†

when i check into a hospital, partial hospital or am interviewed by potential treaters, they always ask, do you have access to a gun? ¬†are you feeling suicidal? ¬†do you have a plan? ¬†i answer, no i don ‘t have a gun. ¬†i feel/felt suicidal. ¬†and the plan, it’s tricky. ¬†i’m not like the character on memento who has a 5 minute memory. ¬†for him, if he had a plan, he would forget his plan in the next few minutes. ¬†i have a memory that retains information a little bit better than that. ¬†once i come up with a way to do something, how could i forget it? ¬†it’s in my memory. ¬†and when i get sad, really really sad, and sad for a long time, bits and parts of the plan become activated. ¬†i know what i would do i if i were going to do something. ¬†but no i don’t have a definite plan. ¬†i don’t have a date or place. ¬†it’s good that i don’t have a definite plan. ¬†if i did, i would have to tell my treaters and they would be really concerned for me. ¬†maybe they would be concerned enough to lock me up in a hospital. ¬†but for how long would they keep me? ¬†would i stay there until i said that i can’t remember the plan i once had? ¬†or that i don’t have intentions of pursuing the plan that i had in my mind? ¬†

i can only speak for the present moment. ¬†right now, no, i don’t have a definite plan. ¬†but sadness is creeping in, like a spider under the moonlight.