the other shoe

i’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. i’ve been going out with my bf for about 8 months now. and things are fine, more or less. i’m doing a lot better over all. successfully moved and starting to settle into new place in nyc. don’t really miss boston too much. but then was i waiting for something bad to happen? for a while everything was perfect, well almost perfect. then i started crying on consecutive days and not due to my reproductive cycle, thank you very much. and couldn’t stop crying even when my bf was with me.

so all that to say, is happiness really only a phantom of the imagination? maybe it’s something disney and hallmark and the marketing people at various places conjured up so they could sell movies, cards, chocolates, flowers, etc.

i was always unhappy. i was depressed. totally utterly in despair. that i can deal with. well, except when things got really worse then i couldn’t cope anymore. so then when i started feeling better after 5-6 years of really bad depression, i was skeptical at first. many changes took place that could explain why i was feeling better. i stopped working with the therapist i had for about 5 + years without miraculous improvement or anything. doctors on my treatment team tweaked with my medication. i started dating my current bf. i hadn’t dated anyone in over ten years before i started dating him. i mean, i dated. but i didn’t have a boyfriend for i don’t even know how long actually.

spring of 2002 to end of 2008 (my second depression episode) utterly sucked. only thing that was going to make it worse was to be treated with ECT (eletro convulsive therapy). my old psychiatrist recommended that and was banking that ECT was my only hope of coming out of deep deep depression. well, i wasn’t going to have my brain fried. so i fired her. moved on to a new therapist, new psycho-pharmacologist, and continued on with DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy). well, for about a good 8 months i had consecutive days of non-suicidal ideation or urges which had never happened before since the depression of 2002 started.

lately, however, after months and months of not wanting to die anymore, i can smell it in the air. the muse which beckons me to death, to take matters into my own hands, it is slowly but surely making her move on me. past couple weeks, i cried, overdosed mildly couple of times, drank, and thought about whether there is really a point to my life after all. yes. the question that i could not get out of my head for about 6 years, not even for a single day, it came back to me. and i started wondering, what’s the point? why work so hard at recovery? why try so hard to feel better? it’s not going to last anyway. life sucks, right? and being depressed and feeling pain and suffering in life sucks even more!

so today i told my psycho-pharmacologist that i’ve been thinking about what’s the point of my life. i told her i had been dancing with suicidal thoughts. maybe for now it’s enough just to admit that i’m unhappy. being happy for the 8 months or so, well, maybe absence of utter despair is like happiness. but now as i’m feeling better, it isn’t good enough just not to feel pain. i want to have a meaningful life. yes, i want to have a life worth living. a life worth staying alive for. not sure i’m there yet. or that i’ll ever get there.

is it time to give up again? i’m not sure. all i know for sure is that while in the past i was happy just to see my bf, now i cry even when he is there. i cry because i want more. i don’t just want to hang out, i want some kind of certainty that things mean something. i’m not happy just to read some articles here and there, or to just send applications out even on slim chance that someone might look at my resume. i want a job. i want to go back to school.

but wanting things, that’s what leads to disappointment and pain. so i decided i think, subconsciously, not to want any of it anymore. so again i am where i was before this bit of relief found me after years of stormy darkness. i don’t want to be here anymore if being here means i’ll be unhappy and if it means i live to testify to the happiness i don’t have.

looking for DBT in nyc

i started searching for a new DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) groups in the area. queens/long island groups were not working out, either full or don’t take insurance. so i started looking up groups in the city. it’s great that columbia and cornell have their medical schools here.

it’s strange. i would think there would be more availability of groups and therapists and all in the ny area than in boston area. after all, isn’t this woody allen’s city of many clients who want therapy and too few therapists?

surprisingly harvard has more affiliation with schools all around boston area more than columbia and cornell have in ny area it seems like. i didn’t know how good i had it when i was in the boston area. still, i am glad there’s at least columbia and cornell affliated hospitals and programs in reasonable closeness to where i live.

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 don’t feel too good this morning. i got a great start at 7 am. but then i don’t know what happened! i think i made the mistake of thinking about the meaning of life. it’s rather upsetting to think about the lack of meaning in my life.

my intensive group therapy ends in 2 days. i can’t believe how fast 6 weeks went by. i’ll miss my group members! i wonder if the skills i learned in the program will help me cope. i had a meeting with the group leader for the new group i’ll be doing starting this wednesday. we went over my history and i suppose that was a bit triggering. there are just somethings left better unsaid. but then when you go over your medical history, like how many times i’ve been in the hospital, how can you ignore it?

everything seems so hard today.

top five reasons 2008 is going to be great!

1. it’s not 2007! 2007 was a hard year for me. i was in and out of the hospital. i didn’t do well over all. i continued to gain weight. i kept getting triggered by by various things, even while watching the elf!

2. new community? i may take a break from my current church to make new connections. and my church is also getting a new pastor which will be refreshing.

3. romance! i feel ready to date again. i’m hopeful about this. i don’t know why. i just am. and since i have lots of knowledge about what i don’t want, figuring out if the relationship is worth keeping will be a piece of cake. 🙂

4. my niece is turning 4! she’s a little girl now. she’s really thoughtful and just lovely. i’m looking forward to spending more time with her.

5. DBT group – okay. so i’m not totally looking forward to joining a group therapy that is going to be so intensive that it’s going to kick my butt. but i think the work will pay off in the long run. i’ll be able to cope with feelings and impulses better. and hopefully that will translate into fewer hospital visits.