up and up and up

so weird. i’m feeling better and better. i’m doing better and better. i’m more and more optimistic. i’m more and more confident. even when i am down i get up quickly. is this all for real???

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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.

fast recovery

am i wolverine? wow. yesterday i was wrapped up in nostalgia…missing my ex even though i know the decision to end things was the only possible decision to preserve my self-respect. but today i’m looking upward and forward! life is pretty good right now. but i have this strange feeling inside of me that life is going to get even better! how that might even be possible, i haven’t the faintest clue. i just know it. i think when you’re surrounded by people who believe in you, encourage you and appreciate you, all the time, you start thinking maybe they’re onto something! going to sound like a commercial right now…things are going to get better because i’m worth it! haha i am laughing at me and with me. 🙂

he loves me, he loves me not

i find it curiously strange that even after my bf told me that he loves me that i still wonder from time to time: does he love me or does he not love me? in those moments, i’m not even sure how i would know if he loved me or not or what it would mean if he loved me or didn’t love me. of course there are moments when i feel like i’m putting in more effort than he is. then times when it seems like he’s on turbo drive and i’m just coasting.

about six months ago, around the time my bf and i met and started dating, i was way way more depressed. i was in and out of hospitals and on and off on suicidal ideation. miraculously, coincidentally or even mysteriously, since my bf and i have been dating, i just stopped cold turkey on suicidal ideation or attempts. i didn’t get better all in one day. there was still another hospitalization after we started dating. but in the past six months, i have never, not really anyway, wanted to end my life forever and for good.

i think people just get greedy. i’m no exception to that observation. i was happy enough to be recovering from depression with the support of my new bf. i was excited to be feeling happy and having things to look forward to. i had to get used to not being depressed. i had to re-think how to live my life instead of trying to end my life. and along the way, plenty of times i thought to myself, i can’t believe have a boyfriend? i can’t believe he cares about me enough to listen to me and try to make me feel better when i’m crying…etc.

i can’t say i am moving to nyc for my boyfriend. but it’s true, if he wasn’t in nyc i’m not sure my sister and i would be moving there. we might have moved to somewhere in california or seattle where my sister keeps telling me that she has a guaranteed position. what ever the facts or reasons are for moving to ny, it feels like a huge step in the relationship between me and my bf. we’ll be able to date like many others when they live in close proximity.

but then what? i know how to deal with break-ups. i know how to package break-ups so skillfully that the guy feels like he wanted to break up with me. but i have no idea what happens when day in and day out, two people care and love each other and are better in the relationship than not. honestly i can say that i am a better me with my bf in my life. it’s something about how he conveys that he believes in me that i can recover from depression, that i can get out of bed, that i can clean my room or even do dishes or laundry instead of others stepping into help me out. and it’s something about the way he tells me that i am good at what i do and that i should pursue it more. how can you not love someone who loves you and believes in you? how can you not be a better “you” with someone in your life who is supportive and loving?

all this is new territory, making relationships work and staying in a relationship through good and bad days. all my life i have tried to stay out of relationships and to end it before it got too serious for me. and now that i’m in a relationship that i want to be in with someone i want to be with, i don’t want to break up. i don’t want to make him think that he wants to break up with me. i’m not afraid of things getting serious. i want things to get serious, whatever that entails. i’m in for the long-haul, for better or worse for however long it lasts, i just want to be here and in love with the person who helped me to get out of the most horrifying depths of depression.

changes, big changes

i haven’t updated in so long.  it’s hard to know where to even start.  when i don’t update for a while, i feel like there is so much to say i just don’t know where to start.

the biggest news of this year is that for the first time since spring of 2002, i have had about 5-6 weeks of complete absence of suicidal ideation!  sure i still get depressed and still cry.  and still have overdosed, last time being couple weeks ago, the most i ever over-dosed on any kind of pill.  but even when i have felt depressed, the intensity of the feeling has not been as oppressive.  i don’t think that i want to end my life and that to do so would be the only way to get out of the unbearable pain.

so what to attribute to this crazy improvement in my chronic depression?  i know one thing that played a major role is starting to date my boyfriend.  guess things happen when you least expect it.  so i wasn’t thinking chatting on-line with someone might actually lead to friendship, mutual respect and acceptance and as well romantic relationship.  i’ve dated plenty of times before.  actually i stopped dating in the past ten years or so to stop the crazy cycle of dating guys casually just because they were interested in dating me.  i had decided about ten years ago, that i would only date if/when i want to date and that i would want to date only someone i was interested in, liked, respected, and was attracted to.  i’m sure i had some combination of a list working in my head.  but when you meet someone in person, the list flies out the window, right?  because the real person is a real person, not a pre-made up package.

think it helped also that i had changed my therapist last october and am starting to make progress, i would like to think.

i was supposed to get new meds also.  did end up getting one new med in the hospital couple weeks ago.  but not the medicine i was supposed to go on.  my new psychopharm wants to put me on depakote.  but we haven’t been able to start up on it yet.  i am back on abilify, although the dose i’m on now is so little it could hardly make any difference.

so the rest of the world lives this way, right?  everyday living life without actively or passively trying to figure out how to end their life?  trying to figure out a good time when one might actually proceed with the plan.  and trying to figure out to what extent and what things one could do before their last day to help the loved ones when you know they are going to be in tremendous grief and sadness as a direct result of what you are about to do?

the world and life, all of it, it’s not fair or easy.  no one says that it is.  but still, the first time i woke up after my antidepressants kicked in, i felt elated, not because of how i felt from the medicine but to feel like i wasn’t chained down and weighed down so that maybe at some point during the day, i might be able to come up for air so to speak.  i realized that day that most people start their day off at my high point of the day which i sometimes don’t even make it to.  then their days just go up or down from there.  i felt both liberated and betrayed.  how come rest of the world has it so easy?  as if they have perfect vision and had it all their lives.  i had only discovered that the blurriness of the things i see was not how things really are for rest of the world.

likewise, to live a tremendously long period of time (in my life 6 weeks free of suicidal ideation is like an eternity!) not trying to kill myself, i hardly know what to do with all the time and energy that is left over!  so anyway, 6 weeks of “sobriety” from suicidal urges/ideation/attempt.  then what was the bad bad overdose two weeks ago?  really have no idea.  but i was not trying to not wake up forever.  i just wanted to sleep and sleep and sleep until i could wait out the storm.  i was hoping that when i would wake up from the sleep that i would not feel so bad, so scared, so nervous, so worried, and so sad.

accidental overdose

i was putting off blogging so that i wouldn’t have to process all that happened in the past week.  well, now it’s time to process.  and i process best by writing.  so  you see how this blog is practically necessary for me.

after i wrote the last blog last wednesday night, sometime after that and sometime before i fell asleep, i got rid of every last sleeping pill that i had.  it all went down my throat somehow.  i only remember the first batch.  i didn’t intend on consuming anymore.  i discovered two days later that i couldn’t find a single sleeping pill.  i searched my trash can and the best of detective work tells me that i took every last sleeping pill that was in my reach.

i don’t know how i woke up the next day, albeit the sun had already gone down.  i woke up to a phone call and rushed out the door to show up for my dinner appointment.  i got there by car too.  at the time, i didn’t know i had taken all the rest of the sleeping pills.  so i drove myself to and back from my friend’s house.  i only started suspecting something was wrong with me when that night i started throwing up everything i could until i had nothing more to throw up.  my friend was fine when i inquired about his health the next morning.  so i figured it wasn’t the food that was the problem.  something with me was the matter and that’s what kept me up all night and why i didn’t feel well.

most of the time, after i abuse over the counter or prescribed medicine, i call someone and get help within the first couple of hours.  but this time, i didn’t call for help.  i didn’t think i needed help.  anyway, i was way beyond any kind of coherent state of mind by the time i actually fell asleep.  and by the time i woke up, the pills had probably done all, if not most, the damage it could have done.  and so for sure, two days later when i realized i had taken way too many sleeping pills, that i was still alive amazed me and i seemed to be doing relatively well physically.  psychologically, i was in shock, disbelief, scared, and lost.

i always wondered what accidental overdose is all about.  now i know what it means and how it can happen!  after i realized what happened, i didn’t call my therapsit to tell him what had happened, what i had done, and how i was doing.  i was scared that in my incoherent state that i continued to take pills.  why?  why did i keep taking the sleeping pills?  sleeping pills don’t put me to sleep anyway for the most part.  i wasn’t trying to sleep so i don’t even know why i took them in the first place.  i wondered, does my inner most self that lies beneath the surface really want to end my life?  at the very least, it wasn’t trying to look out for my health!  i concluded after some thought over the next few days that i wasn’t trying to kill myself knowingly or accidentally.  it’s the list of things that i didn’t do that makes me conclude that i wasn’t trying to kill myself.  i didn’t drink alcohol which was easily accessible which would have intensified the effects of the sleeping pills.  i didn’t take my prescribed medicine, not even a single one.  i only took sleeping pills that night.

part of me wants to live.  part of me wants to not live if the quality of life sucks, as it has been for me in the past 6 years with severe depression.   so if the quality of life can’t be improved, then the only choice left, it seems to me at times when i am under extreme excruciating pain, is to stop the pain and if life is what allows for the pain to continue, then it must end.  anyway that’s something like what my mind runs through when i am not doing well.

i told my therapist last night about what happened.  he made some interesting observations.  actions i choose, when they harm me physically, psychologically, or spiritually, set me back from recovery.  he said we could choose to work on whether to die or not to die, the impulses i have, and how i cope with the impulses when i experience them, etc.  or we could work on how i might live life, life where the quality of life is desirable.  anyway for now he said he could and would hold all of hope for both of us that i might/will get better.

so practically what does this all mean?   i mean, if i can’t kill myself with all the sleeping pills i took last week (believe me i had a lot of sleeping pills and i took them all!), i don’t know what will get the job done.  either i am unbreakable or God keeping me alive, protecting me from myself at times when i am most vulnerable.

what do i do next?  i guess i probably will do things as i have been doing without major changes.  but i will at least be aware as i am choosing an action, whether it will promote or hinder my recovery.  i don’t know about the value or quality of life in general, for others.  but my life, as it has been, is unacceptable!  i don’t want to live the life i have been living.  that life, i want to end!  i will fight to end that life for as long as i can, even if it kills me.  through therapy, through medicine, through prayer, through support, and coping skills, for now, i will fight to bring an end to the crappy, painful, life that is soaked in despair.  if depression can’t be managed, then i, with my unrelenting depression, may have to say farewell to this world.  but if somehow i can find some breathing space, some wiggle room, and ways to fight back the depression, i’ll be here that much longer.  as my friend keeps reminding me, the battle remains to be fought, it is on-going, and the towel shall not be thrown in, not even if it takes my last breathe to continue the fight.

blessing in suffering

God is good and i am amazed at the way God works in our lives.  i was so sad about my old psychiatrist not wanting to be my (primary) therapist.  i was so consumed in the sadness all i could see was sadness and all i could feel was sadness.  i couldn’t take the sadness anymore and wanted it to just stop.  that was back in july.  since then the relationship between me and my psychiatrist started to deteriorate to the point i couldn’t stand it anymore.  then i felt angry, incredibly angry at things she would say and imply.  so i stopped talking to her.  and i told her i didn’t want her to be my doctor.  i stopped being her patient.

sometimes in the unexpected turn of events that confront us and even when it seems to us that nothing good could come of it, sometimes we find that the outcome that seemed so terrible is actually a blessing in disguise, that we got what we wanted and that infact we got more than what we wanted and asked for!

my new psychologist, one who i might not have met if my old psychiatrist was still my therapist, he is great!  he is thoughtful, sympathetic, understanding, and he thinks things through.  my old psychiatrist and i would kind of meander our way through the session and acted in response to whatever seemed to upset me that week.  my new therapist and i, in just our first session, we are paying attention to what’s going on and being flexible but at the same time looking ahead and keeping the big picture in mind as well.

i didn’t know back in july what i know now.  i didn’t know that instead of my old psychiatrist who was losing patience and confidence that i would really ever get better, i would get to work with someone who is fully committed to supporting me and figuring out with me how i can improve the quality of my life, not just stay alive at whatever cost.

i am starting to have hope.  i am starting to believe.  maybe the rest of my life, however short or long, won’t feel like i’m kept painfully alive to prevent sadness of others and maybe being alive won’t be so painful after all.  maybe.  maybe.  🙂