it’s so uncool

it’s so uncool to cry in public places, especially a public place like starbucks where everyone is running from one place to another, sitting and chatting with friends or studying something because their entire life depends on that paper or exam or whatever.  i can’t help it though.  tears find their way out the corners of my eyes, rolling down my face.  how many days do i really have left to live?  no, i am not terminally ill, as in having cancer or HIV positive.  but i am deathly plagued by an illness, kind of like the illness where your white cells attack your own cells because they think their own cells are foreign antigens or something?  actually, it’s not exactly like that.  i know i am me.  i just don’t want to be.  i am not in favor of my physical well being if it is without psychological/mental/spiritual well being as well.

as i do sometimes when i’m not busy trying to end my life, i am sitting up in a coffee shop (instead of lying in my bed), and trying to read and write something that i find interesting and meaningful.  these are just one of the few moments, one of the few things, that i find worth while and would choose to do in my waking hours.  i don’t know what it is about working out, understanding, and creating complex ideas and theories that most people walking down the streets don’t think about for more than two seconds if they think about such things at all!

i find that i am blessed to be able to pick topics to read and write about that are of personal interest to me philosophically, theologically, or spiritually.  my current project is one in which i try to work out two different theories on value: one person argues that values are for the most part socially dependent and the other pereson argues that there are intrinsic values in things, like being human beings.  anyway i’ll see if/what/how i can contribute to the discussion. today so far is a great day!  with or without tears, even if i happen to be crying and feeling sad in a public place surrounded by christmas decorations, happy music and chatters of excitement, today is a day i am glad to have lived and looking forward to living.

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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.

you are fired!

last night i basically fired my therapist.  she was cutting down her hours anyway and wanted me to find a new therapist.  i didn’t take the news very well and felt my world come tumbling down.  i reacted badly and ended up in the hospital, the worst hospital ever where my psychiatrist wanted me to stay until she returned from her week long vacation.  the doctor at the hospital was unsympathetic.  the staff was unprofessional and uncaring.  i hated it there and basically was looking forward to working with a new therapist who wouldn’t make me stay at a hospital while he or she was on vacation.  so basically since august, my therapist and i have been in a holding pattern waiting for a new therapist to take over.  and during that time, i basically got worse.  and after each session, i get upset over what my psychiatrist said or seemed to be implying.  we were losing trust in each other and the relationship that had been built over the past fifteen years was rapidly turning toxic.

i was supposed to talk to her this morning.  but last night i called her to say i didn’t want to talk to her and didn’t want her to be my doctor any more.  anyway she left a message saying she didn’t recommend the way i was choosing to handle the ending of our patient-dioctor relationship.  but you know what?  i don’t take it personally that she’s choosing to cut down her hours so that she can travel more and retire some time in the near future.  she shouldn’t take it personally that i want what’s best for my treatment.  and right now, working with a new therapist is better for me than talking to her, especially when it’s clear that she doesn’t trust me, and doesn’t think i will improve with some radical change. last night before i left the message about not wanting her as my doctor anymore, i left a message saying i didn’t want to take my meds anymore and wanted to slowly come off my meds. then i realized later that i just didn’t want her to prescribe me medicine anymore.  anyway hope i can find a new psychopharm and new therapist soon!

quite an unusual day

since i got out of the hospital (basically since the last post), i have been traveling a lot. it’s good that i was traveling since i am not sure i would have done any better at home. i saw family and friends and was kept busy, meaning not contemplating or deliberating on how to gracefully exit my life. somehow after the last hospitalization, i came to terms with the fact that depression is something i have to live with, work around, and accept, for now at least, if not the rest of my life. then i started thinking that if the rest of my life is going to be like how it’s been in the past six years, that i would much rather not sign up for more. then recently, parts of the puzzle i’ve been thinking of when i was not feeling well started coming together. i decided that if there is a next time i attempt to end my life, that i will be more successful.

for a brief period during the hopelessness, i started looking forward to life like i had never done before as i was getting to know someone. i never met anyone that i wasn’t afraid of getting to know better, spending more time together and it was strange but really nice. anyway, it was a brief but lovely pause in my ongoing dark hopeless days.

so as i saw the end of my life approaching, sooner or later but probably sooner rather than later, i wanted to prepare for the end. and most of the time when i am alone, which also seems to be times when i’m not feeling good, i try to make progress on planning my last attempt. as i have been consumed with thinking and planning about the end, i told a couple of friends and my psychiatrist. yes i did.

incidentally, my psychiatrist is planning to retire sometime in the near future. so she wanted me to find another psychiatrist so i could start transitioning as smoothly as possible while she was still working. and now she hopes that the new therapist will be able to do something different, say something different than she was able to and hopefully facilitate my recovery. last time we talked, she mentioned ECT (electro convulsive therapy) for about the third or fourth time and seemed quite upset that i wasn’t even willing to talk to someone to gather more data about ECT. as far as i can tell, we’re going to try one more medicine. then as she sees it, ECT is the only thing we haven’t tried and would be the next on the treatment plan, so long as i was willing.

after i talked to her, i did some data gathering on the internet. for most people whose depression is medicine resistant, ECT treatments are pretty effective for relieving symptoms of depression. so i can see how ECT would be recommended for people when relieving them from depression seems urgent enough (like if a person is planning to commit suicide).

but at what cost? it seems like keeping someone alive would trumph any other considerations. most people just have short term memory loss and confusion for weeks or months. but some people lose long term memory and even some cognitive capacities. i agree that a lot of people would be protected from the grief of losing a loved one, if someone is kept alive by ECT treatments. but as for me, i don’t know if i would choose life over death if the quality of life wasn’t good physically, mentally and/or emotionally. if i had to choose, i would choose to live as me, with or without pain and suffering. so i figure ECT treatments are out, unless someone forces me, like a judge for instance.

everyday since i got out of the hospital, i think, breathe, obsess about finally exiting and being spared from depression. on some days, it’s painful to be conscious. but today, for some mysterious reason, i did not think about the end of my life. today, i thought about what i would do for the rest of the day and found myself hoping to accomplish things in my life which i thought i no longer cared about! i don’t know how long i will stay hopeful and free of pain. all i know is that today, even in this very moment, i am living life, not as i had done before when i was just waiting for the end of my life, but living life as though i will live tomorrow looking forward to the next day and the day after that and the day after that.

arbour hospital – never again! for as long as i live!

the last thing you want when you are going through a crisis is to be treated without respect. it’s unfortunate that i had to be hospitalized during the past couple weeks. it’s even more unfortunate that i was sent to arbour hospital in jamaica plain, ma. i’m going to tell my insurance company, please let me wait in ER until beds in other hospitals open up and don’t even think about approving arbour hospital as a possible hospital to transfer me to! arbour hospital treats patients like prisoners, or children at best. one counselor said during a group meeting that we should remember the experience when we may be in another crisis so that we would be deterred from engaging in self-harming behavior. and if we should return, he said, they would be waiting. and next time, he said, you won’t get out so fast. listening to what he said, i felt like i was in some prison!

when i was discharged and was leaving arbour hospital, i felt institutionalized. i felt like a staff member should be accompanying me to wait for the cab that was picking me up. and for a while after the discharge, i felt disoriented. i had been stripped of my dignity, to be able to trust in my own ability to do things, and it felt weird that i was sitting alone on the bench outside the hospital waiting for the cab. it was subtle but definitely a different feeling than i experienced when leaving other facilities. i have felt empowered, hopeful and supported when i left the last hospital where i was inpatient. the staff member who discharged me from cambridge hospital told me, that he hopes that i won’t come back as an inpatient. but if i need it, that the staff would be there to help me to manage the crisis. come sooner rather than later he said. come before you act on your impulses. as much as i didn’t want to return as an inpatient, i knew that i would get the help i needed if such an occasion should arise in the future.

ironically, what the counselor said is ringing true in my ears. maybe he knew what he was doing. he was scaring all of us from returning to arbour hospital. for sure, i don’t ever want to end up back there. i’d rather wait in the ER indefinitely for a bed in another hospital to open up. when i am most vulnerable, i was to be treated with respect and care. i don’t want to feel like i am only half human. i want to work with staff who believe that i can recover from my illness. i may relapse again. no one, definitely not me, relapses on purpose. mentally ill patients need more reasons to fight for their life, not less. i felt more trapped at arbour hospital than i have in any other hospitals. and no, i really don’t want to end up back in arbour hospital. and when i need help, i know i won’t get it at arbour hospital.

of course not everyone at the arbour hospital treat their patients with disrespect. some staff members really seemed to care about the well-being of the patients. but i would say at arbour hospital, the rotten apples out weigh the good ones. its’ a shame that those who care about their patients at arbour hosptial are not likely to get the credit they deserve because many patients, like myself, remember arbour hospital as one of the worst places to end up when you most need help.

gift

since i can’t write at the moment, i’ve been generating all kinds of ideas for what i can do in case i have to drop out of school. yes – it would be really unfortunate to have finished your course work and not graduate because you can’t turn in a thesis. i really love theology/philosophy of religion. i think i even have theological/philosophical talent! so why can’t i write a paper when i’ve written so many papers in my life already?

i must say that i was feeling really horrible over the weekend and earlier today. and then when i started taking ativan which my doctor called into a pharmacy (okay she faxed it in b/c the law requires it), i feel infinitely better! infinitely and a bout a gazillion galaxies better! i always think to myself, after i take a medicine that works to relieve the emotional/physical pain and suffering, why didn’t i take the medicine earlier? like why did i refuse meds the first time i had a depression episode? i could have been so much more productive and felt so much better!

if you have a medicine that works for you (for physical or mental illness), take it! it’s a gift from god!

i didn’t think about medicine as god’s grace being extended to me. if i had thought of things that way, and took meds earlier, i think i would be a different person right now.

ativan

i’m on ativan again.  it miraculously lifted all my anxiety in about an hour; it started kicking in 30 minutes after i took it but could really notice feeling better after about an hour.   i was wondering, does it mean that with the help  of all the meds i’m on, that i can do what i enjoy and want to do?  or that since i need to take meds to do what i want, that maybe i should do something else?  something else that doesn’t require me to need medicine?   it seems silly to ask it, especially when i wrote it and can see it on the screen.  i mean, if i had some other passion which didn’t require meds, then fine.  i should do that.   but since i don’t have dream “b” that i could pursue if dream “a” does not work out, i’ll count my blessings and go on pursuing!  i mean, for some people, medicine doesn’t help either.  so then what are they supposed to do?  take an early retirement from life?  so yeah.  i want to pursue what i am passionate about, without without ativan, etc. etc. etc.