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.

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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.

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.  🙂

starbucks and recovery

yesterday after i voted, i got a free tall coffee drink from a neighborhood starbucks.  it felt so cool that starbucks was rewarding people for voting.  i don’t think anyone voted so that they could get a free cup of coffee (or free iced cream at ben and jerry’s i heard).  but it sure feels nice that others care that you care enough to participate in electing the next president of our country.

i was supposed to fly out to california this morning.  but all evening and all night i just kept cleaning even though my back was hurting and i was getting really hot from all the moving around.  at 2 am this mornign i finally accepted the feeling that i really wasn’t up for traveling right now.  i’ve been in partial hospital for the past 4 days, just found a therapist who i think i can work well with, and am still in the process of finding a psychiatrist to do my medicine.  i do notice everyday that something that i hadn’t noticed before is good or better.  the other day, getting out of my car and walking towards the door of my apartment building, i noticed this incredibly light feeling.  i really do thank my old psychiatrist for all the valiant effort she made to help me.  but wow, i have been feeling better and better since i told her i don’t want her to be my doctor anymore!

and so this morning, i woke up at 8:30 am without an alarm clock even though i went to sleep around 4 am.  four hours or so is definitely not enough sleep.  but still, i felt motivated to leave the house to try to get some studying done so that maybe i can finish my thesis.  and the study spot of my choice right now is starbucks that has a parking lot, ample seating and power outlets scattered around the room.  i just filled out a survey giving feed back of my visit to starbucks.  i get a free tall drink.  yeah, whatever.  i spend so much money here that one free cup of coffee doesn’t really change my finances that much.  but i do like the fact that starbucks want  to know what i think and that they are willing to hear what i think would make this starbucks a better place for me to come to.

random note:  yesterday i didn’t eat lunch or dinner.  then when i realized it, i ate at 3 am even though i wasn’t even hungry.  and i’m not hungry now even though it’s past lunch time.  i’ll probably just wait till dinner, that is, if i eat dinner tonight.  so i don’t have an appetite and am not sleeping well and not enough according to what i normally require.  maybe i’m depressed?  nah.  🙂