delayed reaction

it’s rather silly actually. as of last december i have been single. and totally living it up. new job, new roommate, new everything practically. maybe i just had no time to reflect really? just when other people might get used to being single again, i’m just starting realize that my life has really changed. it’s so much better in so many ways. and just a few ways that i feel a loss. most people talk about how the mind plays tricks on them. i feel like it’s my heart that’s the culprit. i put nine months behind me practically with a blink of an eye. and two months later i’m having a delayed reaction of feeling a loss. all this delayed reaction started when my therapist started asking me if i’m really doing ok. therapists! oh well. i guess it had to happen sometime.

time to let feelings work themselves through. not going to dodge it or repress it. just going to live through this one.

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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.

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.

laugh or cry?

sometimes i can’t decide whether i should cry or laugh.  or even to decide whether i want to laugh or cry.  sometimes life presents you with such absurd and unexpected events and circumstances, that you don’t know how to respond.

and it’s not so strange now if/when i cry and i’m not in my therapist’s office.  i guess people cry sometimes.  i guess i cry sometimes.  who wouldn’t?  life… well it is what it is.  wish i could stay asleep for longer periods of time.  i really do.

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.

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.  🙂

happy without a therapist!

it is really strange.  people are wondering if i am holding up ok without my usual twice a week therapy sessions with the psychiatrist i knew since 1991.  and it takes me couple of seconds to answer with certainly that i don’t think i have felt freer and happier since 2002 which is when this crazy long depression started.  oh, also, i am back on all my meds.  i refused to take couple of the medicine i am supposed to be taking because i was too angry at my old psychiatrist to take prescriptions from her.  so for couple of weeks, i was without two of the meds.  then when my PCP gave me prescriptions, i was only able to fill three on time.  other three i had to wait for physical prescription to arrive in mail (the front desk people of my PCP’s office mailed the prescriptions to me per my request because they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to mail out controlled substance prescriptions).  so anyway this past week, i started going to partial hospital on wednesday, took all my meds since wednesday also, and by friday, i realized i feel like myself again.  it’s really strange.  people worry that if you take psych meds, that it will change who you are.  but i found that without the meds i am supposed to be taking, a strange woman emerges and i am nowhere to be found.  and the strange woman trapped in my body is not a pleasant person to be around.  but when i take all my meds, the strange woman fades away and the person that i know myself to be emerges.  and i like myself a lot better on medicine than not on medicine because when i’m not on medicine, i become a stranger to myself!

i have even started making attempts at working on my thesis so that i might get the degree i’ve been working towards.  when i am studying, i know i’m okay because when i am unstable, i can’t study and don’t care about anything, least of all some degree that no one cares if i have or not.

is it weird to like who you are?  in the past couple of days, i feel like i was reintroduced to me.  and honestly, if i might say so myself, i like who i am.  and i like feeling the way i do when i’m stable.  i only wish that i could have more days like this.  one day is great.  i’ve had one day happiness before.  but it would be nice to have a series of days like this.  i know things won’t be great all the time.  i just would like a string of good days so that i can build a life worth living.