The Place I’ve Reached

****Trigger Warning: This post may contain triggers for those who read. Please proceed with caution.

My therapist has been on vacation for a few days now (she left on Wednesday), and will continue to be until the middle of September. It’s starting to really hit me now that I’m alone until then. I know technically I’m not alone, but I feel alone. Whenever my therapist goes on vacation, I know that the one person with whom I can talk without reservation is gone.

So, I’m just counting down the days until I get to see her again. It didn’t hit me when I saw her last week. We had been preparing for her departure for the last few weeks, and she’s been helping me to get ready for not having that connection. But, it wasn’t until last night when it started to truly hit me. Usually, every Friday I think about how it’s only a short time before I get to see her again the following week. I look forward to it, especially when things aren’t going well. However, last night, when the thought began to enter my mind, I was reminded that I would not be seeing her. I would not be seeing her for another two weeks.

I know to the average person that probably sounds like not such a big deal. I mean two weeks… that’s not long. That’s true. It’s not a long time when what you’re waiting for is just an average event or experience to come your way. But, two weeks is a long time being without the one person whom you feel most comfortable telling your most inner darkest feelings, without being afraid of pushing that listener away.

Blogging often brings about that fear for me. I worry that I may push those I know away with what I write. Everyone has his or her own problems. I fully understand that, and I worry that sometimes people I know may get sick of reading what I have to say. I’ve only told a handful of loved ones about my blog, and I love and trust each and every one of them. But, that doesn’t take away that fear that maybe they will one day just say, “I’ve had enough of this whiner… this annoyance.”

Maybe, I’m just in more of a self-pity place right now. I’ve been trying to keep myself up for the last month. I’ve been trying to be active in Facebook as it’s the only connection that I have with the outside world, of course in addition to this awesome blogosphere. As frustrating as Facebook can be at times, it’s also the one place where I can feel that I’m connected with loved ones. But, as I’ve mentioned before, Facebook can bring about some of the most anxiety-inducing and disheartening situations. I realize that I’m oversensitive, and I’ve discussed this in previous posts. I’m trying hard to work through that in the Facebook world, though. I know I will not change how I am, but my hope is to just learn how to better adapt in such environments. But, boy is it hard.

I noticed the other day, after my last post, that I only made three posts in the entire month of August. I wasn’t feeling much in the writing mood last month, but didn’t realize just how much of a stump I was in. I apologize for not being as present in my blog as of late. I have been trying to keep up with my reading of blogs too, but it’s been hard. I feel so far behind. I don’t even know why this is happening. In the beginning of the summer, I was in a low and was working hard to come out of it. But, as August approached, I seemed to have gone back down again. Yet, I’m not depressed right now. The strange thing is that I’m finding myself feeling fatigued and emotional at times, but then I come right back up and feel ok again. Again, it’s not depression that I’m feeling, though. It’s something else. I can’t help but think it has to do with my therapist. August has never been my favorite month, as I discussed in my post I Never Liked August. However, I think my therapist going on vacation is what has made me go down. It’s been on my mind all month, as I’ve dreaded this time away from her.

I know I have anxiety due to it, and my Tourette’s has flared up too. It always flares up during times of immense stress and anxiety. In the past, it flares up each time she has gone away for long periods of times. Now, as and adult, my Tourette’s is mild and not as bad as it was when I was a kid, but it’s still there. I hope it eases soon, because the facial tics are hard to deal with. The facials are worse than the vocal tics, as they cause me to be unable to breathe sometimes, until I can get the tic finished. The sensations are in my nose and throat, so those aren’t the best places.

So, as the summer comes to a close, and the fall is just around the corner, I am trying to bring myself to a place of stability that makes me feel good. I’m worried, as Christmas gets closer, as I have tended to fall into a seasonal depression the last five years now. But, I’m hoping this year will be different.

I have come a long way since my diagnosis in 2009. I have been thinking about that a lot lately. Sometimes, I wonder if maybe I don’t need my meds anymore. Maybe I just think I do, and if I stop them, then I will be able to handle everything. I will wonder if maybe the doctors have it all wrong. I’ve read that it’s common to feel that way… often questioning your diagnosis. But, I still can’t help but wonder if maybe I could stop all of the meds and I’ll be fine. However, then I remember those days.

I remember the days when I’d be in a state of utter despair and feeling as if I didn’t have anything for which to live anymore. I remember those days of standing in the kitchen and screaming at my mom in pain. I was hurting inside, and couldn’t put it into words. All that I could say to her was that it hurt and that something was wrong in my head. I screamed at her, “There’s something wrong!” I’d proceed to bang my head on the wall and punch it with my fists. It was as if I had hoped that whatever it was would come out. The pain felt good too, ‘cause I knew that I was causing it. I had a source for it, whereas the other pain didn’t have a source. It was this mysterious torturer that was attacking my soul.

I remember the day I walked around the house looking for a place that would support my weight to hang myself. I just wanted it all to be over, and my prayers to God to take me weren’t doing anything. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, though. I didn’t want to do that to my parents. I knew they’d be the ones to find me. I couldn’t put them through that. In addition, my faith teaches me that it’s a sin to commit suicide. I’ve done a lot of research about that, actually. I’ve wanted to know if it really is a sin. I still have yet to find a definitive answer. I’ve found opinions, but nothing more. So, I would just go back to praying and hoping that God would finally take me home.

To be clear, I’m not in that place right now. I haven’t been that low in a long time. But, I remember it clearly, when I allow myself to reflect back to that time. In doing so, I also allow myself to realize that I truly have come a long way. To not be in that place anymore feels wonderful. I’ve reached pretty low places in regard to depression episodes since, but never that low. The meds are helping, and I am grateful for that.

It is, then, that I remember… when I know that I must not stop my meds. I must not stop doing what I’m doing; otherwise I will slip back down into that place, and may not come out of it next time. Then, there is the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m often tempted to stop my meds to feel that hypomanic euphoria. I want to feel that. It’s such a great emotional high, and I get so much done during that time. Sleep becomes completely unnecessary and I love that ‘cause I don’t like to force myself to sleep every night. But, I know it’s not a good place to be either. It may not always be as bad as the depression in terms of mood (although, it can be in its own way), but it is in terms of safety and health. I try hard to remind myself that I need these meds to remain balanced. I hope that I never lose that focus.

I always say that my denial is gone. I’m starting to think, though, that maybe our denial never goes away. Maybe, it’s just always about trying to fight that temptation to ignore what our treatment has done for us. Some people are better at that battle than others, but I think I’m someone who still needs to work on my fighting skills. The temptation comes at me way too often, and it comes on strong. It’s a fight between the parts of my brain saying, “Stay on those meds… don’t forget where you used to be.” And, “Screw it all! You don’t need any of that.”

I look at this point that I’ve reached in my life, and I think I need to be proud of myself. It’s so easy for me to say that I haven’t accomplished anything these past years. My life isn’t where I want it to be – or where it should be, for that matter – and it’s so easy for me to put myself down, and say that I’m a loser. In the Facebook world of comparing oneself to others, those thoughts come a lot more easily. But, I think I need to realize where I’ve come. I may not have accomplished the average achievements that society deems ‘normal’. But, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t accomplished other goals. I have come a long way since 2009, and well before that, and I need to appreciate that. So much easier said than done, but I can at least try.

I know that I have many more struggles ahead of me with this illness, and that I will always have to be on guard not to fall back into that hellish abyss from years ago. But, I also know that I also have some struggles in my past through which I have made it. I just need to keep reminding myself of one fact. Through hard work, the place I’m in now is better than where I used to be.

I think that’s one heck of an accomplishment.

The following is one of my favorite songs. I think it should be the unofficial song of those of us who suffer from mental illness. We’re not freaks. We’re not crazy. We have something unique to offer the world. Everyone, we are strong, and we have wonderful voices.

 

13 thoughts on “The Place I’ve Reached

    • Hi prideinmadness, thank you for your comment! I’ve been with my therapist for about three years exactly now. I started with her in August 2009. She’s such a wonderful therapist, and I am so fortunate to have found a good one in my first try. My primary doctor referred me to her, so since she was the first to listen to me and all my problems, I think that says a lot. 🙂

      • Ah ok, wow! You’re very fortunate (or I think so) to have had the same therapist for that long. I was trying to understand how your therapist not being around could make you feel alone because I never had the same one for long. I would settle down with one and then they’d leave and I’d get another one and that would just repeat. Even the counsellor I have now is only for a year.

        I don’t what your relationship is like but maybe she’ll have an exciting vacation story to share with you when she returns?! One of my social workers and I looked at her wedding photos! It was really fun!

        • Yeah, I definitely feel fortunate for having her for so long. I have had the fear that somehow I would no longer have her (early retirement and other thoughts), but after discussing my fears with her she has assured me she’s not retiring or leaving anytime soon. That helped to put that at ease for me, ’cause I know it’s not the case for everyone. I’m thankful for having that.

          That’s cool that your social worker shared her wedding photos with you. It’s great being able to see that our therapists are real. I know that probably sounds weird to some, but I think anyone who sees someone for therapy of some sort can relate to that feeling of seeing them as just there in that position. It’s hard to imagine mine off in the world. But, hearing things like she has a cat make me realize that she’s real. When she told that fact to me, it was like this really big realization that day. I was all excited and asked, “You have a cat? That’s cool!” And in my head I was like, “Wow! She’s a regular person.” lol, it’s weird how we can forget that sometimes. I’m definitely going to ask her about her vacation when she returns. She’s gone to Germany to visit family, so I’m looking forward to hearing how her trip was.

          Thanks again, prideinmadness. I appreciate your comment and support! 🙂

          • Hi Summer, I’m glad you can take comfort in what you’ve already achieved.

            Looking at the comments between you & prideinmadness reminds me that we have a different therapist/counsellor system over here in Britain. We only see counsellors for a short time in comparison. They are usually in blocks of 6, 1 hour, sessions. Apparently the focus is on getting the patient ‘fixed’. I know that may sound a little condescending (the word fix I mean), but it comes from a worry of patients becoming dependant on a therapist. Also there is the worry that therapists may actively want to see their patients for longer in order to line their own pockets when in fact the patient may not need their help any more.

            The other thing is that because we have the NHS & our healthcare is free there are obviously limits to the amount of funding that go into the likes of therapy / counselling.

            I suppose the trick is to find the balance between both & just do what is right for the person who is looking for help.

            • Yeah, I know what you mean. Sadly, there are plenty of therapists here in the U.S. who merely take advantage of the income they get from prolonging therapy. It’s truly sad. I wish health care was free here in the States. It’s so ridiculously expensive, that I’m constantly in fear that I will one day have to stop therapy all together due to the cost. There is a part of me that realizes that it’s good to have these breaks from my therapist, as they do in fact do what you say and help with the dependence factor. I don’t want it to become a situation where she is a crutch for me. At this point, I see her more as someone who listens to things that most people wouldn’t want to hear. It’s a difficult balance though, like you say. It’s hard to find that right middle ground for not depending too much, but also not ignoring the help. I’m thankful that I have her for a therapist, though. She’s such a compassionate person, and I am grateful for that.

              Thanks so much for your comment, Graham. Food for thought, for sure. 🙂

  1. Summer, I have been seeing the same therapist for eight years now (shock! horror! 🙂 ) so I completely understand how unsettled you have been about your therapist’s break. It is so hard to not have that access to someone who is completely there for you. About once a year my therapist takes about a month off to go home to the country he is from and it seems much longer by the time we prepare for the break and then deal with how the break was. It frustrates me everytime and I feel so alone when he is gone. But it is a chance to realise how far I’ve come so I guess for that maybe I should be thankful. Although at the time I’m not usually. You have my sympathy. 😦

    • Thank you, Cate! Yeah, it’s such a frustrating thing. I feel bad feeling that way too ’cause it’s like a part of me knows that they’re real people and need to take breaks, but then another part is like, “Hey… where do you think you’re going?” I’ve discussed this with my therapist often when we prepare for her breaks and she says that it’s normal for me to be out of sorts, as she is what you say… the one person “who is completely there”. I have such loving family and friends, but a therapist is different. No judgement and no weird looks when you tell them what you feel and think. So, it’s such a void when she’s gone. I love that she doesn’t make me feel like a selfish person for feeling like that, though.

      Thanks again so much, Cate! I appreciate your support. It feels so good to be understood. It helps a lot. 🙂

  2. Hello, I empathize with your struggles. Such a worty opponent this fickle mind of ours can be. I too have encountered many struggles with various ailments to the point of life or death, and like you chose to continue, but approached it in a manner that has lead to some success in the process. You posed the question, is suicide a sin? I would say suicide is a choice. You appear to put your faith in God, therefore, if this is true, to take your own life would be contrary to this faith. For if you truly put your faith in God, then you understand that, through him all things are as they should be and you accept them for what they are, with the utmost of objectivity. If this is true, then there would be no reason for suicide. This is the essence of faith, accepting things as they are, and letting go of the habitual reactions that plague this fickle mind, and letting god do his thing.

    During that moment, when I was on the brink, i made a deal with myself, before taking that last step of desperation. I told myself I needed to take an honest look at myself to see if I could address the issues that plagued my noggin. I started an experiement on myself. I became third person, and this entity I call matt would then be my subject matter, I put Matt in a petri dish, and i then became a scientist. The most important part of becoming a scientist is to understand that the scientist must look upon his/her subject with the utmost of objectivity….to truly observe the nature of his subject matter. Therefore, I started to look at myself, with no preconceived labels, no judgement, no hooks attached…..just pure, unadulterated observation to try and find the root of my issues. Certainly a very difficult task, as i had lived a life obsessed with what others thought of me, with utter disgust with my environment, much self preservation and self absorbtion. Yet once I really took a look within, little by little i started to see the true nature of the issues that plagued this specimen in the petri dish. Through this objective observation of myself….I had found a way to let go of many of these things…because i realized the misery that I was experiencing was because of me. Not because of the things that were happening to me, not because of the world around me, not even because of the thoughts that raced through my mind, like the raging rapids of a river. It was because of the cycle of habits i had created in holding onto these things, in giving them energy….just like putting gasoline on a fire. It was me, I was responsible for this. At first, I was horrified, but then I realized that this was the true nature of my issues, these varied fears and certain desires that I held onto for dear life, not….as my mother often says….let go…let God….and all of a sudden I started to see relief to my friend in the petri dish…for I had learned to let go….let god….am I saying that I don’t still have my moments? of course not, for the struggle will always be there….but there is relief….and ultimately i believe there is a way out….but the first step for someone that puts their faith in God…as mama always say…LET GO…LET GOD…good luck my friend and if you ever need some encouragement…well feel free to look my way!! you can find me at mindofmatter.com …Much Peace…much Happiness to you!!

    • Thank you so much, Matterami! I appreciate your kind and inspiring words. Also, thank you for sharing your own personal experience. I always like to get to know others better out there and your experience is both helpful and comforting. I like how you were able to step outside of your life sort of speak and observe it objectively like you did. That’s a really awesome thing. It’s encouraging and gives hope, that’s for sure. God really is the way, like you say, and I always try my best to remember that. I think when I’ve reached those points of wanting to just give up, that it’s been myself ignoring Him. The scary thing, is the thought of me someday ignoring Him to the end and then just stepping over the edge. It’s something I pray on often and I feel comfort when I do. I just need to keep doing that and take it one step at a time. I guess that’s all we can really do with our brains.

      Thanks again, Matterami. I appreciate your comment and look forward to visiting your blog too. Take care of yourself! 🙂

      Summer

  3. Hi Summer,

    Really sorry I’ve been away so long- I haven’t been in a blogging “place” either recently!

    Sorry to hear you’ve been on a downer. I guess by now your therapist may be back from holiday? Hope you’re back in contact.

    Try not to think that you’re ever pushing readers away with what you write. It is more important for you to get everything off your chest- this blog is primarily a place of healing for you. Just let it all out! Nobody will think you’re whining! Think most of us have either been there or are stuck there ourselves at the moment, so you wont be on your own!

    Your writing about screaming at your Mum that something was wrong in your head kind of reminds me of how I’ve been in the past. Absolute utter metal and emotional torture and anguish. Have you ever tried some kind of spiritual therapy? Reiki helped me initially and then I went on to have Past Life Regression Therapy with a spiritual medium. Has been extremely healing for me. Just an idea!
    Also try Bach Flower Remedies- particularly Sweet Chestnut, Mustard and Gorse.

    http://www.bachcentre.com/centre/remedies.htm

    I’d suggest taking a wacking great dose of each initially- probably two drops 4 times on the first day, then regular doses after that. Always worth trying something new!

    Love & Hugs,

    Rachel
    xxx

    • Thank you so much, Rachel! I’m sorry to hear you’re also not in much of a blog writing mood lately. I can’t even get myself to read much either. It’s just a tired feeling I guess. I keep trying to think about what to blog about but then don’t have the energy to do so. I’m feeling much better now that I am seeing my therapist again, but there is still something not right. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a noticeable feeling inside. I’m hoping now that the fall is here that it will pick up again. The summer is physically draining for me ’cause I don’t handle the heat well, and this last summer has been so horrible. I’m sure that didn’t help things at all.

      Thank you for the natural remedies you linked me. I’m going to read up on those ’cause I’m always willing to try something new if it will help. I look forward to learning more about those.

      I hope you feel better soon, too, and are able to get back to writing more again. 🙂

      Love and hugs back!
      Summer

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