I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a few days, guys. Truth is, I came back from my eleventh hospitalization yesterday. That’s right: I was hospitalized. “The Plan” didn’t go too well. In an effort to make things easier on me, Bf ate a big plate of steamed vegetables at work so I didn’t have to cook for him. I wasn’t cleaning. I was so tired from crying and so overwhelmed. I wasn’t putting away the laundry that was still in the dryer, because my back hurt so badly, and I was so tired. All these excuses kept circling in my head, because my depression was hungry, and I felt the need to feed it, so these excuses kept feeding the monster. They kept fueling the vision that my life and self were worthless.
The Path to [Self-] Destruction
So, I said already that I was crying too much, feeling tired, overwhelmed, in physical pain, thinking negative thoughts. But there’s more to the story; and, to break it down, I can show you step by step how this went down.
- The first situation: Many physical symptoms of goodness-knows-what right now. I’ve passed out twice this month, have had really bad GI problems, a persistent cough for about five months, frequent hot flashes, et cetera, and the doctors still haven’t figured anything out. But my reproductive system has been blamed, and so have my psychotropic medications. I feel helpless, scared, angry, ignored, and demeaned. The behavior(s): I began decreasing my psychotropic medication without my doctor’s permission or knowledge.
- The second situation: (By my own hand,) I was on lowered doses of my antidepressants and antipsychotics. I felt sadder, more negative, more tired, my self-worth began to rapidly decrease, my anger started increasing. The behavior(s): I started crying more, doing less, and yelling more.
- The third situation: The state of my apartment is a mess. It always has been. It’s cluttered and messy and overall, a very frustrating place to be in. It sucks energy from all of us. And instead of cleaning, like I wanted to commit to, I kept feeding the monsters. I feel overwhelmed, trapped, and frustrated by the clutter and mess. The behavior: Creating a mini-cycle within the depression cycle that kept me from fixing the problem and encouraged me to add to it and crying.
- The fourth situation: Laundry. I did about four loads last week. That was too much, I think. It makes sense that I wanted to get everything done, but I think I just went too hard too fast. I felt overwhelmed and disappointed in myself that I wouldn’t get the clothes out of the dryer, but my back and everything hurt so much, and I was so tired. The behavior: Negative self-talk, (which of course actively reinforced everything else) and crying.
- The fifth situation: I didn’t speak up and talk to Bf and explain to him that cooking for him was part of my healing process. He’s very good to me, and he doesn’t want to put a lot of pressure on me, but sometimes the pressure can be good. Sometimes it can be motivating; that’s the difference between eustress and distress, (which I’ll cover more in a different post.) I wanted to be able to cook for him to add scheduled activities to my day, do something that would make both of us feel good, and get me to do something. I will definitely mention it to him in the next few days once I get readjusted to being at home. But anyway, I felt useless that I couldn’t cook for him, and guilty, even though that was a totally unintended consequence. The behavior: I didn’t make anything for myself either.
There were more factors involved. There are always many, many factors involved in relapse. It isn’t clean-cut, ever, regardless of what the relapse is to. Depression, drugs, alcohol, physical illness, there are always complexities involved in all of our lives that lead us down certain roads. But these were the most prominent. Notably, too, with the depression worsening, I started thinking more about my traumas, my financial problems, etc — all of these things factor into it too.
When Could I have Turned?
Anywhere. Honestly anywhere. I could’ve chosen to think more logically about the doctors and realize they are human too, we don’t know everything about the human body, hell, we hardly know anything about the human brain!, and that when things go wrong with a woman and the source is unknown, many doctors blame the reproductive system, because we don’t know much about that, either. Also, it’s true that I may be having side effects from my psychotropic medication, but I should’ve kept in mind that my psychotropic medication literally keeps me alive. I am chemically dependent on my medication. Like someone with AIDS or someone who is in anaphylaxis, I need my medication to survive. And it might not be perfect, but I’ll work with my psychiatrists, I’ll work with my MDs, I’ll work with everyone, instead of believing everyone is against me.
I could’ve indeed started there. And that would’ve prevented me from lowering my doses, which would have helped me a lot.
I could’ve picked things up/cleaned for 15 minutes at a time until I hit an hour or reduced the time I needed to clean. Truthfully, I think 15 minutes at a time would work best; and I think that would have had me less overwhelmed. But I tend to want to do it all at once and feel if I can’t do it all at once, I can’t do it at all, and that’s a terrible way to think that gets me into a lot of trouble with many, many things.
I could’ve reduced the amount of laundry I did or asked Bf to take the clothes out of the dryer for me. I think that would’ve been simple and easy enough for him, although at the time I didn’t want to ask him, because I felt it would be too much. At this point I think that thinking is ridiculous, but I still didn’t want to bother him. But I need to remember that just like me, he can always say no too.
That being said, I could’ve talked to Bf about the meals right away instead of holding it in. Suppressing communication, in my opinion, is one of the worst common things to do in a relationship, and I’ve been known to do it more than once. I really need to get out of that habit. I’m working on it, and I’m getting better. But I need to keep working on it. It’s something that always needs constant work.
What Can I do in the Future?
I need to take my medications. Damn it, I need to take my medications. This is actually the second time I’ve tried lowering the dosage and have gone into the hospital because of it. This is really NOT okay. So I need to keep remembering my medications are there to help me live.
I’m going to put up (self-)affirming post-it notes around the house. Maybe something for everyone, not just myself. That would make me feel good. Little reminders about how much I love them and how much I should love myself too.
I’m going to get started on my coping skills toolbox. This is an excellent idea, and I can’t believe I haven’t linked to it before, but I really don’t think I have. I think I’ve been wanting to make a separate post for it when I’ve finished, but I never finished, and I’ve lost the entire box to begin with even. 😦 But here’s the link. This is probably my absolute favorite therapeutic activity in the world, even more than my wellness binder. I got far on one but then gutted it to make another one and lo and behold, I lost all the contents. So off to make another one! That will be a solid project for the week.
But anyway, I’m glad to say that this past hospitalization was my shortest by three full days, and I can say with a good amount of confidence that it will be my last. I’ve gotten back onto my medication, I’m thinking more positively, and I’m prepped for battle. I can do this.
I hope everyone is staying safe.
With much love.