Fifteen years of therapy, eleven hospitalizations, in and out of partial programs, so many different services and different therapies (DBT, CBT, talk, etc.) Hell, I’ve even undergone ECT, (electroconvulsive therapy), and have had MRI, CT scans, EEGs, test after test, been on medication after medication, dose after dose, and I am sitting here on my couch, full of weeping lethargy but sleeplessness; a restless, nauseated anxiety and hunger for cessation and quiet. I feel so sad and so broken. Beyond tired, beyond depressed, beyond reparation. I know myself well. Years of [self-]interrogation, years of being poked and prodded by doctors, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counselors, and my own reflection have given me near crystalline photographs of my subconscious. I am betting I know myself more than most people know themselves. I am betting I understand myself more than most people understand themselves. And I am sure as hell that at this point, if I can be saved, only I can do it; and that, that is torture.
Throughout my life, I have had some pretty exhausting and long-lasting periods of deep self-hatred in which I could not look in mirrors or tolerate the idea of genuine self-care. Against my better judgment and against fifteen years of therapy and against eleven hospitalizations, I am in a dark period again. I am avoiding the nightmare of my reflection so I don’t have to deal with this annoying and hostile disconnect I have with this body I’m in; this annoying and hostile disconnect and disgust; this broken relationship with the vessel that carries my soul.
For most of my life, I believed I did not belong here on Earth, or even in this pocket of the universe. I feel like an outsider in my own family, country, society, culture, species, world… I am out-of-place. As someone with schizoaffective disorder, I have heard this is not “uncommon;” that believing you are from another planet or another dimension is not “uncommon;” to feel disconnected from the rest of humanity is not “uncommon.” Another major part of me explained by a diagnosis, I guess. Because it was–and still is–a core part of my identity. I never felt “at home” with anyone. I never felt the company of anyone. I believed I was so utterly and totally alone so vehemently that I created a whole creed centered around that core belief. And while someone has broken through some of the walls, I still can’t shake the whole structure down. Because, you see, throughout my life, I have hated myself more than I’ve hated anything else, and I’ve also gotten very close to loving myself and admiring myself and respecting myself, but regardless of how I feel, and regardless of how commonly symptomatic my feelings and ideas are, I know I have always been a remarkable person. Always.
So, everyone, it’s November. The eleventh month of the year. I normally start working on my Wellness Binder by October, but I’m a little late this year. 2017 has been busy and hectic and surprising. It’s been by far the most spontaneous and vibrant year of my life so far. So much pain and happiness all rolled up into 309 incredible up-and-down days. It’s been both miserable and truly a joy and really what life is and honestly should be. We can’t fully appreciate peace without knowing the violence.
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.
Just a quick update to let everyone know how “The Plan” is going. I said I’d start, and I’m proud to say I actually did. I tend to procrastinate and come up with excuses, especially when it comes to postponing recovery, because I’ve said before, the illnesses are hungry, and they ache to be fed. They’re persuasive. They’re angry. But I punched them in the face today.
Many mental illnesses, like many other chronic illnesses, are often cyclical. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, this means that at times the illness softens or even goes into a state of “remission,” in which the illness is not as prominent, invasive, difficult, and/or et cetera. This is especially true with mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder. I think a full “remission” is rare, but I’ve known people who have reportedly (or rather, self-reportedly) gone for years without symptoms who end up hospitalized after an episode returns. Still, many illnesses are cyclical, like fibromyalgia for example.
The uni-cycle from hell
A letter to the love of my life and to those who’ve ever deeply, authentically loved me.
To my loved ones,
I am aware I am a lot. I am heavy. I am a bowling ball, an anvil, a two-ton block. I am sometimes the shackles on your legs and sometimes the heavy frustrated sigh at 3 a.m. when you just want to get some sleep. I am sometimes the worry in your voice, the tears in your eyes, and the anger in your tone. Sometimes I am too much.
I am not naïve enough to believe the best people always stay. It’s true that sometimes I am too heavy. I am too restrictive for the airways. I don’t let you breathe because I cannot breathe and it’s not that I’m choking you intentionally, but I need your air, and you don’t have enough to share with me; in those cases, I understand.
Sometimes you come back.
Sometimes you don’t.
Sometimes you never leave.
Regardless, support like yours is and has been crucial to my survival. Without people like you, I would not be alive. I would have never experienced happiness or a semblance wellness; I say that with certainty. Human beings are social animals. We need love and tenderness. We need to be challenged in a way that helps us grow. We need to be nurtured and listened to and noticed. Each of us has our own identity that is truly fostered by the people around us. I have been greatly hurt. I have been traumatized to my core. But I’ve also been uplifted by people greater than I could imagine.
People are important to people.