Hanging On, Hanging In

Tuesday, May 13, 2008  6:01 a.m.

Okay, so I have had this nagging feeling that there has been something I haven’t been doing…that there is something that’s missing.  Pasha wrote a comment that prompted me to realize what it was.  I haven’t blogged since Sunday morning, and here it is Tuesday morning.  I’ve been thrown out of my routine a little bit by staying at Mom’s house. 

I usually blog in the early morning (when she is on the computer doing her wake-up routine) or the early evening (when I am spending time with the fam) or in the late evening (when she is on the computer).  But I know, no excuses.  Just need to get back into the routine, because it is something that really keeps me sane. 

In a lot of ways, choosing (mostly important because it was my choice, not something forced) to stay at Mom and DHut’s house until I can get going again, stop isolating, has been a blessing.  My days are more structured and I’m spending less time staring at the wall or sleeping.  It’s also a safe way to interact with others, even if I’m not getting out and immersing myself in the hellacious and scary world of people that I don’t know.  It’s a baby step, but at the same time, it’s a big step.

The weekend went better than any weekend has in a long time…mostly because I didn’t stay in bed the whole time.  Of course, it wasn’t perfect.  I felt quite depressed and anxious, but it wasn’t such an intense level, because I had so much to distract myself.  Saturday and Sunday afternoons were rough, mostly because I was by myself, but when Mom and DHut are around, I can feel the tightness in my chest ease a bit and the depression not hit me so hard.  

I also had feelings of helpfulness, and even a little bit of hopefulness…and some sleep.  And just feelings of being loved and accepted and cared for.  I’m not going to sit here and lie and say that all of my problems went away, but stopping the isolation and being around my family has helped.  Gives me much less time to dwell, and I am staying really busy.

Mom has been going through a stressful time, between her full-time job, doing the books for both of the businesses, and doing a part-time bookkeeper job that she has been doing forever.  She has a lot on her plate, and I have really been trying to make myself useful — cooking dinner, keeping the house straightened up, doing laundry, keeping up with the dishes, and just doing things that she doesn’t always have the time or energy to do.  Just my way of taking things off her plate to hopefully make her life easier.  It makes me feel useful, keeps me busy (good distraction technique) and it makes me feel like I am contributing something…instead of feeling like a mooch that sleeps in the guest room and doesn’t do anything. 

And Mom and DHut have been (I know I’m sounding like a broken record here) SO damn supportive.  They want me to get better, and if staying over here means that I can stay safe and get some sleep, then they’re all for it.  DHut, usually a man of few words, not one to talk about emotions has really put himself out there and said that he just wants me to feel better and that he is happy to have me here.  And Mom, too, has made it clear that, not only am I helping myself by staying, but that she really likes having me here, that she enjoys my company, and that I am really making her life easier by helping out.

Those things make me feel better about myself.  That and I have people to process my day with, to talk to, to bring me out of my house where I sit alone with my dog, and to just sit and listen to them interact makes me feel better sometimes.  Just living in the world, even if it is just a little bubble of a world.  It’s a step. 

I have been spending my mornings in IOP, then therapy on Saturday and yesterday (and again on Thursday and Saturday), and then trying to structure the three or four hours I have left in the day until Mom gets off work.  Some days I have been doing good with that, some days I haven’t.

The biggest problem with structuring my time is that I have a hard time doing things and feeling alive and feeling like I don’t want to just jump off a bridge.  There is too much time to think and, after IOP and therapy, I feel like I have really worked hard that day and all I want to do is sit around. 

And I think, and have talked with my therapist about possibly being too hard on myself, and how I need to stop making these huge to-do lists, and simply do what I can, and accept that I am not a failure because I didn’t get my grass mowed, or because I chose to sit and talk to Malcom instead of doing laundry, or because I played with my dog instead of all of the million things I COULD be doing around the house. 

Both of my therapists really want me to be working hard at self-soothe and sacred-self exercises, and I am trying to do that.  It’s hard when you feel like shit and you come home from three hours, sometimes four, of IOP and therapy, and all you really want to do is numb out.  So, I try to do something between the time I get home and the time Mom and DHut come home from work to occupy myself.  Because really, when I numb out and don’t do anything, I feel guilty afterward.

Monday was pretty rough, as Mondays usually are.  I had a billion things on my to-do list.  And all this optimism in the morning before I went to IOP that I would get it all done.  But IOP was especially rough and going home to an empty house after being with Mom and DHut all weekend was hard.  I ended up sleeping and not getting anything done, and had really bad nightmares.  So, I woke up feeling like I’d just survived a battle in my sleep…and like a failure because I didn’t do the things I had planned to do (grocery store, mow, pick up dog food). 

I then went to Mom and DHut’s and felt a bit better, mostly through distraction techniques — getting dinner ready, doing laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, listening to Mom and DHut talk about their day, and just not getting caught up in the bullshit in my head.  The negative tape still runs, but being productive and feeling like I am being helpful and taking some of the stress of Mom’s shoulders decreases that anxiety a bit and gives me a temporary feeling…not a feeling of feeling good, or even somewhat good, but a feeling that is not deep depression and anxiety.  They still exist, but, broken record, staying with Mom and DHut and having that structure and feeling like I am being productive do help. 

Another person that I have to give a lot of credit to for helping me through really tough spells is Malcom.  I can call him and instantly feel relief, a loosening in my chest…just hearing his voice and having him listen.  He is amazing and it is reassuring that when I move that I will have him there to help me through.  And really, we help each other, which makes it even better. 

I also need to give some credit to IOP and therapy, as painful as it may be.  Going to IOP and therapy daily is like ripping the scabs off all these wounds, rubbing salt in them, and then going home to try to let them heal until I have to go in the next day and rip them off again.  Hell yeah, it’s painful, it’s exruciating sometimes, and sometimes I can’t deal with the aftermath without numbing out.  But I’m doing it.  And I’m learning skills to deal with it.  No pain, no gain, right?

There is something to be said for all of things I am trying to do.  Building structure and using self-soothing, distraction, and sacred self techniques give me moments of relief from the overwhelming depression and anxiety that I do feel, and hopefully there will come a time when these things come to me automatically and I don’t have to work so damn hard to make it through the day.  Right now, I’m holding on with my fingernails, or, as I’ve heard people say, white-knuckling it…but at least I’m doing that. 

The Shirelles, Mama Said:


One thought on “Hanging On, Hanging In

  1. It is hard to do things after an intense therapy session. I know that I always felt unsettled, and it would take a while before I was calm again.

    I used to be part of a weekly men’s group. After each session I could not just go straight home. I had to spend a couple of hours letting my thoughts settle. At first I would stop at a lounge for a glass of wine, but that did not quite do it. I felt as though I had to do something. I would always drive by a grocery store as I drove home, so I started doing my grocery shopping on Monday nights. I would grab a cart and I would walk down each aisle. I never would buy that much, but it ended up being healthy things such as fresh fruit and vegetables, and perhaps a cut of lean meat or a piece of fish.

    I run a depression/bipolar support group and I find myself going through a similar thing, I cannot go straight home, I have to do something and let things settle in my mind.

    Try doing some simple things after a therapy session.



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