I See Gray

Saturday, June 28, 2008  8:23 p.m.

My last post was Tuesday morning before IOP and I’ve given myself every excuse for not posting again here recently.  I’m tired.  I’m busy.  I’ll post tomorrow.  I think what it comes down to is that I have been avoiding blogging about graduating from IOP. 

The actual “graduation” wasn’t bad.  It was strange to hear people say nice things about me (the “group matriarch” really threw me) and at the same time it was a relief that no one stood up and said I was a shithead during every group and that I had ruined any chance that person had at feeling better.  Not that I was worried someone would say something like that.  No, not at all. 

I think I have been avoiding blogging about graduating, because since April, my only “job” has been to go to IOP and therapy and work on myself.  Which, as one can read in my previous posts, I have been.

It hasn’t been easy, and there are still times when it is hard as hell and I am banging my head against a brick wall, trying to make my mind SHUT UP, trying to get images out of my head, trying to make it all stop.  And most times, banging my head against the wall gets me nowhere, but sometimes a coaching call will help.  Then there are times it doesn’t. 

During those times, I put some extra pillows on my bed, shut my bedroom door (with Kizzie inside), and put on my headphones.  And crank up the volume (no lectures on how this harms my hearing).  I cry.  I yell.  I sing.  I usually keep a few magazines in my room I can flip through to make my mind see something else.  Sometimes this doesn’t work, unless you count falling asleep from becoming exhausted by crying and being anxious and tense.  I totally count it.  Because I slept.  I’ll take sound sleep anytime. 

An obvious reason I am avoiding blogging about graduating is that it’s time to get a job.  I quit my job as an employment specialist.  Now is the search for part-time employment that I am able to do.  I am not afraid of the search, I am afraid I won’t be able to find anything I can do.  I can see myself minimizing my skills and abilities in my head as I type. 

I have also been avoiding blogging because graduating IOP does not mean I am cured and I might have to face that fact.  One thing it means is that I now have actual skills to help me cope with depression, anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, and all the other symptoms I experience.  The hope is that I will try and use these skills instead of engaging in negative, self-destructive behavior.  I am fairly vigilant about using them whenever I can…every bit of practice seems to help.  When that fails, I do a coaching call and am told to work on a specific skill. 

Another thing that graduating IOP means is that I am engaging in MUCH LESS therapy than I have been for the previous two (and a half?) months.  When I was in IOP (15 hours/week), I was also attending therapy three times a week (3 hours).  I have come from 18 hours of group and individual therapy per week down to one hour, once per week.  I told Goddess of Mindfulness today that it just isn’t enough.  Granted I’ve only been out of IOP since Wednesday, and have stayed very busy between the bait shop and then the water garden store’s grand opening this weekend (thank you Mom and DHut).

I can already tell that one hour a week is not enough.  Even if I did a coaching call every day, not enough.  I need more practice, more talking, more sorting things out, more guidance, reassurance, validation.  Goddess of Mindfulness agreed to meet with me twice per week until my regular DBT group (2 hours, every Thursday) starts on July 10th.  I am hoping that she will still meet with me twice a week for awhile, even once it starts. 

I am terrified of losing all of the ground that I have nearly killed myself to get.  Friggin’ terrified. 

There, I said it. 

I’m terrified.  To go back to how things were before.  To not coping, not dealing.  To feeling like shit every second of every day.  To thinking about dying and how I would do it all of the time.  To having that voice constantly in my head, ruminating, spewing negative garbage into me, making me doubt everything and everyone, most importantly myself.  I can’t go all the way back there again. 

But there is that possibility.  For that reason, I am terrified.  The hope is that I will have ups and downs and be able to somewhat ward off and somewhat be able to pull myself out of the shit.  Even when I am feeling my most positive, I am doubtful I will be able to do this time and again.  Perhaps I will feel more clear on this issue once I have done it a few times.  And maybe I will never be more clear.  Maybe this fear is a healthy thing, keeping me on my toes, keeping me practicing my skill, going to therapy, taking my meds. 

I am still terrified.  Very uncomfortable feeling.  Not scared, not worried, not anxious…TERRIfIED.  END OF MY WORLD.  GO TOWARD THE LIGHT.  CATASTROPHE. 

Interesting I thought of the word catastrophe to put in there.  I can see myself doing it.  I am catastrophizing…going to extremes…all or nothing…black and white.  Bouncing from one pole of the dialectic to the other.  Everything is perfect vs. everything is shit. 

Short discussion with myself leaves me feeling less terrified.  I do believe I just did my own coaching call and gave myself something to put on my diary card for mindfulness. 

And although I didn’t mean to put my skills on display, that is exactly what DBT can do, how it can make you think, how it can help find the middle of the dialectic.   

Friggin’ awesome, huh?

The Doves, There Goes the Fear

See the lyrics if you can’t bring yourself to watch the video.  The video is rather odd and long, so I would forgive you.



6 thoughts on “I See Gray

  1. P.S.

    One week, one day, 10 hours, 7 minutes and 14 seconds. 673 cigarettes not smoked, saving $42.11. Life saved: 2 days, 8 hours, 5 minutes.


  2. There is one thing that you always have to keep in mind. You can have all sorts of therapy and the like but in the end you just got to go out there and do it, and you are going to be doing it on your own. Now my situation is a bit different than yours in that my family were immigrants, and in my family we were always told that you had to “Nossi”, that you had to carry your own burden. I knew pretty much from an early age that I was on my own. The problem was that I did not know how to do it.

    In regards to those voices of negativity, again, you have to face them on your own. The important thing to realize is that one of the reasons why they come on as strong as they do is that we let them do that. You have to learn how not to give into them. They scare the hell out of me, and for me that fear is a motivator. I know how easy it is to get thrown off kilter, and I know how hard it is to get back on course. Now that I am in my 50s I see that time is a very valuable thing. I lost a good part of my life to this illness, and I want to try to take advantage of the time that I have.

    If I have a choice between beating myself up and sitting in a cafe in Europe the choice is obvious. I am not a very well to do man, so if I want to go to Europe for a week I know that I have to make some money, pay my bills, and to try not to spend more than I need to. With a bit of luck and no unseen sudden expenses, I might be able to swing it, but I have to work to do it.

    In my life I have been to Europe on a dozen occasions. When I am there I am rarely ever depressed. I am doing something I that chose to do and it is something that I enjoy to do. I had to work and save a few shekels to get there and when I am there I try to enjoy each moment.

    The name of the game is that you to work at life.



  3. DaQueen says Pasha has mucho wisdom. And also believe Her Majesty has already said what needed saying earlier this evening… hopefully within the spirit it was intended.

    At the end of each day, it’s what YOU think that truly counts. But first, you must know yourself, so you can read thru’ the BS of your mind.

    My L&F (Mr. Pasha) and I don’t have ‘er all knowed up. We’ve both just been ’round the block a few more times. 😀


  4. I can relate. There are times when it is hard to see the grey, when all you see is either black or white, good or bad, right or wrong, healthy or unhealthy…
    The grey gives us the middle ground, the knowledge that all is not one way or the other.
    One day at a time, one step at a time…


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