I must say, I'm surprised to find that it's practically 2 months exactly since I last wrote you guys a journal entry. (Minus 3 other days apparently but shhhhh)
I've been very, very close many times to writing you guys an update - but I suppose like anything else, I wasn't quite sure what to say, or that I could say it happily or that it would be enough to be much of an update at all. But here I am now, and I want to get something up and written and seen
? I don't know, I want to say:
- I'm still here.
- Which is good, but sometimes difficult to bear.
- I love you guys.
- Keep your heads up
- Thank you for all your support
- It really touches me.
- I can't wait to upload works on here.
- I've gotten into a lot more art.
- I've really missed you guys.
- This year has been an extraordinary struggle.
- If you ever want to contact me outside of DA, send me a note or an email (firstname.lastname@example.org
) and we can see what could be possible! (Depending on how far back we go as friends!
I'd like to keep this relatively short, just so it's up and about, but knowing me, this will either turn into an extraordinarily LONNNG journal or I'll have better updates/topics as time continues on.
Firstly, I'm withdrawing from two of my classes this semester. I haven't done this just yet, but will be within a day or so. I initially started the semester with 5 classes, dropped a bit of a boring one and because it was too much for me to bear, and now, am also dropping an additional two: Statistics and Adolescence. These two are my MWF classes, so I'll only be up for school TuTh with Learning & Memory and Moral Issues in Medicine (a philosophy class), plus some Monday's for me to do check in sessions at the counseling center with my previous therapist person. =]
Secondly, I have a new therapist. She's specialized in OCD and depression specifically, I've seen her thus far, 6 times - tomorrow is my 7th. I wasn't sure --- (include a half hour of distraction, OCD and off topic-ness here)
--- if I liked her at first, I felt that I both did and didn't but by the second appointment it was a more affirmed liking. (Maybe also because I spoke about this with my other therapist and heard some of his reasoning behind the referral
) I'm still, and will be for a while, seeing her twice a week. She's been helpful so far, and I've gotten a lot of therapy homework and readings from her!
Thirdly, I feel my mind's more scattered than it was prior to my unexpected break. I got a little lost within my head again, as is often the norm these past couple of months. I suppose I will say this then:
Life has been difficult. Not even so much of life itself but the barren wasteland of feeling like shit, not truly living, and your world slowly eroding away as obsessions and compulsions build and build, depression settles in next door, and fuck it, you'd prefer to just hurt or kill yourself to find any ounce of relief. It is the worst feeling in the world. At least, by my perspective and from what I've experienced.
If you've never been suicidal, I hope to god you never have to experience it. It is the most awful, terrible stretch of bleak, hopeless time. And if you have been there, or are there still, if you can hold on through it, if you can hold onto hope, you can make it through. It will take time, but you can get there. Don't try to do it alone, you deserve all the support you can get. And you're so worth living a wonderful life. Please, tell someone about your struggles, it's the most courageous thing you can do. You are not alone, and things will get better. It never seems as such in a crisis, but if you buy yourself time, positively cope otherwise (draw, color, make arts and crafts, talk to a friend/family member/call a hotline/tell your therapist/speak to a clergymen/tell a teacher/seek online support) and commit to yourself or others to get help -- you can get through it without hurting yourself.
I hope these words help. Just my little three cents involved...
Fourthly, To continue from where that point was driving... well, I also have depression, if it hasn't been obvious (I believe I got this towards the end of December). My OCD cranked up to severe levels, as well as that darn depression. I've been hospitalized twice over the period of time in my DA absence.
Once from January 29th - February 4th in a psych ward at Norwood Hospital and the second from March 2nd - March 11th in a psychiatric hospital: Westwood Lodge. (Although technically Monday early evening to Tuesday at noon in March, I was in the psychiatric wing of the ER at BMC) Both were for suicidal ideation with a plan.
At Norwood, at the start of February, I began taking 20mg of Prozac. At WWL they upped the dosage to 30mg but in the end of last week I was having a lot of irregular heart rhythms so I - eeps, on my own - went back down to 20mg. They've finally dispersed by this early week, of which I am grateful. Because god knows that was adding to me being depressed and entertaining more intrusive thoughts of offing myself... sigh.
Awesomely though, I'm meeting with a psychiatrist tomorrow, so yay! And I have therapy again tomorrow as well =]
The other dip of news is that in February I was suffering from a lot of crises, and self harmed quite a bit (scratching), of which I have scars from on my left arm now (as well as two on my left shoulder and a few still healing on my right thigh). I still feel mixed at times about these. In February, I went to the counseling center at school a few times for emergency appointments. One of which I got escorted by a professor I had last semester (I have been sitting in on his class a few times this semester) since I babbled a lot and he was like "I think we should go to the counseling center!" and I wasn't all that on board for, but did agree. (I had been without therapy for 3 weeks due to the snow days and crisis appointment took place on the 13th of Feb., so still freshly me out of the hospital). It was actually incredibly helpful that time!
In general though, February was the time I began experimenting more and more on my intrusive thoughts. Desperate for relief in crisis, I'd be open to basically anything.
Overall though, I'm coming to learn a lot from this experience. From the times that I've watched a bunch of TEDtalks, forging meaning is a common theme. Taking an experience that you've been through, particularly when dark and difficult, and finding positive ways of which you've learned or grown or are changed because of it can help you get through that time or accept it, better.
For me, I believe I've grown in my empathy and understanding for others. I've met some wonderful, wonderful and amazing people inpatient. I cherish those meetings, even if we weren't crossing paths in a particular bright portion of our lives. I am grateful for the new friends I have made and am blessed to have had the positive experiences that I've had through these difficult and shitty times.
I am amazed and grateful to ALL the support I have received from so many different individuals. Everyone I have spoken to, or opened up to, or reached out to either in crisis or to update, has been nothing short of kind, caring, compassionate and supportive to me. I am thankful for my friends - including especially you guys here on DA and those in real life. I am thankful that my parents have been as supportive as they have, and it helps to be reminded that I am not alone in this experience, but that as a family, we are all in the same boat together (or as my mom even further puts it, we're all in the same boat with me, including my parents, friends, and mental/health professionals) Even if my parents are kinda driving me crazy at times, I'm still grateful, because I can't do this alone and communication IS key, even though it's still very difficult to tell them when I'm really not okay (especially if depressed), it's difficult to tell ANYONE when I'm like that... but I am hopeful it will improve with time.
I am also thankful for all the support I've been receiving professionally. I know in part some of it is legality/liability purposes (at least my mom reminds me of this) but still, I am amazed and grateful that the counseling center at school continues to put up with me and that my therapist supports me as well. (Although I must say, it's concerning when your therapist is unsure about your ability to keep yourself safe while out and about in the world - because you yourself also question this, your parents do and basically anyone aware of the sitcheeation is concerned and unsure of what will be the thing that makes you snap and say fuck it and dive in front of a train vs getting help first). But, even so....
(Grr, I hate how my wrists are bothered by this height)
Additionally, I am hopeful about the future. One of the things I've come to terms with in the past couple of weeks, is that I need to be there for myself, my true self, as I have before when I only had OCD. That means, saying "No" to intrusive thoughts about harming myself. Saying "No, I will not do that. I will not harm myself, I will not try to kill myself." And, even further, the most difficult thing: "In this moment, I am choosing life. I choose to live another day. I choose to stay alive, in spite of the part of me that wants nothing more than for the pain to end. Today, I choose to lay compassion and kindness over my pain - not more pain over pain." I hope to work up these words for when I'm in deep shit crises - if I ever experience those assholes again. For now, I am using them for baby crises or moments where things are just beginning to potentially grow worse.
After WWL, I think I'm getting better identifying/recognizing my triggers. I'm also improving the actual utilization of my coping skills.
At Norwood, I blossomed interestingly into drawing as a coping skill, as well as coloring and other arts and crafts kinds of things. I also gathered the most hope at Norwood too. Music therapy is amazing by the way.
From WWL, I've been placing more of these into action but I still need more work. Even so, I haven't self harmed since March 2nd and I've managed to stay safe although there were a couple of closer calls.
I'm holding on. I'm trying to not let go, because I'd be letting go of some really amazing and great things, and I just don't want to lose those things. Or those people. Or that art. So I'm holding on. I'm holding on to hope, and I'm making it through, every minute at a time. It's a work in progress. But I hope and plan to make it through this. I want to be okay again, I want to build recovery into my life, I want to be alive again, to be happy, to have more good days than bad, to manage my mental illnesses, to not be consumed by their icky black presence. I want to make art, I want to help people, I want to become a clinical social worker, I want to watch the Marvel movies franchise, I want to readddd fanfiction, I want to write creatively, to photograph amazingly, to color all sorts of things, to get better at drawing, to love and cherish each moment that I can, to feel peace, to be relaxed, to make bracelets, to make polymer clay things, and best of all: To just LIVE. A year ago, a few months ago, I had these kinds of things - and I want them back, with a new and changed me. A better me. Someone who is happy to be alive and to have survived this ordeal. Someone who can continue to spread mental health awareness and suicide prevention. To have meaning and to recognize the impact of my little stretch of meaningfulness. To be safe. To have perspective, to just be and exist....
I'm holding on. It won't be easy, but I'm holding on, just for today. That's the best I can do for now. Just holding on for today.
I hope you've been well.
And if you haven't, and you want to, reach out your hand, and I'll make sure to take it in mine, and be here for you as you travel through your journey.
Be kind to yourselves,