This is a blog about depression. If you are easily offended or take offence to my very sarcastic humour, please do not read any further. Mental illness is not a joke; it is not something to point fun at and I fully understand that. BUT…when the going gets tough, sarcasm and humour is my defence and so I will be parading it around all over this blog.
If you need help, please get it. Whilst I hope this has a happy ending, I don’t know yet and given I’ve not been able to fix myself, I really don’t want others using this as a ‘How To Be Happy for Beginners v2.0’
Before we get going with Thursday’s write up, I forgot to tell you all, I collected my warm fluffy clothes yesterday at some point between hiding under the duvet and massage time. This was great but then, I realised, someone has stolen my John Lewis bag! The cheek. I mean hello, that bag was mine and also useful. Just so we are all on the same page, I am indeed referring to a 5p deposable bag rather than some luxury washing holder but still. I was fond of it. I may need to get out more.
Last night’s sleep wasn’t the best. Doris (the storm rather than a nurse) decided to cause havoc and batter the windows. Not only that but the night staff had a new toy, a torch. A torch which they shine in your face when you are asleep. I’ve been here 2 weeks and this is the first time I’ve seen said torch. I may need to ‘accidently’ break said torch.
I get up and dressed in time for breakfast. Washing and teeth brushing can wait until later. I am in the upright position and right now, that’s the important thing. I decide to change things up a bit and go for All Bran as the ‘plat du jour’. I may have added a sneaky croissant in too. I have a feeling I am piling on quite a bit of weight. Croissants aren’t normally a week day thing, only a weekend treat. I mull over that for a bit before the lovely self-hatred takes over. It goes along the lines of:
‘Patient C, what do you think you are doing? Do you think you deserve the croissant? You are meant to be eating healthily, you’re bad. You’ve ruined the day now’
Yes, genuinely, this argument is on repeat in my head on a near daily basis. I can’t find the off button or even the shuffle button to at least change it up a bit. I walk back to my room whilst berating myself and that’s when I feel my resolve of going to groups starting to waiver. The duvet looks so good – really good for hiding under today.
‘Go on Patient C, no one will even notice you are missing, it’s not like you matter. Just slip under the duvet, I’ll keep you warm.’
And just like that, what started off as a good day rapidly goes downhill. On goes a movie, The Devil Wears Prada today, and out goes my ability to face the day.
Can I make it to lunch? Yes, come on. You can. Peel yourself away from the duvet, that’s it. Open the door, excellent, now put one foot in front of the other until you reach the restaurant. Hoorah, I made it. Let’s have a panini as a reward. Tuna and cheese, you say? Go for it. You may as well add full fat mayo for good measure. Are you full? Yes? Let’s self-sabotage a little bit more, let’s have the blackberry pie with cream. Now today is well and truly ruined. At this point, Patient S comes to join me. Oh hello. Do I forewarn him I may not be in the best mood or do I go with it? I go with it. It helps, turns out the old saying a problem shared is a problem halved may have some weight to it, and not just the cream and cake variety. I tell him my sister and her fiancé are coming tonight but I’d rather they don’t. Not in a mean way, in a ‘I can’t take on the responsibility for your worry’ way. Patient S says this is a prime chance to test my self-care skills and tell them not to come. I lie to him, I say I will think about it. I won’t think about it, I’ll let her come. She needs to see me to help her feel better and I can’t disappoint her. Oh, Patient C, what are you like.
I’m up, I’ve had lunch and I am back in questionable carpet room so what about afternoon group? I am not sure. Really not sure. Ok, time for one of my very stupid albeit very real rules. If you can pee and wash your hands before 1356, you are allowed to go to group. If you pee and wash your hands and it’s 1357 or later, you are not allowed to go to group. I pee, I wash my hands, it’s 1356. Well, I have to abide by my rule so it looks like I am going to group.
During check in, I say I am struggling and I’ve been hiding under the duvet all morning. The therapist asks what made me come to group this afternoon and I explain my rule. Oh, hold on, verbalising it makes it sounds as stupid as it is. The therapist asks if I’ve been diagnosed with having OCD. Well, yes, kind of. Dr E has suggested that some of my rules are OCD tendencies. Great, another thing to add to the ‘What’s wrong with me’ list. As you may have gathered by now, as a big fan of lists, this is an actual list that I keep to remind myself of just how crap I am.
I also explain to the group that I think I’ve started self-sabotaging in the form of overeating. It started at the spa if I want to be honest with myself. I might as well air all my dirty laundry and admit I have a hoarding problem too. Not like you see on those reality shows where you can’t even see the carpet under all their belongings. My hoarding is specifically related to food. I hoard junk food. I worry that a snack I like will go out of stock and suddenly disappear off the face of the planet. Instead of rationalising this by thinking that if one item is discontinued, I could have another snack. Or even, sometimes manufacturers bring out an improved recipe. No, I am not rational though. My spare room wardrobe is full of flavoured popcorn. Not the worst junk food to hoard I grant you that but I probably have in the region of 100 bags in my wardrobe. I also have 30 packets of mini Cheetos, 50 lindt lindor chocolates, 2 full boxes of chocolates, advent calendar chocolate and much more besides. If there is ever an apocalypse head to mine, I’ll have enough sugar to keep a small army going. It’s not just human food I hoard, oh no, it has spread its horrible paws to cat food. I have more than a year’s worth of cat food on my landing. There we have it. Another thing I add to the very lengthy list of what is wrong with me.
Group is intense due to several the topics we cover including my overeating. Mindfulness would be useful but do I go? No! I am going back to questionable carpet room to hide until my sister comes.
I may be being paranoid but I think I’m on the nurses watch list again today. Nurse M, my nurse for the day, comes to see how I am doing. Right, ok, I give in, I’ll talk. At first I explain I am ok and I’m simply tired today but then, I realise, what’s the point in covering this up. I tell her I am worried about how long I’ve been here, how progress isn’t tangible, how I am angry at 2 people. Press pause, did I say I am angry at people that are not me? This is new. I don’t think I’ve been angry with others before. Disappointed, yes, frustrated, yes but angry, no. This is new. Nurse M says that it’s understandable I am angry. It’s a healthy emotion. This is what people are meant to feel. Oh, please don’t say that Nurse M, as that means I’ve done something right in here.
Nurse M offers to be my ally when my sister and her fiancé visit, she’ll come round during obs and if I need her to make up an excuse why they need to leave, she’ll step in. Thank you, Nurse M.
I’m not hungry and given I think I may be eating my emotions, I skip supper. Instead, and definitely a healthy alternative, I have some sea salted caramel popcorn. Yes, Patient C, that’s a well-balanced meal. [rolls eyes]. I believe I’ve said before that I am an all or nothing person. Today was a right off when I had the croissant and got cross at myself, ending the day on popcorn is therefore ok as the day has already been written off. Makes perfect sense, right? No? Oh. Ok then. Do I think I am eating my emotions? Yes, I think I am. There, it’s out in the big wide blog.
My sister arrives, late and alone, but she has goodies. Good job I’ve written today off, I spy with my little eye a bag of tangfastic… come to mama! Plus, chewing on sweets means I can’t talk too much, maybe this visit will go better than I thought. We dance around any deep and meaningful conversations but do briefly stop on the topic of our mother. Sister agrees that mum is too dependent on us and that yes, I am the sensible one but that’s ok. No sister, no it’s not. For once I’d like to be the carefree one please. I’d like to go travelling for 2 years and backpack round the world rather than sort out mum’s internet/ printer/ mobile bill/ iPhone/ Car… I’d like to be free to be the ‘fun’ one. Oh, hello anger, welcome back. Twice in one day, aren’t I lucky. I need to move off this topic as let’s face facts, my mother is 70, she’s not going to change. Let’s rely on a Patient C traditional over compensating methods and offer to pay for my sister’s taxi home, on my credit card. Great. Pretty sure that was a step onto a snake move in my recovery game of snakes and ladders. At least I didn’t use Nurse M to lie for me.
My sister leaves (in a taxi paid for by me – not bitter, honest) and it’s nightly meds time. I’ve got the same dilemma as usual, my hair is, once again, a grease pit. Do I wash? Do I bank on getting up early enough to do it tomorrow (which we all know is a lie to myself)? What to do? Nope, can’t face the shower, greasy hair can wait until tomorrow. I’ve also realised Dr. E hasn’t come to see me.
I’m just edging slowly further under the duvet when I hear the keys rattle and a faint knock at my door. You know it’s the doctor when the knock is faint, nurses tend to be a little heavier handed when announcing their arrival. In walks wonder woman, a.k.a Dr E. It’s 2220 woman, how are you still seeing patients? I am so pleased she has come. We talk though my anger, my upset and my hiding under the duvet. She stays for 40 minutes and I am so grateful for her help. She tells me not to worry, I’ve made more progress then I realise and I am stronger then I think. She says something which I’ve had said to me before but somehow not grasped. It’s takes guts to admit you had a plan to kill yourself. It takes guts to open up and explain just how dark your world is. It takes guts to ask for help. I shouldn’t underestimate myself. Now, if I can hold on to that, I will be doing well. Dr. E says I’m doing well and I should trust her. I do, I really do, I just don’t want to let her down now and fail. She is right though, I will concede that the scariest thing I’ve done is admitting how bad my world had become.
I get a text from my goddaughter’s father tonight. This may seem silly to some but I worried, if people knew, would they still trust me with their children? First things first, my intentions were only ever to harm me. Just so we are clear. I adore all my friends’ children and have a rather amusing nickname (it involves the word Bonkers, apt I think you’d agree). Friend JC is offering to come visit with my goddaughter. Oh, Friend JC, you have no idea how relieved I am to receive that message. I’ve got two points of reference now which would suggest friends will still trust me with their kids.
Point 1: Baby L pat therapy on Tuesday
Point 2: Friend JC offering to bring my goddaughter in to see me
Why don’t I try something different tonight? You may have noticed that my face did not get washed and my teeth did not get brushed this morning, these activities were replaced with hiding under the duvet. Instead of writing the day off, why don’t I course correct and wash my face and brush my teeth. A little sign I am in control. And so, I end this Thursday feeling I’ve clawed back a tiny bit of myself. Friday tomorrow and a new day. I can start afresh then.