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’
Late to bed, late to rise, again. I get it, this is getting boring to read. It’s getting boring to experience too. Every night I tell myself that tomorrow, I’ll get up on time and listen to the news and walk to the hospital and be a totally functioning adult. Yet again though, today is not that day. In fact, I can’t even face a shower, so a significant quantity of dry shampoo, a rushed dousing of perfume to mask any smell and out the door I go to get into yes, you guessed it, another taxi. I’ve not had breakfast, I’ve also not brushed my teeth, they are feeling VERY furry again.
On route, the taxi driver apologies for running a red light. I’d not even noticed. I was completely out of it, beating myself up for all the things I’ve already failed at this morning.
Before group gets started, Patient L3 shows off her new sensory toys. The hospital is all for patients having sensory toys to ground themselves. One is a turtle with beads/ beans inside and the other is an alligator with smaller beads/ beans inside. She got them from London Zoo (other sensory animal toy shops are available). Oh, I like the alligator. I may need to borrow this for this session.
It’s CBT group up first but I feel like I am not going to be able to participate. Therapist M2 is away and being covered by Therapist M, how very convenient for the purpose for my Therapist Alphabet ordering. I check in as feeling low. I’m frustrated at myself for not getting anything done at the weekend and also frustrated that I am not succeeding at being home. Therapist M wants to explore this a little. The questions start:
- What did you get done at the weekend?
- Nothing at all?
- Yes, nothing at all
- Did you get up?
- So that’s something, what else did you do?
- Faced up to the science experiment growing in my fridge and sterilised the Tupperware
- Wow, that sounds like you did something! What else?
- Well, I unpacked but didn’t put everything away
- That’s another thing you did. What else?
- Wrote all the birthday cards for March birthdays
NB: I have a birthday book. On the first weekend of every month I sit down and write all the cards for the coming month. The cards have already been picked and put in the little pockets within said birthday book. Just in case there is a ‘birthday emergency’ I carry spare cards with me. Yes, another example of my OCD
- So, you did do somethings?
- Yes, you win, I see what you’ve done there
As I start talking, I can feel my energy rising. I need to keep writing down my emotions when I am at home. The notebook isn’t only for the hospital, I need to keep practising this at home too. I also realise that when I binge, it’s to fill the gap from not saying what I need to say. More work needed yet again. I’m only hurting me, I am the one who is suffering. I need to take care of me!
The old saying that momentum drives momentum is very true. Therapist has a great visual for this, oh how I love a visual:
When a car won’t start, you need to push it to then get it going. Depression is like this. You need to get moving to keep moving.
We move on from me and focus on Patient A4, a new patient to the group. A Patient who in her first session managed to get a strong reaction from Patient L3 – completely understandably by the way but I hate confrontation so I find this unnerving. I also feel uncomfortable as I don’t ever say what’s bothering me. It was only yesterday that I didn’t say what the discussion was making me feel and I went home and ate to comfort myself. Patient A4 is obviously here for a reason. The reason is difficult, like most of us. The thing that sets Patient A4 apart though is her lack of desire to listen to the suggestions both the patients and the therapists are offering up. Therapy isn’t easy. I’ve often been told things I don’t want to believe but, the key difference is I really want to get better so I am willing to accept the advice being given. Therapist M can see this isn’t going well so tries to move the conversation onto Patient D3. Patient D3 doesn’t often open up so I really want her to feel she can talk today. Patient A4 interjects with a question for the therapist which is completely off topic to the discuss we were having with Patient D3. This is not cool. Offering up your advice/ experiences to help others is recommended and encouraged, completely changing the subject to your meds is not. Therapist M handles this well and we get back to Patient D3. This frustrated me but me being me, I don’t say anything about this during check out. Patient L3 does though. She expresses, very coherently, how it’s frustrating Patient A4 interjects and also seems to dismiss all advice without any contemplation of it. Patient L3, I am proud of you. You’ve said what you were thinking regardless of the consequences (i.e. someone maybe not liking you) and you’ve done it in a tactile and empathetic way so as not to hurt Patient A4. Can I get a whatever you had for breakfast?!
At the end of CBT, I go to hand the squidgy alligator back to Patient L3. I am going to have to go to London Zoo just so I can go to the gift shop and get one of these. But, no, Patient L3 wants me to keep it, as a present for helping her settle into the hospital. Oh, Patient L3, thank you! Obviously, I didn’t immediately say thank you, no no, I checked with her 5 times to make sure she hadn’t made a mistake. Then I said thank you! So, squidgy alligator, now you are mine, I am going to call you Fred. Fred feels like a good solid name for a squidgy alligator.
Time for lunch which is pesto pasta and veggie gratin followed by forest fruit crumble and cream. I have lunch with Patient J3 as usual. We sit at the same table, as usual. I have to sit in the same place, as usual. Whilst eating, I check my email. No, not work email, personal email. I really wish I hadn’t. There is an email from my sister’s friend who has organised the hen do. Organised the thing I was meant ot be organising. I don’t take the email well. I take it as a criticism of me. I ask Patient J3 to read it. He thinks I am making too much of it, apparently, the email is nice. I can’t believe that so blame his language as the reason he can’t see what I see. English is not his first language. The email has really thrown me. It asks if I am even coming. What? Dude, I know I’ve f*cked this all up by being in hospital but yes, I am obviously coming.
Given the lack of questionable carpet room (I wonder how the new occupant is getting on, I hope they appreciate my cranberry lemonade stain), and given the fact it’s a rare sunny day, I head to the courtyard, a.k.a. smoker’s paradise. I start scribbling away in my notebook about how shit I feel for not being well and not organising my sister’s hen do. I can feel the tears rising. I text my sister to let her know how I am feeling. This is a big step for me. I hide a lot from her to give her the ‘perfect’ and ‘in control’ and ‘sensible’ façade. Deep beathes required. I’m getting a bit cold in the shade so head up to the room for IPT therapy even though I am early.
Patient L walks in shortly after as wow is she wearing an amazing skirt. It’s metallic silver and hot pink. It’s a happy skirt, a really happy skirt in fact. I may need to get one and I think it’s such a happy skirt, maybe it’ll rub off on me! We talk about the skirt (obviously, depression or no depression, a woman can always talk fashion), but also about not being able to concentrate. Depression wipes my ability to focus. I can do Sudoku but that’s as challenging as it gets. I don’t have the concentration to read. I so miss reading. It’s incredibly frustrating. Patient L tells me she’s the same. For the one millionth time, I am not alone. Her concentration is starting to come back though. This gives me hope.
We check in and I raise my frustration at myself about the email and my sister’s hen party. We focus on some other things first, including how Patient L truly knows and believes she’s loved by her husband and child. I get a pang, somewhere deep inside me. There is no hesitation when she talks about their love for her. Not even a millisecond. She 100% knows it and believes it. The pang is getting stronger and I word vomit out that I am jealous of her. Oh jeez, quick, how do I get the word vomit back inside me? It appears it’s too late. Therapist G pushes me a bit on this. I explain that I don’t think I’ll ever believe I am truly loved. I know my mum, sister and friends say it to me but that doesn’t mean I can hold onto it. I can’t believe it from my very core with the certainty Patient L can. I’m jealous, I want to have that feeling.
I sit with that and tune out for a bit whilst processing what I’ve just said. Then, it’s my turn. I’d not noticed the room had gone quiet whilst being they waited for a response to a question aimed at me. Patient L has asked what the email over lunch was about. I start to explain the guilt, sadness, desperation and failing feeling I have about the hen do. Also, the fact it’s come from her best friend, not from me. I feel jealous of that. You’ve probably already guessed it but just to ensure I am being as predictable as ever, here come the snotty, body shaking tears. Oh hell! The group tell me that no one can take away the fact I am the sister. No one can take the fact that I love her away from me. I know this, but still, if I can’t prove it by being the ‘hostess with the mostess’ and paying for everything, how will they know? I don’t have the energy though. This isn’t laziness, far from it, it’s simply that I have no energy units left and a bit like my credit cards, I am in debt as it is. I also hate nightclubs. I hate anywhere that’s crowded and too loud to be honest. The group remind me that I can leave before that point. Apparently I don’t need to be the last one standing. Patient L comes up with a brilliant one liner – There is a reason Cinderella leaves just before midnight! I always think I do need to stay until the end though. They make me laugh and the snotty, body shaking tears slow down a little. Oh, how I wish these would stop! I’ve had more than my fair share.
The session has left me running on empty. There is very little credit left on the energy card. I am meant to be meeting Friend MI for a quick drink but I am seriously considering cancelling. No, come on, she’s been a rock to you, go and meet her. So, into a taxi I get. It’s only one drink and she’s got goodies for me so it’s worth it. Oh it’s so lovely to see her. It reminds me that however frustrating this is, I am moving forward.
I get a taxi home again, that’s £35 in one day. Bugger. I crawl up the stairs and straight into pjs. I’ve also ordered binge food from Amazon Prime Now. As I said before, this app is dangerous! It arrives but I don’t binge. Instead, the hoarding stock pile grows a bit more and so I shut the spare bedroom door to ignore it. I am shattered so get into bed at 2000. My sister keeps calling but I’m ignoring it. I am embarrassed about the text I sent her at lunch. It’s not fair to ignore it though. That’s the thing, when you’ve been in a psychiatric hospital, people worry a lot if you don’t answer. I understand why but oh this was simpler when I could hit ignore! I call her back and she tells me off for not being honest with her more. She even uses her most serious teacher voice. She didn’t want a hen do and apparently, everything that’s been planned is based on my suggestions so the fact I can come to any of it is all she wants. I can leave whenever I want. Oh, I love you sister. So very much! Next up is a text from mum. It’s Wednesday, we did agree I’d call her either Wednesday or Thursday. I’m so tired though, can I face it? Yes, I can. She’s texted because there is a problem with the thing I ordered online for her. She wants my help to sort it out and she’s worrying about it (can you guess where I learnt my Olympic grade worrying from?). I call her, put her mind at rest and state that at worst, I’ll pay for a new one. Why? Why oh why oh why? STOP PAYING ALL THE BILLS. I tell her I love her and that I’ll call her on Sunday.
So, it’s 2130 and this is perfect timing for an early night right? 10 points for those that answered wrong. That was an easy one, hopefully you’ve all accrued some points by now. I sit doing Sudoku because I am worrying. I’m worrying about tomorrow, my day off day care. Will I get dressed? Will I make it out the house? Will I binge on all the junk food in the spare room? So many questions and no answers. A friend offers to be a human alarm clock for me, I need this. I need to feel accountable. She’s going to call me at 0930 and stay on the line to hear me get up! Yes, ok, I will go out tomorrow. This will go ok.