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’
Monday morning and I’ve asked my sister to be my human alarm clock. I wake up a few minutes before her call thanks to the wonderful invention of a lumie lamp. I highly recommend them. We chat for 5 minutes and then lay in bed listening to the news. My 0900 1:1 has been cancelled so I’ve got a bit more time than I’d planned. I finally get up after the news and weather and decide to have a civilised breakfast of hot cross bun with butter, glass of milk and a coffee. I feel ok this morning. Tired but up and ok. I’ve also got 3 finger marks on my cheek so I’ve obviously been sleeping on my hand, it’s a good look. I toy with the idea of not going in to hospital today but I am not sure that’s sensible. Yesterday was a pj day but I feel ok about that, the intention behind it wasn’t a depressed/ anxious intention, it was a ‘I’m tired and a bit hungover’ intention.
So, feeling optimistic about the day, do I think I can get the bus rather than a taxi. Or even better, could I walk there and try to lose some of this hospital bulge? No need to place your bets, the odds will be in your favour. I fall asleep on the sofa… this just keeps on happening. Ok, so, quick change and out the door into a taxi I go. Please can I make it in time?
The taxi driver is a legend and I arrive with a couple of minutes to spare. Whoop. It’s not Therapist W, he’s still away. Oh, please come back Therapist W, I’ve picked my day care days around your sessions. I hope he’s back by Friday. I check in with guilt about my father and his accident, also, I felt ok about the hen party and my pj day yesterday but now I am starting to wonder if I actually was hiding away yesterday. This emotional stuff is hard work, please can someone write a workbook with the answers so I can check I am getting it right? The group focuses on Patient A4. Oh, my gosh, my frustration is growing, I am not entirely sure I can keep a lid on this. She’s still not listening. I don’t just mean to us, the other patients, but also to the therapists. When feelings like this occur during therapy, we are meant to explore them as the theory is that they relate to something else. If I am being honest, I think I see a bit of me in her. I always want to help others but it’s hard to take on others advice to me.
During a silent moment, Patient P asks how the hen party was. It was great. I managed 10 hours. The group check they’ve heard right. When they realise they had, they all congratulate me. Like me, given how bad I was on Friday, most didn’t think I’d make it out the house. Me too guys, me too. So, as we talk through it, I realise it was a huge deal to have made it AND enjoyed it. The group collectively say that now I’ve managed that, putting the washing on should be a doddle. Ha, yes, that sounds logical but let’s see shall we. I write a list of the things I have achieved.
[side note here: Why do we all write lists of things to do? Why don’t lists of things we have achieved get written? Or do they and I just didn’t know ‘Normal’ people do this? Maybe this is something I should start doing]
We get a handout in this session, we all know I love a handout. It’s a weekend review and planning for the week handout. Filling this in again makes me realise I achieved more than I gave myself credit for. It also highlights what didn’t go so well. That’s an easy one, my Sunday day of binging and self-neglect (i.e. I didn’t wash so people should probably take a step backwards). I’m increasingly eating my feelings, I think I should look into this a bit more rather than telling myself I’ll tackle this when I am better. We also write one goal for this week. Mine is to FINALLY get back to the pool and swim. This will hopefully be easy; my lovely swim bag is all present and correct! Maybe my goal will be achieved today. We are reminded to ensure our goals are SMARTER goals. Hold up, SMARTER? I know about SMART goals, what’s the ER part?
T: Time limited
E: Evaluated (how will I know I’ve achieved it)
Whoa. I’ve been lied to for years, no one told me about the ER part and looking at this, R sounds pretty awesome.
Lunch is a rushed but very social affair, for once I sit at the big table full with other patients. It’s a rushed meal as I’ve got my 1:1 at 1300. Rushed or not, there is always time for chocolate fudge cake with cream. My main course was goats cheese and red onion tart with salad.
Waiting to meet my psychiatrist and I feel like a different person to the rocking wreck that saw her on Friday. She can instantly see I’m in a better place. She said she’d worried she’d been too forceful with me, well, yes Dr. E, just a little but it was in my best interest. We talk about the text from my father and I realise I am angry at my stepmum. Why didn’t she call my sister or I to let us know he was having an operation? How does she think it’s ok to exclude us from something so major? She has our details! I’m comforted to hear my anger is a ‘Normal’ emotion for this situation. Dr E wants me to work on my sleep routine, she has a point! Who in their right mind keeps themselves awake at night as a punishment? Oh yes, that would be me, Patient C, who is not in their right mind.
I head to the shops following my appointment to get more cherry cola, stock up on M&S iced & spiced buns, another Sudoku book and a few fiction books that caught my eye. One is very aptly called ‘Mad Girl’ – this seems right up my street. I hope my concentration comes back asap so I can get back into reading. I miss it.
I get back in time for IPT and we are moved rooms. What? Why was I not consulted about this? I have sat in the same chair in EVERY IPT group, you can’t take this away from me now. Well, apparently, they can. In the new room, I can’t work out which is the ‘correct’ chair. I don’t like this. I check in with my new-found anger to my stepmum. Therapist G is running this session and I really like her. She wants to explore this anger a bit more. Why do therapists always want to ‘explore’? So, this turns into an emotional minefield as we quickly discover my anger is partially misplaced anger. Apparently, some of it should be to my father too. I explain how I hold him on this pedal stool for some unknown reason. Therapist G wants to ‘explore’ this now too. No Therapist G, let’s not ‘explore’ let’s do what this actually is and talk about it! Why the prickliness? I think she is getting closer to a nerve. I blame myself for the demise of my relationship with my father. I used to be a daddy’s girl. A very literal stereotypical daddy’s girl. Platinum blonde hair pigtails and big blue eyes daddy’s girl. Even when he left, I still saw him every Wednesday and every other weekend. My sister didn’t speak to him for a couple of years at this point but I loved weekends at his. The came to a dramatic and harsh stop. I’m not ready to go into the details but what becomes evident is that I am going to need to explore this more, if I want to truly move on from this. This stresses me out. I thought I had gotten past this in 1:1 therapy years ago. I obviously haven’t given the threat of snotty tears precariously balancing on my eyelashes. Therapist G eloquently sums it all up: I’ve been holding myself hostage to one event, when I was 11, when the adults didn’t act as adults and I was a child. I also need to grieve the loss of the father I think I should have and then accept the father I do have. This event is where my core belief of ‘I am bad’ gained significant traction. It was there already but only in a very quiet and weak little way. This event catapulted it to prime core belief position (and we all know how I like to rank things). Bugger, I thought I’d sorted this and boxed it up already. It would appear I didn’t use a strong enough box.
After IPT I hang back and chat to Patient K2, he’s nervous he may be discharged tomorrow. His consultant is coming in shortly to discuss extending his stay by 2 weeks. I was right where you are matey. I never thought I’d be here this long. I try to help him calm down by explaining, getting the insurance to approve 2 more weeks doesn’t mean he has to use it all. If he gets the extension, he can take the pressure off about leaving and leave when he’s ready – as long as that’s within the 2 week extension. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you Patient K2.
So, this is the point that I should be either be walking or catching a bus to the gym to swim. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that didn’t happen – that was a fun outing for my swim bag wasn’t it! It’s come all the way to hospital just to be taken all the way back again.
Back home and I start binging again. Tomorrow, I’ll face up to this tomorrow. One more night won’t hurt my already bloated and growing belly. Tomorrow is also my day off from day care. I’ve decided that whilst I really enjoy art therapy, it’s not the best use of my precious day care days as I lose a CBT session. I’ll do my own art therapy tomorrow. I stay up late doing Sudoku to calm my mind with the promise of having a productive day tomorrow. It’s all planned out in 15 minute intervals. Friend ML is also lined up to be my human alarm clock. Tomorrow will be different.