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’
I’m slow to wake up this morning, but I am awake before 0900. I messaged a friend to tell them about 6-month colleagues texts and how I am panicking, They’ve replied telling me not to worry about what the person thinks. That’s easy to say but not so easy to stick to. Then I check my emails, and oh my, oh my oh my, I’ve won the lottery! Wow! The email asks me to log into my account to see what I’ve won. This is great. The jackpot was something like £50m last night. What have I won? Could I retire? Could I pay off my debts? No, I’ve won a whopping £2.80. I must be careful how I spend that – oh, no choice, it’s such a small amount that they don’t pay out, it goes back into your lotto account.
Well, with the excitement over and done with, I get up, have breakfast as planned, yummy porridge. I have a shower, wash my hair, wash my face, brush my teeth, get dressed and head to the bus stop. Yes, really, you’ve read this correctly. I am going to try to tackle public transport. My credit card can’t cope with any more taxis. A bus in London is only £1.50 per trip. That’s a huge saving. Once on the bus I start to panic. According to my city mapper app, I am going to be late. I don’t like being late. I message a friend to keep me occupied and to stop a panic attack. In between the incessant check on my arrival time, I also check the emails that are coming in. Oh no, my attempt to be clever with my blog posts by ‘scheduling them’ has backfired and they are posting in the wrong order, I don’t like things out of order but I don’t know how to fix it. I could let this and the message from last night be a reason to binge but I am going to stick to try my plan.
I arrive just on time after a quick (haha, no, not so quick) sprint from the bus stop to the hospital. Therapist M says I can come in, I am not too late. I check in as flustered as I was worried I was going to be late and teary, but I don’t know why I feel so teary. I written down a lot of others things that I don’t say. For instance, I should be proud of myself for leaving the house twice yesterday. I am still worried about the argument I had with mum about the wedding party. I am nervous what happens with therapy on a bank holiday. Therapist M says that we should close the group at 1110 but how do we feel about that. The others state they don’t mind not ‘closing’ the group and therefore letting people in now matter how late they are. I decide to speak up.
‘Actually, whilst I know others don’t agree with this, I would like to know we are closing the group at a set time. It’s a rule here and it makes me feel safer when we abide by the rules.’
There, it’s out. The others don’t seem to hate me. Maybe expressing my opinion isn’t as terrible as I fundamentally believe it is. I don’t need their validation, it’s my feeling.
Patient L3 takes some time to discuss her relationship with her father. There are some similarities between my relationship with my father and hers. Therapist M picks up this is bothering me. I tell her I can completely relate to Patient L3. I’m also so confused by the fact my father is being nice to me. How am I going to know he won’t hurt me again? Because my head is a jumbled mess, after the group finishes looking at Patient L3’s situation, Therapist M comes back to me. I’m blabbering as I am also confused about mum too. There therapist draws a triangle on the white board. Oh, goodie, a white board session! There are, obviously, 3 corners to a triangle. These corners represent the 3 different dynamics of a relationship. One corner is the parent, another corner is the child and the final corner is the adult. My mum reverts to the child in our relationship and so I revert to the parent role. I can’t change mum and so I need to revert to the remaining option, the adult option. Mum may continue to play the child role but I can stop playing the adult role. By reverting to the adult role, she is more likely to respond as an adult. Wow. This is great, I can totally see how this could work. I’ve been on auto response and so I’ve been the parent without thinking or trying. This makes complete sense to me but I know it’s not going to be as easy as drawing a triangle on a whiteboard. It’s going to take practice for me to get comfortable changing the dynamics of our relationship. Mum may even respond badly but if I revert back to the parent role, nothing will change. Ever.
I feel really drained, the bus and this mornings group have used a lot of energy units. I want to be left alone, I am worrying about silly things and feel I should be isolated at lunch.
I do have lunch on my own, I need some time out from the other patients. I am a bit worried the veggie lasagne is too big so message a friend to check. Apparently, it’s ‘Normal’ so I tuck in. No pudding today, even though the apple turnovers look amazing. I’ve packed a banana and that’s my pudding. Once done, I go to the station to collect yet another amazon order. One of the items is missing though. I have the email and text that clearly states it has been delivered but yet no, it’s not here. I think the guy has it wrong. See, it states it arrived at 0702 yesterday. No, apparently, it’s wrong. I don’t believe him but what am I meant to do?
I then head to walk around a bit more before IPT. I head to M&S, which is a bit like returning to the scene of a crime. This M&S has dutifully provided all my binge food do the last month or so. Can I be back here and avoid the bakery, sweets and chocolate aisle? Yes, I can. I am going to buy a couple of minis, two prosecco’s and one rosé wine, then I am going to pay. I get to the till, the correct till as per the announcement, and they have Easter mini eggs by the till. No Patient C, stay strong. Just the 3 mini bottles of alcohol. I pay and exit the shop. Not a single binge item purchased. The mini bottles are for the odd time I fancy a drink but don’t feel like opening a whole bottle. I stay sitting in the station for 20 minutes watching the world go by. I’d love to be invisible and people watch all day.
I head back to the hospital in time for IPT. Whilst waiting to go in, a new patient arrives, Patient N2. They are definitely meant to be in Group 1. Patient N2 is a lot older than the average patient. She reminds me of my Nan Nan, she looks lovely and friendly. I feel I can trust her. The next surprise is that we also have a new therapist, Therapist M4. This is my 9th week and I’ve never seen her before. Who is she? Can I trust her? I don’t like this change. I know it’s Easter week and so the usual therapist has probably taken some time off but still, why? The only good thing about the start of this session is apparently Patient L4 is being transferred to another private psychiatric hospital so won’t be coming back to group. Yippee.
During check in, I state I am not entirely comfortable with the change to the therapist and so I’d like to see how the session goes. Patient J3 checked in before me and very honestly stated he didn’t feel safe with the new therapist. He also stated that he was going to try to sit with this uneasy feeling and stay for the session. Therapist M4 appears to take both our check ins personally. This confuses me. We are told to be open and honest but she appears to be shutting off from us. Never mind, the session kicks off. Patient P asks for time to help her grieve her cat. This is tough to hear. The thought of either of my cats having to be put down would be devastating. I love them. I truly love them. Life would be very quiet without them. I don’t feel I can contribute to this discussion as it’s too much for me to try to think about. Therapist M4 has noted that Patient J3 and I have been silent. She pushed Patient J3, is there nothing in what Patient P was saying that he can relate to? When he says no, she pushes him further. Really? Nothing at all? You must have something to say. Patient J3 explains that if he felt he could empathise, he’d have contributed. Next up, it’s me. I explain that I couldn’t contribute as the topic is too sensitive for me. It’s ok it was discussed but I don’t want to think of my cats dying. Patient J3 then says he didn’t appreciate the way Therapist M4 pushed him to say something, he didn’t like it and he would like her to not do it again.
Boom. You can hear a needle drop. Therapist M4 does not take this well and says she’s closing the group now, 15 minutes early. Woah! Hold up, 15 minutes is still enough time for someone to talk about something, don’t you go wasting 15 precious minutes of my therapy. She asks Patient G to start check out. Patient G has a lot to say but Therapist M4 closes her down and says that we can’t talk about it, this is check out. Fine then, I check out as hugely frustrated.
Once out the session, a couple of patients come to see if I am ok. I am but I’m peeved that she stopped Patient G from talking and that she’s robbed me of 15 minutes of therapy. I don’t think that’s right. She’s paid to help us, she shouldn’t be bringing her own insecurities to group. I know, in reflection, Therapist M4 is human and therefore fallible like the rest of us. She was probably having an off day. Still, at the time, I didn’t rationalise that.
Before the group started I messaged the day care coordinator (DCS) to check what happens on bank holidays. I am meant to next be in on Friday but Friday is Good Friday. She’s replied and states that because there are usually less patients around, they may amalgamate the groups. That’s too much change for me so I’ll come in tomorrow, Thursday, to avoid it.
I head to the bus, yes, really. Me, Patient C is getting the bus home. Whilst on the bus, my cravings kick in. I’d expected them yesterday, or on day 1 of not binging. It’s taken me a bit by surprise that they are rearing their ugly head now. My bus route takes me past the cinnamon donut stall at the other station. I really want to get off and buy a box of 6. In fact, I want yum yums, wine gums, spiced buns, chocolate honeycomb and a McD’s. ARGH. The cravings are real, and not fun.
I make it home without stopping by any shops. I am not going to binge, no no no. Instead, I’ll make a pot of Rooibos, have my treat for the day, a French raspberry nonnette, I’ll have a clementine and sit with the cravings.
Ok, the cravings have passed for a bit. I play with my cats and watch some tv. My head is raving with cravings to binge. My head keeps saying:
‘You’re fat now anyway, why not just stay fat, at least you’ll get to eat thousands of tasty fatty calories, and it’ll comfort you’
The other part of my head is saying:
‘If you concur is this time, it’ll be easier next time. At some point, you can have wine gums, yum yums and spiced buns as part of a ‘Normal’ plan, just stick with it’
Before I know it, it’s supper time. I have the microwaved healthy pot meal and some yogurt but the binge cravings are back. I really want to eat some chocolate. Normally, when trying to avoid binge cravings, I do something I don’t want to do, as punishment. I am going to try and do this differently. I am going to have a bath. I love baths, but because I love them, I don’t allow myself to have them. So, an Epsom Salt bath with some added aromatherapy oil it is. Once in the bath, I may as well wash my hair too. The bath is very relaxing and with clean hair, face washed and teeth brushed, I head to bed. I’ve conquered the cravings for today and I hope I’ll be as strong next time. Baths rock, I should remember this too.