Friday, October 29, 2010

The cycle begins.

For some of you, this is the only blog of mine that you follow. This was my first blog, and my sole purpose of writing was to let out things that have always been hard for me to let go of. I’ve noticed from day one that when I write something down it’s almost like a small weight inside of me lifts. The other reason is to hopefully find people I can identify with who are going through similar struggles with Bipolar or mental illness. So far I’ve been really disappointed at the lack of ones I have come across. If anyone is familiar with any insightful blogs I’d love if you pass them my way.

If you follow my other blog about my adventures in Australia, then you know that this is kind of my downer blog and you may not identify with anything here and move along. That’s okay. I’m not particularly fond of blogs about happiness or how beautiful each day is in its own way. I hope one day I will find meaning in those blogs…anyways, today’s post is actually not a downer. What a surprise! Anything that is related to my struggles with depression I post in this blog, and, well, this post is about new starts. Again.

I’m aware that there are always new starts, always new cycles. I just wish mine weren’t so drastic. I’d love if my ups were ups and my downs were downs and the rest be average, but with me my downs are so definitive that it breaks the cycle every time. Coming over here was always about starting over and establishing not only myself positively, but my entire life positively with my husband. I’m not expecting this overnight, and my lows these first two months of being here have been heightened due to culture shock and the longing of my family and Mexican food (seriously). But yesterday I had my second appointment with the psychologist, Dr. Phil (seriously!) and my first appointment with Dr. C, the psychiatrist.

I’m still on the fence about Dr. Phil. I usually go in with a big wall up because, well, that’s kind of what I do when anyone wants me to change. Doesn’t everyone? Usually by the middle of our session he makes me have an epiphany about what he is saying and I instantly feel better and make a plan in my head about how to tackle the upcoming week. The first week his epiphany was, “the way you’re feeling right now isn’t you; it’s the depression talking”. I kind of visualized a sad ball in my belly (when I’m mad I always call the incoming stress my anger ball, so the sad ball fits), and it makes total sense. “Normal” people have a drive to get up and go, even if they have a hard time doing so. Explaining my lack of drive, I have always said to people it’s like there’s a little guy in the back of my head saying, ‘what’s the point of getting out of bed? Nothing matters’. And I always listen to that guy. Dr. Phil’s treatment is at first simple cognitive behavioural therapy-trying to make me associate my bad thoughts with reality and understanding that thoughts are just that-thoughts.

This week he told me, “when you have a bad thought I want you to see it: ‘I’m a bad wife’, for example. Write it on a chalkboard in your head. Look at the words. Then I want you to say, “thank you brain for that thought”, and get rid of the thought”. Um…WTF Doc? If I could do that, I sure as hell wouldn’t be paying you! I mean I could say “I’m fat” and say thanks brain for that thought until I’m blue in the face…but that doesn’t mean it’s actually out of my head! Something that did resonate with me yesterday is what he said about being in this depressive rut for so long. He said, “you have been in this cocoon for so long, and the depression is actually keeping you safe. You don’t have to think about things because you’re depressed. I don’t have to get out of bed because I’m depressed. I don’t have to get a job because I’m depressed”. That makes so much sense to me. Unfortunately I’m not going to be magically cured and wake up tomorrow and go, “OKAY! I’m going to get a job! Start my diet! Go to school!”. He reminded me of what my last doctor, Dr. Julia, had told me. Small steps. Instead of sleeping twelve hours, set an alarm and commit to waking up-today. Instead of starting a diet, eat an apple instead of ice cream (okay THAT one will be hard). Take “normal” things people do every day as accomplishments for myself, like cleaning my bathroom or hanging up all my clothes. For the un-depressed eye it may sound silly, but “normal” things are huge steps for me right now.

Tomorrow I will post about the second part of my day with my new psychiatrist Dr. C. I LOVE HIM. I’d also like to end today on a really happy and uplifting note. Barb from This and That as I Bounce Thru Life is literally one of my biggest supporters. She happens to be one of the very few who have read this blog and actually gotten something out of it, which is huge to me. It’s all I really wanted to accomplish when I write here. The other day she awarded me the Content Unrelated (also one of my favourite blogs) blog award for “the underfollowed, overlooked, uncommon and underestimated blog”. She wrote:

“We've all heard the name "bi-polar" but do we really know what its like living with it?  While I am no doctor I truly believe that my son suffers from this.  He refuses to get help and our relationship is sucky right now.  Hed has given me so much insight on what she endured and still does and it's made a difference in how I view things about Mike [my son] and some other folks I know.  If you haven't read it, I implore that you do.  You won't be disappointed.”

I am extremely humbled and proud. Thanks a million, Barb.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Once upon a time I could control myself.

I’m still twelve. I haven’t changed a bit.
I demanded to live with my father when my mom married my stepdad and moved us away from my hometown, where everyone was. I thought it would be just my dad and I, and it would be great. Independence. Being left alone. I thought it would be everything I ever wanted. I was wrong.
My dad didn’t move me into his house. He dropped me off at his parents, my evil grandparents. They made me sleep in the back house in a bedroom with a bathroom and they never bothered me unless it was dinnertime. I thought this was awesome. I was like a grown-up. I stayed up as late as I wanted and no one would tell me what to do. Be careful what you wish for.
My dad virtually stopped coming to my grandparents. I was alone. Like, alone alone. It wasn’t independence. It was solitude. I remember laying on my bed for hours at a time replaying Pearl Jam’s “Ten” on the tape player and knowing deep in my heart this tape was created for me. Imagine my shock when I studied the liner notes for the song “Why Go” and found “4 Heather” at the bottom:
             she scratches a letter into a wall made of stone                                            
maybe someday another child won’t feel as alone as she does

After a month and an episode, my mom came to the rescue (as always) and I stayed with her for good (More on my dad can be found here if interested). Before that I was a normal kid. I never really had issues other than normal twelve-year-old issues. But something about that month broke me. It was almost like the my childhood ended the month I was there.
My teenage years were saturated with music. Sometimes it felt like it was the only thing keeping me from killing myself. No album ever packed the punch that “Ten” had. It was everything to me. I’ve even told my family that when I die, I want the song “Release” to be played at my funeral:

I see the world feel the chill which way to go windowsill                                     
  I see the words on a rocking horse of time I see the birds in the rain               
Oh dear dad can you see me now? I am myself like you somehow

Today I sit here, in a dark room overcast by clouds outside, and I feel the exact same today as I did when I was a little girl. Lost. Alone. Trapped. Broken. Thinking that everything would get better, but instead got much, much worse. I even lay down on the floor, with “Once” blasting, and I’m looking through the same eyes of that girl that once was something.

Once upon a time, I could control myself                                                         
  Once upon a time I could lose myself                                                                
  Once upon a time I could love myself                                                                  
Once upon a time I could love you

I’m extremely unhappy. I feel that all the pills throughout my life to “make” me happy have in reality zapped all of my happy chemicals. I have no joy. Even the small things that would one time bring a smile to my face mean nothing to me. I want to go home, but am constantly reminded I have nothing to come home to. I sold everything I own when I moved to Australia. I’m pretty much waiting to die. I belong nowhere. I see pictures of myself and wonder who that person is or where she went. I’m dead inside. I have no hope anymore.