Anxiety and Stress

There are changes happening for me, right now.

I started IOP on Friday. The regular therapist was out, and there was a substitute that day. So come Tuesday, I’m going to have to deal with “first-day jitters” again since I haven’t met the actual therapist of the group yet. Also, the sub therapist was concerned about my sleep issues and mentioned that I may need to step up to PHP for a bit. She said that they would see how the weekend went. Well, last night (Saturday night), I didn’t sleep at all. I had a four-hour nap this afternoon, and it’s now a little after 1 am and I am wide awake, sitting on the front porch, blogging. It doesn’t really look like I will be sleeping tonight either. However, I have time to nap tomorrow, if I need to.

I really hope they don’t want to put me in PHP. I don’t really have the time to devote to five days a week, from 10 am to 3 pm. Especially with my class starting on Tuesday… That is the other big change that is causing anxiety and stress for me at the moment. I haven’t been to school since 2017 when I graduated with my Associate’s Degree in Social Work from the local community college. I’m going back to the same school for another Associate’s Degree, this time in Video Game Design, with a focus on Game Art. The class starts at 3 pm, Tuesday and Thursday, and has a lab right after, that goes until 5:40 pm. The length of the class isn’t that bad, actually. Once I get there, I’ll be fine, and I’ll get used to it and fall into the hang of things pretty quickly. The main concern is if they put me in PHP, I will have to leave early just to get to class, and I will be going from early morning until the evening. Especially if I go to my morning AA meeting before the group like I prefer to do. The class is “2D Design for Video Games.” I think I’m really going to enjoy it.

I’m just worrying a lot, jumping to conclusions that are most likely not going to come true. There are a ton of “what if’s” going through my head lately. “What if they put me in PHP?” “What if I can’t make myself go to class?” “What if I’m not good at this?” “What if I fail the class?” “What if…?” I could go on ad infinitum. That’s my M.O. Worrying that the worst possible outcome is going to happen. All the time. Or going from making one little mistake to I’m dead in a ditch in the middle of nowhere, in 3 seconds flat. There’s also the “always” or “never” thoughts. “I’m never going to get this…” “I always fuck things up…” “I’m never going to be able to get a real job and move out of my mom’s house and get away from the abuse…” All of these are examples of thought distortions or thinking errors. They are one of the things that CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, teaches about. The first two are examples of catastrophizing and the last one is black and white thinking.

That is actually one of the things we went over in IOP on Friday. They had learned about it earlier in the week and she did a review of the stuff they had learned. We then looked at mindfulness for the weekend. The substitute therapist gave us a long list of mindfulness exercises, things to do, and asked that we pick one of the items on the list to do between Friday and Tuesday when we come back to the group. I chose to color mindfully. I have several adult coloring books. I picked one that has inspirational quotes on each page with the designs; the designs are pretty intricate, and I’m not going to be able to finish the page before Tuesday like I wanted, but I’m going to at least try to get more done on it. She said we were to report back to the regular therapist on Tuesday what we did over the weekend for the mindfulness assignment.

Tomorrow, all I have scheduled is an individual therapy appointment at 4 pm and a meeting with my sponsor, right after, at 5:15 pm. My mom is tutoring a couple boys in the house in the evening, so I need to either vacate the premises or hide in my room the entire time they are here. I always choose to leave; it’s just easier. So after I meet with my sponsor, I’m going to hang out up at the AA club until mom is done tutoring the boys, and then head home around 7 pm. I hate not being able to just come and go as I please, but I understand I would distract the boys if I were just walking in and out all the time. So I leave out of courtesy.

One good thing, lately, is I started playing a new video game; an MMORPG. Final Fantasy XIV. I’ve had it since Christmas, but never installed it on my computer for some reason. One of the girls I met in the hospital plays it and invited me to play with her and her friends. I’m really enjoying it. I’ve played World of Warcraft for a while now, but I’ve really gotten kind of tired of it lately. A little worn out with the same old storyline, over and over, with different characters. Having new content that I’ve never experienced, never played through, is amazing. I love it! It’s only been 4 days and my main character is level 18. I know that is slow for some people but for me, that’s really fast. I don’t normally play non-stop like I have been lately. With the not sleeping and having days off, with nothing to do really, I’ve been able to play pretty much all day for several days. Don’t get me wrong, I have taken breaks. Technically, I’m taking a break right now. The entire time I was at IOP on Friday, I was thinking about how I wanted to be playing instead of sitting in the group. It was pitiful, honestly…

Well, it is nearly 2 am now, so I am going to call this edition of my blog finished. Thanks for reading and I hope you come back again!

the darkness (VICTORIOUS)

the darkness comes creeping,

seeping in through every pore.

slowly taking over my mind,

body,

soul.

I try to fight the inevitable,

the never-ending downward spiral.

this darkness,

it takes away

all motivation,

all energy,

all ability to defend myself in battle.

if I cannot put up an adequate defense,

it is free to do

as it pleases;

free to do whatever

it wants with me.

the darkness has control.

it commands me to jump,

I ask, “how high, master?”

it commands me to cut myself,

I ask, “how deep, master?”

it commands me to kill myself,

I ask, “how would you like me to do it, master?”

I am completely unable

to deny the darkness

of its desires.

whatever it wants,

it gets.

whether I want it,

or not…

the darkness is in charge.

I have no right

to tell it no.

or so it feels,

in the moment.

it tells me to stay in bed,

skip that appointment,

skip that class,

ignore that text or phone call,

they don’t really care,

after all.

but a sense of obligation

and responsibility

keeps me out of bed,

at my appointments

and in my classes.

and after a while,

if I ignore the messages long enough,

people will be breaking down my door.

so, I answer that text and return that call.

the more I do,

the more I try,

the easier it becomes

to fight the darkness the next day.

with the help of those around me,

I may even be able to defeat it,

eventually.

not today,

probably not tomorrow;

it will take time

and a great deal of work.

but as long as I have

a gang of fellow fighters,

willing to back me up,

in my corner,

I will take out the darkness.

I will win this war.

I’ve lost several of the battles,

but small defeats mean nothing

in the end

when you are VICTORIOUS!

And I’m free!

I got released from the psychiatric hospital on the 19th of this month. I was inpatient since the 8th. The stay wasn’t awful, just a little aggravating at times. There were some “annoying people” issues this stay…

They adjusted two of my medications, and I’m feeling a lot better at the moment. I am not letting myself get my hopes up that it’s going to last forever. I know my body. Meds never works forever… They just don’t.

I’m still hearing whispers and mumbles, but I can’t out what the demons are saying anymore. Also, I’m still seeing the demons, but they are more transparent than anything else. Kinda of like ghosts… They aren’t moving around like they were either. My mood is much better, too. I’m actually in a good mood. I might be a little manic, though.

When I was released from the hospital, I went straight to a music store and bought a ukelele and a guitar. I ended up spending $240 there. Overall, that day, I spent $330 total. I also want to re-dye my hair soon, possibly later today or tomorrow. I wanted my hairdresser to do it but I can’t wait long enough to go see him. I’m poor right now, because of the music store mostly, and can’t afford to make a hair appointment until next month.

I start IOP, intensive outpatient program, on Friday this week at the same place as last time. I’m also starting a new class next week on Tuesday at the local community college, for a video game design degree, with a specialization in game art. The class is 2D design, and I’m really looking forward to it. The doctor at the hospital asked what’s going to keep me out of the hospital this time, and I told her my motivation to get through this class. I’m going to be busy for a while, but busy is good sometimes…

I hope y’all are doing well and that you are having a good day so far!

Going Incommunicado for a Bit

I’m going to be going into the psych hospital again in a few hours… The depression and psychosis has become too much to handle. I need to get my medication straight faster than is possible in an outpatient setting. My class at the community college starts on the 27th of this month. Sometimes, I end up being in the hospital for 2 weeks. I need to be “fixed” in time to start my class. I need to be able to go to class and not be psychotic and suicidal every day.

It’s not just the psychosis, though. The depression is out of control at this point. In combination with the demons, it’s become life or death, literally. Unfortunately…

It’s not just not taking my meds anymore, although that is still an intermittent issue. The demons are extremely insistent, at this point, that I deserve to die, for multiple reasons that I am not going to repeat. They are commanding that I go to the cliff. The cliff is the ultimate plan of suicide for me. A particular cliff. I have my reasons for that specific one… they aren’t really important. I’m having a strong urge to just drive by the cliff on my way to the hospital… I know that’s a stupid thing to do, but that’s what my brain is telling me to do.

So I’m going to go to my morning AA meeting at 7:30 am, and then call the hospital admissions and start the process of getting an assessment for inpatient. With this hospital, you call, answer a few questions over the phone, set up a time that you will be able to get there, and then get there for the assessment. They are going to take my phone so I won’t be able to post anything while I’m in the hospital. Hence the incommunicado…

See you on the other side…

The picture below is something I drew while I couldn’t sleep last night. I drew it on my Wacom Bamboo Slate. I’m just now learning how to use it. I like it so far…

Well…

My insurance did it. My time with PHP is over tomorrow. I’m completely not ready. I wasn’t able to take my meds until 4:30 pm, after taking two doses of Thorazine and one dose of my antianxiety medicine. I was at least able to take them, by myself at that.

I just don’t understand how the insurance can make them discharge me from PHP and put me in IOP (intensive outpatient program), which is less days for less hours, when I am still having trouble taking my meds by myself, when I’m still having severe psychosis nearly 24 hrs a day, when I am still suicidal with a plan and having some intent to act on that plan on a daily basis. How can the insurance think that I’ll do better in a less intensive program? With less support? I won’t have the nurse to help me with my meds anymore. That’s going to be all on me, if I can make myself take them. That’s a big if at this point… I don’t want to go back to the hospital, but it seems like that’s what may end up happening if I can’t figure out how to take my meds regularly and let them do their job. The meds haven’t had a chance to build up in my system enough to work, or to see if they are going to work. I’m just so tired of feeling this depressed and suicidal all the time… I wish I could give up… I wish I could just do it, sometimes…

The only thing that keeps me from acting on the suicidal thoughts is my friends. I can’t do that to them. At least right now… Right now, my friends and their feelings and reactions are enough to keep me putting one foot in front of the other, even though I’m completely miserable on a daily basis.

The plan, as of right now, is to step down into day IOP. That program is Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 am to 1 pm. I have been going Monday through Friday from 10 am to 3 pm, for PHP. Day IOP is supposedly more open processing, and less teaching than the PHP, which should be okay. I know I can’t just stop going to group altogether. I need to step down into an IOP. One of the only good parts of stepping down is going less days a week and having more time to do things and have appointments and such. I’ve been feeling like a chicken with its head cut off lately, running from one thing to the next, with no breaks in between. I actually completely blanked on individual therapy today, which I was supposed to have after PHP. I just headed straight to the NA clubhouse to read my book and chill for a bit and completely forgot I had the appointment with her.

So, as of right now, I go to PHP tomorrow and they will let me know when I start IOP. That is, if my insurance is willing to cooperate and give me more days for IOP… I hate the bureaucracy of the medical system in this country. I hate insurance being able to dictate what kind of help a person deserves and is able to get. I hate that everything is so damned expensive, that we need insurance to get by. So, I go to PHP tomorrow, and just wait and see what happens next…

And now… I’m off to bed. I haven’t been sleeping well lately, and even though it is only 8:40 pm, I’m calling it quits on this day. I have had it for the day. I can’t take anything else today, even from my own brain. The demons are screaming at me to self harm and kill myself. They want to see blood and pain and suffering. They want me to hurt. They don’t understand that I’m already hurting, every effing day. This depression is killing me, slowly. I don’t need them screaming at me too.

A Little Update, Some Deep Stuff

I don’t even really know what I want to say… I know I want to say something, though. I want to spill my guts, just talk into cyberspace, pretend that because it’s on the computer no one will actually see or read the words on this page. But I don’t know what to say or where to start, really.

I’ve been in PHP (partial hospitalization program) since July 3rd. An entire month now. They haven’t even brought up a possible discharge date yet. I know insurance will spring it on them last minute, that they aren’t going to cover it anymore, and the patient only has one more day in those cases sometimes. I hope mine doesn’t do that, I need time to prepare. Plus, I don’t feel ready to be done with PHP yet.

I’m still feeling extremely depressed, and having suicidal thoughts nearly every day. The doctor at PHP has added a second antidepressant, and recently raised the dosage of that one. Hopefully, it will start to work soon. I hate that psych meds take so long to start working. I need relief from these symptoms, sooner rather than later, and all I can really do is sit and wait while the medication builds up in my system. I am so tired of being depressed. I am tired of wanting to die. There’s this paradox to it, I want to die, but I don’t want to die, at the same time. It’s the second part that has kept me here… that second part is more about my friends than it is about me, in all truthfulness. I just plain won’t do that to them. At this point in time, at least. For now, they are enough to keep me going day to day. For now…

I’m having psychosis every day, as well, to the point that sometimes they seem too real to be hallucinations. I’ve had moments where I really, truly believed that the things I am seeing and hearing are really there. The hallucinations, the demons as I typically refer to them, have been telling me to do things, things that I don’t really want to do. Things like self harm and suicide. Sometimes, however, I do listen to them and act on the lesser of the evils they are commanding of me, even though I don’t want to do it, it shuts them up for a period of time. I get silence for a little while.

Even with the medications, I haven’t had silence in a long time. Silence is something that has eluded me for most of this past year. I am nearing my limit, the limit of what I can handle, what I’m willing to handle.

The demons have been telling me that the medications are going to turn me into one of them, also. Which makes it hard for me to take them. During the week, the nurse at PHP has been helping me take my meds in the morning. All my psych meds are in the morning, and those are the only ones that I’m having trouble taking; I can take my medical meds with no problems. The weekends are another story. Yesterday, I was able to take them but immediately had an insanely strong urge to throw up. I was only able to keep the meds down for about 5 minutes. Today, I’ve only been able to take a Thorazine. At least, so far. It’s getting a little late to take them, though. I tried taking the Thorazine, hoping that it would make it easier to take the rest of them once it started to kick in, but my plan didn’t really work too well. I’ve managed to keep the Thorazine down, however, so that should count for something.

I don’t know, I’ve just gotten to this point where I am so freaking tired… tired of the symptoms, tired of fighting, tired of everything. I have PHP in the morning, and I don’t even want to go… I always feel just a little better once I’m there, but I want to just not go and spend the day sulking in bed, isolating. I’ll probably still go, though. Because I’m supposed to, because I’m expected to be there. Because I always do what is expected of me…

The Promise of AA

I self harmed last night, and landed myself in the ER yet again. This time, they had me on suicide watch while I was there. I had someone sitting with me the entire time. The doctor had me talk with the social worker before I was allowed to leave. He was concerned about the fact that I was actively hallucinating and that the demons were/are telling me to self harm. I should take a thorazine, but I would be falling asleep in the middle of PHP if I do. There’s not enough caffeine in the world to keep me awake through a thorazine.

One thing the social worker at the ER said, which I’ve never been told before, is I can come to the ER before I self harm, tell them that the demons are telling me to self harm and I don’t want to, and they will put me in a bed until I feel safe enough to leave. She said they could even give me a PRN medication to help with the demons. She promised, as long as I’m coherent, and not a danger to myself or others, they would let me leave eventually. They know me at that ER. They have extensive notes on how I usually present, and can compare my current presentation to the notes from previous visits, where I was allowed to leave. She assured me that if I present in the same state as I did this morning, that I would be able to leave at some point, when I feel safe again. She would rather I come in before I self harm and wait out the urge in the ER, than come in for sutures again in another week.


“When an alcoholic’s brain tells them to do something harmful to themselves… like drink… they listen to it. The promise of AA is that we can take those ideas less seriously, and what our greater power thinks more seriously.” – my sponsor

I was texting with my sponsor this morning and he said this in the course of the conversation.

We were talking about the self harm and the trip to the ER. When he said “drink,” my brain read “cut.” It was like I didn’t even see the word “drink.” The promise of AA… I can use the program to help myself with the self harm and use the steps and my greater power to help myself move beyond the self harm.

If only I can remember that in the moment… I can never remember the coping skills I have been taught over the years, in the moment. I can never remember to reach out to my support system, in the moment. All I can think of, in the moment, is the self harm urge and what it will do for me if I go through with it.

My sponsor is the best. He always knows what to say at the right time. I needed to hear exactly what he said this morning. I don’t have to listen to the idea that drinking or cutting is a good idea. I don’t have to go through with it just because my brain is saying that it is a good idea. Over time, the ideas will become less serious to me and I can become closer to my greater power’s wants and ideas. I can learn, over time, what my greater power wants from me and learn to do that instead.

That is the promise of AA.

The Sun and the Moon

Death should be easy.

It should be painless.

It should be a blessing

That comes to those

Who truly want it.

 

Death shouldn’t be a punishment.

It shouldn’t be something to fear.

It shouldn’t be this thing

That is held over

One’s head.

 

I wish for death.

I wish for the pain to end.

I wish I could sleep

And never wake again;

For forever slumber.

 

Every time the sun rises,

I have this feeling of dread.

Another day I have to face,

Another day I have to survive,

Another day death eludes me.

 

As the moon rises,

Death calls to me again.

The call is stronger

While the moon is shining.

I have no idea why…

 

And the sun rises again…

And the moon appears once more…

Over and over.

The call of death

Is ever present in my life.

 

This cry of death,

It’s so romantic to me.

The idea of the end of my life

Seems so splendid to me

That I can hardly resist the thought.

 

Resistance is an elusive idea…

Why do I even try?

Why would I resist

The call of death

When it is all I truly desire?

 

Is it for them?

My friends?

Is it the love they have

For me that keeps me going?

Or the pain it would inflict on them?

 

The cry of death is strongest

While everyone else

Is sleeping…

When I have no one…

No one to call on to walk me through the pain.

 

While the sun is nearby,

I gather strength

From it’s mighty rays.

The light energizes some need

To put one foot in front of the other.

 

When the sun disappears

And the moon returns,

I lose my will to live.

I lose sight of the “why” of the fight.

I lose myself.

 

The moon brings out the pain.

The moon brings on the need.

It brings the need for eternal sleep.

People sleep when the moon

Is in the sky, after all.

 

This desire for death,

This call of oblivion,

Has always been there.

At least it seems

I have always felt this way.

 

I know no different.

I know no other reality.

The call of death,

The desire for extinction of my lifeforce,

Will it ever leave me?

 

Will I ever be happy?

I’d settle for content…

Hell, I’d accept just relief.

Anything is better than wishing for death

Every time I see the moon.

 

Don’t misunderstand me…

The call of the darkness

Is ever present,

Even while the sun is shining bright as fire.

The craving doesn’t set with the moon.

 

The bonfire only burns hotter

When the stars are watching.

The sparks fly and singe the hairs on my arms

As I sit too close

Breathing in the smoke of my craziness.

 

I’m acutely aware this line of reasoning,

This wanting death so desperately

That my soul hurts with a pain that never ceases,

Is not normal.

That it’s pathological.

 

But it’s my normal.

The fascination with death,

The obsession with it, really,

It’s all I know and have known

For as long as I can remember.

 

I want to die.

I want to be dead.

I want my life to end.

I want to leave this world,

Forever.

 

The question that remains,

And I visited this briefly…

Why am I still here?

If death calls to me so powerfully,

Why have I not answered?

 

The answer to that query

Lies beyond me.

It lies beyond this earth.

It lies among the sun

And with the moon.

 

There is something bigger,

Keeping me alive,

Keeping me here,

For some plan that is beyond my comprehension.

And I have to accept that I will pass in it’s time, not mine.

And another seizure…

As the title suggests, I had another one. Last night, around 10 pm. Even though, logically, I know the body goes into protection mode when it has a seizure, my brain started telling me that I would have another seizure and stop breathing in my sleep. It scared the living daylights out of me, to the point where I forced myself to stay awake all night. I couldn’t stop obsessing over the thought that I would stop breathing. I couldn’t make my brain stop or move to a different thought.

It’s almost 6 am, and I haven’t slept. Energy drinks and coffee will be my friend today… I’m actually working on my 4th cup of coffee at the moment. Just sitting on the front porch, enjoying the breeze. I spent most of the night writing. In my journal and also free writing, a poem of sorts. I’ll post it here once I get it typed up. Possibly later today or tomorrow. It ended up being 4 pages long in my composition book… I usually don’t write that much when I write poetry, I just kept going. The words just kept coming. It was strange.

The depression is still ever present. And it’s still very much debilitating. All I want is to leave this world at times. The fantasy of how I would achieve that end enters my mind and sometimes refuses to leave. I can’t force the image of where and how to go away even though I try my damnedest. When I say it is all I want, it is. But I do have reasons to stay. I have my friends. I have goals. I have ambitions.

And I believe, in my heart and soul, that even if I were to try, if it’s not my time to go, I will not go. There may be consequences for that attempt, and I may not be able to live with those consequences.

I fully believe that there is a reason I have survived my previous attempts. I am supposed to do something or meet someone or help someone with something. I don’t know what kind of impact my life can have on those around me and I don’t know what kind of impact my death would have on those left behind either. I would not be able to bear the burden of knowing that one of my friends hurt themselves because of something I did. When someone knows a person who dies by suicide, they have a higher chance of attempting suicide themselves. It’s a statistical fact.

I already hate seeing the looks on the faces of my friends when they see marks from self harm on my arms. The pain in their eyes is torture to me. I saw it yesterday in my friend Ray’s eyes… He tried to brush it off with a joke; “Do you always stitch yourself up?” But I could see the torment that he felt when he saw the cut with the sutures. That hurt. I wish I could hide it from them. Living in Texas during the summer months makes that impossible. It’s either wear short sleeves and have the marks be visible for the world to see or wear a sweater in July and have them not see but know anyway.theres no other reason that I would be wearing a sweater in July.

The only solution is to stop altogether. I know that is what you are thinking… It’s not that easy. I have tried and am trying. I haven’t cut since the early morning hours of the 11th. Which for me is amazing, actually. I have had some nervous picking at scabs that haven’t healed (because I keep picking at them) and a little punching and head banging. But I haven’t done anything that has left permanent damage to my body since the 11th. That is major progress for me.

In PHP, we set goals on Mondays. My physical goal for this week is no cutting or burning. At all. We use the SMART goal model. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. So for specific, I specified cutting and burning. Measurable, I said none for the week. Attainable, it will be difficult but it is possible. Realistic, it is something I have done before. And timely means if there a timeframe for the goal. I specified an end day of Friday. I only have to maintain the no cutting and burning through Friday for the goal. One thing about not self harming for me, I like seeing my arm without injuries. I like seeing a clean arm. It gives me hope for the future, in a way, hope that I can keep away from the self harm.

Well, it’s 6:30 am. I usually leave around this time to go to an AA meeting before PHP. I’m gonna go get ready to go.