This is weird. I’m not used to this. It’s foreign.
There’s really nothing wrong… Every now and then, like once or twice a day, I’ll still have a flashback or body memory that will make me cry for a minute. But that is it. My mood isn’t horrible. The demons are there, but not awful. I have been having a few manic symptoms, but I’ve been responsible and have my mother holding on to the majority of my money for now. I’m still sober at the moment; I am having strong cravings but I have managed to not drink.
I’ve gained more insight into why I’ve been so suicidal for the last several months. And why the events of late led to me trying to take my own life, twice. I hope to eventually be able to post a blog about that, but I don’t think right now is that time. I’ve been working hard in therapy, PHP and with my individual therapist and psychiatrist. It’s draining. I often leave feeling raw and tired. I know, when I feel that way, the best thing for me is to not go home, however. I have tools that I could self harm with at home, and in that state, I am more likely to self harm, which I am actively trying to not do. I am counting the last suicide attempt as self harm, but I have not done anything to hurt myself since then, aside from some minor picking. (I have dermotillomania, which is a psychological condition that manifests as repetitive, compulsive skin picking. I also have trichotillomania, which is a mental disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop. (Both descriptions were pulled from Google’s front page.) So I have a tendency to pick at things like scabs and such.) So, I haven’t self harmed since the 11th of December, the day that I attempted last. Well, that turned into a tangent real quick.
One, or actually two, things I wanted to talk about in this blog was a couple questions the PHP therapist brought up Thursday that really made me think.
Question 1: How will you know you are okay?
The answer I gave in group was when I’m not having flashbacks and body memories every day. When they are only happening once or twice a month or so… I feel like I am underestimating what “okay” can be, though. “Okay” could be no flashbacks/body memories, could be that I don’t have the trauma of my past creeping in and making me want to hurt myself in a myriad of ways, could be not feeling depression at all and feeling happiness, joy, optimism and excitement everyday. That, however, seems unreachable. It seems impossible. Even though my mood is better and I’m not really depressed like I was, I still have crying spells every day or every other day. I still think about what it would be like to not be here, on occasion. Thoughts of suicide creep in, stick around for a bit, and then leave, on a daily basis. There is no real want to die or be dead anymore. That is gone. At least for now. But my brain is not normal. My brain may never be normal. My brain may never be able to get rid of the obsession with death and dying. I may always have these thoughts. Because of the things that have happened to me… because of the things that come up from years ago that lead me to attempt suicide twice in the course of three months. For some reason, I feel like I will be okay when my depression is manageable, when the flashbacks and body memories are farther apart, when I’m able to simply stay out of the hospital and finish PHP and move into IOP (intensive outpatient), and when it’s not so hard to get out of the house and face people daily. To a mental health professional, that wouldn’t be considered okay. That would still be “having symptoms.” But to me, that is so much better than a month ago and even now. Why don’t I want something more than the bare minimum? Why must okay still be just okay instead of good or great? Is it that I think that is all I deserve, all I’m worth? This may require coming back to, later…
Question 2: Ask yourself… why are you feeling the way you are feeling?
Basically, when you are having an uncomfortable emotion, whatever it is, as why. What in you life, past or present, is causing you to feel this particular emotion at this particular time? There is always a reason we feel the way we do about certain things, and why different people feel differently about the same situation. Example… you and I are in line at the grocery store. The customer in front of us is upset about something and starts screaming, like all out screaming, at the cashier. Your reaction: look around for another employee or manager and make sure that someone is coming to help the cashier. My reaction: step back, shrink down a little, and become silent and not move. You became the protector, and I reacted like the victim. The difference between us… you never experienced any traumatic events in you life and I did. The screaming was not a trigger for you, like it was for me. That’s just an example, and a simple on at that. Usually, it’s more complex than that. Feelings are very complex. There are many reasons we feel the way we do, and often, we don’t take a step back to ask ourselves “why am I feeling this way?” “What in my past is contributing to me feeling this way?” Take the time, step back, and ask the question. Explore your feelings and emotions. Doing this will help you (and me) know and see more clearly what we need to work on with our treatment team or while we are journaling.
I hope these questions make you think, like they did me. I hope you take the time to explore some of these ideas yourself. And I hope to see you again, soon.