New Years as a person living with depression: it’s hard. Everyone is trotting out the usual “this year is going to be better”, “I’m going to kick 2020’s ass” and all I want is to be able to live a life worth living. I was hospitalised three times for depression last year and spent 8 months of it unemployed. All I want is to be able to spend days knowing what to do with myself, to be able to not feel suicidal, to be able to have money to do things like pay the bills and the important things for self-care. A lot of people with depression do not look forward to the New Year, or even tomorrow, because we know only too well what’s in store for us because our brains dictate it, exacerbated by external circumstances, which are more difficult to do something about because of the depression.
So remember your depressed friends. Remember that we’re doing the best we can and that we have the answers and are doing all the things – the fucking hard work of therapy and self-care – and all we need is some extra love and understanding.
Best decision of my life. Things have changed in mostly subtle ways, but I’m more confident and comfortable in my own skin.
5 Days out of psych hospital, and looking after my mental health is not easy. It’s difficult readjusting to life after two months in a safe space where you don’t have to worry about money or three meals a day. And it’s especially difficult when dealing with hectic issues in therapy for the first time. It’s all about doing one adult thing at a time, and racking enough of those adulting things up during the day to feel stable and in some measure of control. It’s that simple and that complicated.
When you watch something like this and think how incredible and kick-ass a person is for overcoming so much difficulty on such a huge metaphorical stage… I’ve come to realise in the last few days that I am also incredible and kick-ass for the trauma that I have overcome and the mental illnesses that I live with.
I’m being admitted to Tara (psych hospital) for 6-9 weeks on Tuesday and I am so ready to make significant shifts in my living and thriving with mental illness. I am a hero. I am a warrior. I am amazing. #mentalillness #BPD #PTSD #complexPTSD #bipolarII #mentalillnessrecovery
I love the Facebook memories because they allow me to see where I’ve come from. Like a journal. Today this memory reminds me to never use the word “recovered” in relation to a chronic mental illness. I’ve been hospitalised twice since this update three years ago.
Recovery is an ongoing process. And a fucking difficult one; like trying to spear a tomato seed with a fork. And while this reminder is sobering and makes me realise that working on myself sometimes leads me in circles to places that look like the beginning again, I have to remind myself that those circles are an upward-moving spiral and that each rock bottom never reaches the depths of the first one; because I keep learning about myself and these illnesses (because BPD is always accompanied by a mood disorder and/or other mental health disorders).
And it’s important to call it an illness. I realised recently that I think of it as something fundamentally wrong with me: something I can control, and if I can’t control it I’m being lazy. But seeing it as an illness reminds me that some things are out of my control, which makes it easier to pinpoint that which I can work on and change.
Anyway, thoughts while feeling simultaneously defeated and resolute.
So, to my surprise, I’m actually doing ok since leaving the psych hospital on Sunday. I’m mainly focusing on keeping the momentum of the routine there: waking up at a decent hour, three meals a day, showering, reaching out for real/virtual cuddles.
I want to share this with you: I was not suicidal. The reason for my hospitalisation was that I was incapable of self-care and have been stuck for two years. I felt that I wasn’t “sick enough” to be hospitalised. My therapist blew my mind when he said that hospitalisation can also be good as a preventative move; to avoid getting more sick. The same with the impending admission to Tara (another psych hospital): just because I’m feeling relatively ok now does not mean I don’t deserve a safe space away from the severe stresses to be able to immerse myself in a space where I can work on myself.
So, I want you to know: you do not need to wait until you’re at complete rock bottom to deserve care and help. Taking the step to discuss admission with your healthcare team is an embracing of the truth that you deserve care before you drown.