1000th Post — Still Breathing

So, um, hi!  Three-plus months without a peep really gets you out of the habit, huh?  Maybe it was all the pressure of having to write a marvelously stunning post.  The tension of creating some sort of pomp and circumstance for myself.  But no, I’ve been absent for a bunch of other reasons but to cut to the chase, I’m glad to be back.  This is a really important post for me and one I’ve been dreading for the past 115 days.  As a warning, this post is long and boring.  Instead of reading this, you can go and read this or this.

My last post is dated Monday, May 12; the day after Mother’s Day.  That was the day I was released and sent home from the hospital, though I don’t really remember posting on that day.  For some reason in my mind, I posted that before my hospital stay so everything is sort of a big, stupid jumble.  But first, some back story:

Surprise.

I just haven’t had the easiest life.  Harder than some, not nearly as bad as others, but pretty fucking shitty for a fair amount of it.  If you’ve read my blog or know me personally, you know that since I was a young child my life had been a somewhat disgusting, horrible mess.  But I did what every good girl does–I pretended nothing was wrong.  I hid what I thought I was.  I tricked people into thinking I was normal.  I fooled people into thinking I was worth being around.  I was and still am very good at making other people laugh.  I pour everything I have into everything and anything as long as it’s not myself.

In reality, what was seen as a moody child-turned angsty teen was actually a girl fighting demons with everything she had.  In 20/20 hindsight, I can now see I was being pressed on all fronts:  physical, emotional, social, sexual, whatever.  It’s one thing to say you’re depressed, it’s another to actually, clinically be depressed and not know it.  Luckily for me, it was nature *and* nurture–chemical deficiencies in my brain and an environment perfect for destroying the soul of a little girl.  I have been so clouded by this for my entire life and am only now slowly seeing how it has impacted e v e r y t h i n g.   As a teenager I once overdosed on stolen painkillers in an attempt to kill myself.  I have no memory of about 3 days in my parents’ home.  They never even noticed that I didn’t get out of bed.  In my twenties I would drink myself into oblivion, skip work, leave my doors unlocked in one of the worst parts of the city.  I used razor blades to slice, slice, slice my skin.  With friends and with work I was still alone and kept these things to myself.  But no one ever thought I was depressed; again, just moody or bitchy.  Bitchy became a description that I learned to hold on to–it was my excuse and my armor and a false sense of strength.  I wasn’t depressed–I was just a bitch.

Fine. Fine. EVERYTHING IS FINE.

As major life changes came and went, so did incredibly difficult thoughts and threats of suicide.  Everything was so hard.  I planned.  I wrote letters.  I tested.  I threatened.  Cycle after cycle.  I inexplicably got older but not wiser or more mature.  Myy self destructive behavior expanded to everything else in my life: my work, my marriage, the destruction of my relationship with my parents and siblings and ultimately emotional damage to my children.  Before I go on, let me just say that my children are not emotionally damaged/scarred for life.  They’re more resilient that I could ever hope to be and despite any rough times, they’re the most loving and happy kids ever and I’m proud that even though I’ve made mistakes with them early on, I’ve become a better parent.  I owe it to myself to be a good parent.  I owe it to myself to not repeat the patterns that shaped and ultimately broke me.

I’m officially diagnosed as having major depressive disorder (MDD), or what they used to call clinical depression or what they used to call depression or what they used to call witchcraft/possession/hexed.  The past two years have been a seemingly unending downward spiral of awful.  I found out my last living grandparent passed away…via Google…a year after the fact.  My cat of 13 years died and I still blame myself to this day.  My marriage was falling apart to an appalling degree with behavior on both sides to match.  My dad died 600 miles away from me, laying in a coma for seven days before he was taken off of life support.  I hadn’t spoken to him for about 6 years prior.  I was not welcome at the funeral.  I never said good-bye.  My husband and I went through a difficult separation for reasons that I don’t need to discuss here.

For the record I didn’t want any of this.  I was trying, dammit.  I was fighting to get physically healthy, working on getting mentally healthy.  Trying to get my shit together.  And then just everything fucking fell apart.  No, not really.  More like burned to fucking ashes.

Right to left for you non-manga readers.

I went to a physical therapist for my knee.  I began seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist.  I was taking my antidepressant.  I was doing what I was supposed to do.  Problem was, the antidepressant wasn’t working.  It had worked before, and with great result.  After a lapse of a year, I was back on it and was so sure everything was going to be fine again.  It took nearly 6 weeks to realize that it really wasn’t working.  Sleeping from 8 PM to noon isn’t normal.  Staying awake for days isn’t normal.  Physical pain all over isn’t normal.  Not being able to take care of my children isn’t normal and it’s also completely unacceptable.  My therapist (Monday 5/5) insisted I call my general practitioner; I saw him the next day (Tuesday 5/6)and he changed me from pill A to pill B.  The change was so drastic and awful that the next day (Wednesday 5/7) I was screaming, literally screaming for my husband to come home.  Take care of the kids.  I. Could. Not.

I called the doctor and waited for a return call on what to do.  Hours passed.  I argued with my husband.  Locked my door.  Packed my things.  I wanted out.  In a panicky fight or flight way.  I NEEDED out.  The nurse called back:  Basically it was too soon to change my medicine; if I felt worse I could go to the emergency room.  My husband and I fought and fought.  I walked out of the house with nothing but my cell phone, driver’s license, and debit card.  (Ran away is more like it.)  He called the police because he was worried about what I’d do; I called the police because I wanted my things out of the house without more confrontation.

Nothing says well-adjusted like getting a ride to your house in the back of a police car, lights on.  No sirens, though.  We don’t talk to our neighbors anyway so I guess it doesn’t matter.

I went inside, got my things and left.  I drove around.  I drove some more.  I called home.  I argued some more.  I drove and drove and drove.  I wanted to stay in a safe hotel.  I just wanted to escape that current situation, but then what?  Escaping to what degree…I still can’t say for sure.  I only had enough money to stay at the sketchy extended stay hotel (I’ve stayed there before; soooo sketchy).  By the time I got there at 11-ish PM, they wouldn’t let me have a room.  Apparently, the crime is so bad that they won’t let anyone check in after 10 PM.  Great.

Pretty much.

I drove and drove and drove.  I finally ended up in the emergency room.  I didn’t have anywhere else to go.  I went into the emergency room Wednesday night/Thursday morning around midnight.  Now, when you are finally out of the emergency room area and admitted to the actual medical hospital, you are segregated in a locked ward for drunks, crazies, and generally violent people.  You get a gown that is a different color than the regular patients and you have to give all of your possessions (save your underwear) to a police officer.  He checked everything in, put it all in a bag and locked it up.  Then you’re evaluated a few times to decide of you’re a good candidate for being locked away for a while.  I saw the first counselor at 8 AM on Thursday 5/8.  I saw the second sometime around 10 AM?  Noon?  I was told that I’d be transferred to the mental health ward of the hospital at a different campus.  At this point I legally signed away my legal right to leave the hospital of my own volition.  It’s simple, really–you have to stay under a doctor’s care until he or she gives you the OK to go home.  This was the first point that everything became unquestionably terrifying.  I waited to be transferred,  so no need to eat lunch.  At 6 PM I was told that I was still going so there was no need to eat dinner, I’d eat at the other hospital.  At 9 PM I was lucky enough that a nurse noticed that I hadn’t had any food all day so I got to eat another patient’s cold, uneaten food.  Then they strapped me to a gurney and put me in the back of an ambulance and I was on my way.

It was finally official!

I am going to preface the next part by saying that I was at the nice hospital.  The hospital they send you to when you have insurance and money (I have insurance, at least).  This was not a horror story hospital, there was no Nurse Ratched, and surprisingly, no ghosts.  Having said that my experience there, while necessary, was terrifying.  This post is already way to long and there are video games to be played and school to be taught.  The next few updates will go more into detail about my experiences and what’s going on with me today.  After that, hopefully I’ll be back to normal posts about kids, cartoons, video games, and all that good stuff.

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