A follow up note
Last time I left off, I was suicidal. Again.
Not as bad as the last time, but still pretty bad.
This time, I ended up going into the hospital. A little “staycation”, as it were. Not planned, of course. I was just trying to do the intake interview for an Intensive Outpatient Program, which I could accept that I “needed”. Then the lady told me she wouldn’t let me leave.
Sign the papers, or be committed by the state.
That’s a decision I hope not to have to make again.
My trip lasted about 4 days. It was over a weekend, too, so I didn’t even get the full benefits of regular meetings and such. Lots of drawing and coloring though. A very, very expensive art class.
But, it changed things. In a great way. I learned that I was fighting depression, which was a problem. But the bigger problem is that I was terrified of people. I had no safe place, anywhere. And without somewhere to feel safe, even if in my own head, I was spiraling out of control. I lost my grip.
In the hospital, they have rules. Boundaries. Things I should have but don’t. They’re imposed on everyone, and so they dictate the terms of the relationships you make. I loved this. At the time, I thought, if only I could figure out how to bring those rules out in the real world! As I saw more and more of what that meant for interacting with others–that there would be no judgment and that you could be safe–I felt the weight lifted. I felt like I could be myself, without being attacked, belittled, shamed, cussed at, or manipulated. I was able to spend an entire day in the group room…with other people! I had been almost certain that would never happen again. I even felt playful at one time, which I hadn’t felt in so long.
It was a gift, this time in the hospital. Because I saw that I needed to address the terror I felt about people. I needed to build a safe place in myself, and work on creating the safe places outside, with others in order to sustain myself through the dark times. This changed everything in how I approached healing.
I got out, and the next day I went to IOP. I was still scared. I couldn’t tell an emotion from a hole in the ground. But I was headed in the right direction. I was asking for help, which for whatever reason, is so hard for me to do. I’ve been doing that, a little at time.
I’m still scared of people. Still wary. Still feel my heart race when someone gets too close. But I keep reaching out, even if just a little. Like my friend in the hospital told me: you give a little trust, and see what happens. Not too much, like casting a fishing rod and winding it back just a bit to see what you get.
It’s a little odd. It still feels pretty isolated sometimes, to always be on guard. It’s safer though. I’m more observant. I’m looking out for myself. I give a little trust, and if it’s respected, great! If not, okay, I hold the line there. More positive actions must be taken to advance!
It feels good to know that I’m doing this because I’m worth being respected, and that I have value as a person, and as a friend, which shouldn’t be pissed away or taken advantage of. One of the great lessons in the last several months was examining how I treat other people, and how people I love and who love me, treat me. And for whatever reason, I started using that as the barometer. For example, I’d try and imagine someone I trusted deeply behaving a particular way (a behavior I wasn’t sure of or that caught my attention somewhere in the back of my mind), and then considered what I would think of them–and what they would presumably think of me–if they did that thing. I started being able to see when the lines were being crossed. Not only did I start seeing it, but I also started feeling it in a way that I could sense it in the moment and act on my feelings. Somewhere a well is filling inside me, because I’ve been able to tap into it several times since then–to be in the moment, to approach a situation with a sense of confidence, of calm even.
It hasn’t stopped the utter terror I’ve felt in response to threats, which I’ve unfortunately received recently (it can come with the job). I still had the panic attacks and my anxiety was spiked for days. When it came to game time, though, I did tap into it. It was there, somewhere.
I’m not perfect yet. But it is so far from where I came.