A follow up note

by lifeonaxis1

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.