Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Wish My Family Members Cared Enough to Become Informed

Please do not treat me like I am not trying hard enough, or if only I tried harder all would fall into place. Severe and Chronic Major Depression is not like that...not for me anyways.

Me: "Sister I need help. I don't know what to do anymore. I am so tired all the time. You know how people with cancer or hepatitis feel so tired they can't do anything? I feel like that. Exhausted. I am scared. I have suicidal thoughts all the time. I am so sick I want to give up. I won't because I love you and our family so much, but I can't handle this anymore. I need help."

Sister: "You are not sick. You do not have cancer, or hepatitis, or any other illness. All you need to do is get doing things. Get busy. Go kayaking, go for a walk, do your art."

Me: "I have an illness that makes it hard to do things most times. I have no energy. I am sick."

Sis: "You are not sick, you don't have an illness. You are depressed."

etc., etc.

I am lost. I really am sick. Last week I asked my sisters to call me every couple days, just to let me know they love me and care about me, I felt it would help me stay here. I felt really proud of myself for asking for help. Once again though, I reached out for help and have been pushed away.

I am so depressed I am having a hard time functioning. No one sees it. Not the Art clubhouse, where I have tried to explain I need some concessions during this time; not my family...who are telling me not to phone.

On some level my boyfriend is there for me and I really appreciate his being there, but I brought up the fact that I wanted to go to the hospital for ECT and he flipped out; saying if I went to the hospital I would be abandoning him.

I tried to explain that my going to the hospital was nothing about abandoning him, and everything about taking care of myself. He said:, "Don't turn this around." (as though I am abandoning him, but just excusing it by saying I am helping myself???? I don't get it.

He constantly denies I am depressed, or that I have anything to be depressed about. The latter may be true, but from my perspective it seems I am depressed...even if most others in my life don't think so. I really get confused with his attitude, given he has a mental illness and is depressed himself.

I feel so intensely frustrated that those closest to me are telling me I do not feel, or look like I am, depressed. I feel like screaming I am so frustrated. I know I must annoy others...but imagine what I feel like, never getting well....nothing ever working.

I do have a couple people who are very supportive. My friend E is a saint. I feel blessed that she continues to listen to me and be by my side. Same with Dr. X. My boyfriend too, despite his denial of my depression, stays by me and holds me when I need to be held. I have met a new friend to...A and she is so sweet. I hope I can be the friend all these people need when they need a friend.

You might think it was a blessing for others to believe you capable of big things, but sometimes, when a person like me is extremely ill it is hard for others to see such a "strong" person needs help.

Please, if a family member has a mental illness, and is struggling, please take the time to educate yourself about what your family member is struggling with. I feel abandoned and dismissed by my family. I love them so much, yet given I have struggled for years and years, have lost my job, and have basically lost my interest in life...I feel pretty hurt that they have not taken any time, or effort to educate themselves about how these mental illnesses impact the people who have them.

I feel like they do not love me enough to even spend an afternoon at a depression information session, or to read about what it is like to live with severe and treatment resistant depression, or even to come over to my place and go see Dr. X with me. I feel really alone when it comes to my family. So alone I cannot even express it in words...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Will This Pain Ever Really End?

(William Blake, "Pity" 1795, Tate Gallery)

Like in Blake's painting...I feel like a woman who has had her child, albeit in my case, her inner child, ripped from inside her. Is it wrong to feel angry...even enraged, about my situation? Today I felt like walking into the hospital screaming, "HELP ME!...SOMEBODY FUCKING HELP ME!" I cannot take it anymore. I don't know how to get better.

Of course, I fucking "know" how to get better. Do all the goddamn things everyone tells me to do to get better. Get some exercise, see my friends, make more friends, call the friends I have, call old friends, smile more, look straight ahead, not at the ground, quit shuffling your feet, clean your house, challenge my negative thinking, stop thinking in black and white, go to church, read, go to school, take art classes, connect with my family, eat less, eat better, cook better, draw, paint, teach, take better care of myself, bathe more, dress better, tidy my house, get back to work, budget my money, breathe properly, let go, stop thinking about myself, stop crying, stop being self absorbed, do more, think less, drink more water, take vitamins, take supplements, go to sleep early, get up earlier, stop coffee, drink no alcohol, canoe, ski, hike, camp, work sing, paint, create, love people, stop being angry...STOP BEING ANGRY! STOP BEING have everything you need. So many people have so much less than you and they are happy. Stop thinking about suicide. Participate in therapy, Do what you are supposed to do. Take your medication/s. Depression is treatable. You are just not trying hard enough.

So they say...but how do these things if I am so depressed I cannot do these things. How do I do these things if nothing I try, including medications, ever helps for any length of time?

I love Dr. X. I love him as a therapist, a clinician, and on some level, as a valued friend and family member. I trust him, his knowledge, his ability to help others, his ability to help people manage their mental illnesses. I know he cares about me and my welfare. He wants to see me well. I know he tries so hard to help me...but I think I am "unhelpable".

When I met him I felt so relieved that finally someone was helping me who knew how to help me. I felt so lucky to have met such a patient, compassionate and caring psychiatrist. Finally, I felt I was in good hands. ...and I was, and I am.

I still think I am in good hands. I still think Dr. X is extremely intelligent and knowledgeable about Major Depression and Bipolar Disorder, other Mental Illnesses and their treatments. I still believe he is a great psychiatrist. I even think that for many with a "treatment resistant" depression he is likely able to help them.

I think the problem is that my depression is not "treatment resistant", rather it is "absolutely unresponsive". I feel angry because if I had a physical illness that caused this much pain I would be given something to at the very least stop the pain. If my illness was physical, I could get some relief. I have no idea what a similar "pain medication" would look like for severe depression...maybe morphine to knock me out, to not allow me to feel, or some kind of heavy duty tranquillizer combined with an extended stay in some kind of long term care what a sanitarium was supposed to be.

I completely understand why some people with mental illnesses, especially chronic ones, turn to hard drugs. Last night even I was thinking...maybe if I got some heroin, and just injected enough to relieve some of this pain...even for a while, it might be worth it.

If there is nothing out there that helps will I keep going? Better question is WHY would I keep going. I do not understand what I did to make this be happening to me. I always tried to be a good person. I feel like I must have done something really bad in my past life, or in this life, to be left feeling like this for so long. I feel like I am in Hell.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Diary of Obsessive or Intrusive Suicidal Thoughts

Rembrandt van Rijn Abraham and Isaac 1634. Oil on canvas 158 x 117 cm (62 x 46 in.)

may trigger...includes suicidal thoughts.

My sister called me and told me my 9 year old niece had been told about sex by a couple kids at school. My niece got it into her head that it was an awful thing to know about and that she would get in trouble for knowing about it. She began acting really strange and my sister asked her what was wrong...and she blurted it all out..full of all her nine year old angst about thinking such bad thoughts.

She told her Mom that when the kids told her she could not get the images and thoughts out of her mind and the more she tried to get rid of them the more she thought about them.

My sister, being the loving and level headed Mom she is asked her what thoughts she was having. At first my niece was horror struck by the thought of sharing such awful thoughts with her Mom. So my sister explained to my niece that we all have tons of thoughts, some even awful, going through our heads all the time. They are just thoughts. They can't hurt us.

To prove the point she said to my niece, "I'll show you...over the next few minutes, while we are driving I will say out loud all the thoughts I have. So she began:
  • What was she thinking...that dress is awful (seeing some woman dressed in a "bad" dress.
  • Look at him!
  • I'm so hungry
  • Brandi made me so mad today
  • argh, why are people such crappy drivers
  • etc., etc.
My niece started laughing at how her Mom was being so nosy about other people's business. So my sister asked her what the thoughts about sex were. What did the girls say? My niece looked straight at her horrified. "They said babies are made by kissing. That is so gross. It's not true is it?"

I wish my intrusive thoughts were about kissing. Here is how they manifest themselves in me...over and over and over again. I spend a lot of time considering, planning and trying to push myself to commit suicide. I notice, now that I have seen the thoughts written down, trying to find reasons why that might not be a good idea (at least for my dog).

Here is a stream of consciousness example of the thoughts that have gone through my head in the last 5 minutes. I have these thoughts throughout the day, almost everyday.

Please know they are only thoughts. I have had these kinds of thoughts during every depressive episode I have ever had. I have never attempted suicide.

On a huge level I know they are only thoughts...but I feel so worn down by both them and my depression. I wish I could get rid of them. Also, while I am having them I don't feel I am aware they are only feels like I am trying to compel myself to commit suicide.
  • Your life is a waste.
  • kill yourself.
  • do it.
  • you have the means
  • you could take all your hoarded pills.
  • my head is so heavy.
  • I feel sick.
  • I don't want to live anymore.
  • why live when everyday is a struggle to live.
  • kill yourself.
  • you could leave a note on the door for someone to get your dog afterwards.
  • Or you could e-mail dr.x and let him now you are dead and the dog needs help.
  • but that's awful, how could I even think doing that would be okay.
  • imagine how he would feel if I did that.
  • After all he has done for me.
  • I'm evil for thinking the way I do.
  • I just don't know how to keep trying when I feel so depressed.
  • Why do I have to feel like this.
  • I'm not evil, I just can't take it anymore.
  • Why do I never get better.
  • I have done this to myself.
  • I have destroyed my life.
  • I wish I would die.
  • Why do I have to live?
  • Why can't I just go and have everyone know it is better for me to go.
  • I could hang myself.
  • It would feel so good for my head to be gone.
  • that tree in the park.
  • the one with all the huge limbs.
  • I could climb up to the top and...
  • what about Skookum.
  • I could tie him to the base of the tree.
  • Someone would find him.
  • What if a bad person found him?
  • I could leave a note on myself with my sister's #.
  • my sister would take him.
  • what if no one found me soon enough.
  • What if got attacked by coyotes?
  • what if he starved to death before someone found him?
  • I can't do that to him.
  • How can I die and make it be okay for everyone else?
  • It's not like there are many "everyone else's".
  • The people I do love really matter.
  • I wish I could get better.
  • God I am so sick of myself.
  • imagine what it is like for everyone around me.
  • I wish I could be put to sleep.
  • Euthanized.
  • Then I would die and not fuck up and end up brain-damaged and still alive.
  • I couldn't handle that.
  • WTF...I can't handle this.
  • Please make all this stop.
  • etc., etc., etc.

I really am amazed I have lasted this long with such ideas in my head. I just noticed too that I talk to myself in the 2nd I'm distancing myself from my self.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I'm an Afterthought...and that hurts.

I feel like just sitting in my corner chair and staring, or laying in bed all day...waiting impatiently for each minute, each hour, each day to end.

Dr. X says...(I am paraphrasing with my understanding of what he said...I can't remember exactly what he said), I need to hold on to the moments of happiness, or the moments of joy I do have. That if my mood remains like this I need to try to recognize there are moments that I enjoy.

That is not the life I want. I do not feel a life with extended periods of intensely painful and severe depression symptoms punctuated by brief moments worth experiencing is, for me, a life worth experiencing.

I know, and believe that for some people this might work, or sustain them. I think I used to manage by knowing this would pass, and things would get better. I no longer believe that. I am so tired of trying, and failing to get well.

I am so sick of trying treatments, therapy, medicines that never work, tired of trying to explain what is going on to my family (who I love so immensely it hurts). It hurts so much that I love them and need them and want so badly for them to understand me, to reach out, to help me...and they don't seem to get how much I need them.

I was thinking about why, at 44, I still so desperately need my family's approval, love and support. It feels so childish. I realized yesterday that a life is worth experiencing and living if you have someone who thinks of you on a regular basis. It is as though you really exist if someone wants and needs you here. I mean really needs the way I desperately need my family.

I used to feel my Mom was like that. She would call me and ask how I was, and as if I was okay, or wanted to talk. She always had time for me. She went out of her way to love me, to visit me, to include me in all family functions. I remember thinking there was something pathological about how much I needed my Mom all the time. I was very independent and too care of myself, but always there was an underlying need to be loved by my Mom. It seemed unadult like on one hand, but on the other hand her love sustained me through even the worst of the worst.

Now I feel like my Dad and Stepmom see me as the "problem child" and have taken a ..."wait til she hits rock bottom stance" though I were an addict in need of toughlove, rather than mentally ill. I feel as though they actually avoid me.

note: I don't believe addiction is treatable with toughlove...I think it is an illness too. I think all humans need love and compassion to fulfill themselves.

My sisters' have their own family's to worry I am a passing thought. I feel so alone. I feel lie a burden. I feel like I am an afterthought, a sister and daughter who has completely disappointed her family. I feel avoided. I want my Mom back.