I recently made a public disclosure... of self-hospitalization, of depression and suicidal thoughts, of self-pity...
I received such a wonderful response from family, friends, and acquaintances. It is really great that so many people want to reach out to catch me, when I feel like I am falling uncontrollably into a pit of despair. I won't lie- there are a lot of consequences to face for my actions... I said and did many regrettable things in the months leading up to my eventual breakdown.
In retrospect, the past few months leading up to this point had been building up stress and depression; I increased my workload to an amount that I admitted I could not handle. The loss of an uncle, as well as several other acquaintances, within weeks of each other all hit me pretty hard. And there have been bills looming over my head. I was not dealing with any of it. Instead I started complaining, trying to pick petty disagreements. When I can not handle situations, I start fixating on other minutia. I was not taking care of myself.
The last week, before I checked myself into Friend's Crisis Center, I put my bf through Hell. He was the only one I was willing to tell how desperate I was feeling... The vicious cycle of worries and potential suicide plots that haunts me whenever I fall into that mood... It was a heavy burden for him to bear... to be the only person I trusted.
Part of my depression is shame. I have almost always been ashamed to ask for help, admit I have not read a book, or acknowledge that there are things that I do not know. I have been blessed with intelligence but not with patience or diligence. The first month of each grade or semester in school, I would fulfill my assignments, complete my readings. Then I would quickly come to the conclusion that no one noticed if I simply skimmed a few pages and made occasional good arguments in class instead. My teachers largely taught any information needed to pass their tests. I concluded that any teacher who had failed to do so simply did his/her job rather poorly. Nevertheless, I managed to graduate with a respectable GPA with a MA in Speech-Language Pathology... I gave up on the pipe dream of attaining a PhD when I realized I was over sixty-thousand dollars in student loan debt.
The problems began to accumulate upon one another from there. Shame. Laziness. Debt.
So... what next? I became a musician.
I say I fell into music, like Alice down the rabbit hole. I wandered into an open mic one night, met an amazing community of local musicians and fell in love, literally. Having never played a guitar, I would start writing and performing original music within six months of that experience. Less than a year later, I was performing with a band, being booked in local venues. Even as it was happening, I was in denial, imagining that it might all fall apart the moment I acknowledged it.
Lucrative albeit depressing speech pathology positions in nursing homes afforded me long breaks from working to stay out late, to stay in playing guitar all day, to find myself creatively.
I moved into the city. I set up social networking events for female musicians and artists. I hosted an open mic. I started dating for the first time in my otherwise relationship-centered life. I met an array of people. I stopped recognizing many names saved in my phone. I drank in excess and smoked pot.
Meanwhile, I had finally admitted to my analyst that I had a history of suicidal thoughts. One attempt, when I was 22, pills. The memories of projectile vomiting prevent me trying that avenue again... When I started cancelling our appointments to go to Reiki classes, she released me from her care.
The woman who introduced me to Reiki, Amy, was there that first fateful night at the open mic. Our friendship developed slowly, and some time early in my creative adventure, she offered me a Reiki session. I had hoped for some sort of massage. Instead, she simply placed her hands softly, stationary for 5-15 minutes at a time on my head, chest, hips, and feet. But during these sessions, my mind meditated. I confronted situations that I was afraid to face in reality. I left feeling lighter, more confident. When Amy had to return to her home in England, I took her advice and started taking a Reiki class myself.
It seemed predestined. When I looked at the website Amy gave me, a new class was starting within weeks, and it was discounted 50% off. Not only that, but it was only two blocks south of my analyst's office. The only issue was that the class day and time were the same as my regularly scheduled therapy appointments... After trying to reschedule twice, I received her farewell email from my analyst. She seemed to think I was alright.
I was always running to my analyst, crying for fear that I was crazy. She assured me that I was "not bipolar". The suicide admission had caught her off guard, and she called me on my cell phone shortly after I had left her office that once. But it never became a topic of real discussion. I told her I was finally admitting it because I felt as though I had overcome the urges... and I would not see or hear from her again for another two years.
The Reiki classes were a great substitution. Every week we met and discussed our experiences practicing on ourselves and others and how it was affecting our lives. We practiced on each other. It was like a support group with Reiki. I was learning a lot about myself. I was beginning to take care of myself properly, and I wanted to extend myself to help others as well...
It was a year into my Reiki program that I started dating my bf. Neither of us were looking for a relationship- which I suppose is the perfect time for two people to fall in love. I tried to resist it. I warned him of my tendencies to become overly invested and clingy. I distracted myself with books and guitar lessons... but in recent months, when my Reiki classes ended, and I failed to schedule me-time, I lost myself. I abandoned myself. When I am not being good to myself, I'm not good to anyone.
This week I saw my analyst again, one last time. The hospital could not make other arrangements for my newly recommended therapy- dialectial behavior therapy (DBT) to start until next week. So, they asked her to see me for one session.
It was like a breakup date. I wanted to spew spite at her, "Why didn't you know I was depressed? Why didn't you know I needed anti-depressants? Why didn't you realize I would relapse? You could have saved me from all these awful horrible mistakes!" But I didn't. I know she only knew as much as I told her... and I could not tell her things that I was not ready to admit myself yet.
To not know one's self seems to be a normal human condition... but when I started taking anti-depressants, all I could think was, "Am I normal yet? Is this how normal people feel?"
The professionals at Friend's were surprised by my desire to return home after only four days. (I spent most of the first day in a waiting room and was released on my fifth day in the facility.) In all honesty, I had not recovered. I am still recovering, but I knew that I had exhausted the resources at Friend's. I had to be home; where I would have to confront reality, where there would be choices to make, where everything that I had ignored and mistreated would be present... everything except the one person I want to see most. It's my fault... and now there's nothing to do but accept responsibility and do the work.