Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It's hard to look back... TRIGGER WARNING!!!

I've been doing a lot of reflecting on suicide the past week. I posted some of my journey a couple of weeks ago and since then, this experience has burrowed itself back into my conscience. Even though it has been almost 3 years to the day that I attempted to kill myself, I remember how hopeless my life had become. My family was on the verge of eviction because of me. In order to protect them from losing our house, I forged a check on my father's account to cover the rent. In my delusion, I believed that with my death, all of this would be worked out between them. This was the first time, after several previous attempts over my lifetime that I made a very specific plan. It was also the first time that I wrote a good-bye note. I left it for my children on a large white board in their bathroom. The manner in which, I attempted isn't important. If you have been reading my blog, it is easy to deduce. I drank a 5th of whisky and proceeded to do what I had set out to do. Once I felt that I was close to passing out, I sent a text to both my father and my husband saying good-bye. Perhaps subconsciously, this was a means to have someone save me before it was too late.

The events that followed are all a blur. I know that my step-mom rushed over, then my dad, then my husband. I know that my mom stopped by to give me something and walked into a scene that she never expected. I know that my sister (or someone) called 911 and police and paramedics arrived. I know that my husband had to physically hold me down and stop me from injecting an entire pen of insulin on top of what I had already done. I don't remember the ride to the hospital. I don't remember the hospital at all. I don't remember being treated and getting stitches. I don't remember the ride to the mental hospital and being put on a automatic hold. Yet, this is where I woke up the next day. What followed after that was a life changing moment. As irrational as it may seem to the outside world, I finally felt that someone understood my hopelessness. I felt that my silent screams were finally being heard.

I was not allowed to leave right away. I missed one of my best friends weddings. I tried to reach out to my mom but was met with hostility. I know that my dad and step mom visited me, but I can't remember what we talked about. I assume that I apologized, but I admittedly was so angry with them. My husband came to see me as much as he could during visiting hours. I spoke with my children, but again, don't remember what was said except an apology. I bonded with the others that were hospitalized with me because we all had something in common, although I also became angry that certain resources were not provided that I know were needed. For example, there was no individualized therapy. Yes, there were group classes, but they were optional. Of course, by not attending group sessions, it would automatically prolong your stay at the hospital. There was also a gap in the needs of each patient. Some specifically were dealing with suicidal issues. Some were severely mentally incapacitated and needed 24 hour watch, care and treatment. Some were dealing with depression while others were battling delusional thoughts. There isn't a "one size fits all" treatment for everyone struggling with mental illness. Finally, I felt that it was easy to manipulate the staff. On some level, I think that is probably what I did. Manipulation was a long time skill that I had mastered. I don't believe that during this time, it would have been easy for me to just "stop" this behavior.

Once I arrived back home, so many things changed. Aside from my relationship with my dad and step-mom being strained (they filed grand theft and forgery charges against me), my relationship with my half-sister and half-brother being severed (they were angry for what I had done to their parents), the relationship with my mother going into a tail-spin and the trust being destroyed in my marriage, I dove into a deeper depression because of my guilt. However, I did discover at the hospital that medication helped me to cope better than I had ever coped before. I also forced myself to start counseling. It was a struggle because of many circumstances that occurred after, but it was the beginning of a new life for me.

I continue to struggle with my depression, PTSD and personality disorders, but I am better than I ever was. I no longer have thoughts of suicide or suicide ideation. For me, I know that without medication and intensive therapy, I wouldn't be able to say this. I hope that there is a day that I will no longer need medication to be stable and "happy", however, I also know that my journey may take years to get to this point.

At the end of the day, I do know that it is possible to move beyond wanting to hurt yourself and/or leave behind all of the pain. It takes commitment but most importantly it takes an understanding that, if you suffer from any kind of mental illness, it is imperative to find a way to manage your symptoms. Like I said earlier, there is no "one size fits all" treatment to do this. It could take trying several different tools, lots of frustration and a time of struggle, but if you push yourself to want more than where you are now, it can be done.

*images have been borrowed from other sources.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Letting him go...

A few months ago, I wrote this about the man that I thought just might be the one....

"It wasn't as much a moment as it was an enveloping of my heart. We met in a place where I deepened my walls, while those with binders, Sara McLaughlin music and the familiar gaze of understanding, were encouraging me to disassemble my house. He had to be as broken as I, yet we stood side by side and the cracks in each of us opened into each other, first gently, than with a flaming rage. It was not to be, as we both had demons to settle and mountains to climb. Yet, quite possibly due to fate or perfectly imperfect timing, our missing puzzle pieces fell haphazardly into the well of our unattainable love. He is far and I am here, but my heart has held him all these years in that place no one but he can see. The moment is not so much that I know now, that I loved him then. It is more that I know he held my heart, locked away in the darkest, most vulnerable part of his center, until he could find me again."

Knowing that I am a writer, we would talk about how I should write about our story. We met about 12 years ago. We were both taking part in a 3 month self awareness workshop. Go figure! We hit it off instantly. There was definitely an attraction. We were also both very vulnerable during this time as we were opening up wounds. Deep, deep wounds. Halfway through this 3 month period I became engaged to the man I had been seeing. I knew that I was in love with my fiance', but there was a part of me that fell hard for this man that I hardly knew. There was a connection that I couldn't explain, nor did I understand at the time. I knew that his feelings were very strong for me, maybe even that he had fallen in love with me, but I was otherwise involved and I was committed to my relationship. I've often wondered if I made the right choice. When we talked about it years later, he told me that he thought he would have been the better man for me. Maybe he would have. Yet, if I think that way, there are pieces of my life that I wouldn't have. Pieces that I wouldn't change for anything. 

Throughout my marriage, we kept in touch periodically as friends. I never really stopped loving him, but our circumstances and our timing just didn't allow for anything to ever happen between us. My husband knew how he felt about me and I think he believed that if I wasn't with him, I would run to this "other man". He's probably right. Fast forward 12 years and the chance for us to reconnect was finally an option as I had gotten divorced. He made plans with me twice to get together after months, I suppose, of waiting for me to be ready. I cancelled both times. It was just so scared because I knew that I loved him. I wasn't in an the right emotional space to have any idea of what to do with those feelings. Regardless of whether he felt the same way or if he rejected me, I knew that both options would bring back the chaos in my head that I had worked so hard to manage. Unfortunately, I had no idea what my rejection of him had done to his heart. There was a part of me that assumed he would always be there, that maybe this was what he had been waiting for all of these years. That he would continue to wait. I couldn't have been more wrong. 

Just after the New Year, a couple of months after our second failed attempt of getting together, I woke up with this overwhelming urgency that I had to be with him. It was unexplainable. I just knew that I was in love and I couldn't hold back any more. I contacted him that day, and we connected every day after that until we finally got together towards the end of January. You see, he lives in another state so in many ways this relationship was safe for me. I could love him,  yet still have a distance, a disconnect if I needed to. Seeing each other after so many years reconfirmed for me that he was what I wanted and I would do anything I could to make up for our lost time. That "dream" was shattered when I realized he wasn't ready for me. Bad timing had struck again. I don't know if it was his demons from the past or the present that kept him emotionally unavailable to me. I do know that we both became very good at pretending that this "relationship" was something. However, I kept believing that his interest in me would inspire him to fight his way back to himself and in turn he would fight for me. There were moments that it actually seemed as if this was happening, but looking back, I can see that all of the clues were there. He would disappear for days on end. He would ignore my phone calls, texts, emails. Then he would come back and shower me with all of the love that I assume he was able to give. 

This last time was the longest. On the one hand I understand where he is coming from because I've been depressed. I've been lost. I know how devastating it can be to just get through the day. On the other hand, I felt my self esteem starting to drop. I needed him to fight for me. I needed him to be my knight in shining armor. All the work that I had done the past couple of years was slowly diminishing. His rejection of me was bringing up those old voices telling me I'm not good enough, that I would never be enough for any man. At first I tried to ignore it and act like nothing was wrong. In my head this seemed like a good idea. When he finally did respond after a week of me having a one way conversation, I let him back in, no questions. He even told me that I was too good for him. That should have been my first clue to stop this before my head was completely under water. Fast forward 5 days (with no contact from him again), I tried to lure him in by reiterating my loyalty, that I would wait for him no matter how long it took.

Then today I read an article about loving an unavailable man and I realized beyond a shadow of a doubt I have to let him go. He was never going to be motivated to become available to me as long as I kept myself available to him. So, I let him go. 

I thought I knew what it felt like to have a broken heart. I didn't until now. I can physically feel my heart breaking. It is as if a weight is lying on my chest and I can't breathe. I've cried a lot today and my guess is that I will cry a lot for the next few days. I know that I have to find a way to stay strong when every part of me wants to drown. I know I have to resist the urge to cut myself when the emotional pain wells up in me and consumes my soul. I know that letting him go is my only choice if I want to be happy. I also know that I wasn't prepared to feel like this yet. I remember telling him not to break my heart because I wasn't strong enough. It was too soon during my recovery to go there. I needed him to know that we were headed towards a real relationship or I had to stop fooling myself. When I think of that conversation we had months ago, I kick myself because if I'm being honest, the moment I asked him not to break my heart was the moment I knew, I knew that he would. 

I want desperately to be able to trust a man again. At this juncture I don't know if I can. I am a beacon for broken men. I suppose that ultimately that says a lot about me. I am still broken and I honestly don't know if I have the strength to put these new pieces back together again. Today it hurts. It hurts so fucking bad.