I just wanted you to know that this is me trying
My psychiatrist released me into the wild a year ago. She was very sick, and she needed to stop practicing. I miss her terribly. She saved my life, my marriage, my sanity. At our last session she told me she was proud of me and that I was going to be okay. For the last year I have been doing my best to make sure I don’t let her down. That I keep pushing forward and using all the tools she gave me to keep my head above water.
I have to admit, with Covid it’s been a really big struggle for me not having her to talk to. To assure me with her kind smile and gentle laugh that I’m going to be fine. As many folks know I struggle with suicidal ideations and sometimes they’re overwhelming. I have been waiting to leave this flesh prison since I was a small child and even on my best days it is still a whisper in my mind that I want to leave, that I’m done. Watching the world turn further into a dystopian hellscape over the last few months hasn’t helped. But I made a promise to my husband and here I will stay.
I keep the Doc in my mind every day as I keep pushing forward. She spent a decade helping me untangle my trauma. Helping me connect the dots on my behaviour and coping strategies. She taught me how to love myself, and in that I was able to learn how to love other people (and let some people go because I realized the love wasn’t there). To create these lasting bonds that just hold me close and keep me safe. That ensures you know you’re not alone in this vastness that can seem so overwhelming at times.
I am really thankful that I landed myself in the job I have now before she released me. I am not sure if I’d be sitting here if I was still at my other job. I was reaching the end of a very precarious place and I could feel the path crumbling at my feet. But with my new job I found solid ground. I found a job that came with a welcoming group of people who make going to work a joy and a boss who is a unicorn. It is not often I find people who understand me and who find my quirks and weirdness a positive rather than a negative.
I would not have this job if it was not for the Doc though. Before I was placed in her capable hands I lived on the defensive. I refused to let people in, and I saw kindness and being nice as a character flaw and not something I would ever engage in. Only stupid people opened themselves up to that kind of hurt I thought. However, 10 years with the Doc, a good cocktail of medication, and some excellent strategies I realized that kindness was really a super power. That life just felt so much more authentic when I was being kind, rather than defensive and cruel.
That kindness was what my boss saw, and why she hired me. She told me later that she knows she could teach me the skills needed to do my job; but she couldn’t teach me kindness. I like to think I’ve been thriving at my new job. I still have my mental health days where I just don’t want to leave my bed. Where if it feels physically painful to leave the apartment. However, once I get to work and get myself settled in, greeted by the warmth of my coworkers it just melts away.
It is really thanks to my job and my core group of people that have made this whole pandemic bearable. I cannot imagine the people who are doing this alone. I don’t think I could do it by myself with that much isolation. I think we’re all finding our ways to cope, to find purpose. A new normal. Whatever the fuck that means.
The one big challenge for me is that I become really insular when I have a lot of time to myself. As much as I love my friends I struggle with staying in contact and maintaining those bonds. I have done my best; but I know I’ve failed quite a few times. I am so thankful that my friends are understanding and know that if I go radio silent it isn’t because of them. Though, it is something I need to be better at. Reciprocal relationships are the key to healthy relationships in my opinion.
Relationships and job aside I am still often overwhelmed by the impending sense of madness, hopelessness and sadness. Which loops us back to the suicidal ideations that can grow to a scary size in my brain. However, I just keep reminding myself that Plan A can’t be enacted so we have to wait. I do my exercise of crying, and letting my anxious mind run wild for a set period of time before I work to put it all in the trash after making sure I understand that it’s anxiety and not truth. Then I move on to distracting myself with something I enjoy, reminding myself of my purpose here. Acknowledging my weight and the space I take up and that I’m allowed to be here. That i’m safe. That I’m loved.
I didn’t trust the Doc when she said I was going to be fine. How could I possibly be FINE without her guidance, her care, her leading me to the truth. However, it was the last leap she asked me to take and assured me that I would be fine. And she was right (she usually is). I am fine. Some days I am even excellent. Other days I’m a puddle of despair. But mostly – I’m fine. I keep my chin up. I keep my trauma untangled and neatly put away understanding the correct place to store it. I know how to treat it. I know how to add new trauma to that storage and keep it neatly labeled. How to keep myself safe, with help from my loved ones.
As one year ticks by I think she’d still be proud of me. Of my progress. Of my strength. I went to see her for the first time to save my relationship, and I stayed to save myself. Therapy is not a perfect solution, it requires a lot of trust and a good fit. I am so thankful that she was where I landed. That she was exactly what I needed to learn how to be okay. How to allow myself to be kind. I really love that woman, and the gift she gave me. Her kindness, endless cups of tea, sharp fashion sense, and beautifully coiffed hair.
Thank you Dr M. I will keep working at making you proud.