Tuesday, 16 September 2014

I have a problem

I wrote this yesterday as an explanation to one of my therapists, in a stream-of-consciousness type e-mail that was meant to clarify my tear-strewn phone-call to her, as to why I couldn't face leaving the house and coming in for group therapy.

Sunday night I couldn't get to sleep. Nothing unusual and not really a problem most of the time; it happens to me once every two or tree weeks, without any identifiable cause (I'm not brooding, nothing's different from other nights, I just don't feel sleepy) and generally I get through the next day without complications.

But on Monday morning I woke up with my heart pounding and a lump in my throat. I couldn't think of a reason why, but I was upset and very emotional. Perhaps I dreamt something, I seldom remember my dreams (by coincidence the last time was only a few weeks ago, but in that I helped fix someone's computer problems.) Probably because I was so fatigued, I didn't manage to roll down the heavy shutters like I would usually do; and started to feel overwhelmed by emotions.

The emotions weren't in any way specific, but I felt very exposed and unsafe. It felt as if every raw emotion that I've been trying to suppress for 41 years had been laid bare. I was afraid I would panic and scared to lose all control.

I tried to 'man up' and make myself go to therapy, but the thought of interacting with people just made me feel worse. I didn't think I could handle all the other emotions rushing in at me, even from strangers (in our phone call I mentioned the bus driver, who could be curt, or very friendly; I feared this would be the straw that broke the camel's back.)

However, somewhere in the rising panic I found a smidgeon of common sense and decided I might as well try to consciously experience it. This is something I talked about with my psychologist*, that I would try (albeit in a more controlled fashion) to allow it to happen and to experience that nothing bad would happen. This too is very scary to me and I am still shaking and my heart's still pounding, but I'm still here. So maybe there's something to it...

For the record: I have suffered several depressive episodes, at the worst of which, in Februari 2012, I was convinced there was nothing else I could do but kill myself. I had been in bed, crying for eight hours straight, I had played in my mind and analysed about eleven different scenarios of how I could kill myself, but with the final spark of hope, or whatever it was, I called a friend and told them I had a problem.

Despite yesterday's setback, I am feeling like I'm well on the road to some semblance of normality.

* I'm seeing, in different capacities: two psychologists, a psychiatrist, a sociotherapist and a dietician. My anti-depressants are prescribed by my GP.

Don't wait as long as I did. Talk to someone before it gets that bad.

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