Chelsie read me this document in my office last Friday (See “Close Call,” my previous post) and then sent it to me, requesting it be posted on the 90daystochange blogsite. We discussed the ramifications of going public with so much personal information. And she’s determined to see the system change for the sake of others in her situation. After our discussion I felt that I would be getting in the way of her self-determination if I blocked her request in the name of protecting my client.
I also had to overcome my embarrassment about so much praise. You’ll see what I mean. But, like Chelsie, I’m determined to get the whole story out, and in its most potent form.
The thing about this is, I honestly felt as if I was one of the lucky ones in the Mental Health world. Here I had an amazing psychiatrist, an amazing psychotherapist and I was growing, slowly, but growing; I was growing to learn, to cope, to accept, and to change. But this all changed when I received that call.
This call reminded me of why I do not trust people. It reiterated in my mind that NO-ONE really cares about ME. I felt stupid! My thoughts and feelings were as such: How could I have ever believed that my therapist cared about me individually when he has so many other patients, and hey after all, I am just a paycheck right? I couldn’t stop feeling like the battle in my mind was now ready for a war. I found myself in a place that took me years to get out of, and all it took was one phone call to put me right back there, maybe even further. I could not believe that I had allowed this to happen. I put myself out there, I was exposed. My therapist knew me better than I sometimes knew myself and I gave that to him, but obviously none of that mattered to him, otherwise he wouldn’t have just blew me off like dust to the wind. I couldn’t help to think of what a coward he was, he didn’t even have the balls to call me himself to tell me that he couldn’t see me anymore, instead he had someone else do it.
At this point I was angry, alone, and DONE! I am not a stranger to suicidal thoughts, obsessions, and attempts, but I found myself in the unfamiliar territory of planning. I worked out in my head the training I needed to provide to the new staff, as to not leave too much work for my boss in my absence. I was cherishing moments that I honestly felt were going to be my last with people I hold near and dear to my heart. I even found myself reviewing the Life Insurance Policy from work to see if this may help my husband and son pay off bills and help in the financial state of my absence.I had some letters completed to my loved ones, and some that were not, as I could not find the words to say goodbye to my son.
When my psychiatrist called me, I had already known at that point that I was DONE, but I didn’t want him know that. So having the appointment scheduled so far out was actually exactly what I had wanted at that point, this allowed me to have more time to complete my plan. I have a wonderful psychiatrist, but in this moment I felt so betrayed by everyone that I couldn’t risk him knowing that I was in-fact not OK.
After a few of the things that my Psychiatrist had said to me and the overwhelming image in my head of Andy’s brown shoe shaking throughout our entire last session, I felt this urge to just enter Andy’s name into Google. The first listing that came up was his 90daystochange.com blog.
After I had begun reading his blog, it became clear that he IN FACT did not abandon me as it had so strongly seemed, quite the contrary actually, he did reach out for me and he lost his job defending ME! Standing up for ME! Caring about ME! I know that sounds crazy, but the truth is, anyone who suffers with a mental illness is ME! For the first time in my life I felt like I was important and worth fighting for.
If he is willing to put it all on the line and sacrifice his job fighting for me and everyone like me, then do I not owe it to him, to my family, to my loved ones, to myself, and to everyone else suffering with this illness to stand and fight too? I want the world to know that I am never going to stop fighting ever again. I will continue to fight for myself and everyone like me because my therapist taught me how. I will live through the wars in my head, the chaotic thought trains invading all the rails in my mind, and the flashbacks that haunt me at any given moment forcing me to re-live the same nightmares and traumas of my past. I will live, and I will fight every day to give hope to everyone like me that it is possible.
The unfortunate part here is that not everyone has an “Andy” in their life helping them to see how important they really are, how much value their lives hold, and most importantly how to trust and believe that there are people in this world that want to help and are willing to sacrifice whatever they must in order to make it happen. Andy has given me so much more than I could have ever imagined, he gave me life; life by allowing me to express the emotional storms that invaded me, the irrational chaos that would sometimes devour me, the sadness that made my heart feel as if it was going to stop mid-beat when it could not take anymore, the razors I used to release it all when it became more than I could bare, the suicidal states of mind that landed me in terrible places. He let me express it all, as he listened to me and spoke to me without judgments. He constantly reminds me that I am not just crazy. He believes in me and my capability of getting better, he remains the strength in me when I can’t find the strength in myself, and here he is fighting for me when no one else would.
I have suffered at the hands of many, and as a result of that I began cutting at the ripe age of 9. I had learned that physical pain was the only thing that would take away my emotional pain. Although this relief was temporary, it was relief, a break; so to speak. My first suicide attempt was when I was 21. My son was only 4 at the time.My head had convinced me that it would be best if I was gone, and that my son would have a better chance at life without me in it.
It wasn’t long after becoming a Kaiser patient that I had intentionally overdosed on my medications. I felt as if I could not get a break. I felt like I was so severely damaged at this point that I just wanted to sleep: Forever.
People have a tendency to believe that we are capable of dealing with our mental illnesses on our own, that we don’t need help. But I am here to tell you different. I needed help, I still need help, and I will probably need help for the rest of my life. I wish that people would see mental illness as they see other illnesses. I mean really, telling someone with a mental illness to “Get Over It”, or “Stop Being Like That” is LITERALLY like telling someone who’s diabetic to “Produce Their Own Insulin” or telling a paraplegic to “Get Up And Walk”… It’s not realistic, yet it’s not different at all.
You see, we don’t convince people that we are fine simply because we are unwilling to seek help. We do this to protect ourselves, because allowing people to know our true selves leaves us exposed and vulnerable. We are not capable of depending on people because it is people that hurt us to begin with. We are constantly waiting with our guards up in anticipation that harm is coming our way.
Some of the phrases I have heard through my suicidal crazes are “You’re Selfish” or “You’re Weak”, but here is something to ponder: Does living in a mental hell so that you don’t have to hurt, make me selfish? Does waking up every day only to re-live the same terrors and traumas that have haunted me all my life, make me weak? I know I am not “Selfish”. I know I am not “Weak”. But most importantly I know that I need help and that I cannot do this alone, no one can. This is only a small example of how we can rationalize any situation, so choose your words wisely to those you love. These were usually the type of words that helped make it easier for me to want to follow through in my suicidal ideation.
I want to say thank you Andy! Thank you for being such an inspiration to me and everyone like me, and giving us hope that there are people out there that care about us. Words could not begin to express my gratitude to you. I will stand by you through all of this and try to pay forward what you have given me, my family, my friends, and everyone like me; HOPE!
(2 days to go.)