There was so much more I wanted to say today. I wanted to tell you about how that theme of feeling like a problem has carried over into being here at school like in tuition, books, transportation, counseling/therapy and medication, ER trips and hospital stays, etc. My mind always goes to the “solution” of not existing anymore and sometimes to the thoughts of I should have just kept everything in and to myself when I got to college and not gone to counseling or to the health center for meds or to the hospital for treatment and safety…
You said in our last session that it wasn’t my fault that my parents kept adding kids, that I didn’t choose to get more siblings, but…I did ask for siblings. I told my parents I wanted a sister, and then we moved and built our house for a family of four and adopted my sister. I insisted on helping out with taking care of her even though I was barely four. My parents thought they were done after her, but a couple years later I told them I wanted a brother and that I was praying for one. And then they had my brother. That’s when my mom’s health started to go downhill, but I didn’t know it at the time. Again, I insisted on helping out with him. Then a few years later, after adopting the next one, I basically took on taking care of him because I thought I wanted to. Looking back, I did want to take care of him, but I also got attention because of it. My mom was really sick around that time, and my dad was always at work, so it worked out that I wanted to take care of him. At our homeschool group and church, I’d get so much attention because of him, but it was, I guess, indirect attention. People would comment about him and how I was such a good big sister and that he must be really lucky to have me and things like that, so they were mainly focused on him, but I’d still get some attention and affirmation, but it wasn’t because of my being or anything I was, so I think that made it easier to accept. Then, when we fostered and adopted my youngest brother, my mom’s health was finally improving, but I still insisted on helping with him, so much so that in public, people could have (and probably did) mistaken him for my kid. Because my parents had to go to so many meetings for foster care training and for work and homeschool group things, I had to watch my siblings a lot of the time when I about 16ish-18ish, and so I always thought that I wanted to or didn’t mind, but looking back at it, I did mind because my brothers were always so out of control and badly behaved when my parents weren’t around, but I of course didn’t want to be inconvenient, and I don’t think I really ever had a choice, because if I didn’t, then they couldn’t do the things they had to do for me and my siblings. I also was relieved when my mom left the house because then I wouldn’t be criticized for anything or have the stress of my misbehaving brothers angering my mom. While I know it wasn’t ultimately up to me whether my parents had more kids or not, and it wasn’t my fault, I don’t really know how to process it, because I wanted that to happen…I don’t know. I don’t know how to make sense of it.
I think I’ve finally found the words to accurately describe how it feels to talk about my family, my parents more specifically. It feels like I’m gossiping (even though I know it’s not) or talking bad about them behind their back. It always feels wrong to say anything bad or potentially critical about people, especially my parents, even if they’ll never know about it. I know my parents are flawed, as is everyone, but I don’t feel like I can talk about them because I know they were/are trying their best and doing everything they could/can.
In the past few sessions, I have really struggled to stay present. It was more difficult than it has been in the past, and maybe that’s because the things we’ve been talking about have been more sensitive than those in the past. A few times I just wanted to completely give in to my mind and slip away, and was extremely close to giving in, but was kind of scared of what might happened if I did; I mean it’s been working to keep me present, but also, I don’t want to be scared about that. I know the thing I’m afraid of happening is not likely to happen again since we’ve established the toe tapping. That’s also been extremely helpful with bringing me back to the present. But back to wanting to give in to disappearing into my mind, it’s been more and more tempting and seemingly safe to slip away into memories and self-criticism.
I don’t really know why but it seems that it’s much easier for me to talk at your office on campus than it is at your other office off campus. I like the one here at school better because it’s darker and a bit homier than the other one with the lamps that give that soft, warm yellow light and all the books – which I used to help ground myself by reading the titles and just being around a lot of books feels more comfortable. And maybe it was a factor too that it was super dreary and rainy outside which is comforting and one of my favorite types of weather, and it was getting darker. It’s strange; it seems that I always open up and talk more, or at least I feel more willing to talk and be open, when the weather is like that. I love the rainy, overcast atmosphere. It’s the perfect weather for staying inside, staring out a window, and introspecting. My mom also really likes overcast weather, and we joke sometimes how it’s our British blood showing through. My great grandmother immigrated from England through Ellis Island when she was about three, and the many British traditions and tendencies like that I guess have survived and been passed down through that side of my family.
Since being home, my anxiety has been really weird and not letting me eat properly, so I’ve been restricting and starving unless I’m the only one home, and even then, I’m either restricting or binging. It’s been extremely difficult to keep with healthy patterns, more difficult than normal, and the holidays definitely don’t help, and I know it’s just because I’m home and around family and fear being judged or criticized, but it makes me fear for when I get back from the next breaks and when I’ll come home for summer and eventually when I graduate and have to move back home. My mom’s plans for me when I graduate is for me to move back to my home town and stay with my grandmother, so I don’t have to pay rent while I work and pay off my student loans but now that I think about those plans, I don’t want to do that. I’ve thought about it more over the past couple of days and about what I want to do. I’d like to get an apartment or something with a friend or two who are likely live somewhere in the three cities surrounding my school.
I know I don’t have to figure it all out right now, but it’s weighing on me, and I think I need to at least begin thinking about what would be best for me. On the one hand, I know a ton of people here at home, and I can live rent free with my grandmother and have my physical needs met like food, housing, transportation etc, but on the other hand, my mental health support system is in out near school like my psychiatrist and therapy (and even if by the time I graduate, we aren’t meeting anymore, I’d probably go back to meeting with Hank) and friends. There’s a bunch of job opportunities right now, and apartments near school are so much cheaper than apartments here at home. I know several of my friends plan on staying and living out there, and there’s already been talk about living together, plus all my healthcare providers are out there too. So, while it’s more economical to live at home, I don’t know if it’s worth the toll it’ll take on my mental health.
We went by circuit court today with grandmother so she could bring them See’s chocolate for Christmas, and I got to see everyone. I miss working there and the people and seeing everyone again that makes me want to go back to work there, but at the same time that’s one of the few things that makes me want to be home, and there are so many more reasons that make me want to stay out in the valley.
A friend from church and my grandmother’s work treated my grandmother to lunch after church and invited me as well. We were there for at least two hours, with the two of them talking about the men in her life, and her potential boyfriend and her work. Then she went on to talk about how much she cared about me and how I was their baby/grandbaby, them referring to the older ladies of the church. My grandmother posted on our church’s women’s Facebook page when I was in the hospital in November and then two weeks after that when I went back to the ER with similar abdominal pain and possible surgery complications, but instead turned out to be right ovarian cysts which were supposedly completely unrelated. My grandmother kept everyone posted on how I was doing, and apparently, so many people were really concerned about me. At church, several people came up to me to ask how I was doing and if I was better and that they were so sorry I had to go through all that. One even started tearing up about it when she talked to me because she was so concerned about me.
Seven weeks without cutting
12/24/19 – Christmas Eve – 3pm
My sister picked me up on her way home from work, so I could spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my family. Every year, we have our Xmas dinner on Xmas Eve, so the plan was that a little bit after when we got home, we would have dinner as a family. My mom and brothers were finishing up with preparing dinner when my sister and I were on the way home. After about a half hour, we arrived and my oldest brother came out to the car before we went in and said something to the effect of wanting to get out of here, meaning he was so annoyed and fed up of our parents and younger brothers and wanted to leave to get away from them. After that short conversation, my sister and brother went inside while I went to find my feline beasts who are banished outside, then I took my stuff inside, so I could put it all down and find the beasts who are allowed inside.
When I walked in, I could feel tension in the air, and after about thirty seconds of silence, I became aware of the conflict and negativity frustration from my parents as they continued arguing/fighting. For about half an hour, I managed to keep myself busy enough so that no one could tell the arguing was bothering or affecting me, but then I couldn’t keep myself composed any longer, and the tears started to fall. I tried to hide it and went to the bathroom to get a tissue to pretend like I was just blowing my nose or something, and I tried to pull myself together and hide the red blotches and tear stains with my hair. As I was doing that, my mom called us kids and told us dinner was ready and that we could eat. But as my sibling came together, my mom said she was leaving, and she put her shoes on, grabbed her keys and left. Right before she walked out, one of my brothers asked her where she was going. She said she didn’t know, then walked out the door. It was just like that time I wrote about in a previous entry when I was younger, and my parents were fighting, and my mom grabbed a bag and packed some things and left. This caused me to fall apart, and so I went upstairs, but since I don’t have a room anymore, I had nowhere to go where I could hide and break down in solitude where no one could see or hear me, so I had to resort to hiding in the bathroom. I tried to remain silent as my siblings were on the other side of the wall in my sister’s room, and I didn’t want them to hear me.
While I was in there, I heard my mom come back inside, and my sister called my brothers into her room, so they could watch a show or listen to music or something to spare them from having to listen to my parents argument. I unfortunately couldn’t avoid hearing them argue since the bathroom I was in is directly above the kitchen, I could hear almost everything. It sounded like my mom was fed up with trying in their marriage since nothing she does to try to improve it or help it works, and she’s tired of trying and just doesn’t care anymore. It sounded like she wanted to give up on their marriage. My dad is also tired of all the problems they’re having, and there’s sometimes when it seems like he’s done with their relationship. This went on for about another hour, then we all were called downstairs for dinner. My siblings went downstairs, but I still couldn’t pull myself together so I didn’t join right away, and because I didn’t, my mom kind of freaked out and sent my sister to check on me and then my dad and so I had to go downstairs even though I was still crying. I was still emotional halfway through dinner, and I didn’t want to eat or be there; I just wanted to disappear and be somewhere where I didn’t have to physically suppress my emotions. My urges to cut were the highest they had been at in a while, but I couldn’t do anything because I had no tools to do so, so I tried to distract. They have continued to persist, and I’ve tried to resist.
Later that evening, my brother was extremely rude to my mom, and there was more tension and arguing and hurt, and I could not wait for the night to end and for everyone to go to sleep, so I could be alone to process everything because I was feeling overwhelmed. I don’t know how to describe the pain I was feeling other than that it felt like my family was falling apart. I guess maybe I was feeling the fear of the unknown of what will happen with my parents and if they’ll separate. Things just seem to be getting worse for them as time goes on, and I don’t know how much longer they’ll be able to deal with their problems.
Relapsed moved to a new easily disclosable location – I told myself I wouldn’t do anything until I got back to school because I couldn’t risk anyone seeing, and I didn’t have anything I could use to cut, but then I remembered I had a razor that I could take apart. I felt so desperate to cut and interrupt the storm in my mind for a little while. Both fortunately and unfortunately, it helped, and I felt better afterwards. For the entire day yesterday and all day today, I laid in bed and slept and fought with my mind. I was hoping to make it to at least nine weeks before I did anything and even eleven weeks because of this theatre trip coming up the week after our first week back.
Speaking of pain, when I was in the ER in November, when waiting for tests to come back, I was in a lot of pain, so they gave me morphine to help with the pain, and that was a wild experience. I can totally see how people can become addicted to meds like that. The nurse who gave it to me said that he had to inject it into my IV slowly because if I got it too fast it could make me blackout or something. I don’t remember exactly what he said because as he was saying that my vision started to go crazy and I was seeing stars and bright lights and the room was swaying and I felt like I was floating. My anxiety was gone, and I was talking and rambling to Bethany about how I was feeling. After a few minutes, that swaying and bright lights stopped, and I was mostly present again. I don’t remember most of what I said during those couple hours when I was under the influence of that drug, but it was so blissful and part of me craves that again.
Since I was in pain before going to the ER, I wasn’t quite as focused on my depression, and it gave me a small amount of relief. Then when I got to the ER, the morphine taking away my anxiety – and the majority of my comprehension and awareness – for a short while. When I had to go into surgery, I of course, had to be put under anesthesia, and this may sound weird, but I enjoyed it. The peace I felt from not being aware of anything, being asleep and almost completely free from life and reality, no stress dreams or insomnia waking me up every half hour, complete bliss and detachment from my head and mind, no pressure from the outside world for anything, nothing expected of me for those few hours and a couple hours after when coming off the drugs, falling asleep almost instantly, mind completely blank and free from my depression and anxiety, waking up slowly with nothing expected of me or nowhere to be, nothing to do, it was so peaceful and part of me craves that again, so much so that I’m actually looking forward to the next procedure I have to have at the end of January. It makes me wonder if that’s what death will be like. I mean I know it’s not because of what I believe, but there’s that part of me wonders about it. Then I think well maybe that’s what being in a coma is like. Not dead but not conscious and no responsibility or expectations from the world, not having to deal with the annoyances of my mind. Then that leads me to wonder about overdosing and just how much and of what it would take to cause a coma, but then I worry about what would happen if it didn’t work and how it could just cause a ton of health problems that could potentially cause death. That leads me to think about another way that I have thought about way too much. Slitting my wrists and bleeding out just enough to be unconscious for a while and then probably hospitalized for a while. It’s so stupid and irrational for me to be thinking like this and about this, and I know I can’t keep dwelling on it or hoping for it to happen because I need to be focusing on moving forward in recovery and life, but it keeps creeping in.
I’ve been struggling quite a bit over the past week or so with several of the days consisting of me sleeping for the majority of the day, consuming little to no nutrition, doing absolutely nothing. I’ve tried to write over break, but I haven’t really been able to. I can’t seem to find the right words for what I’m feeling or wanting to say. I was planning to do so much writing over break like finishing my play, updating my blog, writing more for this update, but that didn’t really happen. I’ve lost all energy to do anything again which is not helpful for the beginning of this next semester.
As I finished up writing and editing this, my mind is trying to convince me not to send this or share any small bit of this is any way or even return to meeting. I’ve been wanting to isolate and push everyone away; I’ve stopped putting any effort into communicating with friends or reaching out for support. Taking meds has been extremely difficult and has definitely been contributing to all this. I’m trying to tell myself that all these irrational things I’m thinking are not actually true, and even though my mind doesn’t want to share anything, I know it’s best if I do.