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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Many, Many Starts

Seven months ago I set up this blog and then abandoned it like I had so many things.

Nearly a month later came the crash.

Little did I know how apropos the title of the blog would be.

Since then I've stopped and started many posts that I felt I could not share with most of my friends. The cluttered mind musings became more like a  personal online journal. But I decided a few days ago that sharing might just be what I need to do to complete my journey.

So here it goes (drawing from and expanding upon a few journal postings)...

The crash, Monday, July 19, 2010

Much like I had for months and months on end I started my day by being late for work. It's difficult to explain to someone that's never been there but there was a certain level of me that just no longer cared. I had no energy, all I wanted to do was sleep and given the option I wouldn't have left my house if I didn't have to do so. Often times I would sleep through my alarm somehow turning it off and not caring or bothering to hit snooze. It no longer mattered, I didn't care, I didn't want to care and I didn't have the energy to care. It was the same every day save for a few and those few were never on a work day.

Never in my life had I felt so lifeless. I had no control of my thoughts or emotions and I certainly had no control of my life. I was just getting by - existing but not living.

So, on this day I did the same - overslept and then laid in bed just thinking "you need to get up and go to work." I'd think it, repeat it and then move nary a muscle. Different day, same story.

Eventually, like every day I'd lay there some more and think "what has happened to you?" And then like many, many other days I'd silently cry my thoughts being that this was what every day was going to be like for years and years to come. I was miserable, but I couldn't change it. Getting up meant I'd have to pretend to be OK again and pretending was becoming exhausting. So instead I'd lay in bed and cry and then I'd look at the clock and think if you get up and hurry you can make it almost on time. I'd even started setting my alarm an hour early with the hope that it would be enough time to get my shit together, but all I found was that every day I needed more and more time to face the world.

Eventually I'd know that it was too late to be on time, so I'd get out of bed, walk to my sofa, pull open my laptop and check facebook and then my blogroll and then yahoo news and then Huffington Post and then sometimes I'd start the pattern again. Soon enough I'd notice that Good Morning America, on in the background, was signing off for the morning and well that meant that I should have been arriving at work.

So I'd gather all my energy and then go shower. And then I'd be exhausted again. I'd lay on my bed, glance at the clock and close my eyes. I was already late, what would a few more minutes matter. I had a mantra almost where I'd tell myself to get up and get moving. But I couldn't move.

Eventually I'd move again even though every ounce of me didn't want to so. Some days it took longer than others.

I'd dry my hair, put on make-up, dress and then look at the person in the mirror that looked presentable on the outside, but on the inside was a disaster.

This was the same day I'd lived over and over again for months. I was stuck on a very slow version of repeat.

Somehow I made it to work that day like I had many others. Smile pasted on my face I did the best job that I could. To the outside world I was fine. Once I could finally drag myself from the depths of the doldrums I functioned. I smiled. I pretended.

But that day I broke.

When I look back I suppose that I could see that the days were getting worse. One after the other I was falling deeper and deeper into despair. I was on a very, very fragile string and today was the day that I didn't know it would unravel.

At some point during the day I sat at my desk and tears began to roll down my cheeks. I couldn't stop them. I don't know why they began. I couldn't stop them. The last vestige of control was gone. I wasn't holding it together. My only thought was "what am I going to do now?," because I was no longer holding up the good face once I left the house. So I did something that I did not usually do - I went to my car and took a break (because I pretended that skipping all my breaks made up for my constant tardiness).

I pulled out my phone, hit the browser button for google and typed. I took out a pen, paper and hit the number link so that it would dial the number.

I was at of the lowest points in my life - I felt weak and out-of-control in a way I never had before.

When the person on the other end answered at Saint Vincent Hospital's referral line I told her I needed the number for psychiatrists in the area. I wrote down the two numbers and asked her to transfer me to that department at the hospital. I spoke with a very nice person on the phone and told her I'm on the edge of a cliff here and I don't know what to do - I was ready to drive myself to the hospital, but she advised me to try the private route first, telling me that unfortunately most in-patient programs are so full of drug-addicts and those with psychotic disorders that they would be able to offer me little help.

Through my now constant stream of tears I dialed the first number - disconnected. I dialed the second and was asked if I could hold and then promptly placed on hold before I could even answer. My ears were assaulted with what I could only mildly describe as "circus" music. I hung up hoping that these were not going to be my only options. The lock-down ward in the hospital was beginning to look preferable.

I redialed Saint V's. I spoke with the same, very patient woman and told her that the first number was disconnected, the second didn't look like a viable option and pretty much pleaded with her for another number. The third number was the charm, the first glimmer of hope that I'd had in months. The woman that answered the phone had a voice that soothed me from the moment she began to speak. I told her that I needed to see someone. There was no way that she couldn't hear in my voice that I was sobbing. She didn't have an appointment for a month. My heart sank. I'd finally made the move and yet, it wasn't going to help. She told me the hours and offered that I should come in and fill out the paperwork and that she'd put me on the cancellation list.

Somehow I made it through the rest of the day. There is something to it when they tell you that taking a step really does help. I took another break that day with a very dear, understanding friend and I told her that I'd made a call, I needed help, I was falling apart. It was the first time I'd even thought of admitting my weakness to someone else. And again I cried. She was perfect, understanding and I thought surprised, but maybe it was my hopeful interpretation that my disguise had worked.

I left work that day and drove to the doctor's office. The walk from my car to the door terrified me. I didn't know what to expect. I felt like I shouldn't need help. I felt more weak and broken then I had earlier in the day.

With a deep intake of breath I opened the inner office door and walked to the window. Before I even finished telling her that I'd talked to her today the woman behind the window put me at ease. She handed me the stack of papers and alone in the waiting room I filled in the easy ones first - name, age ... Then came the difficult ones - admitting why I was there.

There I was sitting in a nice black skirt, white and red shirt with decorative lace, a summer weight black crocheted sweater,  black necklace, silver hoop earrings, black ballet flats - looking every bit the put-together woman, but as I filled out question after question the veneer of being put-together was washed away by the tears that ran down my face. I couldn't breath. I was doing this. I was admitting that I was sick on paper when I hadn't really even admitted it to myself. The receptionist took one look at me and said "we need to find an appointment for you this week." I told her that I'd make it to whatever she could find. She told me that I'd love Kelly and found a middle of the day appointment on Wednesday.

When I left I actually did feel better. I'd done it. And I lived through it. I took a step, albeit a very tiny one, but it was the first step I'd taken in many, many months.

Two days later I walked into the office again at 2:15 p.m. - a few minutes early for something, which is clearly something that had not happened in a long, long time.

After an hour and a half of questioning I left there with a diagnosis of "major depressive disorder", the most severe degree of depression (one that is categorized by an inability to work and difficulty dealing with family or friends among other things) and "eating disorder, not otherwise specified / bulimia."

It was a start.

1 comment:

  1. I can relate to this post. That's something, right? I have received the same diagnosis, major depressive disorder. I have twice clawed my way up from the brink, and I live in fear of having to do it again. I credit my therapist with saving my life. You should know that you aren't alone. Best of luck. I have a blog, too. I think you can get there from where I clicked to follow yours. Don't be afraid to ask for help, and don't think of it as any less of an illness than cancer.
    BRENDA

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