I don’t know what to write about today….My mind has been just full of scrambled, rambling thoughts…I stop and write them down…But then what do I do with them? So….I am going to dump them here. These are things I have written over the past few days, so they might have different aspects of my voice and are not necessarily connected.
Lots of different thoughts are sitting deep in my mind…They are kind of like snow globes…I can see them and they are quiet…waiting. But when I pick them up and give them a shake or two…they start whirling around and become chaotic. I love snow globes. Wouldn’t it be interesting if I could learn to love the thinking chaos? Of course, it is rarely the thinking part that gives me difficulty…it’s that feelings part that jolts me and lets the snow globe slip out of my hands and shatter on the floor. Shattered fragments of glass…scattered…Yes, feelings seem pretty dangerous to me. But the Art Therapist keeps pushing and pushing about feelings….And rightfully so. I mean, that’s the whole point of therapy right? I just wish I knew how to do it.
We talked about Mad towards the end of the session Monday….and the Art Therapist wants to talk more about it. I think I can do it…but I know he will find some way to make it harder than I expect. He challenges me a lot…Which wouldn’t be a problem, except when he challenges me…the things he says make sense, even though they don’t fit my schema. And I can’t make them both fit at the same time, so I default to what I know. <sigh> I don’t know…I keep saying that everything about the hardness of Art Therapy is about taking that leap of faith…But sometimes, my feet are just fused to the ground and it doesn’t matter how hard I try, I can’t move them. I guess that is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of being hurt, fear of feeling.
I told the AT that I don’t like Mad because if I look at it closely, I would have to figure out what I am mad at. And I don’t want to do that. If I really look at what I am mad at, I will have to face why I am mad and then all those other feelings will come out in a landslide, just crushing me in the rush. I can’t feel those feelings. I cannot let myself go there. The whole point of not feeling them was to protect myself…How can I feel them now? Doesn’t that mean that I am no longer protecting myself? I don’t know…I used to not feel the feelings to protect myself from what was going on around me…to survive. But now, I think I am protecting myself from the feelings…There is a subtle but qualitative difference there. I don’t know when it changed. And I don’t know what to do with that knowledge.
I don’t know…I am just sort of trying to figure out how things work and fit together…If they even do.
You know, I don’t think I hated myself once yesterday. And I haven’t wished I was dead in probably 5 days….Without those thoughts in my head…It is like I have more space for this other stuff. I could almost handle life without the mood yo-yo. I wish I knew if it was going to last…Past experience says no, that I will crash. But the lamictal, the l-methylfolate, those might actually being making a difference in my brain. And allowing the thinking space. Add the calm I get from the yoga and maybe I have enough things swinging in my favor right now that I can keep my head above water.
This much I am sure of…I am in a better place right now than I was in February when I started with the AT. That is more than I expected would happen…I had sort of written myself off and Art Therapy was my last ditch effort at saving myself. So far, my tenacity is paying off.
Talking to dh about my depression
I am getting better at talking to dh about my depression and depression related needs. I never used to talk to him about it. Not that he didn’t know, he knew I was depressed and about the PTSD and that I went to counseling for it…But I never talked about it. I was sure that it would drive him away. Who wants a crazy, depressed partner? Plus, I didn’t want to burden him with it…I didn’t want him to worry about me. But I have been trying to be more open and since starting with the AT, I have been much more open with dh. I suppose, after being together for some 22+ years, I ought to extend him a little trust, eh?
Dh and I have talked in little bits here and there, but we have also had some really long, more involved discussions…One was about suicide and I told him about my thoughts about why I would kill myself and what I would do to prevent myself from killing myself if I thought I was truly suicidal and how sometimes it just hurts to be alive…so much so that killing myself seems like the only relief. We had another talk while picking blueberries a couple of weeks ago about the AT and Art Therapy and some art I had done as a child and my old art journals….It was nice to just talk it out with dh.
I still worry sometimes that I say too much…But dh has made it abundantly clear that he is here for me and wants to support and help me and that he loves me just the way I am. He doesn’t seem to want to run away from my issues…So, I keep talking. Plus, dh reads my blog…So, he has a starting point for conversation as well which I good. Sometimes, I need a little nudge to get going.
That Appointment Last Week with my Physician
The doctor did not give me another PHQ-9, instead she just cut right to the quick and asked me about suicidal ideation and self-harm. (This must be the most important part of the PHQ-9 for her.) I tolerated her questions and answered them. She seemed to have been somewhat reassured by her phone conversations with the AT and my PNP, which is good. You know what I did tell her? I told her, “I am 90% sure that if I did feel like I was actually going to kill myself that I would ask for help.” She seemed to like that answer. She also made a clear point of saying that she is available if I need her and that I can always call. So, that gives me three options for asking for help…And really, I have four because when I had my suicide discussion with dh, he was also very clear that he wants to me to tell him if I need help.
And that left-over 10%? That’s the part that scares me…Because I can imagine being in a place that I feel so hopeless and so dark that I will just not care enough to ask for help. Hopefully, I am moving farther and farther from that possibility, so it won’t be an issue.
Selecting the Art Therapist
When I started Art Therapy in February, I was desperate. I was beyond the end of my rope…I had just thrown away my stockpile of pills (“Suicide in a Bottle” was what I called it.) because I was scared for myself because of myself. Would I have really killed myself? I guess not…since I made the choice to get rid of the pills…but the fact that I had to get rid of them because they were so tempting…Well, that was a pretty dark place. I must have done that the week or so before I started with the Art Therapist….Honestly January and February were so bad that the timeline just blurs…All I really remember was unrelenting snow and 60 miles each day commuting on ice and snow covered roads.
My desperation led me to cold-calling for a new therapist. Cold-calling is not my style. Heck..I hate making phone calls period…much less cold calling therapists. I had seen an employment ad for a therapy group in the City that had a position open for a new therapist and I read over the ad and thought, “That looks like the kind of place that would have good therapists.” I went to their website and browsed through the therapists’ bios. There are lots of choices there…I think 10ish therapists, but I was drawn to the Art Therapist because of the art aspect. I was tempted to skip over him because he is a man. So, I googled other Art Therapists in the area, of which there are very few.
So, I put some time into researching the AT. He has his bio in several different places…Each bio ever so slightly different (tailored to the audience of the websites)…and I liked what I read. And then of course, I used the Heidi litmus test…I looked at his picture. I can usually tell just by a picture if a person is going to work out for me. Yup, he passed that test too. It took me a few days to wrap my head around calling him…but I put on my big girl pants and made the awful call and left him a message.
And he didn’t call me back.
I was still working then, and was out of the house for about 11 hours a day and had given him pretty tight parameters for a return call. But he hadn’t called. I almost wrote him off. The last time I started with a new therapist, it took me 6 calls to different people before I could find a therapist accepting new clients…And some of them just plain never called me back. (And none of those were cold calls…All of those were referred by the therapist I as leaving.)
After about a week…I was left with two choices. Find someone else and cold call again…..Or put the big girl pants back on and call the Art Therapist again. Neither choice thrilled me. But I figured I would feel just as awkward calling the AT a second time as I would cold calling a different person. So, I called him. And left a message again.
And…he called me back.