Sometimes you just can't.
Wow, it is so much harder to ask for help than it is to give help!
For almost a year, I have been writing, reading, drawing, researching, posting and so much more to provide support and education to people with serious mental illnesses and their loved ones. Somehow, along the way, I began to think I was past all this. That I would never need to use these skills myself. I had done it all, and now it was time to pass it on.
That is so false.
It has been a really, really rough week. It feels like rapid cycling except I never get the “up” part. It’s more like a cripplingly depressing day, followed by an “okay” day, followed by a crippling depressing day. I have so many coping skills, but I can’t use most of them because I am so depressed that it’s too hard to even start.
I had to cancel some plans. I had to schedule extra appointments. I’m just trying to avoid the hospital. I can’t afford it. It’s $1800 a visit, and I am already way in over my head when it comes to money. Not to mention the emotional, traumatic effects of a hospital stay.
My support team is amazing, but they are not available 24/7. Today I became so desperate that I called 988.
I was terrified to call, because I was sure they were going to send me to the hospital, but they didn’t. They supported me. They acknowledged me. They helped me remember some easier coping skills to use (going outside, taking a shower, watching a funny tv show) until my anti-anxiety med kicked in. They said maybe if you try these things, you will get to the point of being able to use some of your more demanding (but more effective) coping skills…like writing.
I am so glad that I called. When we were done talking, she asked me on a scale of 1-5 what my anxiety was when I first called and what it was now I realized I was at a 5 when I called and a 3.5 now. That may not seem like a lot to you, but for me, it was the difference between imminent hospitalization, and being able to hang on for a few more hours.
They even set up a time to call and check on me tomorrow. Tomorrow is a national holiday, but they are there 24 hours a day.
It was so humbling to make that call. To realize, even though I say it all the time, that I am not “cured”. That I am going to have bipolar for the rest of my life, and that there are going to be good days and bad. To come to grips with the fact that sometimes I am going to have to go to the hospital. I will do everything I can, but at some point I don’t have a choice anymore. People make choices for me.
I try to be so encouraging. I have always been a great cheerleader. But today I am struggling. I’m really, really struggling. I am determined to turn 40 in 21 days. I am determined to publish my book. But right now, I am struggling to just get through the next hour.
So, I guess what I am saying, is that right now I need your encouragement, your love, your prayers. I don’t have it in me to encourage everyone else. Today I need help. It won’t always be like this. Probably soon I’ll be feeling great. But right now, it is, and I need help.
I always see people posting “IYKYK” or if you know you know. This sums it up so perfectly. If you have ever been so depressed that just getting out of bed is an effort…that staying alive is harder than deciding what you’re going to make for dinner…you know. I’m sorry you know, but you know. And maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to cheer you on. But today I can’t. And that’s okay.