Out-Out Patient

Triggered by a traumatic event a few weeks ago, bipolar depression brought its bags and settled in for a long visit.  This past week I started going to my therapists’ clinic every morning to break up depression’s momentum and build my own form of Out-Patient Care.  I arranged the little alcove they set aside for me—a folding screen and white noise machine to make the patients in neighboring offices feel safe in their privacy plus the high table and chairs.  I brought in my art supplies and a large cushion to sit on the floor, and went about filling the tall, gray walls with words and colors that I needed.  But that wasn’t enough.

Yesterday, my therapist and I discussed how to create a real program that would help me tolerate this depression without resorting to hospital out-patient care.  I find the hospital programs themselves to be helpful, but interacting in the large group model difficult to the point of undoing any good done there.  So here’s what we’re trying first:

My daily schedule will be from 8:30-1:30, five days a week.  Daily, I will work on DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) worksheets dealing with tolerating distress, read one of Megan’s many children’s books and journal about it, and make art—either for the space or in my journal.

I feel a lot of dread and the usual suicidal litany gallops through my mind.  I’m uncomfortable and scattered.  My calendar empties out as I can’t tolerate most people or the pressure of going somewhere at a designated time.  But I did ask a friend to lunch yesterday, even though I phased out after twenty minutes.  Concentration doesn’t last long.

At home, I’ve put my TV in the bedroom, so the cats and I camp out on the bed as I try to work on my Solstice cards while half-listening to my go-to depression binge, Fringe (I just started Season Three).

I’ve also returned to Pinterest, where I can look at pretty pictures and hoard new photos of my Pretend Boyfriends.

Later today, I hope to go see the new Murder on the Orient Express and do my laundry.  That feels like a lot in my current condition, but I’ll try.  It’s really all I can ever do, keep trying, keep looking for new ways to get through the worst of the illness while waiting for the shift to come.

Some days it doesn’t seem like much of a life.  The distorted thinking makes that view darker and more hopeless.  Even then, I can see my courage at work, even when the list of obstacles grows like a Bugs Bunny nightmare.

This is my life.  Mine.  For better or worse.

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dave Proudfit
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 09:28:29

    So sorry that you are going through this Sandy. I don’t think anyone can imagine your distress. I admire your determination, living one day at a time. Keep plugging away. You can make it through this again1


  2. Petru Viljoen
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 09:52:20

    So sorry you’re going through this. I get depressed sometimes too. Concentration goes on a loop. I sit it out and do art.


  3. Linda Noel Schierman
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 10:01:07

    Sandy, your telling — me — what your life is now — is better for me, and better for my worse. I am just now on the outskirts — because I have never met her and won’t be able to — of a dying woman’s life-circle of her man-friend-man-love and so many for whom her being herself with fierce intelligence and courageous integrity, compassion, and humor has affected their lives for the better, even during (hers, their) worse. Reminds me of you, Dear.


  4. Val Boyko
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 13:39:35

    Here’s a ((hug)) for you Sandy 💕


  5. Writer Lori
    Nov 12, 2017 @ 05:53:58

    My heart aches for you, Sandy, as I can only imagine how tough these times must be, and frightening, and lonely. Sending bucket loads of good juju your way….


  6. ahuelon
    Nov 12, 2017 @ 22:02:46

    You are very brave to talk so honestly. I hear what you are saying. I am thankful that I haven’t had a big downer in a long time but remember how lifeless I felt when I did. It will pass but getting there….the wait can be miserable. My thoughts and prayers are coming your way. I remember a trigger moment that ended me up in the hospital a few years ago. My one and only panic attack. Hugs.


  7. Littlesundog
    Nov 17, 2017 @ 11:10:27

    Sending lots of love, my friend.


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