Yesterday a crack opened in the bipolar depression that’s been at me for weeks. Enough to let me remember to return to basics. Because I’ve looked in the mirror every morning and said to that shocked face, “We’re not going to the hospital this year. We’re not.”
First a call to the group I worked for this past summer—Integrated Health Services. Their whole mission is to keep mental health clients out of the hospitals and emergency rooms. I know I need more support now—I’ve been hearing from my providers all year that I don’t have enough in the best of times. I’m not sure what IHS can do, but I made an appointment for Monday with Rosario, my care coordinator, and with Allison, my peer, to sit and figure that out. They are both kind, heart-centered women. I feel safe going to them. The fact that I was just able to make the appointment helped. Doing something, anything, sometimes helps.
Today I will start using my Daily Plan sheet, the one I created after my partial hospitalization last spring. It will help me focus on small goals and remember to do every day tasks that get waterlogged by the swampy emotions.
I looked at how much money I’ve spent this month and cut back to the essentials. Today I’ll figure a budget to get me through to May (February is just the beginning. March and April can sometimes be even worse). I’ll try to make it something I can live with, not something that will punish me for being sick.
I cleaned out my refrigerator of all the liquefying vegetables and bought a few simple groceries. I swam at the Y. I sat with my fading bedspread for a while and sewed a blanket stitch around the frayed edges with gentle music playing and the cats behind my head on the chair. Henry’s belly makes a gurgling, crackling sound when he’s digesting, and I pressed my ear against his fur to listen while he slept.
My apartment is a sickroom now. No sudden moves. No grand expectations. Everything deliberate and gentle. I must tend to my sleep, get to the Y every day, maintain my journal, plan quiet visits with friends, try to eat fresh food. I will try to keep the structure sound while the storm carries on inside. I will treat myself as someone worthy of care and respect, as someone that I love.