A-boingggg!

I wasn’t quite sure how to write that bouncing sound, but “a-boingggg” seemed close enough!

After the vicissitudes of the last half week, it is so good to be able to report that I am indeed feeling far better: my mood has improved, self-destructive thoughts and urges have diminished, and energy levels have risen.

Boing

It’s great to look back on these events and figure out what happened, and why. My mood tends to plummet quickly; I think this is a relic of being taught to “stay strong” when younger – we cannot “stay strong” forever, and inevitably our apparent competence crumbles. Some people say depression is the curse of the strong! I’d modify that to say “those who were taught they have to be strong and then are thrown too many curveballs to cope with”, which is just a tad less catchy. Anyway, I had been feeling increasingly frail from about a week ago, then a few things triggered a plummet on Sunday evening.

During the worst of the crisis – the long dark night of Sunday, when those urges were strongest – I wrote a letter to my therapist (i.e. externalized my feelings and urges, rather than acting on them); kept myself distracted, and reached out for help. Over the next few days I continued to do more of the same, acting in ways which were congruent with focussing on things I can control, self-soothing, and nurturing my ‘self’. The word ‘acting’ is important here, because I did indeed take action – I chose to engage in behaviours which met these criteria. 

Following this regime, the darkness lifted. A pivotal point came yesterday when I was suddenly sick and tired of the fallen leaves in the driveway and went out to rake them up. I don’t know why this action in particular was so cathartic,  because I had been outside exercising beforehand, but it shifted the last cobwebs of murk and cleared my head. Yay!

I had to see my GP today for some prescriptions. He likes to deliver discourses on subjects of interest (to him). Today, he seems to believe he’s discovered the magical cure-all for psychiatric woes: writing a letter to your unwell self while you are well, and vice versa. I promised him I would. He is so funny – he didn’t seem to believe me! I’ll mail him a copy of the letter. (Between you and me, I’m just glad today’s lecture actually related to my medical condition. I’m less interested in basketball or his former lecturing career.)

Well, folks, that’s how I came through this crisis – focussing on the things I can control, distress tolerance techniques, and nurturing my ‘self’. I checked in with my professionals and had an escalation of care plan drawn up, including numbers to call at different stages, should it become necessary. I’ve read some other really interesting posts about crisis management. I’d love to hear your strategies, if you’d like to post them below!

18 Comments

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18 responses to “A-boingggg!

  1. I’ve found breathing is always good. Oh that and giving notice at work!

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    • Giving notice at work … yes! Actually I noticed the other day that each of my hospitalizations has been precipitated by workplace/business stress (if you lump together bounce-back-in hospitalizations as one incident). So I’d better get this work thing right next time, huh? 🙂

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      • I disagreed with a point made on a post on FB the other night about the link between work stress and suicide. I mentioned depression and someone quoted me a ‘recent study’ that found that depression and suicide are not linked as much as workplace stress and suicide. I begged to differ with her citing personal experiences. The thread just ended.
        I often wonder just how much workplace stress impacts on depression. I’m sure there is a big correlation there.
        But notice I have given. Now I have to get through the next four weeks.

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      • What a huge step! Still, four weeks is finite, I guess (she said, struggling to find something uplifting and supportive to write). Is it a full four weeks, or a couple of days less by now?

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      • Seriously, though: here’s a brief summary of my admissions and the work-related triggers which prompted them:
        1. Psychopathic new boss replaced wonderful former boss
        2. Quite severely sexually harassed; bosses refused to believe such a thing could happen in their workplace
        3. Former employees marched in and directed their vitriol at me (the new manager) for their treatment under the old regime
        4. [By this stage, I’d given up on being an employee – too much hassle! – and was working for myself] Cashflow issues
        In each and every of these cases, there was much more going on, but the a workplace incident served as the “straw” in each case.

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      • No, it is four full weeks. I gave notice Wednesday and said I’d see out to the end of the month. (Well I had to because I’ve been there almost 7 years).
        Let’s see, what’s caused it for me?
        * constant changes to job structure
        * people not ‘getting’ me and then being asked by management to change
        * the ever deepening chasm between management and admin
        * finding out that management say things about you behind your back (I caught them out one day)
        * lack of trust
        * every growing workload without pay increases
        * having to watch whatever I say
        * feeling light a schoolgirl who gets called into the office when mistakes are made

        But other than that, the universe was just giving me signs to move on. So I am stepping out in faith. So in four weeks time neither of us will have a job.

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      • Ah, my dear friend! May these four weeks fly by. Isn’t it wonderful that you’ll be able to devote more time to your writing (unless and / or until the next wonderful opportunity opens up)? Sounds like you’ve been bullied and exposed to terrible mismanagement. Hope you heal well, and soon. I’ll walk beside you, these four weeks! xx

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      • You know, I really like my managers. I just don’t think that they realise what they are doing to the admin team.
        However, it is coming to an end and the next chapter of my life is opening.
        Thanks for walking with me.

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  2. I like the title! 🙂 Glad you’re feeling better.

    I don’t look at things this way, and it could be our issues are not very similar. When I’m overwhelmed, I tend to go to bed and stare out the window for some hours, sometimes a few days, off and on. I allow the feelings to be there, and eventually they change. Other possibilities are writing to my T, going out among people to a cafe, reading trashy novels for a while.

    I thought I’d respond to your question, even though it’s somewhat different for me. I could relate to writing to your T though – the contact, plus getting it down ‘on paper’ really help.

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    • Honestly, we’re all different, right? What works for one person is highly unlikely to work for anyone else. However, I still think there’s value in sharing stories – just in case we read something which ‘clicks’!

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  3. I like to clean when I feel like crap. I find that if my apartment is in order, then my brain will be too, or something to that effect. I like your GP’s idea of writing a letter to yourself. I think I might try that.

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  4. So glad you are feeling better!!!

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  5. I’ve often thought of writing a letter to myself. A kind, compassionate letter to say the kinds of things I would say to a friend who was struggling (which is not at all the kinds of things I usually say to myself). I need to commit to doing the letter, though, instead of just appreciating the idea of it in theory.

    One of the things I like most about your post is what *isn’t* there. No beating yourself up for having a downturn. That’s awesome!

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