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.
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!