Facing An Important Decision

Today, I find myself reflecting on a past decision to leave mental health treatment back in 2008, ultimately the decision that cost me SSDI and Medicare health coverage in January 2013. Granted, it wasn’t exactly a “conscious decision” to leave treatment. A series of events led to a state of overwhelm and dissociation that prevented me from leaving my home — a state of agoraphobia that lasted from mid-2008 up until the time KR and I moved to Cookeville, TN, in May 2010.

I still struggle with this today; but by June 2008, one missed appointment left me in the precarious position of walking away from treatment altogether. I never returned to Centerstone where I received care from 1998 through 2008.

I never even considered the consequences. I just didn’t go back (much like the last time I was employed, a coincidence that only occurred to me today). I was so frustrated with the roller coaster ride that was (and still is) mental health treatment that I simply gave up.

Today’s reflection was triggered by a phone call from my disability advocate. It was over a year ago when we last met to discuss appealing the judge’s unfavorable decision. Honestly, I thought my disability advocate and I had agreed to drop the claim because the entire process was triggering way too much for me. He apparently filed it anyway because I received another denial letter from SSA in regard to that appeal around the end of February. He finally called about that denial letter today.

The only other options would be to either take my case to Federal Court with the help of an attorney, which he basically led me to believe is impossible, or to file a completely new claim.

No.

I’m done.

It’s OVER.

Before we said our goodbyes, he reiterated something I heard him say in the courtroom. He said that I’ve ordered my life within certain boundaries to maintain my mental health; but he feels that I would not be able to consistently maintain employment within those boundaries while at the same time managing my mental health. He knows that as well as I do, as well as KR does, yet convincing a judge of that when my own treatment team doesn’t even believe it… well, that’s another story.

My present situation with regard to treatment at PMHC is no better than Centerstone in 2008. I’ve basically put myself through hell again for the last 4 years… for what?

I’ve made no progress. Far too many of my symptoms have only worsened over these last 4 years rather than improved.

PMHC has me so confused that I don’t know what to make of it. I don’t understand the practices of this facility. I’ve met with the new counselor 4 times. I don’t feel like I’m building a rapport with her. Appointments are brief and feel rushed. This last appointment on Friday barely lasted 20 minutes, and we didn’t talk about anything of substance. My bad. That connection isn’t there. I’ve lost trust and faith in this treatment facility. It’s not like I had much trust and faith in it to begin with.

At the end of that appointment, my counselor told me I needed to meet with a care coordinator.

“Wait, what?”

She explained that care coordinators are there to “check-in” with clients while at the facility. I thought that’s what case management was for! Why is my case manager visiting my house every month if not for this reason? My frustration bordered on rancorous spite.

“Remain calm. Jump through their hoops.”

She ushered me into this nameless man’s office. Neither my counselor nor the care coordinator told me his name — no introduction of any kind.

“Yep, manners are a thing of the past.”

“Lose the sarcasm.”

“Nope.”

I felt stubborn, deciding then and there that I had no desire whatsoever to cooperate and zero patience left for idle chit-chat.

“Short answers. Don’t bother hiding your indignation.”

After he finally finished asking all his questions, I asked if I would be meeting with him regularly in addition to meeting with my case manager. After all, they basically have the same exact job, except my case manager meets with me at home. He said, “Nope, I’m just for check ups,” whatever that means. It feels redundant and unnecessary. It seems like a waste of time and money.

Maybe all of it is.

Throughout 9 different counselors and therapists over more than 22 years, I’ve questioned the process of therapy relentlessly — wondering how is this supposed to work, wondering what exactly am I supposed to be talking about? I need direction from a counselor. I need a little push every now and then. I avoid anything that’s uncomfortable. It’s how I cope with life. Give me homework. Give me art prompts. Give me writing assignments. Give me something, anything, we can actually discuss that moves me forward and helps me face what I’m actually there to work on!

I’m out of patience. I’m frustrated. I’m contemplating walking away from treatment again because I have no desire to continue wasting my time. I know I am ultimately responsible for efficiently making use of my time in the counseling room; but counselors also have the responsibility for directing clients in the most productive use of our time.

Maybe I’m just triggered from today’s conversation with the disability advocate, but I have to decide what is best for me and my mental health. I’m just not sure what that is anymore, and I’m definitely not convinced that the facility where I receive care is even a “good” choice, let alone the best choice.

No One Believes Me

The disability hearing last Tuesday was terrifying. From the moment I walked in the door to the waiting area, it was all I could do to keep myself from hyperventilating. KR took the entire week off of work last week. He needed a vacation from his job, so he took it. This also meant he was able to attend the hearing with me. My disability advocate decided to use KR as a witness for my case at the last-minute after speaking with him privately before the hearing. I was asked to leave the courtroom during his testimony, so I have no idea what was said other than a couple of brief comments KR shared with me. Feeling a full-blown panic attack coming on as I sat in the waiting area while KR was in the hearing room, I retreated to the restroom to calm myself in privacy.

My disability advocate did a good job in working with what he had as far as evidence of my condition, but I got the distinct impression from the judge that she didn’t believe anything I had to say. She seemed exasperated, as if I was wasting her time. I struggled to answer the questions asked of me, fumbling over words, stuttering, and feeling so “on guard” that I failed to articulate clearly and concisely exactly what I intended to say.

I had no good answer for why I left treatment back in 2008 while previously on SSDI. I don’t quite understand it myself. I agree. It was a stupid mistake. When asked, I stated that at that time I was struggling to leave my apartment at all, let alone get to therapy appointments. I should have said that I took the break from therapy that I felt I needed to regain my bearings, but I didn’t. I couldn’t think straight. I told the judge that it was never my intent to leave treatment altogether. It just happened that way.

The agoraphobia and severe anxiety I developed while living in Nashville didn’t completely, magically disappear when we moved to Cookeville, either. I still struggled with these issues greatly after the move. It took me until July 2013 to work up enough courage just to seek out treatment again. Even though I had asked around prior to that for help in finding a treatment center, it wasn’t until then that someone at DHS told me where I needed to go. I’m fairly certain that neither the judge nor my disability advocate believed me when I told them I began treatment at PMHC in July 2013 (specifically, July 17, 2013 was my intake appointment). The records the court received began in November 2013, a full 3 months later! The discrepancy in records made me look like a liar.

Also, the judge questioned why my counselor and I agreed to terminate therapy in January of this year if I was still struggling so much. I interrupted her at that point (not a good idea, but no such agreement took place, and I panicked) telling her, “NO! I did not agree to anything. My counselor simply dismissed me from therapy with no further contact.” I also told her that I tried for months to get another therapist through my case manager to no avail. No one was listening to me then, just as I felt no one was listening in that hearing room.

And THIS is probably the main reason why I left treatment to begin with in May 2008 — feeling re-victimized and unheard by a screwed up mental health system. The worst part is I don’t know what would make it any better.

The fact of the matter is that the most damning piece of evidence against me in my attempt to get back on SSDI is that I failed to remain in treatment, regardless of the reasons. It feels hopeless that this judge saw anything other than that. It feels hopeless that neither the judge nor my counselor nor KR recognize that I am seriously struggling right now to keep my head above water in the kiddie pool, let alone swim out in the ocean with everyone else! Even if I did get back on SSDI, there’s always the possibility that I could simply be rejected from treatment again like this past January, causing me to lose the SSDI yet again.

STOP!

My disability advocate made a few good observations in his closing statement. I don’t do well under pressure or with change. Feeling pressure causes me to shut down, retreat to my mind for solace. Change sends me into a panic, causes everything to feel out of control and overwhelming. He said that I have managed to create a home environment that feels safe and manageable, where I am able to do what I need to when I need to in order to manage the symptoms of my illness and to maintain, at least, some control over my mental health.

I was only able to do this by taking the time I needed while on disability to figure this out for myself — without the influence of constant pressure and feeling bombarded by outside sources. Receiving SSDI gave me the chance to catch my breath after years of chaos and constant overwhelm. I haven’t figured out how to do that in the “outside world” yet. I need more time to figure out exactly what will work for me so that I can use my talents and abilities to the best of my ability and provide an employer with a stable work flow. I’m just not there yet. I apologize for being so slow, but pressuring me to “hurry up and get better” sure as hell isn’t helping. The pressure I’m feeling from everyone around me is only making matters much worse!

Right now, my self-confidence is shot. I’m coping to the best of my ability, perhaps not in the most healthy manner, but coping nonetheless. I feel helpless, like my life is in the hands of people who couldn’t possibly give a rat’s ass about my well-being. I’m scared. I’m frustrated. I’m overwhelmed. And as always, I don’t know what to do with any of it except block it out, distract myself, or self-soothe.

— C’est la vie. —

My Week in Review

Determination took over yesterday. I called the mental health center back to schedule an appointment with a counselor. I ended up calling several times because the first time, I got the answering service again. The second and third times, they dropped the call. The fourth time they told me since it hadn’t been a year, I didn’t need a first time appointment, just to call the front desk. They transferred the call there. The woman at the front desk told me I had to see my previous therapist again because he was the last person I saw there. If he chooses to refer me to someone else, that’s up to him; but I have to see him first! Why didn’t my case manager tell me this? I panicked, remembering my last visit with this therapist in January and the email I sent him back in April. I told her, “I’ll pass,” and hung up.

Again, the panic sent me reeling as I ran through my options and how I’ve been feeling over and over again in my head. I broke down and sent my previous therapist an email telling him what the front desk told me. I honestly didn’t expect him to respond, let alone schedule an appointment with me; but he did. He said he would set aside some time for me on Monday morning.

It’s going to be a long weekend.

KR has tomorrow off of work due to the holiday. Even after a week of this, he’s still in an awfully foul mood. He’s still sleeping on the couch. I never told him to sleep on the couch. He chose to himself. Last Saturday, he left the house around 1:30 pm (with the remainder of his 24 pack of beer he bought the night before) and didn’t bother coming home until sometime Sunday morning. I have no idea where he spent the night. I thought it best not to ask out of fear of another episode. I didn’t know whether I should be worried, pissed, or indifferent. I chose to express indifference, yet I felt incredibly sad.

I’m more hurt than angry over everything KR said and did last Wednesday night and worried over the extreme changes in his behavior. He’s drinking far more alcohol than I am comfortable with. For a solid year, now, he’s had alcohol in the house every weekend. That can’t possibly be good for him, physically or emotionally. His despair about his life and the hopelessness that he expressed during his meltdown make me wonder just how bad his depression actually is. The main points I remember about the issues he brought up during his meltdown were the usual — he’s not getting enough sex and he wants a child of his own to raise. In regard to the sex issue, KR literally said to me:

“It makes it harder on me when I do run into somebody that shows some kind of interest in that way and I can’t do anything about it. I don’t want to do anything about it because I shouldn’t have to go out there to get something that I should be getting here.”

When I hear him say things like this, I feel like sex is all I’m good for to him. That my only worth is as a whore, especially with the “things” he expects me to do that I’m not comfortable with. When I hear him say things like this, I feel like his misery is my fault. He said I make him feel unattractive due to my lack of affection. I wasn’t raised with much affection; so I’m not good at showing it, especially when feeling as triggered and stressed as I have over the last 2 or 3 years. It’s really hard to show love when I feel like if I even touch him, he expects sex. This has been an issue for so long that the pressure is overwhelming.

All week, he has barely acknowledged my presence, let alone speak to me or show any type of affection. Maybe that’s a mirrored reaction. It’s been more than tense. We’re simply not communicating. WHY?? My guess is he’s still mad at me for being me. I don’t know what else to do other than “fake it” and pretend everything is okay while in his presence. I’ve gotten so good at this that I can even fool myself for brief periods of time. I wonder if that’s what leads to dissociation? In addition to dissociating, my startle reflex is completely exaggerated. I’ve had a few nightmares and the flashbacks are intense. I feel like a complete basket case — cycling between suicidal thoughts, delusions, and paranoia. This goes far beyond simply feeling overly sensitive and insecure. I’m a mess.


 

Today, I was determined to give myself a break, if only for a couple of hours. I went to see a movie at the local movie theater, Inside OutI had heard nothing about this movie until this afternoon when I read an article about it on Newsweek’s website and watched the trailer (below). First, let me say, I haven’t been to a movie theater since the summer of 2005 — 10 years ago! This was truly a very special treat for me. I don’t want to give away anything about the film, but I definitely have to recommend it to anyone who struggles with their emotions. It’s an exceptional film! Maybe I was just overly emotional today; but I cried during the Pixar short, Lava, at the beginning of the movie. It reminded me of Hawaii and triggered “lost love” in me rather than “finding love” as the short depicted. I couldn’t help myself as the tears streamed down my face. Maybe I just needed a good cry because I also cried during the film.


With it being a long weekend, I doubt I’ll be back on here until Monday or Tuesday. I don’t get much time for doing things like blogging while KR is home….

 

Alrighty Then: Going It Alone

I walked into the bookstore last Friday with the intent of buying only one book, The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook, on the recommendation of one of my favorite online LMFT’s (Kati Morton — check out her channel for over 500 great mental health videos). I ended up buying a second book — one that I’ve put off buying for many years, The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis. That book was an impulse buy; but in that moment I thought, “I’m investing in my future, my sanity.

The Courage to Heal was first recommended to me in 1995 by the very first therapist I ever saw. I think I might have gotten a copy of it to glance through from the Honolulu library back then; but I know I didn’t finish reading it, let alone try to work through it. Over the years since, it was the most recommended book by my past therapists and social workers. I haven’t opened it yet. I’m reading the DBT book first. I’m guessing that would be wiser.

I wrote a little about my past experience with a DBT group in an earlier post. That first attempt at DBT didn’t go so well; however now, I can see how it would be beneficial after researching it a bit more. The point of DBT is basically to “improve your ability to handle distress without losing control and acting destructively.” [Source: back cover of the book] Ideally, one would at least work with a therapist or in a group setting to implement the behavioral skills.

I have a workbook.

That’s it. (Not from lack of trying, I might add! How many times do I have to ask for help to make it “count”?)

I seem to do things the hard way; but like I’ve said before, I have to see the big picture before I can focus on the details. It’s how my brain works. If I find myself in dire need, there’s one other mental health center in my area that I found that accepts Safety Net coverage. I’ll use them as an absolute last resort if needed, but I honestly don’t have it in me to try again right now.


 

My curiosity sidetracked me earlier, asking “What’s a LMFT?” Short answer: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I found a good explanation at “What is a LMFT?” for anyone whose curiosity is also piqued, now. Two quotes on that page stood out to me that I want to share here:

“The expertise which each client brings into counseling is every bit as important as any expertise which the counselor brings.”

“LMFTs understand that each client brings vital and important expertise with them into counseling. That is because each client is the best authority about their own thoughts, perceptions, reactions, feelings, experiences, sensitivities, and their own history.

In case any of you ever doubt it (including me), let these statements be the truth that speak louder than your inner critic or the voices of stigma that sometimes scream more loudly into the void than our individual, tiny voices could ever carry.

We do matter

 

Speaking Out

It’s been a weird day. First, I was awakened by a phone call from my Mom’s neighbor after only 6 hours of sleep. In my groggy state of mind, my concern quickly turned to panic after I realized who it was. She told me that she had heard about a wreck today involving one of the transport vehicles that takes my mom to dialysis. She couldn’t get my mom on the phone to check on her, so she called me to see if I had heard anything. After our short conversation, I immediately called my mom who was sitting at dialysis watching game shows (the fact that she was watching game shows cracked me up). She sounded in good spirits.

Thankfully, the wreck didn’t involve the van she rode today; but it still makes me sad to hear that one had an accident. I told Mom everything her neighbor told me and how sincerely concerned she was. After I spoke with Mom, I called her neighbor back to let her know that Mom was safe and sound at dialysis. She expressed her thanks and shared that she almost had a panic attack with worry. I thought to myself, “That shows a deep level of consideration,” but told her, “Believe me, I know what those feel like!” Also, I hope I successfully conveyed how much I appreciate her concern and consideration for my mother because I am so thankful that Mom has such great neighbors.


The second thing is more of an update to my last post. I finally called the Clinical Services Coordinator yesterday and left her a message to call me back. I’m wondering if I’m the only person who has to write out a “script” before leaving such messages on answering services, but at least I got through it and left the message. She called back today just after KR left for work. There was good reason for my case manager not keeping her appointment with me on Friday. She is “no longer employed” by the center where I receive care. Hearing this really took me by surprise. I was told another case manager has been assigned to me and should be calling within the next couple of days. I think this is something I will privately journal about to work out in my head as change is a huge issue for me.

I also attempted to tell the CSC my concerns and confusion about my last appointment with my therapist and how therapy ended — with great difficulty, I might add. I hadn’t prepared a script in order to express myself clearly, so I probably sounded like a stuttering fool. WHY is it so hard for me to communicate?! I struggled to get the words out. I don’t remember what she said in response, other than the suggestion to write everything out and how I am feeling about it. Since I’ve already pretty much done that here on my blog, that should be pretty easy. I’ve considered writing a letter to my therapist about this for the past 3 months; but my stubbornness has gotten the better of me (I’m wondering if stubbornness is my default reaction to feeling hurt), not to mention fear of confrontation (read that: fear of my own RAGE or possibly my therapist’s anger or frustration with me) lead me to avoiding the situation altogether.

When the CSC asked if I wanted to continue therapy, I told her I don’t know what I want to do. It’s more than ambivalence. It’s like paralyzing — completely immobilizing — indecisiveness, the best description I can think of. I’ve thought about it for 3 months. I need to figure it out!


The lighter side of the weirdness today was that our neighbors found a puppy living underneath their house. No idea how long he had been there. The puppy bears a striking resemblance in coloring to their 1-year-old dog, a German Shepherd mix, and a striking resemblance in body shape and coat texture to another neighbor’s Great Pyrenees (beautiful dog!). I’ve often caught those two nose-to-nose at the fence; so who knows? We often joked that the two were having a secret romance. If she was carrying only one puppy, could it be possible that all of us just missed the pregnancy as she matured? Then again, it’s also possible that the puppy wandered over from one of the other farms. It’s really quite a mystery that has all of us baffled.


 

I’m also feeling a little sad today as it’s the anniversary of my father’s death. It’s hard for me to believe he’s been gone for 11 years, now. I didn’t realize just how much the loss affected me until years later, but his death (diabetes complications) left a gaping hole in my heart. In the years since, I regretted not knowing more about his early years, his hopes and dreams, and his views on life and death. My dad taught me the value and benefit of living a simple life. “Things” are not nearly as important as finding what you love and what brings you peace of mind. I shared his love of nature and find comfort in the outdoors. He warned never buy on credit what you cannot purchase with cash because debt only leads to suffering — advice I wish I had taken more seriously early on in my married, adult life so that I wouldn’t have had to learn that lesson the hard way. My dad was a man of few words, but I knew he loved me even if he couldn’t say those words.

Dear Future Therapist

Dear Future Therapist,

I need to write you this letter because I feel I owe it to you to know what you’re in for. I’ll understand if you choose not to work with me. I can be a difficult client to work with. I recognize this and try my best to be open and honest; but sometimes, my triggers and my thoughts get the better of me. I ask for your patience. I’m not so easily persuaded to “speak my mind.” In fact, oftentimes, I struggle to speak at all. First and foremost, I will need your help in reminding me that I am there to work through difficult “stuff” and talking about these experiences will lessen their hold over me. At least, I’m assuming that this is the goal of therapy. Correct me if I am wrong.

I have a long history of psychiatric instability — a total of 10 hospitalizations for psychiatric emergencies and 4 attempts to take my own life. I have worked with more therapists than I can remember, but none have managed to break through that protective barrier I place between me and the world. I do not trust easily. It may take longer than we have to work together for me trust you completely. My only hope is that I find some benefit in working with you. I will question the process of therapy throughout our time together. Recognize this as an attempt on my part to avoid certain topics. Remind me that I told you this when the need arises. I can’t guarantee you that this will help because more often than not, I will “flee my mind” rather than confront the obvious. Help me understand why I do this.

I am stubborn to a fault. In this case I need a firm hand to call me out on such behavior. I guarantee you that I am more frightened to “express” my anger than you are to provoke it. I once had a therapist tell me that being strong-willed is not a character flaw. While that may be true, my stubbornness is not always a demonstration of strong will but sometimes, a defense mechanism to avoid taking responsibility.

I’ve lived through a great many painful experiences, some truly traumatic for me. I desperately need to work through these in order to “move on” in my life. I’ve been “stuck” for far too long. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to do that alone. I need help. I wish I could offer you some helpful suggestions or insight in this task, but I’m afraid that it is up to you to find an approach that will benefit my progress in helping me help myself. I’m out of ideas. I don’t understand the concept of “letting go.” It’s as foreign to me as “forgiveness” because I see no executable action in either. Help me understand exactly what these mean.

I’m overly sensitive. I rely on my intuition completely to guide me through this messed up world. I may not show them often but know that my emotions are locked up tighter than the vault at Fort Knox, yet I trust that these parts of myself hold great wisdom. If you can reach them, that is far more than most have been able to do. I do, however, need help in recognizing when I am being irrational. Too often I find myself drowning in the depths of that rabbit hole, unable to see the light of day. I’ve been told in the past that I dissociate from my emotions. I don’t recognize when I do this. In advance, I’m sorry. Please, again, have patience with me and help me recognize my triggers. Also, I may not always recognize exactly what emotion I am feeling. Continuously ask me to identify, label them. Teach me how to properly “process” emotions. I want to understand.

I often experience my thoughts as loud voices. I usually won’t express this or so much as talk about them. I haven’t in the past due to fears and anxiety surrounding the stigma attached to “hearing voices.” I leave it up to you whether or not to address this. I may never verbally express my concerns over this, but these fears are more disturbing than the voices themselves. My “inner voices” have an obsession with death, dying, and suicide. I’ve found that if I practice mindfulness, acknowledge but don’t engage these lines of thought, I can usually distract myself into a more positive mindset. I may or may not need assistance in guiding these thoughts to more productive areas of interest like art, music, or writing. Creativity is most certainly the most beneficial and rewarding avenues to divert my attention away from this line of thinking. Give me assignments to distract me when needed. Guide my thoughts.

At this time in my life, I won’t deny that I’m struggling. I know that I am. Most days, I don’t even care if I live or die; but I desperately need someone in my life to say, “Stop. Think about this for a minute. You are not (or are) thinking rationally about this. Let’s take a different perspective.” I’ve isolated for many, many years. Know that this won’t be easy for either you or me. But if you’re willing, I need — I want — the help.

Thank you for your consideration,

[gh0stwr1tertrixie]


This post was inspired by Girl In Therapy‘s post DEAR POTENTIAL THERAPIST… To her, I will say: Thank you for reminding me that letter writing is one of the most effective methods of purging the mind of frustration. It’s also an excellent healing technique. Truly, thank you. This felt good to write. Maybe, it will even help me when it comes to my next  therapy experience, should I ever consider taking that on again.


 

On a side-note, today I was asked, “How are you?” by a department store clerk. After answering my usual, “I’m doing okay. How are you?” She answered, “Blessed and highly favored.” I thought to myself and said as much to her, “What a wonderful sentiment. I like that.” In my mind, I see that statement as a faith confession. I’m often on the look-out for statements such as this. It’s not overly religious. Rather, it’s a statement of intention. And, yeah, I really like that. She told me to feel free to use it. I think I just might.

 

Questioning Everything

I began this blog last year for many reasons. If anything I’ve written thus far on my blog seems a bit too personal to share (okay, all of it is pretty much super personal), I would only ask, “Why do so many people seek out blogs like my own to read?” I think the answer to that question is simply that everyone is searching for connection to drown out the loneliness of existence. We want to feel not so alone in our struggles. Even with everything I have shared here, know that there is plenty that I have not. Imagine what I don’t say or write. No, I take that back — don’t. It’s probably better not to imagine.

To date, over the last year, “Echoes of My Past” was viewed 1,941 times. That’s not a whole lot in the blogosphere world; but given the topic of discussion and my lack of interaction with readers, it’s a great many more views than I expected to receive. Again, my most sincere thanks to each and every one of you who took the time to read (I can’t say this enough). I have blogged elsewhere for more than 5 years, probably closer to 8; but only one other blog of mine survived my inner critic and is still in existence. Today is that blog’s 5 year anniversary. To date, over the last 5 years, it (I’m sorry. I’m still not ready to publicly disclose my “real” name.) was viewed 18,227 times. Again, I doubt that’s an impressive number considering the sheer amount of work I put into it; but that one was actually a lot of fun — for a while. I haven’t posted there since early December 2014.

I’m questioning whether or not I should continue blogging — on either blog. I’m reminding myself that I blog for “me.” Readers are great and oftentimes inspiring, but in the end it comes down to the fact that I do this for myself — to purge the “stuff” that clogs my brain and prevents me from thriving, at least that was part of this blog’s intent. My other blog was more for inspiring others to take the time to pause and reflect. It’s really hard to inspire others, though, when I’m lacking that inspiration for myself. I feel like a mess of unresolved emotions and triggers that are on the verge of exploding like a volcano.

I’m questioning my personal strength of character. Do I have it in me to go about this alone again? (I’m afraid KR isn’t much help in matters of emotion. I’m not blaming him for that. We’re just wired differently.) I don’t think I really have much choice in the matter. No one else has a vested interest in my life. Only me.

I’m questioning my will to survive, my will to live. Déjà vu. At the time I began therapy this last time, I vowed not to discuss the obsessive suicidal thoughts that I have endured for so many years, saying as much at the intake appointment and again to my case manager. These thoughts were not up for discussion because I feared making them worse to the point of another attempt on my life. Fear. Fear has controlled my life far too long. She is a bitch of an opponent.

I’m questioning the observations of those closest to me who have said that I have “given up.” I don’t think I have. Had I given up, I would be DEAD. Period. Whether suicide is giving up or giving in, either way, it’s a matter of having struggled for far too long with little to no hope of improvement. I may have only the tiniest amount of “hope” left in me, but at least I have that. Don’t tell me I have given up because I have not. If ever I do, well, it’s my choice and mine alone; and I see no shame in it.

On a side note, I’m seeing a disturbing new trend in the mental health community of turning away those who are the sickest because they don’t yet “want” help. I agree that you can’t force help on anyone; but god damn it, figure out some way to help us “want” to get better because I guarantee you that those of us who have been in the system for an extended period of time have lost faith in that system that was once set up to protect us from ourselves.

I’m still alive. Help me want to live. Maybe that really is too much to ask.

My M3 Score is 83, the highest it has been in a very, very long time.

My thoughts return to the abrupt end to therapy last week. I’m feeling lost. I’m obsessing over thoughts and constant questions like the ones above, as well as others I can’t answer: What did I do wrong? What’s wrong with me that I can’t even keep a therapist? Why couldn’t I just make myself talk? Why can’t I just be like everyone else and get a job and live my life? Why can’t I be a “responsible” adult?

Yeah, I’m stuck in rumination hell.