Going home

I dreaded this moment

This dream of happiness

Those who knew me before I changed…

I dreaded this moment of looking into their eyes and seeing questions said without words…

I am home after a whole year

I feel as far as I could have ever been

I hear my family laughing with the children, I see them happy

I feel weird and I try to cover for it

I want to crawl back into my bed and stare at the ceiling alone

I try to hold the thread but am losing my grip

I cannot do this

They want me better

They need me better

If only their wishes could be my commands

I knew I would disappoint

I wish I can change the way I feel

Reminds me of Radiohead… Creep

On shame

Raw

That is how you feel after one of them attacks

Raw

Like the flesh of your wounds that you cannot hide from yourself

Raw

As shame invades your soul trying to find even seeds of regret

Raw

Emotion and thought entangled in a web like a knot I cannot undo

Raw

I wish I can curl up and wait till the storm is over

Raw

I know that this is a dream for I am the storm

Failed experiment – on being human


I want to take a pair of scissors and chop my hair off

I want to break both legs

I want to cut my face with a knife

I want to slice my wrists and watch blood oozing out of my veins

I want to live on the street

I want to never speak again

I want to never feel again

I want to never see again or hear again


I took the drugs today. Don’t know why or how many… probably lithium 250*3, Prozac 20*3 and a couple Temesta 1.

I had gotten so angry before it. Not mad angry but scary angry; where nothing matters anymore. I have been there and it is not pretty. I am getting numb now. Getting slower. My nerve endings are not painful anymore. My upper back has stopped wanting to detach itself from the rest of my body. I am mellow. I am high and low and I will hit the ground faster than I know it.

I couldn’t succumb to what I wanted to do. Is this safer? No. Is this what I want? No. Did I lose yet another month or two trying to be a good girl responsible for her body and mind? Yes. Do I gain points in this game or does my score go back to zero each time? What now? A life of broken promises and misery all around to which am the catalyst always. If I could just be on an island free to live or not as I please. Would it change anything?

The worst feelings I have are about those around me. The destruction I create in their eyes. I don’t want to talk to them or look at them. I don’t want them to see me. I should be locked up alone like a crazy relative in the attic. In a bare room with a small window. I wouldn’t be let out because I lost my confidence and words remain words. What is a promise? Why is it so important?

I want to see my children grow from far away. No need to get them messed up with me. I will tarnish their childhood with worry, fear, and dread. Their small hands come to me to cuddle and my skin burns. Their kisses burn my face. I know I shouldn’t have been their mother. It burns and I feel I am contagious. What did they do to get me? How could I have predicted my state now 10 years ago? I love them too much to hurt them. I hurt them just by being a mass in a bed that moves right to left all day. I hurt them when they cannot play because Mama is in pain. They cannot go out band cause Mama is having a bad day. They cannot have friends over because Mama needs silence. They know I am sick and they ask me what hurts. They bring me dolipran and ask me if I want coffee. They tuck me in. The small one tucks me in ans shuts the door behind him… How long will I be able to lie?

I want to get my father only on the phone. I don’t think I can even handle this. I don’t want him to see me a bag of bones. I am his life and that is the problem. What kind of life is that? Tormenting my old man is what I do.

My husband…

My husband, I don’t know what I want for him. I want him to go on and not stop because of his handicapped wife who should be locked in the attic. I want him to forget me and that is the toughest of all. I want him to forget 19 years of mostly joy and a year of mostly hell. I want to erase his memory of me and maybe remove all love and pity from his heart. If he forgets whom I was before maybe he will let go easier…

I want him to stop believing it will pass. I want him to stop hoping it will not be like this tomorrow. There is no more older me, a me of those were the days: she is gone. He says: She is getting used to new drugs, she reached the therapeutic level of the drug to work, she is having side effects from the drugs, she is in withdrawal, she is …. she is…she is done habibi that is what she is. The one you loved dearly is not me and I am not her. All what we had has been taken away with my illness. We got robbed 20 years and only you have at least a couple more 20 years to live. Don’t live in hell.

I want it to stop being about me.

Is this too much to ask? I want him to go to work. I want him to travel for work. I want him to do his job as he should. I want him to have friends and hobbies. I want him to have fun. He cannot with me around. How can I disappear? I want him to plan his life like anyone should be. I want him to stop walking on eggshells all the time. I want him to stop detonating my bombs right and left… I want him to live and embody life for our children. He can do it.


The nausea is kicking in now. My body is very heavy. I have a few hundred steps to take back home. It is sunny. I had coffee. People are in summer dresses. The street is buzzing. Kids in strollers and people on bikes. Motos ans buses make the most noise and it is annoying. The world is not stopping…

TBC

Shutting off

On good days I try. I try hard…

Sometimes my system shuts down. I cannot help it. I shut off completely. It starts with pain and ends with pain. Everything hurts to the extend that I cannot imagine surviving.

My head throbs just like an earthquake. My back curls like I am being sliced with a knife. My stomach is invaded with nausea that I cannot describe. I cannot breath. I cry and I cannot breath. My chest is contracted and I cannot find air. I force myself to breathe, yet each breath revives the pain in my body.

It goes on and on and on. I drift into sleep and lose count of the hours. I wake up and the minute I open my eyes, I feel the pain as fresh as it was before I fell asleep. I shut down.

When this happens no one can save me. I cannot take medication, I cannot ask for help. It hurts beyond my humanity.

I think I should die then and there, but I cannot do it. I am too weak or too strong I don’t know. I cannot do it for my family. Yet I cannot imagine going through this one more second.

I am a failure, nothing can convince me otherwise. I have no pride, no achievements, no future. I have immense pain shattering my body into pieces. It is worse than anything I experienced before. As if my body says it cannot live one more second, yet it remains in this pain crippled by its own doing. What is this misery ?

TBC

A clean slate

When you go through the violent experience of depression and suicide attempts because you cannot function anymore, you realize that you cannot continue living the same way and expect a different outlook in life.

When you experience a sadness that literally makes you unable to breath, and that leads you to think killing yourself would be the best possible solution, you cannot survive and believe you will be cured without changing.

When waking up in the morning alive is the worst thing that happens to you, you realize eventually that there is no more business as usual…

You need a clean slate.

That is no easy matter. I would like to entertain two notions. The notion of reason and logical thinking, and the notion of thresholds.

Logical wise thinking would assume that to feel satisfied you should rely on inner resources. You should view the world around you in a way where the one variable is you: you decide how to react, how to feel, and how to think about the million stimuli that bombard you daily. Whether you react to a song, a conversation, or to a thought in your past. It is your choice says the wise man. Grow up. It is your choice.

I can decide to be happy. I can decide to be positive. I can decide to be “in charge”. I own my life and I will act and feel accordingly. Ok.

Yet this beautiful theory ignores an element that changes everything: threshold. This is a personal attribute that varies greatly and depends on so many factors. For example, you have a physical threshold for hunger, thirst and so forth that is calculated according to your weight maybe, your BMI, how health you are, last time you ate and drank, and maybe the reason for which you are without food and water. Someone in a hunger strike might have a higher threshold than someone who is being deprived of food for other reasons, say famine or war. Yet, at the end, they both reach a point where it is unbearable to continue. When, is the question here.

Similarly, you can have an emotional threshold. I cannot watch horror movies – my threshold is zero tolerance here. Yours might be different. You might find them genuinely amusing. We would both be terrified should we become exposed to a situation with a serial killer trying to catch us. We can argue that a paranoid person would find hallucinating about being the next victim in a murder spree, feels equally terrified.

When the threat is eminent or at least is strongly believed to be, the threshold for tolerance of stress is very low. Not so easy now to think that you can be happy, or that you should remain positive, or better put the needs of the aggressor first, and try to understand that they are really a victim of their circumstances. Yes it is about you, though others might say otherwise. What can you do?

If you overcome suicide you ideally want to start fresh. You never want to go back to being in misery. You adopt maybe this motto of I am in charge, but you soon discover that your threshold is screwed up. Your sanity does not depend on you only. You know it. It is very real to you.

I know that if I keep ignoring certain things that led to my previous despair like I did in the past, especially now that my threshold for stress is minimal, I will end up in an ER. I really don’t want to.

I woke up from my mental attack to find me forced to change and the world around me is the same. So I am faced with a serious question. If I cannot ignore certain topics and the feelings that they create; if I cannot deal with the misery they trigger in me; and if I cannot change the problem and the people who created them in the first place; how can I not end in an ER in a year’s time?

Tell me about your threshold. Tell me about how you changed after your depression or most acute attack.

Is the same stuff making you tick? Do you still feel fragile and worry about breaking down? Were you able to regain you sanity? Are you really in charge a 100% or are there issues that remain out of hand and out of control? Do you feel an urge to resolve something but feel it is not in your hands?

Bless,

TBC

On being human – a month afterwards

Dear all, thank you for checking in. It has been over a month now that I have quit all psychotropic drugs.

I hate putting pictures of myself online. I need to do this. Here is me: one in ER while on a cocktail of drugs and one DRUG-FREE on a night out (with my husband cropped out of the selfie for his privacy)…

A picture worth a 1000 words
Midst depression & suicide, hooked up to machines at ER
A “person” taking a selfie...
Listening to Jazz with my husband – DRUG FREE

They scare you…

This is a rather long entry. I will be telling you about how the experience has been. I will also tell you at the end my two cents on my last psychiatric appointment. I will also refer to what I do to be able to manage my withdrawal after almost a couple of year on heavy drugs.

They sacre you…

Ever since this experiment spectrum of emotions, thoughts and physical sensations have been revealed to me ever since.

I am partially proud and relieved. I have this sensation of being in charge of who I am and once again responsible for my decisions and thoughts.

It is not an easy journey. A layer of artificial pain has been lifted away quite dramatically from my being. I discovered the traces of other pain beneath. It was thrilling to regain emotional and bodily sensations again. It is spectacular to be human and mostly to feel like one.

I find myself unable/unwilling to think or plan ahead. I try to live a minute at a time and not to complicate anything. Although I can achieve a wider range of feeling, I prefer to dwell on the surface.

They scare you…

I am prudent. I once read that bipolar patients are always waking on eggshells. I think it is also true for those who suffer from recurrent depression. I worry about the consequences of my feelings and try now to stay at the surface. I think that this is more than anything, a survival mechanism.

Bad dreams have been happening. They are too vivid for my liking. They are probably the most vivid I have had to memory. Why are they so scary? Because they are not based on fantasy. They surprise me as logical, and this is why all the while during the nightmares I think that I am actually loving those moments.

Tears are close by. Menial tasks requiring mental skills are tough for me. I need to concentrate with all my mind. Adios to multitasking. One thing at a time.

My weight is soaring. As big as a whale; as if I have eaten every problem I have ever thought about.

Together with my limited mental capacity, I feel short of who I am.

They scare you…

My 38th birthday is around the corner. I am worried about the forties, worried of turning 41 – the age at which my mother died.

I think of her a lot lately, with more understanding. Though my turmoil was partially due to my childhood with her and to her sudden death, my illness has taught me to see our relationship differently.

I understand her now more than ever. I feel for her suffering and instability. I cherish her ability to have taken care of me to her best; with her limited means. I don’t blame her anymore. I couldn’t have done better myself.

I hope for the years to come to be able to see my illness as tough-love; as a blessing in disguise.


They scare you…

A disturbing fact though remains.

I had gone to my latest appointment with my psychiatrist 10 days after quitting. She was of course against it. She said quitting suddenly has severe consequences. Depression of course was a runner up. I was also told that lithium won’t probably work again should I need it. Rebound is possible, no one knows when, how or for how long. It would be very dark I was warned.

Perhaps I could live with all that. Nothing she said was new until she told me something quite harsh.

They scare you…

Knowing that I write about mental illness, she told me that I should put a warning when speaking about going cold turkey. She said: ” Mothers who kill their children and then commit suicide do that because of depression”.

They scare you…

She left the sentence hanging in mid air; either to refer to potential readers who can harm themselves by listening to me. She could have also meant me; I was left to choose.

Besides being deeply offended and utterly shocked, I felt a lot of self doubt that I now regret. I dwell on this almost daily.

I say with utmost confidence – something I generally strongly lack – They scare you…

Bullshit; No one can pretend to know you better than yourself.

Bullshit; Stop stigmatizing mental health patients; you of all people should know how to weigh your words.

Bullshit; No! Our loved ones; for that fact my children are a red line that no one is allowed to cross.

Bullshit; no! Crying, anxiety attacks, binge eating/ drinking, nightmares, dark thoughts, are and were never ever directed to anyone else.

BULLSHIT!!! STOP!! I will not let your narrow single sided knowledge of an incredibly complex topic such as the human mind dictate how I should live my life.

I tell you my dear reader. I warn you like she asked me to do not to quit cold turkey. But I add to that; this road is not to be travelled unless under certain circumstances that are very complex.

You and you alone can decide how to live and what to do with your life. You alone will know when or when not to quit. You alone know down deep inside your motives for such a decision. And most important of all, you alone know if you are god forbid dangerous to yourself or worse to others.

Whatever you do, do not quit believing in yourself medication-free. Yet better, do not quit the hope for one second of being illness-free.

Without any conspiracy theories, let us not have the world of pharmaceutical companies tell us how to live or love our children!!

I do not deny that yes unfortunately such miseries do happen. Yet, millions of millions live and die without committing any of such acts and hopefully you and I are no different.

Should you decide to cut off or quit. I urge you besides doing it at the right time and weighing the benefits and the doubts as well as the consequences, TAKE SUPPLEMENTS.

I have a routine filled with micronutrients, vitamin D, omega 3, probiotics, and amino acids. I also use essential oils for withdrawal pains such as headache, back ache and insomnia. They help me a lot. All this is due to my dear husband. He has done incredible research on the topic and I do take all my supplements religiously. On most nights I sleep, and on most days I go out of the house.

Please I’d urge and beg you, if you are reading this before you go to your first doctor’s appointment because you are suffering, considering an alternative route. Do your own research, ask a loved one to do it for you. Just don’t start with antidepressants, mood regulators and benzodiazepines. You might just need iron and vitamin B complex instead. So take charge and do your homework. There is an alternative route – less travelled nowadays yes but real all the same.

No one will care when you have a zillion side effect but you.

I will be writing another follow up to let you know how things are progressing. Feel free to comment or ask questions…

Go sacre them with your humanity…

TBC

The experiment – on being human…

I have to document what I am going through. It is equally possible that I have done the boldest or the stupidest decision. I quit three medications cold turkey. Prozac 20 mg, lithium 600 mg and Temesta 1 mg.

I did this without the knowledge of my psychiatrist; I even postponed my appointment with her not to get influenced.

I know what science says. Don’t quit cold turkey whatever you do. I know. Not to brag, but I quit before for other reasons, other drugs that were extremely addictive and I survived. Yes I almost died, but it was totally worth it.

Question now is how long will this honeymoon phase last before withdrawal kicks in? What is the difference between withdrawal and the side effects that I am going through? The big question is, why should I keep on taking drugs that do not alleviate my pain and give me a bundle of other things to suffer from? The question is, when do you say enough? When do I say I know my body and I know how it functions best?

Illusion or reality. What am I expecting now? A miracle? No, I so do not believe in those. I am just humbly aiming to get back to my initial problems; to my initial depression before psychiatry got involved.

I am a good patient. I am quite reasonable. Yet, and I repeat, why take drugs that make me sick?

I refused to draw a comparison between cancer and mental illnesses because I thought they were very distinct. I was wrong. I thought more research went into cancer: true. I thought cancer is a more pressing predicament. Yet, cancer patients sometimes reject treatment. Families of deceased cancer patients often swear the medication is the reason behind the death of their loved ones and not the illness. Patients who go through one cycle of treatment and sometimes do not accept another one. Yes, they would rather die; or live?

This leads me to my main two points here. One as a patient I have a choice. Two, quality of life is more important than life. Why else would euthanasia be legalized?

All I know is that part of my remaining brain is telling me I have to listen to myself. I prefer my own illness to that one artificially induced and resulting in neurological and neuro-chemical imbalances in my body.

I simply want to know why I am crying when I do. I want to stop twitching. I want to look in the mirror and see me; the fat or the ugly. It will be me and not some alien inhabiting my body and taking random decisions on my behalf.

Risk is part of life. We all make equally good and bad decisions. Only time will tell. The worse that could happen is returning to the status quo. At least then I would know my human limitations and will stop complaining. Wouldn’t you try if you were me?

TBC

Revelation

A cycle. A few good days. No warning. Dreadfully bad ones to follow. Endless hours spent sleeping. A few many tears of what was and what has become. A glimpse of reality through the eyes of those around me. A warning. This must end.

If nothing is better so why keep trying the same old? A revelation against the common wisdom or foolishness of the others. I will stop the drugs. No way back. If I am to suffer let it all be mine. I don’t want no more appointments, no more needles, no more a pill before or after. No more shakes. No more tears of fear. No more pity.

The worse has been seen. Nothing can top it up. What is it am trying to numb? It is not gone. I feel my pain as much as an amputee feels her gone leg. Let me be me. Let me look in the mirror and despite of what I will see, I would at least claim it to be mine.

Let me sleep it through and when it is over, maybe life will resume…

TBC

Fighting demons

I left the hospital about a month ago.

I didn’t write earlier for many reasons. Initially, I was denied technology for the first 10 days of my hospitalization at the closed-up ward.

They took everything. I was allowed my bed and a few magazines. My luggage was searched. Chargers and electronics were sent home. Glass was separated from plastic. Belts were taken away from clothes. Everything else went into either a small closet to which the nurses held the key, or to the nurses’ office, access to which was upon their discretion. My cigarettes and lighter were locked up too. I got about 3 to 4 smoking breaks; always accompanied.

Interaction was limited. The idea was to spend time to heal without any distractions. Noises were rare – except for the TV that was on low volume. I remember watching Forest Gump while sitting (luckily) on one of the three recliners. Lights were dimmed.

I had visits from my family daily. I was eventually allowed to go down to the yard and cafeteria with them. I would have coffee and sometimes a kinder bueno. I slept 12 hours and ate together with the other five patients at the common table. My diet was mostly derived from the cabbage family. I think this was the cook’s punishment for vegetarians. I surely don’t have vitamin K1 deficiency.

We traded food as we complained about it. It was the highlight of our day. We also shared two bathrooms and a shower. They gave me a bedsheet instead of a towel. Sometimes people forgot to flush. I had to return my shampoo as soon as I finished. At night they sometimes did random searches of the rooms. They would put things back in the closet or their office. This period always reminded me of the Jungle Book song “The Bear Necessities”…

I had daily visits from either one of the doctors or the intern. They would ask all sorts of questions initially to establish my story, my case. It was intense in the beginning then it became more of a routine. I was weaned off my long list of drugs and little by little I had 3 instead of 8.

Without a mobile, we had access to a phone line from 2 to 8 pm. It was religious for me to call home at 7. I would then speak to the children. I would beg the little one to sing me a song.

I began to cry after a few days. I missed my kids and although I could see my eldest in the garden, it was very impersonal and cold. My problem was my youngest. I was dying to hold him. He had never been away from me all that time and I had plenty of time on my hands. I obsessed about seeing him. I dreamt of him, heard him calling my name. I held his tiny blue car I had taken with me to the hospital. I looked at his picture most of the time. I was itching inside to see him.

Doctors had mercy eventually and I was moved to the open section. It basically meant that I could soon have the right to go out for a few hours. I was in a triple room though, I had absolutely no privacy. At the time it didn’t matter because all I cared about was holding my children tight.

My phone was given back to me but I could neither connect to social media, nor write. My stay at the closed ward influenced me to a degree I cannot explain. I thought it shall pass. I thought I will eventually answer calls or at least reply to messages. I am still in my bubble. This is where I feel safe. I still have dinner at 6 PM.

Eventually I was let out. I was on Prozac and lithium. After a few painful blood tests done by intern nurses, the doctors agreed that it is time to move to the real world. I could manage my nausea then. I hadn’t talked about this side effect to anyone. I feared they would change drugs again. I had had a few “mock” stays at home for 48 hours, and as these went well, they had no reason not to let me out.

I was extremely happy. Cured I thought. I was on a cloud. I savored my sheets, my coffee, my family. I felt liberated and free from the weight of all the previous drugs that left me with countless side effects.

I was managing my own medication. No suicidal thoughts. I could get dressed and go out for dinner. I didn’t fall asleep by the time the starter arrived. I did not snore or have awful nightmares. I didn’t wake up at 3 am to empty the fridge.

Yet, I could not write. It drove me crazy. It was as though my mind was emptied – literally. This caused me great pain. Little by little the cloud of happiness was disappearing. Gravity hit in fast and I was left with my initial illness of 2 years ago that hadn’t been treated till now. I felt all the personality changes that follow taking so much drugs. I look at the mirror and wonder who is looking back at me. I barely recognize myself, although I guess we keep the same values.

What keeps me afloat is my family. I cannot break my husband’s heart by falling again. I cannot imagine not seeing my baby boy. It is unthinkable to put my daughter through this one more time. And I honestly don’t know if my father can survive one more of my attacks.

You get the general feeling. I am scared. I also tremble. It is from the lithium. My hands are shaky and my face twitches sometimes.

I look like all color has been taken away from me. My world is black and white. I laugh sometimes, but it is momentarily. The thing I love doing the most is staying in bed alone, but my doctor says I shouldn’t.

My main concern is that this illness has taken over my brain, my life. It is the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing I have on my mind at night.

I sleep poorly and have had some ugly panic attacks. My husband sits me through them and holds my hand to help me breath. He tries everything from rubbing my feet to aromatherapy. It eventually passes and leaves me incredibly tired as if I ran a marathon.

Now, I have to start therapy but I don’t feel like talking to a stranger. It has been three weeks since I had to take an appointment. I am scared of the slightest changes. When will I say I am me again? Oh dear, do I really want that?

TBC

The day before my hospitalization

As I smoke the day’s first cigarette, I wonder…

It has been decided yesterday that I will be hospitalized tomorrow.

Dread is all what comes to mind. A new place it is, specialized in mood disorders.

The ward I will be occupying will have 6 patients. Six individual rooms isolated from the outside of the hospital; from the outside world.

I worry about small details; will the room be warm enough? Will the charger reach my bed? Will they let me out to smoke?

I also worry about visitation rights. It is no prison I know, but there will be strict rules to follow.

How long will this stay be? When will I graduate to the open ward, where I will have access to the courtyard and the cafeteria? Will I get permissions to go out? When will I see my children again?

Soon enough all these mundane questions will be answered, and other ones will surface.

I will write as much as I can….

TBC

Changing psychiatrists like changing socks

Waiting again this time for my 5th psychiatrist in less than one year.

I am going because of family pressure and not for any other reason.

Waiting on the red chair for her to come out and tell me in.

Recounting endless details- oh, session is over. Why am I here?

I don’t want to hurt myself

I don’t want to hurt myself. I do not want to end up in an emergency room.

My only weapon is my writing.

I have to fight myself as much as I have to fight the system. What on earth am I supposed to do not to end up in an emergency room? How can I control my impulses?

Could my pain make my heart explode? Is this physically possible? Will I let my children see me this way? What does the system offer to those in my position? Waiting and some more…

I wish I could feel numb like the last 48 hours. Today it hurts like an open wound. Will I keep on bleeding endlessly? will I hold this scream till the end of time? Will my tears ever dry? What can I do to protect my children from me? Leave? Go where? Die? They will be motherless just like me.

I have given all my strength in this fight. There is nothing left in me, not even pride. All what I ask is for is that it be quick. This separation that is tearing me apart, could it happen in the blink of an eye?

I am rambling, scared like a lost child in a forest. How can I be a mother when I am like that? God, if you exist help me… and if you don’t, then let me be…