Tag Archives: therapy

Avoiding Awkwardness

Last week when I saw her briefly (she brought me homemade vegan pumpkin cheesecake!), C mentioned wanting me to try internal family systems therapy.  Apparently she’d gone to a seminar about it, or a seminar where it was discussed, or something.  She mentioned she’d met several therapists from my town that do that kind of therapy, but all of them were men.  She’s going to try to find out if they can refer us to any women.

Of course, I don’t know how the hell I’d get there.  My city councilor is still trying to figure out the bus issue for me, but they’re telling him my street never had a stop, which is bullshit.  I’d qualify for paratransit, but it costs two to three times what the regular bus does.  Sorry, but how is that equal accessibility for disabled people.  I literally can’t afford those few extra dollars.   (I’m too embarrassed to tell my city councilor that, though.)

Anyway, yesterday and today, we had two volunteers, husband and wife, come in for some shifts, and the wife mentioned that they’re both therapists.  Because I’m a little bit of a creeper, I Googled them–and he does IFS therapy.  Given that this is a small town, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he was one of the ones C met at this seminar.

How fucking awkward would THAT be?  I mean, the guy called me brilliant yesterday.  I really like working on the campaign because it makes me feel competent.  I can be someone other than fucked-up, broken, dysfunctional, crazy Kyra who can’t get her life together at all.  Instead, I’m smart and competent Kyra who can run an office full of volunteers for 14 hours and keep it all together.  I like that role better, even though I know it’s a very time-limited role.  (Not because the election’s almost over, but because I know I can’t sustain it for very long.)

So I can’t let my work life and my dysfunctional life intersect at all.  This campaign is almost over, but in a small town, you run into the same volunteers on campaign after campaign.  It’s a big part of why I blog anonymously–I need to keep these parts of my life separate.  I think I’m going to email C, give her this guy’s name, and ask her not to use my name if she calls this guy to ask for a recommendation for a female IFS therapist.  I’m probably being slightly paranoid, but still….

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Scattered Thoughts

  • I’m not sleeping again.  The past week it’s been pretty bad.  I just don’t feel like there’s any point in trying to fix it.  I’m used to sleep deprivation by now, and I can deal with it.  I’d rather just deal with it than go back on meds that leave me foggy all day long.
  • Don’t pick a chauvinist fight with me on the internet at 2:00 am.  I get pretty punchy.  And if you’re dumb enough to provoke a fight by being a sexist asshole, then don’t think you’re going to win by insulting me and trying to shut me up.  It’s not going to work, and you’ll look like an idiot because I can dance rhetorical circles around you.  And I will laugh about it the whole fucking time.  Especially at your pathetic insults and attempts at intimidation.  I work in politics, and I talk to people much, much scarier than you, Princess Poop-for-Brains.  You’re gonna have to really step it up if you want to scare me.
  • I went to a meet & greet with our Lieutenant Governor candidate and several state senators and representatives.  I went with a friend who lives in the same ward as I do, and the city councilor from our ward was there.  He came over and said hi, and he said, “You’re the only normal people here.”  Um, thanks?  I don’t often get called normal.  Ten minutes later he called me a unicorn, after I said I was one of those rare voters who is persuaded by facts and hard data rather than abstractions and fuzzy-wuzzy feelings about a candidate.  (We’ll leave my huge Platonic crush on Joe Biden out of this.)  So apparently I’m a normal unicorn.
  • My gastroenterologist’s office called and said my labs all came back normal.  Uh, then why can I still not stand up for more than two minutes?  I just want a definitive answer about what the hell is going on with my body.  Even if it can’t be treated, even if it’s going to get worse, I want to know.  If I know what’s going on and what I can expect in the future, then I can accept it.  But how can you accept something when you don’t know what it even is?  How can I make plans and learn how to deal with it if I don’t know what’s happening?  It’s just so frustrating.
  • My new case manager is somewhat better than the last one, but she never asks how I’m feeling or how I’m coping.  I can’t find it in me to bring up on my own how much I’m struggling, and I can’t ask for more help on my own.  But if she would just ask, then I could tell her.  But she doesn’t, so I can’t.  I hate how powerless that makes me sound.  Hell, I hate how powerless it makes me feel.  But for now, that’s the reality of the situation.

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Fuck It

Today I was supposed to have an appointment with the new case manager.  She never showed up.  I thought she was better than the old one, but apparently not.

I’d worked myself up to asking for more help.  I was going to tell her that I’m not sleeping and I’m severely depressed.  I was going to ask for therapy.  But then she didn’t bother to show up or call or anything, so fuck it.  I’m done trying.  I’m done looking for help.  I’m done trying to squeeze water from stones.

I’ll just stop even trying to get better.  I’ve tried and tried and tried, but I cannot do it without decent support.  So fuck it all.  I’ll just stay in my apartment, sleep all day, and binge and purge all night.  Clearly the people who could help don’t believe I’m worth saving, so why should I keep trying so hard?  I’m not important.  Eventually I’ll die–my heart will stop because of electrolyte imbalances, I’ll have a GI bleed, or my intestine will perforate.  A few people will be sad for a while, but overall the world won’t be any worse off when I’m dead.  I’m not contributing anything to society, so my absence won’t leave any big holes.  Just one less welfare queen.  Just one less pathetic loser who can’t function.  No big loss.  All I do is take money and resources that someone better than me could put to better use, someone who might actually do something useful with their life.  Spend that money on someone who matters, someone who can actually be saved.

Because I won’t be saved.  I could be, but apparently I don’t matter enough.  So for fuck’s sake, at least save someone.

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It’s not that we don’t try.

I read a blog post today written by a therapist.  I’ve been following this blog for a while, and mostly it’s decent.  But today, I just want to throw things.

This therapist is talking about how people with mental illness give up on treatment.  Apparently, according to this guy, 80% of people with depression get better after a year of therapy, but we just give up and won’t put in the effort.  He says, “Most mental health issues, for example, can be much better managed with a modicum of effort. Most people still do not put in the time.”

I don’t even know where to start with this.

First of all, where is this 80% statistic coming from?  He doesn’t cite any sources, and I don’t know if I believe it.  I know too many people who struggle with unremitting or recurring depression despite years of therapy, myself included.  I know my anecdotal experiences don’t disprove statistics, but I’m not just blindly going to accept numbers thrown around on the internet without any sources cited.

Second, how are we defining “getting better” in this statistic?  Are we using the HRSD?  BDI?  CES-D?  Goldberg?  Wakefield?  What score indicates “better”?  And over what interval of time?  For instance, counting someone as “better” 3 months after a depressive episode might be accurate then, but if they later relapse, are they still counted in the 80%?

Third, define “good counseling.”  Every single therapist I’ve ever seen claimed to be good, but some of them weren’t.  Some of them were probably good therapists for other people, but they weren’t good therapists for meSo when I terminated therapy with them, was I giving up and refusing to put in the effort?  Was I being one of those patients?  What about the therapists who have fired me?  Who said I was too difficult, too sick, too complex?  I guess I should’ve been a better patient so they wouldn’t have given up on me.

It’s bullshit, blaming people for not being able to do therapy.  There are a million reasons why someone couldn’t.  I, for instance, am mobility-impaired, don’t have a car, and can’t access public transit easily.  I cannot easily get to a therapist’s office.  I also can’t have a therapist whose office requires me to climb more than a few stairs, which is a major barrier in the area where I live.  This is not because I’m not willing to put in the effort.  I’ve pushed myself to the brink of physical collapse to try to get therapy, but my body just can’t handle it anymore.  It’s not okay to blame me for not getting better.

I have a Deaf friend who lives in a small town.  She can’t find a therapist who is fluent in ASL, so how is she supposed to access therapy?  That’s not for lack of trying either.

Or my friend who’s working two jobs.  She can’t just take off work from her low-wage jobs to go to therapy when the therapists are working.  She works from 6:00 in the morning until 10:00 or 11:00 at night.  She wants therapy, but there’s no one near her who can accommodate her schedule.  She doesn’t get sick time, and it she asks for time off regularly, she could easily be fired.  That’s not because she’s too lazy to put in the effort in therapy.

And what about the people who do get therapy, lots of therapy, for years, who work their asses off to heal…but don’t get better?  Yes, we’re statistically a minority, but we exist.  And to say that most people with mental illnesses won’t put in the “modicum of effort” to manage their symptoms is misleading and hurtful.  Most people don’t want to suffer.  We don’t want to be miserable and alone.  Most of us are doing the best we damn well can, and most of the time we’re doing it with far too few resources and far too little support.

It’s easy to sit in the therapist chair and judge us for what you perceive to be a lack of effort.  It’s easy to say, “Why won’t you just _____?”  And I think it’s especially easy to judge of you’ve recovered–you think if you can get better, why can’t/won’t everybody else?  But it’s not that simple.  Your illness is not everyone else’s illness; your pain is not everyone else’s pain; and your solutions are not everyone else’s solutions.  You may not see progress, but that doesn’t mean we’re not trying.

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Reconstructing Lost Time

I think I’ve mentioned here before that ECT caused me to lose almost all memory of about a four or five-year period preceding the ECT.  I have a few isolated memories of particular events, but they’re disconnected and out of context; I can’t form a coherent timeline or a narrative of that time.

This afternoon, I talked to a friend who I was very close to during much that time period that I can’t remember.  She said she said she saved a bunch of notes I’d written her, and she also offered to photocopy pages from her journal where she talked about what was going on with me.  She even suggested sitting down and talking about the few memories I do have so she can help fill in some of the blanks.  She won’t be able to fill in any information about the work I was doing in my intensive therapy, but a lot of the rest, she does remember.

Part of me is excited at the idea of being able to reconstruct that time.  So much of my life is empty holes and blank spaces.  It leaves me feeling unsure of who I even am sometimes–how can you know who you are when you can’t remember most of your past?  This friend and I are both writers, and she’s encouraged me to write a memoir about that time.  I’d like to be able to do that, and even if I don’t, I’ll still feel better if I can put together more memory of it.

But part of me is also hesitant.  That was an incredibly difficult, painful time for me.  Ultimately it saved my life, but to get there, I had to open myself up to feeling more pain than I’d ever let myself feel in my life.  My relationship with my therapist ultimately showed me how to save myself and gave me permission to do it, but I spent a lot of time convinced my therapist hated me.  From what I can remember, I spent a lot of time convinced that everyone hated me, but it was much more intense in the relationship with my therapist.  I was struggling intensely to give up a lot of self-destructive stuff, and that was incredibly painful.  And I was beginning to face the depth of my trauma for the first time.  I remember spending most of my therapy hours with one hand shading my eyes, like you might in bright sun, so my therapist couldn’t look at me, although I wasn’t aware for most of that time that that’s why I was doing it.  In the two years I worked with that therapist, I’m not sure I ever made direct eye contact with her.

But it’s not like the pain of that time is new, and it’s not now.  I survived it once, and it let me save myself.  I think remembering that time might let me reconnect with the feelings of hope I eventually uncovered, and that would be a very good thing.

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Depression takes over

Why can’t I just ask for help?  Why can’t I tell anyone that I need a therapist?  That I’m falling apart and need far more help than I’m getting?

Things are bad.  I’ve been kind of in denial, hoping that if I didn’t name it, it would go away.  But instead of going away, it’s getting worse.  Depression.

Right now, I can’t make myself care about anything, even the things I was most passionate about.  My sister, who I love more than anything in the world, is getting married, and I don’t care.  I’m seeing my sisters for the first time in 5 years, and I don’t care.  I want to care.  I act like I care.  I go through the motions, but the truth is I don’t care.

Same with work.  I love politics.  I love feeling like I have a voice and I’m doing something that matters.  Except now I don’t care.  I don’t want to fight.  It all feels totally pointless.  I feel like I can’t really change anything, and no one cares what I have to say because I’m sick and crippled and poor and useless.  Whatever is going to happen is going to happen regardless of my involvement.  I feel like I have no power and no purpose.

There was a phone bank last night, and I slept through it.  On purpose.  I knew it was happening, but I just didn’t care.  I couldn’t force myself to cold-call 200 people who just want to get me off the phone as fast as possible.  It all felt pointless, and I couldn’t bear to pretend it meant anything.  So I ignored the calls and texts and Facebook messages.  I just laid there in bed, half asleep, sweating under my comforter.  It’s the only place I feel okay at all, curled up and covered up, wrapped up safe from the world.

It feels like the world is just too much to deal with right now.  All I want to do is hide and sleep, but since I can’t sleep, I watch trashy TV shows on Netflix for 12 hours a day.  That’s what my life is.  That’s all my life is.  I haven’t done any work.  I don’t have any friends to go out with.  Nobody checks to make sure I’m actually okay.  I haven’t looked for new roommates.  Things are falling apart, and I just can’t care because it’s all just more than I can handle.  The world outside my bedroom is more than I can handle, and no one in my life even notices anything is at all wrong with me.

I wish I could just die.  I don’t want to kill myself; I just want to be not alive anymore.

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I hate everything.

I’m not feeling very cohesive, so this post is going to seem kind of scattered.  And I still feel shitty, so it’s not going to be all rainbows and butterflies.  Apologies in advance.

I found out B can’t go to the wedding with me.  Apparently his grandfather has cancer, and he has to have surgery the day before the wedding.  It’s a legitimate excuse, but it does bother me that he couldn’t find 30 seconds in the last month to just shoot me a one-sentence text or email.  I think I just need to let go of this relationship.  I was stupid to think I could ever be okay enough to maintain a serious relationship, so it’s my own fault.  I never should’ve gotten so invested.  I’m just not sure I know how to let go anymore.

I don’t know how I’m going to afford a plane ticket.  I mean, I’m trying to live off of $700 a month, and $400 of that goes to rent.  The last time I checked, early in the year, the cheapest round-trip tickets I could find were $500.  Plus, I’d have to find someone who could take me to the airport, since there’s not one close to me.

This morning, I was supposed to have an appointment with Idiot Case Manager.  She was going to take me to the grocery store so I could actually buy food.  But she didn’t bother showing up.  Didn’t call, either.  I called and left her a message, but I have zero confidence that she’ll even hear it, let alone call me back.   I’m so sick of her shit.  She doesn’t check messages, doesn’t return messages, and now she just didn’t show up for an appointment and didn’t call to cancel or reschedule.  I’m so far past done with these people.  She’s not helping me at all with any of my issues, so what the hell is the point?  Maybe I’ll leave a message terminating services, just to see if she really does pick up her messages.

So I basically said fuck it and slept all day.  I just can’t care anymore.  I’m too depressed to function, and the “clinician” (I don’t think she’s even competent enough to deserve that title) who’s supposed to be helping me can’t even bother to call and tell me she’s not gonna show up.  I’m glad to know just how much I matter.

I still haven’t gotten anywhere with finding new roommates.  I emailed a bunch of people from Craigslist, but only one replied.  Last week he said he’d be in town this weekend and would call me about a time to come look at the apartment, but I never heard from him.  Right now I just don’t even care.  I should, I need to, because I can’t afford the rent by myself, but I just can’t make myself give a shit about it.  (Or anything else, for that matter.)

I did manage to go to a phone bank tonight, but it was a waste of time.  My numbers were dismal–I had something like a 2% contact rate.  I think I talked to maybe 5 people in 4 hours, and 3 of them hung up on me.  One did say, “Oh shit!” and hang up when I said I was calling from a campaign, so at least I got a laugh out of that.

And then, right after RFD took me home, he called me.  Apparently somebody was wandering around the neighborhood starting fights, and he beat a lady up pretty badly.  I don’t know what the fuck is going on with my neighborhood lately.  It’s a dead end street two miles from anything, so it’s not like people end up there accidentally.  But this is the third time in two months that we’ve had a bunch of cop cars out here for a disturbance.  One involved a home invasion, one I don’t know what happened but it required an ambulance, and now tonight someone was assaulted.  It scares the shit out of me.  After the first home invasion incident, I was really scared because they guy had banged on my bedroom window, so I bought a big hunting knife that now lives right next to my bed.  This shit puts my PTSD symptoms into hyperdrive.

I just can’t deal with anything right now.  I’m so depressed I’ve actually been considering self-harming just so I won’t have to feel anything.  That or bingeing and purging.  Anything that will make me not have to feel anything for a while.  I’m not fully suicidal [yet], but I’m having a lot of thoughts about not wanting to be alive.

I really need to get a therapist, but I can’t deal with contacting people.  You know you’re really fucked up when you’re too depressed and anxious to even get a therapist.

I really hate myself right now.  It’s really hard not to self-destruct, and I’m losing sight of any reason why I shouldn’t just give in to the urges.

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Disjointed and Disconnected

I feel like I haven’t had much to say lately, so I haven’t been posting. But it’s lonely. I’m lonely. I keep wanting to reach out and connect, but I don’t know how. I don’t know what I want/need or how to ask for it.

So here’s a bunch of random stuff about my life that might make me feel a little more connected, even though it’s going to come out all disjointed.

  • I still don’t have a therapist.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I probably should, but I’m too afraid to look for one.  Afraid I won’t find someone, afraid it won’t work out if I do find someone, afraid they’ll reject me (again).  So my brilliant approach is to do nothing about it.
  • I am exhausted, existentially.  After the Boston trip last week, I haven’t done any campaign work all week.  Didn’t even answer my phone for campaign people.  I feel a little guilty, but mostly I just don’t care.
  • I think some of the apathy is the Supreme Court’s fault.  I’ll spare you my political ranting, but suffice it to say that I’m very unhappy with them.  It feels like no matter how hard we work to make the country more fair and kind, it just doesn’t matter.  Someone with more power will just stomp it into dust.  Right now I’m too tired to fight back.
  • I am doing a table for my AG candidate at the farmers’ market on Saturday.  But I plan to just sit there, smile at people, and hand out lit.  I’m too tired to be aggressive about it, and if they don’t like it, they can dock my pay.
  • I still don’t know what I’m going to do about my roommate situation.  I should be advertising on Craigslist and talking to friends who might know somebody, but I haven’t done anything at all.  I feel like my roommates are screwing me over, so it should be their job to fix the situation.  Of course, that’ll just end up screwing me over in the end.  I know this, but does it motivate me to do anything?  Nope.
  • The fatigue is slightly better since I’ve been on the iron, but it’s still very present.  My gastroenterologist’s office called to say my blood counts looked better in this week’s labs, and I’ll see my doctor this Tuesday.  I’m going to discuss with him whether it’s the iron sulfate that’s making me sicker, the lower 6-MP, or both.  The worst, of course, is night.  I don’t know why, but it’s always been that way for me.
  • I have an OB/GYN appointment July 11.  I’m freaking the fuck out about this.  C is going with me, but that does not actually make me feel better.  I’m afraid she’ll refuse to give me progesterone without an exam, and then I’ll be totally fucked.
  • It poured all night tonight–I’m talking hurricane quantities.  This makes me nervous because I live 50 yards from a lake, in a first-floor apartment, but we didn’t flood.  Our power flickered a bunch, but it didn’t go out.  In spite of this, I hope it pours again tomorrow night.  That way every asshole with a lighter won’t be setting off firecrackers.  I don’t do well with sudden, loud noises.  It’s all right if I go to a fireworks show because then I expect it.  But on the 4th of July, even though it’s illegal, people just LOVE setting off fireworks.  Maybe if I beat them up, I can blame it on my PTSD.
  • I also need to get around to installing my window unit tomorrow because it’s too damn hot to exist.  Of course, I’ve been saying all week that I was going to install it tomorrow.  Apparently I’m so apathetic about everything that not even heat stroke can motivate me to get out of my bed.
  • I really hate this new WordPress post layout.  I don’t usually complain about website updates unless it’s Votebuilder (don’t start me on THAT rant), but this one bugs me.  It feel like it’s trying to be too Facebook-y, and the interface is less intuitive than it used to be.

I don’t really feel more connected, but maybe it’s a work in progress?  I don’t even know anymore.

 

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Disconnect

I’m realizing that I spend a lot of time these days feeling disconnected.

I interact with people a lot, primary through my political work.  It’s great; I love it.  But I only get to be part of me in that context.  It’s a part of me that I like–capable, confident, smart, quick learner, good with people.  I feel valuable and wanted.  I even feel like people like me.  I’d like to be that person all the time–it feels good.

But it’s not all of who I am, and neglecting the other parts of me isn’t going to do us any good in the long run.

There’s also part of me who’s sick and scared.  My hair is falling out.  I can’t stand up for more than a minute before my legs start to shake and give out on me.  Half of my right big toe is numb, and the last two days, I’ve had tingling and numbness from my left elbow down to my pinkie and ring fingers.  I get headaches I can’t shake for days.  I have bruises all over my body even though I haven’t bumped into anything.  My belly hurts almost constantly.  I’m still waiting to hear back from my gastroenterologist about the recent labs, but I’m starting to think this is something more than just the ulcerative colitis.  It scares the shit out of me.

And there’s the depression that’s always there, niggling at me.  I can only push it away for so long.  Anxiety, too.  I just keep worrying that something is going to blow up in my face that I can’t handle, and everything will fall apart.  I can push away the fear and depression for a while, but it never really disappears.

And I can feel young parts close to the surface.  I always know when they’re nearby because I start to crave care, someone to take care of me because I’m scared and alone and I can’t do it myself.  But I have to.  I’m an adult, and there’s no one to take care of me now.  I don’t even have a community anymore, not since I had to leave the treatment program I was in.  I still see my team leader twice a month, but most of the time, I’m on my own.  Idiot Case Manager thinks I’m doing great, not that I believe I’d get any substantial help from her even if she didn’t think I was doing great.  I get the sense that aside from drugs and hospitals, they don’t have much to offer.

And what is it I really want people to offer, anyway?  What is it that you think would actually help?

I want to feel not alone.  I want a community where I can be all of me.  I keep thinking about going back to the trauma unit just to be surrounded by people who get it, but that doesn’t really fit.  I’m not in crisis; I don’t need to be monitored and locked up; I need to have my freedom and ability to do my work.  But I also need to feel held, and I don’t, here.  There’s no one around me who understands what I’ve been through.  I don’t even have a therapist anymore.  Partly that’s my own fault, I know.  I could look for another one, but I don’t.  I probably won’t.  Or, well, I’ll search and search, I’ll find them online and read their profiles, but I’ll never pick up the phone and call.  I’m too afraid.

I’ve built up my own walls, and I have no idea how to get out of them.  I’m alone and afraid, and it hurts so much right now.

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Just a Little Easier

Another sleepless night.  All I can do is sleep when I want to be up and doing things, but at night…nope.

I’m scared and alone.  I can’t stop thinking about the future and how I’m ever going to manage like this for any length of time.  I’m barely scratching out my survival every month, and it’s just not sustainable.  Pretty soon (the end of June) I’ll lose C for good, and unless I magically find a therapist, I’ll have no one left to rely on except Idiot Case Manager.  (I think I’m just gonna call her ICM from now on.  It’s easier.)

I feel like there’s something seriously physically wrong with me.  I mean, besides just the UC.  My energy levels are non-existant.  No matter how much water I drink, I still nearly pass out every time I stand up.  Sunday, I couldn’t get through an hour and a half of canvassing before I thought I was literally going to collapse.  I barely made it back to the car.  I’m sure this is somehow related to the UC–before my diagnosis, I was walking and running around 5 miles a day and doing intense martial arts training for around 6 hours a week.  I wasn’t an olympian, but I was in good shape.  Now I can hardly stand up.  Seriously, I had to buy a cane, and I STILL couldn’t finish my canvass.  All the tests come back normal (or as normal as they can be for someone with UC): iron levels, B vitamins, Vitamin D, thyroid–all normal.  My doctors just shrug it off: “Fatigue is pretty common with autoimmune diseases.”  But I see all these other IBD patients who run marathons or do martial arts or, you know, can be on their feet without collapsing.  I’ve spent a lot of time since my diagnosis talking to other people with IBD, and I’ve never heard of anyone else with this level of fatigue and weakness.  I don’t know if it’s the disease or the meds.  I kind of suspect it’s the 6-MP–I don’t recall fatigue like this before I went on it, and it’s gotten worse since the doctor on call upped my dose a few weeks ago.

I feel like I need someone who can look at this integratively.  I love my gastroenterologist, but he seems uncomfortable with addressing anything that isn’t directly related to my intestines.  My GP is also good, but when my tests came back normal, that was pretty much the end of it for him.  I can’t afford to pay out of pocket for any kind of holistic doctor, so I’m basically just shit outta luck.

I just wonder how I’m ever going to be able to function like this.  I was working part-time on the campaign, and now I’m barely able to do even that.  Most days I don’t leave my bed, although I do manage to spend a few hours sitting up.  I’ve got a stack of canvass packets two inches thick that I haven’t entered because I’m too fatigued to concentrate enough.  It’s not even difficult, just detail-oriented, making sure I enter the right data for the right person.  I could do it in bed, but I’m struggling even with that.

Once I lose C, I don’t even know how I’ll grocery shop.  Right now, that’s what she and I do on our shifts.  To grocery shop on my own, I’d have to take two buses each way and wait at stops with no benches, which right now is basically impossible.  ICM has made it clear, when I asked about help getting to the grocery store, that they “don’t do that.”  I’ve yet to determine what she actually does, other than make sure I’m still alive once a week and make comments that make me want to punch her.

I feel like I’m being left all alone in a world too big for me to manage, and no one even notices, let alone cares.

It’s just like when I was a kid.  My mother used to disappear sporadically.  It was always after one of her rages, and a lot of the time she’d threaten suicide before she disappeared.  She was never gone more than two or three days, and sometimes it was just for several hours or overnight.  But it started when I was 8 years old, and I had two little sisters to take care of.  I was never sure if she was going to come back, but I did the best I could to take care of my sisters.  We ate a lot of cereal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and macaroni and cheese from a box, since those were the only meals I could make.  I learned not to think ahead because then I’d panic about what would happen to us if my mother didn’t come back.

It was the same way when my father was abusing me: just deal with this moment, and don’t think about the future or you will fall apart.  It was always about mere survival.  I couldn’t imagine things being any different because I was so small and he was so big, and no one even noticed what he was doing to me.

And now it feels like that same situation is playing out again.  I need help and compassion and care, but what I get is neglect or abuse.  I can’t think about the future because the hopelessness is too overwhelming.  There’s nowhere to turn.  No one will save me.  There’s no rescuer coming.  I am alone.

Yes, there’s something to be said for not expecting someone to magically save you or fix you, but I don’t think that’s what I’m doing.  At least, I’m trying to convince myself that’s not what I’m doing.  I’m willing to work as hard as I can to get better.  I’ve tried so hard for so long.  I don’t expect some idealized savior to come make everything better.  There’s this scene from The West Wing where two White House staffers are talking to a guy in a hotel bar, and the guy’s talking about the struggle to afford college for his daughter:

It should be hard.  I like that it’s hard.  Putting your daughter through college, that’s–that’s a man’s job.  A man’s accomplishment.  But it should be a little easier.  Just a little easier.  ‘Cause that difference is…everything.

That’s how I feel.  I don’t want my life to be easy–I would get way too bored.  I’m one of those people who loves to fight, which is why I’m so good at politics.  I’m willing to keep fighting for my life–that’s a real accomplishment.  But it should be a little easier.  Just a little easier.  ‘Cause that difference is the difference between “I think I can manage this” and “My life is so impossible that I have no viable choices besides killing myself.”  ‘Cause that difference is everything.

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