The last weeks of winter are always hard for me. I feel this is kind of stupid, and my brain insists that winter will be over soon and March probably will bring the first nice spring days. But somehow it feels like my battery is empty. We had snow for a few days. That was a nice change, but on the other had I had to use my already low energy for shoveling snow. Snow gave way to rain, and now there is a gloomy atmosphere outside.
I try to limit the damage and set priorities. Of course the furbabies are high on my list, they can’t take care of themselves after all. Walking the dogs and snuggling sessions with the cat are a must! And as far as I can see, the three are doing well. I try to squeeze in as many chores as possible. Things have been worse, that’s for sure.
Next week is my quarterly appointment with my psychiatrist. Maybe she has some suggestions how I can improve things.
I hope you are well! I’ll try to catch up with you in the next days.
I have spent the last weeks contemplating if and how I will continue group therapy. It wasn’t an easy decision, therapy places are rare, and it will affect my future.
Eventually I terminated therapy. This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision, I talked it through with group and the therapist several times. There were many things to consider after all.
This process started months ago when I made a similar decision about ending OT. On one hand I’ve been in therapy for so long I almost can’t remember life without it. On the other hand I’m at a point where I am tired of therapy and not able to take it in any more. This became very obvious when there was a longer break, and I didn’t miss a thing. In the last group meeting there was a new patient, she was so full of emotions and energy. I’m lacking both.
I don’t think I am miraculously cured, and I’m very aware of the fact my problems won’t just disappear. But I won’t do therapy half-hearted. This doesn’t help me, and there are others who are more motivated and waiting for a therapy place.
I am very thankful for everything I learned in therapy, and for all the wonderful people who helped me. But sometimes it’s time to walk a different path. So here’s to new beginnings.
One thing I try to live by is a quote from Erich Kästner “Nothing good happens unless you do it”. If I can, I like to help. But when I promised a friend to walk her dog while she recovered from a minor surgery on her toe, I had bitten off more than I could chew – and it was just a week.
One aspect was the time I spent driving between our homes and walking the dog. But being responsible for a pet I don’t really know was the hardest thing for me. I shouldn’t have worried, our friend’s dog is a wonderful granny (about the same age as our Janet) and much more easier to handle as our Sam for example. When walking her I always felt tense and wasn’t able to enjoy it. The dog on the other side had fun and was absolutely relaxed. Everything went well, but I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself if something had happened.
At the same time my husband was on holiday, we had to do work in the garden and put away the wood for the winter. I wanted to please and help everybody and put myself last. This happens often to me. Panic attacs started to bother me, and after the week I just felt tired and like a failure, because I thought everybody but me can handle such a situation without breaking a sweat.
Luckily this stressful time was too short to cause real damage. I recover slowly. But I should really take this seriously and learn to take better care of myself. I still fall into traps I could avoid. That made me think. But this time I got off easy.
(The picture above is not the actual conversation, but a translation into english).
Yesterday I chatted with a former fellow patient from my inpatient stay last year.
Our chat made me see that I am still very impatient with myself. Even days after my husband’s birthday I was quite upset and was angry with myself, because it’s still hard for me to be around the little niece.
But like V. pointed out, I did a few little steps in the right direction. After all there were times where I couldn’t stand being around the little one.
Conversations like this are the reason why I continue therapy at the moment. On my own I wouldn’t see this, and I would still hate myself. And this feeling doesn’t help, I learned that from the past.
I have come so far in the last months, but I still need help. Sometimes somebody needs to give me a push, so I can get things straight.
(↑ Ricarda Huch, “Nicht alle Schmerzen sind heilbar…” – “Some pains are incurable”? I didn’t find an english version of this wonderful poem).
Saturday we celebrated my husband’s 50th birthday. Two guests even brought flowers for me (picture above), this was nice.
I had lots of help, our mothers and our friend brought something to eat as well. Not all of the guests had met before, but everyone got along so well.
The little niece was there as well, and she is really great. She is curious, but also calm and balanced. And still… Seeing her with my husband caused me almost unbearable pain. Seeing her with my mother hurt so much. Seeing what I will never have was so cruel and brough up so many dark feelings in me.
But there was also a wonderful moment in the kitchen with my mother, when I told her how hard everything was for me. She put her arms around me, held me tight and said: “You are the number one in my heart!” I needed to hear this so much, and I told her so.
Yesterday and today were a complete write-off. I was shaken by grief and tears, and my back hurt very much as well. My husband was surprised, to him it seemed everthing was alright at the party (I can be a good actress, if need be. And Saturday my husband having a great time was my top priority). Talking to him openly yesterday and today helped a great deal. But it will take a while until everything is back to normal.
In me is an open wound that doesn’t heal. The quote from Ricarda Huch describes it so well. Today I made it to the dentist, where I had an appointment, and tomorrow I want to go to OT group. Not surrendering everything to the pain is my goal for the next days.
I still meet with a fellow patient from my inpatient stay in 2018. She’s not well, and I am sorry for that. But as someone who is not involved in her daily struggles, I see where she might go wrong.
My impression is, she doesn’t work enough on her recovery. She has lots of help, but feels bad nontheless. She quit looking for a therapist, she didn’t follow her doctor’s advice to try Occupational Therapy and sport.
I made the same mistake in the past myself and did not follow through. It doesn’t help that places for aftercare are rare and waiting periods are long. It would be very nice if patients would be discharged onto a well paved road after inpatient treatment, but mostly they find themselves on a small path, like in the picture above. But adverse conditions doesn’t release us from being responsible for ourselves.
No human is like the other. OT and sport work for me, but that doesn’t mean they are good for everybody. And I think it’s absolutly ok to try something and give it up later in case it doesn’t help. But we have to do something, or things won’t improve.
When I had really bad back pain, we had a housecleaner. Everything was tidy, but being pushed to the sidelines was bad for my soul. Being responsible and doing something is better for me. But like I said, this is my path, and it’s not for everybody.
Because I know help can cut both ways, I don’t force it on anyone. I offer to help when I can, but I would never show up at the doorstep unannounced with a rag in my hand. Self-determination should be respected, even when it hurts to see someone struggling.
Wednesday I tried to make the next step. My plan was to meet with the little niece outside the family gatherings, because meeting many people adds to the stress.
My husband and the in-laws really tried to accomodate me. Everybody wanted to make this possible. It was hard for me to accept so much help, but I tried to help them in the past as well. And I am of course aware of the fact that everybody needs help sometimes.
I went through a lot of feelings that day, and I shed a few tears as well. And on the next day I still felt very rattled. But after that, I calmed down. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t handle it. But maybe my goal to at least be a part of the family festivities is realistic. And maybe it becomes easier with time.
My next goal will be to go to the Christmas brunch held by the parents-in-law on boxing day.
The pain that we will won’t have children will not just vanish. But I don’t want it to destroy my life. I will see what is possible. But I will continue to find my own way.
… we are supposed to take a walk before breakfast. I don’t always feel like it, but it’s a good way to start the day.
Between breakfast and the first therapy of the day I usually get my daily rTMS treatment. So far I have had seven, a complete cycle consists of 15 or better 20 treatments.
The art therapist thinks she can help me, so I joined the sculpture group and I have single art therapy as well. My days are full, in the evening I am often so tired that there’s no energy left for blogging.
Right now a lot is going on in my head, but this is to be expected and will hopefully stop as therapy continues. Until then I try to keep up reading your blogs at least.
…or “repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation” is called what I started today. A specific part of the brain is subjected to a magnetic field in order to stimulate brain activity. It is a new therapy that is used to treat depression that does not or barely react to medication.
I knew this treatment is painfree and rarely has any side effects. I was a little bit afraid anyway. But the staff helped me through it, and next time I know what to expect. Each treatment lasts about 15 minutes. The plan is to have a treatment on each working day for the next weeks.
Yesterday I went to the psychiatric institutional outpatient’s department again to talk them out of admitting me for my med cange. But the colleague of my psychiatrist also recommended a inpatient stay. Well, then this is how it should be handled, I think. On a positive note, they were able to offer me a quick admission date, so treatment will start on Friday.
I am thinking about one thing the doctor said: “You always wait so long before you do something!”
Well, that’s right. For the last weeks I have been watching my energy disappear, finding thousands of excuses instead of looking for help. Typical me.
I am still somehow shocked. At the same time I am preparing everything. I will follow your blogs as I can, we will see how often I will be able to post something. The first weekend I have to stay on the ward, after that I will go home from Saturday to Sunday at least.