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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2 weeks in the tower

As many of you are aware, I haven't been on psych meds for roughly 18 months. Things were up and down, but I was managing to stay out of the hospital. Unfortunately, it couldn't last forever. Two weeks ago I was having a really rough day. My hallucinations were getting pretty bad and I began having command hallucinations along with derogatory voices yelling at me. Later that night I tried to kill myself like the voices were telling me to, but luckily my husband was right there and got me to the hospital. 
After a couple days in the ER waiting for a bed to open up I got banished to the tower (the name of the part of the psych ward I was in) for another week and a half. I'm doing much better now, but still not doing great. I'm back on meds, though, so that start helping more soon. I wasn't excited about it, but atypical anti-psychotics just don't really work all that well for me, so I'm stuck with the older ones that have a much higher rate of dangerous side effects. But if it helps me feel okay, it's worth it.

The hardest part was deciding to go back (and stay) on the meds knowing I would not see Jackson again while on them. My beautiful baby boy is gone. I've watched him grow up over the years even though he's been ashes this whole time. My psychosis has kept  him alive, so to speak. And now that I'm on meds to get rid of the hallucinations, I will no longer be seeing him. It's been the hardest part of all this. 

I keep telling myself that going back on meds is the best decision because then I can begin the process to see if I'll be allowed to may one day be a foster parent. I'm not very hopeful about it, but it's something I want to do. It gives me a goal and a reason to keep taking the pills. However, it also makes me feel like I'm throwing away my ability to "see" Jackson so that I can replace him. Which I know is just ridiculous, but it doesn't make the feelings not there. So it's been rough, but hopefully soon it will get easier.

I'll end it there. Sorry for just a downer of a post and hopefully it actually makes sense. I go cross eyed trying to proof read it, but I don't see any big red lines, so I'll call it good enough for now.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Strength

What does it mean to be strong? I'm not talking physical strength. I mean emotionally and psychologically strong. I've never really felt like I'm very strong, yet here I am. So what is strength?

Being strong does not mean boxing up your emotions and being stoic in the face of tragedy. It does not mean never crying when something awful happens. It does not mean you can endure endless pain. It is not synonymous with not having or showing emotion. I think it means quite the opposite.

Being strong means knowing how to take care of yourself and keep going. It means asking for help when you need it, even when you don't want to admit you need help. It means when something awful happens, you don't run away and hide forever. You don't give up or back down. It means no matter how helpless, hopeless, or weak you feel, you get out of bed. You push through and keep going until you make it out the other side.

Hiding from your emotions, denying them, and never facing them is the easy way out. And not even that easy, if we're being honest. To look at your situation, accept that it's awful, and express how you feel about it in whatever way you're comfortable with takes strength. Coping with triggers, accepting you cannot control the situation, and learning to keep going takes strength.

So many times we hear people, or even ourselves, say "you need to be strong." And somehow that's supposed to mean stop crying and thinking about it and just pretend everything is normal. Just ignore whatever terrible thing is going on and brick up all those socially unacceptable emotions. That is not strength. That is hiding. You're forcing yourself to avoid confronting and processing this event. But hiding from it will only continue to get harder and make you feel weaker as you force this facade of strength.

Being strong takes courage. It means feeling all those negative emotions and having the strength to not let them take over your life and define you. Strength comes in learning how to accept and appropriately cope with the negative emotions and thoughts that we all experience. It's taking a deep breath and doing what needs to be done.



"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong in the broken places."
-Ernest Hemmingway