Monday, July 22, 2013

I don't get tired of you (purely documentation of recovery, not proper prose).

“I really don’t know what ‘I love you’ means. I think it means ‘Don’t leave me here alone.’”—  Neil Gaiman

Goal and objectives of my hospital stay (inspired by various phone calls with Felicity, advice from the ever faithful Lemongrass and my friend from work named Lou):
 -Get the drugs right—if that includes trying lithium, go for it. Avoid drugs for sleep because they will only make you dependent and the dosage will probably be piss weak anyway 

-Consider the admission like a mental health/responsibility holiday; don’t focus on the actual therapy or group discussions. You know what works for you (reading books on mental illness, watching TV shows, routine, observing people and learning about their lives, talking to friends, hot showers, hair in plaits, curling up in a ball), so stick with it. Hospital is what you choose to make it
-Engage in activities or behaviours that are not forced or upsetting—if you do not feel like seeing someone, don’t invite them to visit, if you don’t feel like talking or being ‘up’, don’t. This is your time to feel exactly how you want to; and know that that’s okay. Even if that means admitting that you’ve spent most of this year wanting to die; accept this and learn from it
-Continue to develop your skills as a mental illness warrior; remember people first language, research and ask questions about drugs and therapy alternatives, learn from your fellow patients about what works for them and note things you would like to implement or change when you are working in a similar field (like the way the nurses all know your name instantly or how they pick up on specific quirks straight away)
-Don’t let the past define you—“I am more than the worst thing that has ever happened to me.” No amount of recounting will erase the trauma; learn to live with the past and move forward with your life. Find helpful and meaningful ways to express your pain (writing, spending time with children who are so filled with hope, talking to good friends) and helpful ways to escape it (hot chocolates at uni, emailing friends who live overseas, reading Harry Potter in bed). Stop trying to escape or out-run your pain; it is something that will leave a scar, but that’s okay

Things to look forward to on the other side:

*Getting a tattoo with Zhi Hui and M (I’m thinking of three different types of flowers in black and white to cover my three vertical scars and to symbolise recovery and my fascination with the intricacies of nature)

*Borrowing more autobiographies from the library about mental illness or trauma—I finished two yesterday and both were so reassuring…even though the Poet was a dick in many respects, his constant reinforcement that “other people feel this too” is something which I need to remember when I feel low

*ILS tutes (a short story writing/analysis subject) with Nick as my tutor; knowing that he understands how hard it’s been for me to get that far

Goal for discharge:

Go to dinner with my family and accept that however much pain they cause and however much I resent their involvement in my life (I am often bored when I talk to my mother and I hold no desire to see or talk to them except when I pass out in the bathroom by myself…awks), their own mental health relies on this connection and I will let this relationship be the last in my yellow dress collection
List of people who I was prepared to lose (as painful as that is to admit to myself or others):

*Lou—I wrote her a 20th birthday card which doubled as a goodbye letter earlier this year. I am unable to express how much I valued her honestly when it comes to sex, her own anxiety, her brothers schizophrenia or how she is just studying health science because she knows she should be a “good person”, not because she wants to be. A perfect example of someone who has never engaged in therapy but just learnt to live with the hand life dealt them. I am so proud of her and greatful that she respects me enough to call me a friend

*DJM—before I left for Europe I gave my ever faithful GP flowers with the intention of thanking him, but also saying goodbye (I had promised myself that upon my return if I couldn’t move out by the time uni started, I would end it). Then again, in late June I wrote him a note telling him how happy I was (it was momentarily true). I booked an appointment to complain about my skin and say goodbye. He saw right through me though; and I am learning to trust that he will be attending my wedding, not funeral, someday in the future

*Magnus—in early July I returned several clothes she had lent me over the past year. She seemed surprised by the items and we giggled at the fact that I’ve kept them so long. I never bought up the fact that she’d read my previous blog (detailing similar stuff to this), because I didn’t want us to fight. I told her I loved her even though it made her blush and cringe. At one point this year, she called to arrange a coffee date, insistent that she needed to see me that day. When I arrived, she said she knew our brains worked the same and absolutely needed my advice. I was horrified to think they did, but I tried my best and she seemed greatful. I’m not sure whether our friendship is very honest, but I do know that it has endured so much since we met (at age seven) and that complicating it with mental illness and secrets about my family and sexuality, is not something I want to add to the murky waters. Sometimes it’s nice to just be.