Sometimes I come out of hospital and fling myself back into life without too much trouble even if it's tiring. Sometimes it's more difficult to get my head around what's happened and it's harder to move on. For some reason this is one of the more challenging times, and I've been quite low since getting home. I don't really know why. I'm tearful though, and I'm not sleeping well, and I'm low. I'm not depressed - I refused to be depressed after fighting it so hard for so many years and finally winning seven years ago - but ... but I'm not coping brilliantly. I don't know why. I don't know why some times are harder than others. I don't know why this time is more difficult than some other times. I don't know why I'm so tearful, but I am.
I went to the beach today, for a short wander along the sand. Usually the rush of the waves and the whipping cool breeze blows holes into any misery I feel, but today the air was muggy, the sand sucked at my feet, the foam of the waves was beery, and I found myself crying as I trudged my way past the surfers. At first I tried to stop the tears, but then it didn't seem to matter. Nobody was interested, and even if they had been, what would it have mattered? It didn't matter. I let the tears come and I hoped that I'd feel better afterwards. I didn't.
Why is it sometimes so hard?
Why is this time harder than some others?
I'm used to the routine of being ill.
I'm used to the routine of the severe attacks.
I know what to expect.
I know that coming through it is not guaranteed.
I still get scared.
I still get worn out by the whole experience.
I still don't know how to deal with the aftermath reliably well.
I phoned my psychiatrist earlier in the week. In the past she's said that I could contact her between appointments if I felt I needed to. This is the first time that I've felt that I've needed to, but I did so I rang. She has no appointments before the one I already have. Fair enough, that's only the week after next, but I could've done with something sooner. I was given the option of speaking to the 'duty worker' so in an attempt to be pro-active in my situation I took them up on the offer. The duty worker turned out to be a CPN. She was nice enough, but obviously didn't have any experience with people who've been in the kind of situation I've just come through. I'm sure she'd have been fine if I were psychotic or something, but reactionally low after a severe asthma attack - not so great. It probably didn't help that I didn't know her, and that she'd called me back early in the morning when I was asleep so was immediately thrown from a much needed slumber into talking about feeling miserable and stressed.
And then I had a call from my social worker. This is a social worker who was apparently allocated to me a few years ago, but I knew nothing about until I asked for a review of care needs late last year and she came out to see me a couple of months ago. That's when I learnt that she/someone has been my social worker for a couple of years. Anyway, she's lovely and since I met her she's really wanted to help and get me all the care I need. She asked to be told whenever I go into hospital and to get the nurses to give her a call if I think I'm going to need any extra support when I get home, even if that's temporary. I didn't call. I didn't think this time was any different from any other time. Not really. She called me. She said she'd had a call from the CPN and they'd expressed concern about me. The thing is, I don't think there's an awful lot that anyone can do. It's that old 'time will heal' thing, isn't it? Time will heal. I'll get my head around it again and I'll come out the other side of this quagmire. It's just that in the meantime I have to wade my way through the mire and keep on pulling my feet out of the quick-sand as they threaten to be sucked in. I won't let them. I can't. Life is too precious to let it be subsumed by dark unhappiness for too long. I just need ... I don't know ... what do I need? ... I need strength. I need to persevere. I need to reach out and find the hand of friendship to help me through. I probably need to let some more of the tears out. And perhaps I need to stop trying to understand why it's hard, and just accept that it is hard, for whatever reason...
... Maybe that reason is as simple as 'because it's frightening' ...
... I try to be brave. I try to get on with it. I try not to wallow in fear ... but sometimes fear follows me and won't go away until I've confronted it. How do you confront a fear that you've survived though? It's a fear of something that's gone, something that's done. How do you face that head-on? It's still following me though, and I think that's what's getting me down, what's making me miserable and tearful, and feeling all those things that are scarily close to depression. I will not let it win. I refuse to get depressed again. Life is for living ... I just need to find a way through. Anyone got a map?