A favourite quote and a way by which to approach life.

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Beyond the CATT

It's the early hours of the morning and, yet again, I can't sleep.  I haven't slept properly since just before my hospital admission in the middle of January.  I am chronically sleep deprived, utterly exhausted, but getting to sleep is a real problem.  Even once I do eventually get to sleep I dream of violent and upsetting things, or have dreams based upon the realities of what happened during my last admission.  No sleep is restful and I am so tired that I feel as though my brain is melting.

The whole sleep thing is doing nothing to help my mental health in general, and it's most likely making things worse.  I'm doing all that I can to help myself - doing all that's asked of me and suggested to me by the professionals and helpful friends - but the extreme tiredness is crippling and inhibits any success those things may have.

In the past week I've also been finding things more difficult because the supportive input has been cut back.  The crisis team (CATT) said they thought it was the right time for me to be moved on and have my care transferred to the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) as they can provide more long-term support.  The problem with this for me, though, is that CATT were coming to see me at least every other day, but the CMHT can only come a maximum of once a week, and I feel like I still need more input than that.

I was appointed a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) from the CMHT, and on Wednesday last week I had a joint meeting with her and a member of CATT who'd seen me quite a lot during my time on their caseload.  It went okay, I guess, but it's going to take time to get to know my CPN, how she works, and what she can do with/for me.  She came again on Monday, and to be honest I didn't feel like it was very helpful.  I was feeling distracted by the chaos in my flat caused by the arrival of my new cooker at the weekend, which was sitting in the living room until it could be installed later in the week.  I couldn't think.  I couldn't concentrate.  I couldn't work out my feelings.  The phone kept ringing with junk callers, and although I let the answer machine take the calls, I still felt distracted.  In fact, it all felt rather disorienting, even though I was in my own home.  I couldn't connect either with the CPN or with myself, and it didn't help that my lungs were being really twitchy too.

We made another appointment for her to visit me, but that won't be until Wednesday next week.  That's nine days between appointments, which is an almost incomprehensible length of time for me at the moment, and so very different from the two days (at most) between appointments I've been having with CATT.  I've been told that I can still call the CATT helpline number if I need to, and I have done once, but seeing as I'm not really under CATT's care any more it feels like I'm breaking the rules ... even though I'm not.  Yes, this is something only I can change, but it's not easy.  Nothing is easy at the moment.

You know, the other thing that I'm finding difficult about all of this is the simple thing of me needing to have this referral to the CMHT, and to be needing a CPN again.  I'm disappointed in myself, hugely disappointed.  Depression had been an awful part of my past that I'd moved away from.  I'd got my antidepressant dose down to the bare minimum.  I'd had very little contact with any of the mental health services for a number of years, and last year had finally been discharged by the psychiatrist.  I had two months short of ten years of freedom from depression, despite increasing difficulties with my physical health.  I studied hard and got two degrees, writing the majority of my essays for those degrees in hospital, sometimes in my head while I was fighting for life in intensive care (distraction from the horrendous things happening to me).  Suddenly I've ended up back in the midst of depression.  I've had input from the crisis team, and now I have a CPN again, and a re-referral to the psychiatrist.

This is not what I want!  This is not who I am supposed to be any more!  I'm so angry at myself for ending up back in this place and needing these people and services!  I had opted for life, but now it feels like all life has been sapped from me again, and I'm so cross that I've let myself fall back so very far, and worst of all is that I don't know how to get out of this.

Many have said, 'You've come through it before, so you can come through it again.'  That's not helpful.  It's really not helpful.  Last time I 'got through it' because I had a miraculous healing from God at 4pm on Monday 5th May.  My healing wasn't anything to do with me, or medication, or circumstances, or psychology, or psychiatry, or anything else.  The healing was from God and was instantaneous.  I'm not a fool and I know that not only can I not expect this to happen again, but it is incredibly unlikely to happen again.  The chances of it happening even once are minuscule, let alone twice.  I have no experience of coming out of depression in any other way, and as it was nothing that I did then I don't know how to get to that point.  I don't know how to get well, and that scares me.  And I feel so guilty because I feel as though God gave me that amazing gift of my miracle moment and I can't have looked after it well enough because here I am back in depression.  I've let God down.  I've let everyone down, myself included, but I am ashamed to have let God down.


Anonymous said...

How can you possibly have let God down? Did you ask to be ill? or depressed? of course not. I'm praying like mad for a repeat of the other Maytime healing.
Love and (hopefully) supportive hugs,

Sal said...

Hi Becky, I don't feel qualified to comment on your feelings about your healing but I do think that these things can happen to atheists too & that perhaps that moment may have come from something inside you - it may have been God but it still came from inside you - so there is no reason why it may not happen again.
I too feel disappointed to be back in that place again, needing emergency psychiatric help. I will say that, having sunk so incredibly low earlier this year, I have suddenly bounced back & now feel a lot more stable. It does happen & I don't question why but just feel grateful for it. Guilt & self-loathing are part of the depressive cycle but are not helpful to us & I try not to listen to that voice but just acknowledge that that is my depressive mind working it's evil.
You are coping - I know it doesn't feel like it, but you are. You have an inner strength that will get you through this, despite that wicked voice of depression telling you otherwise.
I also know what you mean about feeling like you're breaking the rules by calling the team - I've had a similar experience here, but you were clearly told that it was ok to do so so try to remember that - they just want you to be well & if calling them helps, then that's ok. xxx

Chris said...

Hi Becky,

just to say that I broadly agree with ViV and Sal. Especially "Guilt & self-loathing are part of the depressive cycle but are not helpful to us & I try not to listen to that voice but just acknowledge that that is my depressive mind working it's evil."

I am also thinking about the Father's response to the "prodigal son" when he came home.

I know it is not easy to counter those negative feelings but they are not the truth. Truth is that you are loved by God and by people.

If you want to get out of the flat (for as long as you have energy) we could go to the Chilli Arms tonight or next week (I am away until Tue). Or we could visit Iris.

Chris x

Anna Hopper said...

Hi Becky when I've been really bad with my depression I've found it helpful to hang on to the fact that nothing we can do is so bad that it will remove us from God NOTHING can let God down so you certainly haven't. As was said to me unless you believe that you know better than God, then that is the truth. I'm praying for you and sending hugs keep hanging in there Anna

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Hey, Becky, I'm on the blogs all over and came across yours through a friend.

I have manic depression (mostly depression!), PTSD, and other assorted stuff. I am also a church going Christian who's married to a pastor (I monitored his courses, too!), so I'm on the ball with the God issues.

I'm going to be honest, and you're not going to like me, but I'm here on earth because instead of committing suicide, God smacked me upside the head and whispered, "Go to a clinic. It's cleaner than the mess you will leave behind for your family to clean up."

God does not judge. The guilt you have over that is not to be ignored, though. Sal said something I feel: It's always disappointing to be "back there again," but depression is not something you:
Get over
Get past
Get by with without meds and a counselor
Cured by God or Jesus

It's an ongoing, lifetime thing. You either accept that, or you reject the help and end up more worried about the machine in your living room than the social worker sitting across from you.

You're not breaking rules. You're one step closer to GETTING REAL. It's not a sin or a tragedy to live with mental illness. It's kind of like being alcoholic: You're in "recovery" the rest of your life. Tempted, in our case, to go off meds, to ignore help, or (worst case) to put on the happy face for practitioners so you can get off meds, etc.

That last phase is where I see you, honey. Sorry to be so blunt, but this entire post is asking for help, and I can help you only by saying: Get yourself some help again. It's not some Shakespearean fall from grace, really it isn't. If I can stand up in church and talk about my various depressions, etc., and be the pastor's wife, you've GOTTA know it's OK with God.

We are the "other-minded." I'm attaching a link to a poem I wrote, so you will have another viewpoint on this. My daughter is also mildly autistic, and she's learned to make it a PART of who she is, not the defining trait, can you dig that? OK, enough. I know you can get my email address, so feel free to get in touch if you want, anytime.

God is love and love is God. Take a long, cleansing shower in love and you'll emerge ready to make that phone call! Love and hope, Amy - and here's that link; the real poem comes after a haiku:

BeckyG said...

Viv, you're right of course that I didn't ask to be ill or depressed, and you're not alone in telling me that I haven't let God down ... I just can't help but feel that way. Thank you for your hugs, love, and support.

Sally, thank you for your support, and for your belief in me, even though I don't feel it for myself. I know you're right about guilt and self-loathing being part of depression, but I really don't feel like I'm coping with it, or with anything. I know that we differ in our religious beliefs, and while you say you think it was something inside me that changed on that day ten years ago, I know it was God, and that because of that it was external from me. Of course you're entitled to disagree, but I know what I experienced. I know how impossible it must sound to someone who doesn't share my beliefs...

Chris, thank you so much for your support and friendship, and the trust that I am still loved by God. Thank you.

Anna, thank you for your lovely words. They are of course words I absolutely believe for others, but somehow it's so hard to believe for myself. Please, keep believing them for me, and keep telling me.

Amy, I have to disagree with a couple of things you say: firstly, that you don't believe God can heal depression. He can and He does. God has the ability to do anything, absolutely anything, including healing depression; and this leads me on to the second point, that depression is always life-long. That is categorically wrong. You also say that you think I've been 'putting on a happy face for professionals to get off meds etc.' This also is absolutely wrong. I say with all honesty that for almost 10 years I was great. Of course I had ups and downs like everyone else, but there was no pretence in my happiness. And now? Now I am so far beyond pretence of anything that I find it hard to believe the 'accusation'. I am most definitely not pretending to anyone that everything is great, and I am also not shirking from asking for help. Quite the opposite - I have asked for help from all the relevant professionals; I have been engaging with the professionals who have been involved; I have even asked for more help than has been forth-coming. I'm not in any kind of denial. I know exactly where I'm up to (down to), I know that I can't do this on my own, and I find it difficult to comprehend where you've got the impression that I'm trying to do any of it on my own or am pretending to the professionals that everything is fine. I'm sure your comments are made with well-meaning, but I don't understand where they've come from. Sorry.


Anonymous said...

God loves you unconditionally Becky, you are one of his children and he is your loving father. Hold on to that. It's hard to work out why this is happening and where God is in all this. But He is there and I pray that you will know His heavenly presence. Remember, the services we use and the professionals we see are tools to help us. Remembering you in my thoughts and prayers, you are stronger and braver than you think. Love in Christ, Rachael xx

Anonymous said...

Becky, I am truly sorry if I offended you. Your post sounded as though you needed some boost as well as some suggestions, and I mucked it up.

Can I just say one thing here? I had my long-lasting injection of God's powerful love years ago. (Picture this: Divorce, moving from Puerto Rico and a great music gig to my parents' basement, then my dad died and four months later, my beloved mom. All in eight months. It was like a horror movie, or maybe "Angela's Ashes," you know?)

I had my "cry in the night," and for a person who did not give God much credit back in those years, God went out of His way to bless me with the Holy Spirit cradling me, comforting me. The next morning, I was smiling, I was energetic, I knew God had heard my call. It's so true - when God touches your life in such a substantive way, you cannot help but feel that your life has a purpose, even if it's yet to be determined.

Been there. BELIEVE you!

And yet, underneath that wonderful feeling, God's healing touch, the depression lurked. Incidentally, my husband is a pastor, so he's heard some amazing witness to such. In my case, my depression came back when I strained my back. And I prayed until my knees were raw from the kneeling and didn't get that answer, that cleansing healing.

God wasn't mad at me. If anything, I feel that maybe God gave me respite from all that stuff piling on top of me. I felt like I went through the Refiner's Fire back then.

I am no less grateful to God now. I know that, even in my darkest hour, God loves me. That's why my therapist knows I won't commit suicide, and I get into weeks-long funks, no sleep, no rest, no anything.

Time is part of it, Becky. I pray that you at least consider getting help on the depression front, because every single word of your post had "depression" underscoring it. So prove me wrong, I guess. Get evaluated and post "Amy is such a jerk, she told me I was depressed and the therapist said I wasn't."

Believe me, I've had worse said about me! I really hope you get better, in whatever avenue it takes, but Becky, you can never let God down. God brings you to it, and God will get you through it. Peace, Amy

Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil said...

Becky, I knew after I hit "Publish" that I came on too strong, and for that, I apologize.

What I meant by 'putting on a happy face' is that, in my years before any type of diagnosis, I was maintaining day to day by acting as if all were fine. I was a single mom, working two jobs and raising a daughter on my own. I'd have weeks of being able to cope and then my health would break down (in my case, bronchial trouble) and I'd be home sick or in the hospital for pneumonia. It's not that I was faking per se, not at all. It's a coping mechanism.

If you want to label it curable by God, I guess that's you're call, but here's the thing. When I was at my lowest, in the middle of a divorce, new single mom, living in my parents' basement after living in Puerto Rico... then Dad died suddenly and four months later, Mom joined him. I "cried out in the night" for help and was answered by the Holy Spirit and have lived in gratitude ever since.

That close feeling lasted for years. But when I had a back spasm, and, as with anything chronic, it allowed depression to sneak back in there.

I've since been diagnosed and take my meds and go to a therapist (one without the other is useless).

You can't let God down, but I've learned I cannot allow God to be the only resource, because our world is filled with helping hands. Reach out, please, and talk to a therapist, not an MD, on this. S/he will be able to evaluate you dispassionately.

God brought you to it, God will bring you through it... but only if you use that marvelous brain that composed your answer to me. Free will is an important part of faith (I'm a pastor's wife, so I've heard some doozies from folks confiding in me. Let's just say, they all got into therapy (most short term) except for one lady who insisted I was wrong and ended up taking her life. It wasn't what I said to her, it was her faith that God can move mountains. Literally. I don't believe God put us on earth to suffer needlessly. Sure, there's pain. But sometimes, God creates amazing therapists who can listen and help.

I hope you do see a therapist. And if that person says, "Your blogger person was all wrong, you're mentally and emotionally sound," go ahead and post that I'm full of it!

Believe me, I've heard worse.

I will pray for you no matter what course you choose, Becky. I mean this sincerely. Peace, Amy

Dawn said...

Hello Becky,

It sounds to me as though you're being too hard on yourself.... I don't get many comments on my blog which is why I remember a comment you made when I posted about depression. I've found it so I can quote it back to you, you wrote this on my blog back in January last year

"I suffered from severe depression for many years and it can eat away at you. You have a great deal to contend with, and things haven't gone as planned, so you're more vulnerable to a recurrence of depression."

YOU wrote that, and this now applies to YOU. You've been through such a rough time, life hasn't gone as planned. You're cross, angry and disappointed with yourself, I can understand why you feel this way but I don't think these feelings are justified!

I'm nowhere near as good as verbally expressing myself as you are, and I seem to be making a mess of this; all I'm trying to say is please try to be kinder to yourself. From what you write, it really sounds as though you're doing everything possible to help yourself. Please try to keep in mind that people care about you, and believe in you.....

Gentle hugs
Dawn xx

BeckyG said...

Rachael,thank you for your lovely comment, and for your prayers, thoughts, and support. Thank you.

Amy, You really haven't offended me - truly, you haven't. I think that perhaps you haven't understood that I'm not in any way denying that I am currently depressed. I am, I know I am, but that doesn't take away the miracle of healing I had ten years ago today. After that moment I really was healed, and there really wasn't any remains of the depression lurking half-hidden beneath that I was afraid to admit to. I hoped, of course that the healing was a permanent state, but it recently it's proved to be otherwise. Nevertheless, I had almost ten years of life without depression. The other thing is that I am getting therapy. In the UK psychologists aren't MDs (I'm guessing you're in USA), but rather they hold a degree in psychology and additional qualifications in clinical psychology, and then most usually in other therapeutic skills. Psychologists give therapy, and my psychologist uses a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) approach.

Dawn, thank you so much for your loveliness and your comment. Thank you too for quoting me back to myself. Maybe I am being too hard on myself ... it's part of depression's cruelty, I guess, that it always makes me believe the worst of myself and be hard on myself. It's not easy to believe otherwise, so I do need others to tell me if sometimes it's the voice of depression that's winning. Does that make sense? Suddenly it feels like it doesn't, but perhaps you know what I'm trying to say. Anyway, thank you.