It’s been three months now since I was hospitalized. I was out of work initially for 2 weeks, then I went back for about a month before being out for another 2 weeks. I started to feel like things were improving – it was starting to be spring, time was on my side, and I would have moments where the crushing depression was lifting.
Then I had a really rough few days last week. I had 2 nights of disturbed sleeping in a row, and that really made the difference in whether I was OK enough or not OK. I called into work one of the days, but that started to not feel like enough. Things at work were starting to really trigger my anxiety, and this just got worse and worse over the weekend.
I had an idea about the trajectory of my recovery, but my brain is not following along. I thought, “OK, I just went through a manic episode with delusional thinking. This was followed by about 2 weeks of hypomania and then some mixed symptoms. I thought I could get away without sinking into depression, but it caught up to me. I should be in this depression for a few weeks and then things will start to lift and I’ll feel like myself again.”
Those few weeks have been stretching into 2 months so far. Like I said, a couple weeks ago, it started to feel like things were improving a little bit, but then I fell again, fast and hard. That wasn’t part of the plan. My therapist suggested going out of work for even longer, to give myself some time to heal. So, I am currently out of work for a month. It feels like defeat/relief. I started taking Celexa in the hopes that it will help.
Some of those nights when I haven’t been sleeping well have been agony. There were nights where I didn’t actually sleep at all – just kind of dozed only to be pulled out of it by some thought attached to an anxiety-reaction, over and over and over again. Does anyone else go through periods of insomnia? I kept trying to go to sleep in the guest bed, then switch to the couch, then back to our bed, then the guest bed, the couch, our bed, the guest bed… The night stretched out to infinity. I started getting agitated. Pacing. Swearing at myself. Punching a soft chair. I could have done worse, so I’m glad it was just that.
I’m at a new low. When I thought recovery was on the horizon, I sunk lower. In my past, I have been more depressed than I am right now, but who’s comparing? This feels pretty fucking bad.
When my feelings were so bad I didn’t think I could even be with myself, my partner helped me arrange to spend the day with her mom. We went to the bank, got coffee, ran an errand at the mall, she brought me to my therapy appointment, and then we had lunch at her house. That helped.
When it wasn’t any better 2 days later, I called a friend and she picked me up on her way to doing a bunch of deliveries for work. We ate lunch at an Indian buffet. That helped.
When I couldn’t imagine being home alone anymore, I went to yoga with my partner. That helped.
When I couldn’t fathom what I would do with these unstructured days, I looked into a place called the Creative Wellness Center. They have a bunch of art workshops and support groups, and it’s all free. I went to a jewelery making workshop just because that was what was being offered when I got there, and I went to a support group. That helped, momentarily, but I would have to say the social element was super taxing, and I’m not sure if I will go back.
When I expressed extreme despondency in therapy today, she suggested a partial hospitalization program. She looked into it and they do currently have openings. It runs weekdays from 9:30-3:15. I think this is what I need right now. She is going to fill out the paperwork and get back to me – I may be able to start next week.
In brighter news, my partner and I adopted 2 cats two weeks ago. Their names are Joan (after Joan Jett) and Jarboe (singer in a band called Swans). Normally, getting new pets would probably be exciting and fun. There are elements that are nice – it’s fun to watch them play together, and I like when they are cuddly. But to be honest, it has been stressful, just because of the state I am in. They are cats, doing their cat things. They get into stuff and knock things over. They eat things they shouldn’t. We’re containing them to the first floor right now, and Joan keeps getting through to go to the upstairs or basement. They are a whirlwind of motion; they are creatures being alive.
I keep hoping that they will save me from what I am feeling, but the best they can do is distract me momentarily. That’s a lot of pressure I’m putting on them!
Last Saturday morning, my pet rabbit passed away. It’s been almost a week now; it definitely feels like mourning, but I can’t quite elaborate beyond that. I’m functional, I don’t feel continuously sad, but it is a process for sure.
She lived in the dining room, which is where my “office” is (office means dining room table with my laptop and piles of disorganized papers and other crap.) I spend “internet time” here in my office. I write blog posts from my office. We’d sort of be hanging out, sort of not, while I was in my office. I’d be looking in on her – checking on her, all the time. Things feel disorienting now – her bunny gate is behind the TV right now. I can now glide from room to room with ease. her cage where she ate and drank and pooped and peed is in the basement right now. Her rug has been brought to the curb. The dining room is now a hard wood floor. She isn’t here. I keep having phantom impulses to go check on her, feed her, pet her, pick her up, etc.
She was 12 years old – that’s really old for a rabbit! I got her in my Junior year of college. For those last two years of college, it was pretty much just her and me, in the apartment. People didn’t come over. I didn’t have a social network. Later in her life, I would joke with friends that the reason she doesn’t like people is because she was never socialized properly. It’s pretty much true. She never really got used to other people (except my partner – she did like my partner a little bit).
She loved bananas! She loved being pet over her eyes, for some reason. She would just sit there, if you were covering her eyes with your hands. Her name was just “Bunny,” but usually I called her “Bunn-a-roo,” or “Choo-cha-ree” or “Choo-char-i-o” (that last one, sung to the tune of “Notorious” by Duran Duran). We called her “Bunn Ball” when she was compacted into herself, to conserve heat. We called it “Chicken Leg,” when she was all splayed out, her back legs totally exposed, trying to cool off. We called her “Bunny-on-Meth” when she was shedding, her fur coming out in tufts every which-way. We called the towel right outside her cage her “patio.”
My partner and I sometimes talk about pets as they relate to queer people. You know that stereotype about lesbians and cats? I think there’s something to that, although it’s not specific to lesbians and it’s not specific to cats… I think just more in general, people who do not follow prescribed narratives (whether they’re queer or not) sometimes find a very different space for pets in their lives. Sometimes pets become more like children. Sometimes people who face more adversity need more from their pets – more comfort, more routine, more of a sense that they are needed. A mutual reliance. I think that bond has the potential to run much deeper.
I felt that. I miss her.