Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Seize the Weeny!

Ok, how many of you actually remember the names of all the games you played as a child?  How many of you made up games as a child?  How many of those games were slightly inappropriate?  Methinks The Bloggess is on to something in her most recent post...or on or the other.  As always though, her commentors make the situation just that much more hilarious.

Seriously though, who actually played a game called "Steal the Bacon" as a child?  As I child, I would have interpreted that as stealing my mom's ATM card.  It was bad enough when she responded to our request for money one day with "Do I look like an ATM?" and we poked her five times and put out our hand for cash.  She definitely would have lost it had we truly decided to "steal the bacon."

So don't let conformists hold you back Jenny!  I think your final answer is totally on track and iHop needs to make their children's menus more age appropriate.  Seize the weeny, Jenny.  SEIZE THE WEENY!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Difference Between "I" and "II"

So I met my new psychiatrist today.  He seems like a great guy.  He's got energy and is amusing.  The appointment went well over all.  I always have to laugh at the required psychiatric questions they have to ask though.  "Other than my voice and your voice, are you hearing any other voices."  LOL.  That one always makes me laugh.

Sometimes I wish I did hear other voices.  Then at least I could have a conversation with someone when I was all alone.  Other times, I think they would be quite entertaining.  I always picture Jan Brady in the Brady Bunch movie with her voices going back and forth.  I can almost imagine what it might be like to have them fighting back and forth in my head.  Hehe.  I think it would be rather entertaining...unless I am trying to sleep.  Then my husband would just look at me funny when I yell at myself to shut up.

Then there are the ever popular medical history questions.  The problem with those forms is they always ask "Do you have or have you ever had:"  and then there is this whole list of issues, yet they don't have you differentiate between past and present.  So I have all these things marked and the guy was all surprised by how many things were going on and I had to sit there and go through the list again with him, clarifying what was past and what was present.  Stupid forms.  Just make one column of check boxes for past and one for present.  There.  Problem solved.  You're welcome.

Ok.  So I really am not blogging to complain about forms or to entertain myself with thoughts of voices in my head.  The biggest reason is for the diagnosis change I had when leaving the office. As you know from following this blog, I have Bipolar Disorder.  For the last 12 years, it has always been Bipolar II.  For those not familiar with the different designations of bipolar, Bipolar II is often perceived as a milder form of bipolar, characterized with more downs than ups, and the ups never get to full blown "mania" stage.  Instead they linger just below that in a state called "hypomania."  Bipolar I is often perceived as the more severe form with both full blown manias and deep depressions.  Sometimes, Bipolar I can be couple with Psychosis which will involved hearing things (yes, those voices I was chuckling about), seeing things, or basically being out of touch with reality.  There is also another form of rapid cycling bipolar but we won't get into that now.  I was always content with the Bipolar II diagnosis since I had a much more difficult time with the depressions than the hypo/manias.

Well the news I received today is that I have been upgraded, in a way, to Bipolar I.  I didn't think much of it at first.  Bipolar is bipolar and it will have the same stigma no matter what category you fall into.  It isn't like Bipolar I is similar to paralysis while Bipolar II is a stubbed toe.  No.  The stigma goes, you have bipolar, you are a crazy, psychotic, lunatic who is either going to kill us all or yourself.  But then on the drive home, it hit me more and more that this could possible mean something.  Either 1) the doc doesn't know what he is talking about, 2) the other docs didn't know that they were talking about, or 3) I have changed.  I no longer know what to think now.  Do I really have a bigger problem with depression or do I actually have a problem with  mania too and I didn't realize it?

It is funny how the simple subtraction of a Roman Numeral "I" can feel so different.  And then you start to question yourself and everything you thought you knew about yourself.  But should I really be questioning that?  Blue is still blue whether seen in bright or dim lighting, but blue is not blue when you add yellow to it.  So now I find myself spinning in circles in my head, wondering how I can comes to terms with this one, tiny, small change.  How can one single number change so much in my head?  Or maybe that is all this is?  Just change, something I already don't deal with well.  Damn I hate change.

Friday, March 26, 2010

You Are Never Alone

In my constant battle to bring awareness and education about bipolar disorder, I thought I would share an email between a friend and I after she read my first blog post.  Whether you have bipolar or depression, or you know someone who does, there is lots of good stuff in here that is important for everyone to know.  Actually, this is important for you to know even if you have no experience with it at all.  Anyway, enough of my babbling.  Time to let the emails talk (identity information has been edited out to protect the guilty :P).  Oh yea, and this could get long.

On Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 12:34 AM, Vanguard's Duchess wrote:

My dear Alicia,

I know I've told you that I was once diagnosed as being "mild bipolar." I just read that post on your blog "travels in my bipolar world," and I SO GET IT (maybe not to the extremes of yours, but I get a LOT of it - even the crying in the shower... I've done that although not to the extreme that you did). Mine was at its worst when I had post-partum along with it. And for me, a lot of what I had going on personally also didn't help (found out that my son's dad was telling some women he met in the game we played at the time that he was single and lived in navy barracks....). Anyway -- the doctor who diagnosed me gave me this one medication (Neurontin), that basically turned me into a zombie. I went back to him, and asked to be taken off it and put back on Zoloft, which is the only thing that has ever gotten the depression back so I could get things under control... Neurontin made me a zombie so I had no highs and no lows... may as well as given me a lobotomy for the way it made me feel... but Zoloft took care of the lows and took the top edge off the highs, which was just perfect. Then I went off it altogether because I got pregnant, although the baby-doc said zoloft in the small amount I was taking wouldn't hurt the baby, but I felt so good pregnant that I didn't seem to need it (and I didn't).

I've battled with depression for a long time, probably since I was first married (I'm thinking earlier in my life but I didn't notice it as much until I was married the first time). After I married him he changed. All of a sudden he was so serious and, even though he wasn't that way all the time, being a grown up and married was serious business and there wasn't much room for goofyness (according to him).... and you know me and how that doesn't sit well with me (lol). But... I felt very trapped. I was raised you get married - ONCE - and stay married, no matter what. I was also afraid that my extended family (aunts uncles cousins, etc.) would look askance at me or think less of me because my marriage didn't work. I was afraid - of everything really.

But... I do know something about myself where all of this is concerned (I see patterns which is why I think some of the following is true for me). While I know that bi-polar and depression is actually a physical thing (that lack of the chemical that helps us feel good and be happy - i forget what it's called...), mine was always much worse when I felt trapped like there was no way out - it was almost like the hopelessness I felt translated itself into NOT producing the chemical my body needed. I had no trouble with the highs of bipolar. Being mild the highs don't get out of control - except where my mind won't turn off or I talk too fast, and then I just pick up a good book and read until I'm sleepy... but you know that I'm a goofball and when I'm high it can be a lot of fun... over the last several years, I think I've balanced all that out... or mostly anyway. When I'm down, I don't get THAT down - or if I do, eventually I figure out what is what, and push through it (I know not everyone can do this... I think I am lucky because I've been teaching myself how over the last 10 years give or take - although this doesn't always work either)....

In a way, even though I didn't go through as deep a thing as you did, since the middle of last summer's school term, I have felt very lost, and questioned what I am doing in school - which has pushed me towards the downward stuff into being mildly depressed because it's so hard to know how to handle things when I am not sure where the hell I'm going with my life (that is the worst thing in the world for me!) What the hell do I think I am doing trying to get in to that career at my age, etc., etc.

Add to this my self-esteem being in the toilet... I wasn't taking care of myself and I felt like the real me was completely trapped in the overweight body. I was lucky if i got in the shower twice a week - I only got there once a week because every week I would get to a point where it bothered me (I have a sensitive nose LOL).... For a time, the only thing that kept me moving forward was the fact that I have Kenny and I MUST provide for him. Oddly enough that doesn't affect me the same way that feeling trapped with no way out does. Maybe that has something to do with how much I love him and would do anything for him and how blessed I feel to have him as my son! But I digress.... So I struggled and struggled through the last several terms... add to that the financial pressure of no money and then my car was repo'd Dec 31st. Weird as it may sound, that happening was a good thing because I when that happened it loosed a floodgate of changes - some out of necessity, and some purely because I was relieved that I didn't have that financial burden any more and could just plain old start over, financially... and some, surprisingly wonderful things started happening as a result.

So the financial pressure was off after I talked to my bankruptcy attorney (all my income is untouchable by the credit card and car payment companies because it is unemployment and child support)... and my "new" pre-owned car is untouchable by the bankruptcy because its value is under $3000. My aunt and uncle bought me that car (I owe them but they said to pretend like I don't owe them a thing 'till I'm through with school and can pay them).... Then I ran into that friend who had lost all that weight and she got me going on that (to date I have lost 27.6# Yay!) So there have been some new good changes and they have been going well.... but back to January and the lack of a "life partner" .... and me out there in no man's land and lonely, etc.

So I'm on my way to school one morning in January, and I'm sitting in traffic listening to the sappy romantic music on my iPod that I listen to when I'm by myself (I'm an EXTREME romantic at heart...)... and I just started crying my heart out.... In the midst of this I found myself talking out loud in my car to God. Yes I'm a crazy woman! and this next part is paraphrased because I cant remember exactly what I said went something like this:  "I am so tired of being alone and lonely, God... please send me whoever it is I'm supposed to be with for the rest of my life... It's time, damnit...." That last part I yelled.... yes I yelled and swore at God.... (I swear when I talk to God sometimes but it's what my mom calls "classy" swear words like Damn not the more vulgar ones so I think he doesn't mind LOL).

Then about a week later (give or take, I don't remember the date),a few of us are all joking and talking, and someone starts talking about a friend of his who is talking about spending $20k to get a "bride from asia" and he says, "i'm tired of looking, that's starting to sound good..." and this other friend says, "what the hell would you want to do something like that when I know a perfectly good lady who lives in our country, who could use the money...." Alarm bells go off and I think, "uh oh....." and he starts going over all the things he thinks about me, "... You've got someone right here in the US. She's beautiful, smart, funny, intelligent, a great mom, and wicked sexy to boot and I've met her in person so I can say all of that truthfully - and she's going to college and can use that money rather than you giving it to someone's family over in asia... although I suppose they could use the money too but let your friend get the mail order bride...." and he went on and on like that and I was saying, when I could get a word in edgewise, "stop it... knock it off...." (I'm sure my face was red).... And towards the end of that stuff from my friend I get a text from the guy who started the convo saying, "I gotta get me some o dat...."

I ask him, "I thought you had a girlfriend."

He says, "What girlfriend?"

I ask, "well the other day we were talking about something with so and so, and you said something about your girlfriend...."

He says, "no that's when you came back  and you caught the tail end of what we were talking about - but I was talking about my ex-girlfriend..."

I said, "oh well you said girlfriend so I thought that meant you had one... I don't flirt with guys who are married or have girlfriends.... otherwise I would have flirted with you more..."

He laughs and says, "well... flirt away - there's nobody else but lil ole me here..."

So we all start talking... and next thing you know he's planning on coming out to see me (first weekend in August!!!! tentative date)... texting me every morning, every noon, when he gets home from work its "honey I'm home *walks up behind you and wraps arms around you tightly and gives you big hugs and kisses you*...." and before he goes to bed, "nite honey *hugs and kisses* gonna nap on the couch - wake me when it's time for bed" or "nite hon - *snugglz with you* that sort of thing....

I had to pull a quote from the end of the IOP stuff... I can identify so totally with this quote, especially in light of what I wrote above about sort of understanding what you went through and go through:

"I look at my dog and smile, knowing that she loves me no matter what. I check my text messages every morning and smile that I have a wonderful man who says good morning to me every day. For the first time in a very, very long time, I feel alive and I feel content."

Replace the dog with my son and that is totally me at this moment - only thing marring it is that my boyfriend is in Ohio and not here - but you know all about distance too since you and your husband started as a long distance relationship...

*hugs* I can so totally identify with you... totally. I love you sis!

Love, Vanguard's Duchess


On Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 3:12 PM, Alicia wrote:

I have taken a while to respond to this mainly because I really don't know what else to say.  You know much of my story, just as I know much of yours.  There are times I believe I don't have bipolar, just depression, and others where it is very clear it is bipolar.  There is something my therapist and psychiatrist had both told me though:  Figuring out cause and effect of bipolar episodes or depression is like trying to figure out which came first, the chicken or the egg?  In fact, it really doesn't matter which came first.  The fact remains that the events and circumstances in our lives can feed the depression or mania we already have, and that same depression or mania can push us to keep choosing the events or situations that are hurting us.  It is a viscous cycle that is not easily broken. 

Depression and bipolar are liars.  They try to make us believe untrue things so that we stay in the unhappiness we currently have.  It makes us question everything in our lives, even the things that we had previously thought we were sure about.  Just 6 months ago, you were telling me how you loved what you were going to school for.  Now, you are questioning it.  Could it be that you are seeing more of the industry than you had seen before and that is making you question your resolve, or is it the depression lying to you, telling you you aren't good enough, strong enough, committed enough, smart enough?  Maybe it isn't telling you those things, but maybe it is limiting what you see as possibilities for your degree.  If you get this degree, you will only be able to do X.  It blocks out the view of C, F, M, Y, and G possibilities which could be so much more appealing (recall our convo about using your degree to get a job with Sony as a game artist). 

I know you are aware of many of these things already and my intent is not to just tell you what you already know.  My intent is to remind you of these things because we seem to forget them when we are in the throws of sorrow or ecstasy.  Sometimes, just hearing someone else say them (or type them) helps us to clear out the fog in our minds, if only for a moment.  And we both know sometimes, that one moment is all it takes. 

As you go on, first, actively look for the good things in life.  It sounds like you already are which is a good sign.  Second, do not make any major decisions until you are back at an even keel, or as much of one as possible.  I know you are questioning your path of study, but to change now would be a major decision.  You don't have to tell me all the excuses why now would be the time to change if you were going to change because I have heard them all before from my own lips.  You will just have to trust me on this.  ;)  And third and finally, always remember you are not alone.  There are others out there, me included, who know exactly what you are going through.  We have been there, done that, and got the T-shirt, held on to it just long enough to burn it, then start all over again.  It is not a shame to ask for help, but a shame not to, for you asking for help can actually help another find their way.

So much for not knowing what to say, huh?

Always here for you,


P.S.  Would you mind if I blogged this?  I just think this is good stuff for people to know.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You Be the Judge

So this weekend we had a friend in town for 4 days.  We knew the weekend was destined for greatness right from the start.  How, you ask?  Well we received a sign from the gods of the form of magical sushi boobies: 
Naturally, when coming upon this fabulous boobies of sushi, it made me think of my favorite blog ever, Jenny, The Bloggess.  If you are not familiar with her awesome scribing abilities, you may want to familiarize yourself with it, but in the interest of time, it is this post on mushroom boobs that my boobie sushi made me think of.  So, of course, I had to share my delight with the fabulous Bloggess.  The problem is that she didn't quite see things the same way I did.  You be the judge.

As of yet, I have not received a response.  Perhaps she is in awe of my shockingly awesome boobies too...and no, you don't get to see them.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Maybe I have been reading too many of these child development books

So last night the hubby had game night with the guys after work.  What is this you ask?  Well first, keep in might that D works for Sony Online Entertainment.  Yes, he makes computer games for a living.  This also means that he works with a bunch of other gamers.  Computer nerds unite!!!  Oh how I wish I could work there too.  LOL.

Anyway, they had decided that after work last night, they would play a Magic tournament.  That is all fine and dandy with me.  They also sometimes stay after to play other games too.  Card games, LAN parties, yea, they are gamers.  Totally sweetheart gamers too.

So yesterday I was thinking I would do something sweet and make D the crabcakes he has been craving and bring them to him for dinner along with cookies or something for the other guys.  Went to the store, got all the stuff, got home, then promptly got sucked into the internet and TV.  Next thing I know it's 5:30pm and I haven't even started yet.  Well, I thought if nothing else, I could throw together the crab cakes for him real quick and bring at least those anyway, cause you know, I love my man and all.

So I message him explaining how I planned to feed him and how time got away from me and I ask would you still like me to make them for you and bring them?  His response: "I brought dinner so I'm fine.  Make them tomorrow."  Ok, he obviously didn't understand the meaning and the feeling behind what I was planning on doing for him, but that's ok because he is a guy and I am not going to argue with him while he is at work.  Instead, I decide to try to forget it, feed myself, and find something distracting to do until he is ready to be picked up after the game.

Apparently the distracting thing didn't work so well because this is how the conversation went on the way home:

Me: Did you have fun?

D: Yep.

Me: Did you have enough to eat for dinner?

D: Yep.

Me: Sorry I didn't have the crabcakes ready for you.

D:  That's ok.  I told you I brought food anyway.  We can have them tomorrow.

Me:  You don't understand.

D:  Ummm...apparently not.

Me:  Don't you know that all I wanted was to feel included, needed, and like I belonged?

D:  ...

Me:  Hmm...That sounds like something from the positive discipline book I just finished reading for school.

D:  ... (yes my husband is a man of few words.  it's frustrating sometimes)

Me:  Anyway, I just kinda thought I would be all awesome-like and walk in with crabcakes for you and cookies for the guys and everyone would think how you have such an awesome wife and I could have significance and belonging for a little bit.

D:  *chuckles*

Me: What?!  Is it wrong for me to want to feel included?

D: No.

Me: ...

D: ...

Me:  Well, maybe you actually did me a favor.

D:  Oh?

Me:  Yea, cause I have never made crab cakes before, so you were actually protecting me!

D:  Uh huh?

Me:  Well, how embarrassing for me would that be had I come in, dropped off what seemed like delicious treats, and then you bit into a crab cake just to spit it out because it tasted awful!  See, you were protecting me.  You are so good to me honey.  I love you.  *big grin*

D:  I love you too.

Why do I feel like I need to feed people to feel accepted?  I think I need therapy.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

To Be a Mother

One of the things in life that has been on my mind lately is becoming a mother.  It has been quite a journey so far.  For those that are interested, my husband and I have been trying to conceive for over a year now and it has been an interesting journey that carries many emotions.  This is a tale of those emotions.

It is always hard to know when, where, and to whom I should talk about this journey because the gamet of reactions from a person can be so vast.  Often when discussed with those who conceived their children so easily or "by accident," the reaction is to just relax, stop worrying, and it will happen when it happens.  Please, if you know of anyone who is having a hard time conceiving, DO NOT SAY THIS TO THEM!  There is nothing that can be more frustrating, disheartening, and upsetting.  Beyond that, in that one phrase that was meant to be helpful, and yes, we know you are "just trying to help," you just convinced us you are not a person to talk to about this journey. 

When in high school, and for some of us in junior high, it was drilled into our heads over and over again about "how easy" it is to become pregnant and how "it only takes once" to make a baby.  Well, guess what Ms. Sex Ed teacher, that's not true for everyone.  In fact, finding that out now is incredibly frustrating, especially when you see and hear of people every day who are getting pregnant while on drugs or drinking, those who know they are pregnant and don't take care of themselves, those who use and abuse others, and those who never wanted a child to begin with.  Somehow, someway, nature has deemed these people to be fit parents, while my financially stable and loving husband and I are not.  If this is meant to be a joke, nature has a messed up sense of humor.  However, believe it or not, I have moved past the stage of anger and frustration with the world and nature.  I know I will have children one day, whether they be natural, fostered, or adopted.  It is just a matter of when the powers-that-be deem it time.  Until then, practice makes perfect, right?  Not to mention "practicing" is a whole lotta fun!  Hehe. 

In the meantime, as I take classes at the community college to fill up credits, I decided to take several on Child Development.  I have found each and every one of them incredibly enlightening.  While I think my parents did a freaking fantabulous job raising my brother and I, (afterall, I am pretty damn awesome aren't I?) I can only imagine how much more awesome we would be if they had known so many of the things I have learned in the last 9 months.  My favorite class so far is about "Positive Discipline."  Yes, discipline can be positive. 

The book we have been using can be found here:  I encourage you to read it if you have children or work with children.  It has been an enlightening read and opened my eyes to so many different ways of thinking when it comes to teaching our children right from wrong, good from bad.  It has changed my opinion of using punishment of any sort, be it physical, verbal, or emotional.  While some who read this blog may not agree, I now believe that punishment can be avoided all together with patience, training, and positive discipline.  Can I be a positive disciplining parent all the time?  No.  I am human, I will make mistakes.  But mistakes can be a wonderful chance for learning and I look forward to the day that I get to make and learn from my mistakes.  I know I won't be a perfect parent, there is no such thing, but I hope that I can be as good as my parents were, just with different techniques. 

~ Fate's Mistress

Friday, March 12, 2010

Travels in My Bipolar World

For those of you who know about my bipolar, thank you for being there for me. For those who didn't know until this blog, I pray that you can be understanding or at least patient with anyone who may have a mental illness.

See, there is this nasty stigma that is stuck to the phrase "mental illness." People hear "mental illness" or you tell them "Hi! I'm bipolar!" and they ever so slightly tense up or back away like all of a sudden you are going to go homicidal or suicidal on them. There have been some people that I had considered friends tell me they just couldn't handle it and left my life after "the revelation." Then there are some that have stuck by my side through the nightmare that occasionally rears its ugly head. If you are one of those people who stuck by me, and you know who you are, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, from the depth of my soul.

So, what is the point of this blog? Well, more to get it on "paper" what I have experienced in the past more than anything. And for those who are interested, to try to explain in some minute way what it is like to "have an episode." While this particular accounting happened several years ago now (Winter 2007), it is not unusual for me to visit parts or all of this several times throughout the year. Some "visits" are longer than others, but what I try to focus on is the fact that it will not last forever. It is important to remember though that this is just one side of bipolar, the depression side of it. There is a whole other world of mania and hypomania that I am not addressing in this post.


January 9, 2008

I've been on a roller coaster of emotions for the last several years, but the last three months have by far been the worst. I have a great job, great friends, a wonderful family, a place to call my own, my dog and cat, and a wonderful man who loves me unconditionally. And yet, I found little joy in any of that. I found myself not really wanting to deal with anything. It all took too much energy. To smile took too much energy. To eat took too much energy. To pick up the phone and call a friend took too much energy, not to mention the risk of them realizing that something just isn't right with you. I slowly slid downward toward the murky and dark depths of depression.

Now, some of you may say "Oh I know what that is like" and you truly may know, but others may say that and really have only scratched the surface of this deep, abysmal type of depression. I am not trying to discount what they went through or say that it wasn't horrible, just more of a "I hope you never have to go where I have been" type thing.

The place I went was not just an "Oh I'm so sad" type of place. The best way I can think of to describe it was more indifferent and uncaring than sad. Everything just existed. Nothing really mattered. Anything that got done was out of absolute necessity and even then, only because it was expected of me. If I got up and went to work, it was simply because it was necessary to pay the rent so I could have a place to hide in. If I ate, it was simply because it was necessary to make the hunger pains go away. Everything was autopilot at best.

It slowly got worse with me doing less and less. Things started looking more and more hopeless and I found myself asking many times, "What's the point?" I wasn't suicidal, but I just didn't care if I existed anymore either. If I just blinked out of existence, that would be fine with me. If something happened that made it so I didn't wake up the next day, that would be fine with me too. If the roof came crashing down on my head crushing all the bones in my body, who cares! I sure didn't. I didn't care because it just took too much energy to care.

And then I finally collapsed. I will never forget the date. December 3rd I went home for lunch, thinking that if I took a shower it might make me feel better. Instead, I spent an hour in the shower crying. No, not crying, bawling. Big fat tears of hopelessness, pointlessness, and just the fact that crying was pointless and useless made me cry more. I couldn't stop. It seemed to be an unending well of tears. I cried for nearly two hours before I messaged a co-worker telling her I wasn't coming back to work because I just couldn't stop crying. Looking back, I think I picked her because I knew she would understand how I was hurting and how nothing seemed worth anything.

She came to my rescue. She came to my house where I continued to cry. Finally the tears dried up, but I felt ready to shatter into a million pieces if someone just sneezed on me. We decided it was time for me to get help. She packed my clothes, my medications, pajamas, slippers, etc. for me. She put out plenty of food for the cat and asked how to feed the dog. Then she loaded what I viewed as my pathetic self into her car and drove to the Behavioral Health Hospital. She called another co-worker to meet us there as she had to go pick up her daughter, but someone had to take care of me.

As it turns out, we were in the wrong place. We were directed to where we needed to be, but by this time I had started thinking that maybe this wasn't such a great idea after all. I was scared of this unknown step. I was still in tears, barely able to function enough to know that the numbers to my psychiatrist and case manager were in my purse. We found the numbers and called. Apparently someone was shining down on me because my case manager could see me in less than an hour. My co-worker sat in the waiting room for 3 hours while I saw my case manager and then my psychiatrist.

I came out with a new prescription, an order to not work the following day, and a referral to the "Intense Outpatient Program." Why the Intense Outpatient Program (IOP)? Both my doctors felt that I was not a good candidate for the hospital as they felt I would only get worse if I didn't have any control at all over what happened to me. We then sat for another hour at the pharmacy, waiting for my prescription to be filled, Zoloft, an anti-depressant. One more pill to add to my cocktail. She then took me home, making me promise that if I needed anything or started thinking about harming myself that I would call her, and if you know me, you know how I value and stick to my promises. Funny how keeping a promise was the only thing I actually cared about during this.

That night, it didn't take long for me to fall into a deep sleep. I slept for 15 hours. After an entire afternoon and evening of tears, I was exhausted. I woke up, still hopeless, but not crying anymore which in itself I considered a blessing. Over the next month, I would go to the IOP program 3 days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and then work in the afternoon and the days I had "off" from IOP. The medications started kicking in, the therapy started kicking in, my support network kicked in, and things started to become less hopeless and more hopeful.

Friday, I "graduate" from the IOP series. I am being discharged from the program but will continue to see a therapist, my case manager, and my psychiatrist on a frequent basis until we are sure things have stabilized a bit for me. I am happy, truly happy, to say that for the first time in a very, very long time, I don't dread the coming of tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day. For the first time in a very long time I look forward to my morning shower. I look at my dog and smile, knowing that she loves me no matter what. I check my text messages every morning and smile that I have a wonderful man who says good morning to me every day. For the first time in a very, very long time, I feel alive and I feel content.