12 months ago I found myself in a not so unfamiliar place. I was getting ready for work when, seemingly out of nowhere, I started to cry. I remember feeling as if the rug was pulled out from beneath me and like my life was over. I called in sick to work and crawled into bed where I proceeded to cry and sleep and panic at regular intervals. In the past this experience would last a few hours at the least and I’d eventually get the strength to make back to work and feel “blue” for days or months. Little did I know that this time was different. This time it was the beginning of breakdown that has yet to end.
Flash back to June 2009. I was a Social Worker for an agency that had its challenges, but I enjoyed being working at and being a part of. I was experiencing a new-found optimism as I was traveling more and had just moved to a new town. I was also in a relationship with someone who I was very happy with. There was a great connection between us, we had fun together as we enjoyed simple pleasures, and we were very similar in our quirky habits yet different in enough ways to keep things interesting. Our communication was effortless. Then one day he said he couldn’t go on in the relationship. His reasons reflected fear and I was devastated. When things weren’t going well in past relationships, I understood why the relationship had to end. Yes it was painful and I would be sad for a long time, but in the end I understood. This time just made no sense to me and I felt like I was doomed to be alone. I mean shit, even when I have a good relationship, it doesn’t want me.
I was a mess as I couldn’t stop crying and kept taking sleeping pills because I couldn’t stand the pain of being awake. When I found myself standing in the kitchen looking down at a counter top covered with a mix of pills, I somehow mustered up enough strength to grab my purse, hug my dog goodbye, and drive my ass to the ER, crying the whole way, as a 5150.
The next few hours was a blur of nurses, blood tests, urine tests, questions, and pills. I don’t remember most of it. I couldn’t talk or eat, and didn’t shower or get out of bed until the middle of my third day there. Upon release I was referred to a five-day a week outpatient program.
I participated in the outpatient program for almost 3 months. The program was structured so that I had different kinds of groups all day and a lunch in between. It was a slow progress towards becoming functional again and at the end of the three months I felt battered and bruised, but okay enough to walk forward. Silly me, I thought I could have my life back again.
I got back into my work and was accepted into a Doctorate program thinking that pursuing this goal would be a good way of focusing on myself again and giving me some structure. I enjoyed the program, was working a good schedule, and felt like things were going to be okay after all. Then my boss broke the news to me that he was going to transfer me to a different program.
I know this sounds like no big deal, but to me it was huge. I liked the program I was in as they were like a second family to me. I was dumbstruck at the fact that he was choosing me as the one to go. I knew I was good at what I did, I was second in seniority, and the only one with a Masters degree. this new position required no skills at all. I was in shock and all I could think was “Oh my god, you’re breaking up with me.”
In the following weeks I sucked it up, and tried to stay positive by believing that I would make the best of it. I still had school and that was my way out of this predicament.
One night in class one of my instructors began his lecture talking about love. He talked so amazingly about how he loved his wife. Not just how he loved her, but how he could see her for who she really was. I have never heard someone so in awe of their spouse before. As he went on I was reminded that I had lost the person that I felt that way about and began to think that no one would ever feel that way about me. I could feel myself slipping into my dark space and as I sat in class I struggled to keep my tears back. “Don’t do it, don’t go there” I told myself. That was 12 months ago on a Sunday night. Monday morning I would find myself crying as I got ready for work.
I took a leave from work and school as I was not functioning. I couldn’t read, eat, or concentrate and felt suicidal for months. I was nauseous all the time and had erratic sleeping patterns. I worked with my psychiatrist to taper off my meds as I felt they were causing me more harm than good and began working with a naturopathic doctor. I also switched therapists as I felt I needed a more compassionate ally. Not that my therapist wasn’t compassionate, I just felt like she was wanting me to heal faster that I was ready to. Then I decided to begin this blog.
So far it’s been a very strange experience and although I’m more functional than last year, I am still in a state of imbalance. I want to rush into wellness and balance so badly, but I know it’s not to be. The unnatural world rushes by so fast and for the first time I truly feel so separate from it. A part of me feels like that’s a good thing, but the other part of me is so afraid because I feel like I won’t ever be a part of that world again and I don’t know how to function without it.
What do you do when the world as you knew it no longer applies?