I’m realizing that, as difficult as it is to make the decision to go inpatient at any given time, it is made infinitely more difficult by the attitudes of those around me.
I dread going inpatient. I fear being put in a position that affords me so little control once again. I don’t take the decision lightly. It makes me anxious and fearful. It makes me feel guilty for stepping out on responsibilities… Then I get there and others question the decision (generally made by myself and my therapist). They wonder why I can’t do it on my own, why their help is not enough to get me through the day… They tell me they manage, why can’t I? I’m told they miss me, and they wished I was home. I am told how frustrating it is to have all responsibility dumped onto them. My own doubts and fears are underscored by their doubts and unintentional guilt. I know they mean well, and it is not done out of malice. I know I don’t communicate effectively with most people, least of all about my demons, so I should not expect them to understand the gravity of the decision. I try to explain how uncomfortable being inpatient makes me. I try to communicate how hopeless I feel about survival on the outside. And I cringe every time I hear “I miss you” or “what can I do to help?” (though this last one has been answered time and again, but they dislike the answer, so they keep asking hoping some day the answer will change to “exactly what you are doing”).
I would prefer to hear things along the lines of
- I love you
- This is the best decision right now (I know you are doing the best you can)
- I’ll still be here when you get out
- You’ll get through this
- I’ll support you through this
- What do you need from me while you are there?
Please don’t be mad at me for not answering the phone, or not being able to talk much during a visit, or being too drugged to connect too well, or sleeping the whole day through, or crying… Please don’t tell me how upset you are that I have left you to take care of all the animals yourself, and how frustrating that is. I know. I feel bad about it every time. I’m sorry you have local supports. I’m sorry I’m not able to be your support right now. I’m sorry I can;t just get over everything. I’m sorry I can’t simply push it out of my head. I’m sorry the emotions effect me all the time. I’m sorry I don’t know how to handle all this. I’m sorry I’m too weak in character to be able to pull through it unscathed (or at least too weak to be in denial about the effects of it all). I’m sorry I seem to have a different take on it all. I’m sorry I refuse to deal with things your way (it’s just not best for me, even if it inwardly works miracles for you – though I highly doubt it). I’m sorry…
If I choose to go inpatient, it is because I can no longer fight with any measure of reliability. The demons are so close, that I may give in. If I choose to go inpatient, it is because I have battled the self-harm thoughts and suicidal urges as long as I possibly could. They are now so overwhelming and loud that I do not think I can resist it any more. I am afraid I may actually act on it, or lose the strength to actively not act on it all. The depression is so overwhelming and the pain is just too much to sit through any longer. If I choose to go inpatient, it is because you will loose me if I don’t.
If I’m forced inpatient, it is because I gave up the fight and chose dangerous coping mechanisms. If I’m forced to go, it’s because I either was too desperate to end the chaos of the moment that I took all my pills, or I just wanted to end it all finally. I prefer to choose to go inpatient (when I am capable of making that decision), and fight for another day. But honestly, sometimes I lose that fight.
Sometimes I no longer care, and I don’t tell anyone that I don’t care, because they will force me to care… That’s a dangerous space to be in because everything looks fine on the outside (or at least I try my hardest to make it look ok), but the inside is bleak. I lose all barriers to acting on the suicidal thinking. I obsess about ways to kill myself that will be successful. And when I’m in that space, if I find something I think will be lethal, I will make the attempt with little hesitation. For the most part, no one will know I’m in that space (a perversion of the self-preservation instinct which compels me to protect myself by protecting my decision to end the pain). I will generally struggle with this for days or weeks before I either act on it, or I break my own code of silence and let it slip to my therapist that I am that desperate… this is what happened Friday. I could barely speak at a whisper as I divulged to my therapist that, while he shouldn’t really be worried about me, he should. I explained to him that I would take my life if I could find something I was sure would be lethal before anyone could stop me or “save” me. I had been thinking like that for the past 2 weeks, and come very close to an attempt once or twice (foiled by my own fears of failure). So going to the ER on Friday was a necessity. It was anxiety-provoking for many reasons. And it was incredibly difficult to sit there and try not to fall apart while I waited for the psychiatrist to show up. Sometimes the wait is a good thing. Sometimes the wait makes the hopelessness amplify itself. Other times however, the wait allows for defenses to spring into place. It gives the walls time to go back up, and the disconnect to take effect. Then, even if I voice the disconnect and the contents of the other side of the wall, it is not taken seriously because the disconnect is so complete.
I suppose it’s good that the wall is there. I hope it doesn’t crumble any time soon, because I have more time to wait before any benefits are granted. I can’t afford to give up now. It would not be fair to the others in my life.