I’m learning to recognize when things are going awry and when what I’m feeling should be considered “unacceptable” because it’s suffering, not pain. I’ve accepted, at least at an intellectual level, that everyone needs help sometimes, including me. That’s been no easy task.
My therapist says that I’ve lived with this for long enough that I should be able to recognize triggers and mood swings coming on. The truth is that I’m just now starting to be adequately self-aware to properly observe and describe my own emotional state, and feel utterly unprepared to make judgments about how to address problems. But this is something I must learn to do.
As I worked on developing a safety plan (post to come) it became painfully obvious that I really don’t know when to intervene. I know what the worsening progression of symptoms looks like, but somehow can’t figure out when I really need to reach out for help. As my therapist has told me several times, I have to own up and let others know when I’m not doing well. I’m willing to try to do that – even aching to at times – but I don’t know when to make that call.
I’ve been told by all my doctors, and even a few friends, that I should call if I need anything – but I don’t. I always rationalize it by saying that the current crisis won’t last and by the time I could get in to see someone, it would be over. My therapist reiterates that I should call as soon as I recognize that things are going off and that early intervention is important. He gave me his cell number and personal email address, so I guess he means it.
But most often, the crisis state trigger is hormonal and I just have to wait it out, even though I can’t really function in the meantime. No one can do anything about hormonally-induced mood swings that I haven’t yet been able to get the medical services to address. So my thinking is, why call and waste everyone’s time? Neither they nor I can actually resolve the problem, so sounding the alarm just makes more of the issue than need be – and that is certainly a self-invalidating thought process.
Today (as of writing this, anyway) marks the third day I’ve been crying; it’s been getting worse and not better. According to my safety plan, I should take the day off and call or email my therapist for an appointment. But we already have an appointment for Tuesday, and I can’t take the day off – I have an important conference call in a few hours. I don’t know how to reconcile the ideal with the reality because I have always been my second priority.
And even as I wrote this, an offer of help that would let me take the day off arrived. Now the question is, can I set aside my pride long enough to accept the help that I know I need?
I told my boss I was ill, took the day off, and emailed my therapist. As agreed.
Addendum: Since I was still crying three days later, I made an emergency appointment with the psychiatric nurse, and I’m trying a new add-on antidepressant. I also added a therapy appointment next week. Everything will be OK, eventually.
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