This is a self-portrait I took in college after being diagnosed with major depression and starting medication, and I’ve felt this whirling in my head ever since. I’m somewhere in there amidst the craziness. It was taken with black and white film, which gives it the grainy almost ghostly look.
Every time a major change is done to my treatment – whether that’s changing meds, doctors, TMS, ECT, being hospitalized, and most recently DBT – I think either this time will work, or I’m done with it all. I think, this is my last chance. Every time. And even though I think nothing will work, somewhere beneath it all I can’t help but have the tiniest flame of hope and expectations. And every time I am disappointed. This is no exception. I am not quite as bad as before I went to the intensive DBT program, but I definitely made a slip back since I got home last week. I’m still not taking care of myself, I am still having trouble caring for my daughter, and I am still barely leaving the house. I see the benefit in DBT and how it can help people, but for some reason I’m keeping it at an intellectual level and not a practical level. I am using some of the tools – distraction, mindfulness, opposite action, radical acceptance, etc. – however, much of it is what I was doing before, so that doesn’t help. I feel like the skills were sand being dropped into my hand and as much as I tried to grasp onto them and hold them, most of them just fell between my fingers. Two weeks is just not enough to get it all. I reached out to a DBT therapist in a nearby town to see if additional support will help me retain it and use it, but still haven’t heard back. Besides the fact that I would need to drive to get there, and I have not driven in a long time because of the anxiety and panic attacks. I feel like I need the DBT to help me drive, but I need to drive to get to the DBT person. What a conundrum.
I really don’t want this slip back to go as far as I did the last few times with the TMS and ECT, so I’m going to try to do what it takes to keep the baby steps moving forward, but – there’s always a but – at the same time it’s hard to keep faith when I made a goal to go out 3 times this week and have not gone out at all. Fail. I know I need to force myself to keep looking through the materials, and practice them when I am not in crisis mode so they become more natural, and force myself to do things that feel difficult (going out, taking the train, driving…) over and over until they don’t, but it’s just so deceivingly hard to even make the first step. My whirling mind is so loud and the skills are so quiet, my mind always wins.