Well, that was not fun.
“That” being my weekend. Not fun for a number of reasons, first and foremost the unavailability of my drug of choice. I ran out on Friday. The rest of the weekend was spent dealing with the symptoms masked by my drug use. Saturday, I slept for about 15 hours. This is one of my ways of dealing with stress: I’m not stressed when I’m asleep. And the memorial Friday night *really* stressed me out.
Bryan and I had a difficult discussion/argument. We did come to an understanding and meeting of the minds, but it still put a huge strain on my already depleted reserves. Sunday, he took Bri to his parents house and I tried to relax. Then the guys showed up to clean out the gutters. Instead of ringing the doorbell, they banged on the door, which was only chained. This caused me to wake up thinking someone was trying to break in.
(N.B. This is not as paranoid as it sounds. There are a couple of “drug houses” on our block. One is empty and boarded up and the other is across the street. It’s not even close to what Capitol Hill in D.C. was like, but there are plenty of young punks wandering around.)
On Monday, I got the notion that I wasn’t going to get my new job after all. This was a thought that I could not get out of my head. The technical term is “ruminating”. This was followed Monday afternoon by compulsive thoughts of self-harm.
That sounds rather clinical. What really happens is this: images come into my head. I’ll be minding my own business, reading, watching tv, whatever, and I will have an image of a knife cutting into my arm. Then another. Then another. Then it switches to an image of me cutting my femoral artery. Then my wrist. Then in a bathtub. Then in a pool. Then in a quiet stream in the forest. I can’t stop them. I don’t want them. I simply have to let them run their course.
Now, really, I think I have better things to do than spend my time being subjected to images of self-violence. Like being worried that I’m going to be spending my time being subjected to images of self-violence. Do you see why suicide starts to seem like a viable option?
The problem with suicide is that it does not end the pain. It’s the law of the conservation of suffering—suffering does not end with suicide, it is merely transferred onto the family and friends of the suicidee. And as much as it hurts me now, there’s NO WAY IN HELL I would transfer this pain to my husband and child. Hell, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, why would I intentionally inflict it on those I love?
Fortunately, my buddy came through for me last night and I was able to smoke some pot and break the cycle of that crazy thinking.
I’m not just giving up and giving in to my addiction. A few weeks ago, I contacted CAMH (the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) and have been seeing an addictions counselor as I get “processed” and wait for a placement. The waiting lists are long—about six months to get into the Trauma group of the Concurrent Disorders program. In the meantime, my counselor, Dan, is seeing me one on one and trying to get me into another program so that I will continue to have support during the waiting period—I’m scheduled for an assessment (a critical step in the process) in September. I saw Dan yesterday and told him everything that is going on. He is of the opinion that this week is perhaps not the right time to give up self-medication. But I’m also keeping a log of my drug use and doing a cost-benefit analysis of this behaviour.
One of the hardest parts of this whole process is the complete shame that I feel about both my drug use and my mental illness. Bryan’s right: I’m too hard on myself. So I am trying to release the guilt and shame and just be where I am right now, trying to make slow and steady progress.
I won’t give up. This *will* get better. Somehow.
How do you accidently bomb a clearly marked and well-established outpost of the United Nations? Why do I hear George Bush cackling “Hehehe–good one Olmert. Give the UN a nice kick in the ass on your way to destroying Hezbollah. That’s what we call a Texas-style can of whoopass!”