Taking Up Space

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So, as a lot of you who follow this blog know, I suffer from a pretty nasty mental illness and recently underwent a bout of Electroshock Therapy. Are you tired of hearing about this? I’m tired of living it. About three weeks ago I decided I’d had enough and I was going to go back to work. Money is tight on disability and Christmas is coming. I’ve managed to get creative though so things are ok on that front, but what happened when I told my psychiatrist I had been looking for work sent me back to my bleak reality.

She said there is no way I should even consider working right now and my condition is ‘severely guarded’, and that it’s a good possibility that if things continue on the way they are now that I’ll be looking at a hospitalization sometime in the new year. Hopefully not sooner. Going into the hospital during the holidays is terrible. I’ve lived that a couple of times and have no desire to do it again. The awful realization that she was right hit my smack dab in the pit of my stomach. I can’t work, it would be a disaster. I hate it. I feel like a leech. I feel as though people are whispering about me, looking down on me and surmising that I must be sitting at home because I’m lazy. There’s a lot of, “I know someone with depression and they work.” Or, “I have depression and work. You just have to suck it up.” The thing is when I suck it up and try to do that, at some point I end up hallucinating.

It’s not easy feeling like you contribute absolutely nothing to the world around you. This has been going on for years and I have not been able to have anything close to a career. Right now the writing is the only thing I’d compare to a job, and at that it’s really not. Not for me anyway because unlike a job, if I don’t feel like I can get out of bed that day (or for a few days) because my brain is going crazy and refusing to function I don’t have to write. I can totally skip it and not have to call somebody to make up a ‘legitimate’ excuse.

It’s a struggle. Some days I feel ok, and even in the last week or so I’ve felt really good. My psychiatrist put me on Abilify as a boost to the Prozac and since it’s also an anti-psychotic it has an added benefit. I felt so good that one day last week I actually felt motivated to do things. It lasted an entire day and was a strong enough sensation that I remembered what it felt like to want to clean your house and make the dinner and do the shopping. I had one day of normalcy, but sadly it hasn’t come back. I’m hopeful that it will.

For now I am stuck with the guilt. I feel guilty for living and not contributing to the world in the way people think I should. I feel guilty for being alive, period. I hope that through my writing at least, that I can contribute constructively to someone else. If I can provide an escape from the drudgery of your everyday mundane life perhaps I am doing more than just taking up space. I hope I am.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Taking Up Space

  1. Jess this makes me so sad to read this, and what makes me so sad is that you are so hard on yourself.Over the last several months I have had to have and eye opener and realize that my mental illness is actually what it is. A mental illness, all the meds are not going to make me 100% better though it would be nice , but what they sometimes do is let me get by. I use to be like, well people think I am lazy, or using the government. I am neither of these to things. And those people that say they have depression and can go to work, well good for you,,thats great!! I guess my mental illness is worst then that person’s . Like a diabetic some can take a pill others have to give them selves needs. They both have it but one is worse off then the other one.
    And these people that say Suck it up. well you just come live in our shoes for just 1 week then you come back and tell me to suck it up.
    Jess I have said to you before, your writing is a gift…. and your gift has brought people pleasure ,, by reading what you have written and got so into your books.And want more and more books from you,cause they love the story..You may not be a Danielle Steele, but hey i rather read your books then her’s and i have read some of her books.
    I understand that its easier said then done, with how we feel.
    I can not draw, can not write , can not do physical labour, so what am i here for? And i have asked myself that many of times. I am here because i am here.. And the people who really like / love me for me is really all that matters. They are the people who we need to listnen too not the others.
    Keep going Jess ..

  2. Karen fleck

    hi Jess , I so understand what your saying
    Being on disability myself I feel so useless 😦
    And the guilt I feel about loosing my nursing
    Because of the ancient and depression
    Seems like there is no where to get help here in truro !!
    My therapist left for another job about 8 mths ago
    And mental health put me on a wait list
    Got a letter about 2 mths ago offering me an appointment with a therapist there
    So I went for the appointment a few wks ago
    I thought it went ok and she said she would call me in a couple of days to book another session
    I waited 2 wks and nothing !
    I then called her and left a message
    Still no response !!
    Then I go to my Dr and tell her what happened
    You know what she says nothing about mental health
    But tells me and I quote ” you never going to get better and your just gunna have to learn to live with it ”
    When she said that it was like someone kicked me in the stomach :(((
    Then I told her my low dose of anxiety medication wasn’t doing a whole lot of good these days hoping she might put it up a mg or 2 or prescribe me something else .
    But no !! She takes me off it completely !! So I have nothing for my anxiety !!
    Then she makes me sign a narcotic agreement because I get a few pills a mth for my migraines
    This contract made me feel like a criminal and drug addict !’
    Bottom line in I feel like no one cares or understands what I’m going through day in and day out !!
    Feeling so lost and alone !!

    • I’m sorry I missed your comment until now, Karen. I haven’t come on to the blog for a few days. I’m sorry to hear that happened to you. Unfortunately I don’t find it hard to believe. When it comes to mental illness I really don’t think anyone knows what they’re doing at this point in time. I’ve felt t he same way many times. Your doctor sounds like an asshat. I’ve had a few of those too. Luckily I have a great psychiatrist now, but it took quite a while for me to find her. I lucked out with her. I hope you can get back into see that therapist. I know how disheartening it is when you never hear back. It makes you feel like you just don’t matter. You do matter though! Above all else please take care of yourself. You are most definitely not alone.

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