Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

308 Day Update

It’s been awhile since I’ve been here.  308 days, if this online date calculator site got it right.  One of my close friends has asked me to return to my blog, and a lot of people have suggested writing in general and writing about what is going on right now.  And, I agreed.  I thought about deleting this blog and starting a new one, being that it started mainly to deal with my recovery from anorexia.  Am I still recovered?  Absolutely.  Am I ashamed of having been sick with numerous relapses?  Absolutely not.  So why try to delete my past?  It’s still going to be there in some form.


Right now.  It’s a sunny July afternoon and I am sitting in Barnes and Noble’s cafe.  It’s currently one of my favorite places to be.  It’s been the one constant this spring/summer since I relocated from Columbia, MO back to my hometown in upstate NY.  A rather large college town with tons of coffee shops to a very small town where “coffee shop” seems to be an alien language. 


Let’s start with last fall.  I was doing pretty well.  Then I wasn’t.  We have found out that ECT is extremely beneficial for me, and that whenever we try to stop it or cut back too much, I relapse very fast regardless of my medications.  And for some unknown reason (other than Bipolar Disorder is a biological illness, that is), my depression hit a low it has never hit before, and decided to stay there for an extremely long time.  I was IP just after Christmas.  Started the school year, but had to stop teaching in March.  Everything was going downhill extremely fast.  I hardly got out of bed, let alone left my apartment.  I didn’t want to knit, write, walk, do yoga, eat.  I began relying on crackers, pepperoni, and sliced cheese for meals because I didn’t have to cook anything, or even slice anything. 


Yes, the suicidal thoughts came back.  I had a plan and a date marked on my calendar.  Now, 99% of me knows that I do NOT want to kill myself.  But then there’s this 1% that takes over when I get to a certain point.  When I was writing out my plans in my calendar, the rational part of my brain took over and the next day I talked to my psychiatrist and was admitted.  This time I stayed for a month.  I did some things differently this time.  I realized I had lost too much weight since cheese and crackers are not that nutritious, so I worked with a nutritionist and began drinking ensure multiple times a day, even when I wasn’t hungry and even when I didn’t really feel like getting out of my bed for meal time.  I told my treatment team everything.  I usually do, but my pride usually ends up getting in the way and I try to avoid crying in front of anyone, let alone curling up in a corner with a blanket wrapped over my head.  And I went to staff as soon as I noticed the smallest urges to self-harm.  All of these things allowed me to talk to staff in a way I really hadn’t before.  I let them in to all my ugly places.  And they didn’t run away, they didn’t scold me, they didn’t make me feel bad or guilty or ashamed.  They sat down next to me and talked and listened. 


For someone who has been a strong advocate of “taking care of you” in recovering from  an eating disorder, it finally dawned on me that I hadn’t ever really “taken care of me” when I was depressed.  I’d go to the hospital for a few days, and then immediately upon discharge would return to work or school or whatever my life entailed at the time.  I never gave myself a chance to heal and recover.  My treatment team and I talked, and my parents and my brother and I talked, and everyone talked together, and we have decided that I need to take a few months to not do anything.  Except work on recovery and health.  And that it would be in my best interest not to live alone, isolated in my apartment, talking to cats and eating cheese and crackers.


So I am now living with my parents (I’m sure that will be an entry all by itself).  I do not have a job.  I am not volunteering.  At some point, I will look for part time work.  Hopefully, at some point I will go back to teaching.  I do not have a timeline for this.  It will happen when I am ready. 


What am I doing?  The first three weeks home was spend finding a new treatment team, and I had doctors’ appointments more days than I didn’t.  I think I have a new treatment team here in NY that I am going to work really well with.  Before I left MO, I had an appointment with a new psychiatrist to continue ECT.  We’re still trying to get the timing in between sessions worked out, but I feel comfortable with this new doctor and it has been easy talking to him.  After six weeks of searching, I found a therapist who was accepting new patients AND took my insurance, and although I’ve only seen her three times, I am pretty sure this is going to work. 


I have unpacked my books and found all my knitting supplies.  I am slowly reconnecting with friends in the area, and everyone has been very understanding about my anxiety and fears about that reconnecting.  I am adjusting to living back in my home town, with my parents. 


I wish I could erase the previous eight months.  It was a stressful time, not only on me, but also on my friends and family.  I do understand why a lot of people needed to step away, and I still wish I could say the right words and make everything the way it was again, but no matter how hard I have tried, I cannot make past time disappear.  I am extremely thankful for the friends and family who have stood with me through this and supported me and encouraged me and never gave up. 


Having severe depression is something that is often misunderstood in our society, and I would like to address some of those issues here.  Maybe I’ll publish in a reliable, scheduled manor, and maybe I’ll drop in randomly.  I’ll shoot for less than 308 days, though.



July 26, 2014 - Posted by | bipolar disorder, Communication, coping, depression, ECT, family, feelings, health, identity, recovery, relationships, self harm, suicide, therapy


  1. I am so pleased to find you back on the blog 🙂 I Just came back to the blog a few days ago for some inspiration to press on as I feel my own down-turn coming and was sad that there were no posts. But alas! Here you are ♡ much love darling

    Comment by Laura | July 26, 2014 | Reply

  2. So happy to hear you are doing better! Get tx is tough no matter what it’s for, but when you put effort into it it’s unbelievable how much things can change and how much tx can help.
    I had a similar situation a few months back, after not being hospitilized for quite a while, I had a psychotic break from abusing my prescription amphetamines- landed in the hospital and upon trying to sign myself out, was court-ordered to another place for 3 weeks. The dr there put me in a new NJ program called involuntary outpatient commitment (IOC) that court mandated that i complete a PHP/IOP psych/substance abuse program and have a social worker and peer advocate come to my house to meet with me and my family once a week each for 6 months. My commitment is up in September.
    Although I was so angry at first for being commited and was really treatment resistent (what else is knew?) after all was said and done, the 3+ weeks IP and 3 months of PHP/IOP was so amazingly helpful. I could have just sat through the groups and not learned anything or talk about anything, but I actually tried for once and put effort into the process- the rewards have been substantial. Being required to spend these 6 months focusing on me and receiving support from the added caseworker/peer advocate in addition to therapist/psychiatrist/support groups/NA meetings have helped me beyond measure.

    Comment by Abbe | July 26, 2014 | Reply

    • Abbe–It was really great reading your comment. When I was sick with the anorexia, I never would have called myself treatment resistant, but now that I look back, there is no more apt description. Until I decided I wanted to get better, and then I realized I had to USE the treatment. I’ve always been compliant in psych units, but this time, I was at such a low point, I just had to give up completely and let them lead me.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | July 26, 2014 | Reply

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