Thursday, February 19, 2015

Relationships: Give and Take

As the words came out of her mouth, I gave her a quizzical look. Did she just say what I think she said? We were talking about my baby turning 5 years old next week and she mentioned that Barbra Streisand sang a song about turning 5.
Um, yeah. I know. I know all about it. You don't need to tell me about Barbra. I know about Barbra.

The more I thought about that exchange, the more I wondered, how much does she really know me? As my therapist, she knows things about me I wouldn't share with anyone else. She has truly seen me at my worst. She knows my character, what can set me off and my work ethic. This made me wonder, how much can we really know someone else?

I have many likes and dislikes in relation to many things. How can an other know all of the intricate details of these likes and dislikes? This may be silly and trite but is it really necessary for her to know about my love of Barbra, her music, movies, etc.? Maybe not, but at the same time, it is a piece of who I am. When I drive across state lines on my way to see her, I am belting out a tune by Barbra and am in my favorite place in my head. Is this important information to convey? I think it is.

We cannot fully know someone, can't walk in her shoes, feel what she feels. What we can do is inform. Provide insights to others in your life and describe your experiences. This is giving a gift to that person in your life. You are trusting that person to hear what you have to share and hopefully reflect back some interest and curiosity.

I think we should remind ourselves that we have these pieces that may not be open to others, even when we assume they are. I made an assumption that after a 20-year relationship that this piece of me was already known, but I was wrong. I don't view this as a negative thing or a break in our relationship. On the contrary, here is a piece of me that is fun, interesting and entertaining. What a great thing to share with someone years into a relationship, especially when the focus has been on a horrible illness.

Friday, February 13, 2015

And Just Like that, It was Over

And just like that, it was over. Today I had my last ECT treatment. Originally planned for next month, we discussed my progress and my current state and decided today was graduation day. I had 23 ECT treatments in all which began in July. It seems surreal to me.

What did I feel when this decision was made? Pride, relief, satisfaction and loved. I am so proud of myself for enduring these 23 treatments as they served a large part in my recovery. I am relieved that I can move on from my trips to New Haven. I am satisfied with the stellar care I received at Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and felt so thankful as the nurses hugged me goodbye and we wished each other well. Mostly, I feel loved. I feel loved and cared for by my family and friends and the support I have received from my therapist is simply remarkable. My husband and daughter are my anchors and I felt a calmness this morning as I pictured them in my head as I was given the anesthesia.

I am happy to continue my therapy, and grateful that the ECT brought me to a place where I can accomplish the necessary work in therapy. I will continue my medication regimen and continue to stay on top of my feelings. I am well aware that if I start to feel depressed, I need to reach out to the appropriate people to take care of myself.

Just as I said in my recent blog post, I am focused on moving on. Part of this involves some celebrating. I want to celebrate myself. Having ECT became routine for me but was still a source of anxiety. I am happy to celebrate moving on from this. My focus this weekend will be on my daughter, husband and me. It's time to take a deep, cleansing breath and reflect on all that I have accomplished in the past year, specifically in the past 7 months.

Moving on.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Moving On

In another month I will complete my ECT treatments. I honestly cannot wait. While it has certainly been a huge factor, in terms of saving my life, I am ready to move on. That is my current focus: moving on.
I've been thinking back to where I was a year ago and it broke my heart when I read what I blogged a year ago in February. Here it is:

If I don't smile for an extended period of time, don't take it personally.
If I seem "off" in some way, don't take it personally.
If I don't appear to be listening to you, don't take it personally.
If I don't laugh at your joke, don't take it personally.
If my hand is unsteady, don't take it personally.
If I appear tearful, don't take it personally.
If I yawn, don't take it personally.
If I don't want to be around people, don't take it personally.
If my leg shakes when I sit next to you, don't take it personally.
If I forget something, don't take it personally.
If I need to leave work a few minutes early to pick up my daughter as I ache to hug her, don't take it personally.
If I don't go to your house to hang out because I cannot imagine being extroverted, don't take it personally.
This is Depression. This is my Depression. This is me right now. Don't be put off and don't run away. Give me time and just be there. And please, don't take it personally. 

I was really sick. While I remember feeling this way, it is a different experience to read this now when I am healthy and thinking clearly. I remember those raw feelings. I felt an emptiness that could not be filled.  
I am trying to focus on the present now, the positive results of all of my treatment and all of my work. I am finally at a point of self-recognition. I have done a great job of thanking my therapist, ECT nurses, other hospital staff, family and friends for helping to rescue me from my depression, but I am finally at a point of praising myself. No one else could go to therapy for me or have ECT on my behalf; it was me. It was my choice to see my therapist, I agreed to go to the hospital, both times, I agreed to all of the medication trials. I did the work, whether it was using my head, my heart or the rest of my body. It was in my control. I am finally proud of myself. I accomplished so much this past year and I am grateful for my inner strength. I am at a better place, emotionally, and I can't imagine going back. 

I have a bracelet that says: She believed she could, so she did.

I believed I could, so I did.