And now for my next trick

It was bound to happen, wasn’t it? The realisation that it wasn’t a cold. The reality that I was heading rapidly towards a very bad situation that I had tried to ignore. The fog set in quickly but I managed to put up a flare just before it engulfed me.

Dad told me later one of the hardest things he ever had to do was to drive me to the hospital and admit me to the clinic but he had no choice. Two days before sitting in my psychiatrist’s office Dad said that they would look after me until the increased dose of my medication took effect. I said he didn’t know what he was committing himself to. I think I knew than that it was going to get worse before it got better.

My dad and my brother desparately tried to stop what was happening. They sat with me as much as they could. They took turns staying with me at night so I couldn’t get out of bed and wander around looking for anything sharp. The foresight to lock all medications in a safe was being repaid to them. The fog had set in and I was on that dark, lonley path to find anything I could to disappear.

And what did I do? Sitting in the waiting room of the hospital, next to my Dad, I gashed into the back of my right hand with my fingernails and if Dad hadn’t spotted me I would have drawn blood very soon. I was admitted to the clinic again and given a room where I had nothing at all. It was the only safe place for me.

I was in hospital for 6 days this time. After the first two nights where I contemplated banging my head against the wall in sheer frustration, I began to improve. The last time I was in the clinic my brother wasn’t able to cope with me being in there, seeing his sister having to be cared for by nurses and doctors in a secure facility. Not even my parents telling him that it was better than where I had been in Sydney reassured him. He again couldn’t bring himself to visit so Mum and Dad did visiting duties.

But I got the best surprise of all when Buffy came home for the weekend and came to the hospital on the Saturday and Sunday to be with me. We haven’t seen each other in so long and it wasn’t how I wanted to catch up with her but she helped me so much by coming. We sat and talked for hours (as we do most days online or on the phone) but it was wonderful to do it face to face. And she gave me the most amazing birthday present a few weeks early but she wanted to see my face when she gave it to me. More on that later.

Its been rollercoaster territory since I came out. Within a week I needed to have my medication increased again but this time everyone noticed what was happening. My family is much, much more observant about changes. We now have a warning signs list on the fridge for them and for me. And I am learning to put my hand up and say “I think I need help”. Its a huge step forward for me after years of drowning on my own.

I saw my psych again this week and he is happy with my progress, although he acknowledges my frustration that its slow progress and not an overnight shot in the arm. I’m still having trouble getting up in the morning, but my night routine is getting much better. I’m not back at the gym but I am going into my brother’s business to ‘work’ or at least be around other people and get into a routine.

Its baby steps again. For the past 6 months, it was the first period in my life where I wasn’t foggy. Where making good decision came easily, going about life was easy. Its hard for me to get beyond the feeling that I failed again because its not like that at the moment. I know I can now live a ‘normal’ life and I will get back to it, it will just take time and patience. Guess that is the lesson I have to learn this time around.

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