I’m struggling with a malaise of melancholy. Surrounded by blue skies and sunshine, all I see and feel are clouds. I know the clouds will lift, revealing bright days and good times. The malaise is temporary and for the most part, of my own making. After spending an hour or so with my psychologist today I was reminded I need to acknowledge and feel the feelings – whether I consider them valid or not.
My inclination is to run and hide and bury my head – old habits die hard. But if there is one thing I have achieved this year, it’s to stop using eating disorder and self-harm behaviours to numb my emotions. They are becoming non-options. That’s not to say I don’t think about it, miss it, want it, and feel tempted to slip. But I’m moving closer and closer to accepting they’re no longer an option for dealing with life.
There are a dozen healthy coping tools I could reach out and grab, but no – when the going got tough, I slipped sideways and chose a new bad option. It didn’t feel that way – still doesn’t. I just wanted to sleep – not eternally. Just for a day and a night. But my psychologist disagreed with my assessment. She deemed I’d taken an overdose – twice. I still don’t concur. But I will admit I deliberately took significantly larger doses of prescribed medications than would normally be considered safe. Definitely not taken in lethal doses, but certainly in lovely sleepy doses. I have been reliably informed this is an unhealthy manner of dealing with distress.
I was coerced into handing over all my medications to a friend until my husband returns from his surgery. And I’m being babysat by my eldest son until Friday when I meet with friends for a long weekend of socialising. If I failed to do either of these things, my doctor would be contacted and the crisis assessment team involved. It all seems terribly dramatic. I think I’m fine. Miserable, yes. Aware this too shall pass, yes. Suicidal ideation, yes. Suicidal, no.
Apparently my job now is to focus on healthier, longer term coping mechanisms. Reminding myself all feelings pass eventually – the good, the bad, the ugly. Utilising walks in nature, reading, writing, socialising. Cleaning and clearing my house. Planning and preparing our sojourn overseas. Keeping busy. Staying safe. And most importantly – sharing how I feel when I feel. Not letting things build up. I guess if these are good things for other people to do, they are good things for me.
I do know one thing I need to be cognizant of – making sure I deescalate distress long before I’m at a ten. By then, it is all too much. There is no logic. No rationality at that point. I really need to practice the skills when I’m at a six or seven – instead of thinking things will just get better or blaming a head cold, a bad night’s sleep, or a broken stove.
I feel sad right now. I know this. I know it won’t last. I’ll feel joy soon. I know this. I know it won’t last. Nothing lasts – the good nor the bad. In the meantime, I need to play more safely. Apparently.