Closure

I Googled how to get closure and I couldn’t find anything which was very annoying because I had no closure.

 

I have a big thing about needing closure, from any situation that ended quickly and without answers. I must know why, how, who, when.

I can’t let it go. I become obsessed and do some pretty out there things to try to find the answers.

Dad finds this a silly and useless quality of mine. As closure is so rarely acquired. And is it needed to move on? What if there is no choice?

How do you close the door on something when you still have questions? What if you have OCD and doors need to be closed but you didn’t get the closure you needed to close them and you start to slowly unravel because no-one will tell you why or how or when or who or what.

 

Looking for closure is exhausting.

 

A sad part is I found this quote in my studies:

“The idea of closure is no longer seen as being possible for most people. Rather, it’s ‘How do I adapt or integrate this loss into who I am and into everyday life?’”

 

So how do I adapt or integrate the loss of needing closure?

 

 

My Big Black Bear

My first experience with depression was with post-natal depression after Michelle’s birth in my late twenties, but not until my mid forties did depression visit me again. I sank into a dark and deep depression. After 25 years, I was no longer happy working in the high-powered and stressful computer field and the onset of early Menopause was attacking my entire physical being. I bled for months with no cure. I had 2 curettes but got no cure. I was over-sensitive to any unkind comment, especially about my weight and went berserk if the kitchen was messy. My poor girls and Peter were afraid to make a sound. I would scream and shout for no reason, I spent days in the bedroom, unable to resist the magnetic pull of my bed, the safety of a dark, quiet room. I was paralysed emotionally and contemplated how many Mersyndols® would do the trick. I couldn’t lift my arms.

It may be that this experience helped prepare me for – and ultimately have a better understanding of – the bouts of depression which in time would become a debilitating part of Natasha’s life. That feeling that everything, no matter how small, is insurmountable. The smallest of tasks is huge. Get out of bed and have a shower – impossible. Unstack the dishwasher – you must be out of your mind. Call a friend or accept a phone call – can’t be done.

I felt trapped, I was trapped, I couldn’t see a way out. I could not cope with my job, with looking after my family or with life. I felt helpless and suicidal, I kept planning to jump in front of a bus. I wanted it all to end. I wanted to end it all.

Winston Churchill called this state ‘The Black Dog’ – but dogs cheer me up, especially scruffy brown Terriers. (I have 2 and their little brown faces fill my heart with joy.) I felt like one of those big bears trapped in cages in Asia, shown on the heart-wrenching ‘Cruelty to Animals’ brochures, with such sad eyes, hopeless, helpless, enslaved by the cruel world. (Bears hibernate through winter. Maybe they are depressed?) So I call my depression a Black Bear.

Peter dragged me to a new GP, (who was recommended by a friend), whose response to my personal problems was an insulting and simplistic “Can’t you quit your job?” “No, I can’t, I have a large mortgage”, I replied. “You think you have a large mortgage – I guarantee mine is bigger!” was the best consolation/medical assistance he could offer. Such compassion, such understanding. Such bed-side manner. Such professionalism.

I didn’t go to him again. I needed a correct medical diagnosis and emotional support, not backchat from a patronising git.

I tracked down the female GP whom I used to see until she left the medical surgery near us to start her own practice. Peter dragged me to her holding my hand all the way. She immediately diagnosed Clinical Depression and advised that, until I regained my mental balance, Peter should be in charge of all my decisions. (I was unable to make any rational decisions). Thank God for a sympathetic woman. She recommended that I see a Psychiatrist and prescribed anti-depressants. Three different types were tried until we found Efexor®, which turned out to be my miracle drug. The GP never gave up and I still go to her regularly and talk about my life and problems. She saw me through the crisis and I will always be grateful for her care, patience and dedication.

Years later, remembering how long and severe my period of mental instability was, I asked Peter why he stayed with me instead of opting for an easier and quieter life. He said “you were wounded and I had to look after you”. What a wonderful partner. What a lucky girl I am.

I quit my computer job and took a less demanding one in a friendlier, family environment.

The depression slowly lifted but the bleeding was only stopped by taking HRT drugs. Again, a few were tried until the right one was found. Menopause has continued for me for 7 years but now it is reduced to only the odd hot flush and occasional night sweat. I’m still taking Efexor®.

I have been to two very good psychologists, one of whom I am still seeing. She makes me calm and is teaching me to concentrate on ME, my need for time out, for peaceful times. Unfortunately, therapy is a very expensive exercise – the associated financial stress can counteract the psychological benefits. It is outrageous, misguided and socially irresponsible – not to mention economically illogical, considering the long-term cost of mental health care – that private health insurance will pay for Weight Watchers’ programs and refund the cost of Reeboks but not for mental health professionals. There are refunds for physiotherapy but no refunds from Medicare or private health insurance, for those seeking help from a psycho-analyst. Many years ago the Government closed mental health facilities and offered no alternatives. It now expects the families of the mentally-ill to provide emotional, physical and financial support.

 

This is a chapter from ‘The Bi-Polar Express‘ book published in 2007. Mental Health services have improved since these events.

When She Wants to Die

When my daughter came to me in tears one day and said “Mum can I please just go? I can’t do this anymore” panic raced across my mind. And the ridiculous notion, despite understanding suicidal thoughts and depression, that I would say, “Of course darling, go right ahead,” was just that, ridiculous.

 

The panic I feel when checking her room in the morning/afternoon. Is she still ok? Suicidal thoughts never far from her mind. If I’m away for a couple of days, what will I find when I return. I try pointing out the good things she has in her life and distract her from the negatives. Sometimes she is too deep into the darkness to hear me. But if I listen and tell her I love her and need her she hears me and has at least one reason to stay and then we can look for more.

 

Long term depression and suicidal thoughts untreated are dangerous and people need help to get out of it. Talk to someone and please don’t feel suicide is the only option. There are much better options. Ever tried skydiving? Eating a Cheesesteak? Playing with goats? Swimming at 3am?

 

Just a few better options…

 

Please share some of your ideas on better options?

 

Shocking Showers

Some people reading this may find it shocking that there are people that don’t shower every day. I have been in many discussions with BiPolarians / people suffering Depression. They have mostly said that they hate showering, that it is a chore and they will put it off for as long as they can.

 

Neurotypicals are probably thinking “You don’t shower every day? Why don’t you shower every day? That is so unhygienic. Ewww.”

 

For us it is very typical not to shower every day and avoid showers for as long as possible. Showering is a chore; first you have to take off all your clothes, then you have to get the water to the perfect temperature, then you have to get in, then you have to wash your hair and soap your body and brush your teeth and wash everything off and brush your hair and then comes the biggest hassle of all which is drying yourself; dry every inch of your body and dry your hair and then having to do something with your hair and then you have to put new clothes on, or just put the same clothes you had on before, but you can’t because they smell because you didn’t shower!

Is it worth the effort?

 

Do YOU feel that when you are down a simple task like showering is just too much?

 

Rock Bottom

What is rock bottom? What does it feel like? How do you get there and how do you get out?

 

Everyone is different.

One of my rock bottoms was my second breakdown. I was lost, my whole sense of self was gone. My worth was gone. It was dark and scary and everything seemed pointless. Everything hurt and was numb at the same time. Nothing made sense. I didn’t exist. The walls were pushing in and it felt like there was nothing to hold on to.

 

I have BiPolar 1 so it is easy to spiral up or down and hard to stop (without meds and professional help). I feel I have hit rock bottom many times but that’s when things got interesting…

When you are at the bottom there is only 2 ways out. Give up or Dig up.

 

I clawed my way back out of the darkness many times but I couldn’t have done it without helping hands.

My family and a few close friends; one being Lithium. My doctors were great.

But a lot was me. Fighting to survive in a world I don’t often want to be a part of, but I will not let this beat me. I will not let the darkness take over. I am resilient. I am stronger now for rising up from rock bottom.

 

I know not everyone has the support I have and it is hard to pull yourself up. But you can, you are, just by reading this and other mental health pages.

 

How many of you have come back from rock bottom?

What was it like down there?

How did you get out?

 

Please share your stories in the comments section. Let’s support each other and say ”NO” to giving in to rock bottom!

 

Change

Change can be good and it can be bad and it can be scary and it can be hard.

A good change could be a nice new haircut or rearranging your furniture or making a new friend.

A bad change is when someone leaves and you have to adapt to life without them or a medical problem that impacts your day to day activity.

A scary change is starting something new and unfamiliar like a job or new meds and having no control over what changes will happen next.

A hard change can be a behaviour change like quitting smoking. First you must want it, be willing to do it and be able to do it. But it’s hard work, trust me.

I don’t believe when people say that “People don’t change”. Whenever I reread my first book I think “who is this crazy girl? That can’t have been me! I would never do that.” It was me and I did do that, but I have changed now. 

From my experience if you want to change you can or at least can try.

Also in my experience most people can change but they don’t or won’t. 

(Especially men!)

PARTE 1 – La corsa di Ela

Il Bi-Polar Express – La corsa di Natasha
Per tutta la mia vita sapevo di essere diversa, ero fuori posto. Ho sempre sentito che avrei potuto fare tutto, ma le cose non hanno mai funzionato per me: o mi deprimevo senza un motivo o diventavo iperattiva.
Quando leggerete il mio libro, potrete seguire gli alti e bassi, i colpi di scena, i picchi, i crolli, gli andirivieni, sempre più veloci, le montagne russe della mia vita Bi-Polare. Ma tenete bene a mente una cosa: voi potete mettere giù il libro e scendere dalle montagne russe…
Io no.
Il Bi-Polar Express – La corsa di Ela
Questa è la divertente, triste storia della ricerca fatta da una madre, sin dall’infanzia, attraverso l’adolescenza e oltre, della diagnosi corretta per la figlia “diversa”; cercando anche, disperatamente, di combattere con l’alienazione, i drammi e le crisi della ragazza.

Questo libro è per tutte le persone che conoscono qualcuno -un amico, un parente o un conoscente- con un disturbo mentale, e quindi praticamente per tutti. Leggete questo libro, sareste dei pazzi a non farlo.
PARTE 1 – La corsa di Ela
Di Ela Simon
Il ciclone colpisce Randwick
Era una pacifica mattina dell’aprile 1984 quando il Ciclone Natasha colpì la nostra tranquilla casa, in un piccolo e quieto vicolo cieco nel sobborgo di Randwick, Sydney. Con incredibile intensità, il caos che generò non durò minuti, ore o giorni, bensì anni. Ripulire e risistemare era inutile, perché il momento del round successivo sarebbe arrivato dopo ogni suo risveglio, quando avrebbe colpito di nuovo a piena potenza.
Eravamo del tutto impreparati per un assalto di questo tipo: dopo tutto eravamo dei genitori “esperti”. La nostra prima figlia, Michelle, sebbene fosse intollerante al latte, soggetta a coliche e piangesse spesso, era fin troppo prudente ed esitante, ordinata, metodica, affascinata dai libri e dalla cultura, “tutta orecchi” per le storie, aveva un codice di colori per gli elastici, i libri in ordine di altezza e una camera organizzata in modo sistematico; quindi ci domandavamo che cosa intendesse la gente quando diceva che nelle credenze erano necessarie delle serrature a prova di bambino. Fino a quel momento.

Recentemente trasferiti in una casa più grande, visto l’imminente arrivo della nostra seconda figlia, stavo rimuovendo la carta da parati in salotto insieme al mio compagno Peter, il papà di Natasha, quando iniziai a sanguinare. Da un’ecografia, che richiedeva una vescica piena di 2 litri d’acqua –“Oh, devo fare pipì, DEVO fare pipì” –, emerse una condizione nota come placenta previa. Normalmente la placenta, la quale dà sostentamento al bambino che cresce, giace al di sopra del bimbo nell’utero in modo che il piccolo possa emergere; ma in questo caso si trovava al di sotto, tesa, e bloccava il canale del parto. Come sarebbe venuto fuori il bambino? Costretta a letto per quattro mesi, comprese un paio di settimane in ospedale, stavo perdendo pezzi di placenta. Per lo più vegetariana, non ero entusiasta dell’aspetto da fegato. Natasha stava per caso facendo a pezzi la placenta per uscire?
Il mio ginecologo mi fece presente che questa condizione si verifica circa nel 20% delle nascite, altrimenti sarei quasi stata tentata a interpretarlo come un segno di quanto sarebbe accaduto: anche prima che nascesse c’era qualcosa di diverso in Natasha. Normalmente prima esce il bambino e poi la placenta, ma Natasha voleva essere diversa; e questa è diventata la storia della sua stimolante, triste, imprevedibile, maniacale e ansiosa corsa sulle montagne russe della vita.

Alla trentaseiesima settimana, mi stavo facendo la permanente (ERANO gli anni 80!) negli ultimi preparativi pratici per il parto. Il mio parrucchiere italiano Primadonna rimase comunque poco empatico quando iniziai a sanguinare su tutto il pavimento bianco e pulito. Una corsa in ambulanza (con la permanente risciacquata a malapena) preannunciava due settimane di ospedale nel tentativo di arrestare il sanguinamento, così da dare alla bambina la possibilità di mangiare e crescere ancora per un po’. I capelli erano un disastro di riccioli a metà. Non un bell’aspetto. Non erano ammesse visite!
Dopo un parto cesareo a 38 settimane, il 15 novembre 1983 nacque una bimba tonda e paffuta, di peso e altezza medi. Era bellissima, con una femminilità e una dolcezza che facevano venir voglia di toccarla e tenerla in braccio costantemente. Quel nasino piccolissimo, il volto angelico, quella morbida testolina pelata.
Una bambina apparentemente contenta: dormiva, mangiava, dormiva un altro po’ e mangiava ancora. Già in ospedale avevamo notato quanto amasse l’acqua. Un bagnetto apportava un rilassante piacere. Avevamo anche notato che non sopportava di essere costretta dalle fasce avvolgenti. L’infermiera l’avvolgeva stretta nella copertina, ma lei estraeva le braccine con grande
forza nel tentativo di liberarsi. Non anelava alla sicurezza che per la maggior parte dei neonati è data da una fasciatura stretta. Il nostro “spirito libero”. Questa piccina non avrebbe tollerato nessuna restrizione.
La portammo a casa dopo 10 giorni, alla vista del nostro splendido albero di Jacaranda in piena fioritura.
Per cinque mesi Natasha “dormì come un bambino”, svegliandosi ogni 4 ore per una poppata, giorno e notte. I pannolini bagnati non sembravano darle fastidio. Sarebbe stata felice di tenerne uno zuppo di pipì per giorni, se non fosse stato per il fatto che la sua pelle sensibile era motivo di eruzioni cutanee. I pannolini usa e getta non erano un’opzione. Come era di moda negli anni 80, a Natasha, al pari della sorella maggiore, fu diagnosticata la displasia dell’anca e per tre mesi dovette indossare il doppio pannolino.

 

Translation from English to Italian by Daniela Boi.

(Congratulations on graduating with your Degree in Translation and Interpreting (Languages: English and Spanish) at the Higher School for Linguistic Mediators “SSML Verbum” in Cagliari.)

Boyfread

The boyfriend in your head.

The ideal man in your head is never how it is in real life.

When you are single for a long time you design the perfect boyfriend in your head. 

Mine: blue eyes, dark hair, shorter than me, scruff but not a full beard, speech impediment or a Scottish accent. He would love animals (cats and dogs a must) and food but not be able to cook so he would love my cooking abilities. He would be non-judgemental and maybe have a few mental health issues of his own so he gets it.

He would have a job, any job. He would have a car and enjoy driving to the mountains. He would get along with my parents.

He would love movies and tv and be happy cuddling whilst watching hours of them with me. He would get me little inexpensive gifts when he thinks of me. He would text daily but not overly. He would want to do fun things and go out some of the time.

 

He would be an amazing kisser.

He would take care of me when I was sick or in pain and he would let me take care of him.

He would make me laugh so hard and find my jokes hilarious.

He would be honest and loyal and kind. 

He would, like me: not want marriage and kids but want to be in a committed relationship with only me. 

He would call me his girl and I would be his and he would be mine.

We would have cute names for each other.

He would never make fun of me or put me down. He would never hit me or push things in the bedroom.

He would never cheat or lie or bail.

We would be madly in love.

 

This is the fairytale.

This is the boyfread: The boyfriend in my head. 

 

Do you have one?

What is yours like?