TW - Depression, Grief, Suicide Loss
This is the first post in a while that probably needs those, since I go over the backstory and give an overview of last winter’s depression. I think I mentioned a couple of times that I’d tried a little bit of in-person counseling last year and been told that the counselors/therapists didn’t know how to help me because I already utilize the coping techniques they know. With the anniversary of my brother’s death coming up in a few days, I was looking for a little bit of extra support to lean on (It may have been stupid to accept a full workload this week), so I decided I’d give the one week trial over at Better Help a test drive.
The matching process was pretty promising, and I thought I had a good clear reason for signing up, and some simple, clear goals:
My younger brother committed suicide on October 1, 2014. The past year I have quite understandably not been myself. I’ve had several local therapists tell me that I’m past the point where they can help me (meaning I’m not grieving in the ways they are trained to deal with). I have only recently begun to have an amount of motivation I would consider functional, and it’s only been the past couple of weeks I’ve been able to enjoy things like food and sex again. I am mostly interested in short-term therapy to gain some coping techniques to help me get through the anniversary without backsliding to the depression I was in last December.
They matched me with someone within an hour. Being a bit nervous that another person would tell me I’m too well-adjusted, I let it sit in my inbox all day.
I am sorry for your loss. Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy. Time eventually makes the pain a little easier in handling death. It never really goes away but you can cope a little better with the pain.
This is simplistic since I have been through a fair amount of loss in my life. I chided myself for not providing more background information. So in my next response, I laid a lot more out on the table. Here are some highlights.
On previous loss:
I probably should have mentioned that I have a lot of experience with grief. My father died in ‘92 (also by suicide- there are a lot of parallels between my brother’s death and his, which breaks my heart) , and my mother died of cancer in ‘99. One of my closest friends died due to a blood clot that traveled into her lungs (she had broken her foot and was not moving around much) in 2013. Time does make it easier, but I find it’s not because you miss them less so much as it is that you learn to make that part of your life, like a weak knee that you adapt to.
On my depression:
Last winter I spent quite a few days in bed (I recognize that, while making it possible for me to accomplish things even on terrible days, being able to work from home was not always the best for this.), lost almost all of my sex drive— going from a minimum of 5 times a week to basically nothing (and from enthusiastically enjoying sex to having something closer to maintenance sex. I enjoyed the intimacy after the fact, but wasn’t enjoying the physical act. This, I am perhaps especially worried about, having just gotten my sex drive back like two weeks ago.), had a lot of negative self image and feelings of unworthiness— and not that I was or am suicidal (Ending my own life would be like throwing out a whole shopping trip’s worth of groceries as soon as I came home, an unimaginable amount of waste), but I had a general feeling that I didn’t deserve to be alive for weeks and weeks. I also couldn’t find anything I was interested in. I have a ridiculous amount of unfinished art and writing from last winter, half of it terrible, because I wasn’t invested in doing it. Motivation was a huge issue at the time, and it’s still a weakness with me, even though I’m getting better. Like today, I cooked food for the week because my fiance and I are going to be working on site all week and will not be home much for the cooking and need to take lunch with us.
On not being able to cry:
I get like two tears out and it’s over. Some of this is me wanting to cry at inopportune moments, like in the middle of dealing with strangers while I’m mixing video at a live event and I suddenly think of something that reminds me of Dan. Some of this is that when I start to cry, the mere notion of crying just makes me tired and the whole urge to cry passes in an unsatisfying wave of blah-ness. Sometimes I shed two tears and then literally nothing happens, not a third tear, not tiredness, not even frustration. I just go back to what I was doing.
On these Grief Entries:
I feel at a loss for words a lot of the time. I blame that, probably wrongfully, on the fact that I all but live-blogged my experience when my brother passed. That started the day of the event. My sister Amanda and I spent 10 hours on the phone informing people, and after our voices stopped working from all the talking and the crying, there were still people left to be told. So, I hopped on a group blog I belong to, wrote a stream of consciousness post, and shared it to Facebook. I kept blogging regularly through the end of the year, and then stopped. It was part feeling out of things to say, part not wanting to keep complaining about the same thing (I experienced this in the past when my mother was dying of cancer. You just want to talk about something else for a while.), and partly depression. The folks over at the group blog were (and still are) amazingly supportive, and I know I am lucky to have that resource at my disposal. I started rereading some of my old posts and realize that they’re going to be a resource going forward, just to be able to sift through my previous thoughts and patterns from a time I don’t remember all that well.
And here is the entirety of the response in my inbox this morning:
I do believe that you have a good variety of coping techniques that can be helpful to handling your losses.
It seems that you have a great supportive system.
Even though you have not cried since last winter, it is okay. Everyone goes through grief differently. It is possible that with the passing of time, that it is helping you to live with the grief and losses in your life.
When it comes to motivation, after everything you have been through, the fact that you cooked where you didn’t before is a huge accomplishment. This means that you are on your way. Remember taking baby steps, helps you to eventually make bigger steps into the future.
Do you and your partner work together?
What are you guys doing on-site?
This is not going to be different from the last three, is it? I mean, her next prompt is just variations on “you’re doing okay” and then asking about work. I can talk about my work for days, but that’s not, like, productive. My relationship with TheNerdyMr is good. Our work life is not bad, aside from me not having the balls to self-promote/go out for jobs/deal with regular e-mail that I used to. (This, too, is part of the self-confidence and depression issue.)
I feel badly about this, because I think I’m probably a good candidate for this type of counseling- I express my thoughts better in writing right now. I’m not in any immediate danger. I realize that the wealth of psychological education and resources I have in my day to day life make me a little hard to help, since it’s like having to tutor an elementary schooler in advanced physics. But just because I’m doing alright (considering) and I’m handling things well, does that mean I don’t deserve someone to help me be better? How the fuck do I find them on my budget?