Looking Forward To An Intervention Any Day Now

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There are so many days when all I want is to open my door and have family and friends sitting around my apartment with concerned looks on their faces and as they come towards me with their arms wide open in unconditional hugs of love they say something like “dude… we finally got around to finding you the help you need.”

Because the best I’ve been able to do on my own is not to be dead and I think I’m needing a lot more help than feeling like I don’t want to kill myself. I don’t mean taking the pills and the advances I’ve made dealing with the clinical depressions hasn’t been important. Just that, essentially, all of the work I’ve put in so far has brought me to this point… and it’s pretty freaking blunt.

Four years until now has been like coming out of an upside down sleeping bag wrapped in bubble wrap buried under six feet of rock. But the landscape I’ve been presented with is another few years of what I’ve just gone through… only this time my eyes are open to what’s going on.

I want to run away. I want to move. I’m tired of this apartment. I’m tired of this area. I’m tired of having to depend on the Government taking care of me. I’m tired of having to rely on family for support when they still have no idea… why I’m not jumping at the opportunities in the Career section of the local paper.

I wrote something somewhere here not too long ago which I’ve been thinking about a lot… about how I grew up being a blank state. About having a friend who moved forward aggressively in his life while I waited for instruction. The more I think about that the more I think it’s one of the most insightful things I’ve ever written about myself.

The weird thing is, my friend is on his way here right now. His girlfriend kicked him out and he’ll be couch surfing with me until next week. His girlfriend has been telling him for months that she just needs a few moments without him in her face. So he panicked and, not knowing what else to do, he leaned in further… 10PRINT”what’s wrong” “what did I do” “is it someone else” 20GOTO10.

He’s quitting his job and moving to Alberta. He has friends there who can give him a place to stay while he finds work in the most dynamic economic zone on Earth. And I should be going with him.

I should be leaving. But the Ontario Disability Program won’t let me. I’m trapped. I have a support system where I am now, but I don’t have the Second Stage Booster system to get me past this point. I have parents who can’t really quite figure out why I’m not doing Stuff and a Government who won’t facilitate me moving to where some money can be made worth getting off of disability.

And, really, I have no idea what it is I’m supposed to do back in the Career… whatever career I had before my 2002 breakdown is pretty much on life support. Actually I’m pretty sure the plug has been pulled and all that’s left is for Bill Frist, Rick Santorum, and Tom DeLay to make a motion in the American Senate.

It has been four years since I did any serious work for a check, and it was from landscaping. The last time anyone paid me to write was… 2002? My Journalism Career, counting College, ran from 1994 until 2001… that’s seven fucking years ago. Most of us of a certain age define ourselves by what we do… “I’m a mother” “I’m a carpenter” “I’m a reporter”. So what happens when all you’ve done in the Nineteen years from 1989 until 2008 is 2.5 years of college, three years of reporting and 1.5 years of corporate communications?

I need a fucking intervention… I need people who know what they’re doing to stand up and hand me a plan. Because, really, I’ve spent twelve of nineteen years not knowing what it was I was supposed to do… and it’s gotten me exactly here.

.

...thanks.

.

About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression in 1989, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. I have an 8-year old son, and a 4-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Depression, crazy people with no pants, Depression, Health, Intervention, Lithium, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Salted Truths. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Looking Forward To An Intervention Any Day Now

  1. Kitty says:

    I am glad you are alive, Gabriel.

    It will get better. You are loaded with talents.
    Depression lies to you. Remember that. It will get better. It will.

  2. thordora says:

    I was thinking of you this morning-thinking of the weather where you are, and how shitty everyone here is feeling, in a house full of people, and how shitty you must feel during this endless winter.

    Make the break. Say fuck it. Move somewhere-stick your thumb out and go. What’s there to lose? Hell-make your way out here, we have a couch and a call center at the very least. 🙂

    It’s hard to look at a life and say “this is it? This is what I’ve left myself?” Even as a mother, I find myself asking why I’m not doing more-why I’m not writing, painting, singing something! Something that’s meaningful.

    We draw our own meanings from the strangest things-I think you need to find yours. Which can be damn hard in the middle of a bleak canadian winter.

    So the question is-what do YOU want from life? And how can you get it?

    I’m here if you need an ear.

  3. Bromac says:

    I feel for you. I wish I could help.

    I know running somewhere else will not solve anything and that is depression talking.

    Start small. What do you want to do? Write one thing down, one really important thing. Then figure out how to get it. Goback to the beginning, Start small and work hard. Attaining that one small thing will give you the confidence to get on to other things.

    Can I ask? You seem to be, from the very small glimpse I get of your life, functional. So, why don’t you work? Please, don’t berate me, I am ignorant other than what you write here. I think having a job, even menial, would give you a sense of accomplishment. That accomplishment could, if you allow it, spread into other areas of your life.

    I don’t think anyone is going to do an intervention. Not trying to be harsh……but wouldn’t they have already???

  4. exactscience says:

    I further the start small mentality.

    Knowing you still have things to work through doesn’t make it easier, I hate how insight is floated around as useful – always feels to me as if it means you realise how tough things are.

    I have a friend who is a writer, he writes reviews and profile pieces about authors, he is also a stay at home dad so he only writes freelance and occasionally. Perhaps you could start with ad hoc pieces of work and build up.

    Noone is going to tell you how to do it, but they will support you – think that is the best intervention you will get

  5. Qween Minx says:

    I started smiling when I read this because this is a good thing.

    Your recovery or your search for an understanding of how your disability (and it is babe, it disables you) affects your health, and by that I mean all the healths – mental, emotional, physical, not forgetting our spiritual health (not by happy clapping, tho whatever floats ya boat keeps you from drowning so no offence intended)… the health that makes you really look at yourself and the world we live in … the one that places us somewhere, makes us feel important and worthwhile. Well Gel, you have come such a long, long way from the guy who first moved into that apartment. You know this … you KNOW this.

    And now you want to move … you want your independence back.

    I wish you could have access to Occupational Therapy, coz that’s what I think you need.

    One of my bestest friends is an Occupational Therapist. She’s worked with lots of different client groups, one of them being people with Mental Illnesses … not issues … illnesses, like yours. She works with her clients and asks them what they like to do, what have they always wanted to do that maybe they have felt excluded from or just simply, where do you fancy going today?

    It could be they want to go swimming but the thought of negogiating the changing rooms, the pool or the thought of revealing themselves in a swimming costume is just too devastating and so they don’t go. What my mate does is encourage and support her clients to do something as simple as going for a swim. She has been to the gym, the pool, to art classes, for lunches … I can’t even list them all. It’s all part of empowerment for her. She asks them what they have done in the past, before their illness became their only focus, and she builds on that. Some people take a long time from the intitial ‘I always wanted … I would like to …’ to get to the point of doing it. Others find it almost a miracle that ‘whatever is’ that they wanted to do, is what they find themselves doing.

    It’s hard for you gel. I know where you live. And it’s beautiful and quaint and peaceful and in some respects, idyllic. But now you have an itch and you gotta scratch it. You want more. The support network you have around you … is let’s say, functional … and it will still be there, wherever ‘you’ are!!

    It could just be you need to change apartments or even change the furniture round. It could just be you need a part-time job (I don’t know how that affects you disability allowance) … it could just be that you need to feed that brilliant mind of yours by taking a short course … online maybe ???

    What I think you have learned about yourself and your illness is that you can function with it. It doesn’t have to separate you or isolate you from the rest of the world, from your ambitions and although it will always be a part of you, it doesn’t have to form your skills or your capabilities.

    I love that you’re itching gel, love hearing a frustration that isn’t necessarily about your illness … this is the next road you’re gonna travel now sweetheart. Out of that village. It’s home for you … there are people there who love you and always will, it’s somewhere for you to come back to where you know there is safety and there is support.

    But now, you gotta think about making plans to move … to leave.

    I understand how you feel, and this from me who lives with her mum. (Which by the way is okay now … we have an ‘understanding’ … took some harsh truths but we got there).

    I make shitloads of plans … I am always ‘gonna do this or that or some fucking thing’ … always making plans that never see the light of day … but I do love that I do that … even though I frustrate myself and upset myself when they just go in the ‘wasted plans bin’ (don’t worry, some of them get recycled so it’s good for my environment – wink!)

    Make your plans baby … make em break em but just keep making plans … coz your boots are made for walking kiddo and that’s just what they’ll do.

    Glad you liked your card … I sent it a week before your birthday and you get it a week after … but I am glad you got it.

    xx

  6. God knows I know that feeling. But you know what, love? This is the part that determines who you are – YOU have to make a plan and go with it. If your plan is to run to Alberta, then dammit, commit and do it. If you want to stay here and heal your tired brain some more by staying on Gov’t aid while you continue to figure out being human without always being focused on the bipolar, do it. But anyway you choose, know that YOU are making the choice. No one will tell you what to do or how to do it… that is the joy and burden of being free.

    Part of this friggin’ disease is that it drowns out all other aspects of our humanity until all we hear is the disease. Remember telling me that? But see, now you’re FEELING. You are THINKING. You’re itching to go and do and be… and that’s a great sign that you are recovering from the painful insanity this disease can bring. You are entering into just being you separate from the disease. Don’t belittle that, as uncomfortable and frustrating as that stage is.

    I’m here for you if you ever need to talk, just email me.

  7. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks to Everyone for your concern and for what you wrote.

    I’ve hit a stage in my recovery… it’s like when we start taking the pills and we get to a point where we’ve got the worst of the side effects and the worst of the symptoms, only different.

    Different… I can see where I was, where I am but not where I can go. There was a link I forgot to reference in this piece which could’ve made it a little clearer, I wrote something last January called “A ‘Perfect World’ Would Start With An Intervention“. If nothing else the comments are worth a read… this is the first paragraph:

    We can spend so many years trying to convince people of how sick we are then, when we’re finally diagnosed, we’re left by the health care system to fend for ourselves as if our family and friends network was fully formed and operational, as though we have a working understanding of what the disease is doing to our minds and bodies, as though we should know and understand what the medications will do to our minds and bodies.

    Except now it’s the next step… it’s not like I’ve been prepared for Life in general. I’m a smart dude, but I still haven’t gotten around to getting my driver’s licence, or my passport, or buying furniture… I bought cutlery three years ago, so for the first time in my life I own a set of forks. I’ve been independent my entire life. I’ve never had a problem moving away, but I’ve had the debilitating problem of not being able to get to the next level of self sufficiency. For most of my adult life, like maybe 78.5%, I’ve relied on Government cheques… between 1990 and 1994 I had $120/month for food and leisure. From 1994 and 1997 it was student loans. 2002 until today it’s been (near) homeless, welfare and Disability.

    There have been two moments… moments in my adult life where I made decisions and acted on them. In 1993 I decided to get off welfare and into school. I made a five-year plan and, five years later, I was exactly where I wanted to be… educated and in a career with a good salary. Except no one had told me the Disease needed to be under control. So, five years later, I was unemployed and homeless and in a Depressive Coma. Which is when I made the second decision… kind of, to get healthy.

    And five-years later here I am… there are a bunch of things I need to write about but right now, basically, it comes down to me being very sick and having had to recover on my own without the skills necessary to figure out the next stage on my own… “show me a child of seven and I’ll show you the man”, or something. At seven I was living in a home where my daily caregiver was decided by a Collective Committee. I had so many parental figures I essentially had none… I was independent, without the self-sufficiency provided through lessons and teaching.

    I’m not an invalid. I’ve got a three digit IQ and I can put words together in different and interesting ways. Go Team Me. Eventually I’ll figure out what I Want to do… what I Can do. I’m not sliding back and, despite how I feel, I am still moving forward… if only in millimetres. I just think things would be moving a little faster, a little more even, if I opened the door one evening and there was an Intervention performed by people who knew what the fuck they were doing.

  8. Voodoo Child says:

    Gabriel, We all have to take it slow. Do you have a support network?

  9. puddlejumper says:

    Hiya mate,

    I sooooo get where you are. I’m in a similar
    place. I had a career for ten years in a field I know I can’t (and don’t want to) work in again and I’m struggling still with the answer to what I
    want to do with my life.

    I agree with everyone, it’s a good sign. You remember what it was like? When you’re really depressed you don’t even care what happens tomorrow, never mind next week or five years down the line. This is the healthier you coming to the front.

    And it might be a two steps forward one step back kind of thing. But life moves us forward even if we’re not aware that we’re moving. And its great you can see that.

    It sounds like you’re looking for a step by step approach. Like you’ve figured out that part of getting well is the little goals we set and keep. Get up in the morning. Write x number of words. Make and keep those dental appointments.

    You’ve been doing all this.
    (sometimes way better than me,though I did get to the dentist -go me!)

    What I’m doing now is just letting myself try things out. I’m giving myself permission to give things a go and see if I like them.

    So for now I’m just thinking up things that appeal and doing them. I’m learning to play the cello. I’ve started taking the dog out for long walks. I’m going away for weekends when the opportunity presents. Basically just saying yes to things more often than I did when I was ill.

    It’ll come, the big revelation, probably when I least expect it.

    But back to the step by step. Try this…

    What about using the old trick of trying to picture your perfect day. Look at it creatively (you’re good at that) write it out as a page or two of prose, if money, health etc was no object how would you imagine your day to look from getting up in the morning to going to bed at night? Describe the house you would live in, the people you’d have around you, how you’d spend your time (it would make a really interesting post)

    There will be elements in it you can make real. But start from this end result and then work backwards. There will be something you can make a start on.

    Good luck babe.

    You can do it. Just look at all these people who take the time to respond. We’re all behind you.

    Much love

    x

  10. I’m late. Sorry.

    Everyone has said a lot of really good things here. Some that I was already thinking, some that I hadn’t thought of.

    One was the freelance writing thing. Just shoot off stuff. For one thing, it will/might keep your mind occupied, and also keep your (already fabulous) writing up. And hey–if accepted–bonus! But don’t put too much pressure on yourself. No point in that! Just chip away if it “feels right.”

    You had also mentioned to me (although in a completely unrelated fashion) the notion of volunteering. Sure it’s not employment, but it gets you out and about. It also might lead to opportunities depending upon where you volunteer?

    I’m not quite sure where exactly you are, and what resources are available. Hmmm.

    This is such a toughie. I’ve seen so many people at different points of their illness/recovery/stability/wellness…the entire gamut. There are times when I’ve run the entire gamut. I think we all have!

    A lot of people said up there that you are “moving,” if you will. That is good. Even if it’s slowly. Even if it’s in your mind. Like mercurial said–you’re feeling and thinking. That’s important.

    And like Qween said it’s frustrating, but she thinks it’s good (not to put words in mouths,) but maybe the frustration will (eventually) propel you. Again, no pressure. If we start to push ourselves too hard we can drive ourselves over the edge!

    Even though mercurial also said hey, just go to Alberta if you want! *laughing*

    Well if that is right for you, and you wish to do so…by all means. I just know that if I push myself I need to be in the right “place,” or frame of mind…however you’d like to term it.

    I know being independent. I know now, feeling like a helpless child. It’s a kick in the (insert body part of choice here.)

    Just keep going. Even though you and I are not exactly in the same situation/s, I sort of feel…well similarly…very much: What the hell? Where am I going? Support? All I can do is spell it!

    What’s next?

    Come on then, Gabriel… Let’s try and figure it out together!

  11. markps2 says:

    I’ld say you ARE a writer. Just because you have limited works and little payment for your works, does not lessen it. On the internet your blog is a focus point for others to see, who need to talk about their problems and find information, maybe find solutions, so perhaps you too are some kind of healer.

  12. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks Mark, I appreciate this a lot…

  13. Pingback: Ten Lessons About Manic Depression That Should Keep You From Killing Yourself « …salted lithium.

  14. Pingback: Cue The Orchestra Because My Core Issue Has Finally Taken The Stage Dun Dun Duuun « …salted lithium.

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