Random Journal Bits From May Some days are snapshot days. Take a snapshot. Because…
Making a New Life.
I’m looking for people who are going through something. But not just anything. Something significant. A shift.
Because I’m going through a shift and I need to talk about it.
And my therapist retires in two weeks.
And honestly, she was only available for an hour a week, so really, how helpful was she going to be?
But I’m going through a major shift because TMS is changing my brain. So I need to talk to other people who are in a phase of changing something major about their life.
It doesn’t have to be their brain, like me. I realize not many people are having magnetic fields stimulate nerve cells in their brains to increase activity right now.
But maybe you are changing direction. Maybe you are trying out a different job, or a different town or retirement.
Maybe you are on a new path. Or a different path.
Maybe you are alone after being together. Or together after being alone.
But anyway, you’re going through something. And let’s go through it together.
Because this is surreal. And it’s all brand new.
I personally am going through a sort of reawakening.
And I am writing about it as I go along.
And I don’t know how the story will go or even how I want it to go. The best things that ever happened in my life were surprising and completely without obvious precedent, so I am open to an adventure.
But I’ve been here before. I’ve been in this place where my brain is reset. So I know there’s a lot of work ahead.
In June 2000, the Washington Post published my essay, written under a pseudonym, about my experience with Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). They allowed me to publish under a pseudonym since I was an attorney in DC and did not want to disclose my condition to my employer. Safe under a different name, I wrote candidly about my experience with Shock Therapy, which was rough, to say the least. It did not relieve my suicidal thinking and it left me with significant memory loss and other difficult side effects. But I plowed ahead, determined to win my life back in the battle between me and suicidal thinking.
Over the next twenty three years, my secret battle with suicidal thinking took on a double life, forcing a hard line between work, where I thrived, and home, where I was always planning my death. To my bosses I always looked ready to go. At home I could barely keep awake from the side effects of drugs I was trying.
I tried every possible drug, going from year to year, just showing up for work and managing side effects. I called a year successful if I had been able to make it through work without giving away my mental health challenges. I won awards and recognition for work I was proud of. I just couldn’t celebrate anything because I was exhausted and suicidal. I was a well-managed suicidal.
And yes, I tried all the rest too. Running and yoga and meditation and protein and carbs and sugar and none of it and all of it. Nothing relieved the suicidal thoughts.
At home, by myself and suicidal, I wrote and created art as an escape. In 2010, I became a syndicated cartoonist. I used daily cartooning deadlines to forget about the worsening suicidal ideation and imagery in my head. For the next thirteen years, those deadlines kept me from killing myself. All in all, it was a confusing and lonely life that nobody but me could relate to. And the gap between me and other people was only getting bigger, not smaller.
But in the Fall of 2022, just seven months ago, I had treatment with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and it changed everything. Literally everything.
For the first time in my life, I am not wanting to die. For the first time in my life, I actually want to live. It is surreal. Everything has changed.
Well, everything has changed except for the fact that nothing has changed. I no longer want to die. But I am still living my same double life. And I need to change that. Because living a double life is too confusing. And it’s not realistic. And it’s lonely. And isolating.
So I am making a new life where everything merges and becomes one life. And I would like to share my journey with others so that they can benefit from two major discoveries it took me WAY TOO LONG to make.
First, I discovered that my suicidal ideation, imagery and urges are related to OCD, not depression. Getting the accurate diagnosis took years and meant I was not being given the OCD treatments that might have worked earlier.
Second, I discovered TMS. And again, if I had known about the connection between OCD and suicidal thinking earlier, I would have tried TMS earlier. Hopefully, the time wasted on me will save someone else’s life.
So try something different if you have been labeled Treatment Resistant. Because you may not be Treatment Resistant. You may just need a better diagnosis.
And don’t fall for “Treatment Resistant” anyway. There are so many things you can try that could help either the condition you actually have or the condition someone says you have. Don’t get it in your head that you do not respond to treatment.
Have a “Treatment Positive” approach! Expect the best result!
Worst comes to worst, maybe you can get a few days of a placebo effect
Anyway, TMS has given me the ability to finally understand Facebook Reels, so things are getting exciting around here.
Remember to Try Something Different.
And try to Get There Faster. For you, not me. For you.
xoxoxo, d (and bella) 🤎
Suicidal OCD Explained by TreatMyOCD.com
Suicidal OCD Explained by PsychCentral
Stanford on Suicidality and TMS
This Post Has 6 Comments
Interesting topic, shifts in life. Without going into too much detail, the last few years have been very busy and stressful (not just from COVID), but now I find myself on the other side of things. And I’m working on figuring out what life looks like now that I have time to think about something other than logistics and managing stress and generally just getting through it all. This is not a seismic shift like yours, but I can relate to that, “Ok, now what?” feeling.
Yes, that is where I am too. Now that I don’t have to think about my brain and managing my brain, I can actually do some living of life and making of decisions. It’s really kind of cool. I alternate between thinking I can do anything and thinking I can’t retire until I’m 99 years old. : )
My lovely pal: Thanks for your courage and sharing your journey. You are never alone. TA
Life shifts even when I stand still. Dealing with family loss (brother), spouse health issues, and loss of closs friend and mentor (our group leader) to Parkinson’s.
Figuring out which path I am on between more life and more loss. Your insight helps.
Loss is a really big topic. I didn’t realize how large of a role it would begin to play. It’s overwhelming when it starts hitting you that there will be more loss. But it is also life which means that there will also be more to stick around for if you can manage the obstacles that try to take you down.