Friday, February 10, 2006

Falling to Pieces

It's not me that is falling apart- it's Jeff. For the last three weeks, we have watched him bounce back and forth between very good and unbearably bad. He had a good week that got him released from the hospital, then an overwhelming weekend that put him back there. And for the week since, except for one good day, I have watched him deteriorate, literally fall apart before my eyes. That one good day got him a floor pass- he is still using it, but feels that if he takes one step away from the front of the hospital, he will do something irreversible (my pretty way of saying he'll jump off the parking ramp that is conveniently located across the street).

His doctor is becoming part of the problem. Today he reported to her that he was having the urge to cut yesterday. She did NOT take away his floor pass; instead she asked if he was attending and participating in the group sessions (he is) and asked him to write down a list of "good things about himself". For those of you who have not experienced depression, this might seem like a reasonable request, and one that could potentially benefit him. Those of you who have, know that it is a self-defeating assignment. He cannot think of anything good about himself. The best he would be able to do is write a list of good things other people might say about him, and in his mind this will only reinforce the idea that everyone is decieved by his "good" exterior, and that the truth is that he is bad, awful, worthless. If people knew how "bad" he is, they would revile and reject him.

It seems like his doctor is still planning to release him to day treatment on Wednesday. This absolutely cannot happen. I cannot take care of four kids and keep a suicide watch. I have left a message for his doctor to call me, and once I know her feelings about his progress and plans for his course of treatment, I will be placing a call to HCMC's patient advocate. If necessary, I will go all the way up the chain of command. If necessary, I will request that he be assigned a different doctor. If necessary, I will demand a transfer to a different hospital.

He confessed to me today that while he wants to keep living for my sake and our childrens', it is no longer enough to protect him from the desire to die. I have never been so terrified.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Can we play good news/bad news again?

Good news:

-Jeff is feeling safe enough that he will probably be able to have a floor pass tomorrow. He's been locked in the ward previously (not the case last time)
-for no reason Tuesday night, after a really bad day for both of us, he suddenly felt a lot better (he says it was the long, difficult, but ultimately healing talk we had, but I'm not convinced)
-his doctor is planning a more transition-based release this time, with him coming home only nights at first, then being home all the time, and returning to work last
-I got to see my psychologist today, and talking about all the shit I am dealing with really helped

Bad news:

-we got Jeff's last paycheck last week
-with the transition-release, it will probably be two months or more before we see any work-related income
- DWP (sort of like welfare, but not) will only give us enough each month to cover our house and rent ($700). Food stamps will buy groceries ($700 more), but I have to figure out how to pay for our van, utilities, and household expenses (like toilet paper and deodorant)
-with all that has been going on, I have not been able to apply for Jonah's birth certificate and SS#. Yeah, I know, it should have been done a long time ago, but I lost the paperwork in our move (when he was a week old), and I keep forgetting to get replacements. I can't do our taxes until I have a SS# for him.

I'm feeling pretty sorry for myself right now. And honestly, I don't feel like it's really unjustified.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Well, that was brief

Jeff was discharged Friday, doing much better, and hopeful about returning to "normal" life. Tonight, he is going back. He feels different than he did going in, but in many important ways, he also feels worse. Whereas before he felt suicidal, we both felt that there wasn't much likelihood that he would make any sort of attempt. As of tonight, my gut feeling is that if he stays home, he might. He concurs.

He feels very internally broken and pretty much unfixable at this point. He is also suffering from a lot of guilt and self-hatred due to what this is doing to us financially, as well as the fact that he is once again leaving me and the kids without a husband and daddy. Your prayers would be very much appreciated.

Friday, February 03, 2006


Jeff's coming home tomorrow/today! Depending on whether or not you subscribe to my brother's belief that "It's not tomorrow until you go to sleep and wake up again" (I do). It's good news all around- he's doing much better, I got most of the stuff I messed up worked out, and I had a pretty good week, unlike last week (which was horrid, except for the people who helped me in one way or another- Carla, Jenell, Angela, Sara, Brynn, Jen, and Mel, plus our families).

I also got to go for a 2-hour visit tonight, which was so great. I think that besides last Saturday, when he came home for most of the day, I had seen him a total of three hours since he checked in. I saw him more than that when we were separated! It's been really hard on us both. I know this week in particular has been a really tough one for him. Ever since he really started getting better (late last week), he's been really, really bored at the hospital. There is literally nothing for him to do for most of the day, unless he wants to watch TV. That gets old pretty fast when you're in a hospital (speaking from my 6-day hospital experience after having Gabe and Eva). And he's been in long enough that this week it was pretty much just family visiting.

But all that aside, I'm just really glad he's going to be back. His sister, who has been visiting him almost daily (she works across the street) is taking off work early to bring him home (thanks Em! not that she reads my blog).

I saw my psychiatrist this week, and she did increase my dosage after talking to me about how things have been. I almost cried in her office, which was really scary- it is impossibly difficult for me to cry in front of anyone who is not Jeff or my kids, and I'd give almost anything to avoid it. I just can't be that vulnerable with other people. The time last year when I cried on Jeff's shoulder through pretty much an entire SP gathering is the one, huge exception- I felt awful, I hated doing it, hated attracting attention that way (even positive, sympathetic attention is more than I can bear while crying, most of the time). I can still remember how badly I needed to cry, and how completely mortified I was that I actually did it. But anyway. I guess that's just the exception that proves the rule, to be completely cliche.

I'm really good at shooting off on tangents. But right now, the thought that is always just under the surface of whatever I say or do is, "he's coming home!" and that is better news than anyone can imagine. As my very perceptive psychiatrist noted on Tuesday, he's been gone a lot longer than three weeks (did I mention that I love her?).