On Sunday morning I rang up my line manager and told him that I was fit for work again and I wanted to fly back on Saturday the 6th. We are reasonably good mates but he wasn’t very talkative over the phone, and that made me feel uneasy. The uneasiness set in further as the day progressed and I got more and more bored.
As I became more bored my loneliness became more apparent. And, as always, my response to this loneliness was to try and isolate myself even more. So I went for a walk. After I had walked for about two hours I realised that Sister 1 was going to call me in the afternoon to check up on me. She had already called me once and I wasn’t in the mood to go through it all again. So I turned my phone off and kept walking.
Another two hours later and I decided to should check my phone for messages, and sure enough there was a missed call and a text message from my sister. She wanted me to call her and said it was urgent. Of course it wasn’t urgent she just wanted to know where I was. I couldn’t be bothered dealing with it so I turned my phone off and kept walking. I decided that I would walk to church for the night service.
Half an hour later I decided I should probably call my sister. As I neared the church I called her to tell her I was ok. Unfortunately my sister had already panicked and called the police. I had noticed an unusually large number of police cars patrolling the area but I had thought nothing of it at the time. She said she would call them off, but she didn’t sound too happy.
During the service I got a message from Housemate A asking if I wanted a lift home after the service. I was pretty tired after walking for 5 hours so I quickly agreed. Besides I was still feeling pretty lonely and I don’t find the people at church particularly easy to get along with. I was very happy to see Housemate A when she finally arrived.
We had a bit of a chat on the way home, and I was really impressed with how composed she was while I broke down slightly. Before I left for work I had planned to write Housemate A a letter explaining to how she could find my blog – the plan was to vacate the metropolitan region and hope she forgot about it by the time I came back. But after that night I decided to write her an email and let her know where it was then and there. It was an awkward thing to do but I’m glad she knows where it is. What is more awkward is continuing to write this down given that she will probably read it later on – but this blog is for me so I need to keep writing it regardless.
On Monday I had another appointment with my lady psychologist. It was our last session before she heads off to New Zealand for two months and I went in ready to end the sessions completely. In the previous session she basically said she didn’t know what to do for me and for the first half of the session things didn’t go too well. She went over a few of the old questions to make sure my answers were still the same and that I wasn’t lying. I understand it’s their job to make sure you aren’t hiding any previous sexual abuse, but explaining about how you learnt to masturbate to a complete stranger is odd. Well no.. explaining how to learnt to do that to anybody is a little weird.
As the session dragged on we finally started to get somewhere. After having a small breakdown she asked me how it felt when I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. I explained it felt like there was a voice in my head screaming “I want to go home”. After a little more probing it turned out that my inner child is suicidal. Awesome. Apparently I need to help the little fella get over his issues before I can move on with my life. While that was important to know it didn’t really make me feel better. She also ran me through some of the basics of CBT (which she doesn’t actually practise), and that actually made a lot of sense to me.
But the biggest development to come out of that session was that I have low self-esteem. That mightn’t sound like a big deal, but for the past two months when all the doctors asked me if I had low self-esteem I told them no. I had even convinced myself that I didn’t have low self-esteem. However when my psychologist drew a picture of what happens when you have low self-esteem I couldn’t fault her logic. It made sense. I had low self-esteem, and somehow that was good. In the end it was one of the best sessions I have ever had with her. I went home that day feeling great.
However something still wasn’t right. I was still heading back to work on the Saturday and nothing had really changed. I understood myself a little better, but I still didn’t see how I was going to survive once I got back from work. I was desperate to return to work so I had something to do, so that I had a place I belonged; but the truth was the consequences of returning to work frightened me.
That night I started to come down again and I couldn’t get to sleep. I was barely coping being at home, I knew exactly what would happen if I went back to my old lifestyle. The only reason I didn’t kill myself last time was because of the emotional stress of having to write a suicide note. That was way too close. So I tossed and turned in bed staring down another suicide attempt.
At the time I felt that my only escape was to go out for a walk. However the time was almost midnight and it was so cold that getting out of bed required some careful consideration. After two hours swaying between tentatively hopeful and completely shattered I managed to send a text message to Housemate A.
“I need a hug”
After sending that text message the burden was instantly lifted. Something had changed. That was the second time I’d reached out for help that way, and I never could have done that in the past. This was something new. Recognising for the first time that I have low self-esteem was something new (or rather, remembering I have low self-esteem). Finally I decided that I couldn’t return to work and cried myself to sleep.
Housemate A didn’t receive the message until the next morning, but she came to see me as soon as she got it. The crisis was over but I still looked like a mess. Eventually I pulled myself together and got on with the job.
That day I rang work and told them I had made an error and I wouldn’t be able to return to work just yet. I explained to my line manager what was going on and he didn’t believe me at first. I have known him for over a year and he was stunned to hear that I was suffering depression. We had a bit of a chat and I was on the verge of tears on several occasions. It’s not easy telling people you tried to kill yourself. He’s a good bloke and I’m sure we’ll catch up for beers sometime and talk about it then.
The next phone call I made was to my GP. I now have a referral to a clinic and I am going to enrol myself in an intensive CBT course. The tiny skerrick of CBT I had from my Freudian psychologist seemed to be a positive thing, and now I know for sure that I have low self-esteem. Low self-esteem is a good thing. I can fix that. The rest is too hard to fix for now, but low self-esteem I can fix.
The real question is what am I supposed to do with another month off work?