Letter to Brian: January 14, 2023

Dear Brian,

I gotta tell you… I’m struggling.  HARD.  I’ve been trying to give myself a little grace because I was struggling with the typical post-holiday blues on top of many of my go-to resources being unavailable to me for the better part of a month.  Group therapy was cancelled 3 weeks in a row due to the holidays and other conflicts… my therapist went on maternity leave so I had to try and pick up with a brand new person while she’s away… I went a whole month without a ketamine treatment and work has been incredibly stressful with our transition to a new accounting system.  Learning new things can be very difficult for me, but moreso when my brain is in survival mode and I can barely function. To top it off, the few people I do get to see from time to time are quite busy with their own lives, as they are absolutely entitled to be, so I’ve been spending an undesirable amount of time alone, which has only added to my feelings of isolation and despair. But that is a problem I have created myself because when I’m in the height of despair, the last thing I want to do is see other people and I’ve isolated nearly everyone, and I know it.

I had a friend tell me once how much she has struggled to lose weight over the years… she’s tried it all.  One stint consisted of a strict diet accompanied by a gym workout 6 days a week for 6 months and she didn’t lose a pound.  Frustrated with the lack of progress, she quit. It’s hard to work and work towards something and see little (or no) progress being made.  I sometimes think of my mental health that way. At what point do all of the things I’m trying start to pay off?  If ever??

I received a call yesterday that under my new health insurance policy that took effect on January 1st, my ketamine infusions will no longer be covered.  If I want to continue to pursue the one thing that finally seemed to be dislodging some of my “stuckness” I will have to pay for it to the tune of $300 a week. It’s lovely that some jerk I’ve never met sits behind a desk far, far away and decides whether or not I get to continue getting treatments that have been the best thing to happen to me in my entire mental health recovery journey thus far. And today, when picking up my prescriptions, I paid $400 for only 2 of my 7 medications for just one month. Money has always been a trigger for me; or, rather, the fear of not having ENOUGH money has always been a trigger for me.  Even in the best of moods, my anxiety can go from a 1 to a 10 very quickly when faced with a financial setback like this or from receiving an unexpected bill.

I’m so tired of treading water, you know? People keep telling me they are proud of me for still being here and that I should just keep going.  But I feel like I’ve been in the ocean treading water to the point of exhaustion and people sitting in functioning boats pass by, give me a smile and say, “You’re doing great, just keep swimming.”  Easy for them to say… they have a boat.  Although that’s not the best analogy, I guess… because it’s not their job to pull me into their boat to save me.  That’s my job. But sometimes, when it feels like all your efforts are not getting the job done, the easy way out becomes more and more appealing.

I heard yesterday that Lisa Marie Presley passed away at age 54 from a heart attack.  It’s not a normal response to think, “Man, how lucky. I want that for myself.” But that’s the kind of things I think about. It’s just getting harder and harder to see a way out of these episodes; it’s like a fog that gets thicker and thicker with each occurrence and I can’t see a way out. I don’t know if the hormone changes that come with perimenopause are to blame for the worsening moods, but it’s exhausting.  I’m pretty sure most people know how frustrating it can be to deal with doctors and insurance companies; but when your brain is what needs help, all it takes is one rude person to push you towards giving up.  In fact, it feels like I’m perpetually teetering on the edge of giving up; all my energy has been going towards just surviving that the smallest of triggers often push me closer and closer to the edge of the cliff.  Sometimes it’s a friend who won’t text me back.  Sometimes it’s someone cancelling plans on me when that was the one thing I had looked forward to all week.  Sometimes it’s feeling excluded or ignored.  Sometimes it’s making a mistake at work. Basic, basic crap that everyone deals with feels insurmountable when your brain has an “out of order” sign hanging from it.

I’m not sure why I’m writing this today aside from the fact that I just needed to talk… talking keeps me safe. I know I have people I COULD call… but I, despite their proclamations to the contrary, feel like a burden. Plus, I’m infinitely more honest when writing to you, I think. After all, you knew what it was like to feel all of these things.  Deeply.

Even in the fog, I look and listen for you and Moomie around me.  I heard the song you sent my way, today… “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” by the Crash Test Dummies.  I could almost hear you singing it as we drove to school in that red Camaro.  It did bring a smile to my face for a brief moment today.




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I lost my brother Brian, my only sibling, to suicide on October 13, 2010. I write about dealing with the loss as well as my own life-long struggle with depression and suicidal ideation.

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