I have to do something I never anticipated having to do, so forgive me if I am a bit clumsy about it. As you may remember from my last Canvas post, I have been fighting the onset of a depressive episode for some time. Unfortunately, it is a fight which I lost, and I have slipped into a very severe depressive state. It’s much more acute a situation than I have had to deal with in a long time.
Another thing that you may or may not recall is that I cannot take any medication for this. Just a few months ago, I wrote in another post:
It finally happened. Officially, I mean. I’ve reached the end of the line. After six-and-a-half years of extremely intensive psychiatric treatment, the first fiveish with an incredibly bright, creative, thinking-outside-of-the-box younger doc; the last year-plus with a man long experienced in the mood disorder game (not to mention numerous consults along the way), it has been made manifest.
There is no medication, no medication combo, no singular or plural that exists currently in this country that I can both tolerate and achieve lasting stability with.
Stamp it. Signed, sealed, delivered, done.
So, while I am of course still under the care of my psychiatrist, there are no pills he can give me to treat this.
Which leads of course to the looming question of, ‘What do I do?’
I’m kind of feeling my way through this, as it’s all pretty new to me. One of the first and most constant decisions I am making is not to isolate myself. It’s instinct for me to withdraw when I am depressed. While I am not talking regularly to very many people, I know that not only am I not capable of that much, it actually would be unhealthy to try. I have some very few, very good people who are my “support network”, who are my friends, with them I keep in contact.
Beyond that. . . In another post, one I wrote exactly three months ago to the day tomorrow:
And I may come to a point where I stop writing altogether. Not to worry anyone, and I hope I don’t, but one of the blessings of the nervous breakdown I had was I was permitted to have it in private. So many people reach outward during those times, me, I reach inward. It’s just my way of coping.
I have always been an extremely private person. I do choose to share some very intimate pieces of my life through this medium. But there are many aspects I never touch on and never will. They are mine alone, and you not find them in the words of a blog.
In addition, in order to win the fight, I need to turn the whole of myself inward. I have to focus all of my thoughts and my energy on keeping myself as strong as possible, so that I may make it out as whole and unbruised as possible.
Finally, I just don’t have any words most of the time. For this post I have gathered some, because I owe all of you an explanation. To me it is a sacred obligation — I cannot suddenly just disappear without warning or reason.
But it is going to be my last post, on Canvas or anywhere for some time. I know that’s rather vague, because I really don’t know for sure myself how long it will be, but in my mind, I’m thinking a matter of several months. I need to take a break, I need to step back and focus on me. And fortunately this is a multi-author blog, so it isn’t as though there aren’t still plenty of wonderful people to write pieces for you to read.
A few things I want for you to know. I will still continue to handle all the admin/social media stuff for Canvas. That I actually find very, very therapeutic. I think it’s because it takes me outside of my own head for a little while, and it reminds me of my responsibilities to others — to my fellow Canvas authors, and to wonderful readers like all of you. It gives me something to be grateful for. So you will still find me sharing things on our facebook page: A Canvas Of The Minds, through our Twitter feed: @CanvasMinds, and I’m even getting more boards set up on Pinterest: A Canvas Of The Minds.
And while I am behind, I do have some Blog For Mental Health 2013 posts to share out and add to our Official Blogroll. If you haven’t joined your voice to that, I strongly encourage you.
I want to say two very important things before I close. The first and most important to me is to say thank you. Thank you so very much, thank you to so many people, thank you with all of my heart. So many of you have reached out to me in so many ways and I have been unable to respond. Dear friends, friends I am only just getting to know, regular readers, readers brand new to me, people with common acquaintances, individuals I had never before known in any way. You have expressed to me support, understanding, good wishes, the desire to help, prayers, love, kindnesses of every manner. I have been unable to reply to any of you, but I hope that all of you read this and know how truly grateful, how touched, how humbled, and how valued every word made me feel. So again, and even though the words don’t seem big enough, thank you.
The other thing I want for all of you to know is that I will get through this. Of that there is not the slightest doubt anywhere in my mind. It’s going to take time, and it’s going to be a fight. But it’s a fight that I will win. I have much experience on my side, loads of it, and that counts for a lot. I do have my doctors, and while there may not be anything they can prescribe for me, I would never hesitate to go to them if I felt I was a threat to myself (which is a very unlikely scenario, given I have never in my life considered suicide or even self-harm). I have loving and caring people supporting me, with whom I know I can be completely myself, and never anything but entirely honest in what I tell them.
I want to thank you all so much for your understanding, your patience, and your continued support of Canvas and all the wonderful authors who will be writing just as ever in my absence. Me you can think of as still in the Fire Swamp, having gotten sucked down into the lightning sand. I’ll find a vine and pull myself out, it just may take some time.
Note: Please know that obviously you are as welcome to comment as ever, more so, even, if that’s possible. And I will read every single one of your comments and I will be silently grateful. I just haven’t anything left in me for responses at this point.
© Ruby Tuesday and A Canvas Of The Minds 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ruby Tuesday and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Most dearest Ruby, thank you for letting us know how things are for you. For the incredible effort of marshalling your thoughts and energy together to write this post, for us. As ever, I am encouraged by your determination to win this fight and by your inner strength that runs through each of your posts. Remember that your canvas family love you. Your mermaid friend. xxx
Thank you so much for these wonderful, supportive, and incredibly kind words. You and all those who showed me such caring helped me through a very rough time.
I’ve never needed replies from you or anyone because I know you are all reading. And that’s always been enough for me. I wish you lots of love, hugs, positive light and anything else I can give that you can take and cope with. At the moment I am the best I have been in my adult life. I know that this may not be forever but I will take what I have now and live in the moment.
All I want is for you to get well, and come back bigger and stronger then ever, however long that takes. We with mental illness ourselves get you need to do this, and I will be here when you get back 🙂 🙂
Sage, you are not only lovely but wise. I hope all these months later you are still doing well, and I thank you so much for this show of support and understanding when I most needed it.
What you are doing with Canvas is important, for both your community and the readers at large, on a support level and when it comes to destigmatizing mental health. But taking care of yourself is paramount. We’ll see you when you come back, whenever that is. Until then, be safe.
Thank you so much for your understanding, your encouragement, and for your kind support. I followed my own advice for once and looked after myself first, and I’m happy to be able to come back to such an environment of caring.
I’m new here, but no stranger to where you are. I just shook one of my worst episodes ever, and I realized again that it always ends even if the next phase is not perfect. I hope it lets go quickly; your writing is invaluable to us. Thank you.
Johnny, it does always end, thank heavens. And thank you for your wonderful words of support, they really meant (and still do mean) so much to me.
I hope the sun will start shining again for you soon and that your heart wll slowly start to warm up and before you know it that magic rainbow will be stretching right across the sky…a fusion of sun and rain. We’ve had a week of heavy rain but yesterday I captured a beautiful double rainbow over the water and it was pure magic. xx Rowena
I will be keeping you in my thoughts, Ruby, as you fight your way back to good health……..just take care of yourself, we will all be here when you come back.
Sending as much healing energy as I can. Courage and strength be yours as you continue to find your way to health.
Wise decisions. I wish you the best xx
Love you, Ruby. I know there’s nothing I can say that will take The Beast away, but know that from afar my love is always here for you. If there’s anything I can help with, anything that can help relieve your burdens in the real world, please know that I am happy to help. Love you!
Oh, new friend, if I can call you that. My heart goes out to you. I can’t imagine what it must be like to not have medication to help. Actually,I did go undiagnosed and unmedicated for years, so I guess I actually can. Be safe. Be well. Take care of yourself.
By the way, I have no idea where the ridiculous avatars I seem to be generating are coming from. Sigh. More tech issues.
Take care of yourself Ruby, I hope your time away from blogging is helpful and you get through this depressive episode soon. Thinking of you and sending hugs! xxx
Take care and the best of luck. I hope at some point you see the light to walk toward, the break in the ice to swim up toward, and the sun breaking through the clouds.
sorry ruby. please take care.
For your courage, your wisdom, and your determination, I commend you and give you my deep respect. We will await your return, which will be at just the right time, whenever that is. Take good care (which I believe is exactly what you are doing).
Take care Ruby, keep up the good fight xo
God Bless! And, remember you have a lof of folks rooting for you!
Thank you. Take care.
Sweet Ruby, hang in there and know that I am pulling for you. Be there for yourself and we’ll see you on the other side.
Ruby, you are one of the most amazing people I have had the pleasure of discovering.
From everything you’ve written, I have come to see the strength you have. I have no doubt you will come through this awful, debilitating time of your journey.
My heart goes out to you. Take all the time you need to heal. I know everyone is behind you 100%.
I just wanted to offer my support. I look forward to seeing you when you come back, and my thoughts are with you. Take all the time you need; I certainly understand. Best of luck, and I send my love to you.
I just stumbled onto you, your situation sounds very familiar and I wish you whatever time you need and some better growth / footing through this dive…….arc beautifully.
Everyone is always telling me about the meds they are on, but like you, there’s no medication for me either. Nothing works long enough to make an impact. Riding it out on my own is not easy and I’ve got some of the same things you do, but add Fibromyalgia, a nagging injury to my spine from my days as a gymnast, & migraines on top of it. It’s constant misery.
I too LOVE Bon Jovi.
Praying for you as you traverse the darkness again. You know what to do and what’s best for you. I have no doubt you will be back with many more nuggets of wisdom. God Speed!
I have no words other than look after yourself and we’ll see you on the flip side. I’ll try to remember you in my prayers in the meantime.
Hmmm. Yes … everything they said.
Take Care and thank you for being You!
I remember reading this post when it first came out and being so overwhelmed that I couldn’t even comment. It’s been more than a month now and I still don’t know what to say. Nothing that could possibly be of help.
I will continue to think of you and send all the good vibes I can muster. Big hug to you