***** TW talk of suicide ******
Things continue to be incredibly difficult. I’ve been searching for how to buy cyanide online and how quickly it kills, not for now but to be prepared. To make matters worse Nina is really struggling – she has gone from someone who reports ‘feeling happy at least 95% of the time’ to feeling flat and hopeless and experiencing huge outbursts of rage. I’ve told her it’s amazing she’s never felt this way before, but of course it means she has no resilience to it and no sense that it will pass. So I am trying to hold myself and all the freaking out parts, but also her. I had been feeling as though parents of young kids would be struggling so much more than the parent of a teen, but at least they love parental attention and are possible to entertain, it’s just hard work and monotonous for the parent. With a teen they just want their friends and however hard I try I cannot be enough. Plus she has a sense of time and knows we are in this for the long haul. She is being sent work from school this week which will hopefully help, but then it is 2 and a half weeks Easter holidays and after that who knows how long of this strange new life we all find ourselves living.
Because there are so many selfish shits in this country totally ignoring government guidance we are going to end up in lockdown soon. This will mean Nina can’t spend some of the time with her Granddad and we will be together 24/7 probably till September at the earliest. At the best of times this would be a very tough proposition but whilst in mental health crisis this feels like something I just cannot handle. I will not even have time on my own in the house to fall apart and put myself back together again, as I’ve relied upon ever since I became a parent. It will all be holding it together and holding someone else together too. It feels absolutely impossible to cope with, especially without my weekly escape and sanctuary with K, where I can breathe and let it all go.
There are so many memes about how to make the best of this time and loads of advice for parents who ‘suddenly find themselves home schooling’. It is such bullshit and clearly not written by people with shredded nervous systems who will also be trying to work full time at home. I honestly don’t know how I am going to manage when I go back to work from this sick leave on Monday. My whole system feels totally broken and hyper-sensitive and I don’t know how I will cope without time in the house by myself, with a teenage daughter who goes to bed later than me and is going to be struggling with such a huge change and loss herself. She was swimming 10 hours a week and just getting her independence with her friends, so to have all that taken away overnight, I’m not surprised she is struggling so much. It doesn’t help that most of her friends’ parents haven’t got the memo about social distancing saving lives and are letting their children have sleepovers and get togethers. Hopefully this will stop soon.
K and I will be working by phone this afternoon but an hour just doesn’t feel enough to connect and settle this storm. In addition my neighbours are clearly spending their first day ‘working from home’ having a massive party and have music on really loud and I find it impossible to focus on anything when noise is intruding on my space, but particularly when I feel this way. It’s just incredible that so much has changed so fast. It is two weeks since I thought K was over-reacting by making me sit further away, but she really wasn’t. Already our NHS in London is overwhelmed, 30 and 40 year olds waiting to be treated in intensive care, facing death because there are not enough ventilators. I am trying to hold on to this being temporary, trying to believe people who tell me we’ll get through this as a country and things will go back to normal, that weekly face-to-face sessions with K will resume, but I don’t really believe it, not because I am catastrophising but because our economy will be in tatters and the climate crisis was already threatening collapse.
I keep getting these huge waves of panic and grief and despair. I don’t know how to survive this – I scan every development to try and work out what it means for my therapy, for my recovery, my ability to survive this. Half the country is freaking out and the other half have no clue because they don’t read the news. Both of these are problematic responses to live alongside. I worry for the physical and mental well-being of all those who are confined and separated from those they love and rely upon. Reading what is happening in Italy helps me keep things in perspective and remember that this really is a life or death situation, and that I want K to stay safe even if it means we don’t meet for a year and so I will do my part in that. It is really f*cking tough though, and if one more person tells me ‘therapy isn’t stopping’ or asks ‘can you contact your therapist by phone instead?’ I will kill them.
A light in the darkness has been the NHS local crisis support line I was given – after I rang the first time I was given a number I can call 24/7 but also can keep contacting their line 6pm-midnight each evening. The woman I first spoke to has been incredible – she understands DID and attachment trauma and the importance of the therapy relationship, she is compassionate and kind, reassuring but also full of practical advice and makes sure I don’t try and be too positive or fall into total negative thinking. I’ve spoken to her twice, on Thursday and Friday evenings, and she texted with a young part on Friday and Saturday evenings too and helped us to go to bed. It is so unusual to find someone who ‘gets it’ so this has been such a blessing. She says the other people on the helpline are lovely too, but she wasn’t sure on their knowledge of DID. She is working this evening so says if I’m triggered after speaking with K I can call again. It really helps us all feel less alone and I wish it was available elsewhere in the country too. I haven’t been able to ring as often as I’ve needed to because Nina has been here, but knowing they are there is a real lifeline.