These are forecasted to be the final warm days of the year here. Autumn has often been a melancholy time for us. Suicidal ideation often spikes as the leaves fall.
We think the trigger was the annual return to school as a child, which augured suffering because we could not sleep at night. Summer allowed us to stay awake until we succumbed to exhaustion after fighting to stay awake. We were nightly on the lookout (listen-out) for danger.
In childhood summer, we could fall asleep after midnight and sleep in as late as we wanted. Better yet, we could sleep overnight at a friend’s house—safer because it was not our danger-filled home and because we had a slumbering friend nearby.
We would still struggle to sleep, and listening to a friend’s gentle breathing during slumber was its own improvement over parental neglect and violence, over the fears of imagined horrors stimulated into possibility due to the sexual abuse that relegated human laws and morality to fiction.
School necessitated an early wake-up. Six hours of sleep was typical. Not ideal for a growing child. The daily slog just to get to another night of terror and struggle was a cycle e don’t even want to write about anymore.
This cycle of the seasons is programmed into us. This year, we want to try reframing our relationship with autumn.
Working against us: Older Child returned to college and is not living with us now. Oldet Child has been our constant companion all during COVID. From March until September, we birdwatched, hiked, drove, tried to practice using our senses. We wereOldet Child’s replacement social clan (due to social distancing), and Older Child was our substitute for mental health therapy, which crashed from 4 days per week to 1.
Also working against us: COVID is taking its toll on Younger Child. Distance learning is not working for this person, just as Telehealth did not work for us. Younger Child is suffering from the stress of pandemic, the loss of social contact for to social distancing, and all the other stressors that a developing human encounters in these unusual times.
Working in our favor: awareness. We know the pattern. We are aware of the danger. We do not want our inside people to suffer as we have for decades. Not just in autumn. We want relief.
We question if suicide will provide relief. Using violence to solve a problem runs counter to our values even if violence feels like a worthy option due to programming from parents, media, religion, sports, and society in general. We are practiced in violence: getting hit, hitting, using language as a weapon.
Now, we want peace, harmony, compassion. We have been trying to practice compassion.
Working against us: too little mental health therapy has left us less skilled, less supported.
Working against us: lack of alone time has left us energetically overwhelmed. Our response has been increased dissociation. We are lost to the opioid release of being somewhere else, somewhen else, someone else. It is a mental drug, and we are a raging addict.
Speaking of which, we decided to get off all meds. We are weaning off our anti-anxiety and depression meds with psychiatrist’s help. We are always tired from the drugs. We are not less depressed. We are not energetic. We are not interested in intimacy with Spouse.
We want to try to be more present. We want to start with knowing our real feelings, urges, needs, etc.
No meds is the clean slate. We are worried we will turn to self-medicating. We have not had a drink of alcohol since about 2012. We were never addicted, but Xanax showed us how dependency creeps in.
As the weather turns cold, T-2 will likely not want to conduct therapy in cars anymore. We can see each other in T-2’s office with masks on. This we do not like. And will we do it versus no therapy?
We will try to find skills inside us. We could try a hospitalization program, maybe intensive outpatient.
Younger Child wants to visit colleges in December. Family road trip amid COVID sounds scary. And it would interfere with potential hospitalization. Maybe start sooner than later?
We keep learning about racial disparities. Younger Child keeps us informed. We challenge our own programming about race and “the way things are.”
Too many library book requests have become available at the same time for us to comfortably consume. With more than 500 people waiting after us for 2 of them, if we don’t read them now—voraciously—we won’t see the books again for months or years. We are slow-ass readers. Easily distracted. Low concentration (ie this is the second attempt to write a coherent post).