I Could Stay In Bed Or I Can Push Back

Saturday, September 10th

As I write this, I find myself on an airplane. If you had asked me 3 days ago if I would be on this plane I’m not sure I would have given a confident yes. The last few days have been really rough. Everything I am trying to manage reared it’s head in a way I haven’t experienced in a few years. That experience, a few years ago, ended up with me checking myself into the mental health care ward at the local hospital.

The last few days have been bad. Two nights ago I almost went to the ER. I was having some seriously intrusive thoughts unlike what I’ve had over the last few years. These thoughts scare me and leave my a bit afraid of myself. This is where the hospital would come into play. It can provide me a safe place. Even a safe place from myself during a scary time. Thankfully, with the help of my wife, I was able to avoid the hospital and calm myself down. And now I find myself on an airplane.

I’ve had some fairly hysterical cries over the last few days. Nothing was making sense and the thought of giving up popped into my head more than once. It left me feeling frightened. I felt like I was losing every last bit of control that I had over myself. It really is a terrifying feeling.

I’ve been extremely frustrated with my medication management. I’ve tried a number of medications and I’ve had difficulty finding the best fit. A fit I can live with and grow with. I’ve never been the most patient Jason and medication management, when dealing with my mental illness, has not been the quick fix I have desired.

I started another new medication a few months ago. One dose for a week and then bump up to the next dose and then follow up with my psych nurse practitioner. Sounds easy enough to follow right? Over the last couple of months the depression and anxiety has been steadily getting worse. I took “easy” and chucked it out the window. I canceled my follow up appointment. Rescheduling isn’t easy in the psych world so I had to wait over a month for my next appointment. Not a good thing when starting a new medication and feeling like I need a higher dose with the worsening depression and anxiety. I tried to deal with it, but my brain wasn’t having anything to do with it. The depression and anxiety continued to get worse.

During that time, I have also canceled two of my therapist appointments. I knew it probably wasn’t the best idea, but I didn’t want to go. I’ve had this feeling before, but I’ve always been able to push myself out the door and into the office. I can be stubborn. This was more than that. I wasn’t feeling well and I wasn’t thinking straight or at least wasn’t thinking about what I needed. I remember thinking it all felt like a huge waste of my time. So I didn’t go. Rescheduling these appointments are even harder than seeing the nurse practitioner. I now have to wait a couple of months before I could get another appointment.

I was neglecting my plan. The plan I’ve been working through over the past few years. I was throwing up walls left and right and not using those around me to help me. Of course I got worse. How could I not?

It got to the point that I wasn’t leaving the house much. My personal hygiene wasn’t what it should be and I could feel myself beginning to fade. I have been laying in bed a ton. This gives me way to much “in my head” time. This isn’t good when you are under medicated (at least I feel like this was what was going on). The darkness wasn’t just creeping back in. It had taken up residence in my head again. My thoughts about myself where tearing me down versus building me up. After a while, you begin to believe these thoughts.

And then it all came to heads Thursday night. I had a work thing to do on Friday and I was super worried about flying today. This added into the horrible thoughts and I found myself hysterical, fearful, and wanting to give up.

I really felt like I didn’t want to be here anymore.

Thank God for my wife and also the fact I still had a few clear thoughts in my head. I was able to calm myself down and I avoided the hospital.

The weird thing is is that I felt a little better after releasing some energy and emotion. Sometimes you need to tear down those damn walls we keep building up around ourselves and take ourselves to our most vulnerable. I was there. Vulnerableness isn’t always a bad thing. I needed that raw emotion it gives me. I needed to tear down some walls and I feel like I did just that.

I felt silly. I did, but I felt almost a cleansed sort of feeling that my soul needed most at that horrible time.

Was this rock bottom? I’m not sure, but it felt pretty damn close.

And now I find myself on an airplane. Two days ago I didn’t want to go, but even though I wanted to avoid going and “protect” myself. I knew I needed to go and going would be what I need the most right now.

I did it. When I was at my lowest I stood myself back up. I pushed back! I’m over letting this mental illness rule my world. 

I am on an airplane heading out to New Jersey to visit my oldest and best friend. I knew I couldn’t miss this. This visit is exactly what I need at this exact moment in my life. I know it is. I need to surround myself with parts of my core crew. This is a big motivation of why I need to push back. 

Monday, September 12th

I almost pulled the plug. I would have missed an amazing time with someone I consider to be my brother. He knows me and he gets me and it works both ways. We have seen each other’s best and worst and this is who I exactly needed during this really tough time. Once I saw him pull up at the airport to pick me up, I knew I had made the right decision.

We basically chilled. We mostly hung out at his house with his amazing wife and kids. It’s always therapeutic for me to get to dork around with the littles. Uncle Jason can be a bit nutty and it feels good. It was a no pressure visit.

I was nervous about one thing. New York City and the crazy amount of people everywhere. Good thing I had my brother with me. We headed into the city on Sunday, September 11th. I’m a small town Central Illinois boy so being in the city where the 9/11 tragedy took place was extremely surreal.

This day had some added meaning to me. My favorite band, Pearl Jam, was playing Madison Square Garden that night and we had tickets. I was excited to see them, but I still felt flat and didn’t have the excitement level I normally would for a PJ show.

This was a show that was postponed at the beginning of the pandemic and I have been holding on to the tickets ever since waiting for it to be rescheduled.

Wow! What a show! I almost missed this amazing experience. I have never been standing on concrete that was moving up and down! There was so much energy and I think everyone was dancing and moving around because you could feel it. You could see the stage ropes swaying and I had to change my “dancing” to match the up and the down movement of the concrete. 

Music. Powerful music. Music is and has always been one of the strongest forms of therapy for me.

I am so glad that I went. I feel better than I did before going. I needed to get away. I needed a powerful show to release and I needed to hang out with my brother. It’s weird how things happen. This show was supposed to be over two years ago. It wasn’t originally scheduled for 9/11. God does work in mysterious ways that we don’t quite understand and he was working for me and I could feel it. 

This is exactly what I needed at a terrible time in my life. I really hope I’m on the way back. Just think where I would be if I hadn’t stood up and pushed back! I very well would have ended up in the hospital which is OK. It’s there and I have done it before. 

This experience. Every bit of it is going to make me stronger. I know it. I am working to totally believe it as I do have a ways to go. I can pull on old information that has helped and now it’s time to form new information about myself. I want to stand. I do not want to spend my life in bed. I took a huge step with this trip out to New Jersey. It was overwhelming, but it ended up being exactly what I needed.

I will get through this! We will get through this!

I got this! You got this! We got this! Let’s keep walking this journey together.

More to come…

Have a great day!

Jason

Swing on over and check out www.rockingmentalhealth.com. You will find my blog and many other bloggers are sharing their blogs there as well. You will find music, art, a podcast, books and more. We are constantly looking to add more content. Stop on by and hang out for a while!

Also, feel free to share anything you want to share that you are working on. This is meant to be a website where people can share their stories and experiences through creative expression. Email me at: jason.kehl@rockingmentalhealth.com and I will get you added!

Published by Jason Kehl

Nurse, artist, musician. One I have done professionally and two that I have not😉. I enjoy creating art and music as a hobby. I do it mostly because it helps me to feel better or express something that I feel inside. I am a believer in Mental Health Awareness. My goal is to throw myself out there in hopes that someone sees it and can gain the strength to seek help or keep working on themselves. We are an unfinished product! That's OK!

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