(From the book Dune, by Frank Herbert)
Now we are at the point in the story where things begin to make a little sense. Not much, but enough to begin to see the way forward.
For example: when I was diagnosed as a diabetic type 2, I was at the doctor’s office because I had lesions that would not heal. He took a look at me, tested my blood glucose and voila! It was over 600. The changes that were happening almost seemed to be happening to another person, I was so out of it.
Red lights came on all over the place. I was so sick! They gave me an injection of short-acting insulin and within half a minute I was standing tall in the examination room yelling, “What the hell was that stuff?” It made me feel so much better that the comparison was astounding.
The Trileptal was a similar experience. With Trileptal you increase the dose until it’s right. And in the beginning, all I wanted to do was sleep. It was very weird, kind of like being drunk without all the fun attached. But that side-effect went away after a few days and when I hit the target dose I was feeling great. And the odd thing was that I could pay attention.
Trileptal doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, there’s no set thing that works; drugs for depression and bipolar disorder sometimes don’t work at all, or don’t work the right way. But the combination of an SSRI (Prozac) and the Trileptal was exactly the right thing to do — for me.
I realized that I could overcome my immediate, imperiled situation and do the work.
The PHP program took place from December 17, 2012 to January 31, 2013. People, we are talking about SIX WEEKS. In six weeks, this program and the dedicated staff at UCONN brought me from utter darkness, shame and the brink of suicide to a person that understood where I was, what I could do and why I needed to live.
You see, that’s where I am today. They brought me to the edge of the path, nothing more. They gave me tools to work with to get better; they had given me a compass for the trail.
Thanks for making it through the initial story of this journey. Yet I want you to know that this journey is never-ending; it is the trail I walk every single day. I’m going to share with you some of the things they taught me. I’m going to talk about why you or someone you love may need to find a Partial Hospitalization Program or other similar program that could help you through your pain, or understand someone that lives with this disorder. There will be plenty of references to check out, lots of places to discover more information and some that may just be funny or not so funny.
One thing to remember is: YOU CAN DO IT. If I who was so deep in peril can continue to learn and grow, you certainly can. We need to discover dignity, overcome lies and shallow, negative views of ourselves, educate ourselves and others and make a difference because each and every person that suffers must be brought toward healing. It is our duty.
From this point on it’s the day-to-day fight that will be the focus. Everyone has ups and downs, everyone suffers pain and loss and each of us carries the weight of life on our backs. But we can learn, practice, become. We can lighten that load, put down some suffering and take on some hope.
I understand what it’s like when you’re in the darkness and can’t find the way out; that it’s horrible, frightening and impossible to see the way in front of you. But know this: you can turn toward living again with purpose, a measure of joy and some lightness of being.
I am living proof that what I say is true — indeed, things do change and it’s up to us to make that change for the better. It is all about US. Progress, it turns out, is measured in the small steps we take to reach the goal, and not the goal itself. While you may consider that to be trite allow me assure you that it is not. Join me. And journey on.