“Try to distract yourself”. How many times have I heard that during my time in hospitals and under crisis teams? It seems the only advice they can offer, and in the face of what I’m experiencing now, it is useless.
It’s not as though I don’t distract myself, as though I haven’t been distracting myself right from childhood. Back then, and for years afterwards, I used to read books when distressed, concentrating hard on the words and ignoring my feelings, until the magic happened and I became absorbed in the story, swimming back up to the surface world sometime later, calmer and changed.
I’ve used mindfulness too, when caught up in a maelstrom of emotions and catastrophic thoughts, concentrating on my breath, my body, my surroundings, letting the waves of desperation rise and fall until I feel more centred, more grounded.
But what I am experiencing now seems impervious to these techniques. I can’t bring myself more fully into the present moment because that’s the problem – I am already locked in the present moment and the present moment is shit. I can’t fill my mind with something else because this badness is more in my body than my mind, and it is a blaring badness that makes it impossible to act, or feel, or think, or be aware of anything than it. The only thing I’ve found that lowers the volume is lorazepam. Then, when that lovely little blue pill has had a chance to make me feel – well, better is too strong a word, but a little less overwhelmed maybe, I can do things to occupy myself. Fiddle with a jigsaw, listen to the radio, spend a little time on a scraperfoil, try a wordsearch, make a sock creature.
Lorazepam isn’t a long term solution of course, but then distraction and mindfulness aren’t either. There’s only one true long term solution, and I am currently prevented from enacting it. So lorazepam it is for now.