semicolon: Introduction

Over the course of a week and a half in September 2021 I experienced an all time mental health low, but ended up in a different place, with a bit more perspective than I’ve had in a very long time. This is my memory, to be able to remember. Not just because I have memory issues, but because as time goes by we have different interpretations of those memories.

trigger warnings

I don’t usually offer them, but the next posts will be describing a suicide attempt, an inpatient stay, extreme anxiety, extreme depression, alcohol, med abuse, self injuring and self defeating activities. You’ve been duly warned.

Reading this may hurt, sting, or make you very unhappy. Even sad. That is not my intent. I want to share my experience so that those who are living it can understand how different therapies feel, but also so that those who haven’t felt like any of this can hopefully understand me, and what I go through.

If you do begin this, please finish it. Don’t leave it halfway, scared or angry. Hear how it ended up.

Glossary and acronyms available after the Prologue. (link Glossary and acronyms)

Introduction | Glossary | About

A short history of me

I had a severe depressive episode a few years ago. Did three PHPs, a day program, ECT and returned to work. (Now’s the time to check out that glossary) A month or two later two things happened. First, I turned a corner and started to feel alive and great again. I was optimistic, active, and my scores on the PHQ-9 were zero – my therapist and I actually had to think of something to talk about. The second was that COVID changed our world. I had a job that could be done remotely already, and we had frequent “work from home” days before COVID. So work carried on. And we got a ton of business because of COVID – don’t worry, it was helpful business, not accumulating stockpiles of hand sanitizer or something else evil. So we were a lot busier. And then we scored a partnership with a competitor, and that started a tsunami of work. We were having trouble growing the size of the team, so we all had to buckle down and hold on. And I broke. So if I refer to “the perfect year” it was most of 2020. That coincidence will come back much later on in the story. And it wasn’t really perfect.

Why “semicolon” as a title?

Project Semicolon explains that “a semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life”. (link: Project Semicolon) While I didn’t choose to, and the working of “the sentence [words] is your life” sounds too much like “the sentence [prison term] is your life” feels awkward to me. But it’s the sentiment that counts. The idea that the stuff before the semicolon may not be the same or around anymore, but the semicolon signals that there is just as much stuff and life ahead of the bad moment or time. Instead of a period, which ends everything.

Notes for the reader

You know how I said “short” history up there? Yeah. get a blanket, some tea, and buckle in for a bit of a read. I have done my best to edit the story, but there will be things I missed or repeated. Sorry. Please share this collection of posts or this blog anonymously with others as you feel appropriate. While this is my memory, it’s also intended to help. And the only way it can help is if people read it. I know that’s a big ask, as it’s pretty long.

Any time I mention an MD it’s almost always a Psychiatrist. Though I’ve been informed a psychiatrist isn’t an MD. Work with me. I refer to people by their role capitolized. So Wife and Therapist or even Nurse occasionally.

Enjoy. (Is that even an appropriate thing to say?)

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