Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 3

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Post Suicide Attempt: Prologue – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/post-suicide-attempt-prologue/

Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 1 – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/post-suicide-attempt-chapter-1/

Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 2 – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/post-suicide-attempt-chapter-2/

When I was transferred to the unit in the psych hospital that had lower security, I was given a tour by one of the nurses.  I was a little afraid because I had no idea what to expect.  But the fear and hesitation I felt was nothing compared to where I was before.  This unit was much nicer.  There were sofas, the patients were allowed to open the windows and change the tv channels themselves, there was art on the walls, and I got my first glimpse of sunlight in days.

I was taken to what would be my room, where I was introduced to my roommate.  She was my age, and very friendly.  I was also introduced to another patient who showed me all of the ropes and made sure I had someone to sit with at dinner.  I was also quickly introduced to some other patients, but I didn’t really get to know them until later.

My nurse also explained “privileges” to me.  There were different levels of privileges.  The lowest was on-unit privileges, which meant that you were not allowed to leave the unit except to go to classes.  Next up were in-house privileges, which meant that you could go anywhere you wanted inside the hospital as long as you signed out and were back every hour to confirm that you hadn’t run away.  After that you got grounds privileges, which meant that you could go anywhere on the hospital grounds (you could go outside and breathe fresh air!) as long as you signed out and came back every hour.  I was immediately given in-house privileges since I had behaved so well in the previous unit.  Your doctor could also grant you evening and weekend passes so that you could spend some time at home as long as you were with a family member at all times.  And if you misbehaved, you could have your privileges taken away.

Finally, I was given a schedule.  The schedule listed all kinds of classes that were available.  These classes included horticulture, yoga, art therapy, wellness (which was super boring, but it was the only class we absolutely had to go to), and some other activities.  Our doctors also referred us to groups that were more specific to our particular issues.  I was assigned to Women’s Group (a bunch of women who sit in a circle to share their issues and support one another), Managing Emotions (learning how to identify what you are feeling and express it in a healthy way), and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Skills for Anxiety (learning tips and tricks to help understand your triggers and how to cope with anxiety).  I can’t really share too much about these classes because we had to sign some confidentiality forms; all I can tell you in that they existed and I learned things.

I started to get used to the routine, and I got used to eating eggs every single day because that’s what they always served the vegetarians.  Don’t get me wrong, eggs are delicious.  I just got a little tired of eating them every single day.  My original roommate was released after one night, and I was assigned a new roommate.  She was mostly bedridden, and she asked me who I was every time I entered the room.  But I made friends elsewhere.  I am even still in contact with a couple of them.

I was also finally allowed to go outside when I had a panic attack and freaked out because I felt like I was being confined in too small a space, so that was good.  It was freezing outside.  I got soaked by all of the falling snow, but I GOT TO GO OUTSIDE!  Seriously, don’t ever take the fact that you are allowed to go outside for granted.  And really, how good can it be for someone’s mental health to never let them breathe fresh air?  Even prison inmates get to go outside for an hour every day.  I’m not going to get into that right now because it’s not really relevant to my story, but I was thrilled to finally be allowed to go outside!  It was the best I had felt in months!  I even called my parents to tell them the exciting news!

There were also many challenges that I came across in this unit, and there were several things that went on outside the hospital that I felt like I was helpless to do anything about.  My school, for example, was a source of many issues.  But I’ll talk about that next week.  See you guys then!

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Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 2

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Post Suicide Attempt: Prologue – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/post-suicide-attempt-prologue/

Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 1 – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/post-suicide-attempt-chapter-1/

Valentine’s Day came a few days after I was admitted to the ICU, and I had quite a few visitors that day.  It was nice.  I was brought flowers, candies, chocolates, and stuffed animals.

I also learned that I would be moving to the psychiatric hospital as soon as they had a bed available, which ended up being the following day at 10pm.  I had to quickly pack up all of my stuff, throw out my flowers and head over there.  My personal support worker took me to the psych hospital across the street in a taxi, as per protocol, and she brought me inside.  I was greeted by a nurse, and my personal support worker left.

The nurse who greeted me showed me my locker, where I would have to keep all of my stuff.  I was allowed one book at a time in my room, and nothing with a hardcover.  All of my clothes, toiletries, and the rest of my books were locked up by the nurse.  If I wanted to get something, I had to ask at the nursing station.  She then showed me to my room.

The room had a greenish hue, and the paint was chipping in several places.  There were two chairs and a table, all attached together, and a bed.  There was also a light on, which I would later learn never turned off.  I put the book I had chosen to keep with me on the windowsill.  The window was protected by bulletproof glass and the blinds were stuck shut, so I never got to see outside.

A few minutes later, a different nurse came in and started asking me a bunch of questions.  This took a very long time, and I don’t remember all of the questions.  I do remember the nurse calling me promiscuous because I had had some no-strings-attached sex that I had to tell her about to be admitted, and I remember being asked if I had ever been arrested for a bunch of different crimes.

She also asked if I had AIDS, and I said no.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“How can you really be sure if you’ve had sexual intercourse outside of a monogamous relationship?”

“I’ve been tested, and I don’t have it.”  I really did not like this nurse.  I didn’t like most of the night-time nurses, but the day-time nurses were all excellent.  I wondered if they scheduled the grumpier nurses for nights so that they would have less interaction with patients while they slept, or if the nurses were grumpy because they had been scheduled to work nights.

Eventually she left, and I went to sleep.  The real adventure began in the morning when I was woken up to a breakfast tray.  At this point, I wasn’t eating much; I still felt pretty queasy from the overdose, and I don’t think I ate anything on my first morning.  I did have tea, though.  The only tea this unit had was orange pekoe tea, and I still can’t drink or smell that kind of tea without being reminded of this unit is the psych hospital.  It also took me several months to be able to eat eggs again since most of the vegetarian meals were egg-based.

The unit was shaped like a donut.  The nursing station was in the middle with windows all around it so that they could see what was going on.  There was a hallway around the nursing station with doors to all the patient rooms, the lounge, the isolation room, and the bathrooms.  There was also a door in the far corner from my room that led to the unit with lower security.

Since there wasn’t much you could do in the unit, a bunch of the patients walked in a circle around the nursing station.  There was one woman in overalls who told me that the government had murdered her children and were now trying to silence her by keeping her locked up.  There was the girl who would eventually become one of my best friends.  There was the guy from Newfoundland who was very friendly.  Most of the patients were nice and welcoming, even though I hardly ever left my room.  But there was one patient who terrified me.

When this guy walked around the nursing station in circles, he would shout, “I didn’t mean to hurt her.  They said I meant to hurt her, but I didn’t mean to hurt her.  It was an accident!  I DIDN’T MEAN TO HURT HER!”  All the rooms had windows into them (except for the isolation room) so that the nurses could look in on us, and this guy would stop at mine and stare at me.  He looked in once while my family was visiting and my sister jumped up and screamed.  On one of the few occasions where I did leave my room to ask one of the nurses for juice, he stood behind me at the door and told me, “Your body is just like hers.”

Another terrifying situation was when I was in my room, about to go to bed with the stupid light that didn’t turn off shining above me, when the guy from the room beside me tried to get into my room.  My door handle stuck all the time, which usually annoyed me, but this time I was grateful for it.  The night-time nurses didn’t do anything about it while it was happening.  I don’t think they were paying attention because when I went to tell them what had happened, they were playing cards with their backs faced to the rest of the unit.

I knocked on the door.

“Yeah?” the one nurse asked when he opened the door.  I found him pretty intimidating.  He had once refused to give one girl her PRNs, the medications that you are supposed to be able to get whenever you asked for them as long as your doctor said it was okay.  She didn’t get her anti-anxiety meds and she had an anxiety attack.  He got mad at her, as well as the patient and I who were trying to help her breathe through it.

“That guy just tried to get into my room.”

“Oh, what?  Did he scare you?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said.  “Kind of.”

“Go back to bed.”

And that was that.

I was admitted on the Friday before a long weekend, so I didn’t get to see my doctor for a few days.  As soon as I did, he told me that I would be moving over to the other unit, T2, as soon as a bed became available.  At this point, I was considering begging to be allowed to go home.  I promised myself that I would never hurt myself again because I never wanted to end up back in that place.  I kept telling my mom that I wanted to go home, but she kept telling me that I needed to stay where I was.  She told me that this was the place where I was going to get the treatment I needed.  I knew she was right, but I wanted nothing more than to get out of there.

Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 3 – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/post-suicide-attempt-chapter-3/

Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 1

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Post Suicide Attempt: Prologue – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/post-suicide-attempt-prologue/

This post is going to be choppy and confusing because it is going to be about when I woke up from trying to overdose on pills.  You are going to experience this like I remember it.

I wake up sprawled over my bed with vomit on the floor, on myself, and on the bed.  I go right back to sleep.

I wake up again.

I remember telling the girl who lived in the dorm room beside me, who is now my roommate, that I need to go to the hospital.  She must have gotten my residence advisor because now I’m in her car.

Now I’m sitting on a chair waiting in line to see a nurse in the ER.

I’m was over a toilet, throwing up.  Apparently this happened several times, but I only remember it happening once.

I’m in a hospital bed.  My dad is holding me up, hugging me.  My stepmom is standing behind him.  I think he told me how much I scared him and that he loves me.

I ask for my mom.

I’m listening to my headphones and I am alone.  A nurse comes and takes my phone and headphones away because I’m not allowed to have a phone with me.

I wake up after trying to roll over in my bed and tugging on the IV that is now in my arm.  A woman I do not know is sitting by my bed, reading a magazine.

My bed is being wheeled somewhere else in the hospital.  I’m starting to become a little more lucid.  I learn that the woman who was sitting in my room is my personal support worker.  She’s there to watch me in case I try to hurt myself again.  She and one or two nurses bring me to a room in the ICU.

At some point, my dad arrives with clothes.  When he is gone, my personal support worker says that it’s nice how involved my dad is.  It’s usually the moms who do everything to make their kids comfortable.

“It’s midterm time in school right now, isn’t is?” she asks.

“Yeah.”

“It can be a stressful time.”

“Yeah.”

“Is that part of what happened to you?”

“No,” I say.  “I was doing just fine in all of my courses.”

Two of my friends come to visit me.  One of them brought me graphic novels to read.  They stay until my parents show up with my brother and sister.

My sister looks terrified; I know she doesn’t like hospitals.  She is sitting on the window ledge in the corner of the room.

At some point, I take a shower and realize that my dad only brought me pants.  I keep wearing my hospital gown as a shirt.

A few of my friends from residence come to visit me.  It could be the same day; it might not be.

I only really start to remember things on my third or fourth day in the hospital.  I’m in my own room with an en-suite bathroom, but I have to leave the door open when I shower and go to the washroom so that my personal support workers can keep an eye on me.  I don’t have much of an appetite for anything except toast.  I’m not allowed to have anything within reach, so I have to ask my personal support worker for books or whatever else I might want.  Except there isn’t really anything else that I’m allowed to have.  I am not allowed electronics, but the nurses let me watch tv anyway.  Whenever I have to go to the bathroom, I have to ask my personal support worker to get a nurse to take the IV out of my arm.  Eventually, my dad brings me some shirts, and I start to get used to the way things are even though I want nothing more to go home.

Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 2 – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/post-suicide-attempt-chapter-2/

Post Suicide Attempt: Prologue

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Hello blog readers!  I had an assignment for one of my classes to write a short story about a life event, which inspired me to write a mini-series for this blog about the aftermath of my suicide attempt!  Cheerful, huh?  Don’t get too worried about it being super heavy and depressing.  That is not my goal.  My goal is to paint a picture of what it was like to receive treatment.  I will be releasing segments of this story every Tuesday evening, so stay tuned!  To get you all started on this journey with me, I am going to tell you about the actual suicide attempt.

It was a Sunday that I decided to take my life.  I had been thinking about doing it for a while, and I had made my decision a few days before I actually went through with it.  There were three reasons I waited until that Sunday.  One:  I was signed up as a driver for my school’s wildlife club trip to see a swan banding demonstration on the Saturday.  I didn’t want people to end up not being able to go because I had died.  Two:  I had volunteered to help my friend make soup for my residence’s Sunday soup kitchen (we all got together and ate soup; we didn’t feed the homeless).  I didn’t want to leave all of the work to her, and I didn’t want to ruin the soup kitchen, so I decided to wait until after that was over with.  Three:  I had borrowed my mom’s car, and I needed to get it back to her.  I also had a coffee date that day, but I didn’t really care; I didn’t even shower for it.

In retrospect, those all seem like really minor things in comparison to death.  But at the time, I thought I was a burden to everyone around me.  To me, it only made sense to do what I had promised others before taking my life because I didn’t want my death to be a burden to anyone.  I really thought I was doing my friends and family a favour.  I mean, I knew they would be sad at first.  But I thought that after their grieving period was over, they would feel a sense of relief because they would be done putting up with all my problems.

Once I finished all of my commitments, I locked myself into my room to end my life since I didn’t want anyone to try and stop me.  However, I felt the need to apologize to two people before I killed myself.  I apologized to the guy who had been emotionally abusive towards me because I felt so guilty about my anxiety, and I apologized to my friend for warning her not to date him when she had a crush on him.  I feel like an idiot for apologizing for those things now.  I’m glad I got in the way of this guy dating my friend because she is one of the sweetest people I know.  She deserves a lot better.  I probably didn’t warn her in the most tactful way, since I had to get drunk to muster up the courage to do something I knew would get me in serious trouble with this guy.  But I’m still glad I warned her.  I used to feel like an idiot for apologizing to this guy right before I attempted suicide because I felt like it made me feel weak, but I don’t care if he sees me as weak anymore.  I don’t give a fuck what he thinks anymore because he has been cut out of my life for good.

After making my apologies, I wrote out a note that said, “This isn’t anyone’s fault but my own.”  Then I gathered all of the pills in my room into a pile and poured a drink.  I was feeling pretty shaky, so I decided to take my anti-anxiety pills first to calm me down.  I have no evidence to prove this, but I think that decision may have been what saved my life.  My anti-anxiety pills made me really sleepy when I took 0.5 mg at a time, and I think that the amount that I took that night knocked me unconscious before I could swallow enough pills to actually die.  I don’t know for sure because I don’t remember a whole lot after that point until waking up the next day.  And that’s for me to write about next week.  *SPOILER ALERT!* I didn’t die.

Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 1 – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/post-suicide-attempt-chapter-1/

Depression: Part 2

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Depression: Part 2

Depression Part 2

I used to read this blog all the time, but then the author stopped posting.  Just recently, she posted this.  It resonated within me, so I wanted to share it here.

I’m putting links everywhere in this post because I really want to to read it.  Click on the link at the top, click on the photo, click on the link attached to the word “this,” or click here because it is a really good post.

You can also click here to read the prequel, Adventures in Depression.

The Hospital

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I have gone to the hospital for mental health-related issues more than once, but I want to share one of the times I went.  I was sent home that night, a few hours after getting there, so this post is more about the emotions I went through than any kinds of treatment.

This story starts with me in my residence room.  I was sitting on the floor with all of the pills I had in my room, as well as a bottle of gin (or maybe it was vodka), in front of me.  I wanted to stop feeling so fucking miserable all the time.  I didn’t really care whether I lived or died, so it was fine with me if dying was what it took to stop hurting so much.  I was trying to decide whether or not I wanted to swallow all the pills, and then chug the alcohol, to end my life.

As I pondered what to do, I used a knife to cut into my calf.  I watched myself bleed, and then the thought of dying became very real to me.  For a split second, I really did not want to die.  I mean, I didn’t really want to live.  But I didn’t want to die.  I don’t know how to really describe that feeling, but you would know if you’ve ever felt it.  I decided not to try to end my life.  Instead, I texted a friend.  After talking to her, I decided to go to the hospital.  She told me that she was proud of me for being so strong.

Everyone who was staying in my residence that weekend was drinking that night, so I drove myself to the ER.  I don’t remember when I started crying, but I was definitely crying at this point.  My vision kept getting blurred by my tears, so I really had to focus on the road.  When I got to the hospital, I got into the line of patients waiting to see a nurse so they could wait to see a doctor.

When I saw my nurse, I told her that I wanted to kill myself.  I told her that I didn’t want to die, but I was worried that I would end my life if I didn’t get help.  She brought me to a room with nothing but a bed.  There were three solid walls, and one wall that was glass with a sliding door.

When I was left alone, I started bawling.  One of the nurses kept offering me water, but I declined.  She told me that if I needed anything, I should let her know.  While I was waiting to see a doctor, the friend who had encouraged me to go to the hospital kept apologizing for not being able to come be with me that night because she was in a different city and had no way to get there.  She told me that she wanted nothing more than to be with me that night.  Since she couldn’t, she made me promise that I would keep texting her to keep her updated.  She also made me promise to ask someone who was in the same city as me if they would stay with me that night.

I texted a friend who lived on campus and wasn’t drinking that night.  I asked him if he would come stay the night with me when I left the hospital.  I told him that I was afraid that I would hurt myself if I was left alone.  He said that he wouldn’t and told me to ask someone else.  I told him that if the positions were reversed, there was no way in hell that I would let him be alone.

My doctor came in, and after telling him about how I felt, he said that I seemed like a smart girl who was just on the wrong path.  I was sent home, but I was told that I had to go to my mom’s house.

When I went outside, it was pouring.  I walked to my car in the rain, getting soaked.  I started the drive to my mom’s house, but by the time I got to the highway it was clear that it wasn’t safe to drive.  My eyes were extremely puffy from crying, tears were fogging up my vision, and my windshield wipers weren’t able to keep up with the rain.  I couldn’t see anything.  I was also so frazzled that I got lost going to my own house.  It was clear to me that if I tried to get home, trying to not kill myself would be a complete waste.  If I tried to get home, I would have gotten into a car accident.  I pulled over, and I texted the same friend that I had already asked to come over.  He said that he would come over if I really couldn’t get home.

I called my mom to let her know that I wasn’t coming over that night, but that I would come over first thing in the morning.  At this point, she didn’t know what was going on.  She kept asking if I was okay, and I told her that I’d tell her everything when I saw her in person.  I was still bawling my eyes out, and I was occasionally hyperventilating.

I started my car again, and I drove back to my residence.  I walked from the parking lot to the building in the rain, but I was already soaking wet.  It didn’t matter anymore.  I went back into residence.  Everyone was yelling, and it was really loud.  Nobody noticed me come in and go to my room.

When I got to my room, I set up my extra mattress for my friend who was coming over.  He didn’t come in the end, but I’m not getting into anything about him right now.  That’s not what this story is about.

When I found out that I would be alone for the night, I put on a movie to distract myself.  I don’t remember what movie it was, and I didn’t really watch it.  I just kept cutting into my calf until I was too tired to stay up any longer and went to sleep.

When I woke up, I had several voicemails from my mom.  She wanted to know what was going on and if I was okay.  I sat on the floor and called her, and I told her I would be home in an hour.  A little over an hour later, my mom called.  She wanted to know where I was.  I had been sitting on the floor, feeling completely drained and weak, so I asked if she would come get me.  When she arrived, I went to let her into the building.  She cleaned up my room, packed some clothes for me to wear, got me to get dressed, and then she took me home.  If she hadn’t come, I don’t think I would have gotten up off of the floor that day.  I don’t know if I would have gotten up off the floor that week.

I spent the whole morning thinking about how I could still end my life.  The only reason that I didn’t was because I didn’t want my mom to be the one to find me.  I felt hungover because I was so dehydrated, but I didn’t care.  I didn’t care that yesterday’s makeup was now a smeared, black mess all over my face.  I didn’t care that my room was a complete disaster.  I didn’t care that I was alone the night before.  Nothing mattered to me that morning except that I wouldn’t let my mom find me dead.  She did find me broken when she came to pick me up, but I wouldn’t let her be the one to find me dead.  If I were to end my life, someone else would have to be the one to find me.  It wouldn’t be my mom.  That would be too hard for her.

For a while after this happened, I felt as though I had died.  I felt numb, and I didn’t care about anything at all.  I lost a lot of weight because I didn’t really bother with making myself food, and I stopped reaching out to people for help.  That night made me feel like it was too much trouble for other people to have to worry about me, so I didn’t tell anyone what was going on.  I had been told by a “friend” that night that my issues were making them unhappy, and I decided that I wouldn’t put my issues on anyone’s shoulders again.  That night was the turning point in my illness where things just kept spiralling downwards.

In retrospect, I should have seen how much my one friend truly cared about me.  Even though she couldn’t be with me in person, she did her best to make sure that I wouldn’t be alone.  I should have seen how much my mom loved me when she came to my residence to try and put me back together.  I also had another friend who I confided in, and she was determined that I would not stay in bed all day every day.  She told me how bad she felt that she hadn’t been in residence that weekend, and she said that she wished she could have been with me.  But in the frame of mind that I was in, all I saw was the bad.  I felt alone despite the love others had shown for me.  One of the things that really keeps me going now is thinking back to how wrong I was then.  I was wrong to think that I was nothing but a burden to people, and now I keep holding on to that knowledge to keep myself strong.

This post is dedicated to Jenessa Murray and Erin Brookes for being such great friends.

The Bad Days

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Just like any other person, I have good days and bad days.  The good days are the days where I am able to get out of bed, shower, and go about my plans.  The bad days always have me worrying that I am going to relapse back into a serious depression.

On a bad day, I will wake up with no motivation to get out of bed.  I never really want to get out of bed on my good days either.  I’m not a morning person, and my bed is always so warm!  But it’s different on the bad days.  On a bad day, I can be starving or freezing but I won’t want to move to take care of myself.  I don’t feel like it’s worth it to get out of bed and try to make myself feel better because I just feel so bad.

These are days where I don’t shower, I don’t get dressed, and I don’t eat.  I’m often wearing the previous day’s makeup too.  Bad days often follow bad nights where I don’t bother to wash my face.  I am a mess on these days, and I worry about someone knocking on the door when I’m the only one home.  I don’t want anyone to see me like this.

There are a few things that can cause these bad days.  Sometimes if I feel really anxious when I go to sleep, I will wake up feeling depressed.  Sometimes I’ll be really tired from overworking myself the day before.  But often, there is no identifiable cause.  I just feel bad. I have no motivation whatsoever.

I don’t have too many of these days anymore, but I used to have a lot of them.  On these days, I usually just end up spending the entire day watching tv or YouTube.  I also engage in destructive behaviours.  I am self-sabotaging when I am in a bad place.  Because I give up on ever getting better on my bad days, I start to prepare for that.  I distance myself from people who care about me, which isn’t too much of a problem when it’s just one bad day because I can just talk to them when I’m feeling better.  It only becomes a problem when I have many bad days in a row.  After you ignore certain people for a stretch of time, they start to stop reaching out to you.  It’s reasonable.  If one of my friends was ignoring everything that I said to them, I would assume that they didn’t want to talk to them.  Out of all my avoidance behaviours, avoiding people is the worst.

Not only do I avoid people, but sometimes I straight up tell people to get out of life when I really don’t want that at all.  I feel as though I am bringing these people down by being around them, and I don’t want to take anyone down with me.  Instead of letting them be supportive of me, I push them away aggressively.  I think I’m saving them from the downward spiral that I sometimes feel like I am in.

Bad days also used to be days where I would get drunk by myself, self-harm, give up on projects that are important to me, etc.  Thankfully, I haven’t been engaging in these behaviours recently.  I occasionally avoid people, but I have been far less destructive in the past few months than I have been before.  These behaviours make it much more difficult to start having good days again.  It’s hard to bring yourself out of a bad place when you’ve pushed your friends and family away, you have a hangover, your wrist is in pain, and you’ve gotten behind in all of the work you should have been doing.

I know it seems like fixing this is simple.  I should just stop behaving destructively.  When my mind is in a good place, I can rationalize myself into performing healthy behaviours.  When my mind is in a bad place, that’s a lot harder.  When my mind is in a bad place, those unhealthy behaviours make so much more sense than doing something healthy instead.  I don’t feel worthy of friends or success on my bad days, and that reflects in what I do.

Nowadays, my bad days aren’t quite so bad as they used to be.  I haven’t been behaving so destructively, and I usually only have one bad day at a time.  I don’t have clusters of bad days with the occasional good day anymore.  Instead, I have clusters of good days with the occasional bad day.  I am hopeful that this will continue to improve, and I’ll keep you guys updated.  🙂