Letters from Camp, Part 2

My dear friend,

I have been wanting to write you for days now but haven’t been sure what to say, or rather, what is worth saying. Things here at camp are fine, I guess. I went through a really rough patch last week and through the weekend but have been feeling better the past two days. On the plus side, the camp doctors think they have figured out the cause of that particular downward spiral. On the minus side, it involves an entirely new, apparently coexisting (or comorbid) condition. Another diagnosis for the seemingly ever-growing, ever-changing list of things that are likely, but possibly might not be, the cause of whatever is broken in me.

I wish so much that mental health could be distilled to some sort of formula or algorithm: Insert symptoms and levels of responsiveness to past and current medications, out comes a firm diagnosis along with a list of precisely what medications I need to be taking to feel lastingly well.

No such luck. Apparently mental illness is much more fluid that I had realized. Sometimes a firm diagnosis never even gets made. Instead you try different meds, until you hit on a combination that seems to work. And then I guess you just cross your fingers that it keeps working. If it doesn’t, then you try something else. What a mind fuck (ha!).

The good news is that, regardless of my official diagnosis status as TBD, I am taking new meds as if I have what the doctors originally concluded was my most likely (previously undiagnosed and untreated condition) and I am feeling better. I am still not best Alison but I am better Alison and that seems like a good start.

I am also learning a lot of useful skills at camp. Basic life stuff that I think most people would likely benefit from, like mindfulness and the importance of boundaries. I would not consider a single day here to have been wasted.

I am not sure how much time I have left. Apparently my camp insurance is the stingiest around so I will have to make some decisions soon about how much longer to attend and what to do once I’m finished. I don’t want to leave before I am ready but I also miss my real life. Except that my real life is at least part of the reason I ended up here in the first place, so there’s going to need to be some changes there as well.

In short, things are hard but also hopeful. My plan is to just keep showing up, which feels like all I can really do and also enough.

All my love,


2 thoughts on “Letters from Camp, Part 2

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