Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pity Party!!

 I am certain there are many other people who are depressed and can relate to my tweet earlier this morning (left). Yet when I sent this tweet this morning I felt totally alone with this awful feeling of endless desperation. I was in a shit storm allowing myself to feel as crappy as possible. I was curling up with my awful feelings and preparing to deal with agony alone. I'm someone who isolates as a way of dealing with the symptoms of my illness. I won't be able to leave the house today. I won't even be able to go and check the mail. Even describing these limitations via my blog has my stomach in knots. I feel like I'm on a roller coaster, barely holding back breakfast, which was actually only a glass of water.

 Feeling completely alone and frustrated I forgot the army of people surviving this shit everyday. "They" say 1/4 have a mental illness. How could I be so naive as to think I am alone in my feelings of despair? It only took one quick reminder (right) and I was no longer a table for one. I was a bonafide pity party. I started to write a blog post how miserable and awful everything in my life is and I just felt terrible about writing that way. I have so much to be grateful for, how dare I take that for granted?! I must be a terrible person for wallowing in my self pity.... right? NO WAY.


The more I reach out and connect with others in my plight to find happiness and health the less my spirit resonates with pity and more with party. Kind people, who become friends, crawl out of the nooks and crannies of the Twitterverse and remind me of some important but easily forgotten facts.

This is my blog! I can write what I want. I don't have a boss breathing down my next telling me what is acceptable and what is not. I don't have deadlines or duties beyond those to myself and in this medium exploring the pain along with the pleasure will help me present myself more holistically to my readers (is there anyone reading?) and to myself. This is more or less an online journal. Sometimes journals have some not so fun stuff. That's okay. It's just life.

And sometimes self pity is a good thing. I didn't share all my pity points but it really was good to get the words out (right).

I really am lucky to have such a fabulous group of folks to follow. Alone, depression seems like an impossible battle. Together, depression is just the background noise to an otherwise tolerable mishap.

I can always count on my twitter folks to remind me:

Where is My Mind?


Friday, December 23, 2011

Turkey Time Self Care

A big delicious slice of dead turkey. Yum yum. I've been a vegetarian who cheats for at least two years now. That means at potlucks or family get togethers I eat what is offered rather than be a 'fuss'. In other words, I was a people pleaser not a me pleaser.

Now don't get me wrong, I love a turkey sandwich with crispy bacon. Well, I used to. That's the thing. I called myself a vegetarian who cheats because I'd have that plate of turkey at Christmas or a burger when on the run & in a hurry.

Lately I can't even stand the smell of cooking meat and to bite in makes me literally gag. It's only been within the last 3 months that I've been having this physical aversion to eating meat. I'm kind of nervous to avoid the non-vegetarian offerings over the holiday. It is time though.

There's nothing wrong with not eating what is served as long as what you can eat, you do. It's not impolite to have morals and standards that I hold myself to without the judgement of others. One of them, for me, is not eating meat.

Christmas eve the meal options are always sea food chowder or beef chili. So I am bringing some pre made veggie bean chili and cornbread. I won't cause a fuss and will be contributing to the meal with the cornbread.

The longer I've been depressed the more it is sinking in, if I don't take care of making me feel good- who will?

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My New Project

I am becoming a little more ambitious. It's been a really long time since I've wanted to do anything other then get through the day alive, not moving and barely breathing. I still feel that way many days. I try to take care of myself throughout the day whether it's feed myself, shower or get a drink. Some times I can't do all those things in the same day.

Some times I'm lucky and not only do I do all those things but I also manage to get some laundry or other household duty done. That's a big deal. I mostly just exist amongst remnants of someone else's life. A me I don't know anymore.

Lately I've been having a day or two here or there where I actually wanted to be *moving doing feeling*.

On those days I'm so disoriented from this feeling which is new. Not feeling hollow and numb is confusing and disorienting. I'm not used to it. So I've mostly squandered the energy bouncing from different activities to nothing- nervous of when this energy and contentedness will leave. Because it does leave, often quite suddenly without warning.

I know it will get better and I will become more aware of possible triggers. As I learn to dance with my disorders I won't spend as much time tripping over myself. And oh boy do I ever fall hard.

I tend to discount the positive and magnify the negative in my life. This creates ammunition for my poor self esteem to kick me when I'm already down.

Facts. I need facts. If I can't trust my mind to judge my behavior objectively enough to function like a "normal" human being... well, then I need data to review and physically see the truth.

I used to work labor jobs before I got into the bank (where I am on leave). Anyways- I used to have to create these "work orders" and log exactly how much time I spent on what activity so the big bad boss lady knew what to charge.

So now I am sort of doing that tracking with my days. I'm my own client and I want to reward (not charge, haha) my success as though that is my emotional currency.

It's a project that still needs a few details to make it as fun and easy as possible. Im working on that! I've started a log segmented in half hour increments and I'm just jotting down how I've spent my time. No big deal, it takes a couple seconds.

Sometimes seeing how I've really spent my time makes me sad. I feel like I'm mourning lost time and opportunity. I try to think as positively as I can muster when looking at my log or it can be discouraging at times. Thinking positive, lost time usually is really well spent rest and recoup time, as an example.

Now! I must reward myself for blogging as I've been blogging for a half hour :)

Do you have any suggestions or idea's on how to improve on this very small and simple yet powerful project of mine?



PS Sorry for formatting, typing, grammar errors. Blogging on my phone is tricky!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mission: Do Stuff

Mission Complete!

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."
- Nelson Mandela

A Typical Day

Normally I don't leave the house. Open spaces, nonrhythmic noise and groups of people trigger panic attacks that are crippling. As a result I more or less isolate myself. I stay home and only leave when I have a doc appointment. I try to do any out of the house errands at the same time so it's one outing per week. I'm not going to pretend that's the healthy way to deal with my anxiety or phobia's. I'm just saying that's what I normally do. Normally.



Your Mission Should You Choose to Accept

I woke up yesterday morning determined to do something. I'm on disability (not working) and had cancelled my therapist the night before so really I had the whole day to do whatever I wanted. I shouldn't have canceled my therapist appointment but that's a whole other story. Rather than just surviving I decided I would push through the anxiety. I was going to leave the house without any plan other than to do stuff outside my home. Okay brain, "Let's Do This!"


Do What?

I caught the bus and rode a few blocks until I was out of my area and hopped off. I was walking casually listening to my ipod when the sickening feeling of irrational fear was creeping up. I had to escape and had no where to go. I started to sweat and my heart was thumping so hard it hurt. PANIC PANIC PANIC!

Wild eyed and shaking I retreated to a little coffee shop and ordered myself some lunch. Just the act of taking care of myself (resting, nourishment) was enough to settle the anxiety a bit as to venture back out into the world. This small success of going out into the world alone, then properly caring for myself non medicinally during panic was enough to start the momentum I needed to keep on keeping on.

Positive Momentum

After I finished my lunch I took a stroll. How long has it been since I just went out strolling? I couldn't tell you but it was very nice yesterday. The air was cool as winter has arrived but the sun was warm and the air smelled delightful. Thrilled that I conquered my apprehension of being outside for a walk I decided to go downtown and grab a few odds and ends that the kitchen needs.


Knowing my Limits

It may not seem like a big deal- I am extremely proud of these small successes I've had. I know, I just know I will get back into enjoying the space outside my home. I'll enjoy meeting people and going places but right now I don't. I'm "re-learning" to live a social life. It would have been wise to accept my success at this point and turn back pleased with my results however I don't know my limit. If I feel a little good I tend burn myself into the ground. Like I did yesterday!

Uh-Oh, What Happened?

I messaged my O.H. to let him know I was downtown if he wanted to meet up and he decide to take the rest of the day off. We went about a few shops together and decided we wanted to head to *hangs head in shame* Walmart. On our way into Walmart I very seriously explained if he was going to be with me I needed him to be kind an supportive. I knew being in a crowded box store would be enough to set me off but maybe with his support I would be okay.

10 minutes in he decided to publicly scorn me. Yea, he caused a scene. Wanna know what it was over? I saw some good hampers, said I was getting one and said I hated that it was always my responsibility to get stuff like that for the house. He went off saying if I'm going to be giving him a hard tie I can fuck off, he's sick of my shit and blah blah blah. It was so rude and out of place that patrons turning to walk down our isle stopped, looked and turned around again.AWKWARD.

Do NOT treat me like an abused child in public- no,  at ALL!! EVER!

I calmly turned and walked away from him.

I went to the most uncrowded corner of the store and had a nice hard heavy ugly cry.

Shaking with anxiety and sadness I bought underwear and yoga pants with tears streaming down my face. I know its really nothing for me to be humiliated over but once there's a leak in the damn the whole thing can give away and well... that was me. Picking out a pretty new blue bra between blowing globs of snot from my face and wiping thick silent streams of tears from my face.


I did what I set out to do though. I had a full and spontaneous day. Hey- still a success, right?

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, December 19, 2011

I remember when...


When I describe my symptoms to a mental health care provider, the first question is almost always, "When did this start?". My symptoms didn't just magically appear out of thin air in my 29th year of life. Like a beautiful musical progression my mental health woes came to symphony in my 29th year. It was a long time coming.

 When did your symptoms start?

Most of my symptoms have been present since childhood. I can remember being as young as 7 expressing grave concern over a tent being put up. I was mid presentation of the dangerous possibilities of collapse and smothering us to death when suddenly my sharp tonged mother hissed, "Stop worrying about everything, for Christs sakes!". I shut up and put up in a hurry. I learned to keep my worries to myself. If I had a problem it was my problem, and mine alone to fix it. Perhaps not so ironic I had asked for a globe that year as my spring gift. I cherished that globe. The world is awfully huge at 7 years old.

Worrying isn't a Mental Illness

Worrying can be a bad habit but as a stand alone it isn't a diagnosable condition. It was my chronic worry, my worry over literally everything that should have put up red flags for my care givers. I obsessed with even lines, straight lines, even proportions, and labels facing forward. Odd numbers literally caused heartache- heartache that I struggled with alone.

My caregivers took a small amount of notice when I was 8 and wore only black and deep purple clothing. I had an insatiable hunger to know everything there was to know about death. They loaded me in the vehicle and to the doctor. He was a kind old man who didn't seem to even believe in mental health conditions. "It's a phase that will pass". And so it did pass. The phase passed and morphed into something that would from this point forward remove any understanding between my parents and I for many years.


It's Just a Phase

I would fall asleep crying many nights, dreaming of my funeral or picturing horrific deaths of family and friends. I can remember getting up at night while everyone slept and tip toeing around the house planning the best escape if a murderer broke in. I decided my parents were un-savable since their room was in the basement. I would only be able to save my sisters and this pained me to no end. Based on window locations and possible entry points I had a strategic plan to save my sisters that I routinely checked and double checked for flaws.

When airplanes would fly over our property I would be afraid. I have never known the life of a war torn country citizen. I'm from Atlantic Canada. I'm pretty lucky. No reason to expect bombers or war. Not yet anyways. During my youth I was certain one of these times a plane flew over, that everything would be over. I remember whispering my goodbyes and crying in my closet waiting for death. Sometimes minutes. Sometimes hours. I can remember falling asleep in my closet waking up convinced I would be entering war and devastation.I was never relieved when I would wander out into my regular life with sisters and parents and pets. In fact, I was usually disappointed.

All of this and not once could I go to my parents. It was just a phase, right? The fact that it wasn't over means there is something wrong with me... so best keep this to myself. If they only knew.


Chasing Butterflies

My childhood has happy moments in the sun chasing butterflies and pondering the caterpillar conundrum. But this isn't that story. I remember when I realized it wasn't ever going to be.

I remember when I told my mother other parents didn't act like her; referring to her drunk episodes, as she was a formidable alcoholic. It bothered me never knowing which mom would be around if I needed something or had a question. She was very direct in her reply, "I don't care what you think. Think whatever you want but keep it to yourself. I don't want to hear it. Shut up."

I remember when I was in the 6th grade I did poorly on a test. Something like a 70%. Not a terrible mark but not my typical 90's. I bawled. I sat on the floor and repeatedly banged my head on the cement wall repeating "they are going to kill me, I'm going to die, they're going to kill me". I was only exaggerating a bit. I probably wouldn't die. I wasn't that lucky. A teacher came over and tried to talk me out of over reacting. They just didn't understand so why bother telling them whats going on right? No one cares what I think. Just keep my thoughts to myself (this is my 8 year old logic remember).

The Point of No Return

My mom barged in my room one night saying "Your friend Britney keeps calling".
"I know," I replied, "she's having a sleepover". Of which I wanted no part.

Dearest mother in her typical bullying and agitated manor got angry with me for not being ready and *told* me to be ready in 20 minutes, she was driving me there. Looking back I think she just wanted some time in the house to herself but at the time it felt like the worst kind of punishment. With a giant lump in my throat I got in the vehicle and sat in the cold watching the snow fall. I had almost convinced myself I could just sleep in the car and not have to deal with a sleepover or parents when mother got in the car cursing me for not telling her where I was.

I just leaned against the window an cried. I cried the whole way cross town. I cried in the driveway while my mother pulled away. I kept crying in the driveway until Britney's mother came out an asked if I was coming in. I guess the sensor light not shutting off tipped her off. I dried my eyes, brushed the snow from my jacket and went inside.

That was the worst panic I've ever had, mostly because I didn't understand. I suffered severe social anxiety and lack of routine set off a very reactionary me. I remember spending half the night in the washroom with diarrhea and the rest of the night pretending I was looking for something in my bag. The mood was weird. No one asked what was wrong. That's okay, I couldn't bare to admit I didn't know. At least not completely.

I remember one of the other guests telling me I was bringing down the party and I offered to leave but that wasn't the right answer. Ever the people pleaser I swallowed my pain and with a permanent pained grin, I watched the group of girls do girly things. I might as well been on mars. I have no recollection of anything else that night. Thank goodness. What I do remember hurts my spirit so much.

So, When did your symptoms start?

Was I ever symptom free?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Borderline Bummer

I am hateful and agitated today. The first time I had gotten a diagnosis of sorts offered it was major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and bipolar attributes. My post on Tuesday, Shifts in Head Shrinking, shows my newest diagnosis, major depression and borderline personality traits. I finally did a little bit of research on borderline personality disorder.

I can relate to some bipolar attributes. I have wild mood swings and impulsivity. There are times where I thrive on irrational energy bursts, unpredictably crashing into deep depression but I don't fit the diagnostic time frame criteria for the disorder.

I read up on borderline personality disorder & I was pretty much thrown on my ass. It fits and it fits comfortably!

I don't know why I haven't been researching other mood disorders myself to see what may be the most appropriate fit but in any event here I am. I'm comfortably tied to my new label yet distinctly agitated by it at the same time.

I feel a little bit like I'm starting over. It's been a miserable year and maybe this new diagnosis will help steer me into better treatment and healing... I hope so. Seems all I do is run on hope. When the hope runs dry I sleep. Perhaps that's why I slept 15 hours last night and am still in bed. Yea, I'm posting from m'iPhone.

I don't know what to do with myself. I kinda want to get run over by a train but I am sure that will only hinder healing. Healing is possible, right?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hump Day Grump Day

My heart is breaking with indecisiveness. It's like wanting something really badly but no matter what I try to do to satisfy the want it's impossible to feel engaged or enthused about anything. It's painful. I didn't do much today except make food. Much of my self-esteem issues are tied into my weight but honestly I like to eat. I like food, I like making food.

For now the fact that I'm making food and I'm not always buying something prepackaged or premade, is something I should be happy for. I'm not satisfied with this. It feels like half assed taking care of myself.

I want to be healthy. I do! I don't want to exercise and don't want to move. I don't want to leave my house. I don't want to get sweaty or lose my breath. Honestly!

Right now it seems I don't want those things more than I want to be healthy. Maybe that's true. Maybe I'm being impatient and I am expecting or wanting more of myself before I'm ready. I miss being in shape and going dancing or running.

I don't do much of anything anymore. I want to start doing 'things' again, soon. I want to want... Really I just want to sleep and eat. I'm just bored and tired of myself all the time.
This is such a downer post. I don't mean to be a downer. That's just kind of where depression has my mind hostage right now.

Gotta case of the hump-day grumps. Baking always helps my mood so back to the kitchen I go. Hi ho hi ho it's off to bake I go...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shifts in Head Shrinking

Doctor Change

Today, my psychiatrist advised me that she is leaving and there will only be one more appointment between us. I didn't really like her anyways so I wasn't very upset. I was a twisted sort of anxious happy. I'll know more about the change on our appointment next Friday. My shrink seemed really apologetic she hadn't told me sooner. Telling me just before our last appointment isn't too short of notice I suppose.

Treatment Plan

Two weeks ago my shrink asked me if I thought my evening dose should be increased and I told her, "I don't know!". I agreed to monitor my sleep so we could decide if my evening dose needed to be increased based on how groggy I felt in the mornings. This sleep monitoring was completely dismissed when I brought it up today as she was not willing to entertain the idea of increasing my bedtime dose.

I initially felt a positive effect from Seroquel. I was not feeling the same effect a couple of weeks later. It's like my body/mind got used to the dose really quickly and started to revert back to old (poor) ways of coping. That's what it felt like anyway.

That makes me kind of angry honestly. I didn't tell her that though. I was kind of worked up so I went into mime mode until I got home. I am totally happy to be moving on to someone new, however... I am being referred into a more psychotherapy intensive Day Treatment Program. Fortunately it's free but its very busy and I likely wont get to participate until April or later. I'll be researching the program while I wait; thanks, doc.

Knowing my Diagnosis

Progress has plateaued and I've been sinking deeper into the depths of depression. Irrational, rage filled mood swings don't make being depressed any easier. I lash out at the only person providing physical human contact and make us both feel like shit. After I lash out I see how irrational and inappropriate my reactions are but only after the fact. I am a self righteous bitch until then. Good for me.

Today I had to pick up an insurance document while I was at my psychiatrists office and I found her summation of my illness somewhat interesting. I'll be researching everything in more depth on my own later on. As far as I know this is the first time the term "borderline" has been used in reference to me. Anywho- This is what my shrink had to say about me:


I have Major Depression and Borderline Personality traits.





Here is a decent break down of what is meant by Axis I, II, etc.
Here's a really good explanation of what the Global Assessment of Functioning score implies.

What a day! What does this mean?
Hopefully I can answer that better by my next blog post.
Wish me luck!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Music Makes Me Happy

Mondays SUCK!

I try to limit my Monday obligations. Sundays (anticipating Monday) and Mondays are just full of suck. I was rattled right off the get go today because of early morning home repairs being done and it left me feeling like a bag of nerves. I get jittery, nauseous, tense, labored breathing and y'know- panicky. Before I medicate I try some simple mindfulness tricks to calm my senses.
  • light a couple tealights
  • burn an inscent (sandalwood is to die for)
  • drink a cool glass of water a or hot cuppa tea (mint/green) or hot-chocolate.
  • wash my hands alternating between hot and cold water.
Sometimes I'm so anxious, tense, or depressed awareness or mindfulness tricks don't help. Sometimes I have to take my daily allowance of "just in case" seroquel.That's okay! I had to today. No shame in that. While waiting for relief I still focused on simple things that make me happy, little things that I can do at almost anytime can help keep me from getting agitated or panicked beyond repair. Something that almost always soothes the savage inside me is music, loud music.
I love the YEAH YEAH YEAH'S.















 What simple things make you happy?
 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Twitter Psych Ward

[Caution: Potential Triggers]

I've never been hospitalized.

I had a councilor this year who advised me if I was having problems as severe as I've described, going to the ER and telling them I am going to kill myself will get me psychiatric care in a hurry. I was horrified. I wanted a psychiatrist to review my medications because SSRI's had only made the urge to self harm and want to die infinitely worse. Regardless, something inside my head screamed "danger!". When my doctor threatened hospitalization after learning of my self harm and suicidal thoughts I begged her to let me try again. I kept telling myself it was just the depression and a poor medication match. The sickness and side effects cause all of my woes is my story & I'm sticking to it. Sort of a fake it till you make it type of thing. I slaved at ignoring the noise in my head.

I've admitted many times that I want to die. I don't want to live. I am not going to kill myself. It doesn't matter how numb my hands go, how many times I have to rub my wrists along the hallway walls to the bathroom floor where I have laid crying wishing for the strength to just give in and slice.

I can't die.

I wish I could cut deep enough that, a couple days laid up immobile for risk of a wound splitting open again, isn't enough. I can't. I cannot let this disorder/disease/fucked-up-ed-ness take away the chance that I may someday have regular human contact and real relationships. I want to work again, chase my passions, be sexually active FFS! I don't really want to do any of those things but I remember wanting those things. I have brief memories of having those things. "The Experts" keep telling me this will get better. I have to believe them.

Suicide and Support

I've lost friends to suicide. Friends of friends. I've worked for families that have lost kin to suicide. I can't do that to my family. Even if it is guilt keeping me alive at times at least its something. I've tried crisis center phone numbers but they are not for me. Something else does help though, the Twitter Psych Ward. I have found a network of people, students, professionals, moms, dads, mentals, non mentals, doctors, patients, who have been able to provide the best support I could of imagined. They are never here and they are always there. Well, someone is and if not, I just read up on a timeline and feel a deep connect with those who go through similar pain. I truly don't ever have to feel alone. It's almost alarming how "dependant" I am on twitter for socialization but for now its something. Something is better than nothing, right? I truly am so very greatful for all the friends I've made online. Thank you.

But is that really safe?

I'm not disillusioned into thinking talking to "strangers" [friends] online is a proper substitute for psychiatric care. On the days when I can't get out of bed because that would cause me to have to breathe more and it hurts to breathe... on those days I'm not alone with my thoughts and that IS safe(r). I've read about many experiences of being hospitalized for episodes that pale in comparison to some of my lows. That scares the hell out of me when I think about my lowest lows. How did I survive? I do survive and I'm proud of that.

But what if...

If my therapist and psychiatrist ever have a chat and agree to tag team me into voluntary hospitalization then I will go. That is "the line" to cross so to speak. For now, they trust me at home and I'm doing okay. I'm still struggling and there are times I wonder how I ever used to take care of myself but I have my independence. That is my constant. I hang on to that when all I can do is hate myself. That, and my twitter folk.


Relevant link:

International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Psychologized

 This morning my alarm went off playing The Doors, Strange People. My head filled with dread. Laying with my head under the covers I grabbed my iphone gently reminding me, "When you're strange... faces come out of the rain, when you're strange... no one remembers your name, when you're strange...." and hit snooze.

The idea of going outside on this dark and dreary day launched me into panic. Laying in bed, breathing deeply and steadily I knew it was "one of those days". Like all my mornings lately, I was at war with myself.

I got up and looked in the mirror. My face strained trying not to look angry and stressed. The dark circles housed under my eyes have been expanding. I decided looking like a wrinkled laundry hamper is acceptable and started to gather my things to leave.

Just go....

It was raining and windy so I used pedways & tunnels that twist through downtown. I got in an elevator telling it to go all the way down and instead it went all the way up. As the elevator filled with suits, looking at the wrinkled mental me, I started to sweat and my heart started thumping through my shirt. I was sure they could hear my heart pounding. I wiped sweat from my neck and brow. My head was swimming. I deliberately tried calming myself with all our favorite mindfulness techniques but it was of no use. Full blown panic. Tears burning in my eyes I thought I was going to pass out and puke on their lovely 400$ shoes.

I don't remember anything else until I am in my therapists office crying about something completely unrelated. I told her I was exhausted. I hated getting out of bed in the mornings. I didn't know what I was doing or where I was going. I felt out of control and lost. I am so tired of being stuck with me.

As the kindest mental health provider I've met yet- she did manage to somehow let me leave with the feeling everything will be okay, eventually. I don't have to know what I'm doing or where I'm going. Once we get me "stable" we can worry about goal setting and re-working some of the trauma I've not been able to get over on my own (from my younger years). I hate that I need her to reassure this but she did and did so very well. So much so I almost believe it.

All of that horror to be told it's not such a horror at all. *shrug* Best 90 bucks I've spent in a while.

How has someone helped you recently?


pics:sexy-xx-hot.blogspot.com/ hellodavidarchiefans.com

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Where in the World is Leslie's Salty Smile

I regret that I stopped blogging regularly. My laptop died and I'm on a loaner and... never mind. Excuses. If I wanted to blog I would. But I haven't so I didn't and here we are; I want to again! Hopefully I want it enough to make the blog of interest to someone (me).

Hopefully I can look back in a year and say "Wow, I was such a mess and I am so much better!!". I won't hold my breath but I'll hope.

Mental Health Recovery

These days I see my psychiatrist and psychologist bi weekly on alternating weeks so I am checking in with someone weekly. I am on Seroquel for my anxiety, depression and to help with sleep issues. It is also supposed to help quell the irrational rage and anger that's been coming out in my healing. Jury's still out on that one. I get an update from my psychiatrist on Tuesday of next week. She will be returning my long term disability claim form and I am very eager to get that sorted. Not knowing where money is coming from for more than a month at a time is stressful to say the least. I see my psychologist tomorrow. I love my psychologist but it doesn't prevent the nerves I have the day before I see someone. I know it is GAD bubbling up but I am a pile of anxiety today none the less.

Keeping Busy

I wrote about how I cured my insomnia for @natasha_tracy's blog. I also worked with @Allisomething for a piece she wrote about what it's like to be diagnosed with a mental illness. It's a good piece, I encourage you to check out her other writings! I was recently contacted by @diarycard and was offered a chance to try out the DBT app for free. Read about DBT here if you like. It is proving to be a learning curve but there are some benefits I see immediatly. Particularily in the coaching section. I'll say more on DBT & the app another time, I am sure.

Feels good

It does feel good to step back and take a snap shot of where I am in my healing and learning. There is lots more going on. For example, recently my homework from my psychiatrist was to get out and do something for ME. Well, I'm not good at focusing on just myself so I took a King's journalism students offer to sit and chat over tea and discuss my mental health. The rise and fall of an inspired mind sort of thing. It was so rewarding to actually sit and talk with someone. Its been YEARS since I've done anything as simple, innocent and encouraging as that little meet and greet. Forward momentum. That's one example of the many challenges I face that I am trying to conquer. This social butterfly may have lost my wings but I'm learning to crawl again.

Where are you in your journey to health and happiness?

Picture: pic http://collider.com/jennifer-lopez-carmen-sandiego-walden-media/124534/

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Insomnia

I write ugly sad poems in the half dark trying to figure out what keeps me up so late. Night after night and time after time I'll sleep if: - I've exhausted myself during the day - I've not slept the previous few nights passed. When I come out of a 'I need sleep 24 hrs a day 7 days a week' fit this is how I sleep. Or don't sleep. I guess that's the point. Actually, no the point I think I was trying to make was this: regular exercise is OBVIOUSLY screaming it's need in my face. I don't do that. I tried different 'things'. Different schedules, activities, attitudes, journalling, whatever. I don't like going out of the house and I live in a small bachelor apartment. I'm driving myself mad & getting unhealthily overweight in the process. Okay. That was either good insight or a mini shit on me session. Tune in next time when I actually edit my post and have some vague awareness of it's value. Actually no gaurantee's on that, other than there will be a next time. Sorry bout that.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dinner Drama

Even the simplest everyday interactions or decisions can send me into full blown crisis. Panic, dread and major depressive outbursts are the result of me making a decision that involves others, like choosing dinner.

Background

I have only been interacting with my boyfriend, my doctors, insurance reps (UGH) and everyone else (bus drivers, cashiers) were by consequence only and required no engaged interaction. This has been going on for 6 months. I have isolated myself. This is not only unhealthy but is counteractive to my progress through social anxiety and major depression. As per my last blog post I am done hiding. As much of a struggle as I find it to go out into the world and have worldly connections and relationships  I MUST if I am to regain a healthy and fulfilled life. My first quest is to visit my Papa and my Sister who live a few hours away. I am staying with them now, in fact. Intense.

It Starts

I was sitting on the back deck enjoying a bit of sun, crocheting and tweeting when my father very casually came out and asked if I still like Chinese food. Which I do, very much. Great! We chat briefly. As he goes to step inside he says he's thinking of going out to the restaurant together for the buffet meal. Unable to retract my interest (at that moment) everything inside me dies at once while I squeak out an "ok" as he goes back inside.

Now, I have been to this buffet before. Its great food. Friends family owns the place, always fresh and good food. So whats the problem?

Depression & Social Anxiety ATTACK!

Problem #1 Sitting at a table with other people being forced into possible conversation for upwards of 40 minutes. I cannot sit still that long. I at this point in my recovery hold conversations lasting 5 minutes and feel like Ive conquered quite a beast. 40 minutes in a restaurant with all those people surrounding my family all sitting staring at each other for convo with all the clinking and noises.... sensory overload! ..... YIKES! I know the likelihood of a panic attack ruining the meal was minimal. Especially with the Ativan I carry so close like a shield and armour. Regardless, I could not shake impending FEELINGS of being trapped, and doomed to be forced through awkward conversation and interactions. I don't know where my authentic self is but once she's back from fucking me over we'll go out in a crowd. Right now the prospect sends me into fits of tears. More on the tears later.

Problem #2 Seeing people from my past, old friends I have pushed away, while at this restaurant was a distinct possibility. Especially since I know the owners and I'm in a pretty small town. I am not ready to talk about "whats up with you". That question invariably sends me into a wailing panic of tear shed, guilt, shame and disgust. I realize I could have dismissed any running into old pals by saying I was with my family, retreating to our table but this would not stop the tears (I have tears even thinking about it). I'm not really into crying in restaurants and ruining my families meal time. Even if I did somehow manage to avoid "friendly" convo and avoid tears, the extreme tension I felt from just THINKING out the possibility and my possible exit routes was enough to spur vomit and diarrhea..

Problem #3 Vomit and Diarrhea do no blend well in restaurants

Problem #4 I could not stop crying long enough to get ready to go out. I just needed to change and wash up but the closer I came to doing something to get myself ready the most hostile the tears became. *SIGH*

Depression & Anxiety RETREAT!

I remained on the deck a bit longer trying desperately to "get a grip" when my baby sister and her boyfriend came out to join me. She mentions going out for supper. I blatantly say, I don't want to go, can you tell dad. She says she will, calling me a party pooper. She must of noticed the tension on my face and the glistening tips of tears brimming my eyes because she immediately apologized and went to tell dad. Eventually she came back to tell her boyfriend to leave me alone and get off the deck.

Sometimes I think my baby sister is my big sister.

She asked me why I didn't want to go and I shrugged as the lump ion the throat was too big to squeeze any words around. She asked me what was wrong and then tears took their opportunity to show face streaming relentlessly. Sobbing and trying to breathe with whimpering gasps I started to laugh. If I knew what was wrong Id fix it in a hurry. I'm depressed and have a lot of anxiety I told her. I don't know why I'm like this I realize my emotional reaction is greater than the situation warrants.  I said I was sorry. She said she understood and gave me a  hug. I'm an awfully lucky person.

Getting Past the Problem 

Collecting my cool on the deck was going well until my Papa came out to ask if I was okay. Tears streaming down my face, my typically self assured loud voice squeaked a yes. He said he hated seeing me like this and wished he could help. I told him he was helping and that this would pass. It always does. I believe that. These episodes come, they conquer, they leave but each time I have one of these fits I become stronger. I don't let them take *ALL* my self worth anymore. I face them proudly saying okay, you're sad? Be sad. And so I was.

My Papa is not a big talker nor is he really all that emotionally available. He's learning how as he gets older and he's getting real good at it. In the end a 3 minute convo with him lifted my spirits enough that I started feeling like me again. He says he'll bring me back food and if I want to come for the drive I don't even have to get out of the car. But it might be good for me he says in his "I really think you should" voice.

I sat on the deck for at least a couple hours crocheting, writing, crying, tweeting while this was all going on. Papa got ready to go, called in out order and asked again:

"C'mon out for the drive. You never know. You might see something that changes your life."
Mooping & broody I reply "Okay, lets go change my life".
His response was priceless. " I didn't say it was likely I just said it was possible."

He might not realize in what measure but going out with him for the drive did in fact change my life, even if only slightly, for the better.

Lets Get Real

If I am completely honest with you all (more importantly myself) I was having some pretty intense flashbacks from some tulmultuous experiences with my mother. I love my mom but she took psychiological abuse to a whole new level . The things she led me to believe or feel are just insane now that I *know* better. As a child many of these trauamatic experiences I have no memory of and when the memories come back they come in sweeping fists of fury and emotion. This house is filled with haunted memories of my childhood/teenage years and yes, one of those forgotten memories is of all of us going out to "celebrate" at this chinese buffet place. I won't go into all the details of that experience here today but know I am dedicated to finding the route causes of my emotive instability. I WILL GET BETTER. This simply cannot be sustained, this depression and extreme anxiety. I will get better godamnit, if I have to re-live every shitty experience I have ever had I will get better. I have the best support I could ask for. I love my Papa and sisters more than ANY words could ever even begin to describe. I am a very lucky fortunate mess. Yes I am.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Be Nice, I'm Coming Out.

Sexually Self Assured

I've never had ANY desire to "come out" regarding my sexual orientation. I am open about my sexuality but I don't want to be all up in your face about it... I'm 'bi sexual'. I've been with women and men. People who take the time to get to know me will know that. Its no state secret.

I have profound gratitude for those who bravely fight for equality. I appreciate the many journalists/writers, protesters, activists, teachers, celebrities, moms, dads, ANYONE who speaks out to make being bi, gay, trans, pans, whatever sexual as okay as I currently enjoy.

Mentally Not-So-Self Assured

Why then do I cower in complete horror when in the position of wanting to offer an explanation for my emotional instability as associated with my mental illness? It is just as much a part of me as my sexuality. I have inappropriate emotional reactions that are part of Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder et al. I am aware of this.

I can have any inappropriate response there is, be aware of it and express my ACTUAL thoughts or feelings upon reflection. Often times this is coupled with an apology for not being more "authentically myself" with my initial reactions. This constant damage control leaves me on edge and with extreme social anxiety.

For now, I can control my inappropriate response by regressing and isolation, never expressing my authentic self. This prevents exposing potential victims to another emotive hedge maze thrust upon them by yours truly. This leaves me running circles around myself.

Mentally Self Assured

I refuse to isolate myself anymore. It is hurting my heart and soul. I am a great person with my own unique flaws. So are you. After years of slowly isolating myself from the world of friends, connections, acquaintances. I here in this moment declare myself FREE of the restraint I have placed on myself for not being "normal". I've seen how big society runs. I don't even want to be "normal" anymore.

It should be mentioned, I am aware:

1./ No one cares how I act, what I think, what I do. They're busy worrying about themselves. If they are busy being caught up in me maybe THEY are the one with a problem.

2./ I owe no one an explanation as to why I am emotionally different than many others just like I owe no one an explanation as to why I find women sexy and men sexy too.

3./ If someone needs clarification they can ask. I can answer. Language is nice and simple like that.

That said, I really feel the desperate need to come out of the closet with my mental illness. LOUDLY and PROUDLY I need to scream it from the rooftops, stick my head out the window and yell:

1./ I am ME first, my illness is only one PART of me.

2./ What I say, what I do, how I act singularly does not define me!

3./ I AM GREATER THAN THE SUM OF MY MANY PARTS!

I know that dealing with someone who does not function mentally the same as people who are not mentally ill can be confusing. It can even be alarming at times. WE ARE PEOPLE TOO. It's not hard though and with a little effort you may even learn to ENJOY our many flaws as a deviance from the "norm".

There is a guy walking down the street mumbling to himself, disheveled looking, maybe not wearing any shoes. Does that scare you? Do you cross the street? If he tries to make eye contact to you look away?

Righting Wrongs

Don't look away. Don't stare. Don't wait for him to pass then whisper to your friend "DID YOU HEAR THAT GUY??!!!".

No more than a lesbian couple holding hands would a mentally ill PERSON like to be made a spectacle for something THEY HAVE NO CHOICE OVER. Don't point and whisper. Just accept it for what it is and MOVE ALONG.

I didn't choose to be bi. It's just what I am.

I didn't choose to be ill. It's just what I am.

You don't "suddenly" become gay (though not being aware that's what you were feeling until later in life is normal for many).
YOU or ANYONE YOU KNOW could SUDDENLY be sick.
Show some respect.
Be the best person you know how.
Love, live, AND LET BE.

At the end of the day we're all people deserving of love, respect and inclusion. You don't have to befriend Mr. Mumbles and encourage him to get some shoes but you do have to ACCEPT him as part of our society. If anything in this messed up world is ever going to work we MUST accept our differences.

Our society is sick right now too. You don't have to look far to see human suffering due to war, famine, ecological disasters... Do your part to help end suffering and inspire kindness. It really does not take much at all to change the tone of our culture. Random acts of kindness inspire more kindness. A friendly hello may save someone from a lonely suicide. A smile can go around the world simply and easily spreading kindness everywhere it goes.

And after all, smiles are free.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Undelivered Letter

One night a couple weeks ago I was incredibly depressed... well, more than usual. My symptoms were MUCH worse than usual. I couldn't sleep because I couldn't stop crying. CBT would have me try to pinpoint the thoughts causing the tearful reaction but I'll tell you now that was a practice in futility. I got out of bed, lit a candle and sitting in the flickering light I sobbed silently and relentlessly from deep inside my soul.

Drying my eyes and sniffling I thought I had myself calmed enough but nope. No way. I still wasn't ready for bed. There was that lump in my throat and burning sensation behind my eyes forcing me to acknowledge the water pressure building up behind the floodgate. Thinking to myself "Okay, brain. You wanna play? You wanna be sad?". And so I began to write one of those really long winded, pour your heart out, would never deliver in a million years sort of letters.

It was a good one. The kind of letter where the ink looks all splotchy because I was writing so furiously and there were so many tears. Its hard to tell in some places what is water smudged and what is a rushed hand. In the end I was smiling. I guess I have a few demons inside that bubble up unidentified until I put the pen to paper. It was sad stuff I was writing about. Regret, apologies, and grief stained the pages I filled in the darkest hours of the night. I had something to be sad about, a real issue in my life, and hacked out all my emotions surrounding it. I felt accomplished- no- present. I was very much aware of my 5 senses and all my emotional ill was temporarily transferred to the paper so that I could neatly slide it in a drawer and put it all away for the night. It was enough relief that at the very least I managed to get to sleep shortly after.

The best or most startlingly beauitful bit of this whole experience came several days later. The person I had written the letter to contacted me out of the blue to express regret for lost time and offer sincere support, hearing of my mental health struggles. No words need describe my profound gratitude for her kindness in reaching out. I love her so much.

I love this universe and all its little affirmations.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Papa, I'm broken.

HELLO BLOG-O-SPHERE:

I haven't been writing much but you had best believe this has been a month jam packed of mental health learning, growing, regressing and moving forward again. I wanted to write more, share more of this experience with the interwebs but I needed all that courage and energy for me. Over the last couple months my biggest challenge and greatest reward was coming clean with my family.

In my family I like to consider myself the one who has it together. When things fall apart I'm really good at picking up the pieces, dusting them off and trying to find a good spot for them. I am in control. If I can apply logic to the situation I'm okay. If I can figure it out & understand something I'll be okay.

I stopped being okay months ago and simply blocked everyone out. Honestly, its been years in the making. I have managed to push away all of my friends. Its been YEARS since I was truly connected or engaged in any project I was proud to be part of... I was in a slow but steady isolation process that eventually left me no one to push away but my family.

Finally the guilt of avoiding the phone calls, voicemails and text messages was too much. If anything happened to me while I am "this way" (mentally unfit) I decided it simply wasn't fair to those I loved. As much as it hurt to admit there was something wrong that I couldn't fix I called my Papa, ready to get this monster off my chest.

Our conversation was short but impressive. In just a couple of minutes he was able to remind me that any diagnosis didn't matter, I'm still me. He loves me (a lot) and will always be there for me, no matter what. [note: I did just now, upon typing that, have to get up to blow my nose and compose myself. I really do love my Papa] All the guilt, SHAME, disappointment and embarrassment was breifly lifted.

It might have taken my stubbornly egotistical self a long time to let my Papa know how I am REALLY doing but doing so has really shifted my mentality into a new kind of healing; to a more accepting healing process at the very least.

I remembered it really IS okay to be me, broken pieces and all.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I can always give up later

*** FOREWARNING: This is not a happy blog post. This may act as a trigger so if you are in a vulnerable place skip this one. Inspired by the likes of bipolar fragments, @youshouldsee, and @beckami I am going to try to express the other side of mental illness. Mental Health is not just roses and recovery. This post is an explination *of sorts* as to why I've not blogged in three weeks. As with any recovery there may be relapses. This is what happens after I have a relapse. ***

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Silence wakes me.

The fan drones back and forth.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Keep doing it. If I stop trying is my body going to give up on me? Why is it taking so much effort to just Breathe in. Breathe out. Steady. Don't stop. Keep gently breathing in, long steady breath out. Stop clenching your jaw. Relax your neck and jaw. So stiff and tense, my neck hurts. My head hurts like today may host yet another migraine. I should get up and get a glass of water and stretch but I don't ever want to get up again.

There is a dinstinct clicking as the fan makes each round. Pinching my eyes closed, hiding from the light. They feel swollen and moist, like they might slip open if I don't press them shut with extrodinary force.

Breathe in. Breathe out. In through my nose, out through my mouth.

I feel sick. Maybe if I go back to sleep today won't matter. Panic sets in. My stomach lurches. All I feel is someone playing the accordian with my stomach and pain from deep inside my chest. I feel a resounding hollowness like someone is inflating my heart with awkward, jagged edged memories that I can't quite make out at this distance from sanity. The dark and hollow space where I used to camp out in this body makes me heavy like gravity is my enemy. I am the enemy. This space between places is leaving me numb with agony.

Breathe in. Breathe out. The fan keeps a sense of stagnacy from consuming me. I hate the noise. Don't turn it off or you'll be alone. click... click... click... click is my company.

Breathe in, Breathe out.

Unclench your jaw. My mouth is dry and tastes awful. I should get up. A drink would make me feel better. Do I even have any clean glasses? How pathetic, no clean glasses. I could drink from the jug. Even worse you pig, just wash a glass and don't be so lazy. Maybe I'll just throw myself in the shower with the hope that might jolt me back to life.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

I look at my hand outreached and limp in front of my face. Inches from my nose I see every hair follicle and tiny square of aging skin. I sigh from lack of recognition. This is my hand. This is my hand? This is my life?

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Using all of my will and convinced of my irreversible weakness, pathetic for having to try, I turn my hand over and stare at my wrist. Two tiny blue veins clearly visible beneath my translucent untanned skin. I don't have to endure. In fact, I don't have to do anything. Empowerment starts to wash over me. I can get up and get in the tub right now. Not much mess at all, I bet the landlord could have this place re rented in two weeks. Images flash through my mind like a slideshow from a vacation I thought I would never of planned. Where am I? I'm in the tub full of blood. Full of me. I tidy little mess of death in the tub to be cleaned up by someone who doesn't take their life for granted.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Deeper now.

STOP! My mind screams for a moments of peace. I am still in my bed, crumpled under the blankets like a wilted flower waiting to be tossed in the bin. I already have a shaving razor with the safety edge ripped off. Ready, waiting, and well hid in case of emergency. I'll just get that out, jump in the tub and be done with it.

Breathe in. Breathe out. click... click... click... click. Breathe in, breathe out.

If I have to get up anyways I might as well get that glass of water. It'll only take a second to wash up the glass.

Breathe in, breathe out. click... click... click... click.

If I can get up I'll stay up for now. If it gets bad maybe one little slice on my leg.

Breathe...

And if that doesn't do the trick...

... in.

I can always give up later.

Breathe...

I'll just go back to sleep for a little while longer.

... out.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Climbing out of the Cooking Pot

I want to write about perspective because as we all know that how we look at things can drastically change our perception of events... if you don't think so, take a look at the picture below.

Is it a cup or vase?
Is it two people face to face?

Can it be both? Depending on our perspective of course it can.

How can I apply this to what is out of focus in my life?


I look at where I am. I am in recovery from a mental health crisis. No doubt about it. But thats not enough for me. What do I want next? I want to get the hell out of recovery and to dive head first into living exuberantly but I have a feeling I'd end up right back where I am if I don't take manageable, tangible steps to get there (and I WILL get there). SO WHAT NEXT? I get to choose!

I want to shift my thinking from 'in recovery from mental health issues' to a less fallible:

FOCUSED ON HEALTHY LIVING FOR MY BODY AND MIND.

That is a reasonable next step. It's only a SLIGHT perspective shift yet I am having trouble making it come into focus. If I cover one half of the picture I can kind of see what it looks like. I mean, I have been focused on my mental health for a couple months now so I can see what being focused on my mental health looks like. What does it look like to be focused on my body's health? Its been a long time since thats been a priority. I know that if I can get my body back into shape that in turn my mental health may improve. If nothing else I may have more energy - even if my self esteem didn't improve, which I am sure it would. 

Everyday I do something for my mental health. EVERYDAY. When I first started climbing out of this crisis even just taking my medication qualified. Now I meditate daily, keep an anxiety journal etc...  So what small thing can I take pride in doing every single day for my body's health? What am I already doing that I can recognize as a genuine feel good starting point? 

Everyday I feed my body. I may not eat as well as I *could* but I do eat. I try and make healthy choices but I am far from perfect. That is OK. The next step is to make a change. Before I make ANY changes that I feel OBLIGATED to fulfill I will simply BE AWARE of my body's desire for nourishment and how my body feels when I do eat. How it feels to actually eat whatever I'm eating. All I am doing to bring the body part of my next perspective shift into focus is to be aware and take pride in being aware. 

Sometimes gaining perspective is really and truly as simple as being aware. I can make changes later but how will I know what the most effective change could be if I don't know where I am now? I can weigh myself, measure myself, calories, carbs etc etc etc but unless I know how it FEELS to be where I am now I may not be able to see where I want to go. Once I see things for what they are I'll be more apt to try and start climbing out of the cooking pot...

A frog living at the bottom of the well thinks that the sky is as small as a cooking pot lid.~ Vietnamese Proverb 

What are you currently bringing into focus to change your perspective? 
(No matter HOW big or small!) 
What do you WANT to see more clearly?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Crazy Changes

Something totally crazy happened about a week ago. I didn't need reminding to go shower every couple days. I wanted to be clean more than I wanted to die. I started eating something during the first couple hours of the day more often than not, even if it was just a dill pickle and yogurt (I'm judging this on extraordinary effort - not perfection, folks). I was actually looking forward to seeing my significant other rather than viewing it as encroachment on my self imposed exile... but when did this change happen, why did it come about?

I became aware of my healing power about the time I realized my difficultly with accepting that PERFECT little ME (not really, thats just what my inner critic thinks) was TRULY in need of HELP (gasp) because I am SICK with a TREATABLE condition (Ummm, conditions).

Far out, right?

I took that knowledge with me to a trigger situation today. I spoke to someone from HR(work) about my current state of affairs financially and mentally (they leave much to be desired).

I realized my success when I was done with the conversation. I hadn't started crying. I didn't cry on the call OR after the call. Nor did I feel the urge to cry. I was a little uneasy, anxious if you will. You know, the whole seasick from your brain-swishing-around feeling in the pit of your stomach. My shoulders were tense, my breath was short and my jaw was clenched. But it wasn't a panic attack. I wasn't a sobbing emotional mess and I wasn't in full on panic mode. Just being AWARE of my body in this form gave me a moment of pride.

TAKE THAT DEPRESSION! MUAHAHhahahahaha :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Maiden Meditation

I am not a health professional by any stretch of the imagination. I am however something of an expert patient. When I find something that works, has no identifiable side effects, enhances my sense of self worth and well being I MUST SHARE!

I have been doing my own research and have always thought meditation to host many desirable outcomes in its practice. I have not been one to practice. I take information in bits and pieces as it suits me and for the longest time this was suffice. You know, a peaceful thought here, an intriguing quote there....



'What we think, we become.' ~ Buddha

Today, I have started a meditation practice project. I will attempt to "meditate" for about 25-30 minutes 2-3 times per day. I will use an audio sample my psychologist has provided me with which is in line with the EMDR therapy created by Mark Grant . I rate my anxiety on a scale of 1-10 before my meditation and then record my anxiety afterwards as to assess my specific success with this approach to well being.

My first session saw me incredibly overwhelmed. I was actually ANXIOUS about trying to RELAX. I couldn't even press play on the audio sample at first. After allowing myself to accept there were no expectations of myself to perform, merely just to EXPERIENCE, I fell into an amazing 15 minute journey.  You may have noticed I was hoping to do 25-30 minutes per session but only did 15. I still consider this quite a success on my maiden voyage.

My journey was halted suddenly by a succession of tears. I don't think they were happy tears or sad tears but as some have suggested perhaps I was merely purging some excess emotion inside me. It certainly felt cleansing. Who knows for sure but I will tell you- it was a thrill.

I was very uncomfortable at first, fidgeting about like a child told to sit still.
I did manage to find a position of relaxation.
I had moments of extreme sadness and conversely, moments of profound joy.
I had sensations of being outside my body (which startled me at first).
I was confused and scared and AT PEACE.

I am not going to pretend to think that after one session I am the Dalai Lama. I don't want to tell you what will work for you or what won't work.... but I do want to share that after only 15 minutes of dedicated time spent on this practice I am now HOOKED. I want MORE.

Do you think you would ever consider meditation? Do you meditate? Share your experience with me!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Love me As I Am

I had given myself a weekly goal of writing this blog and have been achieving this for several weeks now. I want to add a new challenge or habit to my roster of well being. In keeping up with the momentum achieved by asking myself "If I were totally healthy what would I be doing" I thought it wise to reflect on this again last week. I decided daily physical activity was my best next step.

I'm coming clean. I have not been able to keep up with creating a daily intent on completing some sort of physical activity. I'm not sure if blogging about this will make me more accountable or what but it is what it is - now out there in blog land.

What I consider a success about this whole not-met objective is I have identified and I am willing to accept that I am unfairly worrying about how others perceive me. I am letting my mind take me to a consciously ridiculous place... okay, okay - I'll be nice to me - just keep reading.

Subconsciously I am sure this has served me as a great defense against more pain and hurt as I had become accustomed to expecting. I want to accept this part of who I am and let go of it. Sounds like a simple action but it is tedious. Identifying this as even being an issue is quite humbling and not always immediate... see the example of my taking a week to acknowledge I wasn't moving or shaking my ass in any sort of fit direction...

I now acknowledge that a big part of my self esteem issues are because of physical limitations and a way to get my energy up would be to get fit again. This is not a lost concept to me. I crave the energy and will to go out just walking. When my Dood asked me if I wanted to go for a walk to the park today I promptly responded by lurching into full blown panic and dread. I pictured me huffing and puffing and trying to keep up while wishing I was more fit as to be out just enjoying the air rather than struggling to accept myself... Ok I was focusing on non important events, amplifying and experiencing them before they even happened. If they would happen at all. Maybe, I would feel great being out and about.

Somewhere in my mixed bag of attacks of myself I did feel embarrassment or shame for being judged as overweight or gross by others who see me. I'm worried that I'm so out of shape I'll make a fool of myself once I start kettle-bell training (more on this another time). In my reasoning I am fully aware that if other people want to judge me thats good for them. I'm not out gawking and judging every person I pass (and when tempted I do try my best to let it go). So why would anyone be doing that to me? And if they did what would it matter, what affect could it have? Not much.

I will accept that worry and anxiety may come and thats OK. There is a part of me that is in shock and disbelief that doing something so simple is causing so much turmoil in my heart and brain. I have considered going for a walk today and decided I want to go very much but even more than that I don't want to go. I have been sick over it. Thats OK too. It's all OK. Comforting myself is sometimes needed and accepting that - while difficult - may save me in the worst of times. So today, smothered with self loathing and hate, I will comfort myself with warm tea, wonderful movies, and in a couple hours a delicious meal. I will drown my bad self esteem in pampering and treating me right. Eventually this little brat of a worry monster that lives inside of me will learn to trust me enough to bugger off and let me take the reigns a bit but for now, I'll love me as I am.

Monday, May 16, 2011

If you were totally healthy what would you be doing?

Part of my recovery after mental health crisis is to develop new habits that foster a more positive SELF PERCEPTION and as a result this blog was born. This blog, I am learning as I go, is filling the gap for many needs I have in learning about myself, my diag-non-sense, and life in general. Seriously!

I was asked:

"If you were totally healthy what would you be doing?"

That question pretty well knocked me on my ass. I've been so busy trying to "survive" I'd forgotten whats its like to just LIVE. What is it like to live a healthy and ENTHUSIASTIC life? 

I have ALWAYS loved to read and for most of my life I have enjoyed writing. Over the last few years I have slowly waned my enthusiasm for both. Well, if I'm being honest with you all I've lost my enthusiasm for most things in my life hence the developing of new habits to foster a more positive self perception. When I was asked this very simple yet thought provoking question it still took me a couple weeks to really want to answer that question (with depression's ugly cousin's anxiety and worry letting my poor self esteem run amok making me believe I'd never be healthy again).

If I were totally healthy I would be learning and teaching. That is what life is ALL about to me. Learning and teaching, reading and writing, hearing and speaking, loving and being loved. It's the give and take in life that super charges me with that certain joie de vivre. Thats a pretty expansive answer. I needed specific behaviors that may be developed to measure my success with living my life in line with my ideals. (psycho-babble translation= eliminate some of this cognitive dissonance ruining my self worth).

I decided to write weekly, preferably Mondays (when I most needed the reminder to smile despite the tears) and outline my success with finding my way out of this lull my life has taken. I decided that I would keep a certain amount of anonymousness as to not put any undue pressure on myself to perform (not letting social anxiety take this away from me!). I knew there would be obstacles and decided a head of time no challenge would keep me from this very modest yet important self interrogation. 

Sharing my personal hell in a positive light would be my saving grace. Learning to develop my talents into a constructive project with real and immediate results (look Ma, I'm on the interwebs!) would help me believe in myself when hope was lost. 

Ya know what? IT'S WORKING! The best part of my week is sitting down in front of my computer and hacking out some words that resemble a story and posting it online for the world (a very small portion of the world) to see. Don't feel sorry for me for saying that. As depressing as that might sound it's actually PHENOMENAL. For the longest time the highlight of my week resembled sleeping or zoning out while a movie flashed colors in my face. I might even LET MYSELF write more than once a week! I'd like to develop some sort of structure to my blogging before slapping up my crap daily but for now its something I ACTUALLY LOOK FORWARD TO!!!! So I ask YOU:

If you were totally healthy what would you be doing?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Privileged Pain

Despite all the trials and tribulations of life's problems I believe there is ALWAYS a solution.
Identify the problem and construct a solution.
It's good advice and even better when I take it myself. 
I didn't intend on using this blog to air all my 'dirty laundry'. 
I really want to share hope despite all the pain. 
What I'm realizing today that in certain instances to have hope you kind of have to put it all out there. 
Through the pain hopefully I can identify the problem...

Mother's Day is always a little hard. I have at best a very strained relationship with my mom. It was an abusive upbringing. Horrible at times. Insanely 'normal' at others. Either way I have not yet come to terms with the effect an alcoholic abusive mother has had on me.
I feel guilty that I am not stronger than I am to overcome the effect my upbringing has had. I love my mom and want nothing for the best for her. I just have nothing left inside me to give her. I have no capacity for any more lies, manipulation... it's exhausting just thinking about it. I am embarrassed I don't even know how to get a hold of her... no number; I'm not even sure where she's living these days. 

There were many great opportunities my life has given me. I always had a roof. I always had food. I was clothed. There are some basic needs not being met all around the world that I took for granted. Hell, most days I still do. I always had the internet and power. I have a decent education... SO MUCH GUILT. I don't feel guilty for my advantages. I'm guilty that I haven't seemed capable of capitalizing on them. I feel guilty I am depressed, socially anxious, on leave from work, not more available to family, not more available to myself...

I KNOW my mother makes her own choices. It is not be responsibility to maintain a relationship with someone who is hurtful. I am not a bad person for wanting something else. It's 'normal' to feel the way I do. I know all sorts of things about how I feel. Knowing something and feeling differently is a major source of anxiety for me. 

I am going to a psychologist tomorrow who specializes in helping people with backgrounds just as such. 

And I just HOPE that this time.... this time it helps.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Depression or Common Sense?

Sometimes I don't know if my doubt and worry (OK... despising myself and everything I do) is a symptom of my depression or just plain old common sense. Sometimes I even try and figure out the difference. Then the old brain starts to spark and stutter. With a bit of smoke pouring out of my ears I'll lay it all out for you.

Take this blog post for instance. As a sat down to write my intended topic was "Mental Health Monday". I started to write about blah blah blah. It was fairly pretentious. I decided common sense to toss the topic. If I couldn't re-read what I'd written as to edit it maybe no one else would either. 

I moved onto a new topic and a similar sort of battle ensued. Except this time it got personal. The "self talk" started to become less about the quality of the blog post (still uncertain at this time as I write my third for the day) - and had more of the tone:

Why are you even writing a blog. (not question, accusation)
No one reads stupid blogs. 
You have nothing unique or of interest to share.
Other people have their own photographs, you just steal them.
This is not a self help group, stop over sharing.
Write about whatever you want. It's not going to be any good anyways.

WOAH ...WAIT NOW A MINUTE! HOLD THE GRAVY TRAIN!

I know its depression when it gets personal. When my worry has nothing constructive to add to the assignment I know the monster inside me is trying to ruin this project too. 

And you know what? I won't let it.