Feelings of Okay-ish-ness

capable

I think this is part of the human condition, rather than a function of mental illness (or wellness, for that matter).  We try so very hard to maintain a baseline, and sometimes it floats away from us, due to circumstances not within our control.

Let’s face it…very little is within our control, and especially others’ behavior and inactions and lives — those are exquisitely beyond our control.  And that little fact can drive me a bit mad.  I have the tendency to want to loop my lasso over the horns of every bull and drag it to the ground, and this is simply insanity and I cannot sustain it over the long haul.  I can (and do) work on my own issues, but I cannot *fix* or even (in most cases) alter the path of others’ behavior.

I have been quiet for the past couple weeks, simply living life, and struggling to live it on the terms which are required of me.  There is so much suffering around me and I want to reach out and heal it, but when I do, I often leave myself with scars.  I cannot help you, without being affected myself, and I am not always in a position where I can afford to be affected by anything other than my own complicated existence.

In the past few weeks, my focus has been on living in the moment, general mindfulness, willingness, practicing opposite to emotion.  In other words, Rosa is doing some hard work right about now, and sometimes when I am doing that, I have to disappear a little bit.  Because words are hard to come by, and there have been other challenges that I haven’t wanted to put a spotlight on — very real, very concrete and physical challenges that I don’t know how to wrap my own tired mind around, nevertheless explain them to someone else.

I miss blogging when I don’t do it, but it is necessary for me to shut down, or maybe even reboot my brain every once in awhile.  I haven’t been talking about it, but in the past month I have been dealing with a new mental health diagnosis, the confirmation of a new chronic physical illness, a septic system that is no longer working, the death of an aunt, worries about family members, and with all the recent rain, a basement that is full of water and must be pumped every couple of hours (and the ruin of my HVAC system and hot water heater, with the first wave of rain).

A lot going on, yes, but I am managing because I am living in the moment and not allowing myself to think too far outside of where I am right now.  I also don’t want to feel like I am complaining, because I really do have a great deal to be thankful for.  The challenges keep pouring in on my head, but I continue to have hope and faith that things will work out for the best.  That fact, that I still have hope and faith even with the storms of drama around me, is near-miraculous, as my general tendency (once-upon-a-time) would be to catastrophize and live in panic.  I don’t want to do that anymore, and I actually refuse to do that anymore.

some days are betterwill write more about the new physical and mental health diagnoses at some point, and at another  point I might take a moment to complain about my failed septic/HVAC/basement disasters.  For today, though, I just want to be grateful for things like my LarBear, family, friends, and for my new-found sense of hope and ok-ish-ness.

 

I Have Hope For Hope

mission in life

Hope.  It comes and it goes, it fluctuates wildly over the course of every day.  Some moments, I feel downright defeated, and others I feel as if I can take on any little issue that comes my way.  Today was a day where hope varied widely over the course of the day.  What counts is that there is hope in this moment, and so I have hope for hope, hope in the future.

If I am being entirely honest with myself, and can put to side all of the niggling irritations that I sometimes let consume me, I don’t want my life to look like it does now in five years, or even five months.  There are things I want to do, to accomplish, to weave into my day-to-day routine.  I want things to be *better* and I want things to be *ok*.

If I am being completely honest, “things” ARE better than at certain moments in the past.  Quite a bit better, actually.  Sometimes I go back in time and wade through blog entries of years past, and I see that I have come a very long way in many areas.  At this moment, I can count back even a month or two or six and see what a vast distance I have traveled.  Rosa on the bipolar train, it goes around in circles, but it is altogether *better* than it ever has been, even while I can see many improvements that I want to make.

if you dont ask

I have a secret, y’all.  Someday, I want to work again, even if it’s just a little bit.  I want to work in some capacity where I am helping people, like I used to, in my former worklife.  It obviously can’t be as stressful or have as much responsibility behind it, but I itch to do something, anything that makes a difference in someone else’s life.

I feel like I come from a place where I have all of these tools I have learned, and I really think maybe they could help a person or two.  I don’t have everything figured out, but on a clear day, I have quite a bit figured out.  I don’t claim to be better than anyone else, or know more than anyone else, but I do have a unique angle, I do have a life that other people (I think) could relate to.

I’m thinking about talking with my DBT leader about someday (we’re talking months, maybe a year) being in a peer support role, where I attend DBT meetings as someone other than a client.  I have had years and years of DBT — I truly believe it is something I would be good at.

If I could teach just one person how to find willingness, man, that would be something.  I have a few blog friends who consistently over time have encouraged me to write a book.  It is only in the last month or so that I have started to take that advice seriously, and have thought, just maybe I could.  Maybe I SHOULD.

mind will believe

If I can rise over the negativity that seems to settle cloud-like around my brain nearly every day, without warning, then I think there is hope.  I think that this photo to the right is true, that your mind believes everything you tell it, and maybe I should start telling my mind that I CAN and I WILL and surround it with love.

None of this is rocket-science, and I may lose sight of everything I have written today by the time tomorrow gets here, and maybe this is all just a little bit of hypomania thrown into the mix, but things are really starting to make sense, to click, and I think the key just might be the hope I am holding out for hope.

Week in Review: Positivity and Thankfulness in the Face of Extreme Sleep Deprivation

I went from posting six times last week to not even touching this blog this week.  My thoughts have been super disorganized the past several days, due to a lack of sleep which is coming about thanks to problems with my CPAP machine (device that treates sleep my extra-severe sleep apnea).  So, while I HAVE been lying down for three or four hours at a time, I have been waking (according to the technician who downloaded my unit today) multiple times a night because I am, well, jeez, I’m just not breathing, consistently.

That kind of sleep deprivation is something of the worst kind, because while you *think* you are sleeping, you aren’t getting even close to any sort of sleep that is restful.  This leaves one with disorganized thoughts, gaps in time and memory, and a feeling that some sort of slow-growing mold is encasing the brain, rendering the little electrical impulses normally found there to be quite subdued.

To all of the bloggers I follow, I’m sorry to say that I just deleted my inbox full of notifications, feeling that I had to give myself a “re-do” for this week, and that I couldn’t do that with all of those unread posts making me feel guilty.  So, I’ve missed some of what y’all had to say this week…my bad, but sometimes it can’t be helped.  I *am* going to go back and answer comments on my last two posts here in the next day or so, but I thought it was prudent to throw a post up here so that anyone who noticed I was *back* last wouldn’t think I’ve totally dropped off again.  Just not the case, at all.

Some really great things happened this week, and remain unmarred (mostly) by the trials and tribulations of sleep deprivation.  I had a really good therapy appointment this week, and I also made peace with my peer support specialist.  It is amazing what can happen when you just ASK for what you NEED, and when you are also communicative about what your expectations are and just very HONEST about every single thing you can think of.

My schedule has now straightened itself out to the point where it is the exact same every week.  There will be no more panicked thoughts (I hope) in the middle of the night, thinking there is somewhere I am supposed to be at such-and-such time the next day.  Now, everything has been set up to repeat, and I can just roll with it (and hope it *mostly* stays that way).

This is a huge relief, because it was one of the things I have been so bent out of shape about.  I also found a great place to meet in the community with my peer support person…a small cafe that is very empty midday, has very comfortable furniture, is bright and full of windows, and lacks the dark and trendy feelings of most coffee shops.  I love it so much, I might hang out there sometimes, even when we are not meeting.  They also have really inexpensive drinks and desserts, a plus, no doubt.

I have further cleared things up with my peer support person (who really needs a blog nickname, what I have so far is The Trucker’s Wife, what do you think?) by using F.A.S.T. (a DBT skill in which you ask for something but keep your self-respect, as in no over-apologizing or the like) and just good ol’ common sense.  I have decided to give her another chance, and would probably actually give her many more, because, while she is not the best at returning phone calls, she IS good at returning emails (yay, a way to communicate!!) and she does appear to care, and she is quite kind and understanding, and is letting me do the self-help book more on my own.  It appears that this will all be working out, quite well.

I have several other things, which I am quite grateful for at this present moment, and which I’m going to list-post, because, yeah, I know that no one really wants this post to go past 700 words (least of all me):

  1.   Celebrating good use of DBT skills this week in interacting with others.  A few arguments were avoided, my anxiety was calmed more than once, and things just feel more level, even *with* the sleep deprivation.
  2. I do have the insurance to monitor and fix this sleep deprivation problem.  The problem right now is getting in to be seen at the sleep center, because they are so backed up.  I do have an appointment on Tuesday, and my medical supply store RT offered to help me on Monday, if I need it.
  3. People can be really decent to you when you treat them with more respect than what they are expecting to get.
  4. The relationship between LarBear and I gets better by the minute.  We have laughed our butt’s off this week at many different things, as well as spent a lot of good quality time, several productive discussions, and he is really just everything I ever wanted out of a significant other, and always thought that I could never get.
  5. Thinking about what I might do post-DBT…maybe become a peer support for the group.  Just throwing that out there as a wild and crazy idea, and that is also way down the road (about a year), but I think it might be really cool.

I found this photo/word/thingie on FB, and thought it was just exactly how I feel about my life right now, so I wanted to share it with y’all.  It’s with this that I’m out, off to celebrate number 6, which was finding some really nice steaks in my freezer!

numinous

Ten Things of Thankful, Home-Life Edition

**Just a word to the wise, there is not currently a link-up for Ten Things of Thankful, but you CAN find them on Facebook.  It’s a closed group, but just type Ten Things of Thankful into your search bar and you can request to be added.  I am not sure how much longer there were cease to be a linkup, but you can get more information there.

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Another week down, another whole bunch of things to be thankful for.  I like to try and do TToT “themes” each week, and this week is no different.  I am a person who prefers to be at home, or to at least be feeling that “at home” feeling even when not at home.  I can get that at my house, and a select few other places.  This past week, I’ve really tried to be “out” more, and it makes me appreciate the weekend and nowhere I really have to be (today), that much more.

When I was in the crisis residence, I was surrounded by people who are currently homeless and some who had been homeless for very long periods.  It’s never happened to me, but it’s not impossible to think it would ever happen, albeit it’s unlikely if I keep up with my mental health treatment and continue to have family around that cares.  A house and a home are two things that I never take for granted, though, and so I’d like to dedicate this week’s TToT to all of the home-related things that I am thankful for:

  1. A fenced-in backyard.  For my dogs, for my sanity.  I really enjoy being outside, and I am thankful to QoB for making sure that every home I have ever lived in has had a pleasant outdoor space.
  2. The current house I live in has a very nice, large front porch.  It is very nice and cool in the afternoons, and breezy yet warm in the mornings.  Recently, my mom came and trimmed up all of the rosebushes (of which there are several,  VERY large) and laid mulch.  The porch was swept off and all that is on it are a few comfortable chairs and a footrest/table.  I have been loving sitting out there with company, and with LarBear.  It is also a good way to get a break from life, in general, by myself, with just my thoughts and a cold drink.
  3. A house as opposed to an apartment.  This is my personal preference, and I have been exceptionally lucky to do very little apartment-living (save from college years).  Houses are so much quieter, so much more private, and are what I am used to.  I feel almost spoiled by this one.
  4. Hardwood floors, with a few nice area rugs.  I really detest wall-to-wall carpet, and I think that is just because I was raised with hardwood floors and area rugs.  I really don’t like to vacuum, and I don’t like all the dust and dirt and grime and (potential) messiness of carpets.
  5. My kitchen has a large closet that has been converted to a pantry.  I didn’t have a pantry in the last two places I lived, and it seemed like I always had things stacked up everywhere.  With a pantry, you can put everything away and you can stock up on things without worrying about having the room to put it.
  6. I absolutely love that I have a driveway of my own to park in.  I have lived in places where I had to park in the street or in a large parking lot, and I hated it.  In the town I live in, it is pretty typical that most houses have a driveway and more often than not, there is also usually a garage (at least in this neighborhood).  I do have a garage, but I choose not to really use it for various reasons, some of it being sheer laziness.
  7. Being able to choose the colors of my walls has always been important to me.  I am not a fan of neutral, and really appreciate my yellow kitchen and lavender bedroom and green bathroom.  It makes it more homey to me.
  8. All of the Rose of Sharon bushes, Crepe Myrtles, and other various bushes that my mom planted on the west side of my house, in front of windows when I moved into this house.  They are grown up now, and it is lovely when they are leafed out, because I can keep the curtains open day and night and no one sees in, and they are also very pretty to look at.
  9. For the past few years, I have had an inflatable kiddie pool in my backyard.  I am spoiled by it now, and fully expect to put one up again this year.  You can get them for about $30 to $40, and as long as you keep chlorine in it, and sweep out the bugs/leaves/debris, they stay nice all summer.  There is nothing better than sitting in your own backyard in 30″ of water.
  10. I grew up in a house warmed (partially) by a woodstove and with no central air until I was well into high school.  I didn’t really think anything of it at the time, but I must say, I am very, very grateful for central air and heat.

Rant-ish

***I almost didn’t publish this.  It is too ugly and ranty and paints me in a way that I don’t want others to think of me.  But this is real, this was my day, this was my evening, these are my thoughts.  I tire of apologizing for being who I am, for my feelings, for exposing the uglies in my brain to the outside air.  I’m not perfect and I don’t expect anyone else to be.

i wont apologize for who i am

I have spent over half my life in the care of mental health professionals.  Since age 16, to be exact, although I can recall being required to see school counselors as early as the second grade.  What was it that was so terribly *wrong* at such a young age, that I needed to see a school counselor?  I don’t remember exactly, and I really don’t want to hear the real answer, but I do remember that I have always struggled in relationships with my peers.

That hasn’t really changed.  My on-again, off-again personality pushes people away, as does my clingy-ness and rapid mood changes and social awkwardness and tendency to shut down completely for months on end.  I have a handful of online friends, that I do keep in close contact with, and I have LarBear.  Otherwise, I have family — QoB, my dad, the Big Dawg…all close to me in one manner or another, varying from one time to another.

For me, that’s enough, and it’s almost more than I can handle sometimes.  I have added peer support to my treatment mix, and it is one more person that I have to handle, and to be honest, I haven’t handled her well.  I cancelled our appointment today, fifteen minutes before I was supposed to be there.  There is no common courtesy in that at all, and I can imagine she is pissed, but I wasn’t able to make myself leave the house and go to that appointment.

I tried getting her on the phone several times, but that is mission impossible because I am not allowed to have a phone number for her that actually rings her line.  When my call is transferred from the front desk, it literally rings to a phone that is not in existence, and then goes to her voicemail.  Voicemail that she checks once a day, at best.  I have left her countless voicemails before, only to get a response fifteen minutes before our next scheduled appointment.  What kind of support is it, when I can only have access to her within the confines of my appointment?  I have better access to my med treater than that, for crying out loud, and this person is supposed to be “support.”

I suppose this is just me demonizing another person and blaming and complaining.  It’s what I would be told, and you know, frankly, I’m getting really tired of having my feelings invalidated.  It really is no wonder to me that I can’t get along with anyone worth a damn, and it has been this way so long, and so severely, that I really don’t see another way.

DBT helps.  Of course it helps.  Does my current therapist know DBT?  No.  What do we talk about?  I’m not sure.  I can’t really remember from appointment to appointment, which makes me feel as if I am having no gains in that department.  The lapses in my memory are frequent and significant, and I know it is because I am numbing myself and distracting away negative feelings.  I am not allowing myself to live my life, I am trying to just get through it.

And I am back around to that DBT saying, you’re trying hard enough, and you can try harder.  I want to put that on a billboard in my front yard, so I can look out my window every five minutes and see it flashing at me in bright red.  It is very frustrating to me, that I feel I am being written off by the mental health staff at the center, as someone whose problems are in her head.

I am still straightening out a few things and a lot of sentences in my head, and maybe tomorrow or the next I can post more about why I feel kicked to the curb by my treaters, but for now, I need to calm down or I will never sleep.  Sleep would be good, it would be helpful, it would make matters better.  One can only hope.

That Sinking Feeling

It comes from almost nowhere.   Previous thoughts were joyful, content, happy, the feeling of “everything-gonna-be-ok” running free.  The sun has set on those thoughts, and in their place is negativity and uncertainty and noisy feelings of fear.  The “ups” never last too long, around here.

What I wouldn’t give to have the last few hours back, the last few days, the week…ha!  I never seem to enjoy the “up” as much as I should.  I take it for granted, because it always comes back, but I seem to remember that it goes away, too.

It doesn’t go away in a roar or even a remotely noticeable way.  It skitters like grains of sand across the ground, until it accumulates in a pile large enough for me to recognize that those feelings are back.  The feelings that I thought would be gone, at least for awhile longer.

This crockery that I am working on right now, the idea of mental health recovery.  Who am I even kidding?  How foolish of me to finally decide to buy-in to the idea, that someday, I wouldn’t have to worry about any symptoms.  Does that really happen to people in reality, or is it just something for the self-help workbook?  Or are people just fooling themselves?  I think that is more likely.

This time is slightly different, because this time I recall exactly what I was thinking when the negative thoughts started to roll in.  The thought in my head, singular, standing alone — “I am going to worry about myself and what I need, and stop putting everyone else first.”  That was the thought, the idea that sparked all of this downhill slide.

Just as I knew the downhill slide would come, and I would have to stay busy refuting all of the garbage in my head, I know with certainty that the “up” will come back.  It might be an hour and it might be an hour or a week or a month, but my money is on an hour or a day, because there is so much up and down in my brain right now.  No mood state is lasting very long.

So I’ll talk with LarBear and cry my eyes out and then maybe understand a little better what is going on.  What is underlying.  I have my suspicions, namely my poor physical health of late and the fact that I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow.  Let’s hope that’s what it is, and maybe I can even find some middle ground, and not just go “up.”  I simply thought it might be helpful me to document the exact “what” of the downward slide because hey, maybe someday I can change it.

There are bad feelings right now, but there is also hope, and hope must be fought for with every shred of self that one has.  Without hope, there is nothing, and with it, everything.

Wordless Wednesdays — Its the Little Things

Sometimes, the smallest things can bring inordinate amounts of joy.  I broke into song when this showed up on my door step yesterday!  Now I can actually write down addresses and phone numbers instead of asking people again and again for their contact information.  What a concept!

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