Resurfacing After a Period of Extreme Selfishness

I have barely looked at another blog, have stopped interacting with nearly everyone I follow on FaceBook, have ceased communications with the small handful of people that I had usually communicated with on a semi-regular basis, and I went underground.  My friend Marilyn had talked to me previously about hunkering down and waiting for the storms to pass, and I guess maybe I took that to extremes a bit.

The positive news about my (relatively) short hiatus from all others in my world is that:

  1.  I have been smoke-free since January 3rd.  Parts of it were hard, parts of it were nearly impossible, but I have made it this far and I don’t plan on turning back.  As a bonus to this accomplishment, I did this without totally wearing out my (now) miniaturized support system.  (as in, no dogs or boyfriends or close family members were harmed in the obtaining of over three months smoke free…yay!)
  2. I have lost 67ish pounds since December, thanks to a healthy eating plan (that is sustainable in the long-run) and almost-daily aerobic exercise.  It turns out that “those people” were actually right about exercise being good for your mood, body, and overall well-being.
  3. I have become “more social.”  That doesn’t mean I am hitting up the grocery store or going to parties or any such nonsense.  It means that, at the YMCA where I exercise every day, it is kind of similar to how it was on the long-ago “Cheers” sitcom, where everyone really DOES know my name.  I must say, it does make exercising easier, to have all of those supportive people around.
  4. I have more “stuff” figured out in my life.  Although therapy  has been helpful, I have mostly grown in life because I am learning what makes me happy and I am learning to say “no” when something doesn’t feel good and I am (constantly) trying something new every day to grow myself.

I have missed blogging pretty terribly, and have missed some of my blog friends even more, but my hopes is that I can reconnect with people easier now that I am a bit more stable.  I would love to start writing in this thing again.  I don’t know if anyone really cares about that, save for me, but I do miss writing things out.  I have been keeping an altered art journal, and writing pretty regularly in that by hand, and I plan to keep that up, but again, am hoping to maybe throw a few words up in this space every now and again.

If there is a thought in your head that I have forgotten about you, chances are pretty much 99% that this is not the case, that I just needed to disappear for awhile.  I am not going to do a bunch of shout-outs right here and now, just know I have missed you and I hope we can catch up soon.  I am bringing a happier, calmer, and healthier Rosa to the table, and I hope you stop by and say hi soon!

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Hunkering Down: Wise Advice From an Even Wiser Friend

A rough few days had left me feeling emotionally raw, reactive, completely in emotion mind.  Without a shred of reason to be found within  my decidedly ailing body, mind, spirit, I phoned a friend.  Kind of like you can do on that show, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” although I’m not sure that show is still on or if it’s still played that way.  Either way, the premise is the same — unsure of yourself, phone a friend and get some insight.

I didn’t directly ask for advice, but she knows me pretty well and she told me something she has told me time and time again — not everything is because of mental illness, a lot of it is just life.  Life sucking, maybe, but just life, not a symptom.  Not something to have a med change over or make any sort of drastic change over.  Her advice to me:  hunker down, a lot of it will pass.

And she’s right, a lot of this will pass.  A lot of the bad feelings are from having several major changes and being uber-busy, and now the settling comes.  We are moved, settling in, the house is set up, settle down a little more, make new routines, practice better habits, interact more or less or not at all with certain people.  Change, a lot of it, over the past few months, and change, even more than that, over the past couple of years.

It’s time to settle down, let the dust clear, see what shakes out.  Feeling bad doesn’t necessarily mean I need to have a med increase or a routine change or for anything AT ALL to happen.  My friend’s wise words, “hunker down,” made so much sense when she said them.  They made even more sense when I sat on my front porch in the fresh air, with the sun shining warmth on my face, contrasting with the cool breeze through my hair.

It was funny when Dad said almost the same thing not even an hour later, except he said, “I’m glad you were able to defend in place today and keep from going to the hospital.”  He said that, because this morning I was feeling terrible enough that I was thinking of going to the hospital, and I cancelled on seeing him or my nephew.

So, defend in place, hunker down, that’s what is going to be happening for me.  Can’t hurt, might help.

Image result for pass like a kidney stone meme

I Have A Plan

I vacillate between trying very hard to use DBT skills and basic coping skills and all of the “tools in my toolbox” and throwing my hands up in the air.

The Rosa of the past didn’t believe in recovery, and the Rosa of the current still isn’t sure about “recovery” from mental illness, in general.  Do I think things can get better, yes.  Do I think they can stay that way, not really.

After my therapy session yesterday, I have come away with a few goals.  Goals that the Rosa of before would not have meshed with.

They are, in no particular order:

1) Daily hygiene every day, plus a bonus if I can put on makeup and try to pretty myself up.

2) Sun lamp 30 minutes, two times a day.

3) More time out of the house, doing what, it really doesn’t matter.

4) Eventually get back to the pool.  The staph infection issue is ongoing, so I can’t do much about this right now.

5) Stop thinking about the zebras.  You know, the zebras, the constant and negative thoughts that come from the brain.  Try replacing the zebras with a giraffe, or an elephant, or maybe a cute teacup pig.

I have come to the conclusion that I can’t fret about my weight too much at this point, because it is clear that it will be an extra-supreme challenge in which I may or may not have to make serious decisions.  The plan is to continue eating right, with small meals, and try to increase fruit/veggie intake.

Above all else, I will continue to avoid negativity and will cut it out of any corner of my life in which it will be lurking.  This may mean cutting some people out of my life, but so be it.  I actually went through the million blogs I follow and unfollowed some that are simply always so negative without even a hint of positivity or solutions that may be found.  Bloggers that wrote all the time about things that were triggering to me were deleted, too.  I hope someday I can come back and read some of those, but I simply can’t right now.  Chances are, it’s not your blog I stopped following.  Most of those people don’t read me.

I am going to have to do something different with jewelry/crafting, and I’m not sure what that is, but I’ll think of something.  I don’t think I am going to meet the October 14th deadline of having pieces in for the holiday show, but at this point I think it is more than I can manage.

I may be starting an adaptive yoga group that my art therapist is trying to get together.  I am excited about that.  As in, yoga I can actually do, maybe seated at a chair or in some other fashion.  I really hope she is able to get some numbers together so I can start that.

Day by day, broken down into manageable chunks, I will get through Fall, Winter, Hell of Winter, Spring of Winter.  I will because I always do, and there is no point in giving up now.

A Splash of Reality, An Explanation of Sorts

I last wrote a few days ago about the immense changes I have undergone with respect to my person, over the last few years.  It was a sunny post and a hopeful post, with nary a mention of even a minute of negative head space.

That afternoon, I read an article about “Myths of Disability,” which didn’t faze me too much, but I was stunned by what I read in the comment section. I always feel possessed to at least glance through the comment section of everything I read.  I’m uncertain why, especially when there is often such rampant negativity, ignorance, and misunderstanding.

(On a side note, it always makes me feel a bit better about the general positive trend of the comments section of my own blog and *most* of my blog friends)

What I gleaned from this particular comments section, is that there are people out there (how many, I’m not sure) who believe that people who live with disability are “less than” and therefore “deserve less than” and also are (!!) “mostly scamming the system.”

As I was reading these comments, I was thinking back to positive blog posts I have written, where the sun has been peeking out of thunderheads that had been gathered for weeks, months, years, and I wondered to myself, if I post something positive, do people presume that I am “cured” or in some way, “without problems?”

In other words, am I giving off the impression that all is perfect and life is full of sunshine and unicorns and glitter, and that it will stay that way forever and ever?  I certainly hope not.  What I am attempting to get across is that, in anyone’s life, there is good and bad, but that you can change your reaction to and perception of events so that it is less harmful to your emotional well-being.  DBT skills have taught me (and continue to teach me) how to do that, how to change my reaction and perception of events, people, feelings, circumstances.

What I celebrate in positive posts is the MOMENT, and I celebrate the current moment for being increasingly positive, because I know that the next moment or the following moment or next Thursday or in November or in 2017 that there WILL be down times.  I will fall, stumble, flail, be unable/unwilling to pick myself up at *some* point, and at that point, I will start the process all over again.

I fully accept and understand that my life will always be tinged by mental illness, but that I have learned how to pick myself up and carry on as best I can, also fully knowing and accepting that I will have to repeat that cycle of life over and over and over until I am buried and gone.  Do I do myself some sort of disservice during times of fewer symptoms to celebrate, to write obsessively and glowingly about how good life feels in this moment, here, today, now?

I really don’t think so, because when hard times hit (and they will, eventually), I can look back at these positive entries and they do give me hope, tiny little bits of hope that my situation and mood and circumstance and flight pattern WILL change, yet again, and again, and again.  I will be reinventing myself over and over for the rest of my life, in some sort of haunted synchronicity with the chemical ups and downs of mental illness, and that might sound yucky, but that is my life, and I choose to love it.  In this moment.

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 (Muddling Through, Not-Giving-Up Version)

Well, I couldn’t find a current TToT anywhere to link to, but I know that these things happen on the weekends, and its the weekend (I think…ha!), so I’m going to throw it up here anyway.  Life has been a series of ultra-rapid-cycling bull-stuff, going on, so some of this may be a stretch, and some of it might only make sense to me, but I’m going to continue on anyway, because I have made it this far, and I will not give up:

  1. The realization that certain persons may not give a damn, to the degree that I had previously thought.  I really want to be done asking myself why I try so hard with certain people.  Other people, more deserving people, could be getting that love that is so thrown away by others.
  2. The realization that certain persons DO give a damn, more so than I had originally thought.  I would really like to stop asking myself WHY (and questioning!) these people love me the way they do, and instead enjoy it.  These people, would be the more deserving people of the love I have to spread around.
  3. Pandora Radio — one of the only things keeping me remotely sane, is playing nearly 24/7
  4. Mostly positive Christmas celebrations.  Meaningful exchanges, warm conversation, good food, flickering fireplaces.
  5. Love.  Even though I am feeling up and down, around and around, I still have love.  Granted, I am realizing that some love I thought existed does not, I have newly-opened-eyes to how huge the love is of certain persons.
  6. The ability to turn my mind.  I may have to practice it over and over, repeat, repeat, repeat, but I CAN turn my mind, if only for a moment.
  7. Not impulsively burning bridges, and realizing that this has served me well over the years.
  8. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) — thank you for teaching me how to save my own life, once again
  9. The possibilities of addressing deeper issues in the new year in therapy, possibly looking at doing EMDR.
  10. Having learned to ask questions when I need validation or support.

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Favorite Version (Good Intentions)

good intentions

 

You know what they say about good intentions, right, friend?  How they done paved dat dere road to Hell.  Well, you know, I think sometimes maybe that fits and works, but sometimes it is our good intentions that hold us together like a favorite, old, comfortable, unraveling sweater.

It is only through good intentions that the Rosa I love best is here, today.  The Rosa that I enjoy the most, who laughs and makes jokes and tries to comfort those around her holds hands and has a kind word.  The Rosa that is there for people, struggling to get out of herself.

The Rosa that decides to try a brand-new recipe on a whim with no fear, the Rosa that hobbles to the damn pool and practices weightless exercises until time stands still and the chlorine lingers in the nostrils for hours.  Who talks to strangers, smiles at small children, hugs fiercely.  Who cries herself awake and then turns to precious LarBear for comfort, knowing it will always be given.

Is passionate about more than how long it is possible to stay in bed, completely immobile.  That girl that does things and has a good time doing them and fights back when the darkness starts circling come around nightfall every evening.

She is my favorite, and she might be your favorite, too — its easy to love the one who battles and battles and fights back some more, even when it seems like all those neurochemicals zipping around upstairs are dead-set against any happiness today.  Its worth acknowledging that it isn’t easy being this version, no matter how lovable.  Because it’s a constant up-and-down, and while there is more “up” than “down,” the downs are quite low.

So there are a lot of tears and a lot of gasping sobs and big empty and vast fields of grey fog, covering the blackness of night.  But instead of giving in, which, really, is what the urge is every day — there is always, always forward movement.

More activities, more people, more places to go and see and things to do.  Build structure, build mastery, practice living in the moment.  This moment won’t come again, precious steps must be taken to pay attention, to not avoid or ignore it into oblivion.