Avoiding Self-Sabotaging Behaviors in the Mindfield of Current Happiness

Things are good, y’all.  I mean, really, really good.  LarBear and I are all moved into a really nice new (to us) home, things are organized, tons of junk and clutter has been purged, it looks good, hell, it even smells good.  There is nothing I don’t absolutely love about this new house.

And other things are good, too.  I started a mini dose of an antidepressant two weeks ago, and have had no manic symptoms.  I am slowly weaning off another medication that my psychiatrist believes is leading to my mysterious weight gain.

Things are going great with LarBear, have actually never been better.  I am in the most stable and healthy romantic relationship of my life.  We are a team and we lean on each other and we care for each other and we just make each others’ lives so incredibly much better than they ever have been.

I haven’t heard word one from my ex-step-father or any of his side of the family, and I am superbly grateful for that, and believe that has also gone a long way in minimizing my anxiety and stress level.  Getting rid of all that toxic negativity, it just did me such good.

So really, the problem is that there ARE no problems.  I went to therapy this week, and the first thing my therapist asked me, was what was I going to do to not sabotage the happiness I am finding?  Because that is what I do, it is what I have always done.  Happiness or contentment or joy have always been so fleeting for me, and it is always me chasing them off my own porch with a broom.

The answer to that question lies in many things.  First of all, how am I going to KNOW that I am sabotaging my happiness?  Well, I can spout out a short little list of things from just today that I have done to sabotage my happiness that range from picking a really silly fight (very short lived) with the LarBear to deciding to experiment with my Klonopin (as in not taking it even though I know that I really, really need it) to not taking a shower and getting dressed this morning (daily hygiene fail) to letting myself get too worked up about other people’s problems.

How do I let myself feel, or how do I reassure myself that it really IS okay to be happy, to feel joy, contentment?  I’m still working on that.  What my head always tell me is the inevitable — that it won’t last, it never has before, and its not going to start now.  My head goes on to remind me that Fall is upon us, meaning Winter soon, and that always spells horrors for my stability.

Does it have to, though?  Is it possible that I could make it through Fall and Winter relatively unscathed?  That I could keep up with my daily tasks and my hygiene and meds and relationship-building and therapy and all of the other daily skills, and maybe slide just fine through to Spring?

Well sure, I suppose it’s possible.  I just have to avoid all of these tiny self-sabotaging behaviors that I engage in, and focus on the more positive, skill building behaviors that I have been concentrating on lately.

Gee, Rosa, is that all you ask from yourself?  You are such a loser.

You see, that voice is there, so loud and strong, criticizing my every move.  It will take massive determination on my part to ignore it, to turn the mind, to practice opposite to emotion.  But I think I can.  I’m pretty sure I can, anyway.  Or at least I’m going to try.

What self-sabotage pitfalls do you find yourself getting tripped up by?  How do you keep yourself on a more positive path?  Do share your secret cures for all that ails…

Image result for respect yourself to walk away from anything that no longer

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Willfulness in the Face of Necessary Medication

Anxiety and frequent panic attacks have been the menu du jour for weeks, now.  I have had my Klonopin prescribed as a scheduled medication, have had the med treater add Xanax as a PRN, and have been trying various and different DBT skills.  Very little works.  It probably works a lot less, because I am not very compliant with taking three to four Klonopin per day at scheduled times, nor allowing myself to take any of the Xanax that have been prescribed.  I have tried explaining it to my therapist, the not wanting to take more and more medication, the not wanting to become a “Klonopin whore,” the not wanting to start an addiction (because life is rough enough with *just* your regular, garden-variety mental illnesses to combat every day).

This has been a “problem” for me over the years — my distaste for (what I see as) excessive use of addictive pharmaceuticals, and, in general, not wanting to let myself just be numbed out day after day.  Is it better to suffer the multiple-times-daily breakdowns, than it is to just take a wee bit of Klonopin here and there?  My brain and heart are in a battle over it.  Those who know me best, who see me on a regular basis, they plead with me just to take a Klonopin.  Why am I being so willful, over some damn Klonopin?  Just take one!  It won’t hurt!

I have had years worth of numbing myself out with various psychiatric medications, a very brief (very, very brief) relationship with marijuana in college, and a couple very short-lived love affairs with alcohol over my 35 years.  I say “No, thank you,” to all of it.  It may seem strange, like, “what Rosa, you don’t want to get some peace?  Even your med provider thinks it is a good idea!” but it is a different scenario in my mind.  I will never go back to alcohol, to marijuana, to popping this pill and that in the hopes that I will get a bit of relief.  I never let it get to a point where it destroys my life, but I have seen so many other lives destroyed by chemical dependency, and so it is very easy for me to say, “no, not for me.”

Could I just take a little bit of Klonopin here, a tiny nibble of Xanax there, and be just fine?  Yes, probably so.  I have a hard time justifying my refusal to take medications that are prescribed to me, and I revealed to my therapist this week that, really, what is behind this refusal to take medications is the thought, the feeling, that maybe I don’t feel I should be taking ANY medications.  Maybe I don’t really have bipolar disorder, maybe I can be one of those people with bipolar disorder that does not NEED medication, but can manage things with a strict schedule and diet and exercise and meditation.  Maybe I am meant to be medication-free.

At the exact moment these words come to my mouth, I know they are untrue.  I quickly scan through the years that I tried just that, to treat my bipolar disorder without medication, and just how very dangerous it was for me.  How many terrible situations I landed myself in, how I barely made it through living in the big city alive, how I hardly escaped not one but multiple abusive relationships, how the thoughts of wanting to die and dancing on the edge of the Earth with death and Satan, himself, were a daily occurrence.

So, yes, I am prescribed quite the boatload of psychotropic medication.  I don’t want to take it, but I will keep doing so because I know in the wisest part of wise mind, that it is that medication that is making me “stable enough” to exist as I am.  I will think some more about the Klonopin and the Xanax, and eventually the daily breakdowns will become too exhausting to continue, and I might try taking some.  I won’t like it, and I will worry that I am doping myself into a corner, about becoming a Klonopin-whore  but it is quite possible that a little bit of Klonopin and Xanax thrown down my gullet on a semi-regular basis will decrease the multiple daily breakdowns, and that is something that needs to happen.

mistake

 

 

Contentment With a Side of Panic Attacks

Life is fairly good these days.  I’m attributing it to plenty of sunshine and DBT and working hard in therapy and having more structure to my days.  There are some big changes on the horizon, like moving, and QoB *finally* retiring (maybe), but those are good changes.  While my mood has been fairly neutral, I have been having some physical symptoms that have been giving me trouble.

Physical symptoms that I decided were lithium poisoning, because that is where the problem  usually is, but when that wasn’t the answer (after a blood test) and the urgent care provider sent me to the Emergency Room, I was stunned that I hadn’t thought of this:

I was having every single one of these issues, a minimum of three separate episodes each day.  So, apparently, my anxiety (that I *knew* was high, but, um, it always is!) is manifesting into more physical problems.  Also known as, multiple panic attacks a day with very high anxiety between attacks.

So while I thought that I was mentally very healthy, because I was not feeling extremely depressed or extremely elevated, and because I was not having more than my usual amount of generalized anxiety, I misdiagnosed myself as having lithium poisoning or something wrong with my heart because it has been so long since I have had full-blown panic attacks.  I should note that these attacks almost always additionally come with gasping, sobbing, and cursing on the side.

I beat myself up that I didn’t realize my anxiety was so out of control before having this little Emergency Room epiphany, but I think that I was just so grateful to not feel extremely depressed, that I decided everything else was “fine” and that I was just “physically ill.”

I still “don’t feel good” physically and am going to need to get in to see my psychiatrist this week, but I am really not looking forward to that.  I reported increased anxiety at my last appointment, and I do have a PRN for anxiety that generally works.  It is only when the anxiety gets really blown up and into a full-on attack that seemingly nothing makes me feel any better.

I am curious.  Have any of my readers ever had something like this blow up out of nowhere?  I mean, it probably isn’t really “nowhere” and I just can’t pinpoint where it started.  Thoughts, feelings of commiseration, home cures (hahahah!!!)?

 

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.

The Sharp Pointy Things in Life

Whether you live with a mental illness or not, there are all sorts of events, large and small, that happen in life, that can sometimes come along and poke at the protective bubble you hold around your mind, your heart, your spirit…and sometimes, the bubble can burst.

I have been experiencing quite stable mental health for a briefly extended period, but the sharp pointy things in life today have me feeling quite down.  I have been furiously patching holes and strengthening weak spots and doing the time-honored “keep as busy as possible” routine.  Some days, that is just not enough.

I have been without one of my medications for two doses, without another for one dose.  This might not seem like a big deal, but, to me, it is HUGE.  A few missed doses can send me in a tailspin.  A few missed doses can mean the difference between a productive and upcoming Christmas-ing weekend, and a weekend spent hiding out in my couch bunker.

Still, I’m trying and pushing through.  I had the piss-poor idea to get on Facebook about an hour ago, wherein I learned of the sudden death of a former co-worker, made all the more sad because linked to that page, was the page of the obituary two years ago of her fiance, who I was also friends with at my last job.  He was killed in the line of duty on the police force.  I’m not sure what happened to her.  I know they both had very small children, and I know they both seemed like really nice and special people.

Of course, that also got me thinking about my former life working in the women’s prison, and working in mental health in general…and there was a pang in my chest and a tear in my eye and I clicked all of that mess shut and shoved it under the figurative bed.

Sadness, angst, horrific things on Facebook.  Sometimes I wonder why I belong.  Sometimes I wonder why every sad animal abuse story is on my feed, or why I pay any attention to the news.  It is distressing often, upsetting frequently.  And then there are the people, and the things they post, and the fact that I am often just shaking my head, thinking, “Hmmm, why do I even ASSOCIATE with these people?  People that could say these things, do these things, are interested in these things.”

I really think sometimes that Facebook brings out the worst in people.  I do find great inspirational sayings and funny things often, but the negative…wow, sometimes I think it really outweighs the good.

People often say, you must be careful what goes into your head.  This is why I don’t read certain books, don’t read certain magazines, listen to certain types of music, speak with certain people (at least very often).  I am, in general, very vigilant about what I feed my brain.

Except Facebook.  I let it in, every time, even when it punishes me for doing so.

Today has not been the best day.  I have fought all day to get a few prescriptions filled, and have had just ridiculous anxiety about the fact that I can’t seem to get them all taken care of.  The sharp pointy things of the day have deflated my balloon.

I’m not getting ready to go burrow my head in the covers and cry for my mama.  Instead, I’m sitting (as prescribed) in front of my sun lamp, and then I’m going to go to my aqua exercise class.  After that, who knows.  We baked a ham today, and the house smells good.  I am going to focus on that.

I am going to say:  Rosa, how can you possibly be in a bad mood when your house smells of finely roasted pig and you have family that loves you and a boyfriend that would do next to anything to make you feel better?

How, indeed?

How Not To Fuel the Fire

I have been a plus-size woman for the majority of my adult life.  Some years bigger than others (ahem…some DECADES bigger than others), but with the exception of a few years here and there, I have carried quite a bit of extra weight.  I have been extremely lucky, in that I have developed very few medical problems this extra weight.

Yes, I have sleep apnea and slightly high blood pressure, but both are easily treatable — one with a CPAP machine that I am devoted to wearing every time I lie down, and the blood pressure with a tiny dose of medication.  I again say, I have been extremely lucky, and I don’t really lose sight of that.  I know things could be much worse for my physical health because of my size (oy, and the smoking), but thanks to good genetics or the moon pulling the tides or what-have-you, I don’t suffer much with physical ills.

When I first started this blog over seven years ago, I was quite overweight, although not nearly to the degree I am now, and I actually DID have some health problems.  I joined Weight Watchers, dropped a bunch of weight, and walked three to ten miles a day (every day).  Unfortunately, I had a knee energy when I (foolishly) decided I was skinny enough to start running, and the scale has been on the uptick ever since.

For the past few months I have been feeling quite miserable physically, and I finally went and saw my primary care provider, who ran a bunch of labs.  It turned out that my fasting glucose was quite high, and she immediately decided that I had diabetes and she needed to prescribe Metformin (a diabetic medication) and all would be well.

Well, hellz no, lady!  With the 19 pills I take every morning and 24 I take every night for mental health issues, I’m not going to just throw another pill on top of things, all willy nilly.  SO, I asked her to test my A1C (it is more of an average of your blood sugar levels over a much longer period of time, rather than just the one instance).

And my A1C was NORMAL and my mononucleosis test came back NEGATIVE and so I am celebrating because…yay…I haven’t totally screwed my body up yet!  Now, of course, this doesn’t explain why I feel so awful physically, but at least I know that most of my labs are normal, so this is great news.

I spoke with my provider’s nurse, and my provider would like me to mostly eliminate carbohydrates and eat more fruits and vegetables.  I am going to take this under consideration, but I don’t want to do anything too extreme as I have a history of eating disorder, including but not limited to extreme preoccupation with food and calories.

I have not participated in *hardly* any eating disorder activity since LarBear and I have been together, and I want to keep it that way.  I don’t want to get really focused on a certain diet that I need to keep, and end up back where I used to be — all-consumed by anything that went into my mouth (and, similarly, that which was purged).  BUT, I do want to be a healthier person and I really do want to feel better physically so I can do more things.

There is the push and pull, now, that I need to lose weight and exercise more, and I do know that.  I am grateful I have yet to eff up the one body that I have been given on this planet (although I have really put it through quite the cycles of abuse) and so I feel very thankful for that.  I don’t want to worsen things, and turn that next A1C that I have to have drawn in two months into a problem number, but as stated before, don’t want to restart the eating disorder cycle (because it is the biggest bitch ever to get out of).

Any constructive thoughts are welcomed, desired, hoped-for, et cetera, ad nauseum!  😀

Treading Water, Full Speed Ahead

**TW FOR SUICIDAL IDEATION**

Stuck in time-space travel, living too far into the future, no focus, hyper-focused, zero attention span.  Do not care.  About that (although a little troublesome) or about much.  I’ve let most things I love and care about drop around my feet slowly, starting in August of last year, when my world was given the big smack-down and everything changed.

I’ve cycled through some hypomania and have as of late been mired in depression and super-fun mixed episodes, with a bit of giddy mania sandwiched in.  I have dropped blogging, family, friends, personal hygiene, my TV shows, my music, my books, my sanity, and the smoking and weight loss kick to find myself with a new boyfriend and far too much change and far too much crying, several times a day, every day.  Something is not right.

I feel as if I am living in a different world.  I don’t do the things that ground me.  I am trying new things and they sometimes make me quite miserable.  Cutting off ties to certain people leaves my belly churning and my chest tight.  On the flip of that, I am deliriously happy, ecstatic even at times.  And in the middle, irritable, wounded, striking out.  I am all and I am none.

I am eating Hamburger Helper and Ramen noodles and instant mashed potatoes, even though I can cook, and do cook well.  My body is so parched for moisture from a lack of self-care, that my feet are cracked, my skin rough, my hair thinning.  I do not recognize myself in a mirror.  I have important phone calls to make to set up appointments for my health and should try and see family more, but all I really want to do is stay up all night being whacked or lying in bed all day, broken.

I want to retain the good parts of my life and explore the new, rid myself of the negative or unhelpful, but I can’t make myself care enough to do anything about it.  I probably look fine, even good on the outside, like I am doing well.  But in mind and heart I have gone away.

I sometimes think about throwing myself on the mercy of the psychiatric hospital, or the local crisis services, but I don’t, because that only burdens everyone.  I stay safe because I keep boyfriend Larry at my side as much as I can.  There is only so much one can do, though, and he will get tired.  As with any other relationship, I am probably wrecking this one already with my craziness.

No real worries, friends.  I will keep on keeping myself safe.  These are only thoughts and feelings.  Reality is that there is love in my life and I would never do anything to hurt or abandon anyone in that fashion.