The Ten Things I Can’t Seem to Admit to in Therapy

fb_img_1473011462730.jpg

This will end up being a list post, but I want to first interject that it is hard as hell living with mental illness and every good day should be celebrated.  Don’t get me wrong, there HAVE been good days, and there will be more.  Right now, what I am trying to purge from my system is all the negative stuff that I can’t seem to talk about in the place where I need to the most:

1) My nightmares have come to the point again where I am terrified of sleep, terrified of bed.

2) The stuff of nightmares keeps me from wanting to leave the house…like, ever

3)  I have not seen the inside of any type of store, including even a convenience store, in over two months.  I have not even tried.  There are people in there, you realize.

4)  I have been hiding my crying spells.  From my therapist, my med doc, my art therapist, LarBear, my mom, my dad.  I know what crying spells mean, and I don’t want anyone to know it is happening at an alarming rate at this point in time.

5)  I absolutely cannot manage without Klonopin at scheduled times throughout the day.  I keep trying to skip it, and I keep having breakdowns and am told to take my Klonopin.

6)  I am stuck with my jewelry.  It’s not fun to make, to plan, to do.  I feel absolutely defeated by the lack of activity on my Facebook page for it, and I end up giving it away because I don’t think it is good enough, anyway, to sell, and neither, apparently, does anyone else.

7)  I am very close to giving up on some various people in my life.  I decided a while back to no longer be in contact with my ex-step-father.  I am very close to that in a few other relationships.  I am tired of caring and not getting caring back.

8)  I don’t feel like there is a safe place for me to go whenever (if) home begins to feel unsafe.  They use the crisis house as an overflow for social detox — the award for fuckhead of the year goes to whoever made that decision, because if I am sick enough to be there, I am too sick to not be taken advantage by one of those addicts.

9)  My weight is at an all-time high, and I am not sure what else to do.  Sure, I need to move more, but I eat quite healthfully and smaller-size portions, and Seroquel (my psychiatrists guess) or the tides of the moon or terrible chemistry makes me gain ten pounds if I so much as look at a cheeseburger.  I have completely stopped bingeing, and I am gaining weight.  There seems little fairness in that.

10)  I get tired of feeling depressed constantly, so I often put on that mask that says everything is fine.   Dear Mental Health Gods:  I am really, really tired of having to do that.  Most things in my life are going swimmingly right now, can I please catch a break?

Advertisements

Throw a Bunch of Thoughts into the Pot

sunshine in three days

It has been a very up-and-down three days since I released from the residential crisis center.  To start with, the weather has been crap, or (to be more accurate) severe, and I am tired of rain, tired of thunder, and very tired of keeping up with two dogs who suffer from varying degrees of thunder and storm phobia.  I told my mom I was going to order them and myself a doggie thundershirt.  Yes, they really are driving me that crazy (ier???).

After reading a friend’s post about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I realized that some of my angst might be coming from a lack of sunlight, so I have my sunlamp blazing now, and I just pray it doesn’t throw me into a manic spiral.  It seems like the last month or so, I have experienced the true ick of rapid cycling, and to say it hasn’t been fun is an understatement.  Right now, this moment, I am desperate to feel just a little better, so in front of the sunlamp I will sit, until the bipolar devil on my left shoulder releases it’s talons from my flesh a bit.

I spoke with my peer mentor yesterday, and the conversation that I was worried about went just fine.  We are going to start meeting twice per week for 90 minutes each session, which is what I wanted.  She states that she never received any word that I was at the crisis house, including the Trust Quotes (9)voicemails I sent her and her unit secretary.  I don’t believe her.  I completely think she is lying, but it just shows that you can’t trust people.  Which is sad, because before all of that happened, I had been thinking about trusting her more than the average human being.  Now, I’m not so sure.  It isn’t easy for me to trust people in the first place, and my faith in people is easily lost.  What is different about me, is that I do give people many, many, many chances.  So, while I am not trusting her so much at the moment, she is going to get another chance.

Now that I have pushed through the suicidal ideation and self-harm thoughts of the past little while, I find I am stuck with huge spikes in my anxiety level.  I have spoken with a few people about it, and my therapist today even wanted me to go into the hospital.  I am not going into the hospital unless I am at a danger to harm myself, and I’m not, so therefore I will figure out the anxiety problem while I am living at home.

I’ve read a few interesting articles on evening anxiety, including this one because it talks directly about anxiety specifically in the evenings.  Every evening between four and five o’clock, I am having a very severe anxiety spike.  This has happened with regularity for over a week, since before I was in the crisis residence, and has happened at other times in my life as well.  I have a hard time when it gets dark outside, but its light at that time right now, although I do notice a further anxiety spike as the sun falls.  My mom and I jokingly have said for years that I have “sundowners,” which is a worsening of symptoms typical in Alzheimer’s patients at dusk.

Obviously I don’t have Alzheimer’s, but I have never been able to figure out why evenings are so difficult for me, other than maybe for trauma reasons.  I think it also has to do with my fear of the dark, which hasFear-of-the-Darkbecome more pronounced as I age for some reason.  Those little things that go “bump!” in the night…full body shiver.  I do believe all of that also relates to my issues with sleep and near-constant nightmares.  It is ALL related, I do believe.  I just have to figure out how to ease my unease.

 

image by listzblog.com

A Bit Strange — More Crunch, Less Smoosh

fcdfd66470319086f82e3faff37a5935

The last bit has been so very up and down, my moods so quickly changeable, intense.  Many tears shed, even more maniacal laughter.  Sarcasm sharper than sharp, my brain is afire and I find myself plucking “damn, that’s good!” phrases and one-liners from it at random, and feeling prideful, in a sense, that my brain is so damn wonderful.  The up and down is fast becoming more of an “up” and hopefully, not a “too up” up.  If you had to ask me right this second how I will feel tomorrow, I really wouldn’t know where to begin but would bet on “elevated.”

Memories have been haunting me lately.  I attribute it to listening to a lot of different music, and also on the fact that my brain is whirring along faster than ever with the subtraction of a very sedating sleep medication that I decided I no longer wanted to take.  Belsomra…that stuff is of the devil himself.  So, I took myself off the “anti-nightmare” medication Clonidine, as well, because it just wasn’t working.  As my psychiatrist often says, no point taking something that doesn’t work.

I happen to know things are getting better (or at least more interesting) for my mental health because I can identify so closely with the word photos in this post.

i can and i will

I had a really great day today.  I made it back to the gym and my water-walking, I helped my mom roll almost three dozen burritos, LarBear and I have been clicking along, and I have all this new-found energy.  Great things build upon itty bitty good things, I have found, throughout life.  If I can just get started, I can be dangerous.  I’m like a snowball coming down the top of the hill that just keeps gaining new snow and getting bigger and wilder and faster.  Hmmm, this does not make it sound so positive, but it does FEEL positive.

I am working really hard in DBT on judgement.  Judgement of self, but other people, too.  First focusing on my own self-judgement, and the rest will follow.  I am trying not to judge my quick thoughts and upbeat mood and newfound energy, and to just accept them as they are, not try to label.

That’s hard, and if you have any kind of disorder in your life, you know that.  You know the SIGNS, man!  The warning signals.  I am glad the cycling isn’t so rapid right at the moment, but I WILL keep an eye on things if I continue to get racier in my brain and louder in the mouth.  I am so stinking tired of med changes and most days would like to get rid of them altogether, but the constant TWEAK that seems necessary is annoying.

I really must listen to one more song, smoke one more cigarette, drink a little more Crystal Lite, and try to go to bed.  I have a full day of things tomorrow, because I WILL be doing things, while I have the energy, seeing as it seems to be so fleeting.

via

via

 

 

Hand on My Back

It is late, almost 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.  I woke up at 1:30 a.m. with terrific nightmares, the sweats, and a pounding heart.  This happens anywhere between once per week, to three or four times per week.  Lately, the nightmares have been getting better.  Of course, they are still there, but they hadn’t been affecting me as much.

So far, I have been able to keep things pretty steady even in the face of the insurmountable nightmares, night terrors, whatever you want to call them.  There are certain things that tend to set me off, however, and there have been no shortage of these *things.”

Many of my dreams are nightmares within which it is the end of the world (quite literally), and I am running to save my life.  Running from being raped, being beaten, frantically searching for a person (usually my sister) or an animal (always Kizzie).  In most cases, my sister or Kizzie are also being beaten, raped, tortured.  I have been through plenty of nasty domestic violence, but these scenes from my sleeping brain are quite vivid.

The dreams share similarities of what I feel in real life, and here lately, with the attacks in Paris and a person in my inner circle who constantly talks about the end of the world (as we know it), I get more and more hyped up into these nightmares.  I have learned to tell the person in my inner circle to not talk about these things around me, but as the world turns, some people have very little filter, or at the very least, not much ability to slap the muzzle on themselves when it comes things they find so very *true.*

So while my body screams out to lay down, my contrary brain shoots messages that all is not well, things are not safe, staying awake (at this point) is necessary.  I have been dealing with this problem for most of my adult life, and even a bit into childhood and adolescence — the bad dreams.  They come and they go, wax and wane, intensify and fade.

At some point, I decide I am safe and release the death grip I have on the computer mouse, ease myself out of my computer chair, and lie down.  At this point in my life, I have LarBear, and I use him as a tool, and snuggle up to him and get extra kisses and fall asleep with his hand in the middle of my back, no doubt with him able to feel the steady thump-thump of my heart.

For every nastiness about Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, Anxiety, and the lot, there is a warm hand on my back, held out from the man I love more on this world than anything, and that, my friends, is something to be ever grateful for.  Nightmares come and go, true love doesn’t fade.

O.K., Wild One!

Okay, so maybe “wild” isn’t the right word.  Hypomania?  Mania, even?  What started out as just some “really great” feelings has evolved into something more.  I’m not sleeping but three or four hours a night, and those hours aren’t all at one time.  Nightmares have come on with an even greater vengeance.  I find my thoughts to be confused and jumbled and quite speedy, my speech is pressured, and one day seems to capture ten different mood shifts.

No bueno, my friends.  I did go to see the amazing psychiatrist last week and he increased my Lithium and added Seroquel as a PRN show-stopper of sorts, but I have had little relief.  Especially in the sleep department.  My tolerance for other humans has begun to shrink, and even my feelings of empathy for the puppies in my life who struggle with fireworks and thunder and every other loud noise have been diminished.

I miss blogging every day, but most days I find that I just don’t have much to say.  Or much to say that I think bears repeating from my tired old brain.  Sometimes I think I should just throw it out there anyway, but I don’t.  I admire bloggers who do it day-in-and-out, and maybe I’ll get back there some day.  I think I would have a hard time throwing RosieSmrtiePants away altogether, and don’t think that day is coming anytime soon.  Maybe I could embrace a weekly blogging schedule.  You know, a SCHEDULE.  Gah!

So many things in life are better these days, so it is really aggravating to me that I must still be on the bipolar circus ride of up-down-all-around.  I have resigned myself to think that perhaps it will ALWAYS be that way.  I mean, if the past 33 years is any indication anyway.  I comfort myself by reminding Rosa that at least the current state of affairs does not 100% revolve around depression and anxiety.  Yay for mania (except, ick, really) for keeping things interesting and here’s to a goal of no hysterical crying for 24 hours.

We all have goals, am I right?  ;). Sure do love y’all!

Who I Am

Here we are, Day 37 post DSB-break-up.  I couldn’t be more thrilled with my new-found freedom, spare time, lack of anxiety, and re-connection with family.  I mean thrilled, over-the-moon.  What I am less thrilled with is the basic and simple fact that I have to work, REALLY HARD, at figuring out this new life again.

images (4)

You know, what it means to be single, to not be tied down.  While I used to have a very rigid schedule, everything is very loose now.  It bothers me, to a degree.  I feel like I am reinventing Rosa, and in a way, I guess I am.  The Rosa of the past two years put up with way too much shit, had her self-esteem slowly chipped away, and mentally blocked out all of the “wrongness” that was the relationship with DSB.

images (5)

But I see it now.  I see it clearly.  I see where I should have stood my ground, made different choices, forced him to leave much earlier in the game.  The minute he tried keeping me from my family, or badmouthing them, I should have ended it.  I didn’t, and I have nightmares about it, frankly.  About how I gave up my family for a relationship that really wasn’t all that great, or healthy.

images (6)

 

I feel a lot of shame, am actually really burdened down by shame and guilt.  The Rosa of the last two years is not the Rosa I want to be.  And I’m changing things, sometimes in little steps, sometimes in huge leaps of faith.  It’s hard, though.  I have great family and friend support, but I am lacking something.  I think I know what it is, but I’m not positive.  What I think I am facing is a deep sense of uncertainty and insecurity.

images (7)

Because I feel like I’m reinventing myself, I also feel like I don’t know who I really am.  I’m uncertain about what I like and don’t like, what I will put up with and I won’t.  I worry that my reactions to certain things are either over-the-top or not intense enough.  I feel wildly varying emotions about so many issues, so many people, so many subjects, and just so many things.  And along with that, I have had two cycles in the past month, and just when I’m feeling good, something crops up and I feel like all the progress I have made has been obliterated.

images (8)

I’m not saying that’s how it is, but just that it FEELS that way.  I feel lost a lot of the time, and a lot of the time I’m putting on a happy face when inside I’m in a rage about something or I’m so agitated I can barely focus on what it is I’m supposed to be doing.  Lost.  Lost.  Lost.  I am like a ship out at sea that has lost it’s navigational system.  No way back to dry land, to safety.  But isn’t it safe HERE?  NOW?

images (9)

I am good with life changing, but it seems so huge, so dramatic.  I feel like a totally different person now than when I was with DSB.  It feels good to be able to do what I want to be, but there is so much uncertainty now.  Before, I knew where I had to be at what times and what I was supposed to be doing.  Now, there is no plan, there is no schedule.  I’m living life flying by the seat of my pants and it terrifies me.  I don’t feel secure in this person I am trying to be and I feel very unsure about what I should be doing on a minute-to-minute basis.  Before, it was all planned out and orchestrated.  Now, well, like I said!  Seat of your pants!

When this song first came out, my grandpa had passed, but my grandma was still around.  I’d substitute Grandma’s name for the one in the song, and the line about looking like my dad and momma being my biggest fan were (and still are) SO TRUE.  This song really grounded me during a time where, again, I didn’t know who I was.  I’ve listened to it four times now on repeat, after writing everything above (which frankly, needed to come out either way), and it is grounding me again, like it once did back when times were rough.

If I live to be a hundred
And never see the seven wonders
That’ll be alright
If I don’t make it to the big leagues
If I never win a Grammy
I’m gonna be just fine
Cause I know exactly who I am

I am Rosemary’s granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done my momma’s still my biggest fan
Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy
But I’ve got friends that love me
And they know just where I stand
It’s all a part of me
And that’s who I am

So when I make a big mistake
And when I fall flat on my face
I know I’ll be alright
Should my tender heart be broken
I will cry those teardrops knowing
I will be just fine
Cause nothing changes who I am

I am Rosemary’s granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done my momma’s still my biggest fan
Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy
But I’ve got friends that love me
And they know just where I stand
It’s all a part of me
And that’s who I am

I’m a saint and I’m a sinner
I’m a loser; I’m a winner
I am steady and unstable
I’m young, but I am able

I am Rosemary’s granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done my momma’s still my biggest fan
Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy
But I’ve got friends that love me
And they know where I stand
It’s all a part of me
And that’s who I am

I am Rosemary’s granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done my momma’s still my biggest fan
Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy
But I’ve got friends that love me
And they know where I stand
It’s all a part of me
And that’s who I am
That’s who I am

 

 

Hazy Memories, Please

I was going to do today’s Daily Prompt about memories, but I decided I needed to take a rest and just put my feet up for a bit first.  When I came home after work today, I felt tired and just really out-of-sorts.  We have all been working really hard the past few weeks and it’s starting to take it’s toll.  I almost never nap, but today was different.

As soon as I came home, the first things I did were to get more water and to play with the Kizzer dog for a good half hour.  I then sat, smoking, staring at my computer screen.  I didn’t have the energy to catch up on blog reading and I didn’t feel like writing.  I just felt like laying down.  So I did, expecting that the amazingness I felt as soon as I did would linger but that I would stay awake.

In the five years since I received my CPAP, it has come to the point where I literally can’t fall asleep without it.  And haven’t.  Until today.  I woke up two hours later and felt refreshed.  At least a little less pissy.  And I started to think about memories.

I had a dream about DSB just before I woke up.  In the dream, I was crying my heart out and begging him to stay.  He said nothing.  I cried some more.  He left.  I woke up with this strong tug in my heart and then I realized, “oh yeah, I’m not missing him.”  And I’m not.  I’m not really even missing the good times, because I see them so clearly now for what they are.

Memories.  The Daily Prompt wants to know if “vivid and recent” or “those that time has covered in a sweet haze” are better.  I really don’t think I have a clear answer to that.  The memories I prefer are the good ones — and it doesn’t matter if they’re 10 minutes or 30 years old.  You can have a really good memory that is old and vivid, just as you can have a new memory that is sweetly hazy.

Bipolar disorder does something to your memory and I know Goddess of Mindfulness has explained it, several pdocs have, and I’ve looked it up.  In the midst of an episode, you might not retain memories well, and you might not be able to retrieve already existing memories well.  I don’t remember the science of it, but that’s the gist.

I am thankful every morning that I wake up, and don’t have a trauma-based nightmare.  I think of these nightmares as those traumatic memories coming alive while I’m sleeping.  They can eat your shit up.  Fast.  When I start to have them, I know something is awry, and I do something about it.  Fast.

I have memories from two to three years ago that are bathed in the haze of mania, and I’m glad those memories aren’t vivid.  I did some seriously stupid shit during that time.  Just as I have memories bathed in a haze of depression for other, more, many times in my life.  I don’t like most of those memories, because when you’re depressed, you tend to only remember the bad stuff.

So, Mr. Daily Prompt — I prefer my memories to be of any age, but I would prefer the hazed version.  Life day to day in my world is vivid enough — I don’t need them racing around in my head, replaying all day and night.