Gaining Freedom from a Stilted Life

via inkbeauty.wordpress.com

Wow, how things do change.  I mean really, completely, 180 degree change.  So much of me, who I am, what I do on a day-to-day basis, who I love, what I tolerate and don’t, what I strive for and what I brush to the side, what is important and what can wait…it has all changed.  None of it has changed overnight, but I would say that I am a very different person than I was in, say, 2012, when I had to give up on my last job and start the arduous process of re-inventing myself.

And again, in 2014, when a relationship had laid me out, broken in pieces on the floor, and it was necessary to re-invent.  Finally again over the course of the last two years, more re-inventing, and now, more knowing who I really am.  Finding yourself and finding recovery, finding things you never thought possible about yourself, coming to different conclusions about the same issues that had tripped you up over the years, coming to grips with various events (traumas, even) with the use of radical acceptance and direct pleas to a power above and hour upon hour of therapy and quiet introspection.

The most basic thing that has changed, with all of this reinvention and acceptance and coming-to-grips-business, is that I have destigmatized my mental illness, at least TO MYSELF.  I don’t see myself as bipolar Rosa anymore.  I see Rosa, who happens to deal with x, y, and z mental illnesses.  In my own head, over the years (many, many years), I had become my illness in my head, to myself.  I had boxed myself in, and put packing tape round and created this tiny little space that I thought I needed to live in.  It is only very recently that I realize that I can live in the world, and not just in the box, and it is even more recently that I can put words on it.

Three wise women (Thank you, Mom, Goddess of Mindfulness, and Marilyn) in my life have consistently reminded me that everything I go through is not due to a direct cause of bipolar disorder, or BPD, or PTSD, or any other label.  Much of what I go through, the hard times and the good times and most-of-the-times is just LIFE, and everyone else is also going through LIFE.  Sure, the disorders I deal with may affect my outlook on life, or may color my reactions to life, but a lot of the bad things that happen are happening, because life is happening, not because there is a certain label on my file.

I have more positive things going on, since I have accepted that I am not just a label, than ever before.  I have started my custom jewelry business, and am working hard at getting it off the ground, my symptoms are better controlled, I take better care of myself, I am a better girlfriend, and a better daughter and sister, I am exercising and I stay busy.  I am teaching myself from the ground up how to set boundaries with others, and while it can be altogether confusing, I am changing what behavior I will and won’t tolerate from other people.  I am reaching out.

There is a part of me that can’t believe that I am just now “getting this.”  There is a very small part of me that doesn’t understand why it took so long, or how I could have flailed for so long, but I try hard not to beat myself up about that part of it.  The point is that there is progress and there is moving forward.

This is all 34 years in the making, of course, and I’m fully aware that if I am not vigilant about doing the things every day that I must do in order to feel decent, that this could just derail and fly off the tracks.  Every day is a new challenge, every situation that comes about I am treating as new, teaching my mind and my heart how to do this life thing, and how to do it well.

 

I finally feel like I have some freedom, have some breathing room, and can be completely and totally and authentically Rosa, without feeling the need for a “yes, but…”  That is a big feeling, a huge feeling, a hard-to-describe feeling.  A punched-in-the-gut-and-can’t-breathe-feeling.  I finally see, life is strange, but it is also, so very beautiful, so very fragile, and so very worth-the-wait.

 

Making Choices About Who to Give Love and Time To

At some point, I made up my mind to stop projecting my thoughts of self-hatred onto other people.  I mean, I’ve made up my mind to do that a few times within the course of my life, but I have really committed to it, at this juncture.  I had grown tired of feeling belittled and invalidated by the comments of others, and found that, while sometimes the other person was at fault, sometimes it was all in my head.

Even keeping this in mind, there are times in our lives when we have to go through the people in our circle, and evaluate who is helping us and who is hurting us.  Sometimes it is the person we least suspect who is actually hurting us.  Often it is a person we don’t think of often, who we don’t talk to much, or just aren’t that close to anymore who is injecting poisonous and negative thoughts into our lives at every random encounter.

This has been the case with my life, I have found.  I have shored up my defenses and boundaries, where it really was lacking and was necessary, but found that I had a few little relationships with others here and there, some I thought very important, some not so much, that I have recently realized that I would simply be better off without.

Last week, I went about the process of figuring out how to terminate the peer mentor process that I have been going through.  After examining what happens at our appointments, thinking about what positives this time-consuming activity brings to my life, I realized that this program is not a good fit for me.  Very little productivity comes out of these meetings, and it is all too clear that my peer support person is working on nothing with me, and is in fact harming me with some of her suggestions.

She suggested I quit DBT groups.  Wow.  Really?  I mean, yes, they drive me crazy, but they are one of the main things keeping me going.  She doesn’t take medication, and is somewhat anti-medication, as well.  She has a negative view of LarBear, and is very opinionated and judgmental.  I just don’t feel I am getting anything positive from the relationship, and in fact I generally feel more anxious and worse in general (about myself) after I see her.

So, I made the decision after speaking with my DBT therapist and my regular therapist, and QoB, LarBear, so on and so forth.  I am no longer going to subject myself to these appointments just because I feel like I *should.*  I am also not willing to be in contact with someone who is flailing along, while trying to help me.  If you are a peer mentor, you should have your life at least somewhat together, you shouldn’t be laying out all of your own problems at each meeting, and I shouldn’t feel like I am the one giving you advice at all times.  I don’t feel comfortable in this relationship at all, anymore.  It is therefore over.

And that is exactly the problem I am having with a few of the smaller, more acquaintance-type relationships in my life.  As if I have explained myself over and over, and the other person isn’t willing (or able) to change.  And in some cases, I just feel like the other person doesn’t care, and I tire sometimes of chasing my tail to make other people happy.  I need to chase my tail to make myself happy, not to benefit other people.  Sometimes there is only so much you can give of yourself to others, and if they don’t give a little back, you can’t keep giving yourself, over and over.

One of the biggest parts of my mental health road right now is to surround myself with people that nurture me, not those who hurt me.  I am putting distance between myself and other people for a reason, and one of the biggest things, is if you never reach out to me, I might just stop reaching out to you.  What happens then?  Change has to happen, is what happens then, and if no change happens, then I might have to give up on some things that I thought could be good, because it turned out that they couldn’t.

 

Choosing To Not Give In

It seems that I have had a string of not-so-great days.  It is odd, because my stress should actually be decreasing, instead of skyrocketing.  I now have hot water, a working septic, and central air conditioning…which I hadn’t had for about a month.  Those little “daily tasks” which were made so difficult by lack of those things, have been made much easier, but my mood has begun to plummet into darkish places, and I’m running in place, trying to stop that downward trend.

In other news that should be reducing my stress level, QoB has decided to stay put right where she’s at, no moving hours away, and one would think THAT would make me feel better.  It doesn’t.  To further decrease my stress level, we don’t have to move into a rental, but she is finding a house that we can afford to buy and I have great credit, such to the point that I can get a mortgage in my name.  Her goal is for us to save money from the point we are paying out right now, in the new place, and still own.  So, it sounds perfect, does it not?  It sounds like all of my really big, fat, ugly stress problems should be gone, doesn’t it?

I know.  Shit.  That’s just not the case.  If anything, my anxiety is more pronounced, and I hate to say this, but my mood is going downhill.  Towards depressed, with increasing agitation and annoyance and irritation and flustery-blustery-yuck.  I don’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone, deal with anyone.  I am able to handle LarBear and the dogs, and that’s about it, other than brief interludes here and there.

I have no desire to do anything for the 4th of July, and if I were going to be frank about it, I’d say that, really, actually, I can’t stand the 4th of July.  Everyone drinking, small fires and explosions everywhere, I hate being outside in the dark, heck, I don’t like being away from home when it is dark outside.  I am afraid of the dark, at 34 years old.  The whole holiday seems entirely too much about alcohol and blowing things up and eating picnic food.  No, thanks.  I am officially done pretending that I like anything about the 4th of July celebrations.  I don’t even want a freaking sparkler or those poppers that you throw on the ground.

In trying to pinpoint where this increase in depressive symptoms, anxiety, and irritability comes from, I have made little progress.  I talked about it with my therapist today, and we think it could just be a cute little bipolar cycle.  Ya know, bipolar, making it’s rounds, duck-duck-duck-GOOSE!  The fact that changes are ahead doesn’t help, but at least they are more manageable changes than what they were going to be.  I mean, yes, LB and I will be moving, but the circumstances are better.  Other than that, much else stays the same.

So, like I said at the beginning, a few bad days does not make a bad life, and a few bad days doesn’t even make a bad episode.  I’m a few days away from this being an actual episode, and maybe I can calm it with enough DBT and Klonopin and ice cream, that it keeps from becoming an actual episode.  I certainly hope so.  I think, what is most disappointing to me, is that I almost had myself convinced that I had this disease whupped, as in, permanently, as in recovery = permanence.

I will keep choosing, every minute if necessary, to not have this rule my life:

 

 

The Very Real Possibility of Happiness, Contentment, (almost) Joy, and Semi-Stability

now

I often wonder where the term “finding happiness” comes from.  I suppose, were I to do enough Googling, I would find my answer.  As for my life, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to “find” happiness, convinced it was behind this corner or within that person or perhaps covered up by old memories.

What I have found, quite recently, is that happiness is not mine (or anyone’s) to find.  Happiness is a thing that must be made, produced, created.  Happiness is a thing that you might have spent a lot of time looking for, but which was there all along, a byproduct of the doings of your life.

finding happiness quotes

Through making a WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) with the assistance of my peer mentor, I uncovered and wrote down long lists of things and circumstances and people and ideas that cause me joy.  By hanging onto those things, and working from the list every day (as in, actually completing and working on activities and subjects within the WRAP), I have managed to increase not only my feelings of happiness and contentment, but also have greatly improved my distress tolerance skills.  A few examples of items on my WRAP include making jewelry, a conversation with a special friend, to more concrete matters, such as getting at least eight hours of sleep and avoiding any sort of caffeine after 11:00 a.m.  Through the WRAP, I uncovered the circumstances that cause me to be most happy, most joyful.  They weren’t activities or people or things that I had to search for, but rather are more like daily practices that tend to give me positive stability.

hopeful mindset

I know there are people who might think I am premature in determining that I am having any sort of STABILITY in my life, but I must disagree.  The contents of life, at this moment, are quite topsy turvy, and I am handling them with relatively little drama, tears, complaints, or tantrums.

I am learning to take things as they come, and continue to work on sitting with uncomfortable emotions until another emotion can come through.  I have hope in my life, like I have never had before.  I know, for certain, that this can be attributed almost solely to learning how to turn my mind away from the negative and face forward toward people and situations and circumstances and activities that bring me joy.  The longer one can sit with a feeling of joy, the greater, and longer lasting, the feelings of contentment and happiness will be.

I have much to be grateful for, and have come a long way lately on being more appreciative and thankful in my day-to-day life.  I must say, (and really can’t say enough) happiness takes practice and work, just as it takes practice and work to STAY miserable.  Sure, it is easier to bring oneself down with negativity and maladaptive behaviors and resistance to change and willfulness, and obviously so much more difficult to turn away from the train-wrecks-in-life, but it can be done.

DBT helps me turn my attention and stay in the moment and surf my emotions, and I am thoroughly grateful I have it in my life.  Were I not practicing mindfulness and gratitude and using my skills and being effective, I would definitely be having a difficult time right now, with all of the drama swirling around my life.  Fortunately for me (and for LarBear and any other close friends and family), I have been able to really focus on DBT and really focus on doing what is most effective, or what works best to keep myself on both feet.

Letting things go, letting really anything go that is disturbing my peace…that is what DBT has taught, and teaches me over and over, every day.  It must be a conscious practice, to let things go, and it is incredibly difficult to describe to a suffering person HOW exactly to do it.  Maybe starting with the statement that it *is* quite possible, is a good first step.

held on

Denial, DBT Skills, and the Onset of a Non-Typical Summer Vacation

dog happier

Without planning and without, really, even a second thought, I placed myself on summer vacation a few weeks ago.  I had been putting a lot of time and energy into DBT and using the skills, and I was getting frustrated with the other participants in my group.  It was (is) chock-full of people who don’t do their homework, who don’t complete their diary cards, and who are disruptive at any chance.

One of the women frequently gets angry and storms out, never to come back.  Why she is allowed to do that over and over and over, I do not know.  We DID all sign a contract that DID put some limitations on maladaptive behaviors (or therapy-avoiding behaviors, in this case).  While the storming out is, at best, quite disruptive and unsettling, it is mostly just annoying to me that this person walks out instead of using skills which she clearly should have something of a grasp on, one year into the program.  I mean, even a limited grasp, I would say.

But, don’tcha know, DBT is all about not being judgmental and meeting people where they are, and it is not I that am leading the group (although I have had enough DBT I could probably give a fairly good whack at it, and have already been told I have enough knowledge and experience to be a peer leader).  I decided that, while I have  mostly been focusing on distress tolerance and floating with emotion (rather than fighting), and doing urge surfing, I need now to focus on nonjudgemental stance.  That means focusing on not being judgmental of other people and, even trickier, not being judgmental of MYSELF.  Let’s just say it has not been an easy row to hoe.

My life outside of DBT has offered up plenty of opportunities for me to be harsh and critical and judgmental, as well as plenty of opportunities to leave me in complete hysterics for days on end.  I am happy to say that I have not succumed (much) to said hysterics, and am only indulging myself in small amounts of FTFO (otherwise known as “freaking the fuck out”).

I am allowing myself to ask LarBear and my dad for help, and I have been using interpersonal skills from DBT to get my needs met as far as setting boundaries and asking for what I want and need from pretty much any relationship I have at the moment.  It works, and if you don’t use it, you lose it, with the latter part of that being so very true, and the reason I always find myself back in formal DBT groups every few years.

Many a boulder of big news will roll down the proverbial hill in the next year or so, I would say.  Most of it is good, and the rest can best be classified as “unknown” for others, but neutral for me.  Because I have so many wonderful family members that read, I can’t go into too much detail at this very moment, but big changes are coming to my life, and so I find that I am using the start of my own “summer vacation” to just chill out a little bit.

You know, enjoy the good things in life and flat-out pretend that the bad are not happening.  Sometimes a little denial is all you need to get yourself through a day peacefully, and while it isn’t necessarily a coping skill that one should employ on an every-moment basis, it sure does make me more tolerable to be around and also keep me from hyperventilating about all of the stuff running around in my mind.

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

Clearly Clicking Ahead

Three weeks ago, it was Entirely Too Soon to tell you all just how much better it seemed that life was getting.  Now that I have had three weeks of relative (gasp!) happiness, steadiness of mood, positive feelings, and lack of severe depression, I am here to confirm that I am quite giddily at a (fairly) solid, maybe slightly elevated baseline.  After over a year of soul crushing depression that never let up for longer than a day during that period, what I feel most is sweet relief.  Over the past year, I was fairly positive that I was never going to ever, ever, ever experience a “happy day” ever again.  Thankfully, I was wrong.

lifeislovely

I feel clear-minded, I feel optimistic, I feel like issues can be worked on, I feel like my toolbox is full, I feel as if I have great love in my life.  I feel so good that I worry my mood is getting too elevated.  This feels a lot like hypomania, building into mania, but I would really like to believe that it’s just good, solid, level, positive feelings.  Bipolar disorder is cruel in that it makes a person unable to trust their own feelings, their emotions, their behaviors.

So, I choose to believe this is happiness.  I choose to believe that a combination of a happy home with LarBear and satisfaction with learning new things and the addition of quite a bit of mental health groups and programs has resulted in a happy Rosa.  It doesn’t hurt that it is Spring, and the weather has been beautiful.  It doesn’t hurt that I have finally crossed the line from willfulness to willingness, and that I am really and truly being honest with myself about my feelings and thoughts.

I have been keeping very busy, between DBT and individual therapy (both talk and art) and art groups and the newest addition, a peer mentor.  My mental health maintenance and my art are now primarily my “job.”  And really, I am working on it all several hours each day, but not so much that I am getting burned out and not so little that I am just sitting around wasting time.

I find that, the more time I can spend being creative and creating things, the happier I am.  For the last several months, it has been jewelry, and more recently, I have moved into papercrafting.  I find that I love learning new techniques and skills, and I find that I am quite good at working with my hands, which surprises me to no end.

I feel that, to make the creativity complete, I need to get back to writing regularly, even if it’s just a 300-word essay on the blog.  I miss it, and I miss the connections I make with other bloggers.  So, I’ll try once again and write semi-regularly.  That’s all I can do, is try.

My main goal, or the goal overall, is to not wallow in my misery.  That is easy to say when not depressed, but super terribly hard when in the depths.  For as long as I can, though, I am going to face any issues head-on, I am going to be effective, and I am going to use every skill I have to keep my mood relatively stable.

This happiness thing, whether it be hypomania on the road to mania or just true happiness, is something worth working for, something worth putting all of the eggs into the basket for.  To have felt the lowest of lows for so long, and to now feel like life is worth living and that the world around is so amazing and beautiful, yeah, I want to hang onto that.

happiness-flowchart

 

 

Entirely Too Soon to Tell

As recently as yesterday, I was tending to suicidal ideations and paranoid thoughts in my head.  As recently as three days ago, I was ready to go to inpatient hospitalization.  As recently as last week, I had spent the past three months in tears, every single day, for at least three to four hours, off and on.  For, it seems, the very longest time, maybe up to a year, even, with a few brief respites, I have fared with quite poor mental and emotional stability.

It is entirely too soon for me to tell you this, but I laid in bed for a very brief time tonight with itchy fingers.  Itchy to type and tell you the “news.”  Itchy to share my newfound hope, my clearheadedness, my thoughts that it feels as if my life has taken some sort of major turn, and it feels distinctly like Rosa in general is a well-loved Tetris game, and the blocks are falling in very satisfying configurations.

Just as the grass is getting greener and the buds on flowering trees are forming, I can almost hear a more positive and happy and WHOLE version of myself unfurling.  I am sure it sounds trite, convenient, unrealistic, impossible, and (let’s not mince words here) frigging annoying as fuck that I am spinning out into what appear to be much calmer waters with the onset of Spring.  It really IS too soon to tell…but I wanted to tell you, that’s what it feels like.

I have had so little joy, and have been buried quite deep really in the pits of despair for such a gawdawful long time, that I really feel the need to celebrate this first day of hope, of feeling satisfied with *things* in general.  The intellectual Rosa knows that this is my mood cycling up (but hopefully not “too” up) in pace with the weather, the time change.  The intellectual Rosa knows that this is almost another year (already???) of DBT under the belt, practicing it every day or as faithfully as the severely downtrodden and willful can.  It’s also another med change, although just a baby adjustment.

I have another idea about happiness in general, and I was oh-so-fortunate to find the following:

maybe happiness is

I ran across that gem on Facebook, and it spoke to me.  I saved the link at first (as I am apt to do with things that really speak to me but that I don’t want to share because otherwise I would share every other post some days), and then came back to look at it again the next day, and to be frank, I’ve looked at it no less than 30 times in the last week, thinking to myself, could this be?  Is this all “happiness” is? — which begs the question, why have I been letting the rest of the world determine what MY happiness is to ME?

Good question, Rosebud.  Its a good question and its a great question, and the answer for now is that I don’t have to have an answer to that.  What is best and what is good and will make me whole again, I fully believe, is to determine my own happiness.  Yes, that simple.  All of the willfulness in the world has been inside of my fragile psyche the majority of my life, and I (once again, for those who are counting) will be letting that go and putting willingness back in my  heart.

Today was so amazing and wonderful from a standpoint of making myself get things done and do things I have been afraid to do and fend for myself and not make the assumption that I am weak and hopeless and can’t do anything for myself.  So, since today was so great, and that’s what it was like, my new mantra, in addition to the one above, is simple.

I have identified happiness, and I know how to get there.  Or at least I did today.  Maybe someone can give me a nudge if this theory falls all to hell tomorrow or next week or in July.  And feel free to remind me that it was too soon to tell.  It’s really hard not to get excited when the shift is a complete game-changer.

proud

 

Tweaking the Crazy Recipe

According to the experts at WP, it has been 10 days since my last post.  Now, mind you, I have considered updating on several occasions, but have been extremely BUSY and IMPORTANT doing things like sleeping extra hours, watching copious amounts of basketball, doing everything I could to avoid getting dressed or showering, severely curtailing any limited contact I already had with the outside world, and backing out of every appointment and engagement possible.  BUSY, I tell you!  IMPORTANT, I’m saying!

selfish

Anytime something seemed remotely threatening to the tiny scrap of sanity I clutched in my sweaty palms this week, my answer was to retreat to my bed.  Phone ringing?  Bed.  Text message?  Bed.  Appointment?  Cancellation, then bed.  People wanting to swing by?  Ignore phone call, avoid with text message, go to bed.  Mess in the kitchen?  Bed.  Time to start thinking about a shower, or brushing my hair, or dragging a toothbrush across my mouth?  Bed.

Ok.  Apparently everything was threatening to my sanity.  Figuring out meals was terrible.  I wasn’t ever hungry, and I can’t just feed anything to LarBear (who has Crohn’s disease), and he can’t cook.  Stress multiplied by three!  Multiply that by one more, because I couldn’t conceptualize food because it was too difficult to think of when I could barely think of how I was going to keep myself alive, going into the next hour.

Up until late last night, I was having very intense self-harm thoughts and urges.  I hadn’t had self-harm thoughts or urges in years, although suicidal ideation is always hovering near the surface for me.  But self-harm, like harming myself just to harm myself, just for the release?  Wow, it has really been awhile, and for the past couple of weeks it has been intense and it has been SURPRISING and nasty and terrible.  I have spent ridiculous amounts of time trying to remember how I “got over that shit the last time.”  Hahahah!  Sorry, that’s funny, if you’ve been there, you know that.

And the answer to that — “how did I get over that shit the last time?” is, well…I don’t remember.  It’s a myriad of things, I have decided, that “gets one over” it.  Because you’re not really “getting over” it.  You’re more tamping it down, so that you don’t see it or hear it (until next time, right?) anymore.  I don’t think this stuff is every going to REALLY go away.  Like, AWAY, away.  It gets buried under other stuff, prettier stuff, healthier stuff, better stuff…you know, until next time.  And hopefully, the next time is a really, really long time away.  I think that’s really all I can hope for.  That the next time isn’t, ya know, tomorrow or next week or even, say, March.

What I do know is that the first thing I must personally do in order to “get over” this stuff, is to be ACTIVE in my pursuit of other feelings.  The passive push-away does not work for me, in ridding myself of these bad thoughts.  So, today I sought out good feelings, and actively pushed away bad feelings.

And today, January 31st, was a better day.

I went to church and sang very loudly.

LarBear and I went for a long drive.

I ate good food that was also healthy.

I talked to a friend.

I set boundaries with someone I have been meaning to set.

I made positive plans for the future, near and far.

I am blogging.

I have set my mind against taking other people’s crap into my own mind.

I have promised myself to try and stay out of bed, as a coping mechanism.

These are the things I did today.  I have many more plans for the start of February, and definitely do expect that I *may* have some success, just as I expect I *may* have some setbacks.  Part of getting better is making a conscious decision to get better, and that is something that I CAN do, that I HAVE done, that I AM doing.

content with who i am prayer

 

 

 

 

Rapid Cycling Tempered With Suicidal Ideation and Clarity (TW)

TRIGGER WARNING — mentions of suicidal ideation and self-harm thoughts

not giving up

I have been pondering doing ECT again for the past several days.  According to my mood tracker app, I have had six days in a row now where I have struggled desperately with suicidal and self-harm thoughts.  Had I been using the app for even longer, it would have shown some seriously ridiculous rapid cycling.  The up, the down, it never ends.  This last stretch has been particularly difficult.

I have opted not to go to the hospital or the crisis house, mostly because it is too hard to be away from my natural support system.  With the near-constant help from LarBear, and lots of support from Mom and Dad, and the support of friends, I have managed to stay safe.  There have been many times where I was *almost* not safe, and there was some self-harm behavior that I DID engage in, but I am still standing, still in once piece.  Upright, as I told a friend yesterday.

golden gate

And that’s the truth — there isn’t anything in my life that isn’t *fixable*.  Unfortunately, it isn’t a “magic wand” kind of fix or a pill I can take or a therapy I can do.  It is all, I believe, a mixture of many things that keep me alive and keep me from making that final step into the abyss.  I hover over the line, testing my toes across the edge, but I consistently pull back.

Because LarBear.

Because Kizzie.

Because my mom and my dad and my sister.

Because Oscar.

Whatever the “because” is, it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that I still have a “because,” and even several of them.  Even at my very worst, I can almost always keep in mind that I don’t want to leave these precious people behind.  It is a blessing that I can think this way, and it is only when I am unable to see their importance in my life that I will put myself into a hospital or a crisis house.

Oscar’s birthday was the 19th, and I meant to do a birthday post for him, but mentally wasn’t up to it.  I am going to try and crank one out in the next day or so anyway — he is two years old now, so I am pretty sure he won’t judge me too harshly for not being on time.

Yes, because Oscar.

Yes, because my sister.

Thank you, baby Jesus, that I have my family, that I have my LarBear, that I have my friends.  Without them, things would be very grim indeed.

And KINDNESS.  No, kindness is not overrated.  It is simple, while being complex, and is really so VERY easy, even though sometimes it’s hard.  So, because kindness.  You never know what someone is going through, right at this moment.  Be kind.  Smile at someone.  You could save a life, without knowing it.  I know I have seen some smiles in my life that have kept me from wrapping my car around a bridge abutment, from stepping out a window, from picking up that instrument of self-harm.  It really can do it.  Please smile at someone today.

lightens the burdens