Removing the Option to Quit

Today is the first day that we have had actual Autumn-like weather.  It is dreary out, the days of sunshine prior are slowly erasing themselves from my memory, until it feels like every day for the past ten years has been this way.  This removal of hope that happens to me from time to time, it’s happening, and like I sometimes (but not always) do, this time I am refusing to give myself the option to quit on myself.

I have too much going for me to give up.  I can’t promise that the thoughts won’t sneak in, but for this moment and for at least today, I will not quit on myself.  I will keep plodding, one foot in front of the other, and I will come out victorious in the Spring, surviving and possibly even conquering this beast in my brain that seems to be so loud and demanding through the colder months.

Continuing on from my last post, that strategy of hunkering down and just slogging through it will remain, will keep on.  I am not going to detail the daily woes of life, because that gets me nowhere.  I accept that I am depressed, moving through a mixed cycle, cycling, paranoid, racing thoughts, nightmares, feeling unsafe, and avoiding most people, most places, most interactions.  I acknowledge and then I move forward.  Maybe tomorrow will be better, I really have no way of knowing for sure, but I can work my hardest to keep shuffling toward days filled with more sunlight and green carpets of grass and natural warmth on my skin.  I will not let today’s troubles swallow me whole, spitting me out to be useless and lying still on the carpet all day.

I will do the things I need to do, I will follow the lists, I will cherish my blessings, and I will persevere, because there is really no other acceptable answer.  Above all, remember that a simple kindness can be the push that gets a person through a hard day.  Don’t be shy, throw a pebble at my window.  I will likely be both surprised and grateful, and will almost certainly return the favor.

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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…

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Pretending to Believe

coffee-health-benefits-and-coffee-quotes-L-0JOka4There are three reasons I am coping today:

1) Coffee

2) LarBear

3) Kizzie

4) Lucy

Okay, so liquid brainpower, my boyfriend, and my two dogs are the only reasons that I am hanging onto a shred of sanity.  A very tenuous hold on the shred of sanity, I might add.

I have been up, up, up in the clouds lately.  Feeling like nothing could go wrong, like my world is in perfect order, like bipolar disorder had taken a vacation and left me with something that I laughingly call “recovery.”  My friends, there is just no such thing.  One does not “recover” from a severe and persistent mental illness.  One battles it on a day-to-day basis, one does not graduate into a life where there are no symptoms.

At least, that’s what I believe.  Today has been really rough.  There has been a lack of sleep thing going on for the past, hmmm, several months, and it is catching up with me.  I spent the entire day in tears, had to cancel all of my appointments, and, in general, I was forced into hibernation.

Right now, it’s been three minutes since the tears stopped, and they are starting back again, now that I am thinking about them again.  I refuse to let today ruin the progress that I have made lately, and I choose to believe that tomorrow might be a better day.  One day full of crying does not an episode make.  Of that, I am living proof

So, I will do what I know to do.  I will blog and I will journal and pet my dogs and ignore my phone and watch some trashy TV and read my book.

I will wake up in the morning and things will be all right again, I won’t be crying, and I can resume my precarious journey through this recovery thing that I don’t really believe exists, but that maybe one day I might believe in a little, if I just keep trying.imagesWFGPH81B

This Week in Gratitude

I used to do a link-up that was a 10-things of thankful, and I did quite enjoy doing it every weekend.  The format has changed now, and I can’t find any linkups, so I decided that at the end of every week, I will go out on my own and do a gratitude post.  There are so many things out there to be thankful for, yet it is easy to not bring them to one’s consciousness in a mindful way.  SO, this is part DBT exercise, part because-I-wanna exercise, and mostly because I want to remember the good stuff, for when the time are NOT so good.

Without further adeiu:

  1.  This week, I am thankful for the four-cup coffee pot my mom purchased for me.  I had a huge coffeepot before, and the result was always that I would drink the entire contents every morning, which would leave me sick.  Ok, so yes, no self-control.  To remedy the situation, I gave up caffeine, but have started to miss it oh-so-much, so this is the solution.  The theory — the less coffee that is made, the less I will drink.
  2. LarBear has been a champ this week (well, every week), but especially this week, with helping me get a caffeine fix every morning even when there was no coffee pot.  I’m not sure why a large coffee at McDonald’s must cost $1.95, but it is clear we will be saving money now with brewing it at home.  Oh, and LarBear can avoid going out in 25 degree weather, all for the sake of a cup of coffee.  I think he will appreciate that!
  3. The very small mouse problem that started a couple weeks ago in my basement (this is what happens when you live in the country), is no more, after Mom’s boyfriend hooked us up with some poison.  I placed it carefully where the dogs couldn’t get to it and there has not been one sign of a mouse ever since.
  4. I am thankful that I have found it within myself to continue to work on giving second chances and third chances and fourth chances to people in my life who, well, may not deserve it (from the outside looking in).  It can be really hard to give up on someone who has been around your entire life, although not impossible.
  5. In a related thankfulness/gratitude moment, I am grateful that I can still see the good in most people, even when it is buried very deep below the surface.
  6. I am excited about Thanksgiving plans, getting to see the Big Dawg’s side of the family, and possibly going to see my maternal grandfather’s side of the family a few days after the big Turkey Day.
  7. Somewhat related, I am very grateful that I am *with it* enough to think about doing these things, and being around all of these people (that I am not used to).  Baby steps, Rosa.
  8. I am grateful basketball season is upon us, and I have already made it to two games at the local college.  Go Bods!
  9. I am thankful for interpersonal communication effectiveness skills learned in DBT, as it seems like LarBear and I get clearer with each other every day, and my other relationships continue to improve, as well.
  10. I am grateful/thankful/proud that I have cranked out almost one post every other day for over a week, and don’t feel any signs of slowing down yet.  I am grateful people still read, still comment, still like, and still listen, even after all this time.  Some of my favorite people are my online blog friends, and I am glad I didn’t mess that up too terribly with my extended absence.

What are you grateful for this week?  Making these lists may seem a bit mundane now, but they are very helpful to look back on in the future when things might not be so rosy.  I know they have helped me tremendously!

Love Me A Little Louder

Love me a little louder

Some days are better than others.  That is God’s honest truth, whether you have bipolar disorder or are perfectly mentally healthy.  When I was in therapy with Goddess of Mindfulness (and sometimes QoB does this), it gets said that not all of the struggle in life is because of mental illness.  Some rough stuff is just life.  Life for me, you, the gal down the street, everyone.  Having bipolar disorder doesn’t mean that I hold the monopoly on psychic pain.  Psychic pain is a HUMAN thing.

I feel very fortunate in my life that I have a fairly large support system.  Of course, I have LarBear, but I also have my mom and her significant other, my dad and his significant other, my sister, and the Big Dawg.  Add to that, a smattering of specialists, doctors, therapists, the members of my DBT group, and other interested parties, and there is generally someone that I can turn to at some point in my day, if things are going astray.

My first choice, and this is increasingly true as time goes on, is to seek out LarBear.  He is the person who is always there, always has time (or makes time), and I count on for the majority of matters dealing with me being any sort of upset or sad or depressed or crying or anxious.  The main reason I do that, is because he is most available — we live together, and he knows my comings and goings and the details of our life better than anyone.

The next reason I do that, is because I feel like he really, really *gets* it.  We work hard on our relationship, and none of it is taken for granted.  We both come from pasts where we have been screwed around quite a bit, and we spend a great deal of time working on the relationship that we do have.  Things aren’t perfect, but we learn together and grow together and I can honestly say that every day, things get stronger and better between us…and that is only because we keep talking to each other and working to make things better.

Although I have been feeling better overall for the past while, I still have my ups and downs.  The lack of sunshine and the time change have really messed with my sleep, and the last few days of rain and gloom have not helped matters.  I have found myself feeling somewhat down, or at least until I can motivate to get up and do something and get out.

When I noticed this slight struggle within myself about a week ago, I immediately talked to LarBear about it.  Yes, I talked to some other people too, but more about technical things like whether or not to break out my sun lamp (ya, probably should!) and that sort of thing.  With LarBear, it was simple, and that is part of the beauty of LarBear, is that he does simple like no one else can.

He doesn’t lecture me and he doesn’t use the words shouldn’t and should.  At times he reminds me of a bright-eyed child, so trusting and open and unspoilt.  So when I tell LarBear that I’m having a hard time, he says to me that he will give me more hugs and kisses and any kind of help I need.  He said, we will get through this, we always do.  He says, we’re a team, we help each other.  He gives all of himself to me, and I have never, ever had that.

And then, he follows through on what he had said (which is all too uncommon in my world, it seems), and he does hug me and kiss me more, and check on me more, and go far out of his way to do sweet things for me (just because he can, I guess), and most importantly, he reminds me that I’m going to be ok, just being who I am.

We have been together slightly less than a year, but in many ways, I do get the feeling that I could spend the rest of my life with LarBear and be perfectly happy.  I think he gets that feeling, too.  We don’t dwell on it and we operate day by day, but when I’ve had a hard day, when things are rough, he does love me a little louder, without me even having to ask.  I don’t think there is anything better in the world, than that.

Can’t Find the Beat

The blog experts say you’re not supposed to apologize or try to explain away absences.  I feel that I want to talk about it, because it seems to be a recurring problem that I don’t want to have.  And since my blog is where I talk about such things, the blog experts will just have to go criticize elsewhere.

I must say, I had felt pretty committed to blogging every day after my therapist had recommended it and QoB and a few friends seconded it.  I did ok for a couple days, and now have had this big dry spell again.  On the days I don’t blog, I do try to blog.  I sit in my chair and I type and I type and I absolutely hate everything I write.  Hate it to the point that not even I want to read it.

I do better when I blog every day, and I don’t exactly have a lack of things going on, but I feel like I am lacking in brain-power, if that makes sense.  There is a fog that has been cast over me, and things don’t add up, not inside my brain, not between my brain and my heart.  And I can’t find the right words.  And I find myself not being able to string any sort of sentences together.  It is very frustrating, and I am not going to post the three or four sentences that I do manage to get out, because, well, they don’t make sense!  At least not to me.

I think another major thing holding me back is this sadness that is currently cast over life right now.  It’s not something I will blog about because of privacy c0ncerns, but it is hitting me hard and is pervading all areas of my life.

I am not depressed and don’t feel like I am headed that direction.  I am having a lot of anxiety, and I am sad.  Both tend to immobilize me, but on many days I am still getting out and doing social things, going to work, taking care of Kizzie, and taking care of my health.  It is nearly a pattern that, on my days off, you would think I would work at being productive and spend time going to appointments and seeing people, but its the opposite.  On those days off, I have jampacked my days on so full, that I am wiped out.

It’s like I literally need my days off to recuperate from every event, party, dinner invitation, and lost night’s sleep.  I am over-doing.  Over-doing is increasing my sad and anxious feelings.  It is immobilizing my writing.  It is taking over my happiness and my good feelings.

To end on a high note:

Two weeks, three days, 6 hours, 49 minutes and 42 seconds not smoking. 1037 cigarettes not smoked, saving $140.00. Life saved: 3 days, 14 hours, 25 minutes.

Hooray for that…that, I am still doing well on.

Every Day the Same

Low, low moments in time for Rosa.  It boggles my mind that I can have such great support and still feel such a wreck.  It boggles my mind that I can feel such a wreck and not let it show.  Sometimes I almost convince myself I feel fine, when I am in the heat of the moment, caught up in things.  It is when I am alone, when the lights are off and the sun has set, that the depression wriggles it’s way back into my brain.

I thought about blogging in the morning, because maybe then I could get a sense of how I feel fresh and new and ok, if just for that little bit.  DSB and I have our coffee, and I am ok.  My house is not a disaster and I don’t have laundry piled up and I have great plans for the day.  I’m gonna ___ and ___ and ___.  And then when I’m done, I’m g0nna write the blog post that will save the world in the most amazing way.

It’s laughable, really, how wide of a spectrum my mood travels during the course of a day.  Happy mornings, irritable mid-days, anxious afternoons, sometimes an easy evening, and then darkness, in the darkness.  It’s actually quite exhausting, and, come to think of it, am probably not getting enough sleep.

I have been staying up reading, addictively, on my new Paperwhite (sorry, I have probably only mentioned it 503 times since Christmas).  It is not holding a charge very well, but I think that  might be because I am using it far more than the 30 minutes a day it mentions when it mentions a “several week” battery charge.  I also leave the Wi-Fi on so I can download books at a moments notice and get updates.  That slows it down, too.  Moving on, no more Kindle drivel.

I know I haven’t mentioned it lately, but I am still not smoking.  I have some incredible stats to brag about:

One month, two weeks, two days, 12 hours, 0 minutes and 54 seconds. 2790 cigarettes not smoked, saving $354.33. Life saved: 1 week, 2 days, 16 hours, 30 minutes.

Yep, I’d say that’s pretty good.  Still with a few slip-ups, mostly one puff that leads to gagging and coughing and saying, “What the FUCK was I thinking?!?”  But I’m not gonna lie.  I miss smoking.  I miss the way it used to make me feel, the way I could hold it in my hand, the way it was a shared habit between me and people I care about.  And now I’m on the outside.  It’s actually pretty hard, more-so over the last several days.

Ok, now I’ve gotten off course.  Or maybe I haven’t.  This blog can be like my mood…up and down and all around.  I think I probably lost people after the first little bit and then they scan through the rest looking for something interesting.  Or, that could be my in-the-hole self-esteem talking.  I don’t know and at this very moment in time, I’m gonna go crawl into bed with my not-fully-charged Kindle and read.  And read and read and read, until it’s not so scary to go to sleep.

Good night and light me a candle when you get a minute.