100% Success Rate For Over 35 Years

That’s right, I have kept myself alive 100% of the time for over 35 years now.  Maybe that’s a funny way of looking at things, but when you live a life that very often involves suicidal ideation or, on the flip side, very dangerous and risky behavior, you have to figure that 100% is a pretty good number at the end of a 35 year stretch.

For all of the moments of “give up” I have had in the past, the fleeting “give ups” that I have at present, and the “give ups” that I know are going to be thoughts in my future as a person who deals with mental illness, I can say that, at this very moment in time, I have no “give ups” in me, at this current time.

Of course, that could change within the next hour or week or month or whatever period of time you can conceive of.  And, it probably will.  But when things are semi-ok, when I have a day, even just a single day where I feel like I have passed through like a semi-successful human being, I need to write it down, to commemorate it, to throw it a freaking ticker-tape parade.  Sometimes I can go really long stretches without a day like today, and every great once in awhile, I will have a string of “give up” free days.  I don’t have a string of them at the moment, but I have today.

Today was a pretty good day.  I had only very fleeting thoughts of going up, and for the most part my mind just kept pushing me to go on farther, harder, faster, better, more efficient, more brave.  I went into a craft store today, and I did not totally freak out while inside, and spent the better part of 30 minutes in there.  That is no small feat, because as a general rule for the past months, I go absolutely nowhere, not even usually to appointments.

But I had a gift card, and the wise mind part of me knows that, if I have materials that inspire me, I will be more likely to do crafting-type-stuff, which, generally, makes me feel a little better.  I pushed myself to go to the craft store, and I had my lucky, ever-consistent LarBear with me, and I did ok.  I didn’t do amazing or great, but I did ok, and I ended up with some new beads that I am pretty excited about.

Even bigger than that adventure, was the fact that I went into a Kwik Shop gas station and picked out my own bottle of water and used the restroom and stayed inside the whole time, even waiting in line with LarBear to pay, and didn’t flee to the safety of the car.  This is an even bigger deal because I have never ever been inside this gas station or into any place of business in this section of town.  I pushed myself because I knew I had to.  I pushed myself because I want to get better and be able to go more places.  And maybe, just maybe, I pushed so hard because I really, really needed to pee.  Whatever the motivation, I’ll take it.

I know I do better when I use skills like build mastery and build structure, which is basically exactly what it sounds like.  Building mastery can range from doing everyday things like cooking a meal to learning a new skill.  It is basically (in my eyes), anything that you can do that you can look at and say, “that is me being productive.”  Building structure is also just like it sounds, keeping a day full and not having too much down time.

Building structure and building mastery are the two skills that are going to give me real success, in the long run, if I can keep them up.  I am looking at what I have done today and I am pleased.  I have made a plan for what I am doing tomorrow, and I have detailed it out on paper.  If I can stick with it, I will have possibly another day of success.

A more stable length of time is started with stringing one day together after another, and so I have my evening yesterday when I made a new recipe and cleaned up the house a bit, and I have today, with the shopping and getting out in public and cooking a healthy dinner.  Hopefully I am able to follow through on tomorrow’s plans, or at least some variation.

Right now, at this moment, I have no “give up” in me, and there is really nothing else I can ask for, more than that.

Victory Laps

reverb13 - 400pxToday’s prompt from Reverb13, Day Seven is as follows:

Please post your favourite picture of yourself from 2013, self-portrait or otherwise!

And to Reverb13 and the dear Kat McNally, I have to just say “no, thanks” to this one.  I’d like to think I keep this blog fairly anonymous, and also, I don’t play well with cameras, in many ways.  So, no “selfie” of me, but I’ve already received Day Eight’s prompt, and will be participating tomorrow.  My regrets.  (But you really should go check out the links of people who did participate, because there are some good ones!)

But because I am liking this Reverb thing so much, I found another pr0ject by way of a new blog I am following, Jill at “A Thousand Shades of Gray.”  Apparently there is more than one Reverb host, so I was very pleased when I saw a different prompt at Project Reverb.  I’ve signed up, but haven’t received an email yet and can’t find a button, but I have seen what today’s prompt is on Jill’s website (and later on Project Reverb’s), so I’m just gonna go with it and file paperwork later.

Project Reverb’s Day Seven prompt is as follows:

Victory Laps: What was your biggest accomplishment of 2013?

I like the idea of doing a victory lap.  It’s fairly cold out right now, but perhaps if I were wearing different shoes or hadn’t just eaten a huge bowl of chili, I might make a lap around the neighborhood.  I had many accomplishments in 2013, but the one I am most proud of is somewhat vague.

My biggest accomplishment of 2013 is to have lived a whole year with the least bipolar disorder symptoms I have had in decades.  Decades, people.  I am not sure if that sentence makes sense, but life doesn’t always make sense.  I wrote what exactly what was in my brain when I wondered what my biggest accomplishment was, and this was it.

Some people might say it’s not an accomplishment because it can’t be measured.  I would argue that it can.  I have cried significantly less tears, had hundreds fewer breakdowns, gone on zero manic spending/sex/self-destructive sprees.  I am taking care of my house and it is a home.  I am a better girlfriend and partner in crime.  Now I can support DSB when he is going through a rough time, instead of the focus all being on me.

I am more in tune with myself.  I know when I need to take a “people break” and I do it.  I go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time in the morning.  I take my meds like I’m supposed to.  I play with my dogs, clean the kitchen, and go to the grocery store.  I organize the laundry room and put clean sheets on my bed and visit with family and friends.

These don’t sound like big things, I know.  They sound like everyday, normal things.  And they are.  But to me, they are huge, because a year ago, two, three, seven, ten, fifteen, and so on years ago, I couldn’t claim any of the above, at least not for any length of time.  And now it has been a year.  I year that I have kept my head screwed on, asked for help when I needed it, and have generally felt successful at life, if there is such a feeling.  I have even gutsed up the motivation to quit smoking.  I will be two weeks quit on Monday at 8:50 a.m.

I think I’m about ready for that victory lap.

 

 

When Your Mind Lies

In about an hour, I am going to see my uncle and Dad and do some serious hanging out.  When I posted yesterday, I was very nervous about how I would be perceived, because I don’t have a very positive concept of myself.  After a WTF talk with DSB, I was able to see that I am successful in some non-traditional ways.

A lot of the time, it seems like my mind and inner voice are lying to me.  Telling me I am not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, successful enough.  One of the things DSB pointed out to me is that I am always comparing myself to others.  This is also something my current therapist was working on with me several months ago in therapy.

No one is better than anyone else.  No one is worse than anyone else.  I can’t wrap my head around it, really.  We are all the same.  But we’re not!  I know this pattern of thinking is maladaptive and I think it is something I need to work on a little harder.  I really don’t think we’re all the same.  I think we’re all different, but not necessarily better or worse than the other.  Unless it’s me we’re comparing.  I’m always worse.

It is a constant fight to stay in wise mind, or to even get into wise mind.  I spend so much time in emotion mind and very little in rational, that my worldviews and thoughts and feelings swing dramatically moment by moment.  I am constantly in flux.  Is that normal?  I don’t think it is, really.  There is very little that I believe in that I can stick with, no matter what.

I know there is love in my life.  That is one thing I know for sure, but even then, a lot of times I am living in fear that it will go away.  So even on that one, most certain thing, I see cracks in the pavement.

I am much less nervous about seeing my uncle today than I was yesterday.  After DSB had his WTF talk with me, some of it is sticking to the inside of my brain…that I am successful in my own, non-traditional way.  For right now, I’m okay with that and I just need to keep it in mind.

Self-Loathing Right Below the Surface

As far as things go, I am still relatively stable.  I do, however, feel this downward trend as far as my self-concept goes.  As I have said before, I have been terribly hard on myself lately and I can’t seem to kick these negative thoughts that keep running through my head.

I find myself trying to force others to be openly and strongly critical of me, as crazy as that sounds.  I’m setting people up to say, “Rose, you failed and you are lazy and worthless and dumber than a box of rocks.”  Of course, the people that love me aren’t going to say that, but I continue my attempts at goading them into it.

Is it not enough for me to indulge repeatedly and constantly in self-flagellation, to continually think about my faults and weaknesses and shortcomings?  Do I really need to bring others into this nasty little circle of hell?

My uncle (my dad’s brother) is coming to town, is, in fact in town, and I will be meeting up with him and my dad tomorrow.  I haven’t seen this uncle in three years, and then only briefly (it was my sister’s wedding).  My uncle is super, killer, wicked smart, well-read, highly-educated, knows gobs about everything, and is nice and charming to boot.  He has two daughters who have done very well for themselves, one about to be married and working high-up in the financial world and the other off to med school.  He is very proud and he should be.  I’m proud of my cousins, too.  Anybody would be!

My uncle is visiting my sister and her husband tonight.  They are both wildly successful, if I haven’t mentioned it before, wildly intelligent, fun, witty, smart, and hip people.  I love them to bits and pieces.  Where am I going with this?

Oh yeah, ok.  I’m embarrassed.  I’m embarrassed of who I am and where my life has led and my circumstances.

******Entre DSB, who gives me a What the FUCK talk.

Back to what I was saying.  I actually have achieved a lot in the course of my life.  I am living with a very difficult mental illness and I am still alive.  I have ingested no drugs or alcohol for almost 16 months.  I have not been manic in over a year and not seriously depressed in almost six.  I have a very part-time job in my parents’ retail store and I manage that okay.  There is a roof over my head that I can call mine, I (usually) can put a decent dinner on the table, and I have DSB, my best friend and my everything.  I have the strong love of my family and two pups that love me.

I might not be successful in a traditional way, but I think in my own little way, I am.

Have I mentioned that I am having wildly vacillating emotions as of late?  This blog  post might give that away if I haven’t already.