Coming Up For Air

Holy hell it has been a whirlwind of the past few days! I’m ready for a vacation from my weekend.

*Random side note: I think if I actually saw a whale I would cry. Like seriously, how beautiful is this photo?!?*

If you read this post and this post, you will know that I have really been struggling with my mental health because of PMS. Throughout last week but specifically this past weekend, everything felt like it was falling apart.

This afternoon I finally felt like I could breathe properly. Like I could finally swim up to the top and take a massive gasp of air.

The morning was total shit. When I’m on my period or PMSing, I get angry so easily which was the definition of my morning. I woke up angry, showered in anger, I was angry working at my side gig and finally when I got home, a sigh of relief.

I had lunch with my mom, took a nap and when I woke up, everything seemed better. I felt like the rocky waves were finally calming down.

I’ve been able to get some work done tonight for my side gig which really shows that I am getting back to my semi-normal self.

The mental strain of severe PMS makes everything in life the absolute worst. Since this past week was so bad, I really want to find out what I can do to help with these intense emotions.

When I was sad this weekend, I was sobbing. When I was sleepy, I laid in bed for 5 hours doing nothing. I barely had the energy to watch anything! You know it’s bad when the thought of looking at a screen for multiple minutes sounds exhausting.

I debated dipping into old habits just because I felt like nothing else would make me feel any better.

I even had a freaking panic attack! Somehow I was able to calm myself down very quickly which I am proud of myself for. I am lucky that I almost never get panic attacks so when they happen randomly, it’s confusing for me.

This isn’t normal at all. I should not be feeling such intense mental pain when I’m already taking an antidepressant. It’s not a wimpy one either!

I’m sure I’m not the only person out there really struggling with their mental health when they are PMSing or on their period. I am going to keep you all updated so that maybe somehow somebody reading this doesn’t feel so alone.

I see my therapist in a few days so hopefully she has some answers for me.

Laying In Bed

I think I have come to the conclusion that my PMS is not just regular old PMS. I think that I have PMDD or something because this past week has been absolute hell for me.

I wrote earlier this week about how PMS amplifies my mental illness. This week has been way way way worse than normal. I can’t function at all!

I have been drowning in my depression for days. Today and yesterday I spent almost all day in bed. I haven’t showered since Friday and I have mostly lost my appetite. Today I am not crying every other minute like I was for the last few days so that is one positive thing!

Where I live we had a snow storm (that really wasn’t even that bad, we’ve totally had worse) so it’s been an excuse to stay inside and not do anything.

Today I keep saying, “I’ll get up at noon.” I stay in bed. “I’ll get up at 1.” I’m still in bed. “I’ll get up at 2.” I’m sitting up but I’m still in my bed.

While I’ve been in bed, negative thoughts keep buzzing in my mind. Stuff that I know I shouldn’t be thinking about but they don’t seem to want to leave me.

Thursday I have therapy so I’m going to talk with my therapist about this horrible week I’ve had. I don’t know if she will have any answers with how I can survive my next period but maybe she will have some ideas.

Online when I was looking for what people typically do for PMDD/severe PMS is to put them on birth control (I’m on it) or antidepressants (on that too). So right now I’m feeling that it’s all hopeless. That once a month I’m going to be losing my sanity and damaging my relationships and health.

I am not ok with that at all.

My mental health had been pretty good until Monday. I felt like I was on the top of a hill then pushed down into the fucking ocean to sink to the bottom where I’m wrapped up in seaweed.

Writing this is actually making me feel a little better. I might be able to get out of bed now, I’m not quite sure. I want to take a bubble bath but I can’t seem to find the energy.

Depression really drains me of all my energy. Doing the simplest task, like showering, seems nearly impossible. I hope I can survive this bullshit.

My Boss Made My Mental Health Worse

Working while having a mental illness can be incredibly difficult. I write and design for a non-profit organization which was a choice I made specifically for my mental health (and my bank account).

In my previous job at a local newspaper, I was one of a handle full of reporters covering a wide variety of news stories. My main beat when I left was religion, education, charity, police/fire and general news. Whenever there was a story that needed to be done about those topics, I was the one who was writing them.

I had always dreamed of being a reporter and I loved the actual work of it. I loved getting to meet so many people and tell their stories to the community. I loved seeing how my stories could make a difference in other people’s lives. There are a few stories that I hold close to my heart because of how deeply they meant to others.

I got a card in the mail once from the daughter of a woman that I had wrote about her mom. The mom had passed away and they had the story I wrote about her framed at her funeral. It brings tears to my eyes even now because of how that little story impacted their family and helped them to remember her in a special way.

It wasn’t the stress of doing a million stories at once or meeting deadlines. It was my freaking editor. I’ve never met anybody like this woman, she is absolutely crazy. I know that word can be upsetting for some but there is honestly no other way to describe her.

She has screamed at me, ripped my head off, chewed it up and spit it out onto the unvacuumed floor of the newsroom. I lived in constant fear of her. I worried that I was one story away from getting fired. Especially in the beginning, my stomach was in knots because I was so anxious about getting fired.

During many times when she made me cry, I would usually go into one of the single stall bathrooms or , if it was really bad, out to my car. I would usually be in there feeling like a total failure because of some mistake I made that my editor would intensify.

It was such a battle to love reporting but be terrified to walk into the newsroom.

So when I was asked to work at a local non-profit by my former boss, I jumped at the chance. Not only was I going to get paid more, I was going to be in a less stressful environment. I also believe strongly in the mission and the programs we have to help victims of violence and women and children experiencing homelessness.

Changing jobs really did help my mental health. I got my own office where I could cry in private, the stress was lower and I had a regular schedule instead of one that bounced around.

I still have depressive or anxious episodes that I have to ride out which happened today. I get very distracted when I have a thousand thoughts buzzing around in my brain. I can’t focus on whatever I’m supposed to do so I end up zoning out a bit.

In my next post, I’m going to give some suggestions about what I do to help when my mental health is making work nearly impossible.

Not Enough

My brain loves to take phrases that I find upsetting and play them on repeat. The past few days it has been saying, “you’re not good enough.”

As I’ve written before, I have always had this thought that I’ll never be good enough for anybody or anything. It is a fear and worry that has been engrained into my mind since I was little. I have no idea when it began but I’ve felt this way for a long time.

In regards to work, love, friends and everything lately I’ve been feeling less than.

On Friday at work I was getting close to having an anxiety attack because I was getting overwhelmed by my work load that had been piled on at the end of the day. I thought I had one thing to do but then my supervisor gave me a list!

I was crippled by the stress as the minutes ticked away while I was frozen in time getting no work done at all. I actually didn’t end up accomplishing any of the tasks before it was time to clock out which made me feel like a loser.

My boyfriend and I will be celebrating 2 years together next Thursday!! So exciting!

Despite my excitement to celebrate a huge milestone in our relationship, I can’t help but feel like I haven’t done enough to make him happy. That there are so many better women out there that he could be with instead of being with a disappointment.

I know that I will never be perfect, that’s not possible. I want to be good enough but I’ve never actually defined what that means. There is no criteria that I can meet. It’s just a vague phrase I ruminate on.

Maybe that is something to discuss during my next therapy session in a couple weeks.

Too Nice for My Own Good

In my previous post I talked about how an ex-friend had reached out to me looking to rekindle our friendship. It really put me into a boiling pot of anxiety because I wasn’t prepared for this and I don’t want to rekindle our friendship.

I hate being mean and knowing that I have hurt somebody’s feelings. I get serious guilt and I always have been that way even if I am standing up for myself. In my mind, being mean is bad and I should always be nice to others.

It gives me anxiety when I know I have to tell somebody no because I don’t want to upset that person. I am a people pleaser at heart, there’s no way to sugar coat it. It is a huge reason why I had put up with this ex-friend’s bullshit for so long.

I was afraid to stand up for myself for years in fear of hurting her feelings. That doesn’t even make sense!

In her and I’s texting conversation, that has taken up most of this week, she does not understand why I can’t move on from the horrible things she said to me. In her mind, it wasn’t a big deal and she “apologized” for it. It was such a fake apology, she said, “I’m sorry but…” which did not respect my feelings.

I finally told her how I have felt that I will never live up to these expectations she has of me. That I cannot live my life to please her because I need to make sure that I am happy first.

She is upset that I didn’t tell her I felt that way until now when I felt that way for so many years. Sure, I could have told her but I was afraid to. That trust kept breaking down and never getting built back up.

When all the trust was gone, for me the friendship was more or less over.

Even though I wrote a whole post about how I wanted to tell her thank you, next, now that the moment has come I feel like I can’t do it. Around her I have no courage, no strength to stand up for myself even when it is in my best interest.

I wish I could crawl under my covers, waiting until all of this crap has blown over. My natural instinct is to hide when things get tough, this situation is no different.

2018 Mental Health Accomplishments

I have come a long way in 2018 in my mental health. Certainly I have my horrible days where I struggle to get out of bed, struggle to focus at work and I use everything in my mental health emergency kit.

*Please don’t take this as some sort of bragging post especially if you have had an extra shit year.*

Thanks to my therapist affirming me, I feel like I can celebrate these moments.

1. Fewer Therapist Sessions — At the beginning of 2018, I saw my therapist once a week. As I continued to feel better, I went down to every other week for a good part of the year. Now I’m seeing her once a month which helps me stay on track and work through whatever is plaguing my mind.

2. Decreased Cutting — It’s been around 300 days since I last cut myself. This is something I have struggled with since 2011. I have done so good, I’m shocked. Sure I have had desires to hurt myself but I haven’t acted on them. It was difficult in the beginning but I hope I can keep this up. I haven’t gone longer than almost a year between cutting myself. Here are some tips about how to curb those urges.

3. Improved Mood — My mood has been pretty consistently good for the past couple months. I’m actually feeling pretty happy! Not every day is perfect, the other morning I struggled to get out of bed and some days anxiety doesn’t lose its grip. Feeling good has helped me realize that it is possible to take a breath above the rough of mental illness.

4. Very Few Anxiety Attacks — I always carry my bottle of Larazapam with me, it’s a medicine that calms me down when I’m having intense anxiety that I can’t shake. This year I think I have only had two anxiety attacks which is pretty good!

5. Decreased Suicidal Thoughts — 2018 is the first year since 2016 that my suicidal thoughts have not completely controlled my mind. I do sometimes have those thoughts but they are few and far between.

I think that’s all that I’ve accomplished. I have started writing this blog which has really helped me out in expressing myself and also relating to others who also have mental health problems.

I hope the last few days of 2018 are halfway decent for you! Stay strong, my readers!!

Stars in a Pitch Black Sky

I’ve always struggled with seeing the positive in my own life situations. If somebody else is telling me about an issue, I can usually grasp on to some sort of positive aspect to help that person feel better. But when it comes to me, I only see a dark sky with distant shining stars.

A few years ago I wrote a poem about how my depression is like a dark night sky filled with faint stars sprinkled throughout. It was to represent how I see the overwhelming bad in my life and see the positive things as so minuscule that they’re nearly insignificant.

I have been reflecting on 2018, trying to find some positives. It’s like the whole needle in a hay stack saying, I’m digging through all these negative thoughts trying to find a positive one.

I close my eyes and see shit like: my car being totaled in August, my current struggles with asthma, fights with my boyfriend, crying in my bed while watching Zootopia because I was so depressed, the numbers on the scale and all of the anxious/depressing thoughts that stick to my brain cells.

I wish I could see the good, I really do. Last week my therapist helped me see that I have made progress this year, check the post out here. I’m trying to see what she sees in me.

As I’m writing this there’s only 45 minutes left of Christmas, my favorite holiday, so I will be positive in this moment for Christmas. Today I felt happy to spend time with my family and show them how much I care for them.

Ok positivity over, back to our scheduled programming.

Do you struggle with finding positivity in your life? How do you find positivity within yourself? Leave me a comment! I would love to read it 🙂

Happy Christmas to my wonderful readers!!