Getting Back to “Normal”

My period is over so I’ve, for the most part, returned to my “normal” self. All of my emotions that were at a peak have calmed down.

I met with my therapist this past Thursday and I cried the entire time. It felt so good to have a safe place where I could discuss my fears and cry with somebody who knows me.

Sure I pay her to hear me sob but it is worth every penny.

She helped me to rationalize some of my worries and put everything that had been frantically flying around in my skull into some sort of order.

By the end of our session I felt relieved. I calmed down before I left and set a session earlier than I normally would have if I was doing fine.

Yesterday and today I have been productive enough to make up for last weekend when I couldn’t get out of bed or shower. My mood is up and I’ve been eating vegetables instead of solely carbs, ice cream and chocolate.

It is such a whirlwind to be feeling like I want to end my life in one moment to feeling relatively content the next. There are so many ups and downs that it gives me whiplash sometimes. And I’ve had whiplash and it’s not enjoyable!

I am hoping that I can keep my depression and anxiety in check this week despite work being busy. In my two weeks of hell from my PMDD and period, I have found some new coping mechanisms! I’ll share them with you in case you are looking for some fresh ideas.

  1. Keep Items with a Happy Memory Close — I don’t think I thought about this before but having something that has a positive memory attached to it can lift your spirits. For example I put on a bright blue nail polish that I bought in Florence, Italy when I was on coach tour across Europe. I look at my nails and think of the amazing time that I had which gives me a little boost.
  2. ASMR — When this whole ASMR thing got popular, I thought it was kind of bullshit. But what I found was that I enjoy ones where they are cooking especially if there are crunchy vegetables being chopped up. What I’ve been loving is Peaceful Cuisine, it’s a Japanese guy who makes vegan food. Since I’m learning Japanese, it also helps me to read the ingredients in the language.

I hope that two little tips can help if you’re in a pickle jar right now. I’ll keep you all updated on how I fair this week!

Stay strong, everybody!!

My Brain Hates Me

My suicidal thoughts and urges to self harm are back with a vengeance. I haven’t had these incredibly strong thoughts buzzing in my brain for a long time.

For months my mental health was really good, I truly felt like myself.

Don’t worry reading this, I don’t plan to act on any of my brain’s ideas. I’m doing my very best to rationalize everything. My therapist has told me to not believe every thought my brain creates because my brain tells me lies. I am seeing her tomorrow so we can talk about all of this.

My brain tells me that if I kill myself, I will make the rest of the world happier. That until I end my life, cutting is the only way that I can ease the pain of my depression.

Like wtf!?

To somebody who has never struggled with mental illness and has to fight their own brain every single day, those previous sentences probably make no sense. They make no sense to me as I read those words back to myself.

Mental illness puts us into this mindset where nothing makes any logical sense. Your brain bullies you into a corner shouting all sorts of stuff that it wants you to take as fact.

Right now, my brain is doing exactly that. I don’t know if it’s just a wave of depression or maybe my antidepressant isn’t working as well anymore.

It makes me sad knowing that this time last month I was happy. I was totally content with everything but now it has all gone to shit.

When I get into this state my therapist says to list some things that are going well and what I am looking forward to. So here it goes!

What’s going well?
– I ate 2 carrots today
– I got all my work done at work today
– I painted my nails blue

What am I looking forward to?
– Ariana Grande’s new album comes out on Feb. 8
– I think I’ll get to eat cake at work tomorrow
– Therapy tomorrow

That took me a little bit but I made it through!

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!!