Mental Health & Feminine Health

If you don’t like to hear about periods then this is not the post for you. I have some other great ones you can check out, just keep scrolling!

As a cis woman, I’ve dealt with my period since I was in sixth grade. I remember calling my friend Stephanie telling her, “I got my period!!” because that’s what middle school girls do. Well that’s what they did in 2004 so I don’t know what they do now.

Since then I have struggled with all the miseries that come with it. Especially as an adult, PMS and mental illness mixed together make for such a roller coaster ride of an experience for me.

It’s like putting two horrible things together, like olives and mayo. Both vile in their own special way.

PMS amplifies my depression and anxiety to heights that often leave me laying in bed with tears streaming down my face. All of those hormones swimming around give my mental illness a megaphone where it shouts so much louder than it does when I’m not on my period or PMSing.

I’m getting my period next week so I have been extra sensitive about everything. I’ve had two days where I laid in bed for over three hours because my depression and anxiety was so bad. I tried to make myself feel better by watching an anime but that only made me cry more!

For years I have dreaded that special time of the month because of how much it messes with me. I’m not sure if I’m the only one out there who goes through a similar thing but if you know what it’s like please leave me a comment!

If you struggle with this too, I hope that you can be strong in this!

 

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.

How My Physical Health Impacts My Mental Health

If I’m not feeling good physically, I’m often not feeling good mentally either. There is some sort of correlation between the two, at least in my experience.

For about 3 weeks I have been really struggling with my asthma. I’ve had asthma since I was a kid but have never experienced what I’m going through right now.

I’m taking multiple medicines to help me breathe. Every 4 hours I have to use a nebulizer to relieve the tightness in my chest. Sure it is a nice way to take a break from my day to breathe into a smokey plastic cup but I’m mentally tired of it.

Because this is not my usual life, I’m growing frustrated with each passing day. It makes me feel hopeless, that I am going to have to live this way for the rest of my life.

My depression takes over and tells me that my worry is true. That I will have to take medicine this heavily for a long time.

I’m not sure what is causing my asthma issues because nothing has changed in my life. I’m living in the same house, working in the same office and I don’t surround myself with my usual triggers (smoke, highly fragranced shit).

I have cleaned everything and have kept up with it. I started cleaning my blankets on the weekends and mid-week to cut down on the cat dander from my long-haired fluffs. I even clean with a freaking mask on to prevent me from breathing in any dust particles or fumes from cleaning supplies (which I have changed to more natural options). Lysol makes me die.

I won’t find out what more I can do until the end of January when I see my asthma doctor. I feel hopeless that he won’t even know what to do. He will tell me that this is my life and I have to live my life in a certain way now.

Feeling this way makes me want to curl up in my bed and never leave.

I hope everyone else is having a fantastic New Year! May this year be one where we can all survive and thrive through our mental illnesses.

I love all of you who regularly read, like, comment or have subscribed. I seriously appreciate you all so so so much!

My Fears: I’m Not Good Enough

Like my fear that everyone pretends to like me, I’ve had the worry that I’ll never be good enough. I think that is the overarching phrase of my entire existence.

As a child I never thought I was good enough to be a part of anything special or succeed in academics, sports or music.

I remember being in 5th grade, I was selected to be a part of the Four Mile Singers (the school was called Four Mile, hence the name) which was a special singing ensemble for 5th graders.

I went up to my music teacher and told him that I didn’t deserve to be in Four Mile Singers because it was for special people. I told him that I was not special therefore I shouldn’t be in it.

I have blocked that memory out for the most part but every once in a while it creeps back up in my brain. It’s quite painful to think about.

I loved playing the piano but I have never thought I was very good. I took lessons from kindergarten through 12th grade.

I would compare myself to the other students who took lessons from the same teacher. I would hear them play and think, “Wow, I wish I could play like them. They have so much talent!”

By the time I got to high school, I rarely performed in recitals on my own. I would become so incredibly anxious that I would fuck it all up. So my teacher would pair me with other students to do duets, duals and quartets. I loved doing those! I felt confident because I had other people around me to support me.

With friends and boyfriends, I have always thought that they secretly hated me. I’ve always thought that they would leave because I was not enough for them. That I couldn’t provide whatever they were searching for so they would leave to find somebody who could fill that void.

As I am growing up I am feeling this a little less. I am confident in my relationship with my boyfriend, I know that he loves me. I have only a few friends in my actual life (outside from social media and texting). The couple that I have will reach out to chat or even take the lengths to spend time with me.

Every day I have to work towards self-acceptance. I need to accept myself for who I am, not look at what I lack. I do not need to live my life to meet the standards of others. 

May 2019 bring some more self-acceptance! I will be doing a New Years goals list this month. Follow me so you can check it out!

Fear of being Fired

Lately I’ve been incredibly nervous that I’m performing poorly at my full-time job and my side hustle. Both involve me writing for two different organizations plus doing some design work and social media managing.

Let’s start at my side gig where my real anxiety lies.

I’m incredibly thankful to have something on the side to bring in some extra cash every month and give me additional writing experience. I’ve was hired in April 2017 because my boss loved the writing I did about them as a reporter.

He said, “Megan, I’m going to talk to the board and try to convince them to bring you on board.”

It all worked out! I really enjoy writing for them but my boss is a perfectionist. He might even be a robot, I’m not 100% sure though.

My anxiety tells me that my work won’t be good enough in his eyes and eventually grow tired of my work then sack me.

Here’s the thing: I have no evidence or actual reason to think that he’s displeased with my work. He continues to give me solid feedback and just gave me 3 stories to complete this month.

Anxiety tells me so frequently that my writing is bad, that I have chosen a profession that I suck at. My anxiety says that I should quit writing because nobody will ever enjoy reading it.

At my full-time job I am often asked to write in a style that I’ve never really written in before, a conversational style.

All through school and university I was instructed to write in a professional manner, to stick to the facts and leave any exaggeration or bias out of it. I am a journalist by trade so that is the way I have been trained to write.

Whenever I get my stories kicked back from my supervisor with edits up and down basically instructing me to rewrite it, I fear that I will be let go. I worry that because I struggle with a conversational writing style that they will fire me to find somebody else who excels at that.

My anxiety has always had a strong grip around my writing. I have always loved to write but my anxiety repeatedly tells me it’s all shit.

I’ve worked with my therapist about this issue for a while, clearly it’s something we need to revisit.

Stay strong and be alright, everyone!

Happy Hanukkah to all of my Jewish readers!

Body Negativity

In the world there has been a push for body positivity, that every body no matter how big, small, light, dark, short or tall each body is uniquely beautiful. It has taken me years feel ok about what I see in the mirror. Today is not one of those days where I look at my reflection and am happy with who looks back.

Today I ruined my day by getting on the scale.

This morning at 8:30 I thought that I should weigh myself, just to see where I am. I had been feeling really good about myself and was hoping the numbers on the scale would reflect that.

Nope!

I shrieked at what the scale told me. I frantically muttered, “No, no, no, no, this can’t be happening!” I have gained 3 or 4 pounds since I had last weighed myself probably a month or so ago.

Seeing that number crushed the confidence that I had just been praising myself on. My mind went into freak out mode. I quickly downloaded “My Fitness Pal” so that I could begin counting calories and monitoring my exercise levels like I used to.

Weighing myself threw me out of the clouds right back down to the reality that I will forever struggle with my weight. That when I get complacent, I gain weight.

It’s so difficult for me to think positively knowing that I’ve gained weight. I have struggled with this my whole life and it seems that this next battle has just begun.

Waking Up Empty

If you’ve ever experienced depression or anxiety, you have probably experienced the emptiness that resounds in your chest the moment you wake up. I felt that this morning for the first time in a while.

I forgot how horrible it feels to be hollow once more. For many weeks I only woke up feeling sleepy, ready to go back to sleep instead of getting up at 5:30 or 6 in the morning. This morning I rose, began to stretch then the empty feeling began to settle into my chest.

I have today off so I should be looking forward to everything I get to do (and don’t have to do) today. I have some work for my side gig to do, I’m going shopping, hopefully going to the gym and best of all, I am getting a sauna and massage. My emptiness calls me to forget those positive activities, instead to focus on how depressed I feel.

This is a feeling I hoped wouldn’t touch me until the new year. I deeply hoped that the light inside me could continue to shine brightly. To light me up like a jack-o-lantern, but it seems that my candle was blown out.

I don’t want my depression to ruin the holidays for me. Not this year!

On Christmas 2016 I was remembering that I had been suicidal for 3 months instead of celebrating with my family. The desire to die was so strong even on my favorite holiday. This year, I don’t want that to be the case! I want to be happy spending time with my family, my boyfriend and his family.

This empty feeling may not go away for a while, that’s reality. I know myself and have learned so much through my long journey with mental illness. In time I will be better. In time I will have my energy back and be able to feel good again.

It’s all in time.