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!!

My Therapist Made Me Cry

Don’t worry this is a good story!

This morning I had my monthly session with my therapist where we talked about my recent anxieties and how things have been going in general.

I’ve seen her for a little over 2 years and each Christmas I give her a present. I made her granola last year that she absolutely loved so I gave her a big jar of it this year! Plus a little belt thing for when she takes a run.

(Here’s the recipe if you want it.)

She then said, “Megan I got you something too.” Since she has so many clients she typically doesn’t give them all gifts. This year she gave me something, a bunch of cookies.

She said, “You have come so far this year that I wanted to get you something.”

I’m crying as I’m writing this, I am still so overwhelmed by her words and gesture. My eyes were like faucets, I immediately started crying after she told me that.

I recently had been trying to think of some good things that happened this year but the bad things were so much bigger in my mind. I kept thinking of broken friendships, fights, depressive episodes, car accidents and feeling like shit.

She opened my eyes to see that I really have come a long way in my mental health journey. I am doing so much better than I was at the beginning of the year.

I feel that I have accomplished so much more than I realized thanks to that gift and her encouraging words.

When I get off work I will more than likely go home and happy cry about these cookies.

I will do a post soon about the progress I have made this year in my mental health and another about some goals that I will set for myself for 2019.

Things I Do Because I’m Depressed

Whenever I make a mistake and I know that I’ve hurt somebody’s feelings, I immediately fall into depression. It catches me as if I was falling from the top of a building. It’s always there to catch me and wrap me in a blanket then whispers horrible thoughts in my ear.

When I’m in this state there are some things I automatically do as a way to protect myself. It’s a lot of shit that I’ve been doing since I was little.

  1. Hide: This is my natural instinct when something is wrong. Ideally, I hide in my room with my door closed and cover my head in blankets. My goal is to usually escape from whatever is going on either in reality or in my mind. I hide away until I can face the shit happening.
  2. Stop eating: When I’m very depressed or anxious I feel like I can’t eat. It feels like my stomach shrinks to the size of a grape, that if I eat anything more than a cracker I will feel sick. When I was really struggling two years ago, I would go sometimes for an entire day without eating anything.
  3. Sleep: If worries are buzzing in my brain, I can’t focus on nearly anything. Today I have a lot of those so I’m finding it difficult to concentrate on my work. But when I’m hiding at home, I often just go to sleep. I sleep to get away from the anxious thoughts, sometimes it is the only time I can find true relief.
  4. Cry: I am a cry baby. I cry about everything which I find annoying to myself. When I’m really overwhelmed or sad, I just sit down and cry. It can be silent tears or ugly sobbing depending on what is going on.

I know a few of these are not healthy coping mechanisms but I have (for now) kicked my most unhealthy one which is self-harm. At many moments in my life those urges to cut were so frequent that I was hurting myself almost on a daily basis. I am proud of myself that I have been able to work things out in a different way and curb those urges.

If you are struggling right now with your mental illness, I hope that you can make it through. And if you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, I have a few posts about potential ways to silence those thoughts.

Stay strong everyone!

Tonights Meltdown

I’m having one of those evenings where I can’t stop my anxiety and depression from bullying me into a corner. They shout horrible things at me, the words that come from my own mind are like a punch in the gut.

Tonight my depression is reminding me that all of my mistakes make me a terrible person. That my errors are why people hate me.

Anxiety backs depression up by saying that everyone in my life is packing their bags and distancing themselves from me. That my mistakes and flaws make me unworthy of their presence.

They tell me my boyfriend is going to dump me because I am not enough. That I will never be enough. He wants somebody perfect, somebody who doesn’t fuck up the way I do.

When everything becomes too overwhelming I want to hide. That is my natural instinct, I’ve done it since I was a child. I want to hide from the people I have disappointed so they can’t look at me with eyes filled with pain that I caused.

I hope that if you’re struggling you can make it through. More than likely the sun will rise again in the morning.

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.