Chronic Pain and Mental Health

Since May I have been dealing with lower back pain. At the beginning it was severe and prevented me from functioning normally.

A couple weeks ago I finished up my sessions with my chiropractor (my insurance has run out and I don’t have any more visits left) I was feeling awesome. Literally the next day I was in pain. The pain continues to get worse and it is incredibly frustrating.

I don’t want to go back to the chiropractor, with weekly visits the money really adds up. Sadly it is a luxury to try and receive the medical care that I need.

It makes me so frustrated that I have to live with this chronic pain. I can’t live my life to the fullest because of my back pain. I can’t exercise to the level I desire. Cleaning my bath tub makes the pain so uncomfortable that I end up neglecting it for ages because I don’t want to be in anymore pain. Even going to work and sitting in meetings is painful.

My depression tells me that this pain will be forever. That I will always have to deal with this struggle and not be able to function at full capacity ever again. I won’t ever get to live a pain free life because my body decided to revolt against me.

I’m starting to believe my depression. It’s been months and I have been going up and down with my pain. I want it to stop, I want to move on from this and be happy.

But maybe that’s all just a fantasy.

Crying during Yoga

I haven’t done any exercise in two months due to lower back pain that prevented me from doing anything mildly strenuous. I’m a little sore today from doing a very low intensity yoga routine from Yoga with Adrienne. I love her!

I want to get back into exercising but I want to take it really slow. So I turned on a recent video of hers called “Slow Your Roll,” which sounded perfect for my sensitive condition.

The one part of the routine she asked us to sit and bring our knees to our chests then give our legs a hug while resting our heads on our knees. I started crying immediately. Then Adrienne said something along the lines that if we are feeling emotional in this position it’s ok.

It’s like she knew!

It must have been the act of a self hug. I recently watched a video from someone who was talking about a scene in one of my favorite animes where a character gives himself a self hug. In the show, the character was overwhelmed by past trauma and went to a secluded place where he is on the ground hugging himself. kyo

I thought about that scene and how much I resonated with it like never before. The anime is “Fruits Basket” if you’re curious. (If you like this anime/manga, comment me your favorite character! I love Tohru, Prince Yuki and Momiji best.)

ANYWAY,  back to yoga.

It is incredible that one yoga routine could bring up such intense emotions for me.

Has this sort of thing ever happened to you? If so, leave me a comment below please!

Hope you guys all have a great week that involves far less crying than me. It’s only Monday morning and I’ve cried so much already!

I Overcame My Fears!

Guys, I’m back and ready to write about mental health once again! I have a positive story to share today. I overcame my fear of traveling alone (check this post if you don’t know what I’m writing about)!!

Today I got home from my trip to a new city to see my beloved Ariana Grande. As some of you know I named this blog after her song “Be Alright” so seeing her perform was an emotional experience for me. I also plan to get this tattooed on my body at some point soon.

I am about to sound so dumb but I cried multiple times during her show. The first note she belted out my eyes welled up with tears. It was a mix of her amazing voice, disbelief that I was there and how much her music means to me.

When she sang “Be Alright” I was so moved because I really needed to hear those lyrics last night. To translate into regular words, she said, all of these tears will come and go, everything will be alright.

That song has been one I’ve gone back to over and over again when I’m going through a difficult time. “Be Alright” is more than a pop song to me, it is encouragement that things may be hard now but eventually it will be ok. It’s the equivalent of a friend giving me a hug after I’ve spilled my guts to them.

I had tears streaming down my face during her song “Needy”. If you experience anxiety and/or depression, I think there’s a good chance you will also connect deeply with this song. When I first heard it, I cried so of course I cried when she sang it live.

The 2nd verse lyrics are, “Sorry if I’m up and down a lot / Sorry that I think I’m not enough / And sorry if I say sorry way too much.” That sums me up pretty well.

Singing and crying at her show was a wonderful and emotional experience that I am so happy that I had. Overcoming my fears was 100% worth it.

Leave me a comment below of your favorite Ariana song! And even if you don’t enjoy her music still leave me a comment please!

My dad’s favorite is “Bang Bang” which he was disappointed that she didn’t perform, hahaha! My dad is so strange.

Seeing My Past

Monday was the first time it was warm enough to be wearing shorts this year where I live in America. It is always exciting when it starts to feel like spring especially when it is around my birthday (which is this Saturday)!

I was sitting in my boyfriend’s car while he went to get us pizza for dinner. I looked down at my legs which were covered in scars. Sadly they have not faded like I hoped that they would.

*Before you go any further please check yourself because I’m going to talk about self-harm. If you are not in the place to read something like this please check out a different post of mine! Like this or this.*

They’re scars from 2016 when I was really struggling with self-harm during my episode of severe depression. During that time I didn’t care what my body looked like, I wanted the relief that cutting brought to me at my lowest point.

I don’t regret doing what I did to myself during those horrible months. I regret other times that I have self-harmed but not then.

“But Megan why?” you might ask.

A great question! I was having constant suicidal thoughts, wasn’t eating and wanted all of the pain I was in to end. My mind told me that the only way for me to escape my suicidal thoughts was to end my life.  So instead of doing that, I cut myself.

I had been struggling with self-harm for 5 years at that point so this negative coping skill was one that I was very familiar with.

I’m not encouraging anybody to self-harm as a way to cope with mental illness. But as I reflect back on that time in my life, I give myself a pass. I wasn’t myself, my mind wasn’t functioning properly at all.

Even though I am left with the scars on my body, I forgive myself for it all.

I don’t think forgiveness is spoken about much among people who struggle with self-harm. It really should be though! We have to forgive ourselves for what we did when we weren’t feeling mentally well. We forgive then try to find a different coping skill next time.

I still have scars from when I began cutting at 18 so I know these will not fade for a long time. I have to accept my past, love myself despite my challenges and be confident even though my past pain is carved onto my body.

If you struggle with self-harm, have you forgiven yourself? If not, what’s holding you back? Leave me a comment please!

All My Molehills Are Mountains

There is some saying somewhere about not making mountains out of molehills. I think that’s supposed to mean that we shouldn’t turn small things into big ones.

It’s this desire to be perfect that makes me so hard on myself about every little thing that I do. In my previous post about perfectionism I talk about how I want to be perfect in my character and the general things that I do each day. I don’t want to misspeak, make errors or make somebody upset with me.

The main goal is to never disappoint or upset anybody. Especially the people I care about the most, my family, boyfriend and friends.

Early this morning I heard my cat get sick (yuck) but I really didn’t want to get up to clean it. My mom ended up being the one to clean it since she’s the first up most mornings. I felt so guilty all morning that I didn’t just get up to clean it so she didn’t have one more thing on her plate today.

As a good person I should have got up! I should have been a compassionate daughter who got up to clean the throw up so she didn’t have to. It was totally selfish of me.

I was raised in the Christian faith where I had it drilled into my head that everyone else was more important than me. That doing selfish things wasn’t what Jesus would have done. That Jesus would have cleaned up the puke for Mary instead of going back to sleep.

I was taught to always be nice to people, to make others happy even if you’re not. That helping others made God happy which is what my life was supposed to revolve around.

I lost my faith in late 2012 and tried for many years to believe in Christianity again. I couldn’t do it. Now I identify as a skeptic. I’m open to the possibility that there is a greater being making the world work but I’m also open to there not being anybody out there at all.

This post is giving me a lot of insight into my own psyche. I think the perfection comes from the unattainable standards that Christianity set for me. Even in church and college (I went to a Christian university), people told me that we would never measure up to those standards but that we should try to anyway.

I think my anxiety clings on to the idea that I should serve myself last so that I can put God and others before me.  My anxiety says that any time I upset someone or act selfishly that I am a failure because it goes against how I was trained to think.

If there’s any other formerly religious people (of any religion, there’s a lot of similar teachings in a lot of them) reading this, what are your thoughts? What was your experiencing as you had to rewire your thought process after dismissing religion?

I plan to make a separate blog post detailing about losing my faith and the journey that I went through to try and find it again.

Anxiety Levels on High

Overthinking every little thing is one of the things my brain does best. The best thing my brain does is make sure that my body is functioning properly. For that I thank my brain!

Lately I have been over analyzing a lot. I’ll be sitting in my office at work then read into every little pause and word in a conversation I’m having with somebody.

My mind immediately goes to, “They’re not texting me back because they’re sick of me” or “They don’t want to talk to me because they think I’m annoying and stupid.” Those thoughts have been spinning so fast that my stomach hurts.

These thoughts have been constant. I keep thinking that I’m not good enough which is why nobody actually loves me. It’s all pretend because people feel bad for me.

I’m at the point where I want to curl up in my bed and sleep for the rest of the day.

When I’m super anxious or in a deep depressive episode my automatic reaction is to hide. My fight or flight response is saying to flee this anxiety by hiding.

In these moments I forget all of my coping mechanisms. Do you ever have that experience? I’ve learnt all of these ways to help but then I get into the thick of it and my anxiety coping skills are gone.

I hope that you’re getting through an anxious moments that you’re having with finesse.

Perfection

Something I’ve struggled with for a long time is wanting to be perfect.

I think a lot of us think that wanting to be perfect is the same as a perfectionist but it’s not in my case. I’m definitely not a perfectionist in most aspects of my life.

In school I never tried to be the best at everything or even to get straight As. It goes the same for any activity I’ve ever done, like music or sports, I knew being perfect in those areas wasn’t attainable and I was fine with it.

In every day life is where I struggle with the fact that I am not perfect.

When I make a mistake or say the wrong thing, I beat the shit out of myself for it. I ruminate on whatever error I made, replaying it over until it makes me sick. I ask myself why I did whatever I did and why I wasn’t smart/good enough to evade this error in the first place. It makes me ask myself why I was even put on this planet if I’m going to be such a failure.

Today I’m struggling because I’m not perfect. So often I wish that I was so I wouldn’t go through this process of being sad and mad at myself.

Failure makes me want to hide from the world and from myself. Sadly, it’s really hard to escape yourself. I can’t leave my body or my brain!

Do you ever struggle with the fact that nobody is perfect?