A Letter to My Struggling Self

I am very inspired by Hunting Happiness who did this post on the Bipolar Writer Blog. She called it “A Letter to Myself on the Days I Feel I’m About to Drown.” I love that title and her idea to write up a letter to encourage herself when she’s struggling with her mental illness.

So I want to do the same! Sometimes the most encouraging person is yourself when you are feeling depressed or anxious.

Dear Megan,

Are you alright? Whatever horrible thoughts you’ve been ruminating on, press pause for a moment to read what I have to tell you.

Remember what your therapist said? Not every thought your brain generates is a fact. Your brain loves to lie and trick you, it loves to kick you when you’re down. It sucks to say but you can’t always believe your mind.

Because I am you, I know the dark thoughts that are buzzing around in your mind. Thoughts you’ve been battling since you were little. Just because you’ve been hearing them forever doesn’t mean that they hold any amount of truth.

Worthless? You’re absolutely worthy of existing. Everybody hates you? Also not true. Think about how much your mom, brother, dad, boyfriend and grandmother care about you. They would be deeply upset if you weren’t here.

Your writing has impacted so many people, even those who you don’t know! You have been able to positively impact other people’s lives with your words. Nobody else could have written those stories like you.

Your experiences matter. Your perspective is needed.

I love you and so do all of the important people in your life!

Love,
Megan

P.S. Pet your cats, watch “My Roommate is a Cat” and stretch.

 

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!

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!!

When Will It Stop?

I am in this state where it seems that anxiety and depression are reaching their claws around my mind in a slow and dramatic fashion. Each day it all seems to be getting worse.

The negative thoughts, the inescapable self doubt and physical strain on my body is becoming more frequent. I’m getting to the point where I feel that I’m going to have a depressive episode to kick off 2019.

Who doesn’t love those? -_-

I am a professional ruminator. By that I mean during my low points I have the same few thoughts on repeat. Right now those thoughts are starting.

I’m reading so deeply into every single word and action of the people around me. I am reading everything as signs that they don’t really want to be speaking to me. That they wish I would go away and leave them the hell alone.

I keep thinking that they are sick of me being around. That they wish they never began speaking to me in the first place! That they wish they never started a relationship or friendship with me.

My therapist told me yesterday that just because I have a thought, doesn’t necessarily make it true. She said, “Pretend these thoughts are leaves flowing down a stream. Watch them pass by, don’t pick them up and hold on to them.”

My reply to that was, “I can’t not pick them up! I have a little basket and I collect those leaves. ”

Do you, my beautiful readers, ever feel this way? What do you do to stop ruminating thoughts? Leave me a comment and let me know!

I’m An Ambivert

Let’s get the definition of an ambivert out of the way. An ambivert is someone who has some qualities of both an introvert and an extrovert, we are sort of a blend of spices.

Sometimes I hear people talk about introverts and extroverts incorrectly, it’s not about whether somebody is social or not, it’s about how one gains their energy. Introverts gain energy by being alone while extroverts gain energy by being with others. Simple.

As a young teenager and as a child I felt more like an introverted individual, I would spend a lot of time alone reading books and listening to music on my CD player or iPod. Classic. After school I would retreat to my room to recharge.

But once I got to high school and college, I loved spending time with my different friend groups. The time we spent together gave me so much energy that when I was alone for too long, I felt totally drained.

I’m 25 now and I have grown into someone who sits somewhere in the middle which was at first a really strange adapting. I had gone from needing to spend time with friends and family to needing my space to keep myself sane.

After I got severely depressed I spent a lot of time alone ruminating on my suicidal thoughts. So any interaction with others was incredibly draining since I already didn’t have very much energy to begin with. I think all of that time curled up in my bed led me to become more introverted than I ever was before.

Sometimes I am energized by being with friends and family while other times I come away feeling absolutely exhausted. When I spend time with my family (that includes my boyfriend) and we are all eating, laughing, joking, I feel energized by that.

A month or so ago I had breakfast with a friend and then went to this art gallery event with him and a friend of his. I was so drained that I had to excuse myself and go home.

I balance somewhere in between and that’s totally fine by me. I enjoy my ambivertness which I am learning to live with each day.

Are any of you out there ambiverts or have had a shift like I have had? Let me know!

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.