This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

“I am worthy.”

I’m not used to unconditional support.

When Parker and I knew we were becoming homeless, I asked my mother if we could move in there, or if at least Draven and I could (Parker was allowed to go to her mom’s house).

She said Draven could move in, but I couldn’t because it would be enabling me.

At the time I was still in the process of applying/going through the appeals process for disability for my mental health stuff.

I’m not sure what she thought she’d be enabling me to do?

Live?

Survive?

Have a roof over my head?

The three of us ended up moving to Maryland. Draven went with his dad, and Parker and I went into a homeless shelter, and then moved in with almost complete strangers when our time ran out.

When I have vented to my mom about difficulties in my life, she would often either send money without saying anything, or offer to send money, which I normally accepted because we were fucked. Every single time she would find some way to throw it in my face. I appreciated her help, but I always knew it would cost me something too.

At one point she said she wished she was like me and her husband had died so she could get a check too. I was getting $700 a month survivor benefits for Draven, and yes, I appreciated and needed that check, but having Parker would have been worth much more than that.

My dad wasn’t much better. And in some ways he was much worse.

I spent my life being told that all of it was my fault, I had failed, I needed to pull myself up by the bootstraps and do what everyone else did.

And I constantly tried.

And I constantly failed.

Which just reinforced what they said.

And then I would need more help.

And they would remind me how I had failed.

And how I was a burden.

Sometimes, when I’d end up with a small amount of money from a tax return, my mother would ask me why I’d never paid her back the money she sent me.

The money she asked if she could send.

The money she never said was a loan.

I’m 100% sure that she believes the reason I’ve stopped talking to her is because I have my dads inheritance now and can stop using her. Oh, and now that I have money I want to avoid her so I don’t have to pay her back. Nevermind the fact that I haven’t let her send me money in years.

And I don’t have the inheritance.

But, anyway.

Right now I have a family member helping me out financially.

They are the only reason that I know my bills will be paid.

They are the only reason that I know I will always have food in my fridge.

They are the only reason I get to take vacations.

They are the only reason I can look for work that will work for me, instead of taking something that will make me worse, just to cover the bills.

I am incredibly privileged to have this help.

I am thankful for it every day.

And today I had to call them to tell them that a choice I made in the past has come back to bite me.

Which then opened up a discussion about a whole bunch of other choices concerning credit cards and other delinquent bills.

When you’re poor, you ignore this stuff and it disappears in 7 years. There is nothing they can take from you.

Except this time, someone is coming after me (and its going to cost more in court costs than the bill, but, that’s another story).

One of the ways my bipolar presents is through impulsive choices.

One benefit to having someone helping me with money is that I discuss what I’m using it for. Not penny by penny, but in general. Keeping an eye on spending trends, learning what my moods are doing to my money. Learning how to control it.

But I didn’t have this help before. And today I heard the words “I’m here, I’ve got you.”

I have a hard time trusting it.

I expect to call or text and say “I’ve fucked up again” and hear a screaming voice on the other end of the line.

Instead of gentle guidance and encouragement, I expect to hear anger and disgust.

I expect to be told that I failed and continue to fail.

I expect to be told that its not their problem and I need to fix it on my own.

“I am worthy”

This post is about money situations, but I’m also encountering this in all of my friendships.

People are just there, even if we don’t talk every day or every week, even if we don’t talk at all.

When I need support, friends are there to lift me up.

Friends who accept me for who I am and where I am.

I don’t need to change.

“I am worthy.”

I’ve been doing a type of sleep yoga before bed. Part of it is picking an affirmation to focus on. I’ve been focusing on this one for a few weeks now.

I keep wondering what’s going to happen next, I’ve been through more than my fair share, and trust is a definite issue for me. When is the next person going to let me down, when is the next thing going to go wrong.

But who knows . . .

What if things go right?

I am worthy.

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I haven’t written in awhile.

Not like this.

Short posts and one liners on facebook.

The occasional paragraph here and there.

But I haven’t written a really real post in awhile.

I’ve been okay,

but it’s that place where since I’m doing better than I was,

I’m looking at all of the ways I should be doing better than I am.

Every small step backwards feels like a failure.

And time is slipping away from me.

It feels like just yesterday I set up an appointment for the first week of August and it was so far away.

Now August starts in a few days.

I’m still having a really hard time leaving the house.

I spent today saying I was going to go to the grocery store,

and I also had a dinner to go to tonight.

Instead of going shopping I slept,

partially avoiding the store,

partially avoiding the anxiety over a social gathering.

I made it to the dinner,

and I went grocery shopping after,

but I know it will be harder to sleep tonight.

And I’ve worked hard to get my sleep to a reasonable place.

But,

I’m sitting here now with the lights dimmed throughout the house,

and a blue light filter on my computer screen.

Writing to get things out of my brain and onto the screen.

Hopefully I’ll still be able to sleep at a reasonable time.

I’m starting to spend too much time mindlessly scrolling facebook.

It’s either a sign of impending depression,

or it’s a cause of depression.

Maybe a mix of both.

I’m applying for jobs and I’m not hearing back.

I’ve thought of applying at Starbucks,

but I can’t work mornings,

and I can’t be on my feet that long,

and what if I’m too big for people to fit around me behind the counter.

Anxiety is a fucking asshole,

really.

Part of my sleep plan has been listening to sleep meditation at night,

I found my way to Yoga Nidra recordings.

It’s now my favorite way to fall asleep.

Part of Yoga Nidra is a type of positive affirmation.

A short, one line, present tense statement that begins, “I am _____.”

Mine has been, “I am worthy.”

I asked about starting a Patreon and had people respond that they would support me.

But I’m afraid to actually finish the last steps of setting it up and share the link.

I’ve had many people (especially in the last week) talk to me about starting an Etsy.

But I don’t feel like people will pay what I’d need to charge.

I keep trying to remind myself,

I am worthy.

Even applying for work,

I feel like I have too many disabilities, too many things that make me different,

too many things that get in the way of me being a cog in the machine.

Gear shaped me is missing too many teeth,

and many of the ones that are left are misshapen.

They stick out too far,

Or they’re a bit too wide,

Or bent,

Or there is that one, that has a crack that looks like a lightening bolt.

Sometimes it gets jammed.

Where do I fit in this world?

I am worthy.

But, I can sit here and make cards and spread love all day.

And it doesn’t pay the bills.

No matter how many people tell me I should start an Etsy,

playing with paper and paste won’t give me the life I want to live.

But it’s still important to me that I find a way to use my life to help others.

My strength is using my vulnerability to help people find their way.

Their own strengths.

But, that doesn’t pay the bills either.

At least not now.

I feel stuck.

I know what I want.

I know what I’d like my life to look like on the other side.

But I don’t know what steps I need to take to make it there.

I don’t know what path to take.

I don’t even see paths to choose from.

I know I need to create my own path.

I’ve always gone the wrong way around the coffee table.

But sometimes creating a new path through dense vegetation is a lot of fucking work.

The Suck

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I’m fighting the voice in the back of my head that keeps saying,

“I suck”

I’m working with a sleep specialist. Bedtime is a normal thing for me now.

I understand the night time lull vs. the actual bedtime.

And so I’m getting to sleep much quicker once I lay down.

But waking up is still a hassle.

I’m now sleeping through an alarm that you aren’t supposed to be able to sleep through.

It’s reminiscent of my childhood.

The giant Garfield clock with the giant bells on top, bought somewhat in gest, but mostly because my mom was sick of waking me up 10 times for school each morning.

It didn’t work after a week.

I would sleep through the bells clanging until my mom turned it off because it annoyed her downstairs.

So now the alarm goes off at 12 and I wake up much later, unless Wonder Woman gets annoyed and wakes me up sooner.

I wake up earlier in the morning, but it feels like too early.

Fall asleep at 3 am and wake up at 7,

no, I’d like to try for at least 9,

and then I wake up at 8,

no thank you, 9 please,

and then it’s 1230 and the alarm has been blaring,

unheard.

“I suck”

I refilled my med sorter this morning.

So many medications.

So many medications to still feel this shitty.

If only I did this and that and this,

I’d feel better.

I haven’t left the house in days.

I’ve been cooking (go me!).

But haven’t cleaned up a damn thing.

The kitchen is covered in pots and pans and things that couldn’t be disposable.

Yesterday I did yoga (another win!) on a floor covered in bits and pieces of paper and other misc. pieces of whatever.

My desk is chaos (but I know where it all is).

“I suck.”

Even crafting, my escape, is hard right now.

I can’t stay focused.

I work on one piece of one card and I lose 30 minutes into facebook,

berating myself the whole time.

I want to be creating.

I have ideas for things I want to do.

I’ve designed cards in the software.

But the physical activity of creating them feels like too much.

“I suck.”

Wonder Woman just reminded me that we’re going out later today to pick up some orders I’ve made.

Replenishing craft supplies with money from sales (that’s the constant goal).

I’m sitting in front of my happy light while I type this,

since I couldn’t bring myself to sit on the front porch,

or go hammocking.

I am doing things.

Maybe not all of the things.

But I’m doing what I can in this moment.

And I’m trying to give myself permission to push as much as I can,

while also being gentle.

Finding the balance.

I can push, without being an asshole to myself.

Encourage but not berate.

I can treat myself like I’d treat a friend.

Self love.

Self compassion.

It’s so so hard.

Especially when I sleep in too late and feel exhausted all day.

Or, when I look at the mess around me.

And I feel my joints ache from sitting in this chair so much.

Or feel that anxiety at the idea of stepping onto my front porch.

Or see half finished projects and cut pieces of paper sitting around unassembled on my desk.

It’s so hard to be gentle when I know I could be doing more.

Or, theoretically I could.

If I felt well enough I could.

Again, it’s finding the balance.

Balance is important.

Maybe I don’t suck.

Maybe things just suck right now.

A.5

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

TW: Mention of exercise, body image, suicidal thoughts, fitness.

Brains are assholes.

My brain is one of those brains that constantly moves from one thought into the next, constantly creating connections between all of the different thought trains.

It’s one of the reasons that I am so insightful about my mental health,

I’m always looking for the connection.

But, it’s not always a good thing.

Overthinking isn’t a great trait.

Especially when it’s mixed with depression and negative self talk.

My thoughts move relatively fast, and they are

always

always

going.

Mindfulness helps,

and I’ve learned to catch it when its going down the wrong path and redirect instead of spiraling,

and I don’t always get sucked along with the trains, they slide by behind the scenes more often than not anymore.

But this particular train has changed and morphed and while I realize it’s completely illogical, the way it got to where it is now, makes perfect sense.

“I need to get more active again.”

“I was doing so well, and I stopped.”

“I remember telling myself I’d never get back to where I am now, and I’m definitely back here”

“I always end up back here.”

“I can’t follow through with anything.”

“I’m never going to get it right.”

“I need to just die.”

At that point the alarm bells go off and I realize what train I grabbed onto and I let it float away instead of spiraling with it.

But over the last couple of weeks, the thought process got shorter.

“I should do yoga this morning.”

“I can’t follow through with anything.”

“I need to just die.”

Nope, not the answer, lets go somewhere else brain.

But it keeps getting shorter.

Now the thought process is . .

“Yoga? ::Gunshot sound::”

And then I have to get off that train, which means I stop thinking about yoga, because yoga makes me think of shooting myself.

But it’s not actually yoga (or intentional movement) that’s making me think of suicide.

It’s the hopelessness, and the shame, and the overwhelm with the shape I’m in now.

But my brain doesn’t take to time to go through the whole process anymore.

“Walk around the block? ::Gunshot sound::”

I’ve spent the last couple of years training myself to let go of suicidal thoughts.

Since my last hospitalization, I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

When that thought crosses my mind (it happens more often than most people would be comfortable with), I’m able to redirect, mostly without thinking about it.

It’s just habit now.

But because intentional movement and suicide are paired right now, I’m also immediately redirecting from that concept.

Which means multiple times a day I’m thinking I’d like to do something active, but before I can put that thought into action I’m running from the suicidal thought that’s paired with it.

So today I spent part of therapy going “how do I fix this?”

And the current plan is to make the distraction process more intentional again, so that I can actively start separating those thoughts.

So

“Gym? ::Gunshot sound:: Um, no, how about we go to the gym first?”

It’s going to take time, but I’ll get there.

One thought at a time.

Read the room dumbass

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Today I remembered what it was like to be in Middle School again.

Or Elementary School,

Or High School.

They all blur together.

Someone posted something,

I don’t know them very well,

but I thought they were hurting.

I misunderstood the post.

I’ve never been very good at reading a room.

I also don’t do small talk.

I don’t connect to people over “Hi” and “What do you do for a living?”

I connect to people over really real shit.

So, I thought they were hurting.

And I reached out, to say things that felt right to say in the situation.

From the little I knew.

From the bits and pieces I’d seen come across my page.

Nothing specific, but just generic, heart felt, ramblings.

It’s funny, it was about how we are all both the hero and the villain in a situation depending on who is telling the story, and how that is okay.




It turned out their post was actually about the cat that was pictured.

And not a vague book with a random cat photo attached.



And I quickly became the villain in their telling of the story.

And in their friends telling of the story.



And that is okay.

I know that I did what I always do.

I tried to be really real and open and honest and heartfelt and vulnerable.

And I got reminded why it’s dangerous to do that around people you don’t know well.

And how it can be unsolicited advice.

And how it can seem like I’m standing on a soap box.

And how it can appear that I’m being overly intimate.



When the situation was over, I told myself, and those around me, that I was fine.

I understood.

It was no big deal.

But I wasn’t fine

I had reached out.

I had been my big bright shiny self.

And I got my hand slapped.

And the second my hand was slapped I checked that persons facebook to see who our mutual friends were, who was I going to be embarrassed in front of.

And I fought back and forth between dirty deleting and leaving it there.

And I started questioning all of my good intentions and wondering why I wasn’t normal like everyone else?

Why I can’t just see a cat picture as a cat picture?

Why do I talk to strangers in grocery stores and have us hugging before we leave the line?

Why do I have deep conversations with Lyft drivers?

Why do I have no conversational boundaries?

And as the day went on I shrank further and further into myself.



It isn’t a big deal, most likely.

I was out of line, I didn’t know this person and it wasn’t my place to help even if they were hurting.

I was too wordy and had no idea what I was talking about.

I was butting my face where it didn’t belong.

I know better than to comment on posts, I don’t do it often, because I’m afraid of that embarrassment when I read the “room” wrong.

I often read the room wrong.

Its why I’m super quiet in a group,

but talk non stop one on one.

It’s harder to have that large scale embarrassment if only one person is there to witness your fuck up.

So, today I remembered why I’m both quiet and loud, depending on the situation.

Today I remembered why I try so hard not to be too much.

And I’d love to say that this doesn’t bother me and I can move on,

but that’s not the case.

I learned my lesson.

And, before someone reads this wrong, no one responding to that post did anything wrong.

I came out of left field with some big emotional response to something where it wasn’t warranted, and there was a reaction of “WTF” and, because they don’t really know me, “Who the fuck”

But, it was still a stark reminder that I am not like everyone else.

And sometimes that really really hurts.



Quiet

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

It’s quiet.

Even with the music playing there’s an underlying quiet to the night.

She’s already sleeping.

My brain is slowing wandering,

not racing,

just gently moving from one thought to the next.

Gentle,

but not kind.

I’m trying to counter each thought as they come.

I got up early this morning,

got out of the house.

I had plans after.

Errands that needed to be run.

Instead I slept.

After waking up early, I figured a nap was fine.

But that nap didn’t want to end.

Wonder Woman picked up the groceries,

and brought them in,

and put them away.

I barely registered that she was home.

Eventually she let me know that there was dinner.

I dragged myself out of bed.

I feel like there’s so much I’m not doing.

I’m blaming myself,

as if its some character flaw.

If only I tried harder,

pushed myself more,

I’d pull through this.

I had more I wanted to write.

Counterthoughts to these thoughts.

But I’m yawning.

My eyes are heavy.

Time to go back to bed.

The Days Before

This is a Really Real Widow post.

A few days ago, the last picture I ever took of her came across my TimeHop.

A couple of weeks before that was the video I took right before she went in for surgery.

The surgery that technically had nothing to do with her death.

But stress adds up.

For a long time, I wanted to blame it on the anesthesia.

It felt like she was off from the day of surgery,

but I also think desperation was setting in.

Who knows.

It won’t change the outcome anyway.

It’s only the 6th . . .

her actual death day isn’t until the 8th.

Or the 7th if you consider when she actually took the pills.

These final few days before the yearly anniversary of her passing are so so hard.

They drag out slowly.

Little memories popping up here and there.

Emotions running on high.

I know the actual day will feel like I finally let out the breath I’ve been holding for the past week.

It always does.

I talked to Kidlet about having a virtual get together with friends.

Friends that knew her.

Maybe even friends that wanted to get to know her through our stories.

When I brought it up to him it felt like the most important thing in the world.

For him, the day doesn’t hold as much weight, but he wanted to go along whatever was most healing for me.

I don’t know what I’ll end up doing that day.

Right now the gathering doesn’t seem as important.

Honestly, each year I feel like it’s not a big deal this year.

And then I find myself holding my breath anyway.

This year I keep trying to relax.

Trying to unclench my shoulders.

Trying to stay in the moment.

Trying to remember that these days are important where I am now.

That it’s far more important than wrapping myself up in the emotions of the past.

Today I stood quietly while the vet administered the medications that allowed Trillian, the grumpy old lady of the house, to peacefully drift off.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in the room for that process.

I wasn’t sure I’d be able to be there for this one either.

But I stood there beside Wonder Woman,

rubbing her arm and reminding her that I was beside her while she pet her sweet kitty through the whole process.

I wondered if Parker took her last breath that peacefully.

I wondered how different it would have been if we had been able to offer my dad the same humane way to end his not so gradual demise.

Death is inevitable.

It’s the only thing we know for certain will happen when we take our first breath.

It still comes as a shock on the day it arrives.


Ouch

This is a Really Real Chronic Pain post.

Most of the time, pain is just a part of who I am.

This slow current that runs just underneath my skin.

It spikes and sparks in different locations at different times.

But it’s just there.

I take my daily medications and go on with my life.

I try to do things that will help,

and I’m not always great at keeping up a routine.

Some days, the pain becomes unbearable.

The quiet hum beneath the surface becomes a constant roar that takes over everything.

I can’t get comfortable.

Everything just hurts.

Today is one of those days.

My body is screaming.

I use various meditations and coping mechanisms.

I spend time trying to just sit with it,

ride it out,

bringing my focus back to my breath or the project at hand every time I start to focus on the discomfort..

I take medications of varying types.

My narcotic that is only used for extreme situations.

I use my medical marijuana/cbd,

normally taken at microdose levels that just take the edge off.

Today I’ve increased the dose to intoxicating levels.

Even the calmness that comes with being high doesn’t keep the pain under the surface.

I use topical creams.

A heating pad.

I distract with various activities.

I constantly shift positions,

laying down,

sitting up,

walking around the house.

Its one of those nights where as much as I want to let it just be,

it feels unbearable.

I want to yell,

“Make it stop.

Please.”

I take an anxiety medication,

maybe if I can just calm my brain a bit.

Everything hurts.

Logically, I know this will pass.

I know this is just a period in time,

I know I’ve been through worse,

and I know, I’ll probably go through worse again.

But, in this moment it feels unfair.

I don’t deserve this.

I sit in the quiet house.

The white noise of fans all around me.

Right now,

this is what is.

And maybe,

writing this,

will make that a little easier to cope with.

Anger is Uncomfortable

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Anger is uncomfortable.

I’m not good at it.

I’m good at rage.

So very good.

That feeling that bubbles up and explodes forth from my mouth.

Covering everyone around me.

And then,

it dissipates.

But anger is harder.

That anger when you have been wronged,

betrayed,

hurt.

The anger that needs time to work through.

Anger is uncomfortable.

And sometimes,

things can’t just be fixed.

Sometimes it takes time

Sometimes it takes a lot of processing.

And I never learned how to be okay with being angry.

It’s always been black or white.

I am angry and you will hear about it until it is fixed.

Or,

I am angry and I am done.

Now it’s,

I am angry,

but over time this will be okay.

I just haven’t learned what to do during that time.

How to be angry while still living a loving life.

Anger is just hard for me.

Anger is hard to sit with.

It’s hard to allow myself to be angry.

Anger just kind of sucks.

All of the things

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I started a new form of crafting last week.

A tiny little stamped cross stitch project just to see how I liked it.

After finishing that one, I went to Walmart and got a larger one, as well as a printed embroidery project, because honestly I didn’t notice they were different.

I can see myself doing both of these on a regular basis.

One more calming meditative skill to add into the rotation.

I love that this one is so portable.

I sat on the front porch in the sun the other day working on my current project,

I haven’t been able to do that since my chainmailling days.

I’m sure that particular craft will come back around at some point as well.

There’s still a bin of supplies in the basement.

The house feels foreign and strange.

While Wonder Woman hasn’t been deeply depressed for our entire relationship, there’s always been some level of it there.

And she’s never had energy or motivation.

That’s different now.

Even positive change is stressful.

Right now it’s entirely possible that she’s running a bit too high, medication induced hypomania,

but she’s been so low for so long that it’s honestly hard to tell what her new normal will look like.

She’s working closely with doctors, and it’s a process I understand very well from going through it on my own.

But the change in household energy and dynamic is hard.

I’m used to directing every little thing.

Or at least waiting until the last minute for it to be done.

I’ve always had this quiet anxiety in the back of my head about things that were her responsibility,

but that I could see her putting off till the last minute.

Sometimes they didn’t get done at all.

We spent this first 3 years of our relationship making sure that we didn’t overstep boundaries.

Those boundaries were drawn with red sharpie, keeping my problems and responsibilities separate from hers.

I didn’t realize how much I was emotionally dancing on her side,

while not saying anything.

Now, all of the things are being done.

Household tasks are handled without my input,

or at the very least, without any hesitation.

She’s working through her own paperwork and logistical stuff,

only asking for my input when it is needed.

And it’s strange for me.

In every relationship we have roles that we play,

and often those roles are comfortable, even if they are dysfunctional.

Our roles are changing.

Change is hard, even if it’s good.

We, as individuals,

and also as a couple,

are unfinished projects.

Over time things are going to change and become more clear.

There is no final picture.

We will keep adding to it,

going back and removing stitches that aren’t quite right,

incorporating new colors.

Each time there is anxiety as we wonder what the next version of the picture will look like.

We are not the same people we were during those first conversations on the internet.

That’s a really good thing.

But learning, and relearning each other is a process,

one that will hopefully be repeated many times over the years.

Change is hard and uncomfortable,

even when it’s positive.

Discomfort is part of growing.

It’s just a matter of learning to sit with it.