All is Well

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

What a difference an attitude makes.

I went and I was myself, I focused on having a good time, not on impressing anyone with my behavior. I was just me, quirky, clumsy, lovable, me.

And I had a great time.

I walked away a few different times to talk with my family via phone call and video chat. I left my anxiety behind about how that would look, I mean, I’m spending the entire holiday weekend here, it makes sense that I would need some time to talk to my family for the holiday.

I lost miserably at virtual bowling. And I mean miserably. And I let myself fall into the light natured picking on that happened because of it.

I had a great Easter dinner with a family that is graciously welcoming me to become a part of it.

The next two days are filled with more family activities before Wonder Woman and I fly back home late Tuesday night.

I am me, beautiful, wonderful, amazing me.

Lets hope I can hold this attitude for the rest of the trip!

What If?

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Anxiety is a bitch.

I’m in South Carolina this weekend, at my soon-to-be in-law’s, spending the Easter holiday with family.  But I’m anxious. What if I’m too much? What if I’m not enough? What if, what if, what if?

For the most part, I’m having fun.  Her mom is a wonderful person and it’s a blast to hear old family stories and learn about people I may never have a chance to meet.  It’s fun to learn where Wonder Woman came from.

But still I’m anxious.  

What if I say the wrong thing?  What if I act too weird? What if they don’t like me?

I asked Wonder Woman, before we got off the plane, “Will their opinion of me change how you feel about me?”  “Of course not!”

But anxiety is a bitch.

Soon we’ll head to Easter Dinner.  Nieces and Nephews and Sisters. More family, most of whom I’ve met before, but still I’m anxious.

What if I’m too much?  What if I’m not enough?

What if they’ve read all of the things I’ve posted on facebook and already decided that they can’t handle this much crazy?

What if none of this really matters anyway?

What if I just go and be myself and have a good time?

What if I just, for this once, stop worrying about all of the what if’s and instead focus on enjoying myself, being myself, and letting people take me or leave me as I am?

What if?

Happy Easter everyone!

One Year Ago and Today

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Today my Facebook memories reminded me that one year ago I wrote a big, long, really real mental health post about suicidal thoughts I was having.

It was hard to go back and read those dark words from that dark space.

It took me back to that time where I got a message from a friend at just the right time to help me.  A message letting me know that she was thinking of me, even though she had no idea I was in such a dark space.

This is one of the reasons I do what I do.  So that a year from now I can see these words and remember where I was.  I can see my growth and my progress.  See the dark and also the light.  I can also see how far my writing has come in that time.

Today I’m fighting depression, but the dark, suicidal thoughts are mostly quiet, only peeking their heads out but not taking hold.  I have a plan to handle the pain that I’m in, which will hopefully give me some relief through the trip this weekend.

I still fight suicidal thoughts sometimes, nothing has really changed there, they still get really dark, really fast and I’m still learning how to sit with them without them becoming so dangerous.

I think I’ve gained a lot of skills in the last year, through my time in partial, and my time in DBT, but at the same time.  I handle the flow of my moods a lot better.

Things may not change as far as my moods shifting and the suicidal thoughts coming, but how I handle them has changed and will continue to change and get better.  I’m growing and learning and doing better.

And I still have amazing support around me, for which I’m quite thankful.

So much to do, So little time.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I still hurt today.  I woke up feeling like my hip had let up, but as the day has gone on, it has gotten worse and worse.

Now I’m back to not being able to get comfortable, and feeling like I’m going to cry.

I emailed my doctor and asked her if she’d send me for imaging without an office visit.  It seems dumb to go in just to have her say “We need Xrays and if that doesn’t show anything we need an MRI.”

But I said this was a mental health post.

I feel defeated.

I’ve been doing really well with going back to the gym and walking almost every night and today I went to the gym and I feel like I’m paying for it.

The gym is a necessary component of my self care.  It is a necessary component of my mental health care, right up there with meds and therapy.  And right now this hip pain is threatening my ability to access the gym.

I’m also catastrophizing a lot which isn’t helping me deal with the pain as it is right now.  I’m so used to being dismissed when I talk to doctors about my pain, that I’m already seeing a scenario where I have to learn to live around this intense pain.  I’m already imagining what life will be like if this has to become my new normal.

I mean, I just went through this with back pain.  They sent me to a few months of physical therapy, no imaging was done, and when that didn’t help I was told it was just back pain, it was normal, especially in someone my size, and I’d just have to learn to deal with it.  Keep going to the gym, keep doing what I’m doing.  It’s all that can be done, really.

I’m just a fat crazy woman who is exaggerating.

And even writing this I feel like I’m whining.

But I feel defeated.  I don’t even know what’s wrong and I’d almost rather lay down and die then go fight the doctors to get proper treatment that I know I won’t get anyway.

Pain definitely takes a toll on my mental health.  I’m tired of it.

I’m tired.

Ouch

This is a Really Real Chronic Pain Post.

I talk about my mental health openly and honestly and have no problem being real and raw and honest.

I feel like my words help me and help others.  I shine light into all the dark spaces, I speak my story and share my truth because it might save lives, including my own.

If nothing else, it helps ease the pain of living with my mental illnesses.

But for some reason, I don’t seem to feel the same way about my physical health.

Speaking up about my mental health has become easy, speaking up about my chronic pain is harder.  I feel like I’m whining.  I spend a lot of time hiding behind a mask of “okay.”  And honestly, I’ve learned how to make that mask my reality.

The daily pain is part of my normal.

All of my everythings hurt.  And that is normal.

Between my fibromyalgia and my inflammatory arthritis, I expect my joints to hurt.  I expect to feel all of the bones in my hands rubbing against each other every time I move my fingers.  I expect to feel each of the bones in my wrist shifting and turning and creaking together.  I expect to feel the sickening pull of nerves when I stretch my arms.

I expect to wake up in the morning and sometimes stumble for the first few steps as my feet become accustomed to the ground again.  I expect to hobble down the steps as I take the dog out for the first time, praying I don’t stumble and fall because my legs don’t yet feel like they’ll support me.

I expect the pain and drainage of the sores from my hidradenitis suppurativa.  I expect it to show up in uncomfortable places that rub when I walk or workout.  I expect it to flare at the most inopportune times.

Those, and so many other pains are part of my normal.

But sometimes new pain shows up and it’s hard to keep up the mask of “okay” when something new starts to hurt.

This past week or two my hip joint has been hurting.  It’s a pulling, sickening nerve pain accompanied by the feeling that something is just out of place, just not working quite right.  I’ve been able to workout around it at the gym, walk a few miles at night around it, and just generally keep acting like it wasn’t there even though it hurt.

Until today.

Today it’s enough to bring me to tears.  Sitting still hurts, every bump we hit in the car was agony.

It’s enough that I’ve considered an ER to see if the hip joint is somehow out of place.

I spend so much time in pain and I’m used to it.  When something new comes along there’s this fear that goes along with it.  Am I going to have to learn to assimilate this into my normal.

Right now my mask has slipped.

I’m not okay.

I’m in pain.  Real, physical, pain.  And it sucks.

And I know when I go to get it looked at I’ll just be a fat, crazy, woman who is overreacting.

But, that’s a whole different topic for another day.

Pieces

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Also a Really Real Writing Post.

I pride myself on being open and vulnerable.

I share so much of myself, so much of who I am and what I think, here, with fingers to keys.

But the words on your screen are carefully chosen.  Each letter has been read and reread, thought and overthought, edited and clarified.

While you are seeing the real truth, straight from my heart, and soul, and mind, you are also seeing something that I have worried about, and sometimes agonized over, before hitting send.

Is this clear enough?

Will it be received in the way it is being sent?

Can my words be twisted into meanings that I don’t intend?

I often plan out the written pieces in my head before putting fingers to keys.  Then after writing I spend time reading them in various voices, the voices of my friends and loved ones, and attempting to predict your reactions to the words on the screen.

Will I be understood?

Often it’s this playacting in my head that keeps me from writing about certain topics or certain people.  My intention is never to cause harm to a person or relationship.

I want to help people, including myself, through the words I put on the screen.

I write about hard subjects and difficult topics.  Sometimes scary, sometimes sad.  I don’t want to cause undue stress because a comma could have been better placed or a different word could have been chosen.

I may not ever be concise in my wording; I will always use ten words where two would have done, but I always try to be clear.

However, each of you will take what you need from what I have to say.  Each of you will find your own lessons in my words.  Each of you will form your own relationship with the letters I have put on the screen, just as I have.

These words are so much more than individual letters,

they are pieces of me.

Speak Up, I Can’t Hear You

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’ve talked before about “shining light into all the dark spaces.”  Often, that’s what writing is for me, a way to shine light into the deep dark areas of my mental illness and remove the power that goes along with hiding it.  It’s a HUGE part of what I believe in.  Removing the stigma by “Sharing my story and speaking my truth.”

Except, when I’m suicidal, the fog grabs hold of me and silences me.  It tells me, if I reach out I’ll be attention seeking, or bothering people with my whining.  It tells me people don’t want to hear that I’m fighting those demons again, for the umpteenth time this year.  It tells me I have to do it alone, quietly, without bothering anyone else.  It tells me no one else has the time or energy to deal with my crazy.

But this is dumb.

The second I share my struggles…

The second I put finger to keys and hit send…

The second I put sound to lips to be heard by another’s ear…

…my pain lessens.  The load is lifted slightly.

It’s almost like, shining light into all the dark spaces, makes those spaces a little less dark.  (Who woulda thought!?!)

But first I have to be able to see my way out, enough, to find my own voice.

Sometimes people are reaching in, and I can’t even find my voice to tell them.

Sometimes I don’t even know what I need to say, except, “Help”, and I don’t know what help I need, except someone to just be there.

I know, when I’m in that space I can totally understand why Parker didn’t speak up.  It’s hard to reach out from within that void.  It’s hard to find my way out of the fog far enough to ask for help.

I think it takes a different sort of strength to ask for that kind of help, to admit to that kind of pain, over and over and over again.

For now, those thoughts are quiet.  I have no doubt that they’ll find their way back at some point.  All I can do is prepare myself to do battle again, and to reach out to lighten the load a bit.