Open Brain Insert Skills

Really Real Mental Health Post

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

I guess that’s every day, but today is a capital ‘B’ Big day and I’m really kind of nervous.

I start DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) skills group today.

I’ve been trying to find, and get into a DBT group for more than a couple of years, but I haven’t been able to find one locally that I could get to, that was covered by insurance.  This one isn’t in the immediate area, but i can get to it and it isn’t covered by insurance but they have a sliding scale rate.

It’s a cross between group therapy and skills training, with an emphasis on the skills training.  Lots of mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tollerance and also interpersonal effectiveness.

Basically, I’ll be able to stay in the moment while I calm my crazy ass down and cope with whatever crazy I can’t calm down . . . and I’ll be able to effectively and nicely tell you I can’t help with your crazy request at the moment.

Maybe not?

I’m super nervous about today.  There have been lots of things that I’ve built myself up about, things that were going to work to make me feel better, or even just take the edge off of this thing that is my life.  And then last minute they all come crashing down.  I’m so used to the medical and mental health community letting me down that I’m afraid to put any hope in this.

But at the same time, partial hospitalization was such a good program for me, so I know that some psych programs work really well for me, and I have a lot of friends and psych professionals who have been recommending DBT for a long time.

There’s also the unknown.  I’m about to walk into a room of people who I get to dump my guts to for 42 weeks.  I’m nervous about everything.  What are the chairs going to be like, what is the room going to be like.  Who are the other people, what is this notebook they are making me buy, what’s the layout of the class.

I know I’ll be fine once I’m there, but anxiety is a thing.  I guess that’s why I’m taking this group in the first place.

On another note.

My therapist asked me to find a mood tracker, we’re pretty sure I’m cycling every month and things are regulated enough now that tracking it through an app would be helpful.  Similar to how PHP tracked it when I was there, i’m hoping to find something that tracks on a few different scales (sleep, anxiety, mood, etc.).  If anyone knows of a good one.  Let me know!

Starts With One

Yesterday I fought through my depression by following a meme that a friend shared.

I just kept starting the first piece of one thing and my depression would let me finish.  I just needed to start.  I’d start one thing, then the next and the next and the next and finally, it was 11pm and I was able to say I’d stayed awake all day and I’d done more than enough and I could start getting ready for bed.

I slept for 7 hours last night, which is much closer to normal for me, and a heck of a lot easier on my body than the 12 hours I’ve been getting.

I feel human today.

Although I still need my coffee.

Why the hell am I writing this before my coffee, what was I thinking.   I’ll be right back.

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.

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<10 minutes later, with a cup of coffee in my hand>

Some days I start writing these blog posts before I’m even out of bed.  I’m laying in bed, still waking up and the sentences and paragraphs are floating around in my head, I’m forming what I’m going to say that day and I hope I can hold onto it long enough to get to the keys.

Other days we’ll be driving down the road on a long trip (she normally drives, I normally fight to stay awake) and I wish I had a laptop or something on me because I have the perfect idea, something I need to get out through my fingers but it’s too hard to type on the phone.

I wish that handwriting wasn’t so hard on my hands or I would just carry a notebook, it’s almost physically impossible for me to write this much out with a pen or pencil, my hand would lose the ability to grip long before I got to this point.  But I’m thankful that I live in an age where we have technological workarounds.  For that matter, if I could no longer type, I could speak into a text to type and have it put my words on the screen for me.  It wouldn’t have the same cathartic nature I don’t think.

I used to always have an ipad with a keyboard on me when I was in school, one of the most useful devices ever created.  I still use it, but I stopped carrying it as often because I wasn’t carrying as big of a purse.

Maybe I need to rethink that since I’m trying to write more often, especially if I’m going to do NaNoWritMo. . .

This is what happens when I write a post before my coffee is in my system, you get one long rambling ADHD mess of a post.

Oh look, a squirrel.

Maybe something with more substance will happen later, or maybe you’ll have to wait for tomorrow.

I kind of like writing every day, it’s a part of my morning routine that I miss when I’m rushed to get ready for something.

Maybe

Really Real Mental Health Post

Maybe I’m doing a little bit better today.

I only slept 11 hours last night, and I took the laundry down stairs and started it when I let the dog out, and I did my dishes before sitting down at the computer.

A lot of dishes pile up when I’m depressed for a few days.

A lot of fucking dishes.

Especially when I continue to cook because I feel like I have to be doing something.

But, gold star for me, my sink is clear, and my first load of laundry is probably about done washing and I have a gym date set for 10am.  I might even make a grocery list before then.

Yesterday was a very typical depressed but functioning day.  I spent a lot of the day angry for no reason at all.  I couldn’t find the joy in a place that I normally love to be.  I wanted more than anything to connect with my surroundings and at one point even drank too much too quick trying to force it and then just felt like shit because that’s not really a thing that I do, and while I felt happy and giddy for a few minutes, I, of course, felt more depressed afterwards.

It didn’t help that I was in a lot of pain.  A combination of my normal ouchy, plus sleeping too much in one position, plus depression pain meant my back was screaming for most of the day.

I was kind of miserable and did my best not to show it.  I tried to have a good time, and I enjoyed being with people, but mostly I was just in pain, mentally and physically.

I didn’t stay awake for very long once we were home.

Maybe next year will be better.

On a different note.

I see a lot of friends doing Inktober, which is where you draw every day based on some theme word they give you (that’s what I gather from what I’m seeing them post).  The other major event is NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month in November and I’ve thought about getting involved for years now, except I write non-fiction and it’s based around fiction.  Although I looked it up yesterday and they have a rebels section where non-fiction is allowed.

50,000 words in 31 days.  That’s 1613 words a day.  You aren’t supposed to edit them or reread for clarity, just write, total rough draft.  I write and edit 300-500 words almost every day for this blog and sometimes have to struggle to prune it to stay within a reasonable word count.  And that’s staying with current events.  I’d love to write more about my past and everything leading up till now, and all that I’ve learned.  And it might give me a start on the book that everyone keeps telling me I should write.

Or if nothing else it could be cathartic to get it all out of my system through my fingers.

Maybe.

Is anyone else doing NaNoWriMo?

 

Here We Go

Really Real Mental Health Post

I slept for 12 hours last night.

I normally get 6.

I want to cancel everything today and sleep more, except the tickets are already paid for and I know that at some point I’ll regret it.

It’s the last day of Ren Fest, I haven’t been all season and a lot of my friends will be there today.

I’m trying so hard to get excited about it.  I know the joy is in there somewhere.

There’s this sound I hear in my head, it’s a buzzing, almost like a fan but a different frequency.  It’s almost constant when I’m anxious or depressed or both and it is so loud right now.  It almost drowns out the fans that are actually on in the background.  I don’t even have the desire to hit play on music to drown it out.

It feels like a penance I’m supposed to pay for existing.  This awful noise that doesn’t end, white noise on the TV left on past midnight when the station ends for the day.

I don’t want to die so much as I just want to stop being.  But only for a little while.  I still know that in a few days this will pass.  I hope my meds are working well enough that it doesn’t get any darker, I hope I stay where I’m at and don’t get worse, this time.

I’m cold and I don’t even have the energy to find warmer clothes or shut a window.

Again, it feels like penance.

Hunger goes unfed, dishes pile up while I beat myself up inside, hating myself for not keeping up with the only thing I do that has any worth around here.  It’s not like I go to work, at least I could keep the house clean.

I’m sleeping so much, and I’m so so damn tired.

It’s exhausting feeling like this.

Second Chances

Really Real Love Post

The other day I apologized for saying “I love you” too often.  I try to tell her frequently when it crosses my mind.  And I think “I’m in love” or some variation of it, many, many, times a day.

I also tell her how beautiful and cute and she is, because if I think it 20 times, I’m going to tell her at least half of them.

And when she does something that makes me feel amazing, or cared for, or loved, or something I appreciate, I tell her those things too.

And sometimes I think I tell her too many things, and like it might sound like I’m trying too hard.  Except I’m not trying to do anything, I’m just telling her what I’m thinking.

The other day my doctor was running late because she had to cover for another doctor and she said “I would have scheduled my time differently, if I had to do it again.  But that’s how it always is, in hindsight.”

I have a second chance that I never wanted.  In hindsight, I wouldn’t have held back.  Loving is easy sometimes, and harder sometimes, but maybe we don’t verbalize love enough all of the times.  Maybe we think they know, or think if we say it too much it’ll cheapen it.

But how does telling someone how you feel, more often, change the meaning behind the words?

I wouldn’t wish my loss on anyone, but I wish everyone could learn what I’ve learned.

I’m so completely in love, and I don’t want a moment to pass where she would doubt that.  I want her to know that I love her when I’m grumpy and when things are great, when I’m sad and when I’m happy, when we’re fussy with each other and when we’re having the best times.

I don’t want there to ever be a moment that we leave love in question.

Take the time to tell those around you that you love them.  And if it’s out of character for you, maybe that’s something you want to change?  Maybe not, and that’s okay too, but it’s worth thinking about.  What if your loved one died tomorrow, would they really know?

I love that you all take the time to read what I write.

But not the same way I love my girl.

Cause I really do love her, so much.

Nightmare

I had a nightmare a few nights ago.

It wasn’t about death or dying, not about monsters or zombies.  There were no fires or motorcycles, no vampires or witches.

It was about Wonder Woman and I, fighting.  Screaming and yelling at each other.  We were fighting the way I’ve always fought.  In a way I haven’t fought with her yet, the way I hope I never do.  The way I’ve tried so hard to walk away from.

We were fighting so badly that I woke myself up yelling in my sleep.

I rolled over and held her, telling her I never wanted us to fight like that, that I couldn’t take it.

And then I laid awake thinking about how, to me, fighting equals screaming and yelling.  I’m afraid to talk about what’s upsetting me because I’m petrified of it starting a fight.  The concept of a fight being civil doesn’t cross my mind.

In my past, fights and disagreements were always highly emotionally charged events, and even if we were both fighting for a common solution instead of fighting against each other, there was yelling and screaming followed by silent treatments and tension.  There would be a week long event of clashing where nothing seemed to go right in the relationship, and nothing would be resolved, but it would pass, and then we’d have weeks of everything seeming fine, even going back to being amazing, before we’d repeat the same cycle again.

I don’t want that ever again.

But the idea of it is causing nightmares.

I’ve never had a relationship where there wasn’t some degree of those types of fights.

Actually, that’s not true, because I’m in a relationship now where none of that has happened.  And I honestly don’t see us allowing it to happen.  Neither of us would stand for it.

But for now, when I think of fighting with someone, or even disagreeing with someone, that’s the image I see.  I can’t see any other way of disagreeing.  I bend over backwards to pacify everyone around me because the slightest deviation from their norm could turn into emotionally charged tension.  It could turn into screaming.

I’m learning to trust that I can disagree with Wonder Woman, that I can tell her I’m upset, that I can have difficult conversations, and that it won’t devolve into fights.  It’s taking time and patience.  Her patience, my patience with myself.  More time than I feel it should take.

I feel like I should be able to just snap out of it.  Be “normal.”  Stand up for myself and have disagreements like a “normal” person.  But years of, trauma, is it even trauma, I hate to use that word for it because I was a part of it for a lot of it.

Years of unhealthy bullshit, have left me where there is a trauma response to the concept of fighting.

And now I’m having nightmares as I process my way through it.

PTSD is hard shit, and it doesn’t always come from expected places.

Do Your Job!

Really Real Mental Health Post

Trigger Warning:  Mention of Suicidal Thoughts (I’m safe)

My medications are doing their job right now.

Yesterday evening I had a realization that was a huge trigger for me.  Mid dinner, I lost my appetite, I pushed my food away, stopped eating, packed it up in Tupperware for later.

My brain was immediately pelted with suicidal thoughts.

I remember thinking I was too dumb to live, too much of a fuck up since I’ve had so many chances to get it together and I keep making the same mistakes over and over again.  The spiral was closing in, except it wasn’t quite as dark.  There weren’t quite as many “you gotta die to fix it” thoughts thrown in there.

And as I was sinking into the cloud of that kind of thinking, I was also able to think my way out of the cloud.

I was still moving forward towards getting ready for derby.  I was still thinking about how I was going to speak out about what was going on in my head.

On my way to derby I spoke up.  I told Wonder Woman what was going on, what triggered me.

The darkest part of the cloud passed.

It lasted less than 20 minutes.

I went to the gym after derby.

It went even further away.

I’m still really fragile right now.  The trigger situation is still there.  I’m gonna be wobbly for awhile, but the medications are doing their job.  I can see my way through the clouds when they come.  I’m not able to fixate on the suicidal thoughts and they can’t take over.

Then, this morning my Brita filter on my sink broke.  Water spraying everywhere.  I took it off, tried cleaning the gaskets, cleaned out the screen.  Put it back on and sprayed more water around the kitchen for fun.  It’s the actually filter and some weird design flaw because it’s been 2 years and the thing is a piece of shit. . . and of course we just ordered a 3 pack of filters and that’s how this stuff works.

And of course we’re about out of water bottles so this means I need to get to a store today or I won’t have filtered or bottled water to drink and how the fuck does that work.

First world problems, but I’m really fragile right now and this is the kind of stuff that would tip me over the edge on days like today.  “I can’t afford to replace this right now and fuck my life is so horrible and why me” and and and and and!

And I’m still pretty upset, but I’m able to hold onto the truth which is that, we will figure it out.  It’s not actually the end of the world, in truth it isn’t that big of a deal, and the filter didn’t break just to piss me off and ruin my day.

I know things are rough because I currently have this blog post and 2 more drafts written and ready to be posted.  I have plenty of things to write about right now.  But I’m learning to follow my signs better.  I’m learning to be gentle with myself and go back to basics on days like today.

My meds are doing their job.