Sphere

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Yesterday was one of those days that went really well.

The gym felt good and I felt strong. We were able to get some decent time on our favorite machine and do some of our old school workout which always does a number on my arms in the most wonderful way.

DBT was on a topic that I needed and understood, I had my homework done and I was able to contribute to the conversation fully. I was able to get the mindfulness activity and it’s one I plan on adding to my routine. I didn’t zone out during the lecture and stayed present without daydreaming.

My wait for mobility was productive, and my ride home was short.

I tried a new recipe for dinner, and it came together well, using up some leftover chicken in a yummy pot pie that I will repeat. Dinner was ready at a reasonable hour which made me feel productive and really good about myself after a busy day.

And I still needed to go lay down and have a visit with my depression after I ate.

Our mindfulness activity during DBT was to visualize an emotion. Feel it, see it, describe it’s attributes. What texture does it have, how heavy is it, what smell, what taste, what shape, color etc.

I chose sadness.

It’s spherical. With round bumps of different sizes and heights all over it. Blue/Grey/Yellow/Green kind of a swirly cloudy blah color. Smells and tastes like blech. Weighs so much that I can’t pick it up to feel how much it weighs even though it’s not that big. I have to lean over awkwardly to move it, and it’s hard to roll because of the different bumps all over it.

I can see it, and I had to go visit with it for a little bit after my really good day because it was weighing me down heavily.

I was able to finish off my day in a better head space. But I needed to give myself some down time to feel all of my feels.

Often, it’s just like that.

Given Up

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Sometimes I wonder, did I just give up by going on disability.

I see people who maybe have it worse, harder then me.

I see the days that I get up, and cook, and clean, and go to United Way.

I see the days that I can go to the gym, and piggyback transportation and activities.

I see the days that I feel okay to function.

And I wonder if I gave up by accepting this handout each month.

I mean, I guess I didn’t give up, exactly. I’m still fighting to get back out there. I’m still trying to come at this from every different direction to get my foothold somewhere.

But maybe I never should have laid down in the first place.

Maybe, I gave up.

I mean. Others have it far worse and they still figure it out and go to work and make it work and why did I think I couldn’t?

What made me think I had the right to give up?

Why is this bothering me so much today?

Is it because I’m having a good day and I don’t feel like I have the right to have good days and still be disabled?

Of course, how many days a month do I fight to keep myself alive? How often would that be a valid excuse for calling out before I lost, another, job.

But if I could just get my brain to cooperate. Just assimilate all of it into daily living, without the disruptions, just like I’ve done with my physical pain levels. Then maybe I could get back out there.

But some days I feel like I’ve given up by being on disability. Even though, I guess, logically, I’m fighting harder than ever.

I don’t know if I’ll ever work full time again. I don’t know if I’ll ever hold down a reliable part time job again. I don’t even know if I’ll finish this damn two year degree. But I’ll keep trying.

I guess I never really did give up.

I never planned to spend the rest of my life on disability, I just needed to step back and get healthy, and I’m still working on that.

Brains are dumb sometimes.

Chains

Today was mostly a good day. I had a long list of things to do, a couple of appointments out of the house, the gym, grocery store, making dinner.

I overslept, woke up feeling kind of drugged, that sleep where you can’t tell if you didn’t sleep enough, or you slept too much, or even if you slept at all because you’ve just been out cold and don’t want to wake up now that you’ve opened your eyes.

I had my rides set up, my laptop on me, and got to spend most of the day hanging out in a few different coffee shops playing around online, looking at what part time online jobs are out there while also writing and people watching.

Therapy went well and the topics led right into my psych med appointment which also went well. Changes are being made to make it easier for me with school, hopefully.

But a few different times today I was caught off guard by thought chains, one thing leading to another, causing a series of emotions right along with them.

I’ve been wearing Parker’s winter coat as my own. It doesn’t make sense for it to waste away in a bin and it fits better than anything that’s been given to me. I still can’t afford a winter coat and it’s finally cold enough that a hoodie, even lined, isn’t cutting it anymore. Her old coat is thick and warm and I’ve been told it looks good on me, but it’s so different from anything I’d normally wear.

It’s definitely not pink.

Anyway.

Today while I was walking from my pdoc appointment to go kill more time in a coffee shop, I walked past a book store and I started thinking about all of the hours and hours Parker and I used to spend in libraries while we lived in the shelter. We had to leave at 8am and come back at 5 pm and spend the whole day figuring out how to occupy our time and not freeze. We had our backpacks with our laptops and we would spend time sitting in the various libraries around Baltimore playing games and watching movies.

I would spend hours researching how we were going to make it out of the situation we were in. What programs were available, what was the next thing I could call about or follow up on.

Or I would look into her or my medical conditions. What could I find that wasn’t being checked, what were they missing. What was going to make us better.

And that thought led me to how much better I’m doing now.

And how much better I’m handling what’s still there. I need to follow up with some new pain management options that I’ve been putting off.

How many hours did Parker and I spend walking the city with her in the same coat I’m wearing now. How many doctors appointments did she take it to?

By then I had gotten where I was going and my thoughts dissolved into other randomness. My memories were mostly happy, with a tinge of grief. We really did make the best of a horrible situation during those months, and we found ways to have a really good time while being fucking homeless.

Tonight I got caught up in another chain, one of the ones that hits me when I’m most overwhelmed.

I ran late getting home from the gym and planned to throw dinner on real quick.

Except I realized the kitchen wasn’t clean.

And it wasn’t clean because I overslept and I was going to clean it up in the morning.

And I couldn’t clean it last night because I was hurting so badly

And I was hurting so badly because I forgot my meds all day.

And now dinner was going to be even later because I fucked up so many things.

So I yelled out.

“I’m overwhelmed!”

And I let the thought chain keep playing and running amok in the back of my head while I got to work finding my way out of the situation I was in.

Eventually dinner was cooking in the Instant Pot, and while it was cooking I was able to do the rest of the dishes, and by the time we ate I had a clean kitchen and mostly yummy sausage and peppers and my bad mood and overwhelm had subsided because I let myself feel all of my feels but kept moving forward.

I’m glad today was a good day, even with the rough moments and thought chains.

I’m glad I had a good day to write about.


Outsmart

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

There is a voice in my head.

The one that says I must not exist anymore.

The one that says it’s time to die.

Even on the good days it’s there.

The smallest inconvenience makes it speak up, and tell me it is the easiest way to avoid.

And sometimes it gets sneaky and tries to plan ahead.

Not suicidal today, but may be tomorrow, or the next, or another week, so lets put things in place.

Maybe lets get her to open the safe.

“I can be safe around meds now, just leave them out.”

I have to constantly be on guard. Stay one step ahead. Find moments when the voice isn’t listening and remind those around me to protect me from myself.

I don’t want it to win. I have too many mistakes left to make, too many frustrations left to handle, to many anxieties left to worry over.

It is just a series of thoughts, I try to sit with them, they are overwhelming.

How do you sit with the thought of suicide when you have seen the outcome?

I want to run away from it, but it’s in my own head and my only way out would be to let it win.

But today is a good day. I’m not sad, the voice is quiet, I don’t need to outsmart it right now.

Tomorrow is another day and I will face that moment in that time.

But I am always on the lookout, always guarded, I never know when the thought will sneak up to remind me. . . .

Death is always an option.

No matter how hard I try not to believe, I know it’s true, because I’ve seen it with my own eyes.


Driven By a Motor

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

There’s a meme floating around about Executive Function Disorder and ADHD, and I really wish it were easier to find memes that float around on facebook so that I could better quote what it says but basically it’s the idea that your brain gets stuck, and you go to do something, but you feel like you can’t do it until something else happens . . .except there is no something else. So you’re stuck waiting, but you have no idea what you’re waiting for and there really is no other thing.

Yesterday I was working on a project and I was hungry. I put the oven on to preheat, pulled out my amazing artichoke and cheese strudel from the freezer and sat down to work on my project some more. Ten minutes later I wanted to get up and put the food in the oven. I thought about it, but I couldn’t. I was hungry, the oven was preheated by then, but I couldn’t stop what I was doing to go put the food in the oven.

I spent 20 minutes trying to redirect my focus, the entire time trying to push myself but I felt like I was waiting, waiting, waiting, for something to happen before I could switch gears.

Finally I slammed my chair back in what seemed like a sudden action to Wonder Woman, but to me, the action had taken 20 minutes of fighting with my own brain to make happen.

It also happens the other way around. I’ll be on a chain of cleaning, straightening, going from one task to the next, just wanting to sit down and rest, but I’m driven, to this, to this, to this, to this, what’s next, it’s not time to sit yet, what’s next, what’s next, this, to this. Wonder Woman said it’s like being driven by a motor and that really is the best way to describe it.

It may seem nice to get that much done but when I’m begging myself to sit down and I can’t do it, I can’t just stop, that’s not fun, it’s like my body is out of my own control.

I don’t honestly know if this is an ADHD quirk, or a bipolar quirk, or some other mental quirk. I don’t know if it’s Executive Function Disorder cause I’m not the professional and my therapist is more of a “treat the symptom don’t label it” kind of person.

I know it’s frustrating when it happens, and it happens with school work, and work work, and trying to care for the animals, and trying to do self care, and trying to do basically anything.

Its especially frustrating when it happens a lot back to back, and some days are worse than others.

But mostly, I just learn to live around it, just like the rest of this bullshit.


Wheeeee

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Can you feel that?

It’s when you round the top of the hill on the roller coaster and you start dropping down the other side.

That moment when you feel it coming but you don’t know if it’s a small drop or a big one.

Is this one just going to last a few hours, or am I going to dip all the way down again?

Two mornings now that I couldn’t get up. I was awake, but couldn’t get out of bed no matter how hard I tried. I’m just going to close my eyes for another minute (an hour passes). One more minute (another hour). If I don’t get up right now I’m going to be rushing (another 30 minutes). I barely have time to let the dog out and feed her (another 15 minutes).

Fuck.

Tonight I just wanted a short nap and it turned into an epic episode of depression napping. Caught in that hell where I’m not really sleeping but I can’t really pull myself out of bed. I don’t even have the energy to grab my phone and mindlessly scroll facebook so I just lay there and think about,

Nothing.

I’m not even sad really. Not even all that distressed. Not all that upset. Not suicidal. Not stressed out.

I’m just, here. Just going through the motions.

School starts in a few weeks, wonder if I can hold it together through the semester this time.

It feels so strange to actually notice how bad I feel without really feeling all that bad. I’m used to the highs and the extreme lows and this winter it just seems different. We have the bipolar controlled really really well, so I’m not swinging all over the place, I’m not getting the break in the form of hypomania. Instead, my baseline is mild depression and my breakthroughs are just more severe depression. This almost seems worse because I don’t get the breaks. It’s certainly less exciting, less dramatic. Being healthier is hard fucking work and it takes a toll.

But in the grand scheme of things, going back over the last 20 years of dealing with this, the depression isn’t that bad. But it’s still hard. I’m still tired all of the time. I go to the gym and close my eyes on the elliptical and just want to sleep through it. I’m doing my exercises at Physical Therapy with my eyes closed because it’s too much work to keep them open.

I’m ready for spring, or actually, I’m ready for summer because spring is historically my worst period and while I’m hoping to break that cycle this year, I’m still worried about it.

I’m ready to have something super happy to post about again. My life is overall really good, but the mundane every day stuff is getting to me right now.

The routine is too routine.


Missed

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

Yesterday was the 8th of the month and I didn’t make a suicide awareness post.

I think I missed it by a day last month too.

And the fact is, the 8th doesn’t have the punch it once had and while I still think suicide awareness is important, I’ve stopped watching the calendar like a hawk and I don’t notice the date as often. I don’t even think about it approaching.

My grief is still changing.

It’s becoming more and more a part of me and the punches to my gut are happening less and less often.

While at the same time I ended therapy yesterday by tearing up and saying, “I miss her.”

I think I’ve found other ways to discuss and promote suicide awareness. I think my 8th of the month posts are less important while the subject matter is just as important as ever.

I no longer need to count the months she has been gone, and mark each one with a post. And when I do, the option is still there. I’m just no longer making myself remember the date out of some sense of obligation to her.

It’s not making her any more dead, or any more alive to mark the date that way. It no longer serves me well.

In a way, it feels like the end of something.

And people told me this would happen, told me the day would come, and I thought they were crazy. I guess I should listen to those who have walked this road before me.

She is missed and will always be missed. And that doesn’t change just because I’ve missed a date.