In the back of my head.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

There are gunshots going off in the back of my head.

I’m not sure what comes first. The sound of a gunshot, or the first suicidal thought. But eventually I just start hearing the gunshots the entire time I’m stressed about whatever is bothering me.

It’s distracting.

I start trying to distract myself from the problem at hand, to metaphorically put a silencer on the gun, which keeps me from finding a solution to the problem.

And every time my mind drifts back to the problem, the gun starts firing.

And then my mind starts wandering down the list of ways to die.

Which way is the most effective? Which has the least chance of leaving a mess behind for someone else to clean up?

Wait, I don’t want to go down that train of thought, back to distracting myself.

But then I’m not focusing on fixing the problem.

Facing the problems at hand and working on a solution is the most efficient way to deal with this.  The most effective way to deal with this. But sitting down my emotional response to all of it is hard.

The gun shots are loud.

I want to run away and the easiest way my brain can come up with is death, lets just walk away from this permanently.

And stop

repeating

the same

mistakes

over and over and over

again.

But the easiest way to make it all stop is to fix the problem, but to fix the problem I need everything to shut up long enough that I can work on the solution.

Today is hard.

Today is loud.

There are gunshots going off in the back of my head.

Do I Really Have To?

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Some days I get really really overwhelmed with all of the “have tos” in my life.

I have to take the dog for a walk and feed her.

I have to clean up dinner dishes from the night before.

I have to make hard boiled eggs for breakfasts for the week.

I have to start dinner in the crock pot.

I have to do DBT homework and college homework.

I have to make sure my rides are set up to get places.

Have to, have to, have to.

And that’s just the morning routine.

But.

When I homeschooled Draven, one of my big philosophies was looking at everything as a choice. And for a long while that really resonated with me.

None of us have to do a damn thing.

It’s all a series of choices.

I don’t have to walk the dog, she could just pee in the house. Or, I could re-home her.

I don’t have to clean up dinner dishes, they could just sit in the sink. Or I could go out to eat every night. Or I could find options that use less dishes. Or find ways to make more money and hire someone to do dishes for me. Or throw away the dishes each time and buy more.

I’m not saying all of these ideas are feasible, but they might be.

I definitely don’t have to make hard boiled eggs for the week.  There are certainly other options for breakfasts.

Same with crock pot dinners (see above, eating out every night is sounding better and better).

I could drop out of DBT and college and never leave the house and boom, I’ve just taken care of all of my have to’s in the morning.

I’m now dog-less, eating from the mcdonald’s dollar menu every morning and night, but also never leaving my house (how does that work?).

Maybe I’m just never eating (new weight loss plan).

But, all of my have to’s are actually choices. Just because they make more sense than the alternatives, doesn’t make them required.

And if I remember they are choices, maybe they will be a bit easier to take care of on the mornings that I just don’t want to.

And maybe some mornings I’ll just choose to let the dishes sit in the sink.

Really Real Procrastination

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

It’s also really really a procrastination post as I’m supposed to be doing school work right now and I just can’t settle my brain into that task.

You see, when I started this class, the teacher had a syllabus with a calendar.  On that calendar were due dates, nicely laid out in black and white.  This is a five week class, lots of work, short period of time.  Four modules due this week, two the next, three the week after that.  A few case studies.  It didn’t look like too much, honestly.  The teacher seems to grade pretty easily.

And then in the second week they make an announcement.

“I want to clarify some things about the due dates.  This this and this are due then, and this and this are due then. But really, work at your own pace as long as everything is turned in by the end of class, the due dates are just to help you stay on track to complete things with minimal stress.”

Fuck.

A procrastinators worst nightmare.

No real due dates.

Yesterday I was going to work on school work.

But I really needed to mail this thing, and the post office was at the mall, and I really needed some downtime to walk around, and then I needed to window shop because I was there anyway, and well, now it’s getting too late to take another Ritalin and you know I can’t focus without Ritalin, and, and, and.

And then today I was going to do school work, but first I needed to clean the kitchen and make some breakfast and really I can’t focus in a messy house, and let me check on this first, and I need to set up my rides for mobility before I forget again, and I need to menu plan before we spend too much on food, and my anxiety is really high so maybe a Ritalin isn’t the greatest idea right now, and we’re leaving soon for a derby thing so maybe I should just . . .

Fuck.

I know what I need to do. I’ve done most of the reading and I’ve even written two modules worth of work in my head.  I just need to put fingers to keys (in the digital classroom . . . not here).

But it’s so hard to just

Start.

What if I’m not perfect. What if I post to the discussion board and I don’t have just the right information. What if the other students laugh at me (throw back to the 90’s). What if I don’t get an A.

But also, everything else just seems more interesting, even cleaning the bathroom. Self directed is HARD when there isn’t a set in stone deadline looming directly overhead.

This is some really real procrastination. This is really really going to bite me in the ass if I don’t get my ass in gear.

I know better, I can do better, I am better than this.

Maybe it’s time to actually do what I’ve been talking about avoiding this entire time. Maybe I should pull up my class, pull up a word document, and write something that will actually help me work towards my ultimate goals.

Maybe.

But first . . .

I just need to . . .

Partially There

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

A year ago today I finished the Partial Hospitalization Program. I just read the post I wrote upon leaving. The post where I was unsure, not ready, didn’t think I could make it without the daily routine to back me up. I was still fighting through a mixed mood episode, still dealing with sleep problems, still not quite stable but a lot better than when I started.

I was about to start a Psych Rehabilitation Program, which was a dismal failure and not where I was meant to be at all.

I had started looking into DBT, but couldn’t start there until I let go of my feeling that I needed a more frequent program.

I hadn’t come to terms with my intrusive suicidal thoughts. I still felt I had to make them go away completely. I hadn’t realized that I could coexist with them and learn to live safely in spite of them. Learn to label them as thoughts and let them be, not let them control me. I hadn’t accepted that they will likely be a part of my illness and my life forever.

I hadn’t learned that mindfulness is more than just meditation. I hadn’t learned the countless skills that DBT has taught me.

That PHP stay was really good for me, I learned a lot and developed a few friendships that I still have today (I wish we had more time to talk and hang out).

I also ended up with my psychiatrist, who is amazing. (It’s so difficult to find amazing providers when you’re on government insurance.)

And I have come so far since then.

I have had some mixed mood episodes since the one that landed me in PHP, but nothing that has lasted as long. Some suicidal episodes but they have lasted less than a day (from what I can recall).

I’m glad I do this, writing out my thoughts and posting them. I’m glad they show up every year so I can see how far I’ve come.

I don’t think growing is something that ever stops happening, but I feel like I’m a little bit further along. I feel like, since Partial, I’ve gotten closer to where I want to be. Like maybe. . .

I’m partially there.

 

What if I fall?

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Today I signed up for 4 fall classes.

The whole time I was questioning the rationality of this judgement.  I was doubting my mental state. I was wondering if it was more than I could handle. I was thinking of my past track record. I was pondering the chances of following through.

I was checking for any signs of a manic episode. Making sure my mental health wasn’t making commitments for me.

I know I have a busy fall coming up.

I should be able to schedule bariatric surgery for sometime in October or November.

I should be able to start working part time after I heal from surgery.

I will still have DBT and therapy and my other appointments and followups.

I will still need time for me. Time for self care. Time for fun. Time to make a life worth living.

So I mentally check and check again. Am I manic, am I rushing things, am I making this decision for the wrong reasons. Should I check with someone else and get them to make the decision for me. Maybe I’m not qualified to make decisions for myself.

Maybe I can’t handle this.

Maybe I can’t.

This is what it’s like. I question and second guess and never trust my own instincts. I never feel like I’m capable. I wait for the next time I’m going to fuck it all up. I wonder if I’m setting myself up for failure.

I don’t trust in myself because I’ve let myself down so many times before. Even though I haven’t had a full, long lasting hypomanic episode in quite some time, I fear that I’m making decisions based on grandiose opinions of my abilities.

But maybe I’m not. Maybe this is reasonable. Maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit. Maybe I’m far more capable than I believe I am.

Maybe I just need to try.

“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”
― Erin Hanson

Better Than The Alternative

This is a Really Real Aging Parents Post.

My dad isn’t the same anymore.

He was . . .

the youngest 50 year old I’d ever met.

the youngest 60 year old I’d ever met.

the youngest . . .

Not any more.  He’s old now.  At 75, the years of taking his body for granted have finally caught up with him.

He walks with a limp, wobbling, almost drunk like. His head tilts slightly to one side. Nothing like the solid strong man I idolized when I was younger.

He grabs my bag from the car, insisting on carrying it into the house. The weight of it pulls him off his feet leaving him on the the ground. He crawls to the closest thing he can use to lift himself back to standing.  I protest as he takes the handle of the suitcase again.

He’s still stubborn as ever.

But age has caught up with his mind as well.

The line between reality and confusion has begun to blur. A hazy barrier that is no longer clearly defined. I wonder if he knows how often he’s weaving back and forth across that line. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which side of the line he’s on, even from the outside.

This visit has many goals.

First and foremost, I want to see my dad. We’ve spent too many years barely talking. An invisible moat between us, neither of us quite sure how to bridge the gap. None of that matters anymore. I’ve realized that time is running out. Time is running.

Second, I want to see what his life is like. What does he do all day? What is he eating? Is he still able to take care of the dogs? The house? Himself? I feel like I’m a world away.

Third, we need to figure out what’s next. What’s now? What does he want to do? Want us to do? How? How do my sister and I take care of him from states away? He still has and deserves an opinion and I need to hear it so we can do things his way.

He sleeps a lot during the day. Falling asleep sitting up at his desk and the kitchen table. Leaning sideways in seemingly impossible positions. He barely sleeps at night.

The house is so quiet.

Days without other human contact would be unbearable for me, but it is his reality. At least he has his dogs, dogs he sometimes has a hard time controlling. Conversations with them are one sided. He says he’s okay with his life, okay with getting older.

“I’ll live till I die.”

As I load up the car to leave he says to me “I’m fine, I’m a big boy. Stop worrying so much.”

But I will worry.

And I’ll also wonder.

When does living stop being better than the alternative?

 

 

 

Fat.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’m fat.

And I don’t say that as a dig at myself. It’s just one of those matter of fact things. I take up a lot of space. More than the typical person. More than a lot of “plus size” people. More than they plan for at some doctors offices (chairs with arms, anyone?), at theaters, in restaurants (hey, lets fit between these two tables), and definitely,

definitely,

more than they plan for on planes.

For a long while I flew with two seats, because, well, if the armrest won’t go down, you have to buy a second seat. My hips don’t lie.  They also didn’t squish any smaller.

But, I’m super excited that I finally fit into one seat. It saves a lot of money (or in this case airline miles since my sister is nice enough to fly me down to see my dad). But even in one seat it’s not the most comfortable thing for me, or the person in the seat next to me.

Do they say anything directly? Of course not . . . but my anxiety gets the best of me. They cover their phone with their hand while they quickly type as I fumble with the seat belt while waiting for the seat belt extender.

I’m fat.

And I don’t say that as a dig at myself, the armrests do enough digging into my hips. The bruises remind me that I’m not losing weight fast enough. That I should be doing more.

Surgery can’t come fast enough.

I try to remind myself that I’m allowed to take up space. With the next breath I remind myself that I’m being a good fatty and working to lose the weight. Maybe if everyone knew was trying so hard they wouldn’t judge me so much. I know they’re judging me, they always do.

Right?

I try to tell myself they aren’t paying attention but I feel the looks.

The person next to me adjusts in her seat and I try to scoot over further. But I got stuck in a window seat and I won’t fit through the window. There’s no where else for me to go, I’ve given her all the room I can.

At least I can’t be anxious about flying if I’m anxious about existing.

I remember the time I was told, “You’re pull up two chairs kinda big.” Well, not anymore, I only need one chair now, but I’m sure the person next to me wishes I had a second seat.

I’m fat.

And I don’t say that as a dig at myself, her elbow does enough digging into my side as she leans against the armrest. I check to see if she’s sleeping and just slid down. But she’s awake, watching her movie, with her elbow dug firmly into my side. I wonder if it’s intentional, her way of taking up space she feels she deserves.

I’m just a fat girl, it’s not like I feel anything anyway.