Share your story, Speak your truth.

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Lately, I see a lot of people getting Really Real about mental health. Part of it is who I surround myself with, part of it is that people are pulling of the veil and deciding to be truthful about who they are.

Now, I know not everyone can, or wants to do this.

But I’m so happy when I see people who do.

Parker didn’t exactly hide her mental illness, but at the same time she was afraid to speak up when it mattered most. It had, and in some ways still has, this underlying notion that mental illness is a weakness.

I remember the first time I was told to pull myself up by my bootstraps. The first time, not, by far, the only time.

It’s nice to see friends who are talking more openly. Talking about their triumphs and struggles.

Some of my favorite posts are the “I’m having a rough day, please send me memes” posts. I occasionally reach out in the same way and it’s so nice to see everyone kind of come together to shower me with love and laughs. It’s what we need! Community and support make this road a lot easier to travel.

Even better are the posts that show us we aren’t alone in this struggle. We may not have the same diagnoses or life situations, but the underlying emotions are the same.

I’m super lucky that I have an amazing support system (spanning multiple countries) but I got that support system by speaking up. By being real. By speaking my story and sharing my truth.

By being vulnerable.

Vulnerability isn’t a weakness. Vulnerability is strength. It’s how you build community, it’s how you reach out for support.

I’m glad that I see more people being real and raw and open and I wanted to globally say how much I appreciate that.

Share your story. Speak your truth.

Be vulnerable!

 

Gotta take it easy on myself.

This is a Really Real Health post.  Mental Health and Physical Health, one effects the other. This is also one of my longer posts.

CW: Weight talk. Mention of Suicidal Stuff.

I’ve been really down on myself.

 

The first year after Parker died I lost a shit ton of weight by seriously working hard at getting active. I got sick, gained some back, got back on track and kept losing. The gym was my sanctuary. Can’t tell the sweat from the tears. Work it out. All that happy-crap.

Over time I’ve slowly slacked off at the gym, and it became apparent that my diet had to change in addition to the gym for me to get anywhere. I gained some weight back, enough that I was uncomfortable in my own skin.

About 4 months ago I started doing Noom and went back to working out as often as I could. I lost 30 pounds. The same 30 I had gained in the previous year and a half. And then 7 weeks ago my mental health took a dive.

I came out of the hospital going back and forth between binge eating and restricting my food. I couldn’t stop eating some days and on others I couldn’t force myself to eat. I was skipping meals, refusing to eat dinner because I knew the scale would be down more the next day. It was really really unhealthy and not typical behavior for me.  Well, the restricting food was new, binge eating was what got me in trouble in the first place.

Luckily I mentioned it to a close friend who told me that maybe I should give weight loss a break and focus on my mental health. Ya kn

 

ow, keeping myself alive was more important than getting myself skinny. I backed way off for a few weeks. Still kept weighing every morning (it’s a Noom thing) but stopped focusing so hard on what I ate.

I tried to get back on track with Noom, kept rewinding the program and kept slipping. Finally I dropped Noom, I had at least the basic idea and knew what worked, I couldn’t justify paying for a program that I couldn’t keep up with. I’m GLAD I started with Noom, I learned a ton from the articles, weighing myself daily is a major game changer, tracking food is key for me. Even when I wasn’t sticking to the program I maintained my weight, even if I didn’t lose any.

Now I’m using another program to track food, I’ve tried to get back on track with doing this consistently for the past 2 weeks. I start off great, tracking breakfast and maybe lunch and then when I realize dinner is going to be something quick and unhealthy, I don’t bother tracking it and then forget for the next 2 days.

I’ve also only been to the gym a handful of times in the last 2 months.

I’ve been really down on myself.

About all of this.

And then today I came across a picture from the day I first cut my hair short.

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My jaw dropped.

I’m an entirely different person than I was 5 years ago.

The weight loss is striking, but so is the smile. My smile goes up to my eyes now. (I swear, in some ways Parker left that to me, she used to smile so big her eyes would squint shut.) I’m happier, so much happier, I’m also So So So much healthier.

Five years ago I was letting myself die slowly, a slow suicide through food and inactivity. And I mean that, I was done with living and was just waiting to die.

Two months ago I didn’t want to live for another moment. I had the plan and the means. I was ready to end this all.

I need to stop being so down on myself. I’ve come a LONG way. Even though I still have periods where I’m suicidal, it isn’t an every day, all day problem. Most of the time I’m living so much larger than I ever would have before.

And as a small bonus I’m 100 lbs lighter than I was in that picture.

I feel like writing.

This is a Really Real, well, I’m not sure what it’ll turn out to be.

I just feel like writing tonight, but I haven’t quite decided what to write about.

This last week has been pretty incredible. Really, the last two weeks have, minus being bored at PHP for the last few days I was there. Boredom never killed anyone (or so I’ve been told), but PHP has yet again saved my life.

Or at least I feel like it has.

And it’s nice to be done with it, until the next time I need it. That’s not an if, that’s a when. I know this is part of my normal.

And I’m okay with that.

For now.

In the past two weeks I’ve had a date that went wonderfully (second date coming soon), I got invited to a Level 2 DBT group that started tonight, and I spent 5 days with some of my favorite people.

And I’ve been stable through all of it.

It’s strange how the simplest thing can overwhelm me and make me want to shut down. Tonight it was as simple as planning when we’re going to Renn Fest. Somehow the whole season went by and now it’s the last two weekends.

And I don’t want to miss it.

But the idea of scheduling a full day activity when it seems like we have something going on every day, was overwhelming.  What happens if I go the last weekend and it’s too crowded, what happens if we go this weekend and I’m too overwhelmed to handle the rest of the things we have planned that day.

What happens if I miss it, how upset will I actually be?

What will be the next trigger that spirals me down into the abyss.

I think that’s why I’m so afraid of making plans and making decisions. It feels like the wrong decision, the wrong plan creating too much of a day, the wrong emotion, will be ‘the thing.’

I’m stable but I can tell there’s still a lot of stress that I’m holding onto. I’ve been clicking my teeth nearly all of the time. Rocking my jaw back and forth and tapping my top teeth against my bottom.

My jaw has been sore for weeks.

It may be the Abilify but my psych thinks it’s just a habit when I’m anxious.

::shrug::

Either way, it fucking sucks.  And hurts.

I’ve written 400 words (404 now) and haven’t really said much of anything

and sometimes this is what stability looks like.

I guess this was a Really Real Mental Health post.

 

I Am Loved

This is a Really Real Love post.

I’m home!

I spent 5 days up in New York visiting one of my closest friends and her children. This is a trip I do a few times a year but this time I drove. I needed the long drive alone, something I don’t get to do very often.

I’m still not completely used to the relationship I have with Wonder Woman. I didn’t have to ask permission to leave town. I just told her I was going and made sure it was during a time when she could take care of the pets. We are so deeply in love, but we are our own people.

I’m used to codependency. We’ve been very careful to avoid anything like that. This is, by far, the healthiest relationship I’ve ever had.

And we still constantly and consistently show each other love, in our own ways.

Music is Wonder Woman’s thing. I have a few favorite artists that I play in rotation, occasionally throwing in a generic playlist on Spotify. Before I left she made me a mix tape, or actually the modern day equivalent, a Spotify playlist just for my road trip. It was the perfect mixture of her music, my music, and our music, including our song. I listened to it on repeat for most of my drive there and back.

Seriously, she made me a mix tape. I never would have thought to love her that way but I felt so loved by her with every song that played.

We texted daily, we talked on the phone at least once, but mostly, we just lived our lives while I was gone. I missed her (and she missed me), and by the time I left New York I was ready to be home and back in her arms. I’m looking forward to cuddles tonight.

I’ve missed them.

I am so completely loved in this relationship and I love her completely. But we are our own people.

It’s nice to be loved this way.

Tonight while I’m writing this she’s playing her guitar in the room near me. She’s doing her thing and I’m doing mine. We love that we can be in the same room working and playing, together but apart.

It’s nice to still be my own person while being completely in love. Two years in and I’m still not used to this.

Two years in and I’m still waiting for the major change. I’m waiting for us to stop cuddling every night or to forget to give kisses and say I love you every day. I’m waiting for the day that we stop showing our love through actions.

Two years in and I’m still waiting for our first actual fight. I mean, we have hard discussions, but it never turns into anything more than talking calmly and lovingly to each other.  I’m still not used to that.

I am so very loved, and I love her so very much.

Stop holding me back!

This is a Really Real Health post.

I’m in NY visiting one of my closest friends.

Yesterday I woke up with a backache that didn’t want to calm the fuck down.

Today I got a migraine that’s kept me confined to the house.

This is annoying.

I remember times when these kinds of things would keep me housebound for weeks at a time. I remember my health being so bad that I had a home care nurse. I remember when I felt like I couldn’t live with the amount of pain I was in, day in and day out.

I remember when this was more than annoying, it was debilitating.

Now it’s just annoying.

Now I know it’ll pass and I’ll be able to keep moving forward.

It feels like my chronic pain “stuff” holds me back sometimes. The reality is, I push through it more often than not. I’m in pain daily and I work around it. I try to give myself credit for that. But when I’m out of town trying to do things with a friend, it’s frustrating that this kind of stuff acts up.

It makes sense though. I’m out of my normal routine. I spent hours in a car getting here. I’m sleeping on an unfamiliar surface. Making a trip like this takes a whole lotta spoons, but it’s worth it.

I remember a time when a trip like this would have been unfathomable.  It wasn’t that long ago, really. Just three short years ago, I was still working leaving the house on a regular basis into my routine. I couldn’t have imagined that I’d come this far.

Today I’m working on treating myself with kindness, recognizing that I don’t have control over when and how my body will rebel. This isn’t an ideal time or place, but it could always be worse.

Hopefully I’ve gotten my pain for this trip out of the way, I’ve got a few days left here and I’d like to be able to fully enjoy it.

It’s 3am

This is a Really Real Widow Post. With some Really Real Mental Health mixed in.

It’s 3am. Coffee too late and a touch of hypomania means I’m still awake.

I don’t want to be awake.

I have a full day tomorrow.

This morning (yesterday morning) there was a Michael’s ad in my email, and there was a pumpkin with Parker carved into it.

Parker isn’t the kind of name I normally see in random places.

I’ve been missing her today. I’m especially missing her at 3am.

I always miss her in small ways, but sometimes that comes to the forefront. Sometimes I can feel the old pain in my chest.

“I miss her tonight.” I send the text to our son.

I wish the ball in my chest would grow big enough to let me cry. Maybe then I could get some sleep.

Lack of sleep always brings a rough day. I wish I could rewind and undrink the coffee that seemed so appealing 8 hours ago. I wish I could rewind and take those pills out of her hand.

I wish I could rewind and change things so that I stop seeing that morning play out in slow motion.

I wish I could rewind so she could see my life now. I wish I could rewind so she could still be breathing.

I just wish I could rewind.

He texts back “Yeah, I do too.”

Then he asks if I’m safe. You know, because every kid has to worry that they might lose another mom that way.

It’s totally normal.

I joke because facing the reality of our fucked up life is made easier when I add some humor.

Life isn’t all that bad now. I have the space to be annoyed when I’m awake at 3 am. I have the spoons to type this out. I have a roof over my head that isn’t going anywhere.

I’m not suicidal right now. That makes life extra good.

I miss her tonight. That ball is still in the middle of my chest. Not quite large enough to let me cry this out. I want to be held and comforted, but it’s 3am, self soothing will have to do.

There’s no real point to this, no profound realization, no life lesson for me to pass on.

I can’t remember the sound of her voice anymore. Not all of the time. I was laying with Wonder Woman the other day and the thought hit me “Will I remember your voice after you die?” I’m engaged with full knowledge that I could become a widow again.

Life happens.

Death happens.

I’ve been watching her sleep more often lately. Making sure she’s still breathing. I even watch the cat and the dog now.

It must be on my mind how fragile life is.

Watching for the slow rise and fall of her chest. Panicked if I don’t see it right away. Relieved when she makes some small noise.

We listen to The Mountain Goats sometimes.

“I hope you die.” “I hope we both die.”

We add our own line “at the same time.”

I miss her tonight. Both of them. I miss the one who isn’t breathing anymore, and I miss the one who’s hopefully still breathing in the other room.

I need to go check again.

Maybe this time, I can fall asleep beside her.