Day 19

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Two steps forward.

One step back.

I cancelled almost everything today.

I showed up late to PHP, and was thankful when we ended both groups early.

I cancelled meeting up with a friend.

I cancelled my doctors appointment.

I barely made it out to the store to pick up a medication I had run out of.

Part of it is that I’m flaring right now.

Every joint hurts.

A burning pain that makes me want to cry.

But I don’t.

Honestly, I look just like I look any other day.

I just,

deal with it.

Silently.

But inside I’m screaming.

And, it was also depression.

I could feel it gripping at me, holding me back.

Holding me down in bed this morning.

Holding me back from leaving the house.

Some days it’s releasing its grip enough to let me function almost normally.

Whatever that is.

But today it held firm.

I pushed through some this afternoon.

Staring at my design software I stopped scrolling Facebook long enough to work on some cards.

I kept having to push every step of the way.

I would make a few edits and find myself mindlessly scrolling again.

I would cut a few pages and catch myself mindlessly reading post after post.

Eventually I’d get them put together.

I managed to make 12 cards today.

I was wading through the thickest mud though.

Even writing this,

I’m forcing myself to stay on track.

I keep getting distracted by everything.

Zoning off into the distance.

Two steps forward.

One step back.

I’ll move forward again tomorrow.

Day 16

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I skipped a day.

Nothing was really happening and I couldn’t figure out a topic to write about, so I kept waiting for inspiration.

And thought about it one last time as I was dozing off.

It gets boring for me to write “day in the life” posts day after day with no real content.

No real direction.

Especially when each day, looks like the day before, and the day before, and the day before.

Quarantine life is so damn boring.

I’ve taken two naps today, short naps, but still, laying down and dozing off.

I’m just not feeling 100%.

Partially its still depression, partially it’s that boredom of every day feeling like the last.

Today was a good day though.

I had PHP this morning, and group therapy was really productive.

I love when I end a group feeling like I have more insight than I did when it started.

After PHP I went for a walk with a derby friend. Someone who I haven’t seen since last season.

There hasn’t really been a season this year.

We walked slowly, stopping often for her dog to sniff around, and just talked.

We stayed distant from each other on the path, giving each other air hugs from 6 feet away before we left.

This new normal is odd, but finding safe ways to socialize is important.

I have coffee with another friend tomorrow, and then we’re repeating today’s walk on Thursday.

Sunday, Wonder Woman and I are having a friend over for another bonfire.

Quite a socially busy week for me, and it feels so good.

It feels good to have interest in this again.

It feels good to push myself not to cancel, because depression and anxiety want to get in the way.

But I’m not letting them.

I’m worth the fight.

I’m working on making socially distant plans with friends for next week.

I’ll be alone for a few days, and while I’m looking forward to the “me time,” I also don’t want to open myself up for the thoughts to creep back in.

Quiet is good, but getting myself stuck in the house isn’t.

I also have plans to turn up the music and get some serious cleaning done around here.

From months of staying at home, to long stretches of depression, my house is worse than it’s ever been.

I plan to get it back under control while she’s gone.

Organize my space to organize my mind.

I feel so much better though. I feel like the meds are working, I feel more like,

me.

Day 11

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I forgot about my therapy appointment tonight.

She messaged me when I was 15 minutes late, but I didn’t see it until I was almost 30 minutes late.

She saw me anyway.

In the 6ish years I’ve been seeing this therapist, I think this is the first time I’ve forgotten and been late.

I’m thankful that she checked on me so that I didn’t miss it completely.

There wasn’t a lot to talk about. Life has been pretty uneventful.

I’m flip flopping back and forth between depressed, and functional. Things are getting better.

Slowly.

I’m crafting.

Slowly.

My sink is empty, but tonight we ordered out because I didn’t have the energy left over to cook.

My machine is cutting an intricate project that will take me hours to weed (removing the negative space).

I’m looking forward to the meditative process.

I’m enjoying writing every day, but I don’t have anything major to write about.

Just random ramblings about my day.

Random thoughts.

Random.

I’m tired today, but I’m avoiding a nap.

I want to sleep tonight.

I slept well last night, waking up this morning fully rested for a change.

But I still slept too much. I had told myself if I woke up early, I could get Starbucks before PHP.

I didn’t get Starbucks.

I’ll try again tomorrow.

Day 9

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Today is one of those days that I’m not really sure what to talk about. But also, it’s the 9th day in a row of me writing and I feel like I might actually make it to one post a day all month.

I woke up early this morning, to start PHP (partial hospitalization program). Well, early for me, I’ve been sleeping till noon (or later) and today I was up and ready to go before 10.

PHP was exhausting, it’s so mentally draining even though it’s only a few hours long. I wanted a nap afterwards but had drank too much coffee to sleep.

That’s probably a good thing, I need to stop napping so much during the day.

I’ve been working on a really neat holiday card. I’m enjoying this particular design. I spent the afternoon getting the pieces cut out, and assembling the first one.

Three more to go.

Group group (group therapy) was at 530, and even though I felt too emotionally drained to attend, I did.

I feel like the fog is lifting, at least a little. I was able to do dishes today without fighting myself over it. I’m not dreading the idea of cooking dinner.

But I’m still tired.

Drained.

It’s been a long day with too much coffee.

Too much talking.

Too much vulnerability.

I’ll spend the evening putting together the rest of the cards, and maybe starting another one.

It’s nice to get a little bit of feeling like myself.

Here’s hoping it lasts.

Day 7

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

We went on a road trip today. Drove out to the middle of nowhere, Amish country, with no agenda in mind.

Except for hopefully leaving our depression behind.

My depression decided to tag along.

I enjoyed myself, but it was through a thick fog.

I didn’t really want to get out of the car and do things, but I did.

And I’m glad I did, I think it helped a little,

maybe.

We saw hot air balloons way too high in the sky.

We saw horse drawn buggies.

We went to an orchard and got apple butter and pumpkin pie.

And before driving home we sat in a converted railcar diner and ate while watching a beautiful sunset.

It really was a good day.

But depression was along for the ride.

It was hard to see through the fog and smile.

I wanted to come back home and sleep.

And I was pretty sure, when we got home that was exactly what I was going to do.

But instead I picked up my current crafty project and started working on that.

Instead I put fingers to keys to keep my November streak going.

Instead I put headphones in with uplifting music.

I’m trying.

Really really trying.

But the dishes are piled up from last night’s dinner and I’m wondering if I’ll have the energy to tackle them tonight.

I feel like I’m drained from our all day adventure.

I feel like it took everything out of me.

I feel overwhelmed every time I glance into the kitchen.

Every time I look around at a house that needs to be cleaned.

It feels like so much, and I feel like I did so much leaving the house today.

And I know this will pass.

I know it’ll get easier.

But for now, depression is my constant companion.

Day 1

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

TW: Talk of weight loss.

I still haven’t decided if I’m going to do this every day this month or not.

But just in case I keep going, I figured I should write something today.

I’m not really sure what to write about though.

Today was a nice laid back day. Lunch at a new (to me) place, Starbucks, and a nice long nap that I apparently needed.

Such a good nap.

Now I’m about to go walking with my gym buddy and hopefully get back into this routine.

I’d like to make it back into the gym eventually.

But it doesn’t feel safe to me right now, so walking it is.
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Writing was interrupted by walking. The shortest walks leave me so winded now. I remember doing miles without thinking twice and now going the long way around the block leaves me panting and wheezing.

I’ll get back to where I was, it’s just going to take time.

And dedication.

And perseverance.

I’m afraid I’m going to repeat my old pattern again, and I’m trying to stop it. The last time I lost a significant amount of weight, I gained back almost twice what I lost.

I don’t honestly care about the numbers on the scale.

I care about being fit enough to walk up and down my stairs without needing my inhaler.

I care about the other numbers.

I care about becoming diabetic again.

I care about my blood pressure.

And I know I can be fat and active and keep those numbers under control.

But I have to start somewhere, and right now I’m starting back at the beginning.

Walks the long way around the block. Both for my body and for my mind.

Eventually I’ll be able to go the even longer way around the block. The way with the steep hill.

The way that’s intimidating for me now.

I’m tired of getting out of breath this easily.

I’m tired of letting myself fall back into old habits.

I’m tired of eating because I’m upset.

And then getting upset because I’m eating.

I’m just tired of this same old battle, that will probably never stop.

It’s just like my mental health. I’ll be battling that till the day I die.

A constant fight hoping to stay stable and keep myself alive.

A constant fight to keep myself active and fit.

It’s tiring.

I’m tired.

Home Sweet Home

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

It’s been far too long since I’ve put fingers to keys for one of my regular posts. I’ve been home for ~36 hours and it feels like days and days and days. So many things that I missed that are right at my fingertips again.

Typing was one of those things.

I wrote every day while I was inpatient, multiple times a day. Working out of 2 composition books. One for my regular journaling, and one for daily goals and assignments.

So many assignments.

I think I should continue the practice of setting daily goals. These weren’t meant to be “laundry list” items, or things that we were expected to do as part of our treatment, but it was more for goals of what to work on for healing. Practicing certain skills, or doing internal checks on safety, feelings and grounding.

Considering that I only ended up being there for 2 weeks, I got so much out of it. I can’t decide if I’m glad it was this short, or if I wished it would have been longer.

I am glad to be home though.

I spent most of today crafting. Cutting out so many pieces of cardstock for the holiday cards I’m making this year. I don’t have enough time to do individualized cards for each person, so I’m batch making 4 or so of each style. I have 8 pages of addresses, with more to come.

So many cards.

And I’m so thankful that I have all of these people in my life. So many people that I can spread joy to, through crafting.

And it keeps my hands and my mind busy.

Staying busy, distracted but grounded, is a big part of my healing. Letting myself think enough to process whatever is going on, but not so much that I ruminate and get into trouble.

At this point it’s been weeks without suicidal thoughts and while I don’t fool myself into thinking that they are gone forever, it’s a nice break, and I have more tools to handle them when they come up.

I didn’t really have a goal in mind when I started writing today, I just miss the routine of putting words on the screen.

I miss this sort of processing.

Don’t get me wrong, there are benefits to journaling with pen and paper, but it hurts my hands so much that I can’t fully focus on what I’m trying to get out. My entries end up being short and choppy, with horrible handwriting that is difficult to read.

Tomorrow starts NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where people try to write X number of words in the month of November. Basically finishing an entire book in one month. It’s quite the commitment and not something I’m interested in doing, but in the past I’ve spent the month of November writing one post a day, as my own modified challenge.

I’m trying to decide if I want to do that again this year.

Writing just for the sake of writing can go both ways. Sometimes I end up with incredible posts that let me do some deep introspection that I didn’t even know I needed. Other times I’m just putting words on the screen with no real direction, no real topic, no real beginning or end.

Kind of like this one.

Creepy Dreams

This is a Really Real Trauma post.

TW: Mention of Completed Suicide. Mention of Suicidal Thoughts. Mention of a Gory Dream.

After a pretty good day or so, last night and this morning were rough.

Yesterday my therapist had to cancel on me. I totally understood why, her dog is sick and ended up in the pet ER. While I wasn’t mad at her, I was mad at the situation. The anger, which is becoming familiar, boiled up inside me. It’s likely that she won’t be able to see me until I get back from vacation, and it had already been almost 2 weeks since she had seen me.

This was just crappy timing.

I laid in bed for awhile, suicidal thoughts running in and out of my brain.

I felt ridiculous. There was no reason for this sort of reaction to such a minor thing. I have group therapy as part of the partial hospitalization program, almost daily. It doesn’t bother me that I’ll be missing THAT during vacation, why did it bother me so much to go an extra week without my individual therapy.

But anger is just part of my response to almost everything right now. And judging myself for the anger was part of what brought along the suicidal thoughts.

After calming down some I went for a walk with my friend. It was a short walk, after taking a few days off due to my stomach issues, I had no stamina again. But it helped.

Being active always helps.

I cooked Pho for dinner. We used boxed broth and pre-sliced meat which made it a super easy meal, but right now it’s one of my favorites.

I went to bed early, I was so tired and couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.

Even with the nightmare medication, the nightmare started almost immediately. It wasn’t about my dad this time. However, it was weird and twisting and reminded me of an episode of Dexter, a show that I never really watched but heard in the background for months as Parker worked her way through the seasons.

I woke up, and when I fell back to sleep I was in the middle of the same series of events.

People being killed and different ways to hide their bodies. Graphic visions of dismembering bodies and removing fingerprints. It was so gory and every time it felt like it would end, someone else would end up dead.

I woke myself up a few times, falling back into the same dream as soon as I closed my eyes.

I woke up at 2 am with a blinding headache. I got up and took some meds, staying awake until Wonder Woman was ready to go to bed, I couldn’t handle being alone with that nightmare anymore.

I think I got a couple of hours of decent sleep before the nightmare started again. I would toss and turn and fall back asleep right into the same dream, over and over and over again.

At least it wasn’t about my dad.

This morning when I woke up to use the restroom I was panicked. Alone felt horrifying, the bathroom was filled with the sound of gunshots.

I went back to bed, at least Wonder Woman was there and I wouldn’t be alone.

Every time I dozed I was back in the same nightmare, but laying awake was panicky and filled with anxiety. I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed to come to the living room. I felt again like I’d be blindsided from every angle.

It was rough.

Finally I woke Wonder Woman up and asked if she would get up with me, I couldn’t handle being alone anymore.

I felt so guilty for disturbing her sleep but the alternative was seemingly impossible.

We cuddled for awhile before getting up and leaving the house. Lunch at a new-to-me restaurant, outside on their patio. Stopping into a few stores looking for a longer leash for the dog on our vacation.

Of course we went for coffee.

Now we are back home. Going into the bedroom to get changed back into my around the house clothes was anxiety provoking. And the bathroom seems to be the perfect place for flashbacks.

I still have a headache, the same one from last night. It is just below the surface, peeking up occasionally to remind me that it’s there.

But it felt good to be out of the house for a bit. Writing has helped me get more of the anxiety out. Hopefully I can catch a nap today without the same dream coming back to haunt my sleep.

Some days are good, other days are hard, and I’m just here riding the waves.

Even the bad days aren’t quite as bad as they were.

And at this point I’m 2 sleeps from vacation. I’m looking forward to mountain views and animals that roam the property where we’ll be staying. I’m looking forward to walking back to the waterfall we saw last time we stayed in that area.

I’m looking forward to getting away.

Hopefully I can leave all of this behind for a few days as well.

Still a Widow

This is a Really Real Widow post.

Widowhood is weird.

Like, it’s no longer really a noticeable thing every day.

Well, I mean it is, because it profoundly changed me, and this version of me only exists because of it. But it’s not something where it is in the forefront of my mind on any sort of a regular basis.

And then some anniversary rolls around. Her birthday, her death day, our wedding anniversary.

And these next two.

The anniversary of the day we celebrated her life, and the anniversary of the day we met.

Each anniversary brings with it different memories. Memories of when she was alive, memories of that whirlwind year after she died.

It’s so strange sometimes, the way I end up with a foot in each world. One world where I wonder what would have been if she was still alive. One world where I’m so happy to be. A world surrounded by chaos and a world where there is stability.

Somewhere in the basement I have a scrapbook with her recollection of the first time we met. It was a book she planned to add to, giving me her side of our story, because I was the one who normally told the stories.

At one point, after she died, that book was always on the coffee table. I read it often, it felt so comforting to have her words to hold onto.

And now, it’s packed away in a box, probably along with my baby book. Things that I can dig out and look through, but not anything to concern myself with on a regular basis.

Sometimes there is guilt in this. Did I really love her if I’ve been able to pack those memories away? Did I really love her if she doesn’t have a predominant space in my home? Did I really love her if I’ve been able to more forward?

I know the answer is that I absolutely love her. Not only in the past tense, but now, still, always and forever.

The Parker sized hole in my heart has smoother edges, and I’ve learned to live around it. Her death forever changed me, I see her influence in things that I do every day.

Often I have some grand point in mind when I start to write these posts. And with this one, there wasn’t really an ending in mind. I just felt the need to put fingers to keys.

She will always be a part of me.

I miss her.

Where’s My Roller Coaster?

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve written. Now granted, time is going super fast, so it feels like less than that, but it really has been 2 weeks. I wrote daily for a long time, I wrote at least twice a week for a long time. Now I’m lucky if I write every couple of weeks.

Part of it is Covid. Nothing exciting is happening in my life. It’s the same shit, different day, different week, different month.

But a bigger part of it is that I’m just stuck in this low grade, constant, depression.

I miss my roller coaster. The monotony of day to day life with mental illness was broken up by constantly changing levels of mania and depression.

Good news: we stopped the rapid cycling.
Bad news: we stopped the rapid cycling.

Mental health was an obstacle course before. Making it through this episode just long enough for the next one to kick in. It was exhausting, but it was interesting.

Now my mental health is a long marathon. Just keep functioning at some constant level, reserving energy for the long haul.

The benefit to the obstacle course was that the adrenaline, kept me going, The hypomania and the influx of serotonin that it brought, kept me going.

That said, I read the posts I made in years past and I know that it wasn’t all that comfortable riding the roller coaster either. The suicidal thoughts were worse (and more dangerous) during mixed episodes. The hypomania brought along poor decision making. The lows were so dark, so so dark.

But, this version of stability is its own type of difficult.

I mean, I should be thankful that I’m stable. The suicidal thoughts are fleeting. I’ve held a job for close to 6 months. I’m not constantly in crisis.

But I’m also depressed enough that I’m often doing the bare minimum. Just enough to get me through to the next day. I can’t seem to find the will or the energy to do more.

I have enough work available to easily pull 20-30 hours a week. Yet, some weeks I’m lucky if I do half that.

And it isn’t that I don’t want to. I sit here stuck. I want to work, I know what I want to work on, but I just can’t find the energy to actually do it.

And it’s not just work, so it’s not just that I’m avoiding that.

I have a list of cards to make for friends. The list was made in April and May. It’s July. I’m still only part way through this list.

Side note for those that requested cards, they will make it to you eventually, I promise.

I sit here, aimlessly scrolling facebook. I want to craft, I want to game, I want to do SOMETHING, but I can’t find the will or the energy to start.

This is hard. A different kind of hard than constant crisis.

I miss my roller coaster.