Just hold on

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

TW: Talk of suicide, including plan. Talk of weight/weight loss/weight gain.

There’s so much in my brain and I don’t know where to start. This ended up being super super long, but I need to get it out. Words of encouragement and understanding would be greatly appreciated.

Last night was really, really hard.

It started with boredom. None of my usual activities were grabbing my attention. I tried pushing through and making myself start something anyway. Just start, just design one card, just complete one quest, just plan one dish.

Just start something.

But I wasn’t able to. So slowly I felt myself drifting towards bed. Once there I couldn’t even bring myself to turn on the TV.

Laying there my mind was wandering. Is this the medication change, it’s supposed to make me less flat and sometimes it just doesn’t seem to be doing that. It’s supposed to help me eat less, and I thought I was, but yesterday morning I had gotten on the scale, and I gained another 10 lbs.

Inching ever closer to my heaviest weight. A weight I swore I’d never reach again. I worked so so hard to lose so much. Even at 300 lbs I was proud of my body and what it could do. I felt accomplished at the gym. I was far more at peace with my body, even though I still had a lot to lose.

I spent months working towards bariatric surgery, for the 3rd time, and right as I cleared the last hurdle, they thought that emotionally it could be very dangerous for me to move forward. I walked away from the program on the day I was supposed to set a surgery date. I still don’t know if it was the right decision.

That was when this latest weight gain started. I had already stalled with losing, due to the medication increase, but then I started gaining. We increased the medication more, and I gained more. First I noticed 10 lbs, then a couple of months later there was another 10. Then in the first couple of months of quarantine it just kept going up and up and up.

And as much as the numbers suck, even worse is that I’ve lost my ability to walk as far as I used to. My pain is worse. I get out of breath just getting adjusted in bed. Walking up to my second floor apartment feels like running a marathon.

I don’t feel proud of what my body can do anymore. I spent almost 2 years celebrating accomplishment after accomplishment, and now I’m back to living in my desk chair barely able to hold myself up.

And last night it crashed down on me. Weight is such a huge trigger for my suicidal thoughts.

It started with a quiet whisper. “You failed again.”

Then a little louder. “You’re right back where you were, fat and useless, and no matter how hard you work, you’ll always end up back here.”

With a little more force, “You’ll never overcome this, it’s not worth trying anymore, it’s not worth living.”

In the back of my mind I started telling myself. Get up, get dressed, go for a walk. You don’t have to give in to this.

“See, you can’t even do that, can’t even bring yourself to work on this. You’re such a fat failure and you’re just taking up space. The world would be better off without you in it”

Then the quiet voice again. Please, just get up, put on shoes, and walk. You don’t even have to change out of your pajamas, just get out of bed and walk.

There was a back and forth battle between the voice that wanted me to die, and the quiet voice trying to stand up and help me live.

I came out to the living room and checked some pill bottles. I don’t have enough of this, this, or that . . of course we keep most of it locked up, but maybe, maybe if I take all three different ones.

I started hoping that Wonder Woman would go in the other room. Go into the bathroom, so that I had enough time to take what I had. I know she’d notice if I took the pills into my room, and she’d definitely notice if I took them right there. I just needed to take them and go to sleep. Hopefully I wouldn’t wake up.

It was a calm sort of suicidality . I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t rushed, I was just waiting for the right moment.

Just waiting in bed and listening for the moment when she got up from the sofa.

Quietly waiting.

Instead I sent her a text. A that small voice fighting to live. “I’m calmly but intensely suicidal tonight.”

She asked how she could help. I didn’t have an answer.

Eventually, I heard her get up. I was waiting to hear the bathroom door. It would finally be my chance. But instead she turned off the lights and came to bed. We talked.

I told her my plan.

She locked up more meds, and I felt like a child in need of a babysitter.

And then I felt defeated. I felt, and still feel, like there’s no way out of this mess I’m in. This mess that is me.

We went to the store this morning. She reminded me that I had to stay alive to cook the food we were buying. I felt the voice slowly fading away. Slowly backing off.

I’m worried that these thoughts are because we’re lowing the medication. But staying on such a high dose is just going to exacerbate my weight problems. It’s nearly impossible to lose weight when the intense craving for food feels like a drug addiction. I can not adequately explain the drive to eat that has been occurring the last 6 months or more.

And you can’t just quit food cold turkey.

I don’t have any answers. I don’t have any uplifting ending to this post. I don’t have any feel good words.

I just have me, feeling like I don’t want to continue to fight.

I just have me sitting here, getting my words out on the screen so that they don’t eat me alive.

Blah

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

TW: Mention of weight being a problem for me, but no mention of dieting.

First of all, I realize I’ve slowed way down on my writing. I’m writing some short stuff for the Facebook page/group I’m a part of, but mostly, my writing has just stopped. (Link to page and group in the comments.)

Second, everything I have written, for awhile now, seems to deal with either my weight, or work, and how hard both of those things are for me right now.

And I really did plan to make this post different, maybe come up with some more interesting topic, or something new. Except my weight, and work are the two things that are most difficult in my life. Everything else is just . . . there . . . it doesn’t really bother me.

I mean, the dishes keep piling up in the sink, and I can’t find the will to cook. Showering, and even brushing my teeth are chores that are difficult to force myself through. I’m sleeping for 12-ish hours a night.

If it sounds like depression and looks like depression it must be nothing. This is fine, everything is fine.

Cartoon of dog surrounded by fire. Second panel has them saying “This is fine.”

Well, I guess the other things are bothering me, they just don’t feel as pressing, or has as much of a sense of urgency about them. They are just part of my current normal.

I feel like I have no will power to just muscle through this stuff. Weight and work included. I haven’t been able to make the changes I need to make. I haven’t been able to stick to a schedule. I haven’t been able to just “do the things.”

But also, I know this will pass. I will get back into a routine. I will slowly change these new, unhealthy, habits, back into the healthier habits I had before. I will go back to thriving with a routine, and find satisfaction in a job well done. Dishes and menu planning and straightening up around the house will go back to being just things that I do.

My current meds, probably the higher dose of Abilify, are muting my emotions. In an effort to keep me from rapid cycling and ending up in a mixed mood episode, we’ve made life kind of flat for me. Yeah, I don’t get hypomanic, and the suicidal thoughts are mostly controlled, but the world is kind of grey and 2 dimensional. I don’t feel difficult things as strongly, but I’m also missing out on the bright colors of emotions I’m used to seeing.

This is fueling my depression, I’m sure. When the world seems flat and made up mostly of various shades of grey, it’s harder to see the positives and feel hopeful. It’s hard to be excited about life.

When there’s no sense of accomplishment when I complete a task, it’s hard to keep repeating that task over and over again.

But, mental illness is hard. It’s an everyday battle. The constant fight is draining. Even just riding the waves without fighting against them is draining.

This too shall pass. Hopefully some slow med changes will help. Hopefully the warmer months and more sun will help (If I can get myself out of the house.) Hopefully continuing to adjust to this new normal will help.

Hopefully.

If I can hold onto that hope, I’m winning the battle.

Wait, Weight, Wait

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

And a Really Real Health post.

TW: Weight/dieting/exercise. Mention of suicidal thoughts with no intent or plan.

I hate my body.

It’s making me hate who I am.

And I’ve had a few realizations in the last couple of days.

First, I remembered that I’m on a high dose of Abilify.  It made me gain some weight at lower doses but the weight gain has gotten so much worse at this increased dose. I think it’s a big reason for my whirlwind eating, and my craving of sweets.  It’s the medicine that keeps the suicidal thoughts under control.  We had to increase the dose when I was in the hospital, and we increased it again as I finished up with partial.  I think it may be time to look into decreasing the dose, or changing to a different med.

Also, I realized I hate my body right now. I hate how I look.  I hate how I feel. I hate how hard it is for me to interact with my environment.

I spent the last, however many, years looking at old pictures of me and comparing my round puffy face to the slimmer version it had become.  I constantly said how much I never wanted to be that fat and gross.  How horrible it was that I ever got that way.

How horrible I was.

It’s really hard to take good care of a body I hate. It’s hard to stick with changes because I don’t really feel like I’m worth it.

I also feel like nothing will change, and like I’ll always go back to this weight.

That thought makes the suicidal thoughts start. The idea that I can’t change this, and this is the body I’ll live in until I die, is hard hard stuff for me.

Often, when I think too much about forever fighting to stay mentally stable, I think that death would be better than fighting for the rest of my life.

Now, when I think too much about forever fighting to keep my weight under control, I think that death would be better than fighting for the rest of my life.

I started to list the things I was doing and trying to do, but honestly, those won’t matter until I go back to loving myself where I’m at.

I hate that I could say “I deserve to take up space” when I was 50 lbs lighter, but now I feel like I don’t deserve the space I take.

I hate that I could see how beautiful I am at one weight, but I can’t see my beauty now.

I hate that I feel like I need external validation.

I hate that the same people who praised me for losing weight, will judge me for gaining it back.

I hate that some of them will feel they can speak that judgement out loud.

I hate feeling like this.

I hate being like this.

I hate me.

 

Work, Work, Work, Work, Work

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

My brain is doing much better.  I’ve walked and gotten out of the house and set up a plan to get my eating under control. Taking some control back has helped a lot. I felt like I was just stuck in the same loop and couldn’t get off that path.

But work is still a struggle. I haven’t done any real work since Monday. I’ve done the bare minimum, keeping fires from starting.  I did talk to my boss, which was a huge thing for me, and he reminded me that nothing is an emergency, I can take the time I need and get my brain back together.

But my brain is mostly back together, and I still haven’t been able to pull out the stacks of paper that need entering. I haven’t been able to scan the papers that need scanning. I haven’t been able to file the papers that need filing.

I definitely haven’t had the creative brain to create new ads and write new copy.

But this is a start.

Getting my feelings and my struggles out of my brain and onto the screen helps me gather the focus I need to succeed.  Work is super important to me.  After years of being unable to be productive in that way, it makes me feel like a functional adult.

It’s a bit of normality among my disabilities.

It’s a huge accomplishment.

Taking off most of this week means I have to go back to leaning on people for financial help. That’s hard, even though I know I’m so very lucky to have people to lean on. There has already been a reduction in hours due to the state of the world and it feels unfair that I slacked off this week.

But I’m not sure that I had a choice. Without taking a break I would have sunk further and further and honestly, I’d like to avoid the danger zone.

Now it’s time to pick up where I left off, to get back into the swing of things, and to do what I know I’m capable of.

I appreciate everyone that lets me be heard. I appreciate everyone that comments.  I appreciate the fact that getting my words on the screen not only helps me, but helps others as well.

I’m very grateful for my life as it is now, even with the ups and downs and struggles.

I’m grateful to be alive.

Now it’s time to get some work done.

Out of Sync

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

TW: Talk about weight.  Talk about suicide w/ plan.

The sun is out. The birds are singing. It’s a beautiful day to want to die.

I mean, I’d rather not want to die.

But it’s a beautiful day and I want to die.

I can’t fucking move in my body without getting out of breath. I’ve gained back so much weight.

I don’t want to lose it because of how I look.  I know I’m beautiful no matter how big I am.

I want to lose it because I’m uncomfortable in my skin. I can’t function at this size. I can’t move around in bed, I can’t walk up stairs without huffing and puffing, I can’t walk around the block without everything hurting.

I’ve been here before and I don’t want to be back.

And I can’t stop eating. Part of it is medicine but a bigger part of it is boredom.

I can’t stop eating.

I want all of the things and I want them now and sometimes, most of the time, I’m tearing myself apart while I’m eating, beating myself up for not being a better person, for not having more self control.

I fucking hate this.

I had a good relationship with my body. I had a good relationship with food. I had a good relationship with my needs.

And it all fell apart. And while it was falling apart quarantine happened and it just destroyed that relationship entirely.

Intuitive eating no longer feels possible. Movement is hard and clumsy.

The idea of fighting my way back down from this size seems insurmountable.

And it’s making me want to die. The idea of being stuck in this body like this, makes me want to die. The thought that I’ll never be able to get this under control, makes me want to die.

I laid in bed last night calculating which medications I had available to me. Which ones I could scrounge up around the house even though most everything is locked up, out of my reach.  Would it be enough? Would I slide away peacefully like Parker? Or would I just end up in the hospital, alone with my thoughts? Eating myself through days and days in the psych ward.

I kept myself in bed and eventually drifted off.

I woke up this morning with the dread that I had to drag myself out of bed. I hate my body, I hate feeling it move.

I called out of work, even though i work from the same desk I’ll spend my day at anyway. I just can’t mentally function today.

Great, another thing to beat myself up over.

I’m fat. And I honestly don’t mind being a healthy, move comfortably, good relationship with my body, kinda fat.

I do mind being like this.

It makes me want to die.

The sun is out. The birds are singing. It’s a beautiful day to want to die.

Not Again

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

TW: Talk of suicidal thoughts with plan, also mention of weight. After writing this I feel safe.

About 10 days ago they put me back on a medication that in large doses could kill me.

When I first got the 30 day supply, I knew immediately that I needed to lock most of it up.

But I never did.

And each time I would take one, I’d think “I need to give most of this to Wonder Woman to put away.”

But I never did.

And sometime last week the thought shifted. Instead of “I need to give it to her to put away” it became “This really is enough to do the job quickly and quietly.”

And every time I took one, the thought of taking the whole bottle crossed my mind.

Again.

And Again.

And Again.

I wasn’t even suicidal. It was just an intrusive thought.

Until today.

Until the moment where the switch flipped.

I’ve slept a lot today. I woke up super early so when I finished work I took a nap.

And when I finished my late lunch I took a nap.

And then I ate again and napped again.

I woke up from that nap and while laying there, a thought train started.

“I’m letting myself down because I can’t walk tonight. I’m so fat right now and losing this is going to be really hard.  But at least I’m thinking it’s possible instead of wanting to kill myself over it. It’s kind of nice to be able to think about being fat and not immediately want to die over it.  I’m glad I’m in a good place right now. I’d rather be fat and alive than skinny and dead.”

“But those pills are right there, and it would be so easy.”

“And Wonder Woman is busy for the next few hours.”

“And life is just so very hard right now.”

“And look at how much weight you’ve gained in such a short period of time, you’re repeating the same pattern all over again.”

“And those pills are right there.”

“And you’d just go to sleep.”

“You’d die quietly just like Parker.”

And I got out of bed just in time to see Wonder Woman go in and shut the door for her meeting.

“Those pills are right there.”

I knew I needed to say something. Shine a light into all of the dark spaces. Open my  mouth and shut these thoughts up.

“Those pills are right there.”

I took Siah out and checked the mail. I hopped on Facebook, opening message windows and closing them, willing myself to reach out, if not to say that I needed help, just to check on someone else and start talking to someone.

“Those pills are right there.”

Those pills are still right there. But writing about it has helped a lot.  I shined some light into these dark spaces. I feel safer now.

So quick it can go from “I’m fine” to “I’m not fine.”

So quick it can go from “I’m not fine” to “I’m fine.”

But that space in between is so very dark.  So very very dark.

Huff and Puff

This is a Really Real Health post.
 
TW: Weight mentioned
 
Before quarantined life, I had started putting on weight. It wasn’t so much about the numbers on the scale as it was that I could feel it in my body. I was less flexible. It was harder to do things.
 
Then I became a shut in to save the world and the weight has been adding up more and more. I have a hard time with my shoes again. Moving around is harder. I feel it in my joints.
 
Early on, I tried walking but our neighborhood is busy during the day. I felt like I was zigzagging all over the place to stay away from people, none of whom tried to stay away from me. It took all of the joy out of the walk when I had to be hyper-vigilant for who was going to walk up on me next.
 
I stopped walking.
 
I kept eating, and eating, and eating.
 
I keep telling myself it’s not about the numbers on the scale, while also refusing to get on a scale because I’m afraid of what I’ll see. I feel it in my clothes, though. I see it in my face.
 
I feel it everywhere.
 
So yesterday I went out around 9pm and started walking. The streets were mostly empty. I talked on the phone to a good friend for the entire 1.5 miles or so. She didn’t mind my huffing and puffing luckily.
 
Tonight I needed to pick up a prescription, so I walked to CVS and asked Sarah Jane to pick me up once I got there. I could have done the round trip a year ago, but today even the 2 miles felt like it was pushing it. It hurt. I still hurt.
 
But, that’s 2 days in a row.
 
The way I did this the first 2 times was by celebrating every small victory. Today’s victory is that even though I’ve spent a lot of the day in bed due to boredom and depression, I got my ass up and walked tonight.
 
Lets see if I can keep this up.
 
If anyone feels like keeping me long distance company on my walks around 9 or 10 at night, let me know and we can plan a night for me to call. Hope you don’t mind listening to me huff and puff though. Otherwise I have plenty of music to listen to.
 
Gold Star for me, 2 days in a row, even though I didn’t want to.

I’m Tired

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

This time last year I was intensely suicidal. I was tired of fighting the thoughts that so often wanted to kill me. I was tired of being in pain.

I was tired.

This year, comparatively, I’m doing really well. I don’t really get all that suicidal all that often. My pain is somewhat controlled. I’m relatively stable.

But.

I am tired.

I’m tired of being inside. I’m tired of not going to the gym. I’m tired of missing my friends. I’m tired of hearing about people who aren’t even trying. I’m tired of working. I’m tired of avoiding the world.

I’m tired.

I’m tired.

I’m tired.

And this time I know I’m not alone. I know there are lots of us that are tired.

And it’s still not fair.

None of us deserve this right now. None of us were prepared for it. None of us should have to learn to live with it.

But most of us are learning to live with it. We are doing what we’re supposed to do.

Those that aren’t, piss me off. The more we leave our houses the longer this will take, and it’s going to take a long while as it is.

Stay the fuck home.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of living in this world even though I’m not tired of living.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of not being able to write because there’s no life to write about.

I’m tired.

I am tired.

Painsomnia

This is a Really Real Health Post.

Last night hurt.

It really hurt.

I’m not sure what was different, what I ate, what has changed, but my HS is flaring and I’m also dealing with serious skin, muscle, and joint pain.

That means my inflammation is sky high right now.

And last night I hurt.

I couldn’t sleep.

I had to be up early this morning for a day full of appointments and mobility rides.

I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned. I got up. I laid back down.

I disturbed Wonder Woman’s sleep without meaning to.

I fell asleep at 430 am, the alarm went off at 6.

I canceled my 8am, $2 mobility ride and instead called a $20 Lyft a few hours later.  I needed that extra sleep or I would have fallen apart today.  This is the kind of stuff that causes a mental health relapse.

I couldn’t afford that $20 ride.

I couldn’t afford to fall apart.

And I still hurt.

And I’m sitting in a Starbucks waiting for my next ride.  Nothing but time to kill.  Nothing to get involved in.  Sitting and scrolling Facebook endlessly because I’m not sure what else to do to occupy my time.  Two more hours to go.

And I hurt.

Pain like this is so so hard for me. I used to hurt like this all of the time, and while I’m glad I don’t anymore, I’m out of practice with the coping skills of the more intense pain.

That’s not to say I’m not in pain normally, I am, but my normal is a 2 or a 3.  It’s chill.  It’s just there, a constant hum in the background of my life. I work around it.

Today is twice that. It’s enough that it makes every step reverberate through my body. I feel every inch of my skin. My muscles are cramped and sore. My bones ache. My joints feel like they can’t support me.

This is a hot shower kinda day. Even though the water hitting my skin would feel like knives, the warmth would help me relax.

This is an all day curled up in bed kinda day. Even though my back would cramp, the comfort of my cloud wrapped around me would help me breathe through this.

This is a sleeping med kind of day. Even though I’d feel groggy and drugged when I woke up, sleeping through this would be welcome relief.

But in reality, today is a busy, appointment kind of day. I won’t be home until late. I’m spending the day sitting in hard chairs that make me ache even more.

And I’m still tired because of last night’s painsomnia, there weren’t enough hours left to take sleeping meds.

Today is an ouchy kind of day.

But this too shall pass.

This year, this decade.

This is a Really Real “Life in Review” Post.

It’s the end of a year.

I figured, just like so many people do, I’d reflect on the past year of my life.  Think about my accomplishments and what I’d like to take with me into next year.

This year I started giving myself permission to take up space.  Physically, verbally, emotionally. I realized that I was allowed the space that I need. Some of the time I was able to hold the mindset that everyone who thinks otherwise can fuck off. I want to get better at that mindset next year and stop trying to shrink myself to suit others.

This year I survived one of my more intense series of suicidal thoughts. I got myself help. I saw that I have a huge community of people who support me, both virtually and locally. I want to be better connected with that community.

I learned that even though I feel like I’m outside of a group, it doesn’t mean I actually am.

I found joy in sending snail mail. Making well over 100 cards in the past 3 months has been so wonderful, and even better was knowing that it put a smile on someone’s face. I want to keep going, and maybe start selling my work.

I think one of the biggest things I learned this year is that it’s okay for things to be stable. It’s not the calm before the storm, it’s just the calm, and life can really be this way without worrying about what comes next. I want to carry comfort with stability going forward.

I learned to live in the moment. That fully accepting what is happening is the first step to finding solutions. Fighting against a problem only takes energy away from solving it. I learned that not being okay, is perfectly okay. That as long as you don’t make a problem worse, you’re doing the right things – you can always build from there.  I learned that it’s okay to ask for what I need, that it doesn’t always mean fighting.

It’s the end of a year.  One of the better years of my life.

It’s the end of a decade.

It’s hard to wrap up the past decade because there’s a giant split down the middle.  The before and the after.

In the before, there was a lot of love, and a lot of trauma, and a lot of resilience, and a lot of struggle.

In the after there’s a lot of growth, a lot of falling (metaphorically and physically), a lot of healing, and a lot of pain.

It’s the end of a decade. The hardest in my life.

I wrote a big long thing trying to list out the good and the bad of the last decade, but honestly, that’s not all that helpful.  The past decade (and the ones before that) got me to where I am now, and now is what matters.

Now is where I want to spend my time.