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.

Wednesdays are Hard

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Wednesdays are hard.

I leave the house at 930 in the morning and start with gym and get home at 1030 at night after derby. The middle of the day is filled with DBT and NAMI and school work during my down times and transportation issues and eating on the go.

Wednesdays are hard.

By the end of the day I’m emotionally and physically exhausted.

This week they moved NAMI to a new building and I couldn’t find food locally so I went way too long without eating. It just added to the complete feeling of overwhelm by the end of the day.

Wednesdays are hard.

Yesterday was harder than most, and I came home at the end of the day and felt completely overwhelmed and couldn’t tell if I was seeing real problems or thought distortions but I knew my emotions were bigger than me and I couldn’t contain them. I wanted to lash out. Well, not really, I just I needed them out of my head.

I went and laid with the covers over my head. My bed is my safe space. My cave in the covers is my place to be unsure of things and still be okay.

I told Wonder Woman about my fears and my insecurities. I vented out all of the emotions that were bigger than me until they seemed a bit more manageable.

I cried.

Wednesdays are hard.

This morning the last thing I wanted to do was get up.and go to the gym. I spent the morning in bed thinking of a million excuses, a million reasons why I just couldn’t go today.

I just needed a break from life after yesterday.

Wednesdays are hard.

But instead I got my gym clothes on before I sat down for my morning coffee, getting one step closer, making it a little more difficult to back out.

I’m still not quite sure how to fix Wednesdays. But it doesn’t have to bleed over into Thursday, too.

We Look Like You

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’ve heard it a few times before.

“You don’t look like you’re crazy.”

But what exactly does mental illness look like?

I sat in my DBT group today and couldn’t stay focused. I spent some time looking around at our group of 10 people, 12 if you count the instructors (who, as Social Workers, most likely have diagnoses of their own, it’s pretty common) and we are all different shapes, sizes, ages, backgrounds and education levels. This class is taught in modules with a few of us switching out every month and with me on my 37th week, I’ve seen a lot of people come through here. We all look different, we all have different stories.

None of us “look crazy.”

Well, maybe a few of us, especially those of us with pink and purple hair, and bright pink unicorn covered skirts and sparkly rainbow Docs.

That’s me, maybe I look a little crazy.

The other day on mobility there was a huge mix up and I got stuck on the bus without a drop off scheduled. “It’s really important that I don’t miss my therapy appointment, is this fixable quickly?”

“What? Are you one of those bipolar people, turn into the she-hulk or something, start hitting people with trash cans?” I told him it wasn’t quite like that. He says, “I don’t know, you look like you’ve got a streak in ya.”

What exactly does that streak look like? And we won’t go into just how wrong that entire conversation was, fuck that nonsense.

But, mental illness doesn’t have a look, and I’m amazed that there are people who think it does. It’s part of the stigma that still attached. You’re crazy therefore you must be visibly ill, visibly disheveled, you must wear it like a scarlet letter.

What exactly does mental illness look like?

It looks just like me.

It looks just like my neighbor down the street.

It looks just like that law student.

It looks just like that therapist.

It looks just like that EMT.

It looks just like your doctor.

It looks just like you.

Wait For It

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

But also a Really Real Mental Health Post.

One of those that blur the lines because in the days after Parker died it was hard to tell where grief ended and depression began, where mania subsided and constant running for distraction took over.

That first year was probably the hardest year of my life. I found dozens of different methods to cope, trying one thing after another, some of them helping, others being left behind. One thing that kept me going was making playlists based on where I was in my grieving process. There was”Cry” and “Remembering Her” and “Joy” and the one that got the most play was the “You Got This” playlist.

One of the songs on there was “Wait For It” from Hamilton.

For me, that was my song that told me no matter how bad I felt in that moment, if I just kept fighting, things would get better. I just had to wait for it. There were nights that my suicidal thoughts were screaming in my ear, urging me to join Parker out of desperation to see her again. I would put “Wait For It” on repeat, blasting it through headphones trying to drown out the thoughts. It was one of my anthems urging me to just hold on.

I listened to the entire Hamilton soundtrack on repeat hoping that one day they’d put it on TV so that I could actually see it. Seeing it in person didn’t even cross my mind, because that was outside the realm of possibility for me. It wasn’t even on my radar. That was something that other people dreamed of, my hopes were much simpler than that.

But in the three years since then my life has changed. I’ve started seeing more of life, started seeing there is more than just survival. I knew it wasn’t likely, but just maybe, one day I’d get to see Hamilton in person. The soundtrack was such a huge part of my life, I knew the lyrics by heart, seeing it preformed would be amazing.

Tickets went on sale locally. Of course they were way outside of my price range, and they were so hard to get. I knew there was no way.

And then Wonder Woman calls me to tell me some friends were taking us to see Hamilton as an engagement gift.

What?!?!?

This can’t be real.

I spent weeks just knowing it wasn’t real. That any day now someone would tell me it was all bullshit. That I wasn’t really going. I had misunderstood, they had changed their mind, I dreamed it. I refused to get excited, I just got anxious. More and more anxious.

And then the night is here. We walk up the street and I see the marquee. Holy Shit! I’m going to see Hamilton.

Such a mix of emotions the entire show. While there was amazement and excitement and awe, there was also this mix of grief and remembrance. What if she had just realized that she could wait for it. That life could be like this. That maybe one day she could sit in a theater and see something as amazing as Hamilton.

But holding Wonder Woman’s hand, sitting beside her and feeling her emotions, feeling my own emotions, just being there. Actually being present in that moment. The audience disappeared and it was just us and the stage. My anxiety was gone, my grief was gone,

I was enthralled.

I’ve had a hard life, there’s no denying that. I’ve been through more than a lot of people can imagine. I still have a lot to process and heal. But my life is good. Honestly my life is pretty amazing and as hard as it is to see sometimes, I believe I will continue to make forward progress It might be slow progress, but it will be forward progress towards better things. And you know what?

I’m willing to wait for it.

How far?

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’ve written about this before, but it’s been getting worse again and I feel like not enough people talk about this type of mental health. It seems too “strange” to put it into words, and also, everyone experiences it differently which makes it harder to find commonalities. The typical type of dissociation that everyone can relate to, is zoning out when driving and having no real memory of going from point A to point B, maybe even driving home when you meant to go to the store because you were so out of it and just automatically followed your normal route.

This is my experience of it.

It happens at least once a day right now, but sometimes twice, or even three times. Sometimes more, maybe, I didn’t always count. But, I’ve started keeping track on my DBT diary card.

How big are my hands? Definitely too big for my body.

How far away is my computer screen? Why is it across the room when I’m sitting right here?

Why are sounds echoing when the room hasn’t changed?

My face seems to flicker, it feels like trying to watch something on Pay Per View when you didn’t pay for it, back in the days when that was a thing.

A mouth feel like biting on Styrofoam, and a taste to go with it. I don’t actually know what Styrofoam tastes like, but this must be it.

Why is everything too small for my hands?

How far does my spoon have to travel from my bowl to my face? Feeding myself becomes a chore, no longer an automatic task.

Don’t forget to chew.

My thoughts are slowed, I feel as if my speech is too. Those around me say they can’t notice anything different.

Derealization.

Dissociation.

Having names for it helps. It is a known thing, just a shift in my perception of reality, nothing has actually changed. Knowing I don’t seem to act differently to anyone else helps too.

I’ve learned to just keep moving through it, not let it stop me from whatever I was doing. It seems to pass quicker that way.

Some people are able to identify triggers that bring these episodes on. I haven’t found any regular ones yet. I know that talking about it makes it try to happen, but I can often fight that. I’ve been holding it back the entire time I’ve been writing this. Sometimes it happens when I’m bored and lost in thought, other times when I’ve read too long at the computer, sometimes when I’m stressed, sometimes when I’m happy, sometimes none of those seem to apply.

For some people grounding helps bring them out of an episode. For me, ignoring it and moving forward helps better. Grounding or mindfulness exercises just makes me focus on it and gives it more power.

Is dissociation something you cope with? If you feel comfortable sharing, let me know what yours feels like and your coping methods.

Lets shine some light into all of those dark spaces and help end the stigma.

 

Things To Do When I’m Alone

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

That’s it! I’m tired of spending my alone time laying around in bed moping like some lost puppy.

I totally get it, missing Wonder Woman is like grief all over again but I can’t keep doing this. It puts me into a dangerous position especially when suicidal intrusive thoughts work their way into the mix. It’s time for a plan of attack.

I need a list of things to do.

This feels silly, why does a 38 year old woman need to sit down and write out a list of interesting things to do when she’s alone? But the fact is, once I’m alone, my mind goes blank and gets filled with nothing but sad and grief and bored and a shit load of spiraling thoughts that often land on suicide. If the way out of this mess is a list of things to do, then lets start making that list!

Creative Stuff

  • design shirts (even if I can’t make them)
  • design stickers (even if I don’t know where to stick them)
  • look up new shirt/sticker designs
  • chainmaille
  • diamond painting
  • etched glass

Cooking

  • figure out how to make a current recipe healthier
  • find new healthy recipes
  • cook something Wonder Woman doesn’t like (EAT ALL OF THE SEAFOOD!!!!!)

Cleaning

  • who am I kidding, if I’m in the mood to clean, there is no shortage and I don’t need a list

Self Care

  • finally use one of those lush bath bombs (I am my own special occasion)
  • read one of the psych books
  • read one of the grief books
  • go for a long walk, alone

Entertainment

  • get over phobia of Xbox and watch Netflix
  • get over phobia of Xbox and play video games (finally get into Kingdom Hearts)
  • play one of my many video games on the computer

 

I’m sure there are dozens more ideas I can add, but this is a good start. If you can think of anything I don’t have here let me know so I can keep this growing.

 

 

Be Still

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning.

But I did.

First I woke up Wonder Woman and asked her to hold me and remind me that it was just depression and that I really did need to get up and go to the gym.

(I realize how lucky I am to have a woman who doesn’t get mad at me when I wake her up for those sorts of reminders. She even threw a “You’ll feel better afterwards” in there.)

And then I packed my bag with clothes for DBT and I went to the gym with Bat Woman and I did the things.

(And Wonder Woman wasn’t wrong. I felt a bit better afterwards.)

And then I went to DBT and participated fully.

And then I sat reading chapters and articles for school while waiting for mobility.

But I still feel like I’m just going through the motions.

I still feel like I’m walking through a fog.

Now that I’m home I want to go take a nap, and I can’t tell if that would be great self care, or if it would be giving into depression. It really could go either way.

I guess it depends on if I get up when I wake up the first time, or if I lay there for 3 hours wallowing in self pity about how this depression

just

won’t

let

go.

I appreciate the fact that my moods have stabilized on my current medications, however, I kind of miss the hypomania breaking the monotony of the depression.

The other one is, I definitely don’t miss actual crises occurring in my life. I’m so glad I’ve had this past year or two where I haven’t spent most of my time in therapy putting out fires and have instead been able to spend time healing from all of the trauma. But, I miss the rush of crisis mode.

I miss the adrenaline and emotional response that was needed to survive that sort of thing.

Maybe that’s part of my depression. Maybe I was just so used to living in crisis mode for so long that now when I stop, when there isn’t something to fix, a fire to put out, something to be reacting to . . .

Maybe I’m still learning how to just

be still.

I’ll get there.