I see you, I hear you.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’m the public one.

The one who speaks up.

The one who screams my story for all to hear.

The one that everyone says is so brave.

I don’t think it’s bravery.

I’m the one getting all of the support.

I’m the one getting all of the help.

I know there are so many others in the world.

Those that suffer in silence.

Those that don’t want to tell anyone what’s going on.

Those that won’t say how bad it really is.

Those that read along and see themselves in my words.

Those that are on the edge but just can’t break down, afraid of what will happen if they do.

Those that have broken down, but no one knows.

Those that are holding themselves together with smiles and laughs

And makeup

And perfect hair.

I see you.

I know you’re out there.

I know you’re the brave ones.

Without anyone to talk to.

Still putting one foot in front of the other.

Holding on for dear life.

Begging yourself to make it one more day.

And as you kiss your babies to bed each night.

Silently hoping you’re there to see them in the morning.

I hear you,

Even when you don’t have words to say.

 

Where do I begin?

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

This post started out as a post about something completely different. But as I was writing, the topic morphed, and I realized that I needed to process through something.

Where do my illnesses end and I begin?

And not in a “I am not my illness” kind of way, but in a “I need to take responsibility for my actions and not let my illness take the blame for all of it”

I talk a lot about how I do or don’t do things because of my list of labels. The depression will keep me from cleaning the kitchen, executive dysfunction from ADHD will get in the way of doing the dishes, mania will have me spending all of the money, or anxiety will cause me to cancel plans with friends.

Any of them can send me running to my bed with covers over my head.

Maybe my kitchen is a wreck because I don’t feel like cleaning, maybe bipolar has nothing to do with it.

Maybe my sink is full of dishes right now because I’m just being lazy. Maybe it’s not executive dysfunction.

Maybe I want to spend money because I’m just bad with money. Maybe it’s my own fault and not the bipolar. Maybe I just need more self control.

Maybe I cancel plans with friends because I’ve become more introverted and I’m more comfortable being alone.

Maybe, sometimes, the illness is easy to blame, but maybe it’s just as much my personality as anything.

But, I wonder if it matters.

No matter why I’m not cleaning, I need to figure out a way to get the kitchen clean and the dishes done. It doesn’t matter if its because of my illness or because I’m a lazy lump that day, I need to find a way through it so the job gets done.

And I need to do it with kindness and compassion towards myself.

Same with the money, and finding ways to follow through on plans.

Blaming myself isn’t doing anyone any good.

I also wonder how much these things became part of my personality because of my illnesses.

Where do I end and the illnesses begin?

 

 

Sick of Being Sick

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’m tired.

I crawl in bed and close my eyes.

But this is not the kind of tired a nap will fix.

I’m tired of being sick.

I’m tired of knowing this will never go away.

I’m tired of not knowing what days will be good and what days will be bad.

I’m tired of it being out of my control.

I feel like I do the right things.

I take the meds and I go to the classes and I go to the groups and I do the therapy and I work hard. I practice mindfulness and all of the skills I’ve learned over the years. I stay active and I eat well.

I give myself all of the things a little plant needs.

And I still never know when I’m going to have a bad day or week or month. I never know when it’s going to come back.

And I know it will get better, and that’s great.  That’s wonderful. That’s fantastic.

But I can’t plan around it getting better. I can’t even plan around it getting worse.

It will always do both, on it’s own timeline, and sometimes it doesn’t matter what I’m doing at the time.

I could end up suicidal on my wedding day, just because the chemicals in my brain decide it’s a good day to go haywire.

I could end up manic the day I’m supposed to have surgery (which has most likely been cancelled, again, anyway).

I could end up fine as they’re checking me into a psychiatric unit.

I’m tired of being sick.

I’m tired of it being out of my control.

The idea that I just can’t do things now, but that maybe one day I’ll be able to do them, seems like bullshit because I have so little control over this shit.

And it’s not fair.

I didn’t ask for this.

I didn’t do anything to deserve it.

I got out of PHP 15 months ago with the idea that after DBT I’d be able to return to work, because DBT was going to give me the skills to better manage my illness.

I WAS IN MY SECOND ROUND OF DBT WHEN THIS EPISODE STARTED!

I’m doing the work and it seems pointless. It seems like I’m never going to get any better than where I’m at now.

And where I’m at now means two pages worth of medications daily, suicidal thoughts almost daily, a severe mood episode monthly, not being able to work or even hold down a part time volunteer position.

It makes life itself seem pointless. It makes me want to give up.

I’m tired.

I take my meds

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’ve been on psychiatric medications since I was 16 years old.

I’ve been on them for my entire adult life.

I know I will be on them until I die.

Most of the time, I’m the first person to tell others “take your meds, they work, even when they don’t work perfectly, they are there for a reason, keep working with the doctors until you find the right ones.” I always refill my meds on time, always refill my pill sorter, I rarely miss a dose, take them every morning and every night.

But sometimes.

Rarely.

But sometimes

I don’t want to.

I’m tired.

So many medications, and the pill sorter is empty and I just don’t want to fill it up again.

and again

and again.

Especially when life seems so dim and dull and pointless anyway.

I just want to stop.

Take a break.

Put them away for awhile.

But I know.

I know.

I KNOW.

That isn’t pretty.

I might be okay for a little while, maybe a few weeks, maybe even a few months.

But I have stability right now, even if it isn’t perfect. I don’t want to risk it. I don’t want to put myself through that, my family through that, My Love through that.

I’ve been there before.

It isn’t pretty.

So I pull out the bag with the bottles of pills.

I sort them one at a time.

And I take my fucking meds.

 

Adultier Adult

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I had a conversation in therapy about the fact that I don’t feel like an adult.

My therapist asked why I don’t see myself as a grown up. I started listing off reasons.

I don’t have a car.

I don’t have a job.

I’ve always needed financial help.

I’m not independent.

I can’t budget my own money successfully.

I’m not successful.

I haven’t finished college.

I can’t hold a job even when I get them.

I can’t finish anything I start.

I just kept listing off one thing after another.

I told her I felt that my son was more of an adult than I am. He is truly, the adultier adult, like we always joked about needing when he was younger.

She pointed out that I raised him.

I told her that was easy, he was an easy kid to raise, mostly. He did a lot of it himself, unfortunately, while I was busy helping us survive whatever bullshit I had gotten us into that week, or month, or year.

She asked me if I’d judge anyone else so harshly.

Of course not.

But this is me, and I’m “so smart” and “so intelligent” and I “should be making more of myself” and I’m not.

So how can I really be an adult.

I can’t even keep my sink clear of dishes. I can’t even stay caught up on school work (and it’s at a community college, it’s not like I’m working a full time job at the same time, most of the students are).  I can’t even pay my bills on my own without spending too much money and needing to be bailed out again, and again, and again.

This all sounds very whiny.

I want to be so much more than I am. I want to be functional. I want to be . . . typical, for lack of a better word.

I want to be able to spend money on things I need and not get carried away by emotional spending to the point that I end up staring at a negative bank account for the third time in a month, begging for help, again. I want to be able to focus on the things I need to focus on and stop hyperfocusing on the things that don’t matter. I want a fucking car. I want to finish school. I want to be able to work and actually hold down a job.

I want to be a fucking adult.

I want to accomplish more in life then just surviving and keeping a kid alive until 18.

I want to do more.

I just want to grow up.

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