No, I don’t wanna.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Today has been long and difficult.

I’m tired and overwhelmed.

I sit alone at my desk.

Not even 8 in the evening.

My bed is calling my name.

It’s my safe space.

I can be sad there.

I can hide under the covers there.

I can let myself be fully depressed there.

I can lean into it there.

I fight back, whining out loud “No, I don’t wanna.”

I don’t want to give in and crawl into my bed.

I don’t want to feel like this again.

I’m fighting so hard.

I’m taking the medication.

I’m going to my program.

And depression is wrapping its arms around me again.

The thoughts are whispering in my ears again.

I’m wondering how safe it is to be alone.

I say it louder “No, I don’t want to.”

I don’t want to feel like this.

I don’t want to fight this fight.

Again.

I don’t want to fight my brain so I can get out of bed.

I don’t want to fight my brain to stay engaged with life.

I don’t want to fight my brain for the right to live.

The right to exist.

I don’t want to fight my brain for survival.

I’m doing the right things.

I’m staying out of bed.

I’m finding things to stay occupied with.

I’m redirecting my thoughts.

But I feel so very tired right now.

“I don’t want to.”

I don’t want to ride this roller coaster again.

I don’t want to be at this amusement park.

I don’t want to be in this movie.

I don’t want to be part of this play.

Why can’t I set this book down.

Do I have to stay in this library?

Can someone cancel my subscription?

I already have too many issues.

“I don’t want to.”

Burden

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I feel like a burden,

A load everyone else must carry.

I feel needy.

(Even while she reminds me “You’re not needy. You have needs.” Well, I have too many needs.)

I am too much.

Emotionally I take up a lot of space.

Physically I take up a lot of space.

I am not always self sufficient,

Even with the most basic tasks,

I’m sent into overwhelm so easily and I shut down.

I feel like a burden.

A load everyone else must carry.

I feel needy.

I am too much.

But even while feeling like a burden,

I still need help.

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.

Bounce Back

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I started an all day, 5 days a week, Partial Hospitalization Program last Wednesday.

The school semester started today.

Therapy every Friday afternoon.

Derby and NAMI Wednesday nights.

I need to get back to the Gym.

Somewhere in there I need to clean the house and grocery shop and cook dinner and pack my lunch.

I keep expecting myself to be 100%.

This weekend I got so mad at myself because Friday I ended up melting down. I was exhausted, emotionally and physically. I was overwhelmed. I was realizing that there was so much that needed to be done with school starting and here I was away for the weekend.

But the alternative was staying home alone for three days which didn’t feel like the greatest idea either.

So while I was in the car trying to nap I was also beating myself up. The crisis was over, why couldn’t I handle this?

Because I’m not 100%. I’m not even 50%. I’m not suddenly, overnight, all better, just because they let me come home.

They only let me come home because I’m safe.

But that doesn’t mean the thoughts are gone.

That doesn’t mean this mood episode has totally passed, even though I try to act like it has.

The good news is, Saturday and Sunday were a lot better. I was able to relax into the flow of a tournament. I met some new people. I saw some people I hadn’t seen in awhile. I watched some great derby.

I enjoyed myself.

But the knowledge of what was coming as soon as I got home was still looming over my head. I looked at my classes online a few times. Tried to read some of the coursework. The words got jumbled in my brain. My focus isn’t quite where it should be, quite where I need it to be.

I’m overwhelmed.

And that’s okay.

Because I’m not 100%. I’m not even 50%. I’m not suddenly, overnight, all better, just because they let me come home.

I still have a lot of healing left to do.

I need to cut myself some slack.

No one is expecting perfection.

Except me.

Except me.

Except.

Me.

Maybe this isn’t the semester to worry about deans list and honors programs. Maybe this isn’t the semester to return to full time classes. Maybe passable work and part time classes are just fine.

Maybe a messy house and Instacart and frozen meals.

Maybe it’s time to reconsider some priorities, even if just for now.

Maybe I’m allowed to be less than 100%. Maybe even less than 50%. Maybe I’m not expected to be suddenly, overnight, all better.

Healing takes time.

Working on myself has to be the top priority.

Otherwise, I’ll never bounce back.

The First Morning

(These are a series of posts I hand wrote while I was inpatient on the crisis unit)

Trigger Warning: Suicidal Stuff

August 16, 2019  5:30 AM.  Approximately Twelve Hours on the Unit

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Written with a tiny pencil

On paper

While sitting on the side of a bed.

Surrounded by stark white walls.

Woken up by the screams of a woman who wanted her meds.

Security was called.

Again.

It’s 5:30 in the morning.

“Are you doing okay?”

“Just great.” I reply “That’s why I’m here.”

Too many people packed into this unit, but more beds are needed.

Psychiatric Crisis.

We count the hours till we’re allowed out of our rooms.

We count the hours till meal time.

We count the hours till groups are over.

We start over again.

They count the hours till they can go home.

I’m not ready for home, even though I don’t want to be here.

My brain is still trying to kill me.

Even sitting here, among these four white walls, I look for ways.

I don’t want to

But my brain is like radar

Searching, searching.

Bedtime last night and they offer me something for sleep.

“Yes, please, I’m ready to not exist.”

“Wait! What? You’re not suicidal, are you?”

“That’s why I’m here.”