Where do I begin?

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I’m doing some of the things, but there are so many things that are going undone..

I’m going to the gym every night.

But I’m not running the errands I need to run before the sun goes down.

I’m making more intentional food choices.

But I’m eating all day.

I’m cooking.

But dishes often pile up, and my stove top is gross.

I’m getting up early.

But then I’m napping most of the day.

I feel

better

I guess.

But there’s so much I still haven’t done.

The increased dose of my meds are working.

But they aren’t working enough.

Or, maybe this isn’t the bipolar or the depression.

Maybe it’s me?

Where does my illness end,

and my lack of willpower begin.

When does it become lazy, instead of ill.

But, writing this has me thinking.

Maybe,

I’m being too hard on myself.

Maybe,

everything doesn’t have to change at once.

Maybe,

I’ve spent so long minimally functioning,

that I can’t expect to reverse those habits in a week.

Maybe,

it is both mental illness

and me.

And all I can do is make the next right decision.

Keep moving forward.

Picking myself up when I stumble.

Doing what I can and slowly adding more

and more.

Maybe I just need to take it one day at a time.

Maybe I need to be nicer to me.

Weight for it

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

TW: Weight, weight loss.

I’m fighting an internal battle.

I’ve gained back every bit of the weight I lost since Parker died.

Actually, I’ve gained that plus 5 lbs.

It’s heart breaking.

But I’m stuck.

I’m stuck where I don’t have the drive to get up and walk.

I have every excuse.

And I can’t get back into the gym because it doesn’t feel safe.

I’m really trying to love my body as I am.

But my body hurts so much more at this weight.

It’s hard to go up the stairs to my apartment.

It’s hard to move in bed.

I get out of breath walking the shortest distances.

I feel gross.

It’s hard to love my body when it won’t do the things I want to do.

When I lost the weight after Parker died, it was almost effortless.

I enjoyed the journey.

I was also on a migraine medication that helped, a medication that stopped helping as my body got acclimated to it.

And there were cognitive side effects that were more than annoying.

I’ve been through this before.

The drastic weight loss.

Followed by inevitably gaining it back.

It doesn’t feel good to move right now.

It doesn’t feel good to walk.

It doesn’t feel good to move my body in any way that would help.

Because it hurts.

I’m embarrassed because I get out of breath so easily.

I feel like I’m eating better.

I feel like I’m making better choices.

I feel like I’m not eating quite so many sweets.

And yet the scale keeps rising.

I’ve had multiple people tell me lately that I’m glowing.

That my smile is amazing.

That I seem to be doing so well.

But I’m not taking pictures of myself.

Even though I feel that pictures are so, so important.

I see the extra roundness in my face.

I see the pictures from last year and the years before that and I’m so heartbroken.

I see the pictures from before Parker died.

The pictures that I looked at and said “I never want to look like that again.”

And I look like that again.

Maybe with a brighter glow this time.

Maybe with a bigger smile.

Life isn’t like it was back then.

But yet, the weight still came back.

I’m just not there yet.

I’m not ready to

do

anything about it.

But I need to.

I was afraid of starting before the holidays.

Afraid that it would be too much to keep up with and I’d fail.

I’m afraid of starting around new years.

New years resolutions never work and I don’t want this to be that.

I’m afraid of failing.

I’m afraid of beating myself up more.

Again.

I’m afraid.

I keep waiting until I feel like I can do it.

But what if that time never comes.

Why can’t I just push past this block?

Why can’t I just

do it?

What am I waiting for?

Chicken Caprese

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I made Chicken Caprese tonight.

I’ve been cooking more often but it’s been quick oven meals, slow cooker meals, or dump and go instant pot stuff.

None of the really good food that I used to make.

But this week I menu planned, and added back some of the yummier stuff that we’ve always liked.

I’m still in this weird period of flux where I’m doing

so

much

better.

But at the same time,

I’m not.

I woke up at 830 this morning,

fought and fought to get myself out of bed.

Tried to bribe myself with activities or coffee.

Pushed and pushed and pushed.

And woke up at 930 when my alarm went off, signaling an upcoming appointment.

I snoozed.

I snoozed.

I snoozed.

And then I begrudgingly rolled out of bed.

After my appointment I wanted to climb back in,

but we had other things scheduled for today.

I can’t figure out why it’s so hard for me to wake up.

I’ve cut out most of my sleeping meds.

The only one I’m still taking is my nightmare med,

which shouldn’t make me that tired.

Because I’m not taking the sleeping meds, it’s taking me a really long time to fall asleep.

I typically get up after an hour, and try again an hour later.

But I’m still not going to bed all that late.

I just need

so

much

sleep.

But tonight I cooked Chicken Caprese.

I stood at the stove and mixed the fragrant ingredients, setting timer after timer to keep myself on track.

It was hot and miserable, but still fun and enjoyable.

I miss cooking like that.

I like that I’m getting my old self back.

The one that finds enjoyment in life.

But I wish it would happen quicker.

Give me my life back, damnit.

He showed up in my dreams again last night.

I can’t remember most of it.

But I remember him standing there, rigid and stern.

The look he got when he was about to lose his shit.

The look he got when I messed up,

again.

Today when I was cooking,

and really when I do much of anything,

I fear messing up.

I fear the disappointment,

or the wrath that might come.

But it’s not coming from anyone near me anymore.

I’m surrounded by love and light.

People who accept me for me.

People who love me as I am.

People who love me,

even when I mess up.

It’s hard to internalize that love though.

It’s hard to recognize that I don’t have to be perfect to be lovable.

That sometimes, people even love me because of the times I mess up.

Unconditional love is hard to understand,

when I grew up feeling like I was only loved when I was perfect.

When I met someone else’s standard of being.

But I’m learning to give myself grace.

To love myself even when I mess up.

To love myself.

Sleep

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I feel so so much better.

Except I don’t.

I’m sleeping too much.

Way too much.

And I’m having a hard time getting myself into the shower.

But my dishes are done.

Meals are planned around food we already had in the freezer.

I’m cooking more often.

My kitchen still isn’t clean.

Clean pots and pans are stacked on a stove that is covered in crumbs and spills.

But the dishes are done regularly, and that’s a big deal.

The spices sit all unorganized on the counter instead of in the cabinet (where they no longer fit anyway).

The bottles are spilling over onto the stove.

The kitchen is kind of a disaster, honestly.

But I’m finding more joy in my activities.

I’m leaving the house regularly.

I’m brushing my teeth.

Things that I shouldn’t feel like I deserve an award for, but I do.

Because they are hard.

Hard, hard.

I feel like PHP is at the end of its usefulness.

But I also don’t feel,

healed.

But I’m not sure I’m going to continue healing in PHP.

I’m not sure I need that to keep moving forward anymore.

I’ve come a long way since the day the silence was broken by a gunshot.

I’ve healed so much.

And now it just feels like the

normal depression is still holding me back.

But I’m not sure what to fill my time with if I’m not doing PHP.

My boss isn’t ready to bring me back to work, he has his own stuff going on that needs to be straightened out before he can rehire me.

I don’t want to look for another job because I need the flexibility that came from working for family.

I need the level of understanding that came with that job.

The ability to take a day off here, and work extra hours there.

Or just take a day off without making the hours up.

I need the boss that checked in to make sure I was still doing okay.

That there wasn’t too much piling up

(even though there normally was).

I miss working, and I’m ready to go back.

But what do I do if I’m not working, and I’m not doing PHP.

I did that for years, and I can’t remember what it was like.

I feel like it’s existing without purpose.

It’s a big deal that I’m not ready to go back to nothingness.

It’s a big deal that I need something to occupy my time.

For years I was happy existing with no structure.

No ebb and flow to my days.

Nothing but doctors appointments that seemed to never end.

But now I’m afraid to leave the program behind without having something to take its place.

I have grown so much over the years.

And that day the silence was broken by a gunshot knocked me down a few steps.

But I feel like I’m finally climbing up to the top.

Old Houses

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I’ve been dreaming about my dad a lot.

The dreams always take place at his old house, the one I helped him build, the one I spent every other weekend at for most of my childhood years.

We made a lot of memories in that home.

I was sad when he sold it.

I remember climbing on the roof putting shingles on.

I remember him throwing a priced pencil set across the room because I didn’t put it away.

I remember playing in the giant hole where the foundation was dug out.

I remember being called Butch when I got my hair cut short for the first time.

I remember laying bricks, learning how to put just the right amount of mortar on.

I remember realizing Dad was racist, when he was talking about his brick layer.

I remember playing on “Mt. Tina,” the giant pile of dirt where they dug the basement out.

That’s the house I envision when I envision my father.

I only visited him a handful of times at the Florida house.

So that’s not where he is in my dreams.

I dream about him every few nights.

Dreams that take place after he shot himself, but he’s still alive.

A weird dichotomy where I know he’s dead, but I know he’s alive.

The dreams don’t really upset me, most of the time.

But, he tried to kill me in one of them and I screamed out,

scaring Wonder Woman who was sleeping beside me.

I’m pretty upset that I dream about him so often.

In the three months since he’s died, he’s shown up in my dreams more times than Parker ever has.

And she’s been dead for four and a half years.

This wasn’t what I planned to write about today.

I planned to write about pulling out an old hobby.

A friend gifted me a small diamond painting and it reminded me of how many hours I spent doing them a few years ago.

I didn’t realize I missed it until I started doing it again.

Relaxing in a meditative sort of way.

An activity that I get completely immersed in,

focusing on matching each symbol in turn as I work my way around the canvas.

It’s a silly activity.

One that will leave me with giant canvases full of plastic “diamonds.”

Art that I will never do anything with.

But it occupies my mind and my hands.

It gives me something to do on these long winter nights while Covid keeps me trapped inside.

I texted my cousin this week.

Told him I was ready to come back to work a few hours a week.

When he has something for me to do.

It feels like an achievement.

Like I’m healing.

Like I’m getting my life back.

It’s about time.

Day 17

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Today has been productive.

It feels good.

I had PHP this morning.

I over slept.

I almost didn’t go at all.

But I did.

Afterwards I had coffee with a high school friend. Someone I probably haven’t seen since we graduated.

Or maybe in my Denny’s days right after high school.

Conversation flowed easily, and my ever present anxiety was quiet for a change.

We sat outside.

The cold wind threatening to blow our drinks over.

But it was nice to be around someone as worried about safety as I am.

We talked a lot about Covid.

About how our lives have changed.

And how it will never go back to the normal that was.

There will forever be a new normal.

It felt nice to socialize.

When I got home I was worn out.

The smallest things do that now.

But the coffee kept me going.

I spent this evening filling envelopes with already created cards.

I’ve made 64 so far.

I need to make another 33.

I’m having so much fun with them, so much love is going into these pieces of paper.

And I’m surrounded by so much love.

I remember being in school, horribly bullied, with no idea what was wrong with me.

Or what I was doing wrong.

Now, I’m surrounded by a support system bigger than most people have.

All of you that read my posts.

Some silently.

Some reacting.

Some commenting.

The people inviting me out for coffee and walks.

The people keeping me company over zoom or at bonfires.

It’s nice to be so loved.

It’s nice to be able to feel that love.

Instead of being surrounded by a fog that won’t let it in.

I’m feeling better every day.

I’m sure rough times will come again, but I’m also sure I can handle them.

For now, though, I’m going to enjoy the clear blue skies.

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 13

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I almost forgot to write today.

I spent the morning in PHP, followed by leaving the house for some errands, and then jumping right into crafting.

It feels good to be productive.

I had a phone appointment with my pdoc today, she said I’m still not my normal chatty stuff.

Partially it’s because life is boring right now.

I don’t leave the house often as it is, but now I’m even more worried about going out.

Numbers are spiking.

And there are still people who don’t believe in this virus, I have a hard time associating with them.

They are putting the lives of themselves and others at risk, and they don’t care.

I’m going to be alone for Thanksgiving, and I’m okay with that.

I’m not going to go searching out a friendsgiving, maybe I’ll meet up with some people via zoom, but I’m okay being in my own little bubble where I’m not taking a chance on making the numbers higher.

There are two people in my PHP who lost loved ones to Covid. Two people out of the 9 or 10 of us there.

One woman became a widow, another lost a child, younger than me.

Because of a “fake virus” that people aren’t taking seriously.

It breaks my heart. It scares me.

It scares me.

I’m more depressed being at home all of the time.

I miss derby.

I miss gatherings.

I miss going out without fear.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to go out more.

I guess this post wasn’t all that much about mental health, but at the same time, this is affecting all of our mental health.

This is a slow sort of trauma for all of us.

Or at least those of us who are taking it seriously.

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 6

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I did my dishes.

This morning when I went to cook brunch, I piled dirty dishes upon dirty dishes on the stove.

I hate cooking in a dirty kitchen.

But I cooked. And after I ate (kind of, most of it got thrown away because it did not turn out well) I put loud music on my headphones and I did the dishes.

I should have wiped down the counters and the stove, and I didn’t, and that’s okay.

I did the dishes.

A LOT of dishes.

Now I’m going to sit and play a video game until my tele-pdoc apointment at 2. And then I’m going to game some more until my therapy appointment at 430.

I’m tired.

I’m sleeping for around 12 hours at night (sometimes more) and still taking a nap in the evening.

Depression is exhausting.

When I woke up at 630 this morning I really tried to get up. Tried to find something that was worth getting out of bed for. Tried to drum up enough interest in my current video game, or maybe cooking a good breakfast, or maybe making some more cards.

Or even just coffee.

And instead I woke up again at noon.

But I got up, and I cooked, and I did the dishes.

Small baby steps to keep myself moving forward.

Yesterday I showered. A way overdue shower that I had been beating myself up for.

But I showered.

Today, I might even do my hair before I get on video chat with my therapist.

Maybe.

It’s finding that fine line between pushing enough to keep myself going, and pushing too much and shaming myself further into depression.

Such a fine line to walk.

And today,

I did my dishes.