Adding to the Sea

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’m going to add to the sea of posts about it.

I process through writing and if I’m thinking about it this way, someone else is too, and if someone else is too, they need to know they’re not alone.

I’m trying so hard not to get swept up in the panic. I’m trying to find that fine line between reacting out of fear and doing my part.

And I feel that panic under the surface. Partly because I’m surrounded by posts about it, constant conversation about it, constant warnings about it, constant talk about statistics, flattening the curve, do this, don’t do that.

Toilet Paper.

I’ve started to panic a few times. I even got stuck in bed over it. Completely consumed by emotions that overwhelmed me. I reached out and got some advice from logic minded, calm, people in my life.

I decided instead of panicking, I’d be prepared if I get this. I got some cough meds and refilled my inhaler. I made sure we had some soup. I’m looking into getting some extra refills of my regular meds.

And, now I’m questioning every activity I have in my life. Do I keep going to therapy,  group therapy? What about support groups? How about Physical Therapy?

In what ways can I minimize my contact with the outside world, while still doing self care.

Therapy is a hard, hard choice. It’s a necessary part of my week. But my therapist spends all day in a hospital setting with a large group of people.

Group therapy is a another hard call. It’s a helpful part of my week. The therapists in the program are amazing.  The group I meet with is amazing. But group settings are not ideal right now, and those same therapists are involved. They are in a large hospital group, all day, every day.

Support groups, I think are an easy call. I can avoid them. I even hope they put the groups on hold for a few weeks (NAMI has), but that’s not my call to make.

And my knee hurts like a bitch. But it’s hurt for months, and there are lots of older people at PT who are recovering from surgeries and have to be there. I can minimize my contact with them by holding off for a month or two. Maybe, if I get it, I’ll keep from spreading it. Maybe I’ll avoid exposure.

I feel like most of us are going to get this as some point. But as everyone says, flattening the curve.

Flattening the curve gives medical personnel a better chance at keeping up.

Because I have friends who stand to get really, really sick. I have friends who will likely end up hospitalized.

I have friends who might break the number one rule. (#1. Don’t die.)

Flattening the curve gives them a fighting chance.

And if I can minimize their risk, I feel like it’s my job to do so.

How Really Real Am I?

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Therapy was hard today.

I mean, you all may not believe it, but I work my ASS off in therapy.

I wish there was a sarcasm font, of course I work my ass off in therapy. Therapy is a really really big part of my recovery. And today we covered some really really hard stuff and we landed on a really really big thing.

I don’t let people see who I am. Even the people who are closest to me don’t see the real me. And it’s not fair to them, or me.

I censor myself.

I squash myself.

I quiet myself.

I write a blog called Really Real, for fuck’s sake, and I am very far from my really real self. Even in my own home. I’m an abridged version of me. I’m a well thought out representation.

I’m afraid to take up too much space.

I’m afraid to take up too much time.

I’m afraid to take up too much energy.

I’m afraid to be too much.

Too much.

Too much.

Too much.

Such a big theme in my life, that feeling of being too much.

As much as I share, as open as I am, as much of my story as I tell, I’m still not living an authentic life.

It’s not fair to the people around me. It’s not fair to the people closest to me. It’s not fair to the people who love me.

Because they deserve to know the full version of me.

Hell, they deserve to decide if that version of me is still someone they love.

Which I guess is where the fear comes from. Am I still lovable if I take up space. Am I still lovable if I say what’s on my mind. Am I still lovable if I don’t censor myself.

Am I still lovable if I start fully being me, for me, instead of trying to be the smallest version of my self?

If I stop monitoring the mood of the room and making sure I don’t disrupt it?

If I stop making sure I don’t make waves? If I stop tiptoeing around?

Is the real, authentic, me, lovable?

I don’t even know who I am under all of this censoring and squashing and quieting. I’ve done it my whole life. I have been too much since I was small, so I learned to bottle it up, hide it away, only let parts of myself out at a time.

Never be too much.

I think and overthink before I talk. Before I write. Before I move.

I think and overthink.

It’s exhausting.

What if I just say what I’m thinking? What if I just write what I feel? What if I just move how I want?

What if I stop overthinking so much?

What if I stop worrying about being too much?

What if I start being really real?

What if?

How Far I’ve Really Come

This starts as a Really Real Mental Health Post.

And ends as a Really Real Widow Post.

I can’t really believe how far I’ve come.

Each day that I work, I can’t believe I’m really doing this. I can’t believe I actually earned this money. I can’t believe how much earning this money really means. I can’t explain how good it feels.

Each problem I solve, each new task I conquer, and each fear I overcome, I’m amazed that this is who I am now. That this is what I am accomplishing.

I remember when I realized I couldn’t work anymore.  I remember the shit storm that lead up to that moment. I remember the heartbreak that came along with applying for disability.

I remember.

At the worst of this, I couldn’t leave my house. I couldn’t be left alone.

I remember.

And the truth is, I will probably end up back in the hospital some day. I will probably do another round or three of the partial hospital program. I will have countless more hours of therapy.

But I’ve come so so far.

So far.

I can see myself going further. I can see myself working full time. I can see myself becoming more comfortable in my own skin. I can see myself getting better at ignoring the constant anxiety running through my head.

It’s a big deal that I can see a future with further recovery.

It’s a big deal that I’m seeing a future without disability.

Without being disabled.

And there’s another side to this.

I remember watching Parker push through her own struggles to go to work and support the three of us while she was barely making it emotionally and physically.

I remember.

I love my life and I know everything that has happened has brought me to where I am now.

But still, I wonder.

If I could have worked before. If I could have shared some of the load. If I could have helped more. If I could have taken some of the weight off of her shoulders.

Would she still be alive?

If we had the money to pay the bills. If we had the money to keep the lights on. If we had the money to avoid the eviction notices. If we had the money to keep food in the fridge.

Would she still be alive?

I’ve come so far, and I’m doing so well. And I know her death is a big part of what pushed me towards my recovery. I know that I wouldn’t be where I am if things hadn’t happened exactly as they have.

Every success, every bit of growth, with every push towards recovery, is served with a small side dish of sadness.

But I can’t really believe how far I’ve come.

And I can’t wait to see how far I go.

Steroids

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Last Monday I got a cortisone shot in my knee.

Steroids.

According to the posts I’ve written, last Tuesday night and Wednesday is when the anger, the suicidal, and the self harm thoughts started.

Steroids.

I wonder.

I had been super stable on these meds, work had been going great, and I was using healthy coping methods when I wobbled a little bit.

But I went off the deep end, and I wonder if it was the steroids.

Having a reason would make me feel so much better.  I see my pdoc in about an hour and I’d really rather not make med changes if there’s a reason for this hiccup. I’d rather not mess with the stability that has been in place for awhile. I’m going ot ask her if she thinks a localized steroid shot could have effected my entire system.

They said it would effect my blood sugars, so I’m almost positive it could.

That was one hell of a roller coaster.

But I’m feeling better today.

A month

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

This is the longest I’ve gone without writing since I started writing regularly.  It’s been almost a month.

The whole time I was on my trip I kept saying “I should write.” “I should write.” And then the constant movement of 2 weeks out of town would carry me away again. I also wasn’t sure how to compartmentalize my feelings into the type of things I normally write.

I’m still not sure how to.

This trip was hard for so many reasons.

I’m glad to be home.

This week I start with a new therapist, and leave behind a therapist I’ve had for 5+ years. I’m sad, but also feel like it’ll be a good move for me. I’m not sure how to handle telling her I won’t be coming back after my appointment this Friday.

I hate confrontation, and while this isn’t really confrontation, it kind of is. I’m firing her, after years of a great working relationship.

But she’s no longer helping me grow, and a few times a year she falls asleep during our sessions, so, it’s time for someone new.

I’m sad.

My old therapist has been there with me through a lot. She knows me better than I know myself in a lot of cases. She really has helped me get to where I am now.

But I’m really hopeful about this new therapist.

I worked with her in the partial program I was in.

Another benefit is weekly group therapy.

Group group is what we called it in PHP, and that name has stuck. Having weekly group group will be an incredible addition to weekly individual therapy, especially since we’re starting with a group of people I already know from my time in partial.

I’m excited to begin this new therapeutic journey.  It’s time to learn and grow with someone new.

But that means I have to let the old therapist know I’m leaving, and my stomach drops just thinking about it.  I’ve even considered just cancelling my appointment and never showing up again, but that doesn’t seem fair to her, and it seems like a missed opportunity to work on something that’s hard for me.

Why can’t all things be easy.

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.

But I’m not suicidal.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’m not suicidal.

I haven’t left the house since Friday.

I’ve been stuck in my own head.

Yesterday was DBT and

I

. . .just

. . . couldn’t

. . . quite

make it out the door.

. . .

Who am I kidding?

. . .

I couldn’t even change out of the clothes I’ve been wearing for 4 days straight.

. . .

I’ve cleaned the entire house.

I’ve cooked meals.

I’ve crafted and created and even sold things.

Everything within my safe little bubble.

I’m stuck in my own head.

Who am I?

I don’t want to face the world when I can’t even figure out what the world should see when it looks at my face.

I can’t figure out how the world should know me.

I can’t figure out how important it all is anyway.

And I can’t figure out if I want to share that part of my story because I don’t know if I even want it to be a part of my story.

If I ignore it will it just go away?

If I speak it will it become more real?

There’s a lot going on up there in my head right now.

I’ve let myself run out of one of my medications because I need to leave the house to get it.

My body is revolting against me. It doesn’t help that I ate the ever forbidden potatoes. I know better. I know they cause inflammation and inflammation is my worst enemy. HS (Hidradenitis Suppurativa) can go straight to hell and right now it’s taking me with it.

My brain hurts.

My body hurts.

And I’m not suicidal (but that won’t last unless I get my mood stabilizer back on board).

There have been a few random passing thoughts.

“If you were dead, this wouldn’t matter.”

But they are easily brushed aside.

Right now I’m stuck in my head and I’m stuck in a very ouchy body and this body and this brain are trapped inside of the house, because there are far too many steps between these 4 day old clothes and making it out that front door.

And it’s easy to say, I’m not suicidal, so I must be fine.

Because when “suicidal or not” is your measuring stick, almost anything looks good enough.

But this isn’t good enough.

Not even a little.

But digging myself out of my own brain, when every move hurts and my body wants to explode, is a very slow and painful process.

And every process starts with the first step.

I guess I should take the meds I never took this morning.

How is it already 7pm?

How is it already Tuesday?

But I’m not suicidal.