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.

It all falls down

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Trigger Warning: Suicidal Stuff.

I feel that knot in the middle of my chest.

Panic rising.

I’m supposed to be leaving for an appointment right now and I can’t even bring myself to call and cancel.

It should be easy.

I’ve distracted myself all morning with a project that I now want to throw away because it isn’t perfect.

I want to throw my life away.

I feel like I have thrown my life away.

I feel like no matter how hard I try it all falls down.

I’ve learned so many skills, so many things that are supposed to stop me from getting like this. Almost a year spent in DBT, and now I can barely bring myself to go to that. I’m not doing the homework.

I’m not functioning.

I’m watching it all fall down.

I’m supposed to be starting work in the fall, but how does one start work when she shuts down like this?

I once had a doctor tell me I was expecting too much of myself by wanting to work again.  Maybe they were right, maybe this is it, all I will ever be.

Maybe this really is all too much.

I’m tired of fighting, tired of telling the thoughts that I need to live for one more day, and one more, and one more.

I’m tired.

Just want to crawl back in bed but that will let so many people down.

So I sit here full of nothing, full of thoughts that tell me that I’m nothing, that I will always be nothing, that it will never be more than this because it will always come back to this no matter what happens in between.

Everything in my life is a roller coaster and I have yet to follow through with anything. What makes me think that’s going to change. I keep trying so hard and falling down again and again and again and again and again and again.

And again.

Watching it all fall down.

I have had the same hopes and dreams for 20 years and I’m no closer to them, swimming against the tide.

Maybe it’s time to stop fighting.

Maybe it’s time to let go.

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

Today

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Today I just don’t wanna. So I’m not.

I’m not going to the gym.

I’m not even going to DBT.

(I never, ever skip DBT.)

I may not go to derby.

It’s not even my busiest Wednesday, it’s my low key one. But I just don’t want to participate in life. So I’m not. I’m fighting to stay out of bed, and I may not even do that. I may let the bed win.

Today I don’t feel like fighting.

I don’t feel like fighting so hard just to live a functional life.

I don’t feel like riding the roller coaster.

It’s not that I want to die, for a change it’s not that feeling. I just don’t feel like making myself participate in this glorious mess.

I want a break from pushing myself through everything.

Today I’m being willful and even obstinate, because I know this isn’t the best way.

And I’d love to say I don’t care, but I do. I feel guilty for giving myself this break but I just don’t have the energy or the willpower to fight it today.

Today I just needed to take a sidestep off the ride and let it pass me by.

Today I just don’t wanna. So I’m not.

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.