Question of the Day: Wednesday Check-In

Today’s Question Is:

How are you doing so far this week?

This has been a pretty good week so far. Monday was therapy and pdoc and I handled that busy day pretty well. Today is my really full day which often leaves me feeling overwhelmed.

I went to the gym at 10 this morning and then my gym buddy and I grabbed a quick lunch. That’s followed by DBT from 1-3, which is exhausting by itself. Then I’ll take mobility to the library where I have a NAMI support group from 6-730 and then I rush to Roller Derby which doesn’t end till 10.

I have dinner in the crockpot which we won’t get to eat until after we get home from Derby.

I’m hoping I can use my coping mechanisms to get through the day without the emotional meltdown that is pretty typical for my Wednesdays.

But, we’re halfway through the week.

How are you doing so far this week?

I Guess You’re Just What I Needed

women on roller skates

Photo by 42 North on Pexels.com

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’m feeling much much better.

I’m back to wanting to live and thrive and not hanging on just to survive.

I got an 84 on my final exam and that mixed with the perfect score on my main essay in the class means I think I pulled off an A. Now I get a month off before summer semester starts.

The real game changer was going to officiate roller derby last night.

Leading up to it I was thinking about backing out because my brain was just too foggy and too depressed. But Wonder Woman is head NSO and I really didn’t want to let her (and everyone else, but especially her) down, so I pushed through.

And I’m glad I did.

Everyone there is so supportive there.

Whether they read my posts or not, so many of them tell me they are happy to see me, they say hi, they make me feel included.

I may not put on skates but I feel like I’m an important part of something.

It’s nice to feel included.

I’m proud of myself for how well I got through this particular depressive/suicidal episode. I spent a lot of time in bed, but I also kept moving forward with things that had to be done. I kept cooking, I kept things from becoming too disastrous around the house, I didn’t cancel plans.

I kept doing things that made me feel productive.

Not that it would make me less of a person if I had let more slip, it is an illness after all, and I can only do the best I can do.

But this time I did my best, and my best was pretty damn good.

It was a really dark place, but I was able to see it for what it was, a blip on the radar instead of a permanent place I was stuck in forever. I was able to see my thoughts as thoughts, for the most part. As much as I didn’t want to, I was able to sit with it without fighting against it and making it worse.

That’s really it, I rode it out and didn’t make it worse. I even did things to make it better which is just icing on the cake.

I’m fighting some anxiety today about a party I’m supposed to go to this evening. It’s a skating party and after my last concussion I won’t put on skates again anytime soon. I am anxious that I’ll be the only one sitting out. But I want to go to support my friend who is graduating and to hang out with the friends I do know. It’s important to me to be there.

Plus, anxiety keeps getting in the way of me attending stuff like this and it doesn’t get to have that control today.

Yeah, I’m feeling much much better.

I Can Feel It Coming In The Air Tonight

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

It all starts with this feeling.

In my gut.

In my chest.

In the back of my throat.

Behind my eyes.

I start to notice.

Things that would evoke empathy cause me to become annoyed.

I want to lash out.

I want to be willful and uncooperative.

I feel like a tantrum is about to explode from my body.

But it all starts with that feeling.

That feeling scares me.

What will follow.

Can I stop it here, before it goes any further.

Can I stop the spiral before it truly starts.

Wonder Woman asks if I want to talk and I spend a few minutes on the phone walking in circles in front of the library.  It’s helpful to hear her voice.  She’s the calm to my chaos in times like this.

I remember a time that 17 year old me would spend hours on a payphone in front of the college library.  I was grounded from the phone at home so I’d skip my college class to spend time on the phone with my boyfriend or my girlfriend or maybe both.

I remember that I got this same feeling back then.

It started the same way.

I remember seeing the same cycles, instinctively knowing when they were going to get worse but not knowing what to do about it.

I’m no longer that 17 year old kid.

I have a lot more skills, a lot more tools.  I have a much better support system and I no longer have to hide at a payphone to reach them.

I can feel that feeling.

In my gut.

In my chest.

In the back of my throat.

Behind my eyes.

But it doesn’t mean I’m going to spiral again.

It just means it’s a good time to practice my skills.

Watching Me Fall

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Trigger Warning:  Talk of past suicidal thoughts

I’m thankful that I started writing my story like this, and I’m thankful that I share my journey on Facebook where every day it reminds me where I was a year ago.

A year ago I was on a very quick spiral downwards.  I was in a very dark place and it wasn’t getting better.

I’ve been watching it happen, through my memories, day by day, since early March.  Post after post about suicidal thoughts, holding on, trying to decide what treatment option was best.

I forgot about the fear though.  I felt that the wrong move would certainty end in death.  I felt like I had to choose the right direction because I wouldn’t have a second chance.

I forgot how deep and how dark it was.  How much control it had.

The suicidal thoughts haven’t gone away.  I get periods where they are less severe and I’m able to easily flick them into the background.  Then there are periods when I thought they were still just as bad as they had been a year ago.  However, reading the post today I realized that there isn’t as much fear as there was.

I’m able to see a future even while I want to die.

I’m able to see mutliple options and I don’t feel as trapped.

A year ago I wrote that during the worst of it, I couldn’t even see far enough forward to imagine someone finding me and worrying about what that would do to them.  I couldn’t see past death.

Now, I’ve realized, even while I’m wanting to die and working out plans, I worry about what will happen when Wonder Woman finds me.  What will happen if it doesn’t work.  What will happen past the attempt.

I think about the future even while I’m thinking about the finality of death.

My therapist kept saying I was future oriented during my suicidal periods and I understood what she meant, but this makes me remember how much I wasn’t future oriented a year ago.

It makes me realize how far I’ve come.

And while my suicidal thoughts are still dangerous now, it makes me realize just how dangerous they were a year ago.

I can remember being there.  I can still put myself in that place and feel that emptiness and that desire to just be gone.  I remember the longing for wellness and the desire to stop fighting for it.

I remember how tired I was and also how driven.

I remember the terror of making the wrong choice.

Sometimes I think I’ve lost all of my progress when I spend a night fighting my own brain.  I think these skills I’ve learned are useless and I’m not fighting hard enough or learning fast enough.

And then I see a post like this and realize how far I’ve come in the past year.

How even in the worst of the darkness, my growth shows.

Can’t PLEASE me, I’m sick!

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’m sick.

Like, fever hit 102, glands all swollen, ear hurts, hurts to swallow, body aches, sick.

Thanks plane germs.

Along with being sick, my emotions are right out the window.  I want my mommy, I want Wonder Woman, I want to be pampered, I don’t want to deal with this, it fucking hurts and I’m over it, I’ve cried multiple times because I just feel like I can’t take it.  Suicidal thoughts have even crept in.

Over a virus.

I feel like I should be handling this better.  It’s just a virus.

In DBT we learned the acronym PLEASE for emotion regulation.

Treat PhysicaL illness, balance Eating, avoid mood-Altering substances, balance Sleep, get Exercise.

Doing those things for your body will decrease your vulnerability and help control emotional reactivity.

Well . . . . I really have to look at this realistically.

I went to the doctor to treat my physical illness, it’s viral, I’m doing the best I can to treat it but in the meantime it still makes me more vulnerable because I’m sick.  I can’t just make myself better.

I can’t really eat a balanced diet right now, I’m eating when the pain lets up enough to let me swallow foods, mostly soup and soft stuff.  This looks and feels like strep (and the doc was surprised the test was negative) so food just hurts.  Lack of regular eating is fucking with my blood sugar and my emotions.

I’m avoiding mood-altering substances, so that’s a plus.

Balanced Sleep is almost impossible.  I’m sleeping for about an hour at a time, waking up and tossing and turning for awhile before I get back to sleep.

Exercise is also not happening.  I was back in the gym and back to walking and right now, even letting the dog out feels like too much work.

So it makes sense that I’m emotionally reactive right now, and in a lot of ways the vulnerability factors are out of my control so it’s more a matter of radical acceptance, which is just HARD STUFF.

I don’t want to be sick.

I have derby stuff planned this weekend while Wonder Woman is out of town.  I’m going to let a lot of people down if I don’t bounce back quickly and make it to these events.  It also means I’m spending a lot of time just laying around which is super bad for my mental health when I’m alone.

I know that taking care of me is the most important but this is hard hard stuff when I’m used to pushing through to do all of the things whenever possible.

One Year Ago and Today

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Today my Facebook memories reminded me that one year ago I wrote a big, long, really real mental health post about suicidal thoughts I was having.

It was hard to go back and read those dark words from that dark space.

It took me back to that time where I got a message from a friend at just the right time to help me.  A message letting me know that she was thinking of me, even though she had no idea I was in such a dark space.

This is one of the reasons I do what I do.  So that a year from now I can see these words and remember where I was.  I can see my growth and my progress.  See the dark and also the light.  I can also see how far my writing has come in that time.

Today I’m fighting depression, but the dark, suicidal thoughts are mostly quiet, only peeking their heads out but not taking hold.  I have a plan to handle the pain that I’m in, which will hopefully give me some relief through the trip this weekend.

I still fight suicidal thoughts sometimes, nothing has really changed there, they still get really dark, really fast and I’m still learning how to sit with them without them becoming so dangerous.

I think I’ve gained a lot of skills in the last year, through my time in partial, and my time in DBT, but at the same time.  I handle the flow of my moods a lot better.

Things may not change as far as my moods shifting and the suicidal thoughts coming, but how I handle them has changed and will continue to change and get better.  I’m growing and learning and doing better.

And I still have amazing support around me, for which I’m quite thankful.

Given Up

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

And a Really Real Widow Post.

One of those ones that maybe blurs the lines a bit.

Yesterday, one of the people who run the DBT group said, basically, with so much that has been thrown at me in my life, it’s great that I have such a positive outlook, and that I keep getting back up.  A lot of other people would have just given up.

Well no shit.  I only got 2 out of the 3 of us out alive.

That’s not saying that Parker gave up, because I refuse to believe that.  But she couldn’t keep fighting anymore.

People say that my words help them and others.  People say that I’m inspirational.  People say that I’m strong.  People say that I’m doing better than I think I am.

Mostly, I’m just doing everything I can figure out to do to stay, fucking, alive.

Because I know the alternative and right now, out of the family that went through that hell, more of us have lived then have died, and I’d rather not flip the ratio.

What does giving up look like anyway?

Is it even death, really?

We HAD given up!  Parker and I spent a lot of years in a state of giving up.  We weren’t living, we were just waiting for death, not moving forward, completely stagnated.  There was no hope, was no joy, was no reason to keep going but we didn’t even care enough, most of the time, to look for a way to die.

Until she did care enough to look for a way to die and she succeeded.

Which gave me a reason to care enough to look for reasons to actually live.

I hate that it took Parker’s death for me to see how important life is.  At the beginning, I often said that she died so I didn’t, because I was headed down that road.

So, I guess I get what they mean when they say someone else would have given up.  But it’s not really an option for me anymore.  Been there, done that, and now, I’m living for two of us.

I’m carrying the weight of a dead woman on my back because I have to keep living, really living, for her too.

Giving up isn’t an option.