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.

L-I-G! (Life Is Good!)

This is a Really Real Life Post.

Being able to be myself is nothing short of amazing.

I mean, yeah, being wholeheartedly me means I deal with some really bad depression and suicidal ideation. It means I spend days inpatient and weeks in partial sometimes. It means there are some really shitty times.

But it also means I get to be open and out there and vulnerable. I get to wear my wild skirts and bright hair. I get to tell my story in a way that helps others (and helps me at the same time). I get to laugh and cry and let my dorky hang out.

I get to spend time with people who are just my kinda people, instead of struggling to fit in with the people who aren’t.

I’m learning how important all of this is.

I trip down the sidewalk, I fall face first down the stairs, I spill food down my shirt, all on a regular basis. But that’s just part of my charm, even the bruises, scars, and messed up shirts.

I am anxious and moody and sometimes my memory is all kinds of shit. But I keep moving forward no matter what life throws at me.

I’m falling in love with my authentic self.

My imperfect, beautiful, self.

I wish I could see things from this perspective all of the time. I wish depression didn’t creep in and pull me under. Make me nervous and afraid. Make me sad and apathetic. I wish life was all roses and bright smiles.

But even my mental illness is part of who I am. It’s part of what makes me, me. It’s part of what makes me beautiful.

Even though sometimes I’m a beautiful mess.

I’m learning to accept all of me.

And that’s pretty fucking amazing.

I can’t wait to see who I’m becoming.

The best is yet to come.

(Someone save this post and send it to me next time I’m falling apart, please.)

 

I feel like writing.

This is a Really Real, well, I’m not sure what it’ll turn out to be.

I just feel like writing tonight, but I haven’t quite decided what to write about.

This last week has been pretty incredible. Really, the last two weeks have, minus being bored at PHP for the last few days I was there. Boredom never killed anyone (or so I’ve been told), but PHP has yet again saved my life.

Or at least I feel like it has.

And it’s nice to be done with it, until the next time I need it. That’s not an if, that’s a when. I know this is part of my normal.

And I’m okay with that.

For now.

In the past two weeks I’ve had a date that went wonderfully (second date coming soon), I got invited to a Level 2 DBT group that started tonight, and I spent 5 days with some of my favorite people.

And I’ve been stable through all of it.

It’s strange how the simplest thing can overwhelm me and make me want to shut down. Tonight it was as simple as planning when we’re going to Renn Fest. Somehow the whole season went by and now it’s the last two weekends.

And I don’t want to miss it.

But the idea of scheduling a full day activity when it seems like we have something going on every day, was overwhelming.  What happens if I go the last weekend and it’s too crowded, what happens if we go this weekend and I’m too overwhelmed to handle the rest of the things we have planned that day.

What happens if I miss it, how upset will I actually be?

What will be the next trigger that spirals me down into the abyss.

I think that’s why I’m so afraid of making plans and making decisions. It feels like the wrong decision, the wrong plan creating too much of a day, the wrong emotion, will be ‘the thing.’

I’m stable but I can tell there’s still a lot of stress that I’m holding onto. I’ve been clicking my teeth nearly all of the time. Rocking my jaw back and forth and tapping my top teeth against my bottom.

My jaw has been sore for weeks.

It may be the Abilify but my psych thinks it’s just a habit when I’m anxious.

::shrug::

Either way, it fucking sucks.  And hurts.

I’ve written 400 words (404 now) and haven’t really said much of anything

and sometimes this is what stability looks like.

I guess this was a Really Real Mental Health post.

 

Calm before the storm.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Things feel calm.

Like, I’m slightly hypomanic, but nothing major. I’m right where I like to be.

It’s been like this for a while, it’s hard to say exactly how long, minus a rough few hours here or there. And I pull back out of those rough hours before they become rough days and weeks.

But I’m scared.

Will this last or am I just experiencing the calm before the storm?

Will the other shoe drop?

When?

I don’t fool myself, my mental illnesses aren’t something that will ever go away. I’m going to have rough days and weeks no matter how well I use my coping skills. I’m going to be on medication forever and I’m fine with that.

But these nice calm periods, when it lasts long enough that I’m ready to call it stability, leave me fearful, wondering, waiting.

Is it the calm before the storm?

Will the other shoe drop?

When?

But, I have a lot of coping skills and mostly, I’m good at them. As long as I don’t hit full blown crisis before I can put those skills to use, I have ways to ground myself and even myself back out.

I know what to do.

I know how to do it.

Wednesday is my last day of PHP, I’m so ready for that day to come. I love the program I’m in, it’s my goto when I need care like this, but being there when I feel stable is boring, tedious, and I stop getting much out of the program.

I don’t know what to talk about in group therapy because I can’t pull up the feelings that existed when I was in crisis.

They don’t want to be thought about.

They don’t want to be felt again.

But I was afraid to leave.

What if this is the calm before the storm?

Will the other shoe drop?

When?

Music Blaring

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Normally when I write, I have soft piano music playing through my headphones.

Not today.

Today I have the computer blaring my “Top Songs of 2018” playlist. It’s not a soft piano music kind of day.

It’s a loud music with no headphones kinda day.

It’s a dance around my living room to bring myself down kinda day.

I’m angry.

I’m sad.

I’m frustrated.

I’m even somewhat suicidal (but safe).

I have to make a decision and each option has it’s pros and cons.

And my brain’s answer to feeling cornered is to tell me it’s easier to just die.

Unfortunately, it’s not likely that my brain will ever stop reacting that way. All that can be changed is the severity of the thoughts. Right now they’re mild, but they are there.

I’m dealing with meds with shitty side effects, including empathy dulling, but those same meds keep me from wanting to die.

Mostly.

It at least stops the thoughts from getting a tight enough grip to kill me.

Hopefully.

I’ve fought my ass off to get stability and I don’t fool myself that it’ll be easy.

But damn it, why does everything have to be this hard.

Being faced with a tough decision today was enough to take the entire day from me.

And yes, I’m vague-booking, because the specifics don’t matter.

The difference between stability and chaos is a few words. But I have enough coping mechanisms to bring myself back to center, sometimes.

Sometimes that coping mechanism is music blaring while I write. Drumming on my keyboard to the beats in the song. Wondering how long until neighbors get pissed (fuck em, I don’t know what empathy even is right now, yay for med side effects).

I just want peace, and I want to make a decision free from strings.

But there are strings.

And I can’t make a decision.

So today is a loud music kinda day.

And tomorrow I’ll really figure this out.

 

 

Too big, too much

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’m having the absolute hardest time sitting still. I need to be doing things with my hands, working on projects, twenty things at once.

In groups I’m fidgeting with a fidget cube or stress ball. Chewing ice. Rocking my leg.

Must.

keep

moving.

It’s not as noticeable at home, I don’t think, because I’m working on things and I’m moving anyway. But at PHP, in groups, when other people are talking, I can’t just sit there and focus.

Today one of the groups got large.

Really really large.

We ran out of chairs in the room.

So I left.

There’s no way I would have focused through that.  Too many people moving, chairs shifting. Too big, too much.

And I can’t sit still.

I don’t know why.  Is this because of the increased dose of one medication.  Is this because we’re discontinuing other, redundant, medications.

Or is this because my brain is trying to run from the healing.  It’s too uncomfortable to sit with these emotions, literally.

Ants in my pants and I can’t sit still.

Heavy.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Overall, I’m doing fairly well. Even the hard days aren’t all that hard, especially in comparison to where I was a month ago.

A month ago, it’s hard to believe it’s really only been that long since I was inpatient.

I’m doing pretty well.

And I’m still having a hard time with motivation.

I wake up in the mornings and just don’t want to get up and go to PHP even though I know I will do better by being there.

I’m late more often than not.

I give myself credit for going, because even that is a struggle.

I should be spending some time on schoolwork most nights and I know it’s not likely I’ll focus if I go home after PHP.

And I still call my Uber as soon as group lets out.

I’ve had late assignments and missed assignments and I’m still fighting hard to stay on track.

The motivation just isn’t there.

I want to do this stuff. I make great plans. I wake up on time and doze back off. I carry my school work with me everywhere I go.

The bag is heavy.

The weight is heavy.

The guilt is heavy.

The shame is heavy.

I know I am capable and I wonder if I’m not. How will I ever hold down a job if I can’t do these two things?

I know I can succeed and I wonder how long until I fail. How will I ever graduate if I keep dropping classes?

I have no motivation and I feel like shit for that.

And yet, I’m able to do some things that make me feel good. I’m still making cards for people and sending them out, making sure to get each one just right. It feels so good to brighten someone else’s day with some bits of paper that are glued together.

How do I move the motivation from one, onto the others? How do I find the drive to do what I have to do? How do I find balance?  How do I turn have to’s into want to’s?

How do I remind myself that all of this is a choice?

I could stop going to PHP, nothing is making me.

I could drop out of school for the semester, nothing is forcing me to stay.

This is a choice and therefore I also choose how much effort to put in.

I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time with motivation right now.  Leftover depression? Laziness? Lack of enjoyment?

But I’ll get out what I put in, and maybe it’s time to focus on how much control I have.

And maybe that’ll also take some of the pressure away and let me make a choice based on what I want to get out of PHP and out of school.

By sitting down some of the weight, some of the guilt, some of the shame, I make it easier to carry the load and focus on what I want to achieve. Why I want to follow through.

I can do hard things, and I don’t have to add the extra weight to them.

And I know I’ve got this, cause I’m pretty much a badass.