Even when

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I know this is like, the third time I’ve written in 2 days, but writers block is finally gone so I need to get it all out.  Is this euthymia, or is this the beginning of hypomania . . that is the question.


Even when I’m doing poorly, I’m better than I was before.

I rode the bus today.

I didn’t really give it a second thought.  My therapist had an earlier cancellation, so I looked up the most direct route, and got on the bus.

I didn’t worry about how crowded it would be, even though it was close to rush hour.

I just rode the bus.

That wasn’t something I could do alone a few years ago. Something I had trouble doing even with other people.

And I’ve posted about this before, how amazing it is that I’ve come so far. But tonight I realized, even when I was at my most suicidal, in fact, the same night I ended up in the hospital, I rode the bus.

Even when I’m doing poorly, I’m better than I was before.

I’ve come so so far, and I’m still growing.

Six months ago when I flew to see my dad, I took so many anxiety meds to get through the 2 flights each way.  Probably too many. I still nearly shook on the plane and had a really hard time with my anxiety over flying while fat.

A few years before that, I wouldn’t have been able to make the trip alone at all.

And this past weekend, I realized on the last few minutes of the last flight, that I had gotten through the entire day without a single PRN anxiety medication.  I was more anxious about the actual act of flying than I was about people looking at me because of my size.  And even that anxiety wasn’t all that major.

I just, did the things.

“Be afraid, but do it anyway.”  That’s what I keep doing.

I start a part time job tomorrow.

I haven’t worked since 2011.

I seriously haven’t worked since 2011.

I had to go back and look at my SSA information to see if I was remembering that correctly.

I’ve volunteered on and off for the past 2 years but this will be my first, regular, paid employment in 9 years.

I’m afraid.

What if I fail. What if I can’t do this. What if it all falls apart.

What if I fall apart.

“Be afraid, but do it anyway.”

What if it goes well? What if it’s all okay?


Given Up

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Sometimes I wonder, did I just give up by going on disability.

I see people who maybe have it worse, harder then me.

I see the days that I get up, and cook, and clean, and go to United Way.

I see the days that I can go to the gym, and piggyback transportation and activities.

I see the days that I feel okay to function.

And I wonder if I gave up by accepting this handout each month.

I mean, I guess I didn’t give up, exactly. I’m still fighting to get back out there. I’m still trying to come at this from every different direction to get my foothold somewhere.

But maybe I never should have laid down in the first place.

Maybe, I gave up.

I mean. Others have it far worse and they still figure it out and go to work and make it work and why did I think I couldn’t?

What made me think I had the right to give up?

Why is this bothering me so much today?

Is it because I’m having a good day and I don’t feel like I have the right to have good days and still be disabled?

Of course, how many days a month do I fight to keep myself alive? How often would that be a valid excuse for calling out before I lost, another, job.

But if I could just get my brain to cooperate. Just assimilate all of it into daily living, without the disruptions, just like I’ve done with my physical pain levels. Then maybe I could get back out there.

But some days I feel like I’ve given up by being on disability. Even though, I guess, logically, I’m fighting harder than ever.

I don’t know if I’ll ever work full time again. I don’t know if I’ll ever hold down a reliable part time job again. I don’t even know if I’ll finish this damn two year degree. But I’ll keep trying.

I guess I never really did give up.

I never planned to spend the rest of my life on disability, I just needed to step back and get healthy, and I’m still working on that.

Brains are dumb sometimes.

Emergency Exit

This is a really real mental health post.

TW: Mention of Suicidal Thoughts

I made in it to United Way today.

This is actually a huge accomplishment.  Normally when I’m crashing I call out. It’s a volunteer job and it wears me out. It’s the last place I want to be when I’m fighting my own brain.  Today I figured maybe it would be a helpful distraction.  I pushed myself to go in.

The last bunch of weeks they’ve kept me off the phones and put me on other projects.  I went from updating resource listings, that I would have been using 2 years ago, to alphabetizing and sorting lists of resources that their system wasn’t handling properly.  Today I entered something into the system that I don’t fully understand, but it needs to be done, literally, 900 times. Boring, monotonous, repetitive, unskilled work that shouldn’t take up the time of someone with skills to do something more.  Therefore it’s perfect for me.  Except I like the idea of feeling like I’m doing something important and this just feels like busy work to free up the other people to do the stuff that actually matters.

I also wonder if I fucked up on the phones and that’s why they took me off of them.

The other problem with repetitive busy work is it gives my brain three hours to continue ruminating.

Click here and here and here and hit submit.  “If I’d finished a degree I could be doing more.”

Click here and here and here and hit submit.  “I wonder what I fucked up on the phones to get me sent down to this.”

Click here and here and here and hit submit.  “I always start off so great, but it always falls apart and I fail again and again.”

Click here and here and here and hit submit. “Where’s the permanent exit from all this.  I’m tired.”

Its one thing to be in that fog while I’m sitting at home.   It’s an entirely different experience to be surrounded by the activity of office life and feel myself slipping further and further away.

Click here and here and here and hit submit.  “They’d be glad they don’t need to find something for me to do each week.”

My brain starts looking for a plan.  What’s on hand, what’s around.

I’m still not sure if it was good that I went in or not.  There were people there who I could have told, people who I trust, who would have talked with me, except right now I don’t really want to tell anyone during the worst of it.

I feel like I’m looking for the emergency exit from life.   Except jumping off this bus isn’t really the answer.  I know that, logically.

But the fog is so thick and that exit looks so clear sometimes.



Reality or Excuse

Really Real Mental Health Post

This morning the weather is gross.  It’s sleeting and icy and I can’t quite tell if it’s laying on the ground but it’s the first time this has happened and United Way may not have known if they were opening late by the time mobility came to take me in.  They get me super early.

It didn’t look THAT bad out there, but I’m also not that close to the office, and they tend to err on the safe side.

So I ended up cancelling going into my volunteer job today, but I feel really guilty about it, because maybe it was just an excuse.  I’m still fighting this low grade depression and I really didn’t want to go.  But I also didn’t want to be stranded sitting there with nothing to do, potentially outside in the weather because I didn’t know if the building would be closed too.

This constant worry of, am I pushing hard enough or too hard.  Am I setting myself up for a bad situation, or using it as an excuse.

There’s not always an easy answer.

I did get out of bed this morning , and I did really think hard about going, which is a lot better than just deciding last night that I’d not go and sleep in all day.

They probably will open on time, and mobility probably will run just fine, but the anxiety was pretty high that those things wouldn’t have happened.  And if I would have gotten there and been stuck in the cold sleet and rain it would have been pretty bad.  It’s not like I have a car to just drive myself home.

This may have been a little bit of both, a valid reason and an excuse.  But that’s why I’m volunteering and not working in an office yet.  I have the flexibility for days like this where I just don’t quite make it out the door for whatever reason.  I’m getting better at it, and I’m lucky to have a really understanding coordinator that I work with.  They appreciate my help whenever I am there.

Hopefully the weather clears up soon.  I’m sure it isn’t helping my mood any.


Excuses are easy

Really Real Life Post

Today is the first day in awhile I’ve struggled to come up with something to write about.  I didn’t wake up with a topic in mind, I didn’t have a draft already written and ready to go.

I had a few false starts, topics that wouldn’t start flowing after the first few sentences, so I either scrapped them, or left them sitting in drafts so I can play with them later,  I even wrote 3/4 of a post and my main point wouldn’t come together so I scrapped that.

I guess this is what it’s like to be a writer?  I’m really pushing myself to write each day, or at least most days, but leading up to NaNoWriMo, it’s even more important that I’m ready to write even when I’m not sure what I’m going to say, but I guess I should have some sort of point, and I’m getting there.

I’ve been going to the gym more days than not for the past month and at first it was a real struggle, and I’m sure again it will be a real struggle, but the more I pushed, the more I kept going, eventually it stopped being so difficult.  Now I even mostly enjoy it.

I know this is how this stuff works, a lot of the time, except mostly, when it gets hard I can’t push through it.  I give up, I don’t stick with it, I find excuses, I don’t make it a priority, and I fail.  It’s not that I can’t push through it, it’s that I don’t.

Excuses are easy.

That’s something I said a lot when I was doing the gym before, and there’s a lot to be said for that.

And if it sounds like I’m preaching, it’s not like that at all.

I’m having a really hard time pushing myself to go to my volunteer job at United Way.  I used to find purpose in the job, I used to feel like I was making a difference, but now I’m working under someone who doesn’t care about what I’m doing or what she’s doing and it’s sucked the life out of it for me.  I have a really hard time making myself go each week, and I keep finding reasons that I can’t make it happen.  I keep forgetting to schedule my rides, or having to schedule appointments on my day to go in, or otherwise not making it a priority.  I’m only making it there once a month or so instead of once a week.

But if I ever go back to work, I’m sure there will come a time that I have a shitty boss.  And I can’t use that as a reason to stop working.  Perseverance pays off.  If I stick with it, I’ll either find a way to find meaning in this job, or find a way to switch to something else, or (in the case of an actual, paying, job) at least I’d be paying my bills.

Excuses are easy.


I write a lot when things aren’t going well, but it’s not as often that I write when things are just typical.  That’s partly because there isn’t really a typical, but it’s also because my typical seems boring to write about.  Especially right now, I’m not doing a whole lot of anything that I think would seem important to most people.  However, I’m slowly realizing, again, how important these things are to me.

I’m reading and working on projects that require me to sit quietly for periods of time without my mind wandering.  This is a huge accomplishment.  It’s partly due to medication, and partly me learning to slow my brain down and not fight against thoughts as much.  Some people can meditate, mine needs some form of activity attached, at least for now, and maybe forever.  Right now that activity looks like diamond painting, but sometimes it’s chainmaille, both take place while listening to a Brené Brown audio book and working on my own thoughts.

I’m cooking more nights than not.  Taking care of my house which is something I love doing.  I love having the time and energy to be a homemaker.  I love that I found the word to describe what it is again, I’m not a house wife anymore, and I’m not a stay at home mom, but I’m still a homemaker and while I’m so much more than that, it’s still one part of who I am and I enjoy this part of my life immensely.  I had felt lost when people would ask “What do you do?” and I couldn’t answer.

I’m back to volunteering at United Way one day a week.  It’s exhausting after 3 months away.  The staff was happy to have me back and it was nice to feel like a valued member of the team there.  It was nice that they remembered me.  I feel like the fact that I went back after putting it on hold for so long is a major accomplishment for me, normally I would have just walked away completely.

And as usual, I’m going to doctors appointments.  With public transportation, a 15 minute appointment downtown for psych medication takes half of the day twice a month.  My therapist moved downtown as well but can only see me on a different day, so that’s another long day.  Fortunately I have care providers that I work really well with, so the trip is worth it, but it’s still a very long and exhausting day.  Mostly my physical health is staying calm for the time being, I still hurt and deal with flare ups, but mostly I can handle it without medical interventions, just the normal follow ups and check ins as far as all of those specialists are concerned.

I try to make it to the gym 3 days a week.  I walk, Wonder Woman and I have ridden our bikes together when it’s not a sauna outside.  I’m not as great about all of this as I once was but I’m getting there.  I have some friends who have gone to the gym with me a day here or a day there.

And I’m running a local mental health meetup twice a month, and an online group that I try to interact with daily.   I’m putting myself out there to try and get this off the ground, but it is something that needs to exist and it won’t unless someone starts it.  I feel like I’m meeting what I always felt was my purpose in life, helping others.  I always thought I was meant to do that in some paid capacity, but this is giving me a chance to do that in a different way.

I’m bummed that I’m not going back to school this semester but I also understand why I’m taking the semester off.  I did finish making the requests to transfer my records over to the community college so that when I go back it can be around the corner.

Life is kind of boring in a please-let-it-stay-this-calm way right now.  I’m not waiting for the other shoe to drop with my moods.  I feel like my coping skills and my medications are working well together.  I know that I can handle the next wobble when it comes and I’m just enjoying the calm.

Another New Normal

Time to figure out another new normal.

Yesterday was the last day of the partial hospitalization program that I’ve spent the last 6 weeks in. Now I’m about to start a PRP and figure out how to structure the majority of my days without the benefit of full day program 5 days a week telling me what to do and when.

I’m going to miss it honestly.

Group therapy is hard to find outside of that sort of program, they don’t stay together because people don’t show up, and each time I end up in a program like Partial the one thing that works the most is group therapy and when I leave, I miss it terribly.

Last night I made a series of bad decisions with good intentions, plus had a lot on my mind about “what’s next” and ended up laying awake most of the night. Two hours of sleep does not make for a well rested Tina. I think I have therapy at 9 but then I realized the reminder never came out yesterday. I think we may have talked about her not being available this week . . . did we cancel . . .fucking concussion. I hate morning appointments because sending my therapist a text message ass early AM saying “did I fuck up times” is not on the list of things I like to do.

Also, I could use the appointment.

At least I ended up at the gym last night, even if it was from 11pm till midnight. I should know that 11pm gym means I won’t sleep. But I had made a commitment to myself. Figuring out how to make it all fit is hard work.

The intake for the new program is Friday. I’m not sure what it’ll look like but it’s only half day and I only have to go 3 days a week. I’ll pick from a list of groups/classes to see what fits me. None of it is therapy based. I’m not sure how long I’ll be there. It could be a few weeks, it could be indefinitely.

I’m hoping to get back to United Way at least one day a week. I miss them there. Slow and steady though. I’m trying not to take on more than I can handle. People keep mentioning NAMI to me as something to get involved with as well. I’m also looking forward to the meet up I’ve started. Lots of options for volunteering in a fulfilling fashion that would keep me going mentally, and help me with healing and processing at the same time. Not many for financially supporting myself though. It sucks that I can give my time away to all of these places but to do things in a paid capacity I need at least a bachelors degree.

Also . . .

I found myself saying, yet again, yesterday. “That particular thing you ask me to do is hard for me because of this particular thing that happened in my past so please be patient with me.”


Special Snowflake Trauma Girl is triggered again.

This wasn’t even a trauma thing that happened when I was younger, it was just a thing, but because of that thing on a top of other things, it makes me super anxious when . . .

Damn I’ve had a fucked up life.

It’s Not Fair.

And that’s not some kid temper tantrum saying I don’t like this.

That’s adult me saying fuck this. so many people had NO RIGHT to do most of what they did. And life should not have shit on me so many times, but it did, and I handled it the best I could.

I’ve spent too many years feeling like I’m too much when the truth is my life was too much for me to have to handle and it wasn’t fair TO ME and I kept handling it so anyone who can’t handle me needs to walk away (holy run on batman). I’ve stood up and handled this shit for almost 38 years now. I deserve people around me who can handle who I am, as I am Right Now while I’m doing what I can to get better.

And that’s the newest new normal I guess.

Damn . . . I hope I have therapy this morning.

Welcome to my life as I journal in a public forum, please remember the exits are here, here, here, here, here, everywhere! (I need to watch Aladdin again)

Text message just came in, I do have therapy this morning, thank goodness.

Other Side

Here’s why ‘work’ felt amazing today.

When I was relying on food pantries and social service agencies and spending half the week finding whatever resource I could to pay bills and keep fed and still make it to doctors appointments …..

I’d show up at a food pantry and they wouldn’t be open during those hours anymore, or at all. Or, they’d hand me yet another box of cans to go with the 3 boxes of cans in the basement when what we really needed was some fresh food, meat, something that wasn’t loaded with salt and might make me feel human for a day or two. That meant I took time away from something else productive to get to something that wasn’t needed in that moment, or in the case of the closed pantry, that was completely useless.

Sometimes that meant spending money on transportation or using up a favor.

I said that we needed a wiki based program, something that could be updated by those of us using the services. Nothing is up to date by the time large agencies pass out lists or post them online and most of the small agencies don’t have the resources to man phone lines. And I started looking into what it would take to make it happen, at least locally. But it ended up slipping by the wayside.

United Way updates their database yearly on a rotating basis, I just started training to make the calls to the providers. She was emphasizing how important it is to get detailed information so the clients know up front what each provider is able to help with, to avoid wasting their time/energy. Fresh food vs canned, how much towards a bill, what are the income or paperwork requirements, etc.

And, they are working towards a searchable online system that would allow notes to be left by users. It’s a long way away but they know it’s needed because they can’t keep up either.

I don’t know if I’ll end up working here in a paid capacity, but it feels so good to be on the other side of this.