I don’t mean to….(fighting depression)

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I don’t mean to stay away.

I don’t mean to make you worry.

I walk around in a daze lately, and can’t see through the fog.

I feel like I’m lost in the dark and the only lights I see are from the flames of hell.

I can’t tell  you why.

There is no real reason.

Sometimes I feel like I’m a pawn in someone else’s game.  I can see two demons hunched over a game board, we are the pieces they move.  We have no control over how the game is played; we can only hope they play fairly, but we all know that demons never play fair.

How can I feel so level headed and focused at one point and so out of control and totally depressed at the next.  What changed?

Sometimes the answer is “nothing”.  Other times, the answer is more complicated, but the thing is, it’s really not about what has happened on the outside, it’s all about what’s going on on the inside.

Right now I could actually write a huge list of things that have changed in my life, but none of them explain the extreme changes in my emotional state.

I’m not “letting things get to me”, nor am I “too sensitive”.  I’m falling apart from the inside out, and it has nothing to do with anything I am doing to myself.

Damn! Does that sound as stupid to any of you as it does to me?

I get so pissed off when someone tells me that they wish I didn’t let things get to me so much, or that they wish I wasn’t so sensitive….yeah well…yadayadayada.  I guess, it is all on me, isn’t it?  But then again…is it?  If it were up to me I sure wouldn’t allow things to “get to me”, and I wouldn’t be overly “sensitive”.  Heck, if it were up to me I’d be pretty friggin’ stoic sometimes, but I’m not, I simply can’t be like that.  I feel things, very deeply sometimes, I actually envy people who can “bury it” or “put walls up”, I can’t do that.  I’ve tried, oh how I’ve tried.  I really do envy those people…..sometimes…like now…not always.

Lately, all I want to do is eat, sleep, and cry.   In reality I’m not sleeping enough, but I’m spending a lot of time trying to; I’m eating too much, the weight gain proves it, and I’m either crying or pissed most of the time!  But I’m trying really, really hard not to be like that.  Heck, I don’t even know why I’m crying, and I sure can’t tell you what I’m so mad about.  Here’s the kicker, something will happen that doesn’t bother me at all and then the exact same thing can happen again and suddenly I’m so pissed I can’t think straight, or I’m crying so hard I can’t see.  What changed there?  So…is that all on me?  or is it out of my control?   More importantly, is this something that is just happening because of outside circumstances and will blow over, or does my medication need to be adjusted?  Honestly, I have no clue.  (I think it’s probably the later, or maybe a little bit of both?

Even with all I know about mental illness, (from my experiences with bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression) I still feel like it’s my fault.  I never feel like that about another person’s battles with mental illness, why do I hold myself to a different standard?  Is it simply because I’m often told, “I wish you didn’t let things get to you so much”, or is it because I think this is a part of me that I should be able to control.  I don’t have a lot in my life that I feel I have control over, surely I can control how I react to things.  Isn’t that what I’ve been practicing mindfulness for?  Simply accepting the way things are and not wishing it to be different.  Well honey, I do wish it were different right now, but I am trying hard to accept that it just is the way it is, and I know for certain that things will change.  Nothing stays the same, everything changes, I can always take solace in this, unless I’m deep in depression, then I think, “Yes, things change, it could get so much worse!”  Aaahhhh….No!  I can’t get caught in the future trap!  You know that trap, the one in your mind that predicts a future…good or bad, watch out! it’s a trap!  Chances are that the future you prophesied will not turn out the way your mind told you it would; staying in the present is the only way to really deal with life’s challenges, it’s it?  I KNOW these things.  Why then, is it so very hard?

I will try to take it moment by moment and be kind to myself.

I’ll try not to stay away.

I don’t want you to worry.

 

one moment at a time, I’ll get through this

 

*photo taken at Tumacacori National Park by W. Holcombe.  Please do not use without permission.  All rights reserved.

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Creativity As A Way To Cope

As you look around the chronic illness community you will often find that we use creativity as a coping mechanism.  There is science to back up our intuition that creativity is a good thing for us.

“When we are involved in (creativity), we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life,” Csikszentmihalyi said during a TED talk in 2004. “You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.”

This quote comes from a much larger article on this subject I found on CNN’s site.  I thought it extremely interesting, perhaps you will too.  This is Your Brain On Crafting.

Today I thought I’d share with you some things I’ve been doing recently to spark my creativity.  I received a tablet for Christmas, it comes with a stylus so I can draw right on the screen.  I love it.  It’s hard when I have very little space, and I often have to stop working very quickly to bring out a lot of art supplies, so learning how to create art on the computer has been wonderful.  I’ve been using an app called Sketchbook. They post challenges that you can take on if you like.  This has been perfect for me.  I have had a very hard time creating art in the past year, deciding on what to do has been too hard.  The challenges give me a focus.  It’s like having an assignment back in school.  I get so involved in these projects that times goes by without me noticing.

 

 

If you would like to see the photos larger just click on one and you can see a slide show that will show them in a larger size.

The assignments were:

  • Upper left – Biggest Fear – Title “The Monster Within”
  • Top Right – Female Human Animal Hybrid – “Butterfly Woman”
  • Middle Right – Modern Mythical Creature – Loch Ness Monster “Nessie”
  • Bottom Left – Person I’d most like to meet – “Siddhārtha Gautama” (Buddha)
  • Middle Bottom – Abstract Tree
  • Bottom Right – Dream Home

Do you have a creative outlet?  You don’t stress thinking you are good at it or not, just do something.  No one else ever has to see it.  Coloring books are really popular right now, this is a great way to get your creative juices flowing.  Is there something you have always wanted to try?  Photography?  Learning how to crochet?  Knit?  Cook?  Stamping? Paper Crafts? Jewelry?  Poetry? Writing?  So much to try, so little time!!

After decades of research by Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi he found getting involved in something creative produces the same effects as meditation.  Something he calls flow.

“When we are involved in (creativity), we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life,” Csikszentmihalyi said during a TED talk in 2004. “You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.”

If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you know I’m very into mindfulness and the benefits of it and meditation.  So learning this made me very happy, especially since I just haven’t been able to meditate recently.

(shh, I’ll share a little secret with you, I’ve been really depressed for a long time now.  The antidepressants I’m on simply aren’t working.  Things need to change.  I’ve had a psychiatric nurse practitioner here who writes my prescriptions, but she isn’t very good at working with me since things have changed.  I’m bipolar, I’m having a severe mood change, I need help. So I’m searching for someone I can really work with, and I think it’s time for me to go back into therapy.  I’m working on it, but it is taking a bit of time.  While I’m finding the right doctor and therapist that click with me, I’ll be trying to do as much work as I can to help myself.   Including, being a lot more creative.  I plan to post  much more about my days, to see just how I’m doing, the good days, the bad days, and all the days in between.  I hope you will join me on this journey.  I might even post more of my challenges.)

Keep Calm and Create

 

 

A tiny little update

After my last post I feel horrible I haven’t been back here sooner.

I’m not having a good time with the vertigo recently.  My dear friend, Mr. Meniere’s, has decided to settle in for a visit.  A long horrible visit…so this really will be very short.

Saw my psych doctor last Wednesday.  She is supposed to be talking to my Neurologist (headache pain specialist) about a drug we discussed putting me on.  (a good idea huh?)  But it’s taking a long time.  I did see her late on Wednesday so things probably didn’t get started until Thursday…but my goodness.  Well, I won’t get in to all of that.  I’m upset about that visit….but I’ll vent later.

I am having a better time of it.  Not cycling so much now, I’ve been pretty level for a couple of days now.  I’m reading more of the Buddha’s teachings, and it helps.  (I’m not pushing Buddhism here….I just get very comforted when I read his teachings and try to follow the practices.)

I really need to control my anxiety.  I know the vertigo is more out of control because of the stress.  It is my greatest trigger for Meniere’s.

I need to have emergency plans in place…just in case.  This helps relieve my anxiety about a situation I have no control over.  It gives me a little control.  For example, I have an emergency kit for when I have vertigo attacks.  I feel my severe vertigo attacks have fallen drastically since I created this kit.  I have one for home and one for travel.  It eases my mind.

When I started feeling suicidal, I knew it was my illness, but it didn’t really matter.  So when I cycled enough out of it to be able to really communicate with my husband, we made up an emergency plan.  I know where to call, or go if I feel I am going to hurt myself.  My husband put all of my medication away and gives it to me as prescribed so I will not….tempted when I fall in the darkness of my soul.  We have a plan.  It has helped me so much.  I now feel that I am understood.  My husband knows how I’m feeling, as much as he can.  He’s taking me seriously, and helped me to have in place a way to make it easier when (or if?) the dark lady returns.

Today, we talked about an emergency plan if my husband remains out of work.  We can’t wait until there is no money left, it will cost us money to leave here.  We need to know at what point do we need to decide to leave.  Where we are going, and how things will happen.  There are parts in there we are pretty sure about, but we need to solidify this plan.  I’m so anxious about our future I feel paralyzed.  I know that it is adding to my feeling so very ill.

So….I’m here.

I’m not on the computer a lot right now because of the vertigo.

I’m working on getting the psych meds straight.

We are working on an emergency plan if hubby doesn’t find a job before we completely run out of money.  (luckily we were able to get on a mortgage assistance plan, or we would be destitute before now.  But right now we don’t have to pay our mortgage because of this assistance.)   This will help me feel less anxious about our future.

I have much more to say….things I’ve been discovering about myself…and just thoughts in general.

Thank you all for the loving support you have shown me.  I have felt these emotions all around me, and it has helped so much.  We may not all know each other in person, but I promise, the loving thoughts sent from all of you have reached me.  And I am eternally grateful.

The Bipolar Cocktail – when the mixture isn’t right…

Medication_cocktail_by_LaChixMany illnesses are treated with a cocktail of medications, Bipolar type 1 is not different.  For me, I must have a mood stabilizer, an antidepressant, an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety drug), and….I can’t remember if there is anything else.  I think that’s it.  Right now the mood stabilizer is working.  The antidepressant isn’t working, and the anxiolytic is trying hard to work but I have a lot of reason to be anxious.  (that’s what my therapist told me on Thursday anyway).   Of course, you could say I have a lot to be depressed about too, but I don’t normally let depression take over my life.  I’m fighting hard to keep telling myself, “This will get better.”, but it has been a bit overwhelming lately.

The tears, so many tears have fallen.  The words, “I’m sorry.” have passed my lips so many times I’ve begun to wonder if I can finish a conversation without saying it.  I’ve been told by professionals that I don’t “wallow”.  Oh if they could see me some nights, they might just change their minds.

Recently I completely lost control.  In a complete panic! I needed to leave.  I needed to get away from my husband before I hurt him any longer.  I know I’ve become such a burden, I’m not a fun person, I’m worthless, and useless.  I wish this wonderful, caring man had never met me.

How could I leave?  I can’t drive.  Where would I go?  I have no money.  What could I do?  The only answer.   Take the dark lady’s hand, I hear her promises to make it all better.  To help my husband.  To end the pain for both of us.  I reach out….and suddenly I stop!  NO!  This is my illness talking!  It will get better.  My husband loves me, and if I leave with her, he would be devastated.  I can’t hurt him.  “NO! my  lady I will not leave with you.  I’m stronger than you!” … at least for now.

I knew my resolve was weak.  I knew I couldn’t trust myself.  I grabbed my computer.  I searched and searched….I needed an inpatient hospital.  Somewhere I could go for just a little while.  Somewhere I could be made to not listen to the dark lady beckoning to me with empty promises.  I found a listing, I hit on it…..Site Not Found….What???  I went to the next place on the list…it wasn’t an inpatient facility…the next, same thing….again…again!  I threw my computer!

I was so livid!  And so…..I don’t know….I really don’t remember what happened immediately after that.   I know I ended up getting in the bath, (for those who regularly read my blog you will know how odd this is for me, I’ve become quite phobic of the bath due to my vertigo, but in the bath I was.) and my husband joined me.  He held me, and we just laid back in the water.  I talked, he could only listen.  (I can’t wear my cochlear implants in the tub, so even if he talked I wouldn’t have known.)  I cried, he held on tighter.  I told him everything.  He knew most of it already.  He did witness it.   When we got out of the bath, and readied for bed, I gathered all my medications and gave them to him.  I took out 3 pills that I might need during the night, knowing that even if I took the 3 together I would not cause myself harm.  I told him to lock them away, until I was better.  Only giving me the medications as I needed them.   (this happened a few days ago)

My cocktail will be remixed on Wednesday.  It will take a while to know if this mixture is working.  Until then, I will be cautious.  I’m still crying a lot.  The words “I’m sorry” are continuously spewing from my mouth.  I not only feel sad, angry, lost and riddled with panic….I feel sick.  My body feels as if it is fighting off an invader.  I keep running a low-grade fever, on and off.  I am hot….I am cold.  My head, throat, all of me hurts.   I had one of the worst asthma attacks I’ve had….ever…yesterday.  It scared me….suffocation is terrifying.   Once I knew my rescue inhaler was not going to work, we rushed to get the nebulizer up and running.  Luckily, I began to feel relief very quickly.  A trip to the ER was narrowly avoided.

Yes, I have an emergency plan in place now for my deepest levels of depression.  Of course, I have my husband watching my behavior.  I have all my medications that could harm me locked away to be given out only at specified times.  We have the address and phone number of an emergency psychiatric hospital.   At times I am thinking clearly.  Other times I feel so engulfed by the depths of depression I cannot imagine a way out, it feels as if I’ve stepped in a tar pit and it is constantly trying to pull me under.  I have to keep my mantra in my head….”I know it will get better.”   I’ve had problems with my medications before, I KNOW THIS WILL GET BETTER!