Daily Archives: July 1, 2018

Thought Panic

Panic ninjas are attacking in brute force and this time, it was my own thoughts that kicked it into motion.I just realized how far in the hole I am in so many ways, facing so many stressful things-money, family, a court hearing involving my child’s donor..And bam, the ninjas come flying out of nowhere wielding their nunchuks of hyperventilation, their swords of dizziness, their throwing stars of terror…And I am as disoriented as if washing down Amibien with Jim Beam. (Which for the record, I’ve never actually done, but I imagine that’s how it would be, Ambien was bad enough just being downed with water, total mental smackdown.)

Maybe part of the feeling woozy and disoriented is mommy withdrawal. My kid’s been at her grandma’s 24 hours now and I do go into withdrawal-and that whole too attached to my kid thing- after a certain amount of time. Also, my nephew and his girlfriend are returning her, so I’m trying to accomplish some housework lest they run back and report my messiness is some sort of affront to my child’s well being. (Ever notice how judgey clean freaks are over one missed cobweb or a dusty table? Geesh.) So far the cleaning project is going very slowly because the humidity is making my choke on my sinus drainage and I can’t catch my breath.

And I endured a call with my dad last night and I was a little hypo and on my way to a melatonin induced nap to quell the mania so he assumed I was drinking. Again. (With what money? I phased out my supplier and lost 20 pounds, not going back to that shit.Though at 45, if I do want to have a fruity little yummy drink, I think my parents should fuck off.) That makes me so mad I could fricking spit nails, cos mom does it too. How ignorant are you to have two kids with two different moms diagnosed with the same disorder, on similar meds, and know NOTHING about their symptoms? Bet if we had physical ailments he’d want to gain some information but mental stuff, pfft. My brother simply has ‘problems’ with his anger and me, well, I’m apparently just a lazy useless lump even though I’m the only of his three kids to NOT live with one of the parents after my teens. So his idea of successful independence and mine are very different but this selecive ignorance about his kids having mental disabilities is just disgusting. And my mom went off yesterday saying I never talk to her about my mental stuff and meds so how is she supposed to know…yet when I do try to talk to her, she gets huffy and says her and my sister got off the pills, they’re fine, and I’m just looking for a pill to make me happy.

The sheer ignorance contained in one family is mind boggling and definitely panic inducing. All it takes is their wrong assumptions and it could interfere with me being deemed fit to care for my child. I’ve seen the system in action with too many decent parents and all it took was one ignorant or vindictive person to set off a chain of events that got the kids removed while it was all ‘investigated.’ Living in a world where you’re doing nothing wrong but having symptoms of your disorder that hey, might make me act a little whacky and as I fall asleep on melatonin, maybe my words get slurry but don’t call me at 9:30 on a kid free night expecting me to be awake and bushy tailed.

Being made to feel this way, by the people who claim to live me, plain sucks. I get little credit for what I do right and even their wrong perceptions of me doing something they don’t approve of gets run into the ground ad nauseum. It kind of feels like perpetual suspension in time as a dumb 16 year old they had to reign in and berate ‘for my own good’. I’ve managed to keep a roof over my kid’s head, the power on, food in the fridge, she’s clean and clothed and very happy-and I have done it as a single mom 7 years now, while battling my mental demons but hey, let’s focus on every bad thing I could be doing or may have once done when I was a stupid teenager or before I had a kid and grew up emotionally. I guess I’m a little sensitive to criticism but then again, if it’s constructive, I kinda learn from that. Destructive criticism just tears apart my mind. I love my family, don’t get me wrong. They have some good qualities, and I know any major crisis, like the unexpected move, they’ll be there for me…But it’s not a crisis everyday and the daily tearing me down takes a toll. I didn’t give a damn before mood stabilizers, it’s like they robbed me of my spine and gave me a triple dose of conscience and ‘want to please the family so they don’t take my kid away.’

Wow…I really got off track. But panic makes my mind race even more and it matters not if it’s irrational or downright ridiculous. It feels real to me, and the pounding heart, sweating, dizziness, and sheer terror are very very physically real. So before some well meaning person reminds me that panic attacks won’t kill me, I KNOW THIS. But they do mess up my life and my mind and my body and to me, it’s worse than death. Death is final. Panic is perpetual. And knowing what a rebellious, stubborn bitch I am in nature, it galls me that I haven’t been one of the magical pegacorns who were ‘strong enough’ to ‘beat’ their disorders.

So all I can do is remember to breathe, do my best, take them with a grain of salt, and not freak out about all the things coming up that I truly have no control over.

What I can control right now is watching a long canceled show about a gated community of vampires and witches and hopefully it distracts scumbag brain enough with fiction to put reality-and my lack of control over much of it, into perspective or at least on the back burner.

I really don’t miss the trailer park anymore, but I do miss the distance I had between me and my family. Days and weeks they’d barely call, let alone darken my phone or doorstep and now…there’s no escape. I don’t think with them on the loose, having zero repect for why I need a heads up call and why I feel so threatened and anxious by pop up visits…I don’t think I’m ever truly going to feel safe and calm here. And it’s a shame because I am managing to adapt in every other way and feeling less vitriol for Armpit every day.

Leave it to well meaning family to be the one thing I can’t escape. Just gotta keep reminding myself they are well meaning. Even though their good intentions are paving the road to hell for me.

Realistic Self-Care

woman in white long sleeved shirt holding white ceramic mug

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

I hate articles about self-care for mental illness such as the one I saw recently that said:

…[W]ays I practice self-care include swimming and Pilates, getting regular massages, spending time with friends and family, since staying connected is an essential part of emotional health at every age, watching TV, and seeing movies. I also love going for walks, especially near Santa Monica beach, and reading or listening to books.

If I could do all those things, I wouldn’t need self-care! When I’m depressed or anxious, I cannot make myself swim or exercise, or even get out of bed and shower at times, which lets out going to the movies and spending time with friends, too. I can maybe read a book or listen to a podcast if I’m not too twitchy and if my attention span and concentration will cooperate. And I can sit on the sofa and watch TV, but that feels like uselessness, not self-care.

Plus, guess what? A lot of those activities cost money.  Massages, movies, exercise classes (for which you need exercise clothes), and swimming (for which you need a swimsuit) would all require “shopping therapy,” which I loathe IRL and can’t afford online.

I personally would love a massage, but that’s not self-care for everyone. As Emily Roberts points out in “Self-Care for Mental Health: Find Ways That Work for You”:

The myth of a massage as an essential self-care activity – or anything that makes you more anxious – isn’t helpful for your mental health. I didn’t listen to my body the first time I booked a massage and guess what? It was so triggering to my body I couldn’t even finish it….I started to cry and couldn’t compose myself 10 minutes into the appointment. I was embarrassed and confused. I thought, “This stuff works for all the people in the magazines. What is wrong with me?”

I decided that booking an extra appointment with my therapist and having a date with my best friend was more helpful as self-care for my mental health than pushing myself to practice self-care in the way the media was telling me to.

One person’s mani-pedi can be another’s nightmare. I much prefer small ideas for self-care rather than big expeditions or splurges. For me, comfort food is one form of self-care. It has to be something I can make easily, though, like frozen mashed potatoes, mac-n-cheese, or French bread pizzas. (The microwave is my friend.)

Of course, these comforts require a little planning when I’m not overwhelmed to the point that I need self-care to restore me. I must think ahead, during those times when I’m able to go to the store, to bring home the foods that are easy to make yet soothing.

Another self-care technique I came across is definitely more my speed. Caiti Gearsbeck, in “Make Your Own Mental Health Self Care Kit” offers a simple, DIY alternative. She recommends filling a shoebox or other box with soothing things that appeal to all five senses, plus a few activities. Here are a few of her examples:

Sight: photos, cards, and letters

Smell: essential oils or candles

Taste: chocolate or tea

Sound: meditation CD or an mp3 player with a playlist

Touch: soft cloth or stuffed animal, stress ball or fidget cube

Activities: coloring books and pencils, a journal, a favorite movie

She adds: Whatever works for you!

For me, that box would contain photos, Irish Spring soap, oolong tea, an mp3 player, a stuffed animal (I have lots to choose from), and a CD of The Mikado. I’d need a cat in the box, too. But given the nature of cats, there would probably be one in there anyway, whether I wanted it or not. All of that is stuff I have around the house, unless I’m out of Irish Spring or oolong. Add a quiet room like the bedroom or my study and I’m all set. At least until I can afford a massage.

 

References

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/millennial/2017/10/make-your-own-mental-health-self-care-kit/

https://www.jwi.org/articles/mental-health-and-self-care

https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2018/5/self-care-for-mental-health-find-ways-that-work-for-you

Bipolar Disorder: Feeling Hopeless? Don’t give up!

Having bipolar disorder can feel like you are in a deep hole and can’t get out when you are depressed and suicide enters your mind.   When you are manic, it can feel like you are on the top of the world and don’t want to leave it.  However, sometimes, when you are manic and have been riding the roller coaster over and over, it is tempting to jump off the ledge too.

People think that mania is a great thing. What they don’t realize is that when you are manic you do things that you regret and can hurt people you love. You learn to not like the mania because of these reasons and because you know you will come crashing down and the higher you go, the lower you get afterwards.

Medicine is the answer for many and there are other treatments too.  For me, I am starting to recognize that medications are not working any more and it is so frustrating. I seem to cycle into mania about every three months. I have tried pretty much every medication out there and am under care of a psychiatrist I like, but just can’t seem to get on a level that is stable.

It can feel hopeless and at this point I am writing this, I am entering another manic phase and yet am in tears because I just can’t handle this anymore.

Usually, when I write my blog, I try to be educational and upbeat and try to “teach” something and write with purpose so that others can learn from what I have to say.

While starting this, I was wondering how I would put a positive spin on it.  I guess I am writing to let people know that reality of this disease.  I hope that my openness helps someone.  I started this with the title of “Don’t give up” because I wanted to make sure I ended up on a positive note.

So….Please don’t give up.  The poem below is one my dad gave me when I was 13 during my first depression after my first and only attempt at suicide.  I hope it helps someone.  Right now, suicide is in the news and is happening at an alarming rate.  Unfortunately, it was talked about a lot after the deaths of two famous people by suicide and now it has faded into the shadows again. I hope that if you were thinking of killing yourself today, that you will listen to this and get help.  Suicide Hotline       International Suicide Numbers 

don't quit