Tag Archives: anxiety

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.






How Rapic Cycling Screws Up Your Life

For many, many years I had a crap shrink who saw me once every 3 months and gave zero credence to what the therapists told him about how they’d witnessed me go from depressed to manic to depressed, in a week. He labeled me as “dysthymic” and shoved anti-depressants down my gullet. Which is possibly the WORST thing you can do for someone who is bipolar. He was basically treating me to a year round cycle of even more rapid cycling because with no mood stabilizer, the antidepressants made me go full on manic or hypomanic. He was a douche. It took 16 years to find a doctor who actually nailed the diagnosis of bipolar 2 because I do have more lows than highs. Once she put me on mood stabilizers, life got a little easier.

A little.

But as is typical for me during summer months, I am rapic cycling through ups and hypo manic episodes at breakneck speed. The now-departing shrink said she wasn’t worried about it because of the mood stabilizers, but hey, guess what? Rapic cycling during these months has always been my norm. They are so gung ho on their stupid cocktails they cannot be convinced it’s not a cure-all for these symptoms and cycling.

Today has been a roller coaster. I woke before 5 a.m., could not get back to sleep, so I paid some bills on line and the phone, all the while cussing my internet provider for making it too damn confusing to pay on line thus making me use the hated phone. (I love my Droid for everything BUT making calls, go figure.) I forcded myself to bathe and put on clean clothes. I woke my kid up so we could get to town to pay the power bill on time and also, to avoid the extreme temperatures we’re now having. In town, I was okay, though traffic did miff me, people drive like maniacs.

Then we got home, carried stuff in, and I took my meds. Now, I’d had food an hour or so before, so I didn’t blink. And then I got so nauseous, my head started to hurt, I was woozy and dizzy…And that crack of dawn waking thing has me dragging ass. SPLAT. So I had corndogs for lunch and that took care of the nausea but now I have heartburn and it bloody hurts. I’d take a Pepcid but it’s so damn hot, I can’t breathe in the curtained off room. Thankfully the AC and fans are keeping the other rooms bearable.

From Splat I’ve gone to spinning mind and rabid paranoia and anxiety. We had a storm last night and it blew down an enorous tree branch (miss the glass patio table by an inch!) and I of course asked my dad if they could appear at some point this weekend to haul it off and trim the branches that are growing into the power lines, messing with our electricity, making it flicker. The landlord was supposed to take care of it weeks ago, but I figure he’s not being a total dick about the rest of his security deposit so I shouldn’t be too fussy about his lack of memory, he is 78. I digress…Dad and his woman have access to a chainsaw and they have pick ups to haul away yard debris like huge ass tree limbs so asking them is painful but necessary. I did manage to detangle it from the chairs and stuff it crashed on and drag the enormous thing to the front yard where they can easily dismantle it with their power toolsy stuff. (I’m not into chainsaws, mowers, weed whackers, that shit terrifies me and as clumsy as I am..NOPE.)

Now…downside…They never call before they show up so I am on pins and needles just waiting for them to appear out of nowhere and assault my sensitivities to sound with roaring power tools. And the house is kind of a mess which they will be uber critical about, reminding me they vouched for me with the landlord, but ya know what? Unfolded laundry, unmopped floors, and the vaccuum that spits out more than it picks up aren’t high on my priority list when the humidity is so thick even inside with air I am having trouble breathing with allergies and sinus problems. It can wait til night time when it cools down. I am not risking more med nausea by doing all this stuff in the heat and humidity, which of course you’re super sensitive to on mood stabilizers and you can dehydrate and overheat and get very ill, very quickly. Especially in my “will the meds make me sick or not today” lottery lifestyle.

I despise people who refuse to give me a heads up before they darken my doorstep. Is a 30 second “on the way” call really that inconvenient? In polite society, I think it’s looked upon with fondness. But rednecks like dad and stepmonster and my brother aren’t quite polite society, their way or fuck you. Yet they gripe when people knock on their door before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m. Hypocrite much? This anxiety makes me feel frozen in place, like if I even walk to the other room, they’re gonna coming barging into the door. And if my dad sees me hypo, he will be sniffing me for alcohol smell and ranting because he’s too damned ignorant to understand mania and bipolar. (Yet my brother’s on meds for the same and it’s ok, because his disorder manifested less as manic and more as aggressive anger tirades and god knows, society loves them some anger, way more appropriate than tears or depression or mania.)

I think it may be time to bite the bullet and go to therapy. Obviously the revolving door of shrinks at the psych center isn’t going to help me much to gain stability and learn how to manage the constant anxiety that these people cause me. But then comes that terror that I will end up with R’s daughter Ursula as a counselor and while my nephew’s fiance things Ursula is a great therapist and she likes her a lot….I used to babysit Ursula and I have witnessed how many of her own issues she has and won’t own and I’ve seen the lack of empathy she has for the mentally disabled (sanity challenged a better term?) They just assign you a counselor, you get no say in it, and you ask to change, they take that as non compliance because obviously, the therapist gave you a diagnosis you didn’t like and want to try someone who might see things your way. That is the place’s mentality. And it’s no longer counseling center, it’s ‘behavioral health’ and I loathe that term as much as I despise the overuse of stupid trendy terms like “Creating a narrative” and “Your brand could be bigger if you used social media”. Brand? Seriously? I’m a person, not tennis shoes or a can of corn.

I don’t need a counselor to agree with my every (fucked up) thought but I do need them to be supportive, non critical, and HELP me sort through the constant garbage in, garbage out cycle of mind. And I definitely need to learn some assertion skills (never used to be an issue when I wasn’t on mood stabilizers, I pretty much told people to bite me at every turn, including a boss or two.) Now I am 45 and live in terror of my father and his crew. Not cool, not normal, not healthy. I was never a daddy’s girl, I don’t much care what he thinks of me, but since they helped us out so much during the move and with furniture and such…I guess I feel beholden to keep the peace and not rock the boat. And that, too, sickens me, because that was always the donor’s mentality. Some old lady in a restaurant assumed I was pregnant again when Spook was two weeks old. Rather than be classy and say something like, “She dropped 20 pounds already, I think she looks great for just having a baby.” Nope. ‘Consider the source.” “Ignore it.” “Don’t rock the boat.” And that I have become that spineless and pathetic really makes me want to stab my eyes out with a metal Spork and let Spook beat me with a Z-Whacker. This is NOT me.

Can you tell from my rant and topic bouncing how hypomanic my mind is right now? And this is fully medicated.

Sadly, a hypo manic brain does not equal a productive mental state and the anxiety is paralyzing me. My ear itches from the fan blowing my hair and I think, ermygod, someone is talking about me!!! (Damn you, momby, for instilling such stupid superstitions in my head, even if I think they’re bogus, I still get panicky.)

Breathe, Morgue, breathe.

So walking on eggshells made out of busted Faberge knock offs it is.

Be a great time for a power nap but I can’t do that with the spawn loose and the sun reminding me it’s not sleepy time. But sleep has always been the best way to reboot my brain’s OS, so to speak, and I usually wake up in a better, or different, mind frame.

The sleep disturbance is gonna drive me mad. It’s not that I require a lot, I just don’t like seeing the hour 5a.m. unless I’ve been up all night. I can sleep from 8am to 11 am and run the whole day and night just fine. Anything before 7 a.m., I’m fairly useless.

6 hours of uninterrupted sleep has become my fantasy. That and owning a Dodge Challenger or Hellcat, and I am fairly sure neither is going to happen.

Damn rapic cycling to hell.

Side Effects Of Bipolar Disorder, Depression, And Anxiety

I have spent much time bemoaning horrid side effects from certain psychiatric medications, and I have also posted many times about how my disorders impact my daily functionality. What I haven’t really given voice to is side effects of the disorders themselves. Now most will call these symptoms and that is true enough, but a side effect is generally something negative that stems from a medication or illness and mental disorders aren’t excluded.

For me, I am reminded ten times a day of how these side effects limit my functionality or impact the simplest things in my life-even things I enjoy.

Watching a movie? Forget it. I can’t stay focused or sit still because my racing thoughts and anxiety distract me.And the on screen action can set me into a panic so…I focus on 20-40 minute TV shows and half the time, I don’t get through those without hitting pause two or three times and it’s not always momming duties that interrupt. Sometimes, sitting still is the enemy even I just need to go outside for a moment or refresh my water with some ice. For what most consider a ‘sedentary’ life, I am actually pretty active.

Music? Stimulates me way too much, haven’t been able to truly enjoy it a long, long time, and I’ve lamented to the shrinks ad nauseum, they don’t care. The one thing that’s always carried me through the worst depressions and anxiety is no longer something I can enjoy..and it’s nothing to them.

A meal out in public (if I could afford it)? NOPE. Too many people, too much noise. Hell, I start panicking at gas stations just waiting line and hearing the beep beep beep indicating a car needs authorization to pump gas. (Soo much respect for the people who can do that job.)

Human interaction even in small numbers? Unpleasant enough to make me desire it very little.

Housework? Goes way beyond “I hate doing it” or “I’m lazy”. Just getting out of bed can be a struggle so that mountain to scale for motivation to do what will just need done again in a day or two? Nil.

Writing? I can’t stay on topic. I ramble, I rant, I am typo queen and I feel possessed by demons to simply get it all out before I lose what little train of thought I have or get interrupted. So the ONE thing I have ever been even half decent doing is also crushed by the side effects of my disorder (and an unmedicated ADD situation, but insurance won’t pay for Focalin and I can’t, and oh, my multitude of doctors can’t agree if I need it or if it’s all artifact of my disorders.)

Dating? Ha ha ha ha. I panic when a man even smiles at me the ‘wrong’ way. I am polite but I am distant and aloof and uh, well awkward as hell because panic causes cold sweat to drench my sides and my heart pounds and I just become non functional.

Creativity? Oh,wow,before mood stabilizers, during the mega manic episodes, I was mad creative. I was practically a crafts addict with the hot glue, glitter glue, etc. The depression would wipe it out, but I knew it’d be back eventually…Without manic episodes thanks to mood stabilizers and a wandering, festering mind…I got nothing. Ideas galore but no semblance of order to bring it to fruition.

Work? Meltdowns every single place in less than a year, always had to take time off with a doctor’s note due to my mental problems plus an incident with a med and delay of treatment which damaged my brain so I won my disability claim but…man, it’s a hubcap sized, bitter pill to swallow. I try not to be too hard on myself because hey, got plenty of people who do that for me…But for someone who went to work at 16 and has fought her whole life to be independent and not reliant on others…It stings.

With all of this working against me, I still manage to raise my kid, alone, and keep her clean and clothed and fed and she’s a happy, bright girl. I just wish she had a happy mommy but my version of happy is simple contentment and with a brain in a constant cyclone…contentment and I are not well acquainted.

Mental health disorders are the gag gift that keeps on taking and rarely gives anything. Not enough a good giggle.

People-ing Is Bad For My Mental Health

So, yeah, Webster’s probably won’t be adding the term ‘people-ing’ as a verb any time soon, but I am so sick of using the word ‘socializing’, I need a new term for human interaction. Besides, my aversion to human interaction has little to do with disliking people and everything to do with how easily overwhelmed I am with motion, colors, sounds, and of course, the expectation to behave a certain way that is ‘acceptable’. Which is likely why I am so comfortable on the internet (to an extent, I still can’t seem to bring myself to do forums or chat). I can control my interaction, my intake of stimuli, and I never have to beg out and escape or hint that it’s time for someone to go lest I start panicking and screaming curse words in said panic. When everything overwhelms you, this semblance of control becomes crucial. Maybe the professionals deem it a disorder or avoidance behavior but um…I’ve learned the professionals are wrong about 80% of mental health issues because they are so focused on their books and ‘the norm’, they forget…we’re all inviduals, unique in our experiences and brain chemistry so what might be unhealthy avoidance for one person may just be what someone like me needs.

I’ve been struggling with free floating anxiety since moving to Armpit and mostly, I thought it was living in proximity to my dad’s factiion and the incessant unannounced annoying drop ins by my brother. Then there was a knock at the door today, two kids wanting to hang with Spook, and it hit me…The anxiety skyrocketed even then because…people-ing. I may have minimal interaction with these kids but then again, the minute they start bickering, I have to engage and be the bad guy and frankly, it sucks. People-ing, not my forte. I doubt it would be a big deal were I in a good mental space. But alas, I’m not *there* yet. Anxiety quickly steamrolls me to panic which is when I start feeling like I’m playing Frogger only I am the bloody frog. (In case anyone wonders, I am NOT British, but I’ve taken to using the word ‘bloody’ because honestly, my go to is ‘fuck’ and it’s probably not something to be teaching kids, they’ll learn it by 5th grade.) Being vulnerable, or feeling that way, just sends me into a tailspin.

But kids are noise and noise sets me off so it’s just something I have to deal with. To me, it makes perfect sense that I’d avoid circuit overload by limiting my own interaction with others. Besides which, so few people understand mental health issues here and it’s the ‘get over it’ sheeple thinking, so there’s little desire for me to go there. If I want bullied, I can do it myself or call my family. I know based on past experience, I will eventually be in a space, albeit briefly, where I may seek out people-ing. But then again, I base a lot of that on a safe space to live in, which Armpit, near my dad, is not, and also, so much noise overload by my kid and her friends, I just feel like I have little left to give, especially to people who don’t understand I am trying my hardest here to live with my disorders and overcome them. Not gonna give me an E for effort, I’m not gonna give you what little mental resources I have left. Simple as that.

So between the trip to town the other day, stores, traffic, my brother’s constant pop ins, and my kid’s active social life, not to mention her projectile vomiting 6 times last night all over the couch, bed, bedding, stuffed animals, and the wall resulting in great worry (tummy ache and spew could be appendix rupturing, PANIC!)…People-ing is what does me in. Internet interaction keeps me ‘connected’ to others via a wireless or corded tether and meets my needs right now as it has for many, many years. As my kid gets older and less needy (I pray to the pegacorn gods), maybe I will be less overwhelmed and more into people-ing.

Until then…my internet tether is just fine with me.

Unless this net neutrality repeal thing isn’t killed off, then I’m likely gonna be forced to pay for sites like wordpress and will be subjected to whatever political affiliations my provider believes in without access to opposite information.

The horror! I might be forced to start people-ing with the yokels. And I simply don’t subscribe to the church of denim and flannel and tractors.

And I’m also not big on the mentalithy-spearheaded by my own father- that people with mental issues on disability are just lazy leaches.

Ignorance is toxic and I avoid toxic people best I can. In his case, law should require him to be slapped with a ‘biohazard’ symbol for his views on mental health. Him and a few million others…

Bad Juju Wednesday

I’m at a loss to explain my current dark mental space but it is disconcerting to say the least. The free floating anxiety, bits of paranoia, (had to steel myself just to check the mail box, jump every time there’s a phone alert or knock on the door) and just feeling hopeless and down in general. Perhaps I just had too much interaction with others yesterday after the trip to town and melting down in traffic (I swear everything moves so fast in town, it’s like I’ve forgotten how to properly drive and my brain simply can’t keep up with all the motion thus throwing me into a panic and meltdown) and of course, I had a brief interaction with dad’s entire faction and he said a couple of things that irked me because hey, I am 45 years old, mind your own damn business, old man. It’s like, if my mood is too low, he says I am glaring and grumpy, but if my mood is ‘up’ then obviously, I must be drunk or on something. And his inability to grasp bipolar ups and downs and hypomanic bouts isn’t my problem, it’s his.

Grrr. I don’t like the ‘come downs’ after you have a good mental space or hypo bursts. I especially hate the aftermath of too much ‘people-ing’.

It’s just going to be a bad mental juju day and best I can do is get through it. I’m getting a little break for now as Spook went with her uncle, some bike riding and sharpening mower blade redneck hootenany, IDK. She spent the whole morning fussing that her belly hurt and she felt nauseous, then he shows up and miraculously she feels better. I let it be her choice though I am wondering if that was a good mom move. Being out in heat and humidity when you’re already feeling icky isn’t a wise choice. But it’s pick my battles to avoid drama so for better or worse, she made the choice so she couldn’t have been too direly ill. When I don’t feel well, the last thing I want is to be around people and be active. Maybe people-ing is her therapy, Idk.

I just want this day to be over with so I can seek solace in sleep. Getting up in the mornings is getting harder and harder and it’s usually not like that during summer *if* the meds are working properly. Winter, sure, snooze button psychosis is my norm. Summer I usually wake up feeling decent and want to get up. Laying in bed awake an hour after waking…this is an anomaly. I was just hit with so much anxiety and tight chested rising panic, I guess lolling in bed was my way of working through it without making my kid witness how wonky mom is today. And there’s always that eternal hope thing that hey maybe I can fall back to sleep and wake up in a better frame of mind.

On a final note…I am so thankful for pharmacists because with my numeric dyslexia, I’d prbably get the wrong medication and die. I was reading off the RX numbers and one of them came up under someone else’s name and it was because I got the last 4 numbers all mixed up-looking right at the damn bottle. Numbers have become my nemesis. I have little problem misreading words, but numbers get all mixed up and it’s like swiss cheese has replace the part of my brain that deals with number sequences. Not an excuse, but this is a very real daily struggle for me and it could have dire consequences. It also means pretty much all work I have a background in is not feasible should I ever reach the magical stable point. If I can’t read off a 7 digit number accurately, I’m never going to be able to work a cash register or order stock or any of the things I am trained for.

I’d like to blame my current med regime or stress but the numeric dyslexia has been a huge problem for many years now. It lead to a great deal of frustration when dealing with R and often getting number sequences wrong so the wrong part was ordered. He basically accused me of doing it on purpose, being a flake, being lazy.

I wish that was true, then I could fix the problem. Unfortunately, once your brain becomes swiss cheese, it ceases to be something you can fix and becomes something you just have to deal with and pray doesn’t result in some catastrophic event. Like getting the wrong prescription. Hats off to pharmacists for keeping me from hurting myself inadvertently with my numeric dyslexia.

Hot Damn! Mom Of The Year I Am Not

Riding in the car with my kid means…ugh, music compromise. So we found a semi-local station that plays both 80’s and current songs. Sadly, I was recently infected with “Uptown Funk” which totally blows my rep as ‘heavy metal chick.’ I’m not much on labels but, ewww, popular music? I stand by my choice, though. It’s a dance-y catchy song. (As is “One I Want To Want Me’ by um, Jason, something, awesome backbeat). If music ‘speaks’ to me, I’m down with it. Fortunately, I am immune to and repulsed by the likes of Katy Perry (sans “Hot N Cold, I blame the Chippette’s version as the Squeakwel was Spook’s fave movie for 3 years) and Miley Virus. Er, Cyrus. I encourage my daughter to have her own tastes without regard to whether I like it or not. It was a gift my mother gave me and I thought if I should pass anything on, it should be freedom of choice over what you like and don’t like. I mean, I recently discovered a country song I really liked, “Thinking Of You”, by Christian Kane. And doubtful I’d have ever liked it if I hadn’t first heard it on the show “Leverage”. I can be a bit of a music snob, I own it.

BUT where I earned my ‘not mom of the year’ stripes is when we were in the store and my kid was singing LOUDLY from ‘Uptown Funk’. I guess small kids saying “Hot damn!” is frowned upon is some establishments? I have told her to watch it at school, church, and around some adults, but hey, my mom never censored my music, so I’m not gonna censor my kid’s. (And honestly, my father taught me ‘cocksucker motherfucker!’ when I was 8 because the car wouldn’t start and he cracked the dashboard by slamming his fist into it, no turning back from that!).

Upside to the frowns at a kid saying swear words is how many people commented on her uber energy and how happy she is. OMG, I AM DOING SOMETHING RIGHT!!! Though I am a little concerned than someone mistook her for being 12. My kid won’t turn 9 until August, she’s just very tall cos her parents are both tall! By the time she actually is 12, she’s probably gonna look 21 and I am in for more hell. But…she IS a very happy child when not eschewing “I’m bored!” and voicing complaints about everyone not obeying her. So much for the ‘single parent households breed depressed children”. My kid’s only depressed when told ‘no, you can’t run with scissors and I can’t buy you a pet T-Rex.” Furthermore, we independently chose the same style of flip flops, without consultation, so so much for the donor’s prior assertions that not breastfeeding meant not properly bonding with my child. She IS a mama’s girl, through and through, no matter our issues. Besides, I think by month 9 of me not fully medicated, he started to get that breastfeeding simply wasn’t a viable option if I were to stay functional enough to be a mother. I NEEDED my meds, even to my own chagrin.

I figured today was gonna suck cos I had a rough, rough night sleeping. I nodded off before midnight but I was awake at 12:30, then 1:15, then up at 2:30 am. and I didn’t fall back to sleep til almost 6 a.m. even with more melatonin and it was fricking frustrating. I am not able to nap cos I have an active child, but also because I have to be burned to the ground to nap during daylight hours. We don’t have cable and I can’t run a laptop all night so without my desktop tower, I can’t run the shows that put me to sleep, so I am stuck with the 5 or 6 channels our digital antenna pulls in. I thought ‘PBS’ would bore me to sleep but scumbag brain wasn’t having it. And honestly, maybe the cooking show bores me, but I should have known a special on the history of Scotland Yard would keep me awake, I lurve crime shows. Sad thing is, I remember being awake at the same time last week on the same channel watching how they built a protective arch over the Chernobyl plant. My interests are specific but can also be diverse. Not much choice at 2:30 a.m. in Armpit with no desktop computer.

I felt so ‘coherent’ this morning, I even called my dad by choice, to inquire if they’d managed to fix their water heater issues. (They had to get a $1500 loan and do the work themselves cos the ‘pro’ wanted twice that and his work ‘had’ to meet ‘code’).Anyway, driving into town after finally getting dressed and motivated, we were rocking both “Want to want me” and “Uptown Funk” and I was almost…manic. I mean, I was feeling really good, dancing in the seat, singing along. I felt GOOD. And it was due, too.

30 minutes in town and I realized…Armpit and technology are destroying me. First we went to a store and my card was declined 3 times, even though I’d just used it to put gas in the car so there was money on it. Had to hit an ATM and go back for our stuff. The cashier finally admitted their machine was pretty much declining everything but cash and credit but still…embarrassing to be turned away cos of their computer issues. (We are all so doomed when the computers crash and burn, and my paranoid ass does mean WHEN, not IF.) We ran some more errands and the car’s temp gauge climbed to the middle mark, which made me start panicking. And I hit every fucking yellow light and stop light possible to man, which made the temp climb more. At one point, I stopped, popped the hood, but the fluid is completely full, and the temp out was only 75, so I can only assume I have one more gauge that doesn’t fucking work. Not good for panic disorder. I screamed ‘motherfucker’ no fewer than four times while in traffic. Pretty sure my kid thinks I am evil, but…life goes on. Living so isolated has ruined me for driving in even mild traffic cos, hey, people are fucking dumbasses. (I am no genius, but I don’t take calls and texts while driving, ffs.) I have noted that when in a panic, I do swear a lot, but the alternative is to play Bumper Cars and my insurance rates would jack up and I might go to jail so…cussing it is.

We got home, I begged for mercy from 4 hours of her incessant chatter and…I am in the calm ,safer zone now. I say safer, cos I don’t know if my brother or father are gonna pop in, try to fetch her, come in my house and insult my dust bunnies or mention what a loser I am for being on disability…Every day is a lottery of suckage and I try to be stronger than their ignorant opinions but…family’s tough, you don’t want to fail them or make them ashamed of you and yet, you always have to be true to who you are, even if who you are falls short of their expectations and standards..

GRRR. I wish I had better people skills. I wish I weren’t so high strung. I wish my default wasn’t ‘mood crash to the gutter; when the weather changes and my stress level soars.

But wishing isn’t reality. This is who I am, the hand I have been dealt, and I am doing battle best I can to be the best version of myself. And honestly, who I am is always gonna fail rednecks and elitists because I relate to neither group. I kind of am my own group of one- I socialize when it suits me, I retreat when I deem it necessary. I make do the best I can with what I have and while I may feel guilt for not ‘being what they want me to be’…

Sorry not sorry. Being who I am is the best I can do for me, and that’s what matters most to me. Right or wrong…being true to myself is what I value most.

Even if I am a trainwreck that makes others cringe.

Trainwreck is the new hot mess, get used to it.

Why Bother, It’s Just One More Chore Trudging Uphill In Molasses

Unfortunately, even with my medication allegedly ‘working’… my mental space truly is viewing everything as a chore. Even bathing. I went 5 days without a bath and tonight, my greasy scalp just forced me to climb Mount Molasses and sure, I feel better now but…It’s a chore like any other, doing dishes, laundry, vacuuming, grocery shopping. It’s exhaustion and I feel bruised and battered afterward, at least mentally and physically. I guess the small sense of accomplishment has to be worth something, but I never thought bathing would become a momentous task and mountain to be scaled. I swear, it wasn’t this bad at the trailer. At least not every week. But not having a shower makes it an even bigger pain in the ass and hearing shit like, “What grown woman still takes baths?” doesn’t help. Because I happen to agree, I loathe baths. And I am allergic to bubblebath and assorted other bath beauty items that make you smell nice so…

One more bloody chore.

Depression is a cruel, vindictive mistress.

You know others do these mundane chores every day, most after working long shifts, and taking care of their kids, and they have it way harder than you do, so what the hell is wrong with you, are you just that lazy? And you want so desperately to change the way you’re feeling and thinking, you want to want to do these normal things, boring and cumbersome as they can be.

But sheer desire alone isn’t enough to overcome depression. If it were, I’d never have suffered more than one bout because my stubborn rebellious nature would have stomped both big feet down and forbidden it with two middle fingers extended.

Depression gives zero fucks. It doesn’t care that people are sick of hearing you talk about it and just want you to get over it. Nor does it give a damn that it’s sucking out your soul, destroying your relationships, altering your identity, and basically consuming your life. Tick tock goes time, time doesn’t stop just because depression has you in its steel jaws, shaking you into the dark abyss.

Even when you have a couple of days that ‘aren’t too bad’, the chores are still damn hard to manage so you procrastinate and that fills you with self loathing and it is a vicious cycle that feeds the depression monster and it keeps gobbling until you feel so empty, there’s nothing much left of you. You bully yourself, you try to rally, you muster up every ounce of strength and ‘fuck you’ fire left inside you, wanting so desperately to ‘snap out of it’ and get stuff done…

And depression giggles, then laughs maniacally…

And yet another day of your life has vanished, a day you can never get back whether it was your kid’s birthday, or first day of school, or your loved ones’ funeral. None of these things matter to depression, it’s hungry and it’s gonna dine on whatever you have left. So every day becomes a tick tock game, looking forward to the nothingness of sleep, when you can shut off your mind and depression has to be quiet for awhile.

Only to wake up every 90 minutes pretty much every night of the month so you’re never rested and never really feel tough or strong or motivated.

Then it’s time to wake up and do it all over again.

If a medication is truly working…you do battle with fire in your belly and your eyes.

If a medication is lagging and conking out…

Here I am, no doctor in sight after a month for them reassign me and call.

Hard to see an up side there. Even harder to give a damn about things like bathing and housework when even your own psychiatric care center seems to give zero fucks about how much of your life is passing before your eyes due to depression.

I’m still in the fight and daily it feels like I get pinned to the mat and it is exhausting and maddening…But what else am I gonna do? Roll up in a ball and hope they cart me off to a locked ward and maybe then I will get some help?

That’s a joke and a half. What psych wards are supposed to do and what they actually do are two different things. You should read this post if you want to know what it’s really like. She nailed it with railroad spikes.

So I fight with all I’ve got and on the occasional good day, I think, “Maybe I’ve got this.”

Let’s hope for less occasional good days and more plain old good days. 🙂

***Final note

Heartfelt thanks to all who donated to our campaign. Spook and I’d like to send out a very special thanks to Leslie, who has been a very good wordpress friend over several years, her surprise donation is helping us immensely. I am keeping the campaign active because, hey, we still gotta make that goal, plus soon the spawn is going to need school clothes and supplies and unfortunately, the power company and landlord aren’t going to be put on hold to accommodate this. Any help-even a share- restores my faith in the goodness of humanity

I know people prefer cats over moms and kids by simply by looking at how much and how quickly my sister raised to help her cat’s vet bills. But it’s my own fault, to an extent, she had multiple people on multiple social media sites reaching out for her. I just can’t do social media, at least not outside the safe respectful confines of wordpress. People can be monsters. And not the cute Mike kind from Monsters, Inc. Fortunately, there are still some good people out there.

I think. I hope.

I have to have hope or otherwise…the battle against depression is pointless.

Seeing Sideways

I have been seeing a lot of things that are not there lately. I have been told in the past that when this happens, the way it happens for me, it isn’t hallucination. But also two key parts of hallucination are frequency and how much fear it gives you. Well, that’s the rub. In the […]

Same Shit, Different Day

My mind is racing like a roller coaster going off the tracks today. But I had 2 days of relative peace without my dad’s faction coming around and now that has been broken. I try not to get bent, I try to hard, but invasion of my safe space and noise are just triggers that throw my equilirium so far off kilter it takes awhile to recover. Who wouldn’t want to maintain their equilibrium as much as possible if having it thrown off results in paranoia, anxiety, fear, and a recovery period? And since we moved to Armpit down the street from dad’s faction, I don’t get much break from my brother’s constant intrusions. Dad and stepmonster tend to leave me be, but my brother won’t back off. I went off on him this morning in a huge way because he just came in and plopped, taking my kid’s tablet to use like he owns the place.

Then of course, I felt shitty for tearing into him. I’m just so disturbed by an entitled 23 year old with the mentality of a 10 year old. I don’t think him hanging with an 8 year old constantly, niece or not, is normal or healthy. What really sent me over the edge on him aside from him plopping with her tablet was an incident Thursday. She was trying to move a weighted base fan into the living room and asked him for help and he said, “No, I’m busy, I’m watching pretty girls on TV.” He was watching a cartoon on PBS geared toward 4th graders and they were CARTOON CHILDREN, not sexy anime girls. But like a lump he sat there while my kid struggled with the fan, begging for his help. So I helped her and made disgusted sounds aimed at him. Then I told him he couldn’t come around 7 days a week, we need a break, and he started with his mom’s “I’m sawwy” baby talk which creeps me out. Especially because he’s not sorry at all. He’s entitled and he needs to check that fucking privilege at my door because I don’t baby my 8 year old as much as they baby him.

Today they took her to their house and they are going to teach her how to mow. My clumsy 8 year old near power mowers that can shred flesh. I should have said absolutely not. Then my brother said, “I mowed when I was 8.” Yeah well, my dad drove a semi when he was 6, I don’t subscribe to their 1950’s child slave labor mentality. But Spook wanted to do it so…Pick my battles. Knowing her aversion to chores…I give it maybe a half hour before she’s bored, bored, bored. They’re supposed to mow my lawn later. I wish I could shake off my fear of power mowers, I really do. I never realized how much certain things can impact us when we witness them at a young age but seeing my mom cut her leg open on a mower really fucked me up. I can use the old reel push mowers fine, but this yard is so thick and enormous, it’s just not feasible. I hate being hindered by my fear, I know I need to nut up and get over it. Bullying just doesn’t work for me. I have to be in the proper mental space for certain things.

And if that shrink had increased my Cymbalta, I think I might be in the appropriate mind space. But I am on week 7 at the same dose and it’s stalling. I don’t even want to hit yard sales and housework feels like climbing a damn mountain. I am irritable, my memory is swiss cheese, the paranoia strikes at random moments, and I can’t stand social interaction beyond 20 minute jaunts. I even had to basically turn my phone alerts down to barely audible because the sound-of songs I love, even- was triggering major anxiety and paranoia. I don’t even get that many calls or texts and it was still too much for me. I understand Dr. H’s reasoning, I am very sensitive to medication, and a higher dose could worsen the anxiety, but now that I am doing singular antidepressant therapy as opposed to dual…low dose ain’t cutting it. And because of their staffing issues, I am going into 4 weeks without them calling to tell me who I’ve been assigned to and when I can get in next. IF they even remember me, the place has become such a joke. Shit insurance and a rural area do not lend to adequate mental health care.

Further adding to my stress was a legal letter from the circuit clerk about appearing in court next month regarding the legalities of having a child with someone. And my heart started beating so fast when I opened it, I almost passed out. It was all I could do to keep my cool but I had to, my kid was with me, so I played it nonchalant as if I’d expected it. But I wasn’t expecting it because the lawyer my uncle hired TWO YEARS AGO never replied to my calls or emails or even sent a bill. And last I knew the donor was whining-to my dad, no less- that even with a job promotion he could barely make ends meet. So wtf is going on? I have no idea. Guess I will just show up that day, pray my anxiety doesn’t make me throw up or run doubled over to the bathroom, and the sight of the donor doesn’t send me into a rage.

I don’t understand why it puts me into ‘smack a bitch’ mode. I certainly have zero warm fuzzy feelings for him. I am glad he left, though I think the way he did it all sneaky and underhanded was a pussified cowardly move. My outrage is how he abandoned Spook and even the one time we talked he offered to help “But I have bills too” and I said fine, buy her some Pull ups, you can just leave them in my car..and he didn’t even deem her worth $8. He realy hates me more than he loves his own flesh and blood, and I can’t fathom a planet where that shouldn’t incense me. She’s just a kid, we were the ones who fucked up. Well, mainly I did, because my first impression of him as an elitist snob was pretty much dead on. Shows what happens when you ignore your gut. But then,I wouldn’t have Spook so I guess good things can come out of idiotic choices.

God, I am so rattled I feel like my skeleton is crawling out of my skin. I can’t even get interested in TV shows as a distraction. Round and round the hamsters go on their wheel in my brain and I can’t slow them down. Same shit, different day, if I am forced to interact with others. As stressful as my kid can be, she belongs in my safe space, it’s her home, we are family. But the other interlopers, I avoid them for a damn good reason. I am sure they are decent people but until I can get my mind straightened out, they’re just big biohazards that are poisoning me and I try to convince myself otherwise but…scumbag brain is having none of it.

I wish more than anything I could just ‘get over it.’ I am so tired of the same shit, different day, when it comes to my mental states. Tired of talking and venting, tired of living it, tired of the high point of my day being bedtime. Because now even with 9mg melatonin, it is still taking me 3 hours to get to sleep and I am still waking up 3, 4 times a night.

Okay, rant over. I took my meds without food and now I am dizzy and nauseous. Hey, docs, ever occur to you side effects are one reason people dont want to take meds? This nausea lottery on a daily basis SUCKS. But hey, it’s not the doctor’s lives so why should they care.

Except I thought the whole point of being a doctor was because you care about people. I am pretty fucking naive even at 45 and cynical as I can be. I still want to believe the best in people.

One more thing I guess I need to ‘get over’.

Depressive Artifact:It’s More Than Just Sadness

I am struggling today and I have no idea why. Maybe it’s all the depressing news contributing to a low mood or my daughter’s incessant shrieks of boredom and blaming me for everything including the Lindburg kidnapping. Or maybe, even though Cymbalta helped lift me out of an abyss, depression artifact remains.

There’s a common misconception that depression is merely acute sadness. Even I believed this, until a couple of half decent doctors educated me on what depression really entails. Unfortunately, even these doctors are so busy covering their own asses and treating my depression conservatively, I am the one flailing in limbo here, being throttled by depressive artifact. A dose increase might help, but it would also help if they’d call me and inform me who I’ve been assigned to since my doctor left and I kind of need an appointment in the next couple of weeks.

Depression is so much more than just feeling sad and hopeless.

It is anxiety. It is lack of focus. Lack of motivation to do things that desperately need to be done. It is guilt and shame and self loathing. It is chaotic thinking, a swirling funnel cloud in your mind, so you can’t organize your thoughts enough to begin to accomplish things. It impacts memory so that you forget something that was spoken 30 seconds before and those around you either think you’re ignoring them or a total flake. It is lack of concern with basic hygiene. It is a rabid aversion to doing anything remotely social involving other humans. It is irritibility. Sometimes inexplicable anger. Sometimes heightened emotions that aren’t comparative to what is bothering you.

Depression is a machine with many moving parts. Nothing works the way it should. Parts that should go up and down move side to side. Stationary parts move wily nily and it creaks and groans like a dying furnace choking on a rusty chainsaw.

The worst part is that, this is your life, 24-7, and the so called professionals often blow off your concerns, your feelings, and make you feel like you’re not even participating in your own care. Because they have degrees and know best yet they spend maybe 15 minutes every two months with you and don’t know you at all. The doctors don’t have to live this way. They’re not left trying to explain to the people around you why if your medication is working well enough that the doctor won’t increase dose, why do you still act so cranky and not want to be around others? Obviously, the doctor thinks you’re doing well enough. But again…the doctors don’t see us struggling after the appointment where we were in a good mental space.

I am grappling with artifact here. It was all I could do last night to get my kid and myself bathed. I’ve been doing battle with myself all week to do dishes and stick a pot roast in the slow cooker and…I got nothing. I go in to maybe run the water…and within 20 seconds, I’ve gone off track and my disorganized brain won’t let me get back on the track. I did manage to clean cat boxes today, but I meant to do that 2 days ago so the accomplishment comes with procrastinator’s guilt.

Anxiety is another artifact of depression. Today I feel it though I don’t know why and it manifests with cold sweat pouring down my side despite multiple applications of anti-perspirant. I wasn’t sweating this way during the 6 straight days it was in the 90’s and the house was 88 inside even with the AC and fans running. Nervous sweat is baffling. And other than the phone ringing a couple of times with irritating telemarketers there’s been no trigger for nervousness. It’s random, it’s brutal, it’s…artifact.

So, no, depression isn’t just sadness. It is furnaces grumbling and rusty chainsaws roaring and you cling for whatever vestige of sanity you can find but…hey, your brain is not on board with this because it’s so disordered.

Depression is hell on Earth, 24-7, and anyone who says otherwise isn’t clinically depressed. A condition that negates your very identity and turns you into a hot mess despite the best intentions of efforts…That’s so sadistic, Satan himself must have created it in conjuction with the Marquis de Sade.