A bad experience? Or a fun story to tell?

I went to the beach to take a picture with my orb because I’m turly enjoying being artsy with this thing.

I had been itching to get out of the house, as always, and I didn’t know where to go, as always, and I was uncertain that I’d actually wind up at the beach until I actually got there. And even then, I wasn’t sure I’d get out of my car to take a picture.

[I’ve been in a funk. I don’t want to call it depression because I’m so fucking medicated how could it possibly be depression…but like, then what it is? Just me being a piece of shit?]

Uncertainty. It’s an ever-present force in my life, and it has been for a while.

But anyway, I got to the beach, got out of the car, walked down to the long stretch of sand, and took some pictures. It made me happy out of habit. It was a dulled sort of happiness. A happiness that shrugged and was just like “eh, this place makes me feel good so I guess I feel good.”

Then I walked a bit further to the water. I put my photography crystal ball thing down. Snapped one pic. Two pics.

Then I noticed the water getting closer to me. I grabbed the ball, and…couldn’t get up. Fuck fuck fuck.

I was soaked with ocean water before I had the time to curse myself for forgetting I have arthritis and can’t move normally but fuck, I still couldn’t get UP. I scooted up towards dry sand, and after (I shit you not) FIVE or so MINUTES, I was able to stand up like a normal human being, trek back to my car…

and start laughing hysterically as I snapchatted a friend to tell him what happened.

I drove back home listening to Disney music feeling as anxious as I’ve been feeling lately, but happier than the dull-happy I’d felt before getting overtaken by the ocean on this luckily-oddly-warm winter morning.

the friend I messaged about the hilarious events of the beach said my pics looked like they could be hanging as inspirational quotes in a therapist’s office, and he kindly showed me what he meant^ lmao I love it

Life is weird and I’m grappling with it on a super-deep and weirdly existential level, I guess (why are we here, what is the point, what am I doing, why bother doing it)…but at least I got th play in the ocean today.

medicated, still bipolar, what now

I’m having a hard time focusing. I’m anxious and stressed out over it. Feeling yucky. Off. Like somethings wrong but I can’t figure out what. The result is irritability and frustration. It’s overall just a dull version of what I’ve been feeling for the better half of my life (bipolar depression).

But I have to remember that for the better half of my life, I’ve suffered from bipolar symptoms/depression. That explains what this bullshit is. It’s just way less intense because I take 193741 pills every morning and night.

I can either see that as an unfortunate reality, that nothing can ever fully cure this bullshit. Or I can see it as an improvement, an important step forward, a bridge to being able to do better things.

I know I’d benefit from proper adhd treatment. But my heart definitely leapt when I had that a-ha moment of “thhaaat’s what’s going on here.” It feels better when things make sense, at least.

Mental Health Awareness Month

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 I took this selfie on the 1st, found a mental health sticker for it, & I wanted to post it but couldn’t think of a perfect caption for it. Because I wanted it to be about something important. Because mental health is HEALTH, not something separate but a portion of the whole piece. The conversation about mental health is for all of us, just not those of us with mental illness, although I guess sometimes the term “mental health” is used to mean the absence of illness, which I don’t love.

But I do think if you have issues it’s more apparent that you have to focus on mental health since your life revolves around it & you weren’t given a choice in the matter. Basically, mental health is “cognitive, behavioral, & emotional well-being.” Health in how we think, act, & feel.

I’ve been thinking about what that random sticker I found says. It’s good advice, but what does it mean to ❝make your mental health a priority.❞

Here’s a brain-dump I came up with:

↳ ᴅᴏ ᴅɪғғɪᴄᴜʟᴛ ᴡᴏʀᴋ
-think about things you have to process
-get things done when they need to be done
-ask for help when you need it

↳ ʟᴏᴏᴋ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ʙʀɪɢʜᴛ sɪᴅᴇ
-part of doing difficult work
-try to find the good thing even during bad times
-be grateful for those good things

↳ ғɪɴᴅ ʏᴏᴜʀ ʜᴀᴘᴘʏ
-and hold onto it during the craziness we call life
-do more of what makes you feel good ⠀⠀⠀

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
↳ ᴄᴜᴛ ʏᴏᴜʀsᴇʟғ sᴏᴍᴇ sʟᴀᴄᴋ
-be gentle with yourself
-take a break
-it’s okay to make mistakes
-you’re only human⠀⠀
-don’t feel guilty for needing to rest
-you’re trying your best

time is an illusion, and I don’t have the time or brainpower to dissect that entire concept, but the fact is that it’s painful right now

All the time stretched out in front of me feels painful and scary, and all of it trailing behind me gives me anxiety and brings forth the remnants of terrible feelings.

I know I have a good life and I know there’ve been times when I’ve enjoyed that good life.

But right now I can’t remember a time when I was fine for more than 2 hours. Even with the few months of relative stability I had, it was just relative stability. And I would just go about my days being fucking thankful it wasn’t worse, spouting bullshit like “oh it’s okay at least it’s survivable.” But honestly, fuck that. I don’t want to suffer anymore. At all. Ever. This shit isn’t fair and every time I think it’s getting slightly better it goes to shit again and I’m scared and upset and frustrated and hopeless and defeated. Have I missed any negative emotions in that list? If you can think of any feel free to throw them on the pile.

Yes, welcome to my pity party. I’d love to say this is my first one, or better yet my last one. But we all know those sentences would be fucking lies.

I can’t move my body. It’s 1:45 in the afternoon and I am so beyond exhausted physically and mentally that all I can do is cry, but I can’t sleep, I don’t even WANT to sleep, so I’m just stuck crying and whimpering and moaning. Pathetically.

I don’t know if these posts are helpful…me just bitching and moaning on a platform I want to eventually become something. I have the potential (somewhere deep down in the sane part of my brain) to make it somethingggg.

I don’t even think it helps to complain, I just think maybe showing the reality of this suffering is at least the truth. If I can’t be positive at least I can be honest. Whatever.

I wrote a list a while back about “how to know it’s coming on again” and hoooo boy does it feel accurate…but maybe I’ll think about the opposite now?

To review:

How to know it’s coming on again:

  • No matter what song I put on, it doesn’t feel right
  • No matter where I go, it doesn’t feel homey or safe or okay
  • So much dread
  • The fact that I have to get through a whole day (and subsequently a whole night) feels like I have to scale a mountain
  • “Life hurts”
  • I’m overwhelmed by everything
  • I’m having trouble doing small, menial tasks
  • I want to drive really fast so the anxiety can’t catch up to me
  • I can’t decide what mood I’m in or how I feel, I just know I don’t feel right
  • Oh dear GOD the irritability

There’s so much more to that, I can add countless more things to that list. But in the spirit of being positive (because I somehow don’t have the weight of existence crushing the life out of me at this moment), here’s a list of how to know you’re coming out of it:

  • I contemplate what outfit to wear, don’t get violently angry while trying to find one I like, it sort of matches, and then I even think about putting makeup on (too much effort still? that’s okay)
  • My therapist gets me to crack a smile
  • Breathing becomes easier, and it’s so hard to explain the sensation but the air doesn’t feel like lead as much anymore
  • I can hold a conversation with my boyfriend, with my mom, my sister, my friends, the people I’ve been ignoring for weeks
  • I take a shower and go through the trouble of shaving my legs and using coconut oil on my skin because #selfcare
  • I think to turn on happy/pump-up music in the morning and it actually has the vague effect of making me happy or pumped
  • My thoughts get clearer
  • I don’t use sleep as an escape from the bleak reality of consciousness
  • Hello motivation, how I have missed you

I dunno. I’m obviously scared to say this episode is dissipating. I don’t want to jinx it. Again. Every time I think it’s getting better I get beaten down again. The higher you go, the harder you fall. That type thing. Of course, there’s the positive outlook on that. That being the harder you fall, the higher you bounce. I dunnooooo.

I’m trying. I HAVE been trying, but like, I’m STILL trying. What else can I do?

Anyway, here’s hoping the sun’s gonna come out soon (the literal sun, because it’s been rainy and gross all week which obviously doesn’t help my moods, and the metaphorical one).

Probability: how likely is it that I’ll actually feel good for the entire day today

I’ll start by saying that although I enjoyed some of my math classes back in school, it was never a particularly strong point of mine. So the info about probability might not be suuuuper accurate (despite me having a few tabs about it open on my browser). I’m thinking about it more metaphorically, and not at all in-depth. Go with me.

Because it’s just that every morning I wake up early and think to myself that I’ll be able to make the day a good one. And every day (for a long while now, and for what, a billion times before in a billion episodes before?), either the external world or the world within me doesn’t take long to pulverize that thought. So I’m currently thinking about probability as it applies to my life and my moods and my happiness.

I probably don’t need to state the obvious, but I had another earthquake of a panic attack last night. Took two of my pills that are supposed to help, because one clearly wasn’t enough, for whatever god-forsaken reason, and I was desperate to have a moment of relative calm. Desperate.

I ultimately got there, and I relished those moments before going to bed. How can I describe tasting freedom? There aren’t enough words at my disposal right now.

Right, so then I wake up today. Start going about the routine I cling to for dear life because regular routines and schedules are supposed to be good for us bipolars. I noticed a pretty sunrise outside the kitchen window while I was making my coffee and went outside to take a picture. The sky looked like cotton candy and I had that thought again: maybe today will be a good one.

(I edited some words onto the picture, because that’s how I try to appreciate positives, so enjoy) ^

But, unsurprisingly, I’m beginning to feel…not right. Could be that I’m anticipating it (how can I not, literally explain to me how I can not). Could be that I’m thinking myself into it (I don’t think that’s an actual thing, but it’s still something I worry about, which is weird). But regardless…fuck.

Sooooo what IS the probability that today won’t go to total SHIT? I have to divide the number of events by the number of possible outcomes.

How many possible outcomes are there? Is it just the two? One being that I’ll be okay and the other being that I’ll feel intense fear over nothing, cry my way through work, suffer internally in ways I’m sick of explaining, and come home to hide in my bed unable to shale the unceasing feeling of dread? There’s just the one event, being this one particular day. So is the probability that I’ll be okay just 1/2?

I think there are more factors involved, but hey, I like the odds when I think of them like that. It’s half and half.

This is some serious positive thinking, btw. Which has been immensely difficult, though not for lack of trying.

Furthermore, defining what I mean when I say “I’ll be okay” is pretty difficult because I don’t even know what I mean by that anymore. Been a while since I’ve felt whatever it is that that feels like. (Jeeeeez, all I do lately is bitch and moan, sorry!)

My posts aren’t even very essay-like anymore, which I guess might be a good thing, although I doooo love my essay-rants.

Anyway. Here’s to having an “okay day.”

memes are my coping mechanism and I think everyone in my boat can agree

It’s literally tornado alley up in here.

I had a panic attack last night after doing literally nothing. Like I had a good day, it was productive and relaxed, but by like 4 I just couldn’t push away the stabbing sensations of anxiety that had been ripping into me all day. I’d run out of bandaids. And like, can anyway blame me for being defeated and broken? For giving up?

But memes are my coping skill haha, that definitely counts right?

Image result for ah yes humor based on my pain"

I’m trying to put into words why they’re so valuable, and why humor in general is necessary for my survival (and I’m assuming the survival of everyone else who’s damned with mental illness, or even just unfortunate life circumstances).

Off the top of my head:

  • it’s a distraction from the shitshow that is life, even if it’s only for a few  brief seconds
  • being distracted like that for more than a few seconds (by scrolling through memes online or looking in that folder of memes you definitely have saved to your phone) sometimes calms me long enough so I can breathe and thus lessens my sheer, unrelenting panic
  • laughing releases endorphins that act to relieve pain and stress
  • I think if you laugh you kind of trick your brain into thinking “maybe things aren’t utterly terrible” and maybe, just maybe, you’ll continue thinking that unconsciously for a while
  • depression memes are just so damn relatable, and it helps at least a tiny bit to know you’re not totally alone in your suffering

I’m scanning a few websites for reasons #isthisresearch #pretendingtobesmart

Apparently, finding humor in the face of shitty shit makes us more resilient (a word I totally relate to, but it’s definition, the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties fails to address the fact that I don’t recover quickly, I can’t be expected to, and I have no choice but to drag my ass into recovering…so keep that in mind when I use it). That isn’t some earth-shattering discovery, but it says it on everything I’m reading, so…

Have some resilience, and try to have a less-than-excruciatingly-depressing day ❤

like flashes of lightning

I really have to work on dealing with those moments I get knifed in the stomach with random but intense anxiety. They usually come when I let my guard down. Or as I’ve been saying a lot lately, when I’m not “frantically trying to distract myself.” It’s weird. It’s terrible and scary, but the whole thing is weird. I pause for a brief second and I just feel like…panicked. I’ve felt that a few times today and I’ve forcefully shoved the scariness out. And maybe I should be proud of myself for feeling them but only letting the feeling stay momentarily because sometimes it escalates and ruins my day, but like. Why does the anxiety come like that? Like flashes of lightning, they rip through the background that is my mind with shocking electricity. Whyyyyyyy.

It seems I can’t let my mind rest. And I’m just wondering if it’s bad that I don’t let it.

So I write. Frantically. I read. Frantically. I fill the time, the spaces, the gaps. Frantically.

I wonder if there’s anything I can distract myself with that isn’t quite as brain-consuming as writing or reading. Maybe that’d be better.

I guess I do have things like that, though. Like coloring. God knows I have enough coloring books. My favorite is a unicorn one, it’s fun and cute and it makes me happy just looking at it. Or sudoku or math drills, which I like to do. Those require a good amount of thought while still letting my mind roam a little more freely, I think?

I guess those are like stepping stones in the right direction. Allowing my thoughts a little more freedom to wiggle around might ultimately help me be able to loosen the reigns even more.

Mindfulness and meditation are gonna be crucial at some point. I know the benefits of those are probably written everywhere that talks about mental health. But still, there’s definite merit to them. Not that I haven’t tried them. I have guided meditations in my iTunes library, even one specifically for bipolars. I have this app that gives guided meditations but there’s cursing…it’s hard to explain but it says stuff like “exhale the bullshit” and my fave, “you don’t have to pay attention to every ranch hand at the fuckup farm.” But my point is that it’s still hard. Dunno if it’s an attention-span thing or just the issue I’m actually talking about, not being able to sit with the thoughts.

There are other DBT skills that I know could be useful (dialectical behavioral therapy teaches that there are more gray areas in life than black or white and that integrating opposites is healthy, and as a general rule is awesome…it’s hard to explain why that thought-process is helpful, but I’ll probably make a separate DBT post later). Like distress tolerance. That’s a big one. It’s so connected to my anxiety because the first second I become uncomfortable is legit scary. Why can’t I just sit with the distress for half a second? And ways to tolerate distress, it says, can be like, self-soothing or just radically accepting that the current moment might suck and you can’t change it and that’s kinda okay.

Anyway. I saw a post going around on Instagram and Pinterest and wherever else that said “feeling the need to stay busy all the time is a trauma response and fear-based distraction from what you’d be forced to acknowledge and feel if you slowed down.”

I talked about this with my therapist a while back (naturally). She said even she prefers staying busy. And we often talk about how boredom is tremendously triggering for me. That might have to do with the ADHD, like, if I feel like I can’t sit down and focus on something I enjoy, it kills me.

It’s confusing, though, because if I had to choose, I think I’d rather be at home with the OPTION to “do nothing.” I’d obviously much prefer that than being at work. (Although, and I’m just gonna toot my own horn and say it, writing is my work…yay). So why is it such an issue for me? Does that make sense?

I’m gonna end this long and somewhat rant-like post here. I haven’t come to any actual conclusions (do I ever? lol), but at least the thoughts are out of my head, into the ether of the internet. Hopeeeefully that’ll let me process this shitshow better.

retrospect: how to survive the bad days

The storm has subsided (mostly)

I guess it’s like a pendulum. It goes from one extreme to the other, oscillating with all that energy being saved up and used between swings, whizzing by its equilibrium position, giving me whiplash as I try to keep up and get my head on straight. But eventually, the momentum, which is thankfully not conserved, slows it down and it stops.

Basically, when I’m coming out of a period of what I call “I just lost my goddamn mind,” it becomes more spread out. Less intense, I guess, although yesterday’s random panic attack was pretty insane. But today has been fine, and tomorrow might be a little iffy, but then the next day will most likely be fine. And so on.

That’s exhausting in its own right because I’ve said a billion times that I’d rather just feel shitty than feel shitty with periods of feeling okay. I don’t like being teased like that.  Unfortunately, I don’t have control over how it works (ugh).

I don’t think I have to explain that in the darkest depths of my depressions, I physically cannot find any good, any meaning, any safe thought to rest on. “Just being positive” is not an option because my thoughts are spinning painfully fast and I am totally unable to fathom how I’ve every functioned and how I’ll ever be able to function again. It’s all-consuming, omnipresent dread.

(Sidenote: someone literally tried to pull the whole “just be positive” bullshit on me the other day, and then proceeded to tell me about people who have it worse than I do but still have better attitudes than me…needless to say, I was not very happy…I didn’t even bother to explain how utterly wrong she was because why waste the little energy I somehow still had?)

Howeverrrrr, now that I don’t feel like death warmed over, I’m using the time to do what I always fucking do and value the semi-calm and pretend there’s meaning in this bullshit (okay, I’m still a bit negative, but go with me here). I’ve done this countless times before, but hey, why not do it again? Maybe thinking this way and preparing for the eventual and inevitable next-time will finally be of use. Fingers crossed. Anyway, here’s a list.

How to survive the bad days

  1. Just don’t

Don’t bother. Don’t try. Don’t waste precious energy. It can wait. It will have to wait. It has no choice but to wait. I’m not talking about literally everything by saying this. Obviously there are some responsibilities we can’t totally hide from. But don’t add shit to your to-do list that you don’t have to. Cut out literally everything you can cut out. Another way to phrase this might be “get your priorities straight.” And, my main point, I guess, is to not beat yourself up about not. Survival mode is difficult enough. Give yourself credit.

  1. Maintain your body one thing at a time

There are things human beings hafta do to like, be human beings. We need to take care of ourselves. Use the car analogy or whatever, cars require maintenance, bodies do too. There’s lots to do though, and right now you don’t wanna do any of them. So maybe choose one thing and then feel good that you’ve done that thing and then stop trying to do more things because #depressionisexhausting amirite? Choose from the following: wash your face, brush your teeth, have a glass of water, stretch your body, take a shower, change your clothes, open a window and get some fresh air, eat something with some sort of nutritional value

  1. Ask for help

Why face the monsters from the hell that is your brain alone? You literally don’t have to. People love you, they’re there to support you (it’s true; your depression and anxiety are lying to you, those worthless motherfuckers). I might be guilty of asking too many people for help (usually), which is bad because there’s so much input coming in, not all of it valuable or helpful, and it’s overwhelming (and I’m already overwhelmed). This round I kinda just kept to myself and didn’t answer any texts or messages because I had no brainpower to figure out how to describe this bs yet again, let alone figure out how to put words together). But when I finally thought to call one person, it was actually helpful. And I dunno, they say talking helps in general? So yeah.

  1. If you can do it, do it

If you can open your Pinterest app and find an inspirational quote, do it. If you can summon the will to put a single dish from the sink into the dishwasher, do it. If you can try to quiet your mind, try to breathe deeply in spite of the anguish, do it. If you can’t, refer to point #1 and don’t. You’ll be able to at one point or another, so just wait it out. I think giving up and not doing shit you can actually do makes things worse, though (duh).

  1. Be miserable all around the house

I assume you’ve been laying in bed all day. Maybe you’re crying or maybe you’re totally catatonic. Whatever the case may be, try to be miserable somewhere else. Sit on your couch and cry or stare blankly into space. Sit on the floor and curl into a ball there as opposed to on a comfier surface. Feel the pain in the kitchen. Drag yourself to the bathroom and feel the weight of the world there, instead. I think not staying in one place helps trigger some sort of something good in our brains. Might be totally wrong. But maybe you’ll be less bored (on top of your crippling depression).

  1. Go to sleep then be awake, repeat

I basically slept whenever I could this episode. It started with insomnia, of course (hypomania always starts with that and violent irritability, both of which are just…so unpleasant). But when I got sick enough of that I’d take Benadryl and shit to knock myself out. Dunno if that was wise, please don’t take my idiotic advice without talking to your doc. But sleeping/ not being conscious while I waited it out? Sounded good to me. Buttttt I think next time (ughhhhh next time) I’ll try to be awake when I’m awake. Not saying I’m not gonna sleep my days away. God knows I can’t make that promise. But like. There’s a certain something about being an awake and alert entity that seems helpful.

Right

Has this been helpful? Probably not to read, but it’s been helpful to write. Am I going to remember these “tips” when major depression crashed into me like the meteor that caused the ice age? Probably not. Why did I write this then? Eh, why not.

youve-survived-100-of-your-worst-days

Thursday Morning

I woke up at 6:30 this morning, which makes me happy. I love waking up early because the day still feels like it’s full of possibilities and excitement. And I had a really productive 2 or so hours. Did the usual. Took my meds, washed my face and brushed my teeth. I stretched, because that’s good to do, and I even sat for five minutes to take a crack at the whole meditation thing. Made my French press coffee, did the dishes while it was brewing, and came back to my desk to upload an article for the site I write for.

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Then I felt it. That familiar-but-still-scary feeling of anxiety pulling at my edges. I tried not to freak out at the first sign of it. I really don’t have to just give up now because this weird, pointless feeling is creeping in. I can try to push it out. Or I can just let it sit there in my chest/upper stomach and continue about my business.

I’m actually working on trying to get the feeling from a physical place up to my actual brain. My therapist was telling me about that yesterday. Like, I’ll claw at my chest in my personal sign languagey attempt to describe what I’m feeling, but I think she was saying I don’t do anything with it in my brain. (Similarly, when I “self-sooth,” ie rock back and forth or twist up my hands, I have to think about it consciously, because I usually just do those things without trying to breathe instead…I think?)

I try to find words to describe this nonsense, too. I struggle with that. I can rate my mood on a scale of depressed to my version of manic, but sometimes it doesn’t translate into wordsssss. I made this list of potential words, though.

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Like I swear. When I woke up I felt “hopeful, content, and (appropriately) energetic.” And now I’m like, “overloaded, mopey, and (for some reason) stressed.” The fuck just happened? What even is anxiety? (I know the answer to that, but still)

I’m just gonna try to take this morning one thing at a time. I don’t work til 1, so I have a really good chunk of time to just do me. I’m gonna try not to be pulled in 15 directions by every different thought I have, I’m gonna try to be motivated but about one thing at a time.

Also, gonna play this game I downloaded on Steam called Kind Words, which is literally just sending letters back and forth to people who need encouragement and support. It plays peaceful music and it’s just so positive.

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Aaaaanywho…I hope everyone has a good day ❤