Have you ever received a compliment and laughed it off? I do this all the time. I have learned how to accept compliments with genuine enthusiasm, but I am instantly dubious of the other person’s intent. I can’t possibly be worthy of a compliment, so what’s your angle? What are you trying to do to me by telling me this false nice thing? I’m a fraud, an imposter. I’m not good at anything. I’m not even good at being alive. I feel very ambivalent about it. Today, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything. I spent hours trying to tell myself that my small goals were good enough, that I showered, went to my therapist, went to my psychiatrist, practiced my Ukulele, etc., which is more than I’ve done in weeks. I try to say well I’m back in school so I’m working on that goal. But it feels too slow and I still feel like I don’t know anything. I feel like I won’t be able to do the work in the fall and I’m just faking my way through these courses. Nevermind my actual grades. They don’t mean anything. I still know nothing. Continue reading “Impostor Syndrome”
Yesterday I had an energetic epiphany and decided to take a shower for the first time in a while. I will refrain from saying how long because it’s sad, and I don’t want to be sad. Suffice it to say this was an accomplishment for me, and I feel better for it. I had my cousin over for hang-out time last night and that was refreshing as well. We goofed around on my Ukulele (which I’ve been spelling wrong forever??). Today I got up and actually went to CVS to pick up my meds. It was the first time I’d left the apartment in over a week. It was nice to be a part of the world again. Sometimes I forget that it’s not the end of the world to leave.
Sometimes I feel as though my mental health issues rule my life. Bipolar can take over whenever it feels like it, sending me into spirals of mania or depression of its own will. I do lots of preventative things, like taking my meds, going to therapy regularly, sleeping appropriately, etc. But that doesn’t always keep the demons at bay. BPD is similar, because the rapid cycling moods and sensitivity can be more than I feel like I can handle. It makes it easy to write a blog about mental health because mine is constantly shifting, but it doesn’t make it easy to live in the world. It’s hard not to get my identity wrapped up in these diagnoses. For one, as someone with BPD I’m prone to an unstable sense of self, so sometimes identifying with a disorder is grounding, but it can become all encompassing. I want to remember that I am ME in all of my flawed glory. I am more than these disorders.
I asked my Twitter community if it was possible to be in denial about depression, and the consensus was yes. I am experiencing a depression without my most typical depression symptoms. I have some of the normal ones: difficulty showering, isolation, trouble getting out of the apartment, lack of affect. But I don’t have my usual sadness, hopelessness, lack of appetite, increased or decreased sleeping. What I’ve concluded is that I might be in a mild depression. My therapist has been pointing me in that direction. It’s not hindering my life too much right now, but she worries that it will continue to worsen until I’m not functional at all any more. I worry about that too but I don’t see it happening right now. I’m generally in too good of a mood.
I am flawed. You are flawed. No one alive exists without flaws. But some of us actually feel broken. This quote by Leonard Cohen, “There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in,” has really struck me. I’ve felt broken for as long as I can remember, with fleeting moments of certainty and wholeness that never last and leave echoes behind, tantalizing echoes of stable feelings and confidence. I am learning, however, that it’s my broken parts that allow the most wisdom to seep in. Without these breaks in my personality, life, experiences, mental health, what have you, I wouldn’t have learned what I’ve learned and accrued the emotional and intellectual knowledge that I have now, which I really wouldn’t trade for anything else.
I often have absurdly vivid dreams. Last night was one of those nights. They make me feel like I haven’t slept at all. It has taken me hours to wake up. And now I couldn’t even tell you what these dreams were about, just that they were exhausting. I used to have nightmares, recurring horrors that would sometimes cause me to wake in a cold sweat. After I was hospitalized when I was 14, I had a recurring nightmare about being in a hospital chased by a faceless someone or someones. For the last 18 years I’ve had that dream, which is not uncommon for someone reacting to trauma. And man was that traumatic. I was always so frustrated because I can’t really do anything about dreaming, only my waking mind. The nightmares have subsided but even Thursday night I had dreams about being chased, and I think they all go back to my first hospitalization. Continue reading “Dreams, Suicide, and Boredom”
In times of trouble, I always find myself writing. I journal, I write to people, I blog, I tweet, I go on Facebook, etc. Written words are how I exhale my feelings. I can process them because I put names to faceless feelings and give them life. It allows for a conversation instead of a monologue. It’s the best way I know to work on feeling better.
Yesterday I used a lot of words. I wrote, I talked to people, I saw my therapist, I was honest about the place I was in and the needs I had and it paid off. I feel better today. This is probably also because I’ve been taking my Xanax every day and doubled up on my Abilify, but I’m also sure that it’s a combination of me actively working to feel better and my meds helping me to get there.
Right now I am just afloat, waiting to see how functional I can be. I’ve talked to some incredibly thoughtful people in the last few days and they have helped support me tremendously. Even a bunch of likes on Twitter makes me feel better because I know I am connected to somebody (somebodies) and I’m not alone in my struggles. I want to help people, but sometimes I have to ask for help.
I fell asleep listening to Neil DeGrasse Tyson teaching me about astrophysics (for people in a hurry). I had dreams that everyone hated me. And I woke up on the verge of tears. I’ve already begun to cry a handful of times in the last hour, and this would confuse me except that it happens like clockwork every month.
I’ve talked about this before but it bears repeating because it repeats on me. Most women get PMS but a smaller proportion suffer from PMDD (Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder). It basically means that I go absolutely crazy once a month, with episodes lasting a day to a week, depending on cosmic forces being kind to me, I guess. The loathsome aspect is that it often occurs at the least useful times, and then screws everything up. This is my last week of classes so of course, the universe says to me: let’s go nuts!! Continue reading “PMDD and Me”
I am in pain a lot. My back hurts after very little provocation, since I broke it at T6 in November 2015. It has hurt in exactly the same spot since then: just to the right of T6, near the tip of my shoulder blade in my upper midback. It’s only the right side. Long days make the pain worse. Carrying my backpack for school isn’t ideal, but it is necessary. I don’t take pain meds any more except for Advil and I wear my Lidocaine patches when the pain is really bad. It radiates into the whole upper right quadrant of my back. And it affects everything. Continue reading “Phantoms”