Hey, it’s me. In my personal hell

It’s been thirteen days since I moved to my home in New York. But to me it might as well have been a day, or a week, or even a month. I slept most of the days. My dad was here briefly before he went back to work abroad, but I don’t think I’ve done anything meaningful while he was here. My anxiety keeps me caged in this small apartment I share with my mother, and my dissociation makes me lose track of time and place. My new therapist asked if I was dissociating intentionally, and I said to my knowledge, no. It’s not a good feeling to feel like you have no control of what you’re doing, first of all, and second, with added anxiety you feel like someone is going to pounce on you the next minute. My usual grounding techniques (breathing, meditation etc) haven’t worked, so if anyone knows a way out of this state, please let me know.

She’s great, my new therapist. Hardcore Jungian, believes that dreams can help you figure out your unconscious. A year ago I might have scoffed, but stranger things have worked to cure me a little. So I said why not.

It’s raining today, and it’s currently noon. I thought about what I would genuinely want… To be in nature where there is no one else around. Play with a bunch of puppies. Not have to eat for the rest of my life. Become invisible.

It’s hard to know when my anxiety ends and I begin. Everything is terrifying. I constantly shake my leg to get the nervous energy out. Watching horror films have calmed me down in a twisted way because it’s self reinforcing all my terrified thoughts. It’s also probably not good for me.

 

 

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Unsettled

Really struggling today.

I get anxious about everything outside of the house. I’m the least anxious under the covers. I escape reality by oversleeping.

Usually drawing or writing grounds me, but it’s not working.

I’ve lost a lot of weight because we don’t have snacks around the house and mostly

because I don’t have an appetite.

Sleeping is difficult because I wake up every two hours. I started taking a higher dose my doctor prescribed PRN.

I’m trying to stay grounded, and trying to stay present. Trying to distract myself from bad thoughts and see thoughts and thoughts and nothing more. Meditating helps a little bit, but I feel so flat it’s hard to get in touch with myself. So I continue to distract, hoping that I’m not avoiding by doing so. My family has intervened, and started taking me out to mandatory walks in the park to get exercise. Like a frightened puppy. I close my eyes when we drive there because the roads here are so narrow and the drivers honk at every chance they get. Then I see myself slowly caving in, getting further from myself and others into a black hole where I can’t feel anything and I’m not aware of my surroundings.

I know I can get better. I’ve been better. I’ve been optimistic, and happy about who I was. I smiled when I walked down the street and I was confident. I’ve felt good and good about myself and I know it will come with time.

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Feeling overwhelmed

I would like my appetite back please. The sink clogged and it’s the day before my move/flight. I’ve tried the vinegar and baking soda method (two things I haven’t packed for some reason), but no luck. Oh well. I dissociated today after a disagreement with my mover who kept pushing for more money to drive our van for the same distance. I haven’t dissociated in a while, so it was hard to get my bearings straight. It felt most like being very very drunk and nothing was real, except you don’t feel good at all, and you feel tense, anxious and frightened.

I’m so very stressed about tomorrow. I’ve never flown with a cat before and I’m moving on the same day as the flight. Also we are picking up the moving van in the morning. Oh. Plus the car in NY probably need to get jumped. I’m feeling super overwhelmed by the avalanche of events that are about to happen.

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Nighttime anxiety

It’s not rooted in thought or event; it just is. The tingling in the limbs and shivers down the back. The worry that I’m missing something, not doing something I haven’t done, guilty but not knowing what I’m guilty about… at night things are more intense. Both the depression and the anxiety. It makes sense why I’m a morning person.

Ohh, shoot. Just realized I didn’t take my Ativan. No wonder…

OK. I’m back, medicated.

Because of the move next week, I probably won’t blog much until I get to NYC (sorry!). I have some fun posts that I need to write soon, but I’d like to do a good job, not as frazzled, so stay tuned.

Real talk. Moving sucks. Packing sucks. Arranging movers and storage sucks. Why do I have so much stuff? Most of all, leaving friends behind sucks. But I am leaving this damned place I’ve been through hell in, so for that I can be thankful. Nothing against Chicago, it’s a beautiful place to live, it’s mostly just the association I have with it now. I’ve had some unfortunate experiences here. If somehow my cat doesn’t throw a fit going through security at the airport, then we should be golden.

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What it’s like to not choose suicide

Note: Trigger warning. If you’re in the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. It’s taboo to be talking about suicide, first of all. Even among depression patients, people (even those among psychiatric patients) cover it up with vanilla statements as “I did a bad thing,” or “I tried to take away my own life.” It’s not too kosher to say that you tried to kill yourself outright to acquaintances or close friends, as if the thought was contagious or offensive.

This is not to say that it is not a serious matter, or should be taken lightly or presented to strangers in a straightforward way. But we need to talk about it so that people who need the help can reach out easily and get it. Most people going through suicide ideation need your help so that they don’t choose the permanent solution to a temporary problem.

For me it came during a time of severe psychological anguish. I am not a scientist, but I know that something went wrong in my brain due to pent up stress and traumas causing some kind of a serotonin imbalance, and my brain deemed it reasonable for me that dying was the easiest way out of this mess. To the outside onlooker, I looked like a successful 24 year old with a high paying job which I was having some trouble with. I’m usually a problem solver and a logical thinker. I’m also good at doing things I don’t like to do, if I’m responsible for something or someone. The thought of suicide was an alien thing, alien from the rest of my thoughts that loved and cared for my parents, my friends and those who were close to me. This alien voice that I found to be mine told me that I had no future, and that everyone was out to get me, that I didn’t deserve to live, or deserve the things I was given. The voice told me that I was dumb and I didn’t belong in the world. This voice was coming from me, but I would have never wanted to say that to a good friend, never mind myself. But at the time it was impossible to not hear what it wanted to say because it was so loud.

Look, it’s not supposed to make sense. People with these thoughts (like me at the time) have thoughts they can’t control because they’re sick. They need help. We need help.

What stopped me from going through the plan (which I won’t describe, because that probably won’t help anyone) was when I wrote down my will. For my family and my close friends. Apologizing and saying that this was the best for everyone. My logical brain read what I wrote (I was checking for errors) and said, “huh?” That stopped what I was doing that night.

But that was just the first time when I had suicidal thoughts. I’ve fought through several now, too many to count. It’s a lot easier to fight them when you’re on the correct medication and a good support system, I found.

Now, fast forward a few more months- months and months of inpatient hospitalizations, medication trial and error, and therapy, and lots of DBT training, I infrequently have thoughts like the above that leads to thoughts of suicide. But even today, I’m recovering, and as a safety net, I have a suicide prevention number saved on my phone in my favorites. They say that the likelihood of those thoughts recurring is higher for someone who has tried, so you never know.

Everyone has their demons. And this one is mine- it’s impulsive, and somewhat random, and not something I wished for. But I’m getting a better handle on it because I look for warning signs. I track my mood daily using an app (eMoods, if you’re interested) to see how my depression, anxiety, irritability, elevated feeling, and moods are doing, and I can easily see if I’m falling in my depression cycle. Moods below 3 are alarming, and must be address to my therapist, or my support system. Nowadays, I don’t let it get there. Days when my depression is high, I scale back on the things I’m doing that day, if I can. I also track how much I sleep, which is correlated with my depression and anxiety, and I never ever forget my meds. It’s frightening to realize after you’ve gone through a failed suicide attempt, that you do have the ability to commit something so terrible, something that will ruin lives, and that it is not impossible. It’s not an easy thought to live with, but you learn to manage.

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When I’m not blogging…

I draw cats. Instead of an instagram full of cat pictures, and videos, I have an instagram of full of drawings of my cat, and sometimes other people’s cat’s and dogs. I use pen, mostly.

I get a lot of my creative energy from my cat, but how much I feel about my drawing depends on where I am on the hypomanic/depression cycle. I feel more accomplished when I’m hypomanic, regardless of how well I draw, everything looks good and I feel successful; but when I’m depressed, nothing I draw looks good- it’s only after I get over the dip is when I can look back and think, that looks clean, that looks meaningful, that is art.

For the creative folks out there with mental illnesses, does your body determine/hinder your ability to express yourself and your work?

 

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