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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One of those bad days

I stayed in bed all day with my cat, my protector, the one who silently understands. I was supposed to go to open houses with my family but that proved to be a monumental task. I got up from bed to get to the kitchen, and without a knowable cause, I fell. Just blacked out. The next thing I know, I’m on the floor, and my mother is hugging me close. It could be anemia, or something else, but I feel like I ran a marathon, so I said no to the planned activities.

It’s hard being me. It could be much harder without the love and the support (emotionally, financially) I get from my family, but it’s still hard. Actually, it’s not hard at all if I feel like I’m “myself.” It’s only hard when my body and mind decide to give up during the only time when my whole family is in one place. (My parents live in separate countries).

New York City, my new home, is the financial center of America, where money is made, status is elevated, and luxury is experienced. It’s always busy for those who can afford to be busy. But for me, it all looks like an old, cliche Broadway show that I’m watching without much interest. I’m not part of the show, or want any part of it, and it keeps going and going, and I look around to see that I’m the only one not really interested.

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Somehow it all came together

Well, I almost lost my cat at the airport.

The frightened little thing un-harnessed herself by backing out and tried to make a run for it when I took her out of her carrier during the security check. I caught her hind legs and didn’t dare let her go because I think it might have become news if she got lost at O’hare international.

To start, we woke up in the morning and brought the rental truck to load our stuff. The movers and driver came and they were on their way to New York. We got on the plane, all three of us, including the cat. This sounds really spoiled but we flew first class because I wanted more leg room for my cat. My cat ended up doing pretty well during the trip- I didn’t give her sedatives but she ended up dozing off. The whole time she meowed only once! The flight attendant was another cat lover so we chatted about that. She said doesn’t see so many cats flying on board so she was surprised.

We got home and after feeding Olivia, getting the litter box out, we crashed.

This morning, the movers who drove our truck was on their way to storage. And our car battery had died as my mother had been in Chicago for months, so we had to get some help from roadside assistance so we could get to the storage place. But since the ETA for the Chicago movers was unclear, the movers on the New York side didn’t know what to do when it came time for them to help because my truck wasn’t their yet! 90 bucks an hour for two people, wasted… but it did get there. So we were able to finish up. During all this chaos, one of us were working on a contract with the storage unit (after seeing twenty different sizes), and the other, telling the movers on both sides what to do. And the car battery died again, so I was again in the phone with roadside services.

I’m about to return the truck now, which had to be refueled before returning. I need sleep.

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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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Reflections: second last day in Chicago

Boxes, boxes everywhere. I’ve moved a lot in my life. Overseas, across the country, within the same city, within the same continent, you name it, I’ve done it. Yet it’s always a struggle. It’s more of a struggle for me this time than any of those times because my bipolar depression wasn’t in full bloom back then. I’m doing a lot better this month than I have since college, or forever really. When my psychiatrist asked in my last appointment when I last felt like myself, I had to pause and scratch my head a bit. Feeling like myself… huh… Did I ever feel that? Do I feel “normal” now? You learn to forget. How you feel becomes a new normal, then another new normal until you hit rock bottom. You can’t see the forest from the trees, and you can’t compare the gradual changes your brain goes through, as others can. Just like aging over time.

Chicago living has been pleasant, (sans bad experiences that could have happened anywhere else). The people are, as Midwesterners are known, nice. Places are more spacious for a lot cheaper, and people don’t give too much of a hoot about how they look (Not in a fashionable Parisian way, but in a utilitarian, it’s warm-it’s comfortable-and-I’m-going-to-wear-it way). It’s less cut throat. At least compared to the East Coast. The best words I can come up with are that I have grown here, but I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed my life here. There are still painful things that come up, like when someone I dated for a year broke my heart by breaking up with me at 2 am out of the blue, or the time my new boss told me that I was not learning quickly enough (during our first one-on-one), the time someone whom I considered as one of my best friends stopped talking to me during my worst time with my depression, the time I got hospitalized the first time, and the second time, and the time someone who meant a lot to me didn’t believe that my depression was very serious, or that I was trying to get better.

At the same time, there were small surprises here and there that made it all bearable. I found a group of friends that I really clicked with (read: found a book club with) from work who were kind, and saw my potential as a coworker/person. I adopted the most beautiful cat, who is my Emotional Support Animal. I have been in love and out of love, then in love again. I found the missing link to my life- the ultimate question, the truth about myself, “why was I so sad/guilty/depressed/down all the time?” (answer: I have an illness, and had it probably for awhile and it went untreated), complete strangers who wanted me to feel better while I was hospitalized/in treatment, the friends who visited me at the hospital, and most importantly, my parents who supported me through my struggles and stayed by my side.

Life is funny. When I got this job offer based in Chicago out of college two years ago, I had rejected the other ones closer to home, thinking that it was a good idea to move somewhere I’ve never been. Turns out, I didn’t know myself very well, or what I wanted. I wasn’t sure where home was, but I found myself telling my friends at my farewell brunch that “I’m going home.” So I guess, New York is home, then.

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Trying our best

I used to be one of those ignorant people before I got (clinically) depressed, so I know where they are coming from. But Andrew Tate’s twitter comment about depression not being real? Ignorance is so real.

Those of us with invisible mental illnesses…To society, we might look like failures. But in reality, we’ve worked as hard or harder than anyone else, just to survive another day. Recovery is more than a full time job, and an accomplishment in itself- getting my diagnosis of bipolar II and the depressive episodes related to it were definitely the hardest things that I’ve had to face in my twenty-something years.

We might not look like we’re trying our best on the outside from your perspective, but trust us, we are. Not everyone functions the same way. We don’t have the same f(x) = y, certain input of energy and determination does not equal certain amount of result.

It’s my personal belief that everyone is doing their best in their given situation. It may not seem like it if you put yourself in our shoes, but that just means that you don’t have all the information. How someone grew up with certain values, hopes and dreams. Traumas they hid from you. Chronic pain. Mental Condition. Physical ailments. External environment. Relationships. The list goes on. We’re complicated. If you did know everything, you would understand why we are doing certain things a certain way, and that we’re brave enough to have gone through it all.

So don’t tell us to just “suck it up,” or berate us for being depressed. While there is tremendous amount of effort needed to recover and manage our illness, “sucking it up” doesn’t cure us, since our illness is not something we cannot control, but a constant battle to be fought.

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