When The World Is Completely Overwhelming And A Scary Place To be….But You Can’t Escape Into Your Own Mind Because It’s Just As Scary.

I wake up each day and I sit and I watch the morning news. I hear of people getting shot, by cops, by family, by gang members or people on the street……I hear of teachers striking and kids losing out on the education they deserve. I see homeless people on the streets with a cup for change, I see people walk or drive right past them, myself included, hesitant to even make eye contact. I sit at home and hear my parents arguing, my mom crying asking why she’s even here. I hear her tell me Illinois is not where she wants to be……even though her family is here. I see my dad working his but off every day to provide for myself and my mom, and to take care of his own parents who are aging and in poor health. I question what it is I’m doing in my life. Where am I headed in life, do I have a purpose, a future, and skills to lead me to a job later on that will not only meet my financial needs of living, but my emotional needs…..will it help me to reach my goals, my meaning.

All these things go on daily, and the violence and everything, I can’t just ignore, but somehow it seems as if I am. I seem to have become immune to people killing people, to people living on the streets, and arguing in the house. I, along with the rest of society, have seemed to become immune to it. We all seem to pass it all by, say things like “I can’t fix it, someone else will.” Or we try to ignore and escape it by going into our own heads, places of calm and relief. Heh…..yeah ……I wish I could say I could escape, even just for a moment, to my own little world in my head, where things were calmer, more purposeful and peaceful. I can’t say that though. Because when I try to escape to my head I find a world of anxiety, depression, and fear of the future and my well being. I start questioning where I am in life, where I think I should be and where I am compared to others my age. I start thinking about ways to make the anxiety settle down……self injury is always the first automatic thought, and then it’s hard to get rid of. I drive to work, and pass railroad tracks, on a good day I just ignore them, on rougher days I think about parking my car on the tracks, or walking on the tracks with headphones on so loud I wouldn’t hear a train coming. These are things that even though I am in recovery from mental illness, they show up daily. I use my internal energy to convince myself those aren’t things I want to do…..some days it’s easier to convince myself than others……and I am constantly trying to live with a purpose……but I’m not always so clear on what that purpose is.

Why would God put me on this earth during the time He has. Why am I living in a world where it seems things are crumbling around me, what is it God wants me to do? How am I, just one person, supposed to make a change? How do I change the world around me when just trying to change the world within me is so hard? I don’t know. I don’t know why, and I probably never will. All I know is This is the world I’m living in, and I need to live daily for Christ and if I do that, then His purpose becomes MY purpose, and that is truly a wonderful thing.

When your friend has cancer and it’s only a matter of weeks……

One of my biggest supports, her son has brain cancer. He is only 4 years older than me and I have known him for a long time. He is a good friend too, and I think so highly of him. He is a great guy, married, and has a 3 year old son. He loves to go hunting and the White Sox (I’ll forgive him for that)…..He is always thinking of everyone else and he always has a great big smile on his face. I’ve never known him to be mean to others and it is evident how much he loves his family. He was diagnosed over a year ago with an inoperable brain tumor and over the last couple of weeks they found he has a lot of fluid surrounding his brain and the tumors have spread down his spine. They are only giving him a matter of weeks to live. He decided still to do chemo and radiation so as to do everything he can to stay alive for his little boy….even though it is less than a 1% chance the treatments will even do anything helpful. I feel helpless. His mom is someone who has supported me through so much, so many times in the hospital for psych issues and all that….and now, it’s my turn to support her and her family and I feel lost, helpless, scared, and completely unsure as to how to help and support them. I have told her I’m here for her, only a phone call away at any given time. I have given her hugs and sent random text messages just saying I’m thinking of her and her family. But it just doesn’t seem like enough……I don’t know that anything truly would be enough. I can’t imagine being in her position, knowing that at any time her boy could die. I just want to make things better, help her and her son. I want to know why this is happening, why it has to be him and why it has to be this way. I know those are only things God can answer, but it just seems so wrong. Please, if you are reading this, pray for my friend and the family. Pray for hope, peace, and comfort to come over them.

 

 

My Mental Illness Won’t Hold Me Back

I posted a little while ago about how things have been a bit rocky for me lately…..how my depression level dipped down and I’ve been feeling pretty poorly. Well, Since my last post I have decided I’m not going to let this depression hold me back from doing what I want to do and being who I want to be. I have made this decision before, in a more general way, but this time I am trying to be very intentional about everything I do, and say. I don’t know what has caused or triggered this low lately, but I decided I don’t have to figure it out, I just have to keep living and get through it. I have been as proactive as I know how to be talking to my psychiatrist and therapist and getting med levels checked through blood tests and all that. My doctor said it would be a good idea to have some added ECT treatments so I have had one and will be having another next week, and my one med level was low so we are adjusting that. Do I still feel pretty lousy? yes. I am not going to lie about that. BUT, I have an optimistic point of view reminding myself this will not last forever and that things do indeed get better eventually. I still have the racing thoughts and sometimes overwhelming urges to self injure, and even the suicidal thoughts; but I just keep telling myself “That is not an option” and “This cannot be an option” because I know I have gotten through times like this before and I know self injury is not the answer for long term happiness.

I have continued to go to work and all that and it has not been easy. I am exhausted about half way through my shift most days and ready to just collapse into bed when I get home. I am finding it’s harder to concentrate on my work than it has been before because I have my own mind against me right now. I have also found my anxiety level has been really high at work which is definitely not regular for me. All this, but I keep on going. I keep on going because I realize I am worth it. I am realizing this illness does not define who I am or control what I do. Does it affect me daily? yes Does it affect how I make decisions? yes. and It most definitely affects parts of who I am, but it does not control me or define me as a person. It is part of me, but not all of me. It gives me a unique perspective on life that I am realizing I am lucky to have. I can relate to more people, truly mean it when I say “I understand” and I can empathize with others at a level a lot of people cannot. I don’t like having this illness, but I am definitely grateful for some of the experiences it has led me to have.

No one is defined by a diagnosis, I define who I am, and I definitely do not let this illness and this current depression hold me back from living life.

Dip Into Depression and……Do Others MAKE Us Feel Guilty? Or Do We ALLOW It?

I know that was a bit of a long title for a blog post…..and maybe I could have split it into 2 different posts, but I’m not, because the two things for tie together. At least at this point in time.

I’ve put it out there multiple times that I have a mental illness. Part of my diagnosis is depression and anxiety. Well, things over the last couple of months have gradually been going down…..and when I say “things” I mean my emotions. I have been slowly falling into a depression and I didn’t even really notice it until just last week when it really hit me hard. I do ECT (electro-convulsion therapy) on a regular basis, about one time per month to help with my depression and keep me stable. It is in addition to my medications and has helped to keep me stable. I am so grateful for these treatments as I have tried over 50 different medications and over 100 different combinations of medications and they, by themselves, were not helping me enough to be a functioning human being in the world. So we added the ECT to help supplement the meds and since we started the treatments I have been able to stay out of the psych hospital for over 4 years. I bring this up because in May we decided to spread out the ECT , from once every three weeks to once every four weeks. I didn’t think much of it, I thought it would be great. I thought what’s the big deal, it’s only one more week between it can’t effect me that much right? Well, looks like it did. I knew over the last 3 months I was having more days that I seemed to struggle, but I was able to manage and get through and all that. I let my psychiatrist know, but we left the ECT’s where they were at every four weeks because I seemed to be managing. I wasn’t quickly dipping into a deep hole of depression and becoming unstable. I was just having more negative thoughts and urges to self injure but I wasn’t engaging and I was like I said, managing well.

Well, last week things started to really drop for me. I started not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to shower, and sometimes not showering at all for a few days, I was seriously considering self-injury as an option, rather than just having passing thoughts that I was able to cope with, and I began having suicidal thoughts pop up …..no plans or anything, just thoughts that wouldn’t normally come up at the times they were coming up. My dad said I was more irritable, and I was having this overwhelming feeling of wanting to cry, but for some reason, I just couldn’t, like my body wouldn’t let me shed a tear. I had cancelled my therapy appointment for this past Tuesday over 3 weeks ago due to a training I had at work, so I didn’t see my therapist this week, but I did have an appointment with my psychiatrist. I told him what was going on and he decided to adjust my meds a little bit, but also move up my ECT appointments to every 2 weeks for awhile rather than every 4 weeks.

It’s hard living with depression. It’s hard living in this world in general. What makes it harder is when people say things to you that lead to feelings of guilt and shame. I am putting this in the same post as the other stuff because this person and her words are not only leading to feeling guilty and shameful, but those feelings are just compounding my depression. My mom had a hard life, most of her 7 siblings died before the age of 50 and her dad died when she was a baby. Her mom always told her she was the ‘good one’ that she made her feel so good when she was around her and stuff like that. In other words, my grammie had a way of saying things to my mom that led her to feel guilty, like she was never doing enough, that she had to be perfect. Well, my mom has started doing those things to me. Just the other day for instance, mom asked me if I wanted to go to a couple of stores with her. It was my day off of work and I was tired and I honestly just wanted to stay where I was on the couch and relax. I told mom I didn’t want to go, to which she responded by sighing loudly and saying “you never want to do anything with me, or go anywhere with me” and then she started crying and went upstairs got her shoes and proceeded to leave the house without saying goodbye. Her doing that, left me feeling really badly. I felt like I wasn’t good enough, that I was hurting her, that I HAD to go with her next time or else I’d upset her again. I don’t like upsetting mom or dad, or anyone for that matter. I know it’s not true what she said, but the way she said it and how she reacted, it made me feel like a really bad person for wanting to just stay home for the day. I know that sounds pathetic or whatever, but that’s how I felt. I wonder, is she MAKING me feel this way? or am I ALLOWING it to make me feel this way? I don’t like the feelings of guilt and shame, I feel like I have no control over them, but I in a way feel like I should have control over them. I don’t know, what do you all think? All I know right now, is that with the depression being where it is right now for me, this guilt and shame feelings are even harder to deal with, and I just want it to go away.