I work at a non-profit as a peer specialist. I help others going through mental health difficulties by sharing my story and using my experiences as a a tool to help them to set and reach recovery goals. That’s a very brief explanation of my job. Anyway, as part of my job, I do speaking engagements, either at hospitals, schools, police training’s, or other groups meetings etc. sharing my story of living with a mental illness, but also reaching the point of recovery that I am at now. I work with a gentlemen, who is a retired police social worker. He mostly does all the police training’s, but he also leads the support group for the peer specialists. He has heard my story multiple times, and the last support group meeting, I shared I was struggling and all that. Well, this past weekend I received an email from him saying he had something he wanted to discuss with me the next time our paths crossed. Well, my anxiety kicked in and all I could think was I did something wrong and things like that. Then this past Saturday, I saw him at the Peer specialist party we had to celebrate our 1 year of being with this non-profit and I flat out asked him what it was he wanted to discuss. He said it could wait until Monday, but I told him I was getting anxious about it and that my mind was being a bitch that it would be easier to just take a walk and talk right then. So we did, and he brought up that he had been thinking about me and my story a lot lately, that he was wondering if I had ever gotten the help I needed for the sexual abuse by my uncle when I was little that I mention in my story when I speak. I didn’t tell my parents, or anyone really, about the abuse until just 6 years ago when I was 24 during one of my hospitalizations. He told me he’s concerned about me and how the abuse affects me and my life and my mental/ emotional health and that it’s something that needs to be faced head on, coped with, not just pushed aside. He said he didn’t know how much I had coped with it, or worked on it with my therapist, but that he had a few numbers of people he would recommend to help me to deal with it and all that. He told me he knew about some support groups and that he wanted to help me. I didn’t really know how to react. First, for someone to say “I’ve been thinking about you and your story a lot lately” wow, that in itself took me aback. I’m not used to hearing that from others, I mean I know I have support and that people care about me, but I often feel as if I don’t really matter. By him saying that, and all the things we talked about, he gave me this feeling that I do matter to him, that I deserve to get the help I need for this abuse, and that I am worth it.
So, as most of you know from my last couple blogs, I’ve been really struggling with the depression lately. I have had to increase the amount of ECT treatments I am having and my doctor and I are working on adjusting/changing my medications…..Which I’m sure some of you know is not an easy nor fun process to go through. Well, I went to Wisconsin this past weekend with my dad just to get away and to relax some. We spent time doing random things and just hanging out together. It was really nice, I really needed it that’s for sure. Well, when we got back home my mom let us know that the dogs had gotten skunked the night before and that she was up most of the night bathing them and all that and that she was really sore and tired. I get it, I would be the same way. It was just when she started talking snotty to me about how I wasn’t helping enough and that she was tired and that I needed to do more…….even though I was telling her I would help her as soon as I was finished with the prior commitments I had made the week before for this day. I told her I would help bathe the dogs again when I finished. She exploded on me, to which I responded with saying “why would I even want to be around you when you are acting like this?” I said, “Why?” to which she replied “If I’m that bad then why don’t you just move?” I told her “I would if I could!” Because honestly, I would not be living at home with my parents right now if I had the financial ability to leave right now. Then she yelled at me again, and I left I told her I wasn’t going to get into a fight, that I wasn’t doing this and that I was done. I was not going to get into a huge argument just because she was in a bad mood, crabby, and explosive. I have been working with my therapist on things like this and we have decided that sometimes just walking away is the best solution, that it will let me calm down without saying things that I would regret. My mom is aware of this. I walked out, and went for a drive. I drove to my dads work and went to just talk it out a bit with him, as he is usually the level headed one, and he can calm me down pretty well. I got there and mom had already called him and yelled at him telling him I was lazy and just left without telling her why and blah blah blah. I told dad what happened and he and I talked a bit. He knows mom is touchy and all that. We both went back home together and then when we got home mom acted as if nothing had even happened. like seriously? WTF? We still haven’t talked about it or anything. I’m just struggling with my relationship with mom, she has depression too and she’s at a point in her recovery that she’s not willing to work on herself, she’s in a helpless type state that it is like you can lead a horse to water but you cant make her drink type thing. She is, I think, so used to being miserable, that it’s become habit, that no matter what you say to her she has to one up you or snap back or put you down. She isn’t consciously staying miserable, but because it’s so familiar to her I think any other way is scary, and unknown. It’s not good for her, or anyone around her. No one wants to be around her anymore It’s not fun to be around her. She brings people down, whether it’s on purpose or not I don’t know. It’s not helping me though. I have been trying to use my coping skills to keep myself from sliding any further backwards and like I said, when I left the other day it pissed off my mom. Like what am I supposed to do if when I use my skills, the skills that are keeping me from using self injury, it makes people mad? I feel like it’s a no win situation. I’m working my ass off to keep myself in a good state of mind, I do not want to ever go back to where I was using self harm as a coping skill and suicidal all the time ending up in hospitals and all that. I want to keep moving forward, but I feel like at times I am being brought backwards by my own mother.
I’ve been struggling for over a month now. I have been going to therapy, ECT, and my psychiatrist regularly, and they all know what’s going on. My therapist is great, and she is very encouraging and lets me just “word vomit” all over her during our sessions as I vent out everything that is going on in my head, all the while helping me remember I have gotten through times like this before and it’s possible to get through it again. My psychiatrist has been raising my anti-depressant as the levels of it on the blood test were extremely low. The blood results caused him to talk to his fellow doctors and one of them asked him if he was sure I was even taking the meds, that’s how low the levels were in my blood. When my doctor told me that, I looked at him like “you’ve got to be kidding me” I have never not taken my meds, and I have always had the determination to get better, he knows that. I have to go get the levels of this med checked again on wednesday and we will go from there. He raised it last week so we are going to see if the increased dose does anything. The levels could be low for 2 reasons : either my body is not metabolizing the medication, or my body is overly metabolizing the medication and it’s “going away” too fast.
I haven’t felt this bad in a long time. I am emotionally exhausted and getting tired of putting on that mask that everything is Ok when really, on the inside I’m a mess. I tell some people when they ask how I’m doing that “I’m ok, just going day by day” but that’s as far as it goes. I don’t say, “I’m really struggling, and just falling apart” I feel like if I were to say that I would either throw people off, or end up unintentionally pushing people away because they are too scared or unsure of how to help me. I just feel like crying all the time and it’s literally taking all my energy to get through a day. I went to bed at 8pm last night because I was so exhausted. Not that I slept from 8 pm on but just to lay in bed felt good. I haven’t been sleeping all that well. I have mentioned before that I deal with nightmares, and they haven’t been helping this situation at all. Though, last week when I told my psychiatrist I was not sleeping well, he said he didn’t want to just keep adding meds and that he’s a real believer in sleep hygiene and other skills to help one sleep. I totally respect him for that. I don’t want to just end up relying on meds to get to sleep or to stay asleep. I want to be able to get sleep without those things. I downloaded some sleep meditation apps on my phone and so far the one that is supposedly a hypnosis type meditation has helped to reduce the nightmares, I don’t know if I am in a deeper sleep that the nightmares aren’t as prevalent or what, but on a scale of 1-10 my nightmares have been running from a 7-9 and over the last week with this app it’s gone down as low as a 5. I’ll take it. I’m still waking up multiple times so my sleep isn’t all that restful, but the sleep I am getting I’m not experiencing so many nightmares so that is good.
Another thing…..this past Saturday I got to meet my cousins baby girl for the first time since she was born. She is 5 weeks old and is the most beautiful and precious thing I have ever seen. I am madly in love 😉 It was great getting to meet her, and at the same time I had a bunch of emotions I wasn’t expecting. I was a bit jealous of my cousin, that she is so much further in life than I am and she is younger than me. I was scared, scared that I’ll be stuck where I am forever, that no guy will ever love me and that I will forever be alone. I don’t feel worthy of a mans love, so I brush it off by saying I just don’t want to get married or have kids, but in reality I want to get married. I want to have that companionship, I just don’t feel worthy of love. Not after what my uncle did to me. I feel dirty, traumatized, and unworthy.
When I was sitting on the couch at my aunts house with my sisters boyfriend and my other cousin’s fiance, they were talking about a guy who killed himself. I didn’t know that’s what they were talking about until I heard them say something really graphic and I got completely triggered. I am already in a vulnerable state of mind, and then this. It just didn’t help to have this on top of everything else. So I got up from the couch and I went and held the baby, I just looked into her pretty blue eyes and focused on her breathing and tried to calm myself that way.
I know this post was a bit all over the place…..sorry about that. My mind isn’t quite focused right now and it’s hard to compose all my thoughts. I just want to feel better. I want this rough time to pass, and hopefully I’ll learn something from it. I will not let this mental illness win over my life, it’s just giving me a mighty competition right now.