my divisive brain is having an argument and evidently i’m not invited

i totally don’t have time to write this but seriously, what is wrong with me?! Ok, writing that sentence is pretty funny, since i believe there is a list somewhere. i can feel my nervousness boiling inside and i just don’t want anyone to call because i’m going to hate what they say no matter what they say and i’m going to be rude to someone i love. and that’s not fair.

i’m learning all these skills and i get that and yay for me. but i can’t seem to handle change, decision-making or mass moments of stress. lol. that’s like life in a nutshell. so woohoo, i can fucking not overeat and i can make it to an appointment. but i feel like i’m crumbling because i can’t control how much my insurance sucks. i mean, i just want to go to their office and sit there and be like “please listen to me. look me in the eyes and listen to me. you’re going to help me, we’re going to figure out how, and we’re going to do it without you reading off a fucking script? i brought you a coffee so settle in.” but i can’t.

and i can’t afford this sleep program. but i’m going to do it anyway. honestly, i can’t afford anything i’m doing and i’m just so tired of having to accept help from my parents. i’m so fucking lucky and i’m complaining.

i think i want to feel in control. i just want to feel like i have a plan. but i’m so scared that i have a list but i’m afraid to break it apart and deal with it. and i keep trying to say “value all that you’ve done these past two weeks” but all i can see is what i haven’t done and what i need to do. why can’t my mind accept any good? and how can the same brain want to do something and can’t? that makes no fucking sense.

ok, i’m going to go stick an ice pack on my face for 30 seconds because evidently it calms me down even though it feels ridiculous. ‘cuz it is. but so am i and this stupid brain i have. it’s not even clinical depression. i can’t even blame that anymore. it’s just me and my self-pitying habits. you know what it is, i’m angry at myself because i know i can do better.

ok. onwards…not sure about the upwards part. but onwards.

 

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Panic … Where Have YOU Been?

panic

I thought this was rather apropos…

 

Well the panic has hit and my urges to cancel my flight, my Airbnb, and my plans have all come stomping in. Sometimes I’m in the car and I just think: “I can’t. I can’t do this. I can’t” and envision myself curling up in a ball and become unresponsive for days. I wrote to my DBT coach letting him know and he suggested a little mini-vacation for my mind via distraction. So breathing and relaxation, listening to music, going to the gym. He’s right –  when I’m busy, especially around other people, I don’t really have time to think about the 18 million things that may go wrong. My rumination goes to catastrophe right away with things like this and distracting my thoughts can help slow the heart rate and anxiety.

It’s amazing how clear and rational ideas are in our head and yet how fucking difficult they are to believe, feel, and do. I know it’s 6 days; I know I only have to do a few things on my list if I really want to; there are no expectations; and going now does not mean I have to attend in the fall. I will be meeting this old friend, and based on some past emails, it seems she still might have some of the same behaviors from our past that I have given up. But I have thought through some avoidance techniques, and just have to remember who I am now and how hard I have worked to become that person, and how much I like her (me) compared to the other one (me a few years ago).

Yesterday, I was just reflecting with socialworkerangela on how weird it can feel when you are having a good day because you feel like you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. It kind of takes away the enjoyment of the good feelings because you are in this state of fear things will eventually go poorly. Yesterday, I spent some time looking around at the challenges I have taken on this past year and the life I have built, as simple as it is. But I am building a foundation, and I think the panic was that I am leaving the safety of it all.

Not that I’m still challenging my fears. Yesterday I tried on sunglasses. Sounds stupidly simple, right? But I have had such a fear of looking at my face in front of other people , I have never gotten sunglasses before. It took me until a year ago to get real glasses so I’ve been driving with a bit of a blur for years. With sunglasses, it was even more embarrassing because those are supposed to be “cool.” In the past, I just took my brothers’ old ones when he broke them. Still, seems such a simple task, right? But like…huge for me.

Things will be ok. I will have options. I can decide my own version of failure and success. I am allowed to make mistakes. I just have to take it a step at a time. And evidently there’s this thing in DBT called “radical acceptance” where you just accept your reality. (It always makes me laugh a little when I think about it. It’s just a ridiculously big fucking ask.)

Okay, so now I just have to actually BELIEVE those statements. I knew there was a catch. ;)

Thank goodness I see my therapist today. I just hope I don’t grab onto her leg and refuse to let it go. That could be a really embarrassing situation.

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Fearing What You Want Most: To Be Healed

ImageI’m currently in an uphill battle to “get better.” While I’m not entirely sure what “getting better” looks like, I imagine it means living on my own, having a job, being able to handle social and public situations, being a good friend, coming to accept who I am – the good and the bad – and perhaps handling the emotional capacity to have a relationship. I have fought for this “normal” with therapy, medication, electro convulsive therapy, diets, and exercise. Sometimes I find myself with two out of six, maybe even three. It can last anywhere from two months to two weeks.

And sometimes, when I am feeling better, I panic. After all, I have spent the majority of my life on the depressive side of what I now know is bipolar II. Unaware then when I was being effective and efficient, I was most likely in a hypomanic stage. I have come to accept this disease as a part of me so much, that sometimes I worry about who I might be without it. While I understand there’s no cure, what if I found the right pairing of medication and treatments that would allow me to find my normal? Who would I be then? What would “depression” feel like when it wasn’t an anxiety-ridden full-blown agoraphobic attack? Who would I see when I looked in the mirror? To be completely honest, while I am fighting to get there, the idea of actually reaching my goals terrifies the living shit out of me.

After all, I’ve defined myself by my sadness. I find a strange comfort in my disease. It’s been my partner in crime for so long, it’s come to define who I am. And getting better means redefining who I could be, all with the fear that it might not last.

People say to take it day by day, but that’s just not how I am. I have a tendency to catastrophize a situation into a lifetime of pain and loss. I can what-if any positive situation into total disaster. And now I’ve started to worry about feeling better. I get anxious knowing I might be moving forward.

Example: I am about to embark on a three-week trip to the East Coast to see some of my closest, dearest friends. Besides unimportant worries like having to pee on the plane and somehow getting a cold, I also worry I won’t be able to be “on” the whole time, to keep up or handle situations I haven’t dealt with in years, like seeing old acquaintances, being alone for long periods of time, or going to the theatre and being around lots of people without the ability to leave. It’s a lot of interaction and self-judgment of how others are leading their lives the way I always assumed I would live mine. I know that I am going to be around people I love and that the situations that arise will be what they will be. I also know that things tend to always go better than I imagine they might, but I can’t decide what I’m more afraid of: things going poorly or things going well.

It’s that “what-if“ monster that is currently on a taunting spree – he’s a tricky little shit. Either way, I’m getting on that plane tomorrow with a couple Xanax and the hope that the love around me will get me through. And I’m excited about the adventure I have missed so much in the past years I have spent being held prisoner with my long time friend bipolar II. Either way, I will have to come home and face myself and my monster, figure out who “won” this one, and decide what future may come for both of us.

Wish me luck.