As my depression has spiraled into the lowest point it’s been in quite some time my immune system has gone tumbling down with it. So, on top of feeling emotionally defeated, I have a scratchy throat, body aches and the sniffles. Totally how I want to spend my existence right now. You know, I’m being mindful just living in the moment and stuff. The achy, shitty moment where I can’t remember where I hit the Sleeping Beauty button that allows me to wait for things to get better.
Last night I spent having a very loud conversation with myself (in my thick head, where I spend most of my time since all of the things I feel like responding to socially are full of some kind of passive aggressive poison and that’s pretty counter productive, but so is being isolated from other people) full of rage for not being in control of huge chunky life situations I’ve recently encountered. Though I know I’m not being realistic here feeling as though I should be able to control everything, I kind of wallowed in my swamp of an emotional state. Wondered if this life is hell. Pondered why anyone would have any sympathy for someone whose always depressed and has been depressed for an extended period of time. Recently (and by recently I mean two days ago) I had a friend I haven’t spoken with in a while ask me why I don’t go see a counselor in response to me saying I’m pretty depressed at the moment but happy with work (you know, small talk, “Hey Bipolar Barbie how are you?” “Fine” is the socially acceptable answer you should give by the way). At that moment in time I decided I was done responding to pretty much all messages and e-mails on a social level and don’t really care if I have any friends anymore. Rofl. Look at me using internet slang like “rofl” in my blog. Insanity.
I usually equate situations like this (though I haven’t personally had one of these in years) to how if someone were to say they were having a hard time in chemo or that they had a cancer relapse that the out-pour of support and community candle vigils would be epic. Mental illness? Well, just the term sounds bad in itself. Mental health issues? Sounds pretty pathetic too. Depression? An overused tossed around term for general sadness unless you’ve had or have it. So what do you do ey? I’ve been studying mental illness stigma for a year and a half now and honest to God even I find myself in the midst of it because that’s the culture I’ve grown up in and it’s hard to disassociate myself with it especially when being bipolar and being depressed and BEING ocd is guilt producing and announcing it in any way shape or form other than an anonymous public forum like this blog is just me “looking for attention” or a “cry for help” you know, that kind of garbage. I sound so pretentious to myself right now. As if I’m entitled to feelings and things like that.
Well, I’ve spent plenty of time finding activities to keep me busy and I cross off and list all of my daily accomplishments. I have a job where I help people that I’ve worked toward getting for years and I’m doing well at and am proud of myself. I run the CBT thought logs in my head and sometimes scribble them on paper and I use positive self talk when I don’t feel like I’m being carried upright by a steel pole that I can’t get any good posture with while it’s impaling me. I try to meditate and I keep a log of my mood and circumstances surrounding it as well as time stamp it. It’s just hard, existing that is, so that’s that.
Oh bother, I am a Barbie of very little brains.
This is my third full week at the women’s CILA (Community Integrated Living Arrangement). I work with 3 (soon to be 4) adult women of varying ages with developmental and intellectual disabilities. I fought for the position for months and finally got the main full-time position which has been the focal point of my life right now. This is after nearly a year working at the larger group home that houses 100 individuals with these disabilities at the workshop where we teach life skills.
If you follow the BBQ blog, you know how frustrated I was with the laziness and unjustness of the job, and Lord let me tell you how much better it is to be at the CILA. I’m good at my job, I care very much about the women, and I rock at paperwork. Most importantly I’ve lasered off the incompetence of the workshop staff, and finally feel like I have some control. I’ve been calling myself the “house-mother” because, well, I am! (We spent over an hour on our first big grocery shopping trip today and remembering I’m teaching people how to live and behave in the community from scratch can be pretty rough.)
If you were to ask me if I had kids I’d have to say yes my oldest is 58 and my youngest is going to be 3. Remember for 4 years I was a nanny before all this, and if I never have kids of my own I can say I’ve been able to put my motherly personality to work. I’m proud of that. I’ve always had a big heart and a lot of love to give. I’ve also for the longest time felt bad complimenting myself. It’s a tremendously rewarding job and equally as tremendously difficult. I’ve been keeping my spirits up through the rough spots, and the amount of love the girls give me makes me beam. Anyway, on the side I’m carving out my research for my last semester of my undergrad and trying to take care of the family and maintain some semblance of a social life. Take that 3 and a half years of severe agoraphobia that ruined my mid twenties! You can suck a ****. Look at me now! (No worries life, I’m still kinda miserable and that should be reason enough not to need to jinx me).
I’d have to say the hardest part of life right now is waking up. I feel all the little Lyme Disease critter bacteria I’ve been host to for 14+ years crawling under my skin and traveling to work to make me achy and tired and hypersensitive and itchy and all around miserable. Learning to live with chronic physical illness has been a long process but if I can learn to handle living with my chronic mental illnesses as eloquently, I’ll be in good shape to live out the many more decades I hope to be able to.
On that note, I’m at that point in my life where I need a new man…maybe a woman, I mean don’t judge me here…I’m desperate. I need someone kind and understanding who I can laugh with and most importantly who is a psychiatrist who can up my dosage of Luvox. My OCB’s (Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors) have been out of control and my intrusive thoughts have been throwing frat parties on the regular. My skin picking and fear of my house burning down in particular are REALLY bad right now. I’ve also been off of Ritalin way too long.
If I get one thing done tomorrow before my shift, I’m going to try to make it find a doctor who will take my insurance and my hours and get myself there ASAP. I can do this. I can do this…I can do this. Right?
“Why did the chicken cross the road? Because his therapist told him to do more things that scare him.” I’m not surprised I ended up in the E.R. a couple of weeks ago with dire abdominal pain (Turns out I have gastritis, sudden onset). I swallow my anxiety and anger about things instead of working through my feelings in a healthy way. Like blogging! Whenever there’s a significant lull in my posts or general communication with friends and family I’m likely gorging on negative thoughts and thereafter gagging on my hangover from them. There’s unnecessary guilt involved in self isolating too, which makes me isolate even more intently because suddenly the thought of anything else is so horrifying it affects me physically. “Want to come over? I miss you.” “Sorry, I’ve just had my legs gnawed off by a koala and won’t be able to make it until they grow back.”
Of course my job requires extreme social interaction, but it’s with a developmentally disabled population and I’m comfortable with them. I turn on the jolly when I get to work even if I’m convinced I won’t open my mouth or smile once that day. I’m also moving up in the ranks, I was hired for the first female CILA! Charmingly enough though, they’ve pushed back my start date three times, and my god. Showing back up to work after having said goodbye twice is one of the most humiliating, anger inducing, depressing feelings in the whole world. I was told I start this Tuesday instead of Monday (today) on Friday after work. Tomorrow I’ll be making the walk of shame one last day before switching, unless my boss who is my boss for one more day, will let me take a day off unpaid. Going to have to wait another 3.5 hours to find out about if I should be so lucky. I can’t see myself opening my mouth or smiling at all at work today. Seriously.
However, it’s not like I’ve been unproductive in my mental unease. I’ve been on a fantastic cleaning and re-organizing everything my family owns spree. “Today perhaps I’ll move all of my art supplies to another area in the room!” “I think the decor on the TV stand needs a complete revamping!” “Oh no, I’ve finished washing ALL the clothes in the house. WHAT DO I DO WITH MYSELF NOW!?” It’s relaxing for a half a moment following an accomplishment, until something else to obsess over pops up. Usually it surrounds my ongoing intrusive thought that something will spark from an outlet and my home will burn down and I’ll lose everything and my life will be ruined.
There’s also a few new developments in life that are kind of devastating…to me, and I’m masticating those at the moment because they’re fresh meat. Like…I just found out that even though I’ll be OFFICIALLY done with EVERYTHING this semester and able to graduate, I’m 4 months past the due date for graduating in December, and 2 days away from missing the deadline to graduate in May of NEXT YEAR. Wow how great it feels. I think if I can make it through today, I should be able to cope a little better by breaking things down, but this whole going to work thing today is pretty much a big glue ball of stress that’s grabbing with it all other things I need to deal with and making it slightly impossible NOT to want to hide in my head. CBT and all that are just too energy consuming right now and I’m probably not going to get more than an hour or two of sleep as is.
This was passed on to me by someone near and dear who thought I would take interest in it. Now I’m passing it on to you. I thought it was fabulous, funny, smart and inspiring. Normally I lay around with the volume off on the computer. It took me over a week to get my lazy ears clicked into the e-mail this was linked to and actually watch the video. If nothing else, it’s a reminder that those of us with mental illness CAN change our brains, as well as the rest of the average folk who struggle daily too. Aside from being something I can personally relate to, it’s a perfect picture of the person I want to be while I’m speaking in the realm of academia one day after all the years of study I’ve put into my psychology major.
The best of luck to all of us who take the plunge to change,
Bipolar Barbie (Q)
News coverage of the most recent big shooting poses more evidence to my research hypothesis on perceptions of mental illness based on media and pop culture exposure. Why is the young white male gunman the face of mental illness? Anyway…
The indent in my mattress I get pulled into has been ticking me off. I can’t even sleep right now because every time I start to fall into the slope I feel like punching the adjoining wall. Obviously not productive.
Waking up with obnoxious full body pains and hypersensitivity have made mornings headed to work hell and I’m even hypersensitive to smells. All of these things are daily occurrences and as I lay in my uneven bed right now smelling God knows what’s been reheated and wanting to jump out of my skin, I can genuinely report my current mood is 3 of ten with more anger and resentment at the world around me than depression. Though I may add if there was a theme for the day it was in fact, depression.
I’ve been trying to combat the heavy mental weights by jotting down minor events and accomplishments. Examples of this are that I test drove the car I want to buy and that I made great progress in the RPG I’m playing. Counting up the little things in written form has always helped raise morale and one day when I’m a certified therapist I will most definitely insist my clients do the same.
Being a small time hero and all around “good guy” at work has been rewarding. On the other hand my scumbag supervisor drove me up a wall so high last week that had I felt like screaming and crying. Thankfully I’ve trained myself to withhold (most) emotional reactive outbursts. (Makes me step back and note how I never stop growing and learning.) Only good people should be allowed to work as supervisors. It reminds me of a history course I took where I learned that the first “police” in early America were thugs, amongst other ugly things.
I’m taking an online course on bartending I purchased for 5 bucks on groupon just to do something out of the ordinary. I’m reading the Grimm fairy tale compilation in my journey to become a master folklorist. I’m considering taking a non credit acting class just for me. I miss Chris, whose isolating in his own depression…and making me feel uncomfortably disconnected with him. I plan on starting to take walks or do strength training at the gym. I just need to recreate the habit and get healthy. Starting is the hardest. These are things in my life.
Regardless of how ordinary stressors might seem, when they pile up they start to shake my foundation and today was a perfect example of how devastating that can be for me. Everything from unexpected expenses that call for immediate attention to owning up to things I’ve been procrastinating about because they’re stressful and fearing for dear life the task of my very last class and Capstone project torpedoing at me beginning Tuesday set me off today. The worst of it was in the morning when I found out about the money part of it all, it just tipped me over the edge. I was screaming and swearing which led to crying which led to guilt which led to depression and further frustration.
On another note that kind of brought me down, there’s a resident who lives at the foundation I work for who has Cerebral Palsy and mild mental retardation. He’s pretty sharp though, and even J, who trained me and has known him for 15 years thinks he may not even have an intellectual disability…but to the point…he communicates mostly with an iPad, and I learned that since he started doing that it really was a positive experience that he could e-mail people even if it’s still a little hard to understand (he also uses programs when you’re one on one with him to converse). So, I gave him my e-mail on Friday and he was visibly excited about it. I was expecting an e-mail by the time I got home…okay maybe by bedtime…sometime Saturday? Nothing. I was really excited about it honestly, but ended up having that ‘stood up’ feeling which has lingered and feels really crappy. It’s almost embarrassing to admit, but it’s a relatable feeling. I have no hard feelings at the end of the day, and I’ll see him Monday and ask why I didn’t get an e-mail!
I’ve decided this weekend to do some self-care. Clean up what needs cleaning and check it off making a list of accomplishments. Cleaning sucks sometimes, but it’s soothing for me, and it’s good for the soul to be in an orderly environment. Unfortunately having two sisters with obsessive compulsive disorder can really rock the boat when it comes to opinions of what belongs where. AKA my younger sister thinks it’s perfectly fine to have a shoebox sitting in the living room for no reason cluttering my zen space and because my mother babies her, that’s perfectly fine. Meanwhile, my blood is just BOILING. Anyways, thinking I’ve done nothing really brings me down and makes me just want to crash in bed which will further the whole ‘doing nothing’ thing. I’ve been playing games on my tablet, which counts for the “I want to play some games” bullet point on the weekend list. Lastly I want to start-up a new notebook (the new year gives me a ‘legitimate’ excuse to start a new one with all the same sorts of lists as usual and maybe some new ones). Oh and blog. (Check).