Can’t help but laugh

I’ve recently decided that I should stop using the phrase “I can’t help but laugh” because I have become very suddenly aware that it is nearly always towards a person and their problems. It honestly frustrates me that I didn’t think about that before. I work so hard to be sensitive to others, so how did I think it was an okay phrase to use when I see someone struggling?

I was in a leadership training at work earlier this week and during a break was chatting with some coworkers. Now by “coworkers” I mean they hold similar positions to me but we’ve never actually worked together or really know each other. So we started talking about topics from the training, a big one being stress management as a leader. One of these supervisors told me that she is amazed at how people can get so stressed and so emotional. “Why can’t they just deal with it and move on instead of letting it effect their day? I can’t help but laugh!” And in that moment I felt that she was literally laughing at me.

I am someone that needs to be taught stress management. I am pre-programmed to be highly emotional. I handle it well, I am high functioning, I can get through my days with success…. usually. But every few years it hits too hard. I loose my grip on stress relief techniques and have a breakdown. Sometimes I just need a quick stay-cation and med adjustment to get back to life, on rare occasions I need a short stay in a hospital. But I take care of it and get back on track. Why is that something to laugh at?

I’m sure I’m reading far too much into it, and should just shrug it all off like a normal person hearing a common saying, but it did make me think. So now if I find myself thinking “I can’t help but laugh” I will work harder to be understanding of what I don’t know about the person and their situation.

If we were having coffee…

 If we were having coffee we would be hiding in the corner of the living room with the aromatherapy diffuser going. My husband and I have been enjoying a mix of pine and lemongrass recently, I’m not sure the benefits of either of them, but holy crap it smells good.

If we were having coffee I would thank you for your support this week. I know I’ve been quiet. I know I haven’t responded to comments as I usually do. But I read them. I read them over and over again to remind my brain that I am not alone, and that I can fight. I don’t know what brought on this sudden depression, I have yet to find a trigger, but I will fight through none the less. And your kindness, humor, and support are making that so much easier.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how my children have been laughing in their sleep recently. Funny dreams are a sign of a happy mind and a lack of stress. I am so glad to know that they are in such a great state of mind, even if my mind can’t join right now. Sleep laughter is now a goal for me. And I wish the funniest of dreams and loudest of sleep laughs for each of you.

Dark times

Out of nowhere I’ve hit another dark time. I don’t know if it’s stress induced, med related, or just a season of my brain. But my monster has come out to play and it is effecting everything. 

I want to curl up in a ball and sleep for a month. I want to release the pressure in my arms. I want to cry and scream and hit things. But I’ve been practicing DBT and self care exactly for these moments. So I still meditate, still tell myself “it’s temporary” whether I believe it or not, and I still try to adjust my judgemental thoughts as much as possible. 

The lack of sleep and the monster marathon running through my head are making this hard. But I’ll get through. I’m a stubborn bitch like that. I hope.

Like a mime in a box

Most of the week I have felt trapped. Not like trapped at home, but like stuck in the outside world without escape. Coming home each night feels like freedom. Leaving in the morning is near terrifying. At work I feel the walls closing in and I begin to panic as I worry if I still have my escape route, if I can actually get out if I go into full panic mode. 

I was trying to explain this to my husband and the best I could describe is that I’m like a mime in a box. I’m trapped and the box is so close around me. You can’t see the box though, in fact the box doesn’t even exsist outside of my own mind. But you can see my fear and my stress. While I work so hard to hide my panic, some bits creep out and are visible, which makes the fear all the more real and intense. 

I hope to be the mime leaning on the table and eating grapes soon, but for now I will hide in the safety of my home as much as possible until the walls of the outside world stop closing in.

That’s what copiers are for right?

So I forgot my pills this morning. And felt continuously more wonky as the day went on. About 2pm I was ready to curl up into fetal position behind the office copier and have a full blown panic attack. That’s not really considered “professional” though, so I hid in the bathroom for 10 minutes instead and spent the rest of the work day with my earbuds in. Most people assume earbuds means I have a lot of paperwork and need music to keep me going, so it’s not questioned. I made it through the day… mostly… but got home dizzy and with 16 rubber bands on my right wrist to remind me of my failures. Or at least my perceived failures. But it’s temporary, right? The dizzy, the panic, the fear, the anger, the judgement of myself, it’s all temporary. Please remind me that it is temporary. I’m not sure I can trust my brain today, but I’m certain I can trust yours. 

If we were (almost) having coffee…

Thank god for virtual coffee dates cause I don’t exsist today. I had a migraine all morning and so have been in bed desperately longing for the pain to release. It is a dangerous longing for me to have, luckily my room is safe and I was able to sleep. Feeling half alive now I am drinking a small coffee, large water, and eating fruit, hoping I actually keep this down. 

I’m not exactly a lump of joy or energy, but at least I’m a lump so 1 out of 3 at least, yeah? I do want to share a great moment from the week though. Yesterday the kids were arguing and my 7yo stormed out of the room, flopped on the couch, and crossed his arms. This is typical of him being upset, and usually followed with “I’m having a bad day!!!” I’ve been trying to teach the kids that a moment is temporary and does not need to determine the whole day. This time, without prompt, the statement was “I’m having a bad moment!” And I couldn’t have been more proud.

So, to practice what I preach. The pressure in my head is temporary. The frustration I feel is for a moment. It does not define my day, and will not effect the week to come. Wishing you all lots of good moments this week. Remember the bad moments are temporary and will pass, the good moments are temporary and so to be enjoyed as they happen. 

Who needs energy anyway?

I’ve been abnormally tired lately and am not sure why. Usually I would worry about upcoming depression when this happens, but I’m going through a pretty stable season right now (only 3 rubber bands today! Woot!). So instead I first assumed I was still just getting over being sick, but that doesn’t seem to be the issue. 

Then I blamed my meds. I was supposed to take part of my dose of Lamotrigine in the morning and part at night, but a few months ago essentially told my psych “screw that, I’m taking it all in the morning”. Recently I switched to the morning/evening plan to make it last in my body better but it gave me crazy dreams again, so I switched back to morning cause there is only so much crazy dreaming I can handle. I also hoped the lack of crazy dreams would help my sleep be more effective. Alas, it did not.

So now I have no idea. I’m getting enough sleep, I’m sticking to a standard daily schedule, I’m taking my meds and doing my therapy practice. I have NO IDEA what is going on with my energy levels. Hopefully it’ll work itself out soon because I hate knowing effect without knowing cause. The confusion pisses me off more than the lack of energy honestly.

Not a success, not a failure, just a day

I finished my day Saturday with only one rubber band on my right wrist. I was so proud of the proof that I am successfully changing my brain! Then on Sunday morning I had 4 rubber bands on the right wrist before 10am, and as I noticed this fact I was distraught at how I am clearly a failure who can’t change. And then I proceeded to move over the 5th rubber band.

If you didn’t read Saturday’s post then you are probably very confused right now. Don’t worry, we’re all confused about something right now. But to lower your confusion, I am doing an exercise from DBT where you tally your judgmental thoughts through the day. To tally, I am keeping a number of rubber bands on my left wrist, and when my brain goes all judgy I move one to the right wrist. Not only does this open my eyes to frequency of judgement, it also causes a natural pause. As I pause to move the rubber band I begin to rethink and rephrase the statement to be less assuming and more fact based.

As I moved the new rubber band on Sunday I rephrased that I am not a failure. I will have good days and bad. I am taking steps in the right direction and need to be patient. Something that occurred to me later on was that my excitement the previous night was also a judgement. I didn’t realize it at the time because I don’t usually judge myself positively, but it was. It could have been rethought as something like “I had a good day mentally. I am so glad I am taking these steps to become more mindful and honest.” Excitement would still have played a part in that, emotions are not the enemy, but it would have been more rational excitement that wouldn’t have made me feel quite so let down the following morning.

So today was a new day, and I continued to practice non-judgement. I worked hard to be mindful of the day itself and not dwell on yesterday or worry about tomorrow. I am proud that I am making progress regardless of my rubber band count at the end of each day, and I plan to continue my hard work towards better stability.

However I was not mindful enough to stop freaking out over a meeting I have next month that I am not prepared for in any way. But hey, mindfulness is hard and apparently I totally suck at it *moves rubber band*…. and I will continue to practice because these things take time. 😉

If we were having coffee…

If we were having coffee I would totally be braless. Well, technically I already am, you don’t mind do you? I’ve been having nasty headaches for days. While this is caused by a number of factors such as lack of sleep, a nasty cough I can’t seem to shake, and far too much caffeine, my go to quick solution is take off the bra. The lack of pressure on my shoulders makes me feel soooo much better in the head.

If we were having coffee, I would be having just one, cause too much caffeine, sigh. But I have some juice and tea, so we have options no worries. I would also show you the rubber bands on my wrist that I am very proud of. See I’ve been trying to focus on DBT practice now while I’m stable. Since the symptoms of my crazy are easier right now, finding new ways to cope help me to build those habits for the future. A large part of DBT is non-judgment, which I struggle with to horrendous extreme. Marsha Linehan recommends using a tally system to track judgmental thoughts. Some recommendations are writing actual tallies on a piece of paper, or keeping bits of paper in one pocket and transferring one to the other pocket each time you make a judgment. Well, I’m not carrying a stupid tally sheet, and considering I keep a pocket knife on me, I probably shouldn’t reach in my pocket when I’m being judgmental of myself. So I am using rubber bands. 

What I do is keep 15 rubber bands on one wrist, and move one to the other when my thoughts turn judgemental (if you try this on your own, note that 15 is not a required number, unless you’re OCD and need things in groups of 5). While I was very skeptical of this at first, cause what the hell are tallies supposed to do to help, this works AMAZINGLY. What happens is the moving of the rubber band causes an immediate pause. While I am paused I have a moment to rethink in the ways my therapist has been trying to teach me. I’ve never been able to make that pause before, but the tally system does it for me. I have rethought so much judgment of myself this week it is fantastic. Granted I’m not perfect at it as sometimes I yell internally “that judgment is perfectly justified!” as I move the rubber band, and then my thoughts turn more judgemental and I have to move another. But most of the time it works great.

If we were having coffee I would ask what you have been doing to take care of yourself. I’m seeing a lot of tweets from y’all about your brains being mean and your rough days. And while I try to cheer you up with humor, your struggles break my heart. If I could send you Irish Coffee and face masks I would. But for now I will wish you a braless Saturday, unless you don’t wear bras, then I wish you a shoeless weekend cause shoes suck too.

Namaste y’all 🙏😘

Karma? I guess?

Ok technically I don’t believe in Karma they way it is commonly thought. I believe more so that Karma is us putting energy into the world from our actions and that it has an effect as a whole, but that effect may never actually come back to you. We should do good things selflessly to better the world.

That aside, total “karma” shit going on today. Everything seems to be revolving and coming back to wherever it originated. One such example, my husband accidentally scraped the side of the car on a pole today. He came into the house upset and obviously mentally punishing himself. I used some humor to cheer him up and made sure he understood I wasn’t upset. These things happen. I knew he must be feeling at least a little better when I walked out the door to go to work and he sarcastically said “don’t hit any poles today!”

So guess what I did after work today. Ran into a pole. But only a little bit, just the passenger side mirror hit and it popped out he mirror but no lasting damage so I was able to pop it back in.  I came home and told my husband and he was sweet as ever, and used humor to cheer me up. It was like a weird mix of Karma and Deja vu and joint stupidity. And was just one example of this kind of randomness today. 

I wonder what tomorrow will bring….