I killed Mothman. He was blue and glittery.

Despite my husbands insistence that they are just “nighttime butterflies” I’m actually quite terrified of moths. I don’t particularly like butterflies either, they’re more of a “pretty at a distance” kind of crawly winged thing. But moths are like the vampire bunny creature of the night. Um, I should probably explain I’m also terrified of bunnies as I’m fairly certain they are secretly evil geniuses that will take over the world one day (think Pinky and the Brain but with more fluff). But that’s a whole other discussion.

The window in our car stopped working this week, it will roll down but not up. So I was driving and a moth got in the car and I’m trapped between panic that there is a moth and panic that I’ll crash the car if I don’t stop panicking about the moth. Then the moth may or may not have flown out the window and I was trying to convince myself it for sure flew out the window when suddenly I discovered something on my chest. Right in my cleavage! It was small and flat and when I picked it up it made a little crunch in the middle. Holly shit I killed the moth! 😱😭

This gave me all sorts of new panic. First because I touched a moth and will forever be infected by moth cooties, second because I killed the moth and maybe it will haunt me forever, third because it was still in the car with me, and fourth because the moth landed on me. It landed on me! It may as well have asked me to pet a bunny while it was at it!!! 😰 The second I heard the crunch I flung it across the car as my panic continued to grow exponentially, then realized I threw it at the passenger seat rather than out the window. So I pulled into a parking lot and turned the flashlight on on my phone to start looking for the moth.

After an exhaustive search I discovered the flat creature lying still just above the glove compartment. I shined the flashlight on it and discovered something interesting. The moth was blue and sparkly. It was the exact color of my nail polish. Apparently when the moth supposedly flew out the window I must have waved my hand in panic and the full nails worth of polish came off in one chunk and landed on my chest. I found it, crunched it, and flung it across the car. I’m still not convinced I won’t be haunted by the moth that may or may not have flown out the window, but at least I don’t have moth cooties on my cleavage, or a bunny in my car.

That is the worst idea you have had

When your therapist of 3 years, the women who has seen you through panic attacks, self harm, suicidal ideation, and lord knows what else says “that is the worst idea you have had.” You should probably listen 😬

So what was this terrible idea? I went off my meds. That may not seem like much, but remember all the lovely things mentioned in the first sentence? That was during a period of time I spent months arguing with her that I didn’t need medication. Followed by a month of trying to stabilize on my new medications, some of that time spent in a psych hospital. She helped me understand that I need meds, helped me find a good psychiatrist after I had had so many bad ones in the past, she helped keep me safe from myself while I worked to find the right blend, and she helped me understand that the meds bring me to a baseline where I can then work on my self care to become healthy and stable beyond that point.

Recently someone at the office started telling everyone that I don’t care about things. Suddenly rumors where flying around that I am heartless, that I don’t care about my work or my team. This started spreading out of control until someone started trying to tell others I should be fired so they can have someone that actually cares. As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder I’d never been told I don’t care. I’m told I care too much, I care when I shouldn’t, I am too emotional, that I need to shut it off. My whole world shifted as I began to hear these strange rumors and I panicked.

I knew the “issue” was that I was stable, and that I wear an emotional mask on top of that. I also knew that I wasn’t going to lower that mask, so the only way to show emotions through it was to stop being stable. So for the next two weeks I cut my antidepressant and mood stabilizer dosages in half. When I didn’t end up completely crazy after that I just stopped taking them altogether. I went against my better judgement. I went against the advice I give others to never adjust your meds without first speaking to your doctor. I went against the advice I give myself, to talk over decisions I know are probably wrong with my therapist before doing stupid things. I panicked, so I ignored everything but the rumors at the office and I screwed myself up worse.

So at last Monday’s appointment we discussed the issues I’m going through right now, and eventually got to the dreaded question:

“How are your meds working?”

“I’m not taking them.”

Pause… “When did you last see your Psychiatrist?”

“About 3 or 4 months ago?”

“So she doesn’t know you stopped taking them?”

“No.”

“How long have you been off your meds?”

“A week, I was on half dose for 2 weeks before that.”

Pause…. “Why?”

“They were making me stable so people thought I didn’t care. I needed stronger emotions at work or everyone would hate me!”

Longer pause (probably an effort to regain the peace she had found while meditating that morning before I had come in and ruined it) “That… that is the worst idea you have had.”

“They want to fire me!”

“You can’t just stop your meds.”

“I can’t be stable right now, they hate me at work!”

“Do you hear yourself?”

“Yes. But I don’t care. I need my job.”

“You are more important than just a job. You need to be stable for you and your husband and your kids. You need to be on your meds.”

So I’m back on my meds. I’m feeling better, more clear, more calm. But I still have moments of desperate desire to be off them. To let my crazy take control. I don’t know where this desire is coming from exactly, I don’t think it is just from work though that was certainly a catalyst. But something in me says I shouldn’t be stable. And this is a new fight for me, one I don’t know how to face.

When I was young and refused to acknowledge depression as a medical condition, or that I had anything more than seasonal depression, I would refuse meds or go off of them because I shouldn’t need them. I’ve fought that battle and moved beyond it. I’ve learned to ignore the occasional thoughts my brain throws at me trying to convince me of that lie. But this is a new lie. My mind says the meds are working, and they’re needed, but that I should stop anyway. I recognize the truth of my illness and my treatment, and something is telling me not to be treated. To let the symptoms take over. I don’t know what that is. I don’t know how to fight it. Have any of you fought that before? The idea that you can be stable but shouldn’t?

Sometimes the best explanation is none at all

I just started to listen to Stephen Kings It on audiobook. When Georgie meets Pennywise at the beginning and then suddenly turns from clown to monster the description of the monster is so freaky. Why? Because it’s not a description. It is a feeling and thought process from the point of view of Georgie. It is an explanation that the monster his imagination comes up with to fear in the cellar is nothing close to what he saw. And to hear this makes you fear this Pennywise creature more than just about any character in a book.

Once I got over the shock and tears of the scene I was hearing I realized, this is much like mental illness. Why is it so hard to describe to those who don’t have it? There really are no words for how terrible this illness can be. And the fact that science is still early in understanding it makes it that much harder. I often speak of my mental illness as the monster in my mind. And sometimes that monster is a creepy clown lurking in the shadows and I can mostly ignore it. And sometimes that clown turns into something so horrifying and overwhelming that it cannot be put into words. I suppose I’ll take my mental Pennywise over the one that Georgie faces, but that doesn’t mean my mental one doesn’t terrify me sometimes.

The math is on my side

My father is a math teacher. There was a shooting at his school a couple years back. He knew the shooter personally, he saw the victims daily. He remembers fitting 60 kids in his classroom to protect them as shots went off nearby. He went through special courses on helping students through grief for weeks afterward.

I don’t know what can fix this type of thing. I don’t know how to protect our schools. I can’t solve this problem. I’m sorry. But being the daughter of a math teacher I know how to read my numbers.

The likelihood of having someone I love in a school shooting twice is significantly lower than having a loved one in a shooting once. The numbers tell me my children are safe because this won’t happen to my family again. Perhaps I sound selfish or stupid, but everyday I watch my kids get on a school bus and I say goodbye. And some days when the world is dark and I begin to fear for them, I have to rely on the numbers. Math helps me cope with the darkness of this world and the uncertainties in life.

When you fear, find that something you can cling to. Maybe you feel you know an answer to solve the problem, cling to it and share it. Maybe you are strong in your religion, cling to it and have faith in it. Maybe, like me, you have math, cling to it and rest in its certainty.

What ever it is that guides you through the terrible things in this life, keep it close. There are still good things in life, we just need our filter to see them sometimes. My filter is math, and I will use it as best I can.

Clingy but Hidey

I’m a bit on the agoraphobic side recently. Hiding in my room, or nearly completely under a blanket on our comfy living room chair while playing video games. I would much rather fight monsters in Hyrule than go to the grocery store for the bottle of wine I desperately want. The problem, however, is that my kids need me in the outside world. I needed to be at 3 Cub Scout events recently, only one of which I called in sick to. But it was difficult to get myself to these. So I found the most comfortable parent for me to be around and clung to her. Not physically, that would be weird… I’m married. But mentally I drew from her energy, I existed in her bubble of calm, I let her overshadow me so as not to draw attention to myself. My hope is to get out of this clingy and desperate to hide phase soon. I need to get back to real life. But for now I will keep a worry stone in my pocket, an anti-anxiety pill in my purse, and a friend to cling to.

Hiding away

I’ve hit one of my phases where I want to disconnect completely from the outside world. I’m virtually non- existent on social media. I can barely bring myself to blog. I wear my earbuds at work, or hide in a small conference room. I simply want to hide, to disappear temporarily. These phases frighten me because they can lead to worse depressions with time. So I continue to force myself out where I feel stable enough to do so. I’m focusing on self care and distraction. But that doesn’t mean I’m succeeding at these things. I’m falling much more than I care to admit into this pit of depression, fear, and self hatred. I will continue to fight through. I am mentally awake enough to know there is a better and a worse, and that the better is truly worth fighting for. I’ll make it through. I’m a stubborn bitch, so will continue to fight the monster of my mind.

I will not

I will not rage quit my job today.

I will not allow a single email to determine my career.

I will not allow this bitch to get to me, even after nearly three years of her hacking away at my mental state at work.

I will not rage quit my job today.

I will not stay up all night.

I will not be up all night afraid of the dreams that will haunt my sleep.

I will not allow my stress from the day to determine whether or not I will sleep that night.

I will not stay up all night.

I will not spend the day in tears.

I will not hide and cry all day over the devastation in this world.

I will not dwell on my personal experiences of loved once trapped in past shootings and replay the fear in my head while others face this new terror in their own lives.

I will not spend the day in tears.

I will not give up.

I will not forget that this day is temporary.

I will not allow the insanity of my current life and stress levels to destroy the future I am always fighting towards.

I will not give up.

By a robber in the woods

A very dear friend of mine attempted suicide this weekend. She survived and is safe in a psychiatric hospital right now. But I spoke with her today and she still seems overcome by the depression and the sorrow she faces. I looked briefly through photos of us over the past few months and can see, now with clarity, the smile on her face and the sorrow in her eyes.

I am in hermit mode while I safely heal my own broken heart as she exhaustedly fights for hers. I await to see the success of her fight because I cannot bear it to think she may lose. She is strong, though she doesn't see it. She is brave, though she sees only her fear. I will see the truth of her on her behalf while she navigates the dark woods of her depression.

I do not claim to be religious but have studied numerous scholars of numerous religions. One of the things that has always stuck with me was the idea by Martin Luther in the 16th Century that suicide did not mean that the soul was damned. That having your life taken by the despair the devil attacks you with is no different than being murdered by a robber in the woods. I believe that to be true.

My friend was attacked by a robber in the woods. She survived but continues to fight through these horrifying woods of her mind. I hope she receives the guidance she needs to make it out. Whether through a god, a therapist, a friend, or a family member. I want her to come safely out, back into the sunshine that will heal her.

Scheduling sucks

So I got chewed out by my boss this morning for not properly documenting something that I scheduled (technically just approved to be scheduled) back in April. Than I realize I scheduled something else wrong, went in to correct it, and got hit with 20 questions on "why are you making changes?" Maybe I'm making changes to make you stop bitching at me! Clearly my mind is adjusting well to my third new manager in a year.

Then I realize I forgot to schedule a time to stop by the pharmacy, but not to worry, I'll be in that area tomorrow for my psych follow up, I can get them on the way there. But if she changes my meds that's a waste, so I should get them on the way back. But if I do that I'll be late coming home and I have to get my son to Karate class. Why did I schedule an appointment on the other side of town immediately before Karate class?

Of course at this point of my scheduling nightmare of a day I decided to stop dwelling and instead take some notes on what to mention to the psych since it's a follow up from a recent med change. My attempt to think of notes went as follows "it made me constantly exhausted which was not insomnia, but still sucked, but then it got better, but than worse, but I can't tell cause I've been exhausted all day, but it's past midnight and I'm still awake, but the dreams are better, but not last night, but I've been feeling, um, better? Same? Um, I don't know, but BREATH DAMMIT. So I decided not to write that down for her.

What I did notice was that I have no idea how the new med is effecting me, and mostly that is because I'm hormonal. Because apparently I thought it would be a good idea to follow up with my psych during my period. Because of course that would give me a great understanding of my body chemistry from the new med!

So I suck at scheduling, and my new boss already hates me, and I'm exhausted… again.

Good night y'all. Wish me a night of dreamless sleep 😴

Mindful Caffeination?

Every night for weeks I’ve been having bad dreams, and they seem to be getting more frequent and vivid. Nights filled with scenes of war, disease, pain. Watching loved ones suffer only to find myself paralyzed and unable to help. So many friends and family members have died in my arms in dreams, I can’t even recall them all. And it’s not some epic story line, but just snippets. Just the moment of dream torture and then it cuts off and starts the next. 

I can’t get away from them and so try to sleep as little as possible. I know it’s not healthy but I can’t seem to become lucid in the dreams so don’t know what else to do. I am coping well outside of sleep though. Meditating a bit, listening to music, spending time doing crafts with the kids, breathing and releasing the pressure when I start to panic. But I can’t bring myself to do these things in my sleep.

Today was a more panicky day and I had some moments of hiding at work. Today I couldn’t bring myself to meditate, my mind just couldn’t for some reason. I was so exhausted so I sat in half lotus and sipped my coffee. I needed the caffeine, I needed the break. It might not help the mind long term like mindful meditation does, but it helped me get through the day. And now I can hide at home where I feel safer and more at ease. Though I am still drinking coffee, cause lord knows I don’t much want to sleep.