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.
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.
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. 😉
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….
Yesterday I went to the grocery store. As per usual I parked in my normal row, the correct distance from a cart drop off spot, walked next to the same crosswalk I always do, through the same door and to the left as always. With my compulsive requirements met I was able to grab the two items I needed. Then half way to check out I began to panic. I was very suddenly concerned that the cash option of self checkout would be down and, as I was using cash, I would need to go speak to a person to pay. I wasn’t prepared for that.
So what happened? I’ve been doing so well, feeling stable, what changed? Well, nothing changed. The fact is “stable” doesn’t mean symptom free, or at least for me it doesn’t. It means my symptoms are dulled, and my mind more clear. The combination of the two make it easier to cope with what comes my way. A moment of panic over something random is fine. I felt it, acknowledged it, and worked through it.
This is a normal thing for me. And I felt the need to explain. I don’t want to put out the mistaken belief that by “stable” I’m magically better. That feeling a sense of peace removes all non-peaceful symptoms. That by feeling less overwhelmed by emotion means that they aren’t still intense. That less impactful symptoms make my urge to self harm disappear. Because that’s not the case. What it means is that I can work through them easier, I can cope, I can fight urges with better success, and I also have more energy to do these things.
I would compare this to taking cold medicine. Taking cold medicine doesn’t make all symptoms of the cold disappear, it simply makes the symptoms easier to deal with. I have more clarity of mind right now, and that clarity helps me more than anything. I don’t need to be symptom free as long as I have the ability to fight the symptoms successfully.
From the age of 16 to 22 I fought eating disorders off and on. It completely destroyed my metabolism and when I finally stopped I gained over 100lbs. Since then I have fought to stay healthy. My idea at this point in my life is eat healthy, stay active, let your body look the way it’s going to look. I know how to dress my curves and rock my look. I don’t own a scale cause first of all that number doesn’t define me, and second of all my higher activity level is causing me to gain muscle which accounts for as much of my weight as my fat does at this point.
That being said, I’m not always good at it. When my anxiety hits hard, or I go manic, or my depression becomes overwhelming, I tend not to eat enough. If I notice that happening I begin a food diary and 90% or the time find that I am at half my recommended calorie intake. I keep track of my food until a healthy amount of food becomes the norm again. When I’m sick (as I was recently) I begin to eat too much, and mostly crap. See I feel dizzy and tired when I haven’t eaten enough, so dizzy and tired from being sick makes my brain decide I should eat more to magically feel better. Sometimes I’m not active enough, so I try to add in more yoga or take the kids to the store and walk around.
Recently I discovered a lack of fruits and veggies in my diet so went to Walmart and got some of that “Super Greens” powder. I’ve been sticking it in my blender bottle with half juice and half almond milk and drinking it once a day. It’s actually pretty good. But while I expected an increase in energy and focus, my body said “bitch, it’s about time you gave me these nutrients! Let me show you how you’ve been treating me lately!” And now I am on an unintentional cleanse. Yuck. But I figure if all natural dietary supplements cleanse me, chances are I needed it, so I’m letting it run it’s course.
As strange and pointless as this post seems, the situation has reminded me of the importance of loving and taking care of myself. I may have gotten out of the eating disorder phase of my life, but self harm is still an issue for me. If I can work so hard to take care of the inside of my body, shouldn’t I do the same to the outside? And if I can love the outside of my body, as lumpy as it may be, shouldn’t I learn to love my mind, as emotional as it can be?
I hope to spend more time focusing on this. Being mindful of this. Perhaps it will give me a greater sense of self acceptance. I hope you’ll do the same. Whatever you may struggle to love about yourself, start practicing that acceptance and care. Maybe together we can learn to heal our wounds, both external and internal.
I realized something in therapy today. Technically something I’ve realized many times before and always understood about myself, but today it seemed more logically visible (those are the best words I can find to describe the feeling, sorry it doesn’t quite make sense).
One of the reasons I write this blog, and why I journaled before that, is because I don’t listen to myself. The logic in my brain tells me smart things and the rest of my brain looks at the logic part and says “screw you”. I speak to coping with mental illness and then fall into the same traps I warned about. I tell myself the right honest and realistic things and yet allow my emotions to completely warp the situation in my mind. For a long time I felt alone in this, but I no longer do.
In DBT you learn about the wise mind, which is like the middle ground where the rational mind and emotional mind meet. In CBT there is a part in one of the learning exercises that asks “what would you say to a close friend if they were feeling that way?” Just the fact that these are in well received and effective treatments tells me that I am not alone. That others struggle with this and succeed in their fight. So I can to.
When I am struggling I look back at some of my posts to see how I coped before, what I told myself before. And I look at your comments and see that you understand. And I rest in the fact that maybe I make you feel less alone just as you do for me. So I am writing myself this letter. But if it speaks to you you can adopt the letter as your own, or perhaps right a similar one more personalized to your path and your struggles.
You are worthy. Though you often feel that you’re not, and you may believe the emotional mind more than the rational one, you are. Don’t forget that.
When you feel like you are failing, look at yourself through the eyes of your loved ones. See the success through them when you can’t see it through yourself. It is there.
Be kind to yourself, love yourself, forgive yourself. Show your children what it is to show yourself compassion even when the self confidence may not be there. Tell yourself what you would tell others. Show yourself the respect that you show those you care about.
Remind yourself that everything is temporary. Good times are temporary, cherish them. Bad times are temporary, wait them out. You can make it through, you can succeed. Believe in that. And when your emotional mind gets in the way of that belief, say it anyway. Claim your success over and over again until the words are ingrained in you. You don’t have to believe it at that moment for it to still be true.
I believe in you, please believe in you too. You are worth it.
(So apparently there’s a Super Mario Cafe in Japan that makes awesome stuff like this. Can we go ahead and have our coffee date there? We’ll each order 2 lattes, one to drink and one to admire 😍)
If we were having coffee we’d be enjoying some Starbucks cause I have a little spending cash for coffee, but not enough for a trip to Japan, sorry. I would tell you that things are a bit better than they have been. Not so much that life decided to stop shitting on us, but more so that it has slowed down and we’re starting to gain a bit of control again.
If we were having coffee I’d tell you that one of my current stress relief activities is playing video games. I haven’t been able to craft too frequently, my mind just isn’t there, so I’m working my way through Zelda Link to the Past at the moment which is clearing out some of my mental demons.
If we were having coffee I’d tell you about my favorite streamer because he is someone I truly admire, though he will never know (considering he has no idea who I am lol). GrandPooBear is a Twitch Streamer who also uploads many of his playthroughs on YouTube. He is currently holds the world record for my all time favorite ROM Hack, Dram World. But it isn’t his games that draw me in. It is his “rage”. When other streamers struggle, many can start yelling. Poo doesn’t, ever. When he hits a kaizo block or misses a shell jump for the thousandth time he does one of two things; he says “fair enough” or calmly states “rage”. Or sometimes there is option number three “ok, that was awesome! Great Kaizo block placement” and he actually means that.
GrandPooBear is the antithesis of my Borderlinr Personality Disorder, and so just watching him makes me feel at peace. His mental attitude is my goal. But there’s another point to this story, and that is Mr Rogers.
If we were having coffee, I would show you Poo’s video promoting the Mr. Rogers PBS fundraiser on Twitch (I’ve posted the YouTube video of it below for you). When he states how Mr Rogers spoke directly to him, and said he liked him “exactly as you are” I literally cried. People don’t say often enough that they like you exactly as you are. We should. We should be saying this to each other because it is true. Whether we have mental illness, physical illness, or no illness at all, we all have something that makes us doubt ourselves. You don’t always know what is going on in the mind of a loved one, so please remember to tell them every now and again that you appreciate them, and that you love them, just the way they are.
Happy coffee date everyone! And I too like each and every one of you just the way you are.
So if I take my mood stabilizer even a couple hours later than usual it makes my tongue feel like I ate really hot soup too fast. You know, that burned numb weird feeling? Yeah, quickest way to know I forgot.
So this was my morning….
“Honey bunch! Let’s go shopping together!”
“Ooo, lets look in this section! No that way! Can we go through the craft section? I NEEEEEED more fake plants.”
*calmly and quietly* “thank you for taking me to lunch. This is so nice. Oh, the waitress gave me extra pickles cause I said I like them. So sweet.”
“Yes music machine, he is very cute. Yeah, totally adorable. Yes honey, I’m talking to a machine!”
“The car radio volume HAS to be on a number ending in 0,3,5 or 7. How can you still not do that for me?!”
*loudly and in a parking lot* “I AM HOLDING THE BOX OF CUPCAKES PERFECTLY FINE SO SHUT UP!”
*as I burst into tears* “I’m a failure as a wife! I ruined everything! I can’t do anything right!”
“My tongue feels weird. Why does my tongue feel weird? The soup wasn’t that hot last night… OHHHH!”
“Honey, I didn’t take my meds on time. I’m taking them now. The morning has been explained”
What came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, I’m going with egg cause DNA mutations happen during cell division, right? But that’s beside the point, cause I don’t think I’m supposed to answer an unanswerable question.
Oh, but answer to another “unanswerable” question… if the glass was less than the half way point and filled to the half way point then it is half full. If it was above the half way point and emptied to the half way point then it is half empty. Guess I’m not negative or positive, sorry.
The one question I truly cannot come up with an answer to: If Pinocchio said “my nose is about to grow” what would happen?
Wait, how did I get on this topic? I blame the cold medicine (I’m sick by the way). So back to the whole don’t answer chicken and egg stuff… what came first, my mental illness or my symtpoms?
This is something I have struggled with for 15 years now. Do I truly have this disorder? Or did I unconsciously decide I did and therefore create my own symptoms? My recent post about misconceptions of BPD spoke to a statement that “we’re all a little borderline” (we’re not FYI). And Rainicorn posted a comment that the same is said of Bipolar Disorder. This reminded me of a coworker who said he gets frustrated when people claim to be OCD simply because they like something to be clean. So I struggle sometimes to even claim to have a diagnosis because what if I’m wrong? What if I am taking away from someone else’s struggle by claiming something untrue?
I’m like 99% sure of my BPD. Reason being, I read a definition in a book about 10 years before being diagnosed when I had never even heard of it before. And the second I read it I sat there in shock because it perfectly described me. I didn’t hear it and then gain the symptoms, I saw the symptoms suddenly defined by something I knew nothing about.
My ability to believe I have Bipolar Disorder is about 75% on average. My BPD overshadows any Bipolar symptoms, so I denied it for a long time despite the “official” diagnosis I had. It wasn’t until about a year ago when I started to respond well to a new med that I realized when a medication lowers my Borderline symptoms, I become completely manic or depressive for a significant period of time. So I have the symptoms, I meet the checklist (I won’t go through the whole diagnosis checklist, it’s easy to look up), it just seems to be overshadowed rather than misdiagnosed. I think. Again, 75%
OCD I’m at a 67% certainty. This is where my chicken/egg/Pinocchio question really comes into play. Did I think I was OCD and then get symptoms? Or did I get symptoms and then get diagnosed? This is something where I have seen the symptoms increase over time, and I honestly don’t know if that is normal or not. I can physically feel something that is considered “off” to me, and I have to compulsively fix it. But I wonder if it isn’t just a symptom of trying to control my other disorders. If perhaps I have subconsciously made it worse over time.
Agoraphobia is like that too. And this is one I truly hate to say because it’s not severe for me. And I wonder quite frequently if it truly is there and I’m high functioning, or if I’m stupidly going by the “we’re all a little…” argument that I hate. The definition for agoraphobia is “Fear of places and situations that might cause panic, helplessness, or embarrassment.” I match that, I really do. And I try to remind myself of that, not because I want it but because I want to not lie about it. In general I don’t go new places without my husband. I only go to stores I’m already familiar with. I claim food poisoning or flu to get out of wedding receptions because they give me panic attacks. I haven’t been to a concert since I was 15 (I first developed the symptoms at 18) and will never go to one again if I can help it. I have multiple hiding places at work if I start to feel panicky or overwhelmed. I have days that I won’t leave my room, though they have become less frequent lately. But are these truly symptoms of agoraphobia? Or are they random aspects of my other disorders? I honestly don’t know.
I don’t even know why I’m going into all this. Maybe “talking” it out will clear it up a bit. Maybe you all can provide insight about my chicken and egg dilemma. Maybe I just need to go to sleep cause the cold medicine made me a bit weird.
This chickens expression totally just made my day by the way.