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.
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.
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 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 🙏😘
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.
If we were having coffee we’d be sitting on my couch enjoying just a plain black cup of coffee. Unless you want cream or sugar in yours, I can totally make that happen. But only for you (shhh don’t tell the others). We would be whispering and enjoying the quiet comfort of home, and avoiding the laundry room completely. I went to start a load of laundry this morning and a giant cricket was in my laundry room! 😱😰☹️ I don’t do bugs, but my husband is asleep and I’m not going to wake him up. He had a rough night of restless leg syndrome and slept very little the poor thing. So being the kind and loving wife I am I got over my intense fear of all bugs and placed a cup over it. Now it can’t run away before my husband wakes up. To my defense, I did try to get the cat to kill it before going the cup route, but she thought my pointing at a bug meant to place her head up to my hand to be petted. Cats aren’t very helpful during bug emergencies.
If we were having coffee I’d thank you for be willing to come here instead of needing to go out. Life has been a complete shit storm right now. My medications are working great, and I’ve been doing self care techniques to keep building those habits, so I’ve been coping better than I usually would. But even still, the constant crap that life is throwing at my family right now is exhausting and stressful. So I finally hit a point this week that I no longer had the mental ability to leave my house. I called in sick, laid in bed, and did almost nothing. My fear of the world took over and I felt like I could no longer cope. Except that I did cope. I took the time I needed to stay home and recover. I meditated and colored. I did crafts with the kids during random bursts of mild energy, and I had them snuggle and read me a book when I simply couldn’t get out of bed. I remained safe with myself, and happy with the family. I call that a win.
If we were having coffee I would ask how you have been. What have you done this week to take care of yourself, or to bond with a family member or friend?
I may be a little too caffeinated to write titles. Honestly last week was incredibly awful and I’m past the point of stress to the point of abnormally strange (I choose to believe there is a normally strange).
Anyhoo, something I was going to post last week and didn’t get around to was about resources. I was contacted by someone from drugrehab.com who asked if I would share the site as a resource for those dealing with addiction. Part of the site is specific to the treatment of those with co-occurring disorders which is something that I fully understand the difficulty of treating. I reviewed the site and found a great deal of knowledge and understanding and so agreed to share. That being said, I have not had experience with their specific treatment centers so cannot specifically recommend going to them. I can only use this as a reminder that treatment is available, resources are out there, and you are worth the time of a great treatment team.
The link for the co-occurring disorders section is https://www.advancedrecoverysystems.com/treatment-overview/co-occurring-disorders/
I did some research and found a site where people can post reviews of their experience at one of the treatment facilities from this site. You can see the reviews here https://www.trustpilot.com/review/therecoveryvillage.com
If you are struggling with any form of mental illness, including addiction, and have hit a point where you are seeing dead-ends in your daily life, then please seek treatment. Whether through this link, local resources, or referrals from those you trust. As the Supreme Commander ruling over the border between the Unicorn and Fairy Kingdoms, I proclaim you worthy of all wonderful things in this life. And I hope that you and those wonderful things meet along your journey to health.
If you have found great treatment centers, websites, or other resources in your own journey, please feel free to post them in the comments. Share your experience for others seeking what you found. I’ll start.
I found my therapist through my companies employee assistance program, a program that many companies provide to employees to help them seek life resources. I highly recommend this resource to anyone who’s company offers it. It is free of charge and everything is done by an outside source so no one within your own company knows that you have reached out to them, it is completely confidential. So what is a great resource you have used?