How to feel normal

What is my normal? I suppose right now it’s feeling slightly off. Lately I’ve been proud and possessive over my suicidality. Imagine if everything in my life doesn’t feel okay, and I’m unstable, but the one remaining factor in my life that is constant is that I sometimes want to kill myself. Then I would hold on to that fact. No one can take that away from me. It’s mine to have.

Someone from my support group recently went into the hospital. Last year I spent the holiday inpatient in the hospital. It’s no fun. I feel for her. I feel unstable, especially with a long drive coming up and at the prospect of seeing my family for a few days. I don’t know what to expect and I don’t know if things will go okay. My brother is very compassionate and understanding about my situation, where I am in life, and of my mental illness. Some things that I do depend on his approval, like his urging to have me get the oil changed in my car. Instead of being a $50 expense it was an unexpected $500 expense because there were several other fluids that needed to be changed. I guess those things cost a lot although I could have easily been talked into something that wasn’t necessary. I don’t know anything about cars.

I’m writing at work right now. I cannot go into my WordPress site at my work computer because they track every page you go to, and do periodic reviews. I don’t want my workplace to find out about this blog, because everything is public. I will post this at a later time, though generally, other times I post things immediately.

It’s hard to explain what I feel right now. I have this general vibe of uneasiness, stemming from my near-future obligations. I told a friend I would house sit for her, but that feels very upsetting and now I’m wondering why I was so quick to say yes to her. I only feel comfortable in my own environment and I don’t want to be in someone else’s home. I need my own bed and my own blanket, and my teddy bear. I don’t even like where I live, but that’s been said before. I have thought so many times about moving, but just haven’t found the right living situation yet. And where I am, although not ideal, it’s comfortable, for now. Ideally I would find my own apartment, a studio, where I could set up my piano keyboard and have peace and quiet from having to be around other people. Of course, when it’s raining outside like it is now, I’m just glad to have a formidable roof over my head.

I have to find ways to make myself feel good, which is my ideal sense of what is normal. I watched a movie at a friends’ house last night, and it was a scary movie, which contributed to my current state of uneasiness. But being over at the friends’ house, if even for a couple hours, felt good. We shared pizza and talked about his latest escapades, about our lives, about me not getting out of bed on the weekends and a little about the abusive past that I lived through. He says I am a strong person, but that is something I find difficult to acknowledge within myself. Why is it that I cannot see the good in myself? I need someone to reflect that for me. That is why, finding a healthy partner and relationship would probably do wonders over a long time period. I would like to find a sense of stability, a sense of wanting to be in my own skin, and wanting to live the life I am living. Stop fighting it! See, it has to do with acceptance. I still find it hard to accept that I am independent and that I support myself through having my own job. Each day that I go to work is a day closer to my ultimate goal of one day having a family. I know I can do it, if I find the right person.

There is hope, and I have all the time in the world to find peace with my life. Coming to a place of acceptance can be a difficult challenge for anyone, mental illness or not. I don’t like to think of myself as mentally ill, because it’s not my fault that I have depression. However, staying in bed all weekend, although it didn’t feel like a choice, was indeed a choice. My therapist tries to teach me that it’s probably just a bad habit, that I choose to stay in bed. I don’t even get up to pee, that’s how bad the staying in bed is. And I certainly don’t get out to eat anything. I need to find a way to motivate me to do something different.

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Me

There are so many things going on in my mind. How to start? Where to start? What angle to take? With whom will it all resonate? Will anyone read my post? Scream. My mind screams at times. And then I just have to take a deep breath. Everything is going to be okay. At least, I can tell myself that and if I say it enough times I might begin to believe it.

Self care. It’s not going very well. Better, today. I showered. I somehow get away with showering twice a week. Thursdays and Sundays in the evening. I’m going to try to make it more. I tell myself I need to shower. But, seriously, people, depression kills the will to do anything. Depressed people sometimes have a hard time showering. I don’t know what it is, but I know that I’m not alone. It’s not that it’s a difficult task to do, and it was the one thing I set out to do this weekend, and what did I do? I stayed in bed all weekend. Literally. I got up to pee twice, once a day Saturday and Sunday. “Your poor bladder” was all my friend could say. It’s true. My poor body.

I finally put on a clean shirt tonight. I had been wearing the same shirt to bed and its’ time had long since expired as a shirt one should be wearing, at all, period, end of story. So it’s in the hamper and I must say, it feels and smells great to have on a clean shirt. Amazing what difference it makes. I cut my finger nails. They were getting long and I always have them short, as short as possible. I can type better now. I don’t know how anyone does anything with longer nails. That’s just my opinion. Women have long nails all the time but I could never do it. Men, just imagine how handicapping it would be, trying to work around even three millimeters of extra nail in daily tasks. No, thank you.

I cried in group tonight. I was the last to go. I wasn’t sure I wanted to talk, but in the end, I wanted to be heard and to be cared for. The people who are in the support group are validating and caring, and I was with the right people this time. There are two group rooms, and sometimes I think I end up in the wrong room. I went at the end, and people were having to leave and although logically I told myself that people were leaving because of the time, I couldn’t help but think, was it something I said that made them leave?

Baby cuddling. I need to do it again. Whatever it takes, however long the application process takes, I need to do this again. It brought so much meaning to my life when I was doing it five years ago. Literally, you go into the NICU and they have one baby cuddler on shift and you find a compassionate nurse who knows that her babies need to be cuddled, and you cuddle babies for four hours straight, once a week for six months or however long you can commit. I did it for a year and a half and it saved me. It was such good therapy. I need it again. I met some amazing babies… very young human beings. New life is so precious and it needs to be cherished. I hope to bring new life to the world one of these days.

Mondays are always with mixed feelings for me, because I don’t like going to work, and I don’t particularly like the work that I do, but it gets me out of bed and I spend my weekends in bed. I don’t like being in bed all day and doing so makes me feel worse about myself. I could at least get up for an hour and read a book, go to a coffee shop, do something, but no, I stay in bed and it is disheartening to watch myself do this weekend after weekend. But somehow I manage to go to work every day, even though the thought passes by without fail, that I could call in sick today, or even quit my job and stop going. That would be terribly irresponsible, as they depend on me in my assistant position to be there, and I get paid to be there to answer to the client needs and demands. We get some interesting, angry clients calling in every once in a while and whereas it makes the day more diverse task-wise, it’s actually not fun.

I just wish I would stop sleeping all the time. I seem to need the sleep at times, and then other times, it’s just too much sleep. I don’t sleep well at night because I sleep during the day. My therapist says, from what I understand, that it’s because I’m trying to assert myself, somehow. My sleeping and staying in bed is a way of screaming, “I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do!” and there is a part of me that still doesn’t want to live, or do things that living people do, like getting out of bed and showering and doing laundry. I don’t want to be told what to do but then I think about being in the hospital where I can be taken care of and they would definitely tell me what to do in there. But being in the hospital is expensive and I don’t need it any more. I’m still not quite used to that. I used to need to be in the hospital because I was suicidal but I am not suicidal any longer. I don’t want to kill myself. That’s a huge step forward in my life. But I am in recovery and my last episode was just a year ago. I want to be better. I want to get better. I want to feel better. I want to be a better me and I want to be loved and cherished and respected and safe. Everyone deserves those things.

I think it’s time I got a boyfriend. I tried that a few months ago and I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of having to force myself out of bed for the man. He was attractive but I didn’t like that he snored and there were some other aspects that I wasn’t okay with. I’ve been toying with the idea of asking this guy out who works in my office building. It’s not for the same company, so that’s okay. But he’s not that attractive to me. He’s just so polite and respectful and charming! Maybe. There was a man at the grocery store who was attractive too, and I wanted to ask him, are you single? I keep running into these episodes of wanting to ask someone on a date, so one day, I might actually do it. I’ll keep thinking about it and I’m sure there will be future posts about it. With that, I say, adieu.

Gratitude

To my Therapist,

Thank you for being there. Thank you for listening to me. Thank you for patiently letting me cry. Thank you for knowing that I was feeling upset. Thank you for your insight into my problems. Thank you for caring. Thank you for knowing when to say what. Thank you for not minding that I use a teddy bear and a blanket for therapy sessions so that I can feel braver and safer to talk about difficult things. Thank you for helping me to help myself to feel better.

I feel really good right now. Not great, but solid. I feel like me. I want to be alive. I have so many things that I worry about, like my living situation, not liking my job, constantly sleeping on weekends. But these I think are things that even people without depression have to worry about sometimes. I’m not alone. I never was. I have people around me who care, even if I don’t get to see those people often enough, or if they don’t live close by. It’s worth trying for those people and it’s even more worth it trying for myself. For the unborn children in my future, as a friend reminded me. I have goals I am working toward. It is worth living. And if I didn’t work, as much as I struggle with the idea of getting up to go to work every morning, life would be considerably boring. It wouldn’t be much of a life if I didn’t have purpose, and work gives me purpose, even if I don’t have the innate drive within me to succeed, I can manage to show up every day.

I decided to not see my therapist again until January. That’s about a month away. It’s the holidays and he is taking two weeks off anyway, so I thought I would prolong my misery alone and tough it out for an extra two weeks. I don’t rely on him. And I want to be strong, on my own. I want to feel like I can manage on my own.

I’m giving my couch away to my brother. No one is making me do it. It’s a choice. Yet the prospect of losing, in a sense, this couch that I’ve had for the past three years, gives me anxiety and scares me. It’s as if the couch is a part of me, a part of my life, and without it, who am I? The girl without a couch? I hate the idea of change, even though change is inevitable, and always happening. Giving away my couch is a big change. I’ll end up spending more time in my bedroom because my bed will be the only piece of furniture I have to sit on, unless I move to the floor, which isn’t very comfortable. We’ll see how it goes.

Now I am choosing to go to bed. I can make these choices. I have the power to make choices because I have control over my life and I choose to make healthy choices, like going to bed on time, because that’s what is best for me. No one is making me stay up doing things I don’t want to do. I can also choose not to suffer. “Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional” ~ The Buddha. He was a wise man and his words are ever so relevant. My therapist reminded me of this quote today. Thank you, God, and my therapist and my mom and my brother and my aunts and to my friends. Thank you for loving me just enough. For caring.

 

Finding a groove

It’s probably good that I wasn’t home tonight to have wine. No, it’s really good. When I was at work today, all I could think of was bed. I wanted to be in bed. I wanted to be able to crouch down and curl up and hide under the covers of the familiar surroundings of my blanket and pretend that I wasn’t at work. I wanted to sleep at my desk in the morning. I felt sluggish. The pace of my productivity was marred by the need for solitude and being alone, hiding out I’ll say once again. Because it is hiding. By afternoon I was desperate to run out of the office building, to my car, away from that desk and computer and office surroundings. But I didn’t. I stuck to it. I stayed at work, only took an hour for my lunch break instead of more, stayed until 5:35 PM. I got there on time and I left after eight hours. Eight hours of uninterrupted being at my desk, periodically and too often staring off to the side of my computer, taking mental breaks. I need a lot of mental breaks when I am at work. It helps me get through the stress of the day.

My retired professor friend met with me tonight right after work. He is such a sweetheart. Just down-to-earth and real, genuine, honest, fun. Yes, he’s even fun. He always has a good, innocent story to tell. And we are friends. It’s not therapy. We both talk about our lives. Sometimes he gives me advice about my life, and I don’t mind it. He’s there to help me and to listen to me and to provide kindness in my life. We met at our usual place, Starbucks by the Barnes & Noble bookstore, then went to the food court at that mall and he treated me to a Thai tea with a side of baklava, which was very messy with honey dripping all over the place. I wasn’t hungry for dinner because I had had a big lunch. I returned the $100 bill that he had given to me as a loan, just in case I needed it since I had filed for bankruptcy and my money was frozen at the bank for a few days. That was scary. I couldn’t even buy groceries and I didn’t have any cash on hand. He saved me that day by lending me the cash. Thank goodness for friends, and smart friends at that. One should always carry cash, just in case.

I feel pretty good. I didn’t go home and crawl into bed, which is what I had wanted to do. I went out and had a productive, friendly session with my teddy bear of a friend. He also gives the best hugs. They’re not too tight, and I hang on for longer than would be normally comfortable in a social situation, but he doesn’t mind, he just takes it in and waits until I’m done hugging him. He walked me to my car. I got to message him when I got home safely. And I even showered tonight. Showering has been a challenge since my depression surmounted me and I know I have to go to work with clean, not greasy, hair. It just looks better when it’s washed. I do my best. I shower two or three times a week, as little as possible. Maybe one day I will enjoy showering again. My female friend and I talk often about this, and she encourages me to shower. After doing something I don’t like I have to reward myself, so I am writing this blog. Writing almost seems like a reward. The reading a chapter of the book I have could also possibly be a reward, however, there is a murder mystery element to the book and I don’t want to go to bed thinking about red blood and gory murders. I don’t need the reminder. I wish that wasn’t part of the book I picked up but unfortunately it is, and I still want to make it through to the end of the book, just so I can have the accomplishment of having finished a book. I need to add positive experiences to my life, and having goals to reach, accomplishments, is a positive experience.

I have an interview this Saturday for a new roommate situation. I’m looking forward to it because it’s in a good neighbourhood. The rent would be expensive, but the person I’d be renting from is willing to wait the couple months that I need, and I think she wants to find the right person. I am that right person and I hope it works out. I have been over and over again and again on the verge of needing to move. The pressure to move is all self-induced. No one is making me leave where I am right now but ever since I moved in here ten months ago I have not liked it. I don’t like the people that rotate in and out of the rented rooms. I don’t like the owner, who lives here too. And I definitely don’t like not having my own bathroom. I have tons of anxiety about moving, but I also know that there are professional movers that help with that sort of stuff. What better way to alleviate stress than to hire someone who does it for a living, packing and moving. All I would have to do is the unpacking. I can do that. For sure.

I have stopped going to my support group meetings. Me and a friend agree that being around people who are unwell and share in suffering of mental illness can also be a depressant, and possibly hold me back from living a well-rounded and healthy life. Another friend said, as I have mentioned before, just go for the entertainment of it. People talk about their problems, we listen, and then listen to the feedback from the group members, whilst I play with play-dough in my hands, which they provide as an anxiety-coping mechanism to help alleviate stress while sitting there. But going to group is not always helpful, and as I’ve gotten to know a couple people in particular, there are some individuals that I’d rather stay away from and not subject myself to. So I haven’t been for the past two Mondays and I’m feeling pretty good about it so far.

Bed time. Must force myself to go to bed now because it always takes me a while to fall asleep after I’ve turned off the lights. And I have to remember to take my medication. Every night I have to remember that I have medication to take. It’s difficult, sometimes, emotionally, for having to take it, but if I try to make it part of my going to bed routine, maybe it will become easier. I’m finally going to see a doctor in a month to see if I need to get my medications updated, or if I can finally ease off of medications all together. That would be ideal. It’s a hassle, but also, philosophically speaking, as my therapist put it for me, I don’t want to take medications in general because I believe in trying to cope without them. But there’s something to be said about body chemistry, and coping with the help of psychotropic medications. Depression definitely has a biological component and is affected by diet, weather, stress, and certain pills.

Love Life

I am doing better. I am doing better than I was. I am better, more strong, more determined to live, more sure of myself than last month. And the month before that. I am doing so much better. With each passing month I gain more control and sense of certainty over my life. I know what I want. I know what I don’t want. Everything is under my control. I can choose to spend time with some people, and no time with others. What I want is within my grasp.

I cut myself on the plastic hummus container. It’s one of those hairline cuts that’s a millimeter deep and long but with the cold on my fingers and the dry air on my skin I can feel it and I keep wanting to nurse it by bringing it to my lips and instinctively slobbering all over the wound to keep it clean and protected.

I went to Trader Joe’s for dinner tonight. The bananas I bought at Costco are still too green, so I bought some reliably yellow ones at the health food store, along with a frozen pasta dinner. Frozen pasta is the best, because the sauce is already on it, it’s in it’s own disposable container so you don’t have to get a plate dirty, and there’s no mess in cooking it. Five minutes in the microwave oven and it was done. Brie and asparagus over shells of pasta. Ingenious, yet someone came up with the wicked idea which prompted me to open a bottle of a generic red blend, whatever I had on hand. Thank you very much.

Work was tolerable today. It’s always tolerable. Somehow I make it to lunch, then half the day is over, then two hours are left, and then, it’s time to go home. I don’t know how I do it every day. Luckily it’s a busy season, and there’s too much going on for me to finish all that I need to do in one day. I’m self-directed meaning that no one hovers over me. My work is driven by client demand on the phone, and by inquiries and tasks that I assign myself, as well as constant mailings that I have to manage. Right now, rather than a mass mailing, it’s individualized, one-by-one and tedious. Already, I’ve had a whole paragraph to talk about work which is more than most days.

I’m on my second glass and I’ve done plenty in one night. Right after work I had my therapy session. My glorious, thankful, rejuvenating therapy sessions which help me gain different and perhaps broader perspectives on my life, and what’s currently happening in it. Often, the content of my sessions are repetitive, because it takes more than thrice of repetition to really sink in a point. The fact that I’m okay right now, I’m going to repeat that to myself. I am okay. I am okay. I am okay.

I talked to my professor friend who called me while I was parked in the grocery shopping parking lot. I spent a full hour text messaging back and forth various supportive people, sharing my thoughts and a selfie. I look boastfully gorgeous in the photo that I took and I suppose it’s one of my few good moments whence I actually appreciate myself. After dinner I read a chapter of the seductively scary paperback that I picked up at work from the library of hand-me-down novels, right before I turned on my computer to type up this diary.

I am okay. I am doing better than I was last month, six months ago, a year ago. I am gaining more control of my life every day. I choose to go to work and I choose to sleep in on the weekends, and until I’m done with that, I’m going to continue to do that. But I know that going for walks, taking myself to the bookstore or a movie theatre, or to a restaurant, a coffee shop, even a museum, it’s all out there. It’s all waiting for me. Just waiting to be experienced. Maybe this weekend I will bring a towel to the beach (yes, I live by the beach and don’t go there enough) and my book and lazily dip my bare feet in the sand whilst I read outdoors. There are so many things I could do rather than sleep in on the weekends.

I still want to stay in bed every morning, call in sick, say I can’t make it, close to quitting my job. But I can’t do that. It’s under my control whether I keep my job or not. It’s under my control how I feed myself, how I conduct my day, who I spend time with. how I choose to live. I need to keep living. With all of my might, no matter how difficult a day might FEEL or SEEM, it might not actually be that bad. I have to keep perspective in mind. I have to keep fighting to live, because for too long, for far too long of a period in my life, I didn’t want to live. I didn’t want to make it to the next day. And I was desperate to die. And now? I said out loud to myself in my car, “I love myself.” I think that says it all.