Today is feeling like just another day with depression. No matter what I’m doing, my thoughts are constantly wishing I wasn’t around. My mind keeps telling me a wide variety negative things. I try to find something that I enjoy doing to help me get through the day, I use my wellness toolbox. Today, I’m going to a Coyotes game. I love hockey and I love the Coyotes! We’re playing the LA Kings. Going to the games can be tough because they’re so crowded, but my husband helps me through it all. Only 4 hours until we leave to go to the game. I’m hoping I’ll feel even a little better once I’m watching the game.
Self-esteem is hard to maintain, whether you have any mental health disorders or not. I can’t say how it is for those that don’t, but for me, a woman with bipolar 1 and PTSD, it is really hard to keep up my self-esteem. I tend to blame myself for anything that goes wrong or even slightly incorrect. On top of the every day reasons for my low self-esteem, I even blame myself for my mental health disorders.
Self-esteem is described as respect and confidence in your own abilities. I don’t feel as if I have any good abilities, never mind having any confidence in them. I tell myself to think more of myself and to believe in myself, but it’s easier said than done. I know my family would say something different. It’s easier to see things in other people than it is to see things in yourself.
I’m such a perfectionist, so when I don’t do something perfect, I get down on myself. For example, when I graduated college, I had a 3.94 GPA. All I could think, and still think, is that it’s not a 4.0. I should have had a 4.0. I know that these emotions are unreasonable, but most emotions with bipolar disorder are unreasonable.
I do the best that I can, I have positive influences in my life, and I am appreciative for others (such as my friends and family), but it still doesn’t help me to feel better about myself. I need to find an emotional purpose.
Today, someone is coming to fix the dishwasher. It’s been broken for almost a week, so I’m happy about the idea of having a dishwasher again. However, I do not like the idea of a strange guy in my house. My dog can look scary when he’s barking, but that will only last about one minute before he wants to play and be pet by this stranger. The dog’s no good for protection. Thank goodness my husband will be here. That makes me feel safe. I’m sure the guy coming to fix the dishwasher is a nice guy, but my mind always thinks about ‘what if’ situations.
I’m still feeling like a screw up. I wish I knew how to get rid of this feeling. I keep doing things that I’m good at, hoping to counteract this emotion, but the feeling is still there. It’s an irrational emotion, but it’s what’s going on with me lately. At least I know that this feeling won’t last forever. With my bipolar disorder, I know that no emotion will ever last forever. I will go up and down quite often. So all I need to do is hang on until this horrible feeling goes away.
Pretending to be feeling okay, when you’re not, is exhausting. I do this mostly around my in-laws. I don’t know why. They know about my bipolar disorder and are very supportive. I guess it’s just my comfort level. I’ll open up over time. I’m getting more and more comfortable around them. I think it’s just because we normally spend our time in large groups. I do better one on one.
The past couple of days, I’ve been feeling like a total screw up. I feel like I’m doing everything wrong; I’m feeling shame. There are also some things that I’m avoiding because I know/feel as if I’m going to mess it all up. I don’t know where these feelings are coming from. I’m reading into everything that people say; somehow, I can find negative things about myself when others are talking. The “funny” part about it is that people don’t even have to be talking about me for me to find something negative about myself.
I think a lot of it comes from my weight gain. I look in the mirror, and I automatically feel sad and pathetic. All I see is the person I don’t want to be. I feel like I can’t talk to others properly, I can’t stay organized, I can’t workout well enough, I can’t cook right, I can’t get things done, I just can’t do anything right. I wish I knew how to get rid of this feeling. This overwhelming feeling is taking control of my mind and body.
Even though I know that I don’t do everything wrong, I still feel as if I do. I don’t know why that is. For instance, I know I’m a good cook; so why do I feel like the dinners I’m making suck? I’m also a very organized person, but I feel like my house is unorganized and I don’t know how to fix it. I know the truth, but what I don’t know is why I still feel this way even though I know it’s false.
This week has been full of doctor/medical appointments. I had my blood work done on Monday, talk therapy was yesterday, today was my gyn to treat my interstitial cystitis. I feel like all I do is go from one doctor to the next, over and over again. My blood work went well this week. I saw the woman who normally asks too many personal questions; she’s quite inappropriate. I was told that I should report her, but I didn’t. This last appointment, when I saw her, she only asked how I was doing. She didn’t try to tell me how I should treat and manage my bipolar disorder. I get extremely nervous when I see her, but now I know that I can see her without having her get inappropriate.
My therapy appointment went well. I actually opened up to him a little more than I expected. I told him some things that I’ve been thinking about that I haven’t told anyone else. It felt good to finally get some of the ideas that are running around in my head off my chest. It would have been better if talking about it made it go away. Instead, it just brought the negative thinking to the front of my mind. I keep going over and over it in my mind. I wonder when it will stop. At least I have someone I feel comfortable talking to about it. I’m not comfortable talking about it here yet, but maybe I will one day soon.
My gyn treats my interstitial cystitis, also called painful bladder disorder, by doing an installation. They are very uncomfortable, only sometimes do I yell or swear during the treatment. I’ve been doing the treatments every week for a couple of months now. Today, I found out that I finally get to do the treatments ever two weeks. I’m ecstatic about that.
I wish I could have a week without doctor appointments. I suppose the next time that will happen will be when I go to Cape Cod, although I’ll still have to get my blood drawn in order to get my Clozapine prescription. One day, I believe I will have a doctor-free week. It may not be today or even this month, but it will happen at some point.
I always do everything I’m told, and I think it’s catching up with me. I don’t want to cause any problems, but I feel like I need a vacation from my life, from myself, from my health. Just out of curiosity, I’m wondering how many people have had the same thoughts as the following:
- I’m always compliant with my medications and my treatments. Sometimes I just want to say screw it all and not take my meds. I wonder how much they’re really helping anyway. What’s the point of taking all these meds without knowing that they are definitely working?
- I’m an insomniac. The Clozapine has been helping me sleep for the most part lately, but I still wake up several times throughout the night. Why do I keep forcing myself to fall asleep? For some reason, I’m always hungry when I wake up. Maybe I should try to see if I get tired on my own. I’m an insomniac; I have problems sleeping, not getting tired.
- Sometimes, I’m get tired of doing the reasonable or rational thing. On occasion, I just want to do whatever I feel like doing without people saying it’s because of my mental health.
These are just a few of the things that have been going on in my mind lately. I think I’m just a bit frustrated with everything, and I’m wondering if other people have similar thoughts as I do. If others do have these thinking issues, what do you do to get through them?
I wish I knew how to control my thinking. Everything can be going just fine, and then one thing happens, like someone gives me an attitude, and I automatically start going through all of the possible reasons they could be mad at me. How self-centered am I to think that just because someone has an attitude it has something to do with me? There could be a thousand different reasons for that individual to have an attitude. I really need to get over myself. I always think that I’m doing something or everything wrong. I even tend to do the same thing when someone is giving me a compliment. I think that instead of actually giving me a compliment, that person is pointing out that I finally figured something out.
Yesterday, when I was with my granddaughter, I heard a couple of people say, ‘Wow, you’re getting really good with her.’ Instead of hearing a compliment, I hear them saying how bad I used to be with her. Then I start getting frustrated; it’s not like I had children of my own, this is my first time dealing with an infant. I really down that people are giving backhanded compliments. People are probably saying how they really think and feel, and I’m just overanalyzing everything. I’m actually mentally exhausted from always over-thinking everything for no real reason.
Trying to cut myself some slack is a lot easier said than done. I really do think that almost everything I say or do is wrong in one way or another. No matter how hard I try, it’s impossible to please everyone. Maybe I should just work at doing things that will make me and my husband happy. The only problem with that is that I don’t even know where to start.
After working at the rehab for 9 months, I decided I wanted to move forward with my life. I applied for many jobs in Phoenix. I got a job as a receptionist for a legal compliance and ethics e-learning company. I found an apartment in Phoenix and moved there with a guy I was dating from the rehab, but that relationship didn’t last. I don’t know when our relationship ended, but I think we lived together for about a year. I adopted a dog and named him Cash (after Johnny Cash). He was awfully energetic and liked to chew on everything. I learned how to train him, and he started to behave properly. Cash came with me to AA camping events, which was a blast. At some point, I found a great AA club where I would go to the same meeting every day at 6pm. I don’t like change, so moving was scary. I like to keep a regular schedule. I made a lot of friends at the meeting, but I would only go to that one meeting every day. One of the guys I met was Brandon, who became my best friend. He had the same sarcastic attitude that I have and we got along wonderfully.
I was doing really well at this time in my life. I got a promotion at work, I was able to live on my own, make friends, and maintain my sobriety and my mental health. I took my medication and saw my doctors regularly. I was seeing the psychiatrist that was treating me while I was in rehab. Brandon asked me to workout with him. I told him no for months, and then I ultimately caved and decided to go with him. I was terrified because it was something new, but Brandon made me feel safe. After working out with him once, I was hooked. I loved it. We started working out together 5 days a week. It helped me get through my days at work. I would go to work, then workout with Brandon, and then go to my meeting (often with Brandon). I was happy with this new schedule; it was working well for me.
In the beginning, I wasn’t open about my mental health when it came to my AA meetings. My close friends knew, but that was all. Eventually, I ended up talking about my bipolar disorder in a meeting. I felt as if it wasn’t accepted. Several times, I was told that I didn’t have a mental health problem. It was just an issue to work on through step work. That was a problem for me. I didn’t feel accepted. My mental health was a huge part of my life. Even when I’m doing well, it’s still a large piece of my life. I was stable for years. That had never happened to me before.
My psychiatrist decided to wean me off my meds slowly because I had been stable for such a long period. It was possible that my mental health issues were drug related, so we thought it was worth a try to get off medication. I was down to two medications, and then she took me off the Seroquel. About 4 months later, I started to fall apart. I thought it would be a good idea to go to therapy again because I started to remember things that I hadn’t previously remembered. These memories triggered what was eventually diagnosed as PTSD. With the PTSD coming up and the med changes occurring, it was like the perfect storm. I started having hallucinations and was shaking uncontrollably. My psychiatrist put me on Abilify, but that made it worse. I barely slept for 3 weeks.
My job let me work from home, but after a little while, I couldn’t even manage that any more. I went on short-term disability, which then turned into long-term disability. There were times that I struggled to feed the dog. My mom came out to stay with me for a little while, but she couldn’t be there all the time. I decided to move back to Connecticut because I couldn’t be on my own anymore. I’m lucky that she was able and willing to let me and my dog move in with her. My long-term disability turned in to Social Security Disability.
I thought writing my story would help my memory, and it has; but it has also become difficult for me. There’s a lot that I struggle to remember, and a lot of other things I wish I didn’t remember. I think I’m going to take a break from writing my story for a little while.
I’m in it, inside the depression; it has taken my energy, my thoughts, and my will. I’m not myself, but I can’t even remember who I normally am. I can’t seem to get things done. It has been weeks since I’ve cleaned my house. Normally I clean the whole house once a week. I keep putting it on my to-do list, but I never seem to be able to get it done. Anything and everything is close to impossible. Every moment is a fight against myself, and it feels as if I’m losing.
I’ve done this many times before. It’s not my first depression, or my second, or third, and so on. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 14 years old. It’s been 17 years that I’ve been trying to manage my diagnosis. I just wish that I could find the peace and keep it just a little bit longer instead of going from one episode to another. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been depressed or manic. The most important part is that I get through it every time. No matter how deep the episode is, no matter how hopeless the depression gets, I’ve gotten through it before and I’ll get through it again.
I wish I could get through this quicker. I know this sounds weird, but a part of me wishes I was manic. Then I would at least have energy and be productive. I’m not thinking about the negative aspects of mania, I’m just thinking that I don’t want to feel the depression I’m in. Right now, I’m sleeping way to much (I keep falling asleep on the couch), I feel worthless, I feel empty, I’m overeating, I have a decreased interest in almost everything, and just about everything is irritating. I’m lucky that I haven’t started crying yet, hopefully it will stay that way; I hate it when I cry. When I say I want to be manic, it’s just because I don’t want to deal with this depression. I want what I currently don’t have. It would be best if I could just be even, not depressed or manic, but I don’t know if that’s reasonable.
I will get through today; I always do. I have a great support system. Everyone I know offers their help. My husband just asked me if he could do anything. I thanked him for offering, but there’s nothing he could do. I wish there was something that other people could do, but I can’t think of anything. Simply knowing that people close to me truly care is helpful. Just knowing that they are there to support me makes me feel a little better; right now, every little bit counts.
I talk a lot about staying positive and how positive thinking is beneficial. Sometimes I feel like a fraud when I talk about being positive because it’s not how I naturally feel. My mind almost always goes to the negative side instinctively. Some people are naturally positive, and others are not. For me, it takes a lot of work to be positive, most of the time I’m faking my positivity. There’s a catch phrase that says, “Fake it ’til you make it.” That’s what I’m doing most of the time. I try to talk and write positively in hopes that eventually I’ll end up believing my own words. Sometimes, when I’m dealing with an anxiety provoking situation, I tell myself over and over, “I can do this.” Even though I don’t necessarily believe myself, it gets my brain to start thinking about something other than what is scaring me. It almost always ends up working out okay. That specific strategy helped me while at the airport, which is a huge anxiety trigger for me.
Lately, I’ve been seeing the negative side of everything. I will vent for a little while, and when I’m done, it turns out that I’ve talked myself through the negativity and into positivity. Even though my mind sees more negative things than positive things, at least I see some positive things. I may start out venting, being angry, and negative; however, it helps that I’m able to end my thoughts on a positive note.
I may not always be positive, but I am grateful. Even though my life has been difficult, it could always be worse. I try to remain grateful for at least one thing, no matter how difficult life gets. Gratitude can seem impossible, but there is always something to be grateful for. For example, despite the difficulty I’ve experienced over the past many years, I still have my sobriety. I’m also extremely lucky to have a family that accepts me and does their best to understand my bipolar disorder. That is more than many other people have. No matter how bad life gets, I can always fall back on these things that I’m grateful for. It’s been very helpful for me to have these things I know I’m always grateful for; my loved ones can remind me of them when I forget.