I am a worrier. In any situation, my mind usually thinks of all the things that could go wrong. I worry about my family, my friends, my dog, my own life, and the future; so, to sum it up, I worry about almost everything. Worrying takes up a lot of my energy. I wish I was able to control it, but so far, I’ve been unsuccessful at that. However, I am getting better at it.
My grandmother was admitted to the hospital today. The doctors ruled out a stroke, but they still don’t know what’s wrong with her. They admitted her to the ICU; she is not in critical condition, they just felt that they could monitor her better there. When I first found out, I was thinking that I should fly home so I could be there with her, for my benefit, not hers. Luckily, I was able to talk myself down into thinking reasonably. I know that my mom would let me know if I needed to come home.
Feeling concerned about someone or something is one thing, but obsessive worrying is taking it too far. Most of the emotions I feel are to the extreme; I need to learn to find balance. I didn’t call my mom 10 times today to see how things were going. I called one and sent a couple of text messages. I’m learning how to handle my emotions and conduct myself in difficult situations. My first reaction is never the right or appropriate one, but, with a lot of work, I can talk myself through rough circumstances.
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.
It is important for every individual to set boundaries; it is how people take care of themselves. Setting boundaries is a healthy way to build and maintain relationships with ourselves and with others. Just because it’s healthy, doesn’t make it easy. In fact, setting boundaries is one of my most difficult tasks. In fact, it’s something that I usually fail at doing. I don’t really ever say “no” to others. My automatic answer is always “yes”, even when I practice saying “no” and other similar responses. I don’t know if this is because I’m a people pleaser or because I’m scared to turn someone down, although those reasons seem to be related. I’ve been practicing saying “no” to people when they ask me something. This doesn’t mean I should turn people down all the time; I just need to find balance between saying “yes” and “no”. The following are techniques I use to work toward setting healthy boundaries in my life:
- Know your comfort level. The first step to setting boundaries is to know what you are and are not willing to do. You have to know your own limits, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Knowing yourself and what stresses you out will allow you to know what boundaries to set.
- Practice, practice, practice. I practice saying “no” and giving other responses to questions I know someone is about to ask me. I practice having multiple answers to a question or situation.
- Ask for help. I usually ask my mom or my husband to help me determine how to respond to certain situations. My mom helps me practice my responses. It’s not often that I am able to set a boundary, but when I did a couple of weeks ago, I was so proud of myself and couldn’t wait to share it with my mom; she was excited and proud of me. Asking for help is not a weakness; it helps us become stronger.
- Begin small. When you start small, it can either be with a simple boundary or by setting a boundary with someone you’re comfortable with. Some boundaries can be as simple as stating what you want; I’m not good at doing that either, but I’m working on it.
- Long explanations are not necessary. For example, if someone asks you out to lunch, it’s okay to just say, “I can’t make it, I’m busy then, but thank you for the offer.” The more intricate your reasoning is, the more questionable it appears. There is no need to justify yourself to everyone. You should be comfortable with your response, but you don’t have to make sure everyone else is okay with it.
- Stand by your boundaries. Once we finally set boundaries, we need to stand by our decisions. It’s important, but not easy, to stand up for ourselves. I’m still working on it, but eventually I’ll get there.
- Stay positive. This is something that is extremely difficult; it’s easier said than done. The first step is to stay away from negative people. When someone you’re with is negative, it’s okay to ask them to change the subject. Walking away is also okay. Our minds go negative so easily, so every time I’m negative, I try to find at least one positive thing.
- Put yourself first. Remember, you are important. Your wants and needs are significant. I often don’t stick to my boundaries because I feel guilty or shameful. However, I’ve found out that there’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first. It’s part of taking care of you.
These techniques have been very helpful to me. Setting boundaries is probably one of the things I struggle with the most. I’ve gotten better at it, somewhat, but I still need a lot of practice. I’ll get better with time. In this past two month, I’ve said “no” twice, that’s huge for me.
I always thought that asking for help was a sign of weakness or dependency. I felt that I was always better off doing everything on my own for many reasons. I don’t like letting other people know that I can’t handle everything. It seems as if my flaws are already extremely obvious to everyone; I never saw the purpose in pointing out my shortcomings and vulnerabilities. Plus, when I talk to others about my weaknesses, it means I’m admitting to myself that they’re real. I would rather pretend that everything is okay for as long as possible instead of admit that my issues are real, even though this usually makes my problems worse. Asking others for help requires a lot of trust. I never trusted anyone else to do a better job than I could do; if I couldn’t fix the issue or come up with a solution, then I doubted that someone else could.
I also felt that by not asking others for help, I was being kind to them; who really wanted to spend their time helping me? However, since I didn’t ask others for help, I never allowed people the ability to feel useful. I know that when I am able to help others, it makes me feel good about myself. I finally feel as if I’m important and worth something, which does not come easy for me. Who am I to say others would not feel the same way when helping me? I don’t have to push or force others into helping me, but it is important to give them the opportunity to be there for me and help me through situations.
We become vulnerable by asking others for assistance. I’m usually worried what people will think of me if I tell them what’s really going on. I think that if people knew what was happening in my mind, they would have me locked up. Suicidal ideations, thoughts of cutting, hallucinations, and paranoia; that’s who I really am. Instead, I fake things pretty well; I’m actually fairly talented at pretending everything is okay. However, when I do that, nothing gets better. There’s a saying, ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’. If I want something to change, then I need to do something about it. Asking for help is doing something; it is taking that step toward change. If I allow myself to be vulnerable and ask someone for help, it could be the beginning of change and a deeper relationship.