Know Your Fears, Balance Your Emotions

Know Your Fears, Balance Your Emotions

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.

Inside My Depression

Inside My Depression

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.

Setting Boundaries

Setting Boundaries

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Realizing My Faults: Even When It Takes A While

Realizing My Faults: Even When It Takes A While

I noticed myself getting snippy yesterday with my mother, who did not deserve it at all. Once I realized it, I apologized immediately, and then I realized where it was coming from. For Mother’s Day yesterday, my mom, grandma, and myself went out to lunch; we had a lovely meal. My grandma is 90; she says a lot of things she probably shouldn’t say, but she has always been that way. After lunch, my mom ran into the grocery store while I stayed in the car with my grandma. Up until this point, things were going pretty well; however, it all fell apart fairly quickly, at least that’s how I felt.

My grandma said that if everyone put some of their money together, my husband and I move back to Connecticut. I told her that’s not an option; it’s not something we want to do. She couldn’t grasp the idea. I told her I like visiting Connecticut, but we have many reasons to live across the country. My husband’s parents are there, his kids are there, and most importantly, our granddaughter is there. None of that mattered to her. I told her we were happy living where we were, but still she didn’t understand. I said that we already only see our granddaughter every couple of weeks, and that is hard enough. I couldn’t imagine being across the country from her, I would miss her so much that just thinking about it hurts. Then she asked if we were going to adopt, she is aware that I had a hysterectomy. I explained that it’s not something we want to do; it’s not an option for us. She kept pushing the idea. I explained that I chose not to have kids because of my bipolar disorder and PTSD. I can’t always take care of myself, how could I take care of another person? She tried telling me that we would come up with a system to make it work.

Basically, nothing I said got through to her. Up until this point, my Mother’s Day was going pretty well. However, after this conversation, my heart and stomach started to hurt physically and emotionally. I already know that I can’t have kids, and I hate that, but it felt as if she was throwing it in my face. I know, 100%, that nothing my grandma says is every meant maliciously, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. The last thing I need on Mother’s Day is a reminder that I can’t have kids. I already remember every minute of every single day. I am beyond frustration.

However, I’m upset with myself for being short with her during that conversation. There are many other ways I could have handled it, but I didn’t. The best thing I could have done would have been to simply say, ‘Let’s talk about something else. This conversation makes me uncomfortable.’ I wish I thought about that at the time, but instead I just got frustrated. I was short with her, but as the rest of the day went on it got a little easier again. That’s when I started getting snippy with my mom. She didn’t do anything wrong. I couldn’t figure out why I was so upset, until I finally realized what it was. I was mad at myself for being snippy with my grandma. It was disrespectful. She can’t help it, it’s who she is, and she’s 90 years old. I became mad at myself for being a jerk. It’s as if someone was to get mad at me for being bipolar. It’s a part of who I am and I can’t control it. I had no right to be rude to my grandma.

I need to work on my compassion, especially if I want others to show me some compassion. I was with my grandma today for about 5 hours. Approximately 4 hours and 55 minutes of it went fairly smooth. It was just those 5 minutes while we were waiting in the car together. I have decided that I would rather remember and enjoy the 4 hours and 55 minutes and just ignore the 5 difficult minutes. Almost the entire visit went very well, and that is what I want to remember.