Hello Again

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Well, it’s been a long time since I posted a blog. I guess you get to a point in your life sometimes where things are so overwhelming that you can’t write them out. That’s usually the time you should actually write things out, but sometimes when I’m overwhelmed I do the exact opposite of the things that are going to make me feel better.

The rift in my family has grown to such that I don’t think it will ever be repaired. I’m having major abandonment issues as well as flashbacks to being younger and being forced to choose family allegiances. It’s all been extremely triggering.

I think my medications are doing a decent job. I’ve had a lot of paranoia lately but I can’t say whether that is chemical or deep psychological issues. As I’ve expressed before, my coping mechanism seems to be to ignore what is really troubling me and direct all of my energy into baseless terrors.

My kids are back in school, they’re about to start week two. I haven’t done anything with my free time yet. I want to work on streaming my gaming on Twitch.tv. I actually have steamed a few times, only once with my webcam on. If I really get into it I can monetize.

I’ve been losing a lot of weight, I’m down to almost where I want to be. I’ve been working out some but mostly it’s been IBS caused by my high anxiety levels. So I need to step up my workouts in case the IBS stops because I do NOT want to gain all of the weight back. I’ve also been eating healthier except for the last few days. I just cannot gain this weight back; I feel terrible when I’m fat. I need to get a tummy tuck really badly, between having my two kids and letting myself get so big I have more loose skin than I care for.

I don’t know what else to write about or comment on. I have all these internal struggles but there’s so much shit going on in the world around me. I don’t have any unique thoughts to add to the cacophony.

 

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I Can

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I can do this.

I can exist without constant dread.

I can do the everyday normal things I want to do without succumbing to my anxiety.

I can be happy.

I can be content.

I can interact with people without dissecting the interaction for hours or days afterward.

I can take care of important errands without taking a Xanax beforehand.

I can be myself without the constant fear of judgment or rejection.

I can overcome this.

I can do this.

I can outlast this, because it’s not permanent.

 

 

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Can’t Forgive

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I’m remembering things tonight that I feel badly about. I have left my scars on people, as we all do. But I’m feeling quite bad about it tonight. I’m thinking about some of the things I did before I went into treatment. I know some of my actions hurt people. I was nothing but confusion and impulse at that time. I don’t even know how to put myself into the headspace to understand what was going on in my mind.

I’m having a hard time letting go. I always do because I can’t stop holding myself accountable for things. I read in The Four Agreements that one of the causes of suffering is to continuously punish yourself for your wrongs even after you should have forgiven yourself. And also that we are all doing our best all of the time. Which I feel about myself, but that almost makes me feel worse because it means I’m trying my best all of the time and failing.

I think if I didn’t understand that my previous actions have possible continuing effects on people I could forgive myself. But I imagine the wronged party, and I imagine them suffering because of something that I did, and I want to make myself suffer.

I received an Amazon gift card for my birthday and used it to purchase a Giving Key. I already have one, it’s brass and says “Faith”. Which I do try to utilize but it’s honestly just not that relevant of a word to me. It was given to me by my grandmother to symbolize faith in myself and faith in God. I’m not ready to pass it on just yet, so it must still have something to tell me.

The one that I purchased myself says “Fearless”. I thought about “Let Go” because it would help me let go of the past and then also to let go of my anxieties. But I chose “Fearless” instead because I am a fear-based person typically and every regret that I have seems to stem from letting my fear get the best of me. So I’m hoping that will be a helpful mantra. I already have a tattoo on my hand that says “I am over fear” which I had hoped would serve as a reminder but I honestly a) regret having such an obvious hand tattoo and b) kind of forget that it’s there ha ha.

I rode my bike tonight. I keep taking these long breaks in between. I’ve gained almost five pounds back.

This whole week I’ve been having panic issues. Panic is much worse than anxiety (which I have also been having). You literally become certain that there is something incredibly wrong and/or you are dying. Your body and your lower brain take over. I’ve been trying more and more to separate my thoughts from my body when the anxiety or panic take over. I’m pretty good at it but it didn’t seem to help much this week.

Here’s hoping I’ll feel better tomorrow. I’m exhausted from trying to keep it together.

 

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Having a Hard Time

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This happens every month. Something about the hormones that come with my period affecting my brain chemicals. It causes me anxiety and depression. I have to take an additional med every month. It’s really compounded this month because I have a lot on my plate. And no one to help me. And the looming threat of financial ruin.

 

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Higher Vibrations

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I made it back on my bike tonight!

I had another triggering “incident” today. Things that shouldn’t be a big deal, but they all have been lately.

But the point is I still got back on my bike again despite it, and I’m soooo glad I did. I literally feel more clear headed than I have in…well…the week since I stopped riding.

I know just as well as anyone how hard it can be to muster the motivation to work out when you are having mental health issues. So I’m not the one to say that working out is the cure to all mental illness. But man, any physical movement you can muster sure does help. I am so thankful for my functional body, and for the fact that I was able to get myself back on the “horse”.

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For the last couple nights I have been laying down to go to bed and putting on my (new! Love them!) headphones and listening to Marconi Union’s Weightless. If you don’t know about Weightless, here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia page:

“According to scientists at the Mindlab institution (a commercial ‘neuromarketing’ company) it induced a 65% reduction in overall anxiety and brought test subjects’ resting pulse rates to 35% of their usual resting rates. The song features guitar, piano and manipulated field recordings. It is punctuated throughout by low tones that supposedly induce a trance-like state. This piece propelled the band into the media spotlight and news reports, and was reported in newspapers worldwide.”

It truly does relax me and even out and slow my breathing and heartrate. I am very susceptible to music therapy and the concept of entrainment.

Last night as I was listening, and hearing some of the higher tones that sound almost like a crystal singing bowl, I had an epiphany about Higher Vibrations.

Now, I have mentioned metaphysics briefly in my blog before. It’s definitely something I am into, but not something I subscribe to blindly. I’m not 100% sure on the spiritual aspect, and not 100% sure on the scientific aspect. I don’t know why I’m into this stuff. I do know a lot of things work for me, like crystals and oracle cards and such. I think everything is about intention and using tools to look inside of yourself, examine your own motivations. The power of thought (prayer, even) is powerful. You can think yourself sick; they’ve proven that negative thought can negatively impact your physical health. Positive thinking is just as powerful, effecting positive change.

As I was saying, my thoughts turned to Higher Vibrations, something I had not previously given much credence to. But I saw myself in that moment, glowing and vibrating in a warm, high pitch, just like a singing bowl. My molecules moving more quickly like warm water. And my mind turned to the thoughts I had been struggling with, and I got a vision in my mind of darkness and low warbling, I even thought about my car before I got it fixed, when the RPMs were too low and the engine was struggling to stay alive.

So now I am trying to meditate on this picture of operating on a “higher frequency” whenever I feel my will begin to sputter. I don’t even know if my definition of higher and lower vibration is the accepted definition but it really doesn’t matter to me. I think a happy life is all about finding what works for you. Whether it’s a straightforward, dogmatic belief, or just a cobbled together, hodge-podge of many belief systems strung together. The important thing is you find what works and try to stick with it. So now that’s what I’m trying to do.

Bike. Listen. Meditate. Vibrate. Glow!

 

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Guilt and Fear

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A large part of having an anxiety disorder can be guilt. When you are irrationally anxious, those thoughts can manifest themselves as grandiose conspiracy theories against yourself. It’s pretty damn self centered at the core of it, but it’s certainly not narcissism.

I have guilt for lots of reasons. I feel like I remember every wrong thing I have done since I was a toddler. Truly. Things that, as an adult viewing a child, I would not condemn a young child for, I condemn myself as a child freely.

As I have gotten older and as my anxiety has been treated, I suffer from far less guilt attacks. But sometimes, when I am in deep existential pain, the guilt resurfaces. Because I am in pain. And I don’t have a logical source for the pain. So I invent one. And often my invention is digging up every bad thing I’ve ever done in the past and deciding that this unbearable pain is punishment for the terrible, terrible person I have been. And am.

It doesn’t matter how many times people tell me what a wonderful person I am. I simply decide that I have fooled them all somehow.

And then fear sets in, deep dreadful fear that comes with anxiety and panic attacks. The fear that somehow, some way, people will find the “truth” about you.

My biggest fear is that I will be judged and come up unworthy, or worse, BAD.

Because of this fear, I have hidden and self sabotaged myself from the time I was a child. I made a lot of poor decisions in relationships and in life because of this fear of disappointing or of being condemned.

Now, on the cusp of growth and (hopefully) greater visibility, my old anxieties return. And because I am anxious, I feel there needs to be a reason. And I turn to guilt.

In the end, I myself need to realize and accept the fact that I AM a good person.

I can’t continue to turn to others to give me that validation. After all, I’ve been receiving that validation for decades and it still isn’t enough to kill the demons of guilt and fear inside of me. So I have to slay these demons myself.

Not everyone is going to like me, or think I’m great, or even, I’m assuming, good. Someone, for some reason, may think I’m a terrible person. I haven’t left a great impression on everyone I’ve ever met. That’s just not possible.

In the end, I have done my best my whole life to be a good person. My motto is literally “Be harmless”. But things I have done have undoubtedly left scars on someone. None of us are completely harmless, although I believe the majority of us try to be.

I need to accept who I am and what I have done. Other people already have. But what good is it unless I actually believe it?

 

 

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I Don’t Get High Anymore

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So I’m just finally going to come out and say it.

I have Bipolar Disorder.

I was diagnosed about three years ago. The details and circumstances leading to that diagnosis are not something I’m going to go into right now. But it was hard, and it was dark.

Leading up to it, I was high a lot. If not on the odd euphoria my brain was pumping out in rapid cycles, then it was the prescription medications I was using improperly. Or the hard liquor I was kicking back every day after work, in large amounts.

I felt good a lot.

All “good” things come to an end, and certain circumstances are unsustainable. I did the bravest and smartest thing I’ve ever done in my life and got help.

With one stumble right after my initial decision, I have been sober since.

And FUCK do I hate it sometimes.

Because I don’t think my body produces certain chemicals like it used to.

I’ve never had a “normal” brain so I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty sure the medications I was put on permanently altered my brain in a way that I CAN’T feel euphoria, ever. Not the kind of highs a “normal” brain pumps out from time to time.

I have not always been compliant with my medications. I mentioned in an earlier blog post about one of the reasons people go off of medications, and I’m speaking specifically regarding my experience as a person with Bipolar Disorder, is that you miss the euphoria. You get to a point where everything is so gray all the time that you just think, if I go off of my medications, now that I know I have this disorder, I’ll be able to handle it! I’ll have the good feelings and the energy and motivation and artistic drive I did before but THIS TIME I won’t spiral out of control.

Well, it didn’t matter for me, anyway, because all going off my medications did was bring back my crippling anxiety and depression and this time, no fun stuff.

I want to pause at this juncture and make it very clear that I am extremely grateful for my medications. They have improved my quality of life immensely. Maybe I don’t feel “good” how I used to, but I am so much more clear headed and on an even keel. This is in part because I went through many medications to find out what worked for me without turning me into a zombie.

Because I’m not a zombie. But I’m also not as colorful as I once was. I don’t experience the bursts of inspiration and motivation I once did. Two of the medications do make me sleepy, so I have to take them at night. The cocktail of medications together throws off my balance and sometimes clouds my memory. I used to have a perfect memory. I can’t consume certain over the counter medications and supplements, there are even some foods that I love that I can’t eat.

But I’m grateful, so grateful for the help that I have. I’m grateful I can be the person I now am for my family and friends.

There are still struggles.

I still get depression cycles! That’s part of what sucks. I still get depression and anxiety but I don’t get any of the “fun stuff”.

I don’t know if this blog is irresponsible. I’m considering not publishing it. Because God forbid someone reads it and decides not to get the help they need. I feel that I have made it extremely clear that getting help was the right thing. If not, let me do so:

I would literally be DEAD without the help that I got. Dead.

My blog post is not about how much it sucks to be on psychiatric medications. Except for the parts where it is, I guess.

I miss drinking. Some people on the meds I’m on do drink, even though you’re really not supposed to. And damn do I get tempted. But I know in my bones I wouldn’t drink to get a little buzz, or because I like the taste (which I do and I also miss). I would drink to get wasted. And I wouldn’t just do it on the weekends.

I know how to get medications. I can get pain meds, I can get anti anxiety meds. I know how to play the system. That’s one reason I got the help I did- I know the path that those things lead people down. They lead to heroin. I’m not exaggerating; that is the trajectory many people have gone down, and that is where I was headed, too.

I’m not a recreational drug and alcohol user. I am an addict. I am also sober, for maybe three years now? I think it was three years in April. I haven’t kept close track.

Anyway, all of this has been to say that sobriety kind of sucks sometimes. That was all I really came here to say. Sobriety can suck.

But it’s better than the alternative.

 

Here are a couple links that someone may find helpful:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

 

 

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