Can’t we rest?

There are layers upon layers that swirl around, not stopping because of other pathways, but making new ones or going through the existing ones.  I try to follow one path only to end up on another one and then another only to find out that I have been going in a circle all this time. Defeated, dejected, and somewhat perplexed, I look around trying to find the right path.  The one that will lead me to the clarity I had not minutes before.  By now there are so many intersections, pathways, interruptions, responsibilities, other thoughts that I want to pursue that I am so lost it hurts to breathe.  My chest heaving, I look around for a guide, a signpost even, that will direct me to where I go.  Everyone sees my confusion and starts telling me the path that they took to get where they wanted to be or they tell me to look above.  I look above and the Almighty smiles tenderly at me and tells me that He has given me the directions I just have to find them.  Disgruntled, I keep searching but by now the exhaustion has come and it has decided that what I need is sleep. Sleep will help me figure it out.  

 

I try to sleep.  I lay my head down, say my prayers, and try to go to that quiet place where I can rest.  There is no rest though.  There are more thoughts and directions I feel I should be taking as well as the dreams.  Dear Lord, the dreams.  The dreams that seem so real, and he feels so real, but he’s not, and he never was and he is gone.  I wake up, always, at 3:30 am.  I have yet to figure out what is so important about that time.  I try and sleep for a few more hours.  I wake up, exhausted.  Wanting nothing more than to rest but I have many miles to walk through the day.  Always seeking out what I can’t find.  If I could just find it, that place that I seek, where there is rest, compassion, solace, clarity, and softness then I could be content.  The world is so dark, and hard, and negative, and striving, and grasping at me.  It’s this monster that is always telling me I am not good enough, never going to get enough done, that my kids are better off without me, that everyone is against me, their laughter and jeers follow me everywhere, and I can’t get off this merry-go-round that is my life.  

 

I see glimmers of hope sometimes but then reality comes in and takes it away.  My hands, my poor, bleeding, swollen, hurting, helping hands are battered beyond belief at what has become of them.  Where I would love nothing more than to help people I am left attempting to help myself.  There are some days that I can’t even keep myself together let alone others.  Those are the hardest days.  The days in which I want to do so many things but I can’t.  I can’t get up and do the dishes, or vacuum, or even put on makeup.  My mind is so exhausted that my body collapses.  My kids are there needing me, needing me to be okay, needing me to support them, and there are times I just can’t.  

 

And so starts the circle again, trying to find the way back, trying to find the light, trying to follow the cues that I’m given, and I just want rest.  Is that so bad?  Can’t we all just rest?

Drugs, drugs, and more drugs

I haven’t written in a while and honestly I couldn’t tell you if it’s from not wanting to write or not being able to write.  My mind is mush, so to speak, and I’m trying to find the pathways that make me who I am and sometimes it’s a damnably hard thing.

 

I started seeing a psychiatrist a few months ago.  Here is what I have learned: brain chemicals are the psychiatrists playground and they are only interested in an end goal.  I’m not entirely sure what that goal is for me.  I was started on a wonderful little drug called Lamictal.  It’s a mood stabilizer (this Dr is leaning towards Major Depressive Disorder with mixed symptoms…lovely) and you have to stop it immediately if you develop a rash.  I totally got the rash.  Okay, well, Dr says, let’s try you on Viibryd.  Holy Aggression, Batman!  I told him by email that I was very agitated on it.  Dr says okay, well here, have some Klonopin.  I went and saw the Dr and he said since I wasn’t having apathy and depression per se that the Viibryd was doing it’s job so just use Klonopin when you want to kill people.  Oh, and here, try some Topamax for a mood stabilizer.  I took the Topamax one night and felt like I was having seizures all night.  I wasn’t…that I know of…but that’s what it felt like.  I woke up that morning and cried for a couple hours for no apparent reason.  I’m not a crier.  It’s just not something I do very often at all.  

 

I have made the decision to say screw the meds.  After a couple of my closest friends and my daughter told me that I had been very angry lately I decided that I would much rather have depression than anger.  I was getting mad about things that never bother me.  I was furious.  I would have racing thoughts for hours, planning rants that I would tell people in my head whilst I should be asleep.  

 

Add onto this that I’m wearing the nicotine patch to try to stop smoking cigarettes (13 days cigarette free yay), that I’m having some kind of flare up that is making my hands hurt like hell, and just the stress of being a single parent.  I am utterly exhausted.  Maybe a little depressed.  

 

I’ve started titrating down from the Viibryd and I am starting to feel a little better.  I’m still cranky.  I’m still moody.  I had to take a half a Klonopin tonight instead of buying a pack of cigarettes.  Everyone says  “reduce your stress!”  Ummmm….how?!  How do I reduce the stress of bills, kids, work, illness, and trying to quit smoking?  Oh, and here’s a fun fact for you…depressed people are more likely to smoke because the nicotine has fun with your serotonin and dopamine making you feel a little better after a cigarette.  I don’t know if it’s worse or better to have that information.

 

All in all, I do know that I need to be writing more.  I have startling moments of clarity (especially when driving) where I know exactly how I want to make a presentation on mental health to a high school student body, where I want one of my books to go, how I’m going to overcome EVERYTHING with working out and eating better, and how to enjoy life.  I lose my grasp on the clarity though so easily.  It falls like sand through my hands and then I’m down on my knees, sifting through the grains, trying to put the pieces of the sand into a coherent picture once again.  It’s maddening.

 

Depression and all mental illness is a horrible thing to deal with because what works for one may not work for others.  Medications and I do not get along.  I don’t like not feeling like I am ME.  If there is one thing that I can say about my life it’s that I have always tried to hold onto who I am as a person…not even as a person.  As a soul.  I want my soul to remain true to how God created it.  It’s been banged up, there are some black marks on it, and some jagged scars but it is still mine and it is still me.  Medications make me feel like they are making the decisions in my life and that just doesn’t work for me.  Good or bad I will be true to myself.  

 

On the plus side, depression always leads to some of my best writing (that’s a secret you know…creative people with mental illness enjoy it somewhat.  The darkness is where the truth hides).  So does hypomania…or whatever it is.  The meds lead to no creativity, passion, or truth at all.  I cannot abide that sort of life.  It is not who I was created to be.

Demons

Hiding in plain sight

The demons lurk behind storm filled eyes

No one ever knows

The pain that’s taken hope

I wish I had no heart

No soul to fill with love

What has it ever given me

But tear stained eyes

And blood filled hands

Life beats you down

Nothing ever comes easy

Apathy or excess

No in between

Dear God in heaven

What is wrong with me?

Self care

It’s a bitch to try and maintain your emotional health whenever you’re lonely.  Loneliness can easily lead to depression.  It’s that short step that you take from one room to another.  I’m fighting it.  Sometimes I feel like I’m fighting too hard and I need to just feel it.  I can understand feeling the loneliness, it’s fleeting.  Depression is a hole that it gets harder every time to pull out of the darkness.  I’ve left bits and pieces of myself on the edges of that pit whenever I’ve fallen into it.  I’ve got numerous scars and wounds from the battle.  I’m still here.  

 

I try to take care of myself and constantly watch to make sure I don’t take that fall.  Self care is so important to those of us that battle self destructive tendencies.  I’ve written before about how people consider it selfish to take care of yourself.  It’s not selfish.  It’s a “have to” for me.  I can’t function as a mother, friend, employee, or any other hat I wear if I don’t put myself first at times.  

 

Thanks to Zoloft, I am able to step back from the edge easier.  It’s still there.  I feel the loneliness and the edge more clearly today though.  I’ve been having to think about what I need to do to take care of myself at the moment so I don’t slip.

 

  1. I have to eat better.  Keeping my sugar and carb intake down is so important to my mental health.  I’m not really sure why but it does play a big difference in keeping myself from having an overwhelming amount of anxiety.
  2. Sleep.  I have to get more sleep.  Having fibromyalgia, this is almost impossible at times.  I hate taking medication to sleep because I feel so out of it in the morning.
  3. Mindfullness.  I haven’t been practicing it like I should be.  I’ve half assed it a little bit but nothing major.
  4. Avoiding toxic people and drama.  I stay at home most of the time anymore.  Lately I can’t tolerate even the smallest amount of drama without clenching up and becoming very anxious.  I also need to learn to cut my losses with some people and move on.  
  5. Avoiding Social Media.  Facebook is a cesspool most of the time.  I like it because it has funny stuff on it sometimes and I can keep up with friends that live far away.  I detest it because it stirs up so much BS.
  6. Exercise.  I have to start walking and/or lifting weights again.  Endorphins are cool.
  7. I have to realize that I am complete in myself.  I don’t need a partner in my life.  I’ve been doing pretty okay the last few years.  That doesn’t mean I don’t want someone.  Oh, how I want someone.  
  8. Because of #7 I have really be discerning about who I spend time with frequently.  Marriage #3 mostly happened because of loneliness.  I have to remember, “follow your brain; your heart is stupid as shit”.  
  9. I have to take breaks to spend time doing something for myself.  Whether it’s a walk or sitting in my garage, watching the wind make the flowers dance, or reading a book.  

 

Life is kinda hard right now.  I mean, it’s awesome, but it’s also hard.  It’ll get better though.  There are times that I much prefer being single.  I would say that is 95% of the time.  Those 5% days though are a bitch.  Will I get past it?  Damn right.  While my brain may try to self destruct my soul is all about living.  

Homeostasis

So I have this whole crazy explanation for the reason people do things.  It’s possibly not accurate.  It’s possible that I’m stealing the idea from someone.  (It’s sorta along the lines of Drive Theory in Psychology…sorta) Don’t care!  I like it and I’m sure my friends are tired of hearing about it so I’ll just put it on the blog and y’all can ignore it, read it, live it, or burn it.  Don’t care!

 

Okay, we all know what homeostasis is, yes?  For those that don’t…homeostasis is when your body is constantly trying to regulate its functions.  It’s when you are hot and you sweat.  It’s when you’re stressed out and it tries to calm itself.  I think that our soul/brain/psych does this as well.  In my mind however, homeostasis is a BAD thing for your mental health.  You could also call homeostasis your comfort zone.

 

We can become comfortable in ourselves so easily.  We look at ourselves in the mirror and think, “sure, I could lose a few pounds, but ice cream tastes so damned good!”  We stay in horrible relationships (or keep dating the same type of person) because it is the evil we know versus the unknown.  As people, we aren’t much on change.  

 

I’ve decided to intentionally upset my comfort zone.  I was comfortable with my depression.  I was used to the morbid thoughts, the lack of energy, and the horrible way that I spoke to myself and about myself.  It took me awhile to see that I really needed to do something to change.  I got on medication that actually worked, I saw a therapist, I read great books, and I learned to start caring for myself.  This was very uncomfortable at first.  I was not happy but I was content.

 

I have beaten back the depression for now so I moved on to a different comfort zone.  I was comfortable having low self esteem.  I was not used to praising myself or taking pride in my accomplishments.  I had to change my inner mantra of, “you’re fat, ugly, worthless, unloveable” to “I am powerful, I am capable, I am beautiful, I am intelligent, I am love”.  It took some doing and I still struggle some days with this but overall, I made myself comfortable with positive thinking.

 

My next battle (I’m a fighter, I have to have something to wage war against) is going to be a tough one.  I’ve reached self care, self respect, self worth and now I am working on self control and discipline.  Yuck.  Just saying them makes me feel icky.  I’ve never done well with self control.  I am as fly by the seat of my pants as I can get.  Working a budget makes me want to break out in hives.  Following a diet makes me want to eat the whole refrigerator…including the refrigerator.  

 

I’m doing it though.

 

I made a budget and I’m sticking to it.  I’ve been getting up and walking in the mornings and I’ve been making a conscious effort to eat right. I’ve also not had a cigarette since Friday evening.  I’m using a vape and everyone in my vicinity should be very, very thankful.  

 

I’m feeling very uncomfortable right now.  I feel off kilter and like I need to go do something crazy just to prove that I am myself still.  Here’s the deal though.  Even if I change habits I am always me.  The truth of me isn’t surrounded in lack of self control or in doubting myself.  The truth of me has nothing to do with anything of that nature.  It does have to do with how I see myself, but it also has a lot to do with how I FEEL about myself.  It has nothing to do with what others think of me because it honestly doesn’t matter.  

 

I don’t know what is next after this battle but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.  Right now I’m dealing with being out of my comfort zone until I make it my comfort zone.  I can exist anywhere.  I was made to ride out the storm.

Kill it with fire

Sometimes I wish that I could rip my brain apart, find my chemical imbalances, mental illness, hormones, insecurities, and those damaged parts and beat the hell out of them. Rage at them and tell them to leave me alone and then kill them. Kill them with fire. I just want to live my life without the constant shadow of demons following me. I don’t want to make my loved ones worry about me. I just want to be Nicole and be free from this burden. I know I’m wishing for the impossible. This is my cross to bear and I feel like Jesus in Gethsemane asking for this cup to be taken for me. Like Him though the answer is still no. Maybe the lessons haven’t been learned yet. Maybe the way I’m feeling saves someone else from feeling it because I sure as hell would not wish this on anyone.

I just came out of the pit not that long ago. It was a long one and it left me exhausted. Apparently I was not watchful enough of signs of an impending fall because this one hit me hard and fast. I had a few weeks of feeling good. Maybe that’s part of the problem. I am a person of extremes so I never have an extreme happiness without having an extreme despair following it.

The hardest part of all this…always…is having to watch my friends and family be watchful of me. I would love to not have my burden become theirs. I would love it if my emotions didn’t spill over into the rest of my life. I am the one who takes care of people. Having to watch them feel helpless and not know how to help me kills me. It makes things worse. It makes me want to offer them reassurance that it really isn’t that bad and that I’ll be fine soon. That is such a lie. I’m never truly fine. How can I be when I know that the demons are waiting for their bit of flesh?

I survive every day. I don’t have much give up in me. Even if it takes me one breath at a time I will get through the damned pain. That’s what it is, you know. Suicide is rarely a selfish act of making people pay, or being a coward and scared to live. It’s wanting the pain gone so bad that you are willing to do anything to make it go away. A lot of times we make it go away by other means that are less extreme. Sex, buying things, listening to music as loud as it will go, so loud that you can’t think anymore, all you can do is ride the wave of emotions and poetry put to a soundtrack. Self harming be it through burns, cuts, or substance abuse, we become very good at trying to force the pain away. It never last though. That’s how addicts are made. The constant search for the one thing that will end the pain and the demons who follow.

Every night I go to sleep with the hope that tomorrow will be better. Every day I pray for God to make it go away. So far, His answer has been no. This does not lessen my faith in the Almighty though it makes me question why He thinks I’m strong enough to handle this. He must see something in me that my cracked, mortal vision cannot.

If these words resonate with you in anyway, keep fighting.Stay strong Rage against the dying of the light that is you. I’ll be doing the same.

Triggers

I’ve been trying to figure out my “triggers” are that bring on the depression or the needy/clingy/jealous/raging bitch that most likely drives away people. Some of them are kind of obvious but others have taken a little more digging to find out.

Rejection. Oh man, do I suck at dealing with rejection. I see it as abandonment and that it means there are fatal flaws in me. It can be as simple as “hey, it’s just not going to work out” and I will see it as no one will ever want me, no one will ever love me, I am worthless. This sends me into an out of control tailspin.
Disapproval. I want everyone to like me which is impossible. Hell, I don’t like very many people at all. I don’t know why I get hung up on this but if I see that someone isn’t liking me it really bothers me.
Crowds. I walked in the Color Run last weekend and I was anxious with a heavy, tight heart the rest of the day. It seriously bothered me to the point that the day after I felt like a zombie. Crowds contain too many emotions for me to process. I feel like everyone is staring at me and judging me. I feel like I can’t tell where the danger is going to come from because it’s surrounding me.
Sugar. Yep, you read that right. I realized tonight after eating a brownie that sugar makes me feel horrible. I became anxious and I wanted to contact an old boyfriend just to see how he was. What?! That’s ridiculous. I have been eating healthier the last few months with minimal processed foods or sugars. I now look back and the few times I’ve slipped up and had a pop or something it made me feel horrible and not just physically. For some reason I don’t feel as bad when I have a frap from Starbucks. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. 😉

I’m sure there are many more triggers for me but I’m glad that I’m figuring out what they are so I can do my best either to avoid them or learn to deal with them more effectively. Mental illness is a life sentence. You can recover, you can have remission but it is always there. I have to figure out a way to thrive while dealing with it instead of just surviving.