I’m depressed, but I’m okay.

Winter is here, which means seasonal depression has officially settled in to it’s cozy holiday home at the front of my psyche. It was certainly jump started, a couple of weeks ago, by my own ignorance of small town health care (apparently walk in doctors do not exist) which had me accidentally withdrawing from my anti depressant – an experience I do not recommend for anyone. So far, I’ve gotten two tattoos and have buried myself in hobbies to try and combat the oncoming storm… and so far it’s going okay. I’m still depressed – there are multiple points in the day where I could cry, without reason – my sleep schedule is hectic at best – I am reliving conversations I’ve had throughout the year and berating myself for how I handled them – I am convinced that most people don’t like me, for one reason or another, and feel isolated in my relationships – but I am handling it on my own, and I guess that’s a start.

I’ve been thinking about going back to therapy. I believe being on medication has truly helped me get to a point with my anxiety where I can segregate what is making me feel anxious, and address it within myself. I have not gotten to that point with my depression – and while I may be okay, I could be and want to be, better. I’m hoping therapy will help provide me the tools I need to build myself up in times when I instinctually tear myself down. What made me really realize I wanted to go back was actually seeing a few people, whom I really look up to, talk about mental health on a livestream. It just goes to show that one open conversation about someone’s struggles can help shed light on another person’s path.
Patrick, Matt and Holly – thank you for being honest with those who look up to you and for helping me realize what next steps I need to take in my own mental health journey. I’m sure I would’ve gotten to it eventually, but sometimes even I need to be reminded that it’s okay to need professional help.
So, yes, I am depressed… but I’m okay, and am working on being better, the best I can.

On Emetophobia, Crohn’s and Striving for Health

I know this is, currently, a common theme in my writing, but it is the most immediate stressor in my environment these days – especially now that I’m working to try and get better.

I write this as I am sitting on my bathroom floor, after going to the gym for the first time in months. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to go to the gym, it’s more that I don’t trust my body in most situations… never mind a public situation, involving physical activity. My health has been a roller coaster ride at the best of times, but I’ve been doing my best to regulate it. I am frequently on white rice and broth diets to reset my digestion whenever I flare up, I’m seeing a kinesiologist who has me on a couple of supplements that seem to be helping – it’s a slow process, but I’m getting there – and now I’ve made the decision to start going to the gym.

You see, I want SO BADLY to be healthy. I want to be able to go to social events, eat food I enjoy, work out in public spaces, hang out with friends, without the constant nausea that accompanies me in all of those situations. Scratch that, in all situations. I would also like to be able to handle those situations without the crippling fear and embarrassment, that accompanies the nausea, that truly makes it worse. I’ve written about my fear of vomiting before, it is something I’ve been dealing with for as long as I can remember, and is, honestly, as debilitating as the initial pre-puke sweats and mouth watering that puts my brain there in the first place. Having a condition that amplifies my nausea, pain, and just overall “gross” feelings is truly the icing on a, quite literally, shitty cake. But, the last month has shown me snippets of what it is like to live normally and semi healthily, and those moments make me indescribably happy. The problem with those moments, is I let myself believe that I’m better, and push past my boundaries… which puts me right here, again, on the bathroom floor. It’s a real punch to morale to feel like you are right back at square one because of a single meal or because you are taking your first step to becoming more physically healthy.

The upside in this whole scene is that I’m still trying. I’m committed to the idea of me being able to live a, somewhat, normal life – no matter how terrible I feel throughout the steps to getting there. I am more determined than I have ever been to fight through all of this, despite how negative I might seem at times. I did something that I have been pushing aside, for a long time now, today… and I felt like shit afterwards. But I did it, and I plan on doing it again tomorrow and for the foreseeable future (I’ve also paid for a month’s membership, so, you know, I have no excuse to not get my butt to the gym) which will *hopefully* help create the end goal of a happier and healthier me.

There are definitely underlying self esteem and dissociation issues when it comes to feeling sick most, if not all, of the time. Things have gotten better since leaving the stressful environment of the city, I know this – but, in some ways, it’s also gotten much worse.
In Vancouver, I could pop in and out of my head with no problem, this isn’t a healthy way to cope by any means, but it worked. The moment I started feeling sick, my auto pilot would kick in, it was the only way I could deal with the pain and nausea without having full blown panic attacks (unless I was in public, if I was in public I was screwed). While I was always trying to get better, I didn’t really have the mind set to fully commit to what it took, probably because I was less than half there during my episodes and making it through the next 4-8 hours on the bathroom floor was the only goal in mind.
Now it’s different. The city noise has quieted, I am able to stay present and focused… but I can’t remove myself from the illness anymore, Crohn’s or whatever it is. My bad nights, while lessened, involve so much more panic and fear than I’ve been used to. I’ve been working hard to get better, I’m trying new methods and working with new people to sort this out, but it all just seems so impossible. I feel like I’m, single handedly, trying to destroy a mountain with a pickaxe… every once and a while someone will drive by, roll down their window and shout some sage advice at me, but it’s always short lived – they get sick of my unwillingness to listen or to try. They forget that I am one person who is already trying as hard as she can, who is so tuned in to the sound of her pick hitting stone that some words are hard to hear and, a lot of the time, the words picked up will be misconstrued and warped because she is so tired of the entire thing.

I guess I can recognize this as some sort of plea to those around me and to myself… I’m doing the best I can, I’m completely reseting my insides, please be patient.

insomnia

I’ve been laying in bed, remembering conversations that I can never change… in most cases I wish I would’ve stood up for myself a little more. The more I think about all of these times I let myself down, the deeper I sink.
I read an article today that suggested I “pretend my feelings are light as a feather” – but that seems impossible when these feelings are so deep rooted in to my psyche, they’ve made homes in my bones, built bridges across my neural pathways to ensure my reason and sensibility don’t get in the way.
It’s odd, feeling like you are hellbent on your own destruction, whether or not that is something you actually want for yourself. The part of my brain that knows this is all temporary is just asking for some quiet, a moment to refashion it’s grip on the system and ride out the angry bull. But the bull is already bucking and kicking, it won’t stop until all of it’s resources are exhausted and it collapses, or until it caves in the skull of it’s rider, giving it free reign to trample everything else in it’s path.
I am both. So either way, I lose.

 

sorry about the nonsensical rambling – just needed to get it off my chest. 

Visibility ~ World Mental Health Day

Sometimes I wonder what growing up would have been like if I had had access to the information and resources that are available now. Would any of it have been any easier? Would I have gotten a proper diagnosis, and been treated for it, earlier on in life? Would I have had the courage to talk to professionals, to talk to my parents and my peers?

Visibility, acceptance and destigmatization play a huge roll in the current mental health climate – I’m definitely not saying that it is, even remotely close to, perfect, but compared to what I had access to, 10 – 15 years ago, it is a huge improvement. People can easily find and contact a helpline. There are more faces in the media openly talking about their own struggles, giving people suffering other people to relate to. We have multiple days in the year, specifically, meant to create dialogue about mental health.

When I started this blog, last January, I did it because I had seen some creators I look up to discussing their experiences through social media, whether it be through YouTube or Twitter etc. They helped give me the strength to talk about my issues, and publicly delve in to pieces of my life that I hadn’t spoken to anyone about. This gave me the courage to start therapy, to discontinue toxic relationships, and to be more honest about my own mental health, without the negativity that I had routinely associated with it… which lead to people I know reaching out to me and talking to me about their personal struggles.
What I’m trying to say is, there is an entire community, who will take you in with open arms – talking is scary, being honest is scary… but you deserve the relief that comes with talking and being honest.
Do that one thing for yourself, the one you’ve been procrastinating doing…
Go to a psychologist, get the answers you need – Book yourself a therapist appointment – Talk to your family, your significant other, your friends – Call that helpline – Be the person you need, right now, in this moment, because (again) you deserve it… and who knows, you could end up being that person for someone else without even realizing it.

dearest Opa,

You used to call me ugly as a term of endearment – it was our inside joke that started at the very beginning of our relationship… I believe it was around the time I started working at a Bavarian restaurant in town, and Omi lent me a bright green dirndl, my hair was purple at the time, and you thought the colour combination was hilarious.
I always felt like you treated me as one of your own, it was as if I had been part of your family for the 14 years prior to our meeting, and I appreciate you so much for that. You made room for me at the adult table during family dinners, snuck me shots of ouzo while my parents were out of the room and always made time to sit and chat with me, which normally ended in us picking on each other or exchanging fake glares across the dinner table.
I helped you set up your first cell phone, the wallpaper was Sylvester and Tweety, and you would call me every time you needed help learning how to use some feature of it. After I moved to Vancouver, every once in a while, you would text or call me to make sure I was doing okay. It always started with “Hey Ugly!” – it only took those two words to spread a smile across my face.
I saw you twice, after moving back home. The last time you were not there, and that is okay. The second to last time, you looked at me and said,
“Melissa, you know I never actually thought you were ugly, right?”
I know Opa, I know.

We all love you so much.
Rest well.

09/21/2017

I’ve been on such a high, having just moved back to my home, that I had almost convinced myself the lows wouldn’t come… at least not yet – but having been living with my fiance’s parents, I haven’t really given myself much solitary time to deal with some emotional bruising that comes with being back, which has definitely pushed me in to the deep hole I woke up in this morning. This is nobody’s fault but my own, I thought I could come back and pretend some issues and insecurities no longer exist, but they really really do, and that angers me to no end… not to mention adding some new insecurities, around people not thinking I work hard enough, that come with working remotely… even though I’ve been pushing myself to work extra hours and not take breaks.
Couple those with other sad and stressful things going on and I’m already sliding down the slippery slope of seasonal depression.

There are some bright lights coming up though, so I hope it’s enough to set me afloat, at least, for another couple of weeks. Until that happens, I guess, I’ll just repress the “you’re a fuck up” voices that keep battering on inside my head with peppermint tea and really angry pop music.