Tag Archives: mental health

Now What?

I’m up early again and I have a few thoughts.
I’m right up against graduation now. About a month and a half away. Three more classes to finish in that time. I’m shopping around for decent online graduate programs.

I should be congratulating myself. I put in a lot of hard work and long hours to get where I am, and I should be proud.

To a degree, I am. I never thought I would get here. I would just be enrolled in undergrad indefinitely. It’s taken this long. Why wouldn’t it always be there?

Somehow, I’ve put together enough hours for someone to decide that I need to get out of there. One hundred and seventy-seven credit hours amassed since 2001 to be precise.

I’ve wasted a lot of time on failure. Thinking about it. Obsessing over it. Feeling like I wasn’t good enough for success. It created a bunch of false starts and premature stops. I failed some classes and bounced around schools. When I went back full time in 2011, I decided that I wasn’t dropping the ball anymore. I wouldn’t stop working until I had a bachelor’s degree of some kind in my possession. I didn’t really care what kind or who it came from. I just needed it to be finished.

Fast forward to now. I’m really on the edge of achieving a major life goal. At a time when I should be elated and proud, I’m facing another big unknown.

Now what?

That’s the question that plagues so many of us. You’ve pushed so long and so hard for something and the Fates decided to be kind and bless you. Now what?

What will you do with your energy now? What about all that resolve? What will you devote yourself to?

I’ve found myself at a crossroad and I’m feeling lost. I honestly have no idea of what to do with myself now.

I’ve asked for advice. People tell me to pursue something I love. They ask where I see myself in five or ten years. It’s hard because I never allow myself to dream. I don’t let myself look forward to very much. I can’t handle disappointment very well. I’d basically given up on wanting more for myself. That’s part of why I am so unprepared for the future. I never really faced it. I’ve been so focused of getting through every single day that I couldn’t even imagine what could be.

In five years, I’ll be forty years old. In the land that people call middle aged. My son will be done with high school and I’ll have an empty nest. That’s when people are supposed to start really enjoying life, right? After their kids are grown.

I could have a master’s degree by then. In something. That sounds cool.
I could find a career I could really throw myself into. Try to make a difference in the world.
I could say to Hell with this, buy a RV, and drive around North America.
All very realistic options.

In the meantime, I’m trying to let myself be hopeful about my life. About where I’ve been and where I’m going. I’ve begun to stick my head out from under my cloud to see what I’ve been missing all these years. I must trust that I’m making the right decisions and that I’ve learned from my bad ones. I’m looking ahead for the first time in years, just to find a void. A void full of potential options and outcomes stands before me and it’s terrifying.

Now what, indeed?

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Hey there!

I still haven’t died.

I’ve been trying to get my mental health together. A daily struggle to be sure.

I’ve been writing some other essays. Some of which I hope to publish one way or another. I’ve also been looking into self publishing some things.

I’m still around. I’m still here if anyone needs me.

Just taking this public thing to the  background for a bit.

Day 406: Pothole

Life has started coming at me a bit too quickly for my liking. Things are happening faster than I can process them. My emotions can’t keep up. I’m worried about burning out faster than expected. Not that I really expect to burn out…

Actually, yes I did. I did expect to wear myself down. I can tell it’s happening a bit faster with each passing day. I need to be strong right now. I don’t have time for an episode right now. People need me to al least appear that I have my shit together.

I just don’t know how long I can do this….

Day 365: Mission Accomplished

I’ve done it!

I’ve made a post every day for a year straight. I had to not give very much some days, but even a little bit counts.

I started this challenge to improve as a writer and to deal with some of my inner turmoil. Looking back, I don’t think my writing has really changed. I’m glad that I do it more frequently and it can be easier to get ideas out, but I’d say that I’m still at the same skill level I started on. I just ended that sentence with a preposition and I don’t care. HA!

On the mental health front, I don’t feel any different either. I still have many more bad days than good ones. I got some complicated feelings out of my head, but there are plenty more where that came from. A lifetime’s worth, one might say. I’ve never had a problem with sharing and I hope my pain can help someone with their own struggle. I consider myself an advocate for mental health awareness and I don’t intend on changing. Problems don’t get fixed by not talking about them. I intend on shouting that from the hills for as long as I live.

Overall, I’ve had a year. A year full of losses and fewer wins. The past six months have been particularly difficult. I haven’t accomplished very much. Some could say that I haven’t accomplished anything. Others have done much more than I, but I know better than to grade on that scale. I know I shouldn’t look at others’ successes at a sign of my failures, but it can be difficult not to. Especially, on social media, where everyone pretends to be living their best lives on the daily.

However, I met one of my goals for this year. I completed my blogging challenge. I’m proud of that and I plan to continue writing every day. I think it’s good for me and my habit of keeping my problems bottled up. That’s how tumors get started and I want nothing else to do with Cancer.

I want to thank the people that have taken the time to read my words. Even more thanks to those who responded. It helps me feel like I’m not screaming into the void, although there are days that I wouldn’t mind doing that. You guys help validate my odd feelings and make me feel less alone. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I have a few new goals for 2018. I’ll probably put them into a separate post, but the thing I want most is for people to feel loved. To not feel like a failure, alone and helpless, at the very least. The internet is too vast and connects too many of us for any man to feel like an island. Your tribe is out there if you are willing to search.

Day 261: Backbone

I’m glad my husband isn’t an asshole.

Not that he can’t be. He just isn’t when I need support.

He’s wonderful about being my biggest cheerleader apart from my mother. I know he’s in my corner no matter what. I know not everyone has a relationship as  good as ours and I try not to be annoying about it.

Sometimes one must give credit where its due.

Day 202: Toss Up

Recently, I’ve spent far too much time watching the sun rise. I don’t have an issue with this most of the time. Sunlight can be helpful in fighting my depression. At the same time,  anxious sleepless nights have become my new normal. I’m almost always awake when daybreak happens and I don’t want to disturb anyone’s rest, so I lie in bed and watch the light break across the windows.

Mornings can be very nice. Running through your morning routine everyday can help a person feel focused and on track. Sadly, I’m not one of those people.

When I have to get up early for work or some other engagement, there are days when I’m too full of anxiety about the upcoming day to rest properly. I’m upset when the alarm goes off. I drag myself to get ready and make my son do the same. We have to be out the door at a certain time, you know.

It’s easy to set yourself on auto pilot when you have other things to think about. Your daily schedule can be an excellent distraction from whatever emotional nonsense the brain might be preparing to unleash. The days when I don’t have the distraction are more interesting to me.

My brain hasn’t settled on a course yet, so my feelings can fluctuate between ready to go and ready to stay in bed. I might have a really good day or a really terrible one. It could honestly go either way. I can feel both in turn, fighting for control. Telling myself that I’m going to be okay only works occasionally. To be honest, I don’t feel as if it’s my decision.  I could be determined to feel one thing and end up in a totally different emotional place. It really just depends. The process can be alarmingly exhausting.

Does any of this sound familiar? Do other people’s depression and anxiety have a battle with them every day? I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Is it any wonder why people seem so frustrated and stressed first thing in the morning? Dealing with yourself can be a daunting daily event. Couple that with the normal stress of living in our society and the dangerous setup for burnout and emotional collapse is set into motion. Is it any wonder why there have so many attacks at schools and workplaces in America? People are stretched thin.

I don’t have an overarching solution. It’s difficult for me to find answers for myself sometimes. The difference between myself and others is that I’m slowly trying to break the cycle. Many people just keep pushing until something gives. Usually meaning that their physical health or personal relationships suffer as a result. I’ve done that too many times in the past and it is no way to live.

Lately, I’ve been trying to pay attention to myself and when I can tell that I’m approaching a breaking point, I want to find a good way to slow down. It’s difficult, but possible. I’m not always successful, but I’m still learning.

We all are..

Day 198: Cracked

One may recall a few days ago that I talked about slowing down and being good to yourself. Today, I can say that I need to get better about taking my own advice.

I hit a low point yesterday. Very low. The emotional stress of my life situation was already at my limit and life saw fit to throw one more thing to the pile. Something small that, on its own, wouldn’t have crushed me like it did. Unfortunately, this was the worst possible time to add more weight to my pile.

I was a wreck, weepy and angry all night. I slept a little but it was riddled with nightmares. The sun rose and I was upset about it. My husband got up for work and I wanted to cry more. My son got up for breakfast and I sent him back to his room.

I’m not in a good place. I haven’t really been in a good place for some time now. Seems like a familiar statement if you read my blog regularly, I know. Depression takes your negative feelings and experiences and amplifies them. The illness uses them to justify all the horrible messages that it throws at you constantly. Ultimately, negative thoughts become self fulfilling prophecy. I’m bad therefore bad things keep happening to me and vice versa. The cycle is exhausting.

I know I preach self care, but it’s becoming difficult to find anything that still works for me. The practice is effective and I do still believe it can help but I’m out of strategies that I can use. Hiding from the world isn’t an option right now. Things need to be taken care of and I’m the only person that can do them. Taking a walk has become a chore because of the oppressive humidity. Gardening falls into the same category. Funny movies aren’t working anymore. I play video games to pass the time, but there isn’t any real enjoyment there right now.

All of those are textbook depression symptoms. Knowing that doesn’t ease my mind at all. If anything, knowing makes it worse sometimes. I can’t always tell if the things I’m feeling are genuine or a product of how I know the disease works. Back to that self fulfilling prophecy I was talking about earlier.

*sigh*

Day 196: Self Care Reminder

Depression is a liar and a joy thief. Everybody knows this. Every day one can shake it’s grip and keep it moving is a blessing.

However, there are days when its whispers become screams and its weight becomes unbearable. You can feel the difference within yourself when this point comes. The body gets heavy. Its harder to get out of bed. Eating feels like a needless chore.

It may come to a point that you just keep pushing through these days. That may feel like a short term solution, but one becomes worn down. Everything is harder. The temper can flare and patience is very thin. One can become quite unpleasant to be around.

Remember: It’s okay to take time for yourself. It’s good for you even. Other may try to make you feel guilty about it but try not to let those voices in. One can care for others much more effectively if one’s own needs are being met.

Day 195: Pound

Something is wrong with my head and I don’t mean the regular stuff.

I’ve been having this throbbing in my ear. I think I can hear my pulse because of the built up fluid in my head. If I hold my head the other way, it drains eventually and the throbbing stops.

It doesn’t hurt but it is annoying. I tried to look up a diagnosis, but I can’t find anything solid. I called a doctor, but nothing is available until September.

Guess I get to suffer until then.

Day 193: Clarity

I tried to meditate again. I used to when I was younger but I don’t think it really helped me then. Trying to find some focus felt like something I needed to do.

Instead of feeling focused and relieved, my mind proceeded to remind me of every bit of frustration than I’ve been feeling over the past few months. I didn’t need any help in that department. Worrying is something I have no problems with.

I’m starting to think I should find another therapist. Things aren’t going well for me and the meds aren’t doing much. I hate feeling like this.