Vocabulary Vixen

July 30, 2009

In Pursuit of the all-elusive Happiness…

I’m still here, I am still writing, and I am still living, breathing, and being human. My god! What?! Moi!? HUMAN?!

Last week was kind of tough, but I made it through that one. I think that I used to think that once I’d make it through a breakdown, I’d be stronger and that I’d never have a breakdown again. I’d never cut myself again. I’d always make a vow that I would do it better next time, and that I wouldn’t crumble under the load again. This is in my nature. The whole denial of reality thing is in my nature as well. Plausible denial. But, as life goes, something would happen, and I would crumble again under the pressure, and keep going up and down, down and up, around and abound, until I found myself completely and utterly lost over a year ago.

(more…)

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July 28, 2009

That made all the difference

I have been so amazingly relaxed today. Just, chill. And I’m enjoying it. I did, in fact, sleep like a baby last night. I slept wonderfully, even if for only five or six hours. I woke up feeling relaxed, but awake. With it, and not overwhelmed by the Anxious Monster. I took my shift by my bare hands and twirled it around my head.

*THIS* is the balance and harmony that I was trying so desperately to restore. I was losing it, I really was. My sense of humor has returned, and I just feel like an all-around nice person to be existing in this world today. I think that a part of me knew that that was still there, but I was having a hell of a time trying to find it. Depression, mental illness and disease are all fucking brutal. (Yes, the f-word is ABSOLUTELY necessary on that one!) They will suck you back in at a moment’s notice. Too many times, I’ve been caught unaware, usually by fluctuating hormones. This past time, it was the hormonal imbalance as well as too much damn stress all at once.

I tried my damndest to bring myself out of it as quickly as possible, because I don’t want to live like this. I’m *not* destined for a dark, miserable, solitary confinement the rest of my life. I know this, but damn, it’s hard to break! And I can’t do it by myself. I’d rather rip my own teeth out by tying a string to them and putting the other end to a car than to admit that, but that’s what I realized one long year ago when I finally decided that I needed to go back into therapy. I’ve discovered a lot of things about myself since then, and that’s what’s making it better as I go. Those things were literally ALL I had to hold onto this past week. I fought it, though. I fought the urges, I fought the depression. I knew it wasn’t right, and I knew that there was some part of me that wanted back to the light.

My entire essence has been yearning for the slivers of sunlight that I’ve had in my life, and during this past breakdown, I recognized that, and reached for it as far as I could possibly reach.

And now I’m back.

And life is good. Finally, balance has been restored, and I cannot express how thankful I am for the people in my life that have been with me through this ride. Their strength, and unwavering support for me has carried me through, even when I’ve been ready to give up on myself. This past week, I wasn’t ready to give up on myself, but I saw that I could very easily be.

My husband drives a bus in a college town with a hospital. He told me of an incident yesterday about a man that checked himself into the hospital for depression. This person left for lunch and never returned. They found him later mangled over a bicycle rack from hurling himself over the parking ramp. My heart pours out to him. I feel so bad for him, and his family, the ones that he left in his wake. Perhaps he thought that by checking himself into the hospital, that that was failure. It’s tragic, because that could very well have been the step to bring him back to the light. I don’t know anything about him, not even his name, but that event had an impact on me.

When my husband told me about this poor soul, my first thought was:

“My god, that could have been me. That could have been ME that checked myself in, and couldn’t go on any longer. I would have left my husband without a wife. My parents without a daughter. And I would have left many, many people with a hole that couldn’t be filled.”

I can’t do that.

I know what it’s like to be driven to the edge. I know what it’s like to be at the absolute end of the line, no more rope. I know what staring into the endless void is like, ready to just end it. End all of the suffering, finally and forever. No turning back, just please, oh god, end it now. I can’t escape these things. I’ve got to fix it, and the only way is to just down the bottle of Lexapro. Or Asprin. Or Ibuprofen. Or all of it.

I’ve only really experienced the suicidal thoughts, I’ve never actually acted on the urge, namely because I’ve been in treatment for this sort of thing for a decade. I will say, though, that were it not for an extremely loving and supporting family that got me help when this first started, I would not be here today. And that would be absolute travesty.

It would be tragic because I’ve still got a lot to do in the world. I’ve worked very, very hard to discover several truths about myself over the past year that I had lost in the process of living, and suffocating in my illness. I knew that those truths were there, I had just lost them for awhile. I’d lost them for so long, that truth became story, story became myth, and myth became Forgotten. But I found them, and I’ve worked hard to do so.

That made all the difference.

July 27, 2009

Oh my god…for real

Since my most recent breakdown last week that involved smashing my own hand several times with a blunt (and not-so-heavy) object, I’ve been fighting to get back to a normal train of thought and existence. I’ve been fighting it, and I’m exhausted. The black vortex has been trying to suck me in to the bad, nasty thought patterns that are so common and prevalent with depression. I’ve been working double-triple-quadruple-overtime to get my brain back on track. I’ve been talking myself up: “Hey, I love myself! There’s NO reason WHATSOEVER to be feeling this way! Enjoy the sunshine! Enjoy life!” …Only to be met by the darkening cloud coming in to suck my soul away.

I’ve been trying to just relax, do fun things, watch my weekly rounds of internet TV, hang out on Facebook, read a book (though I read it already. Now that I’ve got regular access to my memory, this can be compared to keeping a cat entertained: “But I already saw this one two weeks ago and I flung it under the refrigerator! You’ve GOT to be kidding me! How about the little red bug? I never seem to catch that thing!”), write in my journal, distract myself from thinking these thoughts, or just try to get them to go away in general in a vain attempt to actually FEEL GOOD. Because now I know what it’s like, and like the cracked-out addict in the corner, I want more. I want more happiness. I want more love. I want more function. I want to be healthy. I want to be creative and productive.

…Since last week’s freak-out (nervous breakdown), I’ve been trying to recover and restore myself to a healthy balance. I’m working on it, but it’s slooooow going, and after still feeling the black void sucking me in today, I’m thinking “Geez! How much longer?” I’ve been eating lighter to counteract my non-activity over the weekend. I’ve been trying to eat healthy. Fruits, veggies, vitamins, etc. I increased my meds, I added Lexapro back into the mix. Although it turned down the intensity of the void, and I could feel the blackness shaking, I’ve had a HELL of a time trying to release it completely! I’ve been fighting it all weekend, and quite frankly, I’m exhausted. The internal banter is relentless. It’s two epic, HUGE, LOUD opposing forces in my brain, each screaming at each other at the top of their lungs, hoping that one will scream louder than the other and get the other to just shut the fuck up. …Not that I’m actually hearing them, it’s the feeling of wanting to be well, happy, and healthy vs. this black vortex trying to suck me in.

I sometimes feel like I’m fighting a losing battle. My husband says this, but he’s not me. Not that his plight isn’t valid, but I’m the epicenter of all the chaos. Anditblows. It blows fainting pygmy goats. I’ve had this “losing battle” feeling all weekend, and today, perhaps it’s a little bit of sleep deprivation with a teeny bit of stress creeping back in, but I’m going “Really?! For real? STILL!?!!?!!! GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HEAD!!”

Before therapy today, I’d been trying to wrap my head around intellectually WHY I’m feeling this way. Because that’s what I do. I find comfort in looking for the reason “why”. Usually, if I find a concrete reason to go with, I feel better. So, I’ve been asking: Are my meds off? Well, I’m better medicated, and if I up the dosage any more, it will be akin to taking a blunderbuss to a grapefruit and ALL thought will be wiped off the face of Vixen’s brain… I ran yesterday to get the endorphines pumping and flowing to just feel good. I felt okay for awhile, but it was temporary. I’ve felt sort of wobbly, sick, and that “I’m going to vomit” feeling from just being nervous, anxious, and miserable.

I’ve been forced to cling onto the few things that I’ve earned and worked VERY, VERY HARD FOR over the past year in therapy. I’ve had to sit myself down and realize, at least intellectually, that I *AM* smart, funny, caring, loving, etc. …Even though there’s that tiny little critter in the back of my brain saying “WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU KIDDING?! YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY USELESS! WHY GO ON?!” That little critter that’s been lying in wait, waiting for a moment of vulnerability to come out to play again and grab hold of my soul in icy blackness. I say “NO.” I’ve been saying “NO!” all weekend, but it’s been starting to border on just plain irritating. I’ve been wondering why I can’t shake this, I’ve been going into anxiety overload because of it. It sucks.

It’s been wearing on me. It’s intrusive. I came up with a theory that it could be something to do with the OCD. There are obsessions about unwanted or intrusive thoughts creeping in the ol’e noggin. I’ve certainly had my share of those. They should have dissipated with the up in meds, though, not just merely dampened.

I’ve been desperately trying to analyze WHY I’m doing this. Intellectually, I *know* shouldn’t be doing this. It’s the height of summer, the weather’s beautiful, I’m not doing anything in particular but working and (supposedly) “enjoying” life, WHY AM I FEELING THIS WAY, DAMMIT!? I’VE BEEN TRYING TO GET BETTER! WHY AM I DOING THIS?!?!?!!!

I like to analyze and assess why I do things. I’ve really spent over a year doing this intensively, and I’ve worked very hard for the small semblance of sanity that I’ve found, even if it’s fleeting. It’s still oscillating, and it’s oscillating in my direction more and more. I want to hang on to that, so when my analysis of why I’m doing this vortex thing wasn’t going anywhere, I get effing frustrated.

My (brilliant) therapist pointed out today something very important. She gave me another piece of the puzzle by mentioning when I told her about ALL of this that: In essence, my emotions are also NOT me. Sometimes they will get unruly, but they do NOT define me as a person. Just as my mental illness does NOT define me.

…And that made all the difference. Being able to draw the line in the sand and differentiate between myself and these unruly emotions was the most enormously helpful thing ANYBODY could have helped me do today. And it helped me let go. My anxiety level dropped, I relaxed, and the skies parted and I was wrapped in a feeling of serene relaxation.

This thing had really been bugging me. So much so, in fact, that I was on a hair-trigger for *anything* today, and I really feel that I was going to be a walking Anxiety Attack. “Hi, I’m Anxiety. That annoying guy at the party that WON’T SHUT UP.” My heart was buzzing out of my chest with every phone call I received, every wayward glance, and it was starting to really stress me out. And I couldn’t get rid of the dark and evil because I was *too fixated* on getting rid of it (sounds a wee bit familiar… scratchy-scratch the head lice, anyone?).

But once my therapist pointed out that key differentiation between myself and my emotions, my whole body relaxed. I really thought I was GOING CRAZY FOR FINALLY AND FOREVER. And that I wouldn’t be able to fight this much longer, and that eventually, I’d have to be locked up in the padded room, in a straight jacket because I wouldn’t be able to function without injury. Yet, intellectually, I knew I had *something* to hang on to. I can’t let my poor brain and my talents go to waste! I SPENT A YEAR LOOKING FOR THEM! That is what kept me hanging on, by the barest, thinnest thread. I know that I’ve got intelligence, talent, and a lot on my side, instead of nothing. That’s why I couldn’t fall into the abyss. It was stressful. And tiring.

I’m *so* glad that she pointed that key bit for me today.

I’ve had a WONDERFUL day since then. It’s been relaxed, fun, and just general thought going on in the back of my brain since that conversation. I feel human. I feel like a real, live human being functioning on earth. I DON’T feel like I’m going to be sucked into this black, dark void that’s creeping in like fog. I feel pretty good. I feel stable. THIS is what I’ve been working on all week(end).

I’ll bet I sleep like a baby tonight. 🙂

I’m getting there…

Filed under: Health and Well-Being — VocabularyV @ 2:22 PM

Bit by bit, I’m picking up the pieces from last week’s meltdown. It was too much stress and not enough medication. I’m trying to work through the gnawing anxiety that I’m feeling, and it’s difficult. I’m fighting it, I’m fighting the intrusive thoughts. Some times, I feel like I’m winning. Others, I feel like I’m totally losing the battle.

I just want to feel good. I just want to be happy with myself and my life, and I just want to be peaceful.

I feel like I’m hanging on the edge, sometimes, and with each meltdown, I’m getting closer and closer to having to either amp-up my treatment, or lose it completely and go get hospitalized. It’s a scary place to be. But, I think I’m putting things in place so that I won’t have to do that. I think I’m gaining ground on this. In fact, I don’t *think* I’m gaining ground, I *know* I’m gaining ground.

I’m doing my best to remain stable, hopeful, and positive. It’s quite difficult, doing this. It’s kind of a gnawing, exhausting fight from one end of my brain to the other. But, y’know? Life is hard. Mental illness makes it harder. But, the disease does not have to be the defining factor in who I am.

Just WHO am I, exactly? Well, I’m working on that. I know I’m talented, smart, and creative. My likes include reading, writing, drawing, and most anything hands-on. My dislikes? Stats and long strings of numbers to stare at and focus on. I am a human being (most days), and I’m getting there!

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