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Life of V

The journey from being broken to being queen

2018: Off to a Roaring Start

Hello friends,

This week has been… eventful. Well, only one day, but I’ve spent the rest of the time just trying to catch up.

I tried a ballet class on Sunday night. It was for beginners, and I thought, hey, I love ballet. What a great way to get into shape maybe. About 50 people showed up for the class and the teacher, bless her heart, said she didn’t want to discourage anyone from trying ballet, so she made an attempt to accommodate everyone. Turns out, I need a beginner beginner’s class, and my ankle and foot injuries from the last couple of years immediately said “oh, I don’t think so bitch”. That many people in the studio, I began to have a panic attack, and I was by the far wall away from the doors, so limping out and escaping without everyone watching me was impossible. I know that you’re going to say “well, who cares if they’re watching? who cares if they see you?”, yah, I know. I was frozen in fear and I ended up just watching the class for the last 20 minutes and trying not to cry. So, no ballet for me. At least not yet.

I did not like what I saw in those studio mirrors. I had such a hard time with even the most basic of movements. I was about as graceful as intoxicated donkey wearing roller skates. Picture that for a second. I used to be so light on my feet. Fit and strong. Now I’m an intoxicated donkey on roller skates. My how the mighty have fallen. It was a wake up call.

On a higher note, Chad had a nice warm bubble bath waiting for me when I came home from the dance class. He heated the bathroom with a little space heater, made it all steamy and lit a eucalyptus Scentsy. Lavender bubble bath and the perfect temperature to wash away my panic and anxiety. Topped it off with a cup of peppermint tea. He sat in the bathroom with me and let me cry and was just… there. I kinda love that guy. He’s pretty great. I’m gonna keep him 🙂

On Monday, Chad and I were about to head out to run some errands, when I thought I could hear water in the walls. It didn’t sound like the people upstairs running their shower or anything like the sounds we were used to (sound proofing ain’t great here). As soon as I called the landlords to report it, the building alarms went off. Aaaaaaand the water started in our apartment. It was running down the walls, leaking from the window frames, filling up the light fixtures (thankfully, they cut power to the building), and gushing from the sprinklers, but not through the sprinkler system… through the ceiling. A burst pipe near the roof filled the upstairs apartment with water (and the tenants were at work) and then began to seep through the ceiling and walls into our apartment. Chad and I spent the next four hours switching buckets under waterfalls spilling from the lights and sprinklers, and changing towels up against the walls, tossing bucketfuls of water over the balcony, because it was just coming in too fast to toss down our drains. Now there are fans and a giant dehumidifier in our rooms, and we’re almost dry. And none of our belongings were seriously damaged, because we frantically rearranged our apartment to save our precious junk 🙂

By the time the building managers got into the apartment upstairs to assess the damage, it was already too late for that apartment. So much damage. I feel very bad for them because they moved just a few months ago from another apartment in our building… one that had flooded on the first floor. They just can’t win.

I snapped right into action, grabbing buckets, towels, and even somehow starting a Facebook live video right in the middle of it all. I documented everything, because I had a feeling it would come in handy down the road. We’re probably going to have to be moved into another apartment at some point. There’s major repairs to be done. It was a tense, anxiety filled day, and I only cried once. And that was because I got a face full of dirty smelly water and it was gross. I deserved to shed a few tears. I smelled like wet drywall. Chad and I didn’t stop until the water finally stopped, after 4 hours of sopping up giant puddles and bailing buckets of water, moving furniture, electronics, and trying to keep Sonny from freaking the hell out. What. A. Day. I find it somewhat amusing that when the shit really hits the fan, when I really should be panicking, I don’t. In times when I should be relaxed and calm, my brain somehow convinces me that my situation is dire. WTF brain?

Yesterday, Chad and I were dead tired. So, we gave ourselves a day to just rest and recover from all of that. Once it was all over, our bodies released some of that tension that we had pent up throughout Monday’s fight, and we were both so so so sore.

Today I got a call from Mental Health, letting me know that I’ve been registered in one of the 10 week programs to help me manage my depression and anxiety. And it starts almost right away. I called back to confirm my space, and I’m looking forward to January 18. The journey continues.

 

 

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34 – Saving myself from myself

I turned 34 years old yesterday.

Fuck.

It has affected me differently than I anticipated. I guess I thought I would be a different person by this age. But then again, I should have figured out that I wasn’t going to follow a regular path in life.

I have a lot of things to work through in the coming year, then perhaps by 35, I will recognise myself a little better.

I have started my journey again with mental health services, am trying medications (that in itself is a journey) to see if we can’t calm things down a bit so I can get my footing under me and move forward. It started off on a sour note, but I guess I can get over that. I want to be stronger, live my life instead of simply existing, and I think the connections I am making through mental health services, I can learn where to focus my healing so it gets easier to take on the day.

I fell into kind of a rut this December, and I’m both embarrassed by it and frustrated that I fell back into that trap. I feel the need to worry endlessly about the worst case scenario in every situation, no matter how relaxed the atmosphere. I don’t enjoy the things I used to enjoy because I’m a tensed up ball of anxiety and overwhelming sadness and emotions I don’t know how to identify let alone express. I can’t describe how numbing and exhausting this circus is.

I’ve been told that New Year’s is the worst time to make resolutions, because you won’t stick to them or something blah, blah, blah. Everything has kind of conveniently converged at this time frame for me, so I guess I’m going to make some New Year’s Resolutions.

  1. Learn how to communicate my feelings without alienating anyone.
  2. Learn to treat myself like I would treat other people. It has been mentioned to me more than once that I talk down to myself, berate myself when something goes wrong, basically treat myself like a lesser person, all things I would never do to another human being…
  3. Have conversations with people about my anxiety and depression. It’s not going to just go away because I have read a few chapters and do a few exercises involving writing letters that will never be sent or meditating and focusing on breathing for a few minutes a day. This shit is exhausting to try and work through on your own. Having people who are willing to listen and help me figure it out is a blessing I do not intend to take for granted.
  4. Have conversations with people about something other than my anxiety and depression. The last few months have been particularly shitty for me. I have had a lot of people reach out and I am so grateful. They have helped me heal and grow. I am looking forward to brighter topics with these people in 2018.
  5. Do more fun things with my friends and family. I spent much of 2017 in hermit mode. I have a lot of things to deal with , but I want to make 2018 the year of not hiding away. I expect this one will be one of the hardest resolutions for me.

I think that’s a good starting point. Baby steps, as they say. My mental health worker can already see it in me. I asked her why she didn’t just give me a copy of the workbook from which she was giving me chapters. She said it was because she knew I’d read it all in a day and try to do everything at once and basically short circuit. I guess I’m pretty easy to read, eh?

Grateful.

There are many things in my life that depression does not let me see. I tend to focus on the negative, and has clouded the positive so it stays hidden. Ignored. While I was growing up, I felt ignored, overlooked, forgotten by everyone unless I was needed for some reason. Lonely. Even when surrounded by people. Those people felt like more foes than friends.

So I built the wall.

Sometimes it crumbled a bit. Sometimes it fell. But I always rebuilt it. Because I felt like I was surrounded by enemies. I needed to build a fortress. I stopped letting people in. That left me alone with my own worst enemy.

Myself.

I am almost 34 years old. I have fought my own mind for so many years, I’m not even really sure if I’ve ever been any other way. I don’t remember. But that could be my mind being a dick.

I guess I should consider myself lucky. I’m now aware of my battle. There are some people who are in a war and don’t even know it. I think that used to be me. Hindsight is not always 20/20. I wear glasses. Blind as a bat without them. Ignorant to my fight, I thought I was just a miserable worthless cunt. (sorry if you hate that word) I thought I deserved every betrayal. I thought I was just destined to be alone, and unhappy, just used by others until I wasn’t needed anymore. I thought that was just my life.

After several recent discussions with doctors, we’ve come to the conclusion that mom’s death caused PTSD, and on top of the depression and anxiety I was already carrying, everything came to a head, and I crashed. Hard. More than once. And these… angels… in my life, swooped in and surrounded me. Chad, my friends, my coworkers, people from throughout my walks of life who never gave up on me, even though I had a hard time seeing it (sorry guys, sometimes I’m not too observant). So many people reached out to offer support and encouragement and help, I was overwhelmed. I thought I was alone in the world. Cast aside. Unnoticed. Unwanted. Well, I guess I was wrong.

I am damaged. It’s true. I have a hard time expressing my thoughts and feelings, because I’ve been so guarded for so long. I push I am trying. I don’t always succeed, but when I do, it’s pretty awesome. I’ve felt misunderstood for so long, when thoughts and emotions come through crystal clear, I treasure those moments, even even they leave me crying and blubbering.

I still hide a lot. I am not winning the fight at the moment. These past few weeks have been rough on me. My depression anxiety has led me to stress leave, again. I am not taking care of myself. I am trying, but I keep failing. I’m just… exhausted. I’m on a waiting list to get in to see a counselor or therapist with city mental health, and the doctors I’ve been seeing have changed my prescription, and have encouraged more exercise and hobbies, something simple like going for short walks or reading a book or baking. And I try, I can manage something for a day, and then I crumple into exhaustion all over again. Even baking is exhausting for me right now. And it’s my FAVOURITEST THING EVER. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m going to keep trying things, and hope that something works, but I feel like the idiot doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.

For today, I am going to limit myself to cooking a turkey and the fixin’s. I can handle that today. I might start to cry at some point during the preparation, that seems to happen pretty much every day these days. But I’ve accepted that and am drinking more water to compensate. It’s just part of who I am at the moment. I can’t help how I feel.

I can help how I react and communicate. My mother taught me to be grateful for the things that I have, and work toward the things I don’t have yet. While all this is going on inside me, I am still grateful for many things. I am grateful for Chad and my friends, far and wide, who let me know they’re thinking of me and are there for me if ever I need someone. My family, who have my best interests at heart, and help me chase the ducks who keep getting out of line. Sonny, who is an endless source of fluffy cuddles and entertainment and companionship. For my sense of humour, which I use to get myself out of pretty much any tense situation. Most of my situations are tense these days, so the self-depreciating humour is on point. I am grateful that I can look in the mirror anytime and see my mother’s face. And my grandmother’s face. It’s freaky. But it’s also awesome.

I am also grateful it’s Sunday and now that I’ve poured my heart out into blog, I’m tired and can take a nap.

Maintenance in Progress

I bought a journal. I know I have literally a hundred notebooks (and I am using literally correctly… I actually have about 100 notebooks… and a shopping addiction apparently). This one feels special. It’s a leather bound, I don’t even know how many pages, impulse Walmart purchase. It looks like something in which I’ll find fantastical beasts, and come to think of it, that may be true. It looks like a book. Not a notebook, but a book. My book. The book of my brain. The book of my thoughts, my discoveries, my creativity. My depression and the fight. This blog is very much the same, but this is more of a “hey friends, I’m still alive and here’s why” medium. The physical book in my hands, with my cursive and scribbles and ramblings. It’s for me.

I think it’s going to help me. I sat and wrote for a solid hour the other day, and it felt like a weight had been lifted from me. I poured a lot into that one coffee and panic attack fueled, surprisingly neat cursive session. Yes, I still write in cursive. It ain’t as fancy as it was when I was in grade 3, but it flows. And boy does it flow.

There are already tear stains on one of the pages. I’m 3 pages in. There’s been a lot of angst and panic and general feeling of worthlessness as of late. I put too much pressure on myself to get it right the first time, and that builds on me until I can’t seem to do anything without panicking about something else I need to be doing. I feel the need to catch up to everyone else in my life, I had to stop. Not everyone is at the same place in their lives. Some people are older and have a lot more ground under their feet. Some are younger and have it all figured out. Not everyone is going to meet the same obstacles, and therefore, can’t be expected to be in the same spot in the race as everyone else. Or handling that race. I don’t deal with hurdles very well, it seems. I feel like each one is more of a challenge and I fear I can’t measure up. And then as I struggle, my physical health goes by the wayside too. I stop taking care of my needs. I don’t exercise. I eat healthy, but I eat too much. Everything hurts. I get sick more often. And then process continues until I feel like I’m crawling in the mud.

Fuck, I hate feeling like that. I am stuck in such a rut, everytime I try to climb out, life seems to throw more shit on me and I slide back down. And then there I am, still wallowing, and covered in shit. I need to take a shower. Mentally. In. The. Worst. Way.

After coming home from a torrential downpour filled camping weekend to see the Perseid meteor shower (which couldn’t be seen because of the rain that was supposed to be long fucking gone by the time we set up camp but carried on straight fucking through until after we packed up camp on motherfucking Sunday… *inhales* *serenity now* ……yeah, no, I’m still kinda pissed) I came home to some jarring news from my family. I won’t go into details, for their sake, but suffice it to say, it was the cherry on the fucking Sunday… I mean sundae. Actually…  the cherry on the sunday was that I somehow got either a stomach bug or a mild case of food poisoning (either way, I was spewing from nearly every orifice… there’s your mental picture of the day!). I felt like I was going through the day encased in cement blocks. I felt drained. I was tired. I have a strong family though, we came together to take steps to fix everything. It will be a long road, but it took a long time for things to break, a quick fix won’t stand. It’s going to take a long time to heal, as with any wounds. So, now I am back, thankfully, the flu or whatever has subsided, and I am having time to focus. My recharge period didn’t go as planned. In fact, it was crushed with the weight of a thousand suns, but that’s in the past. Right?

I have a couple more days to focus and set plans for my own healing in motion. There are a lot of things I haven’t dealt with, and they keep recurring like a nightmare. A nightmare I’m ready to put to bed. God, my puns are on point today. I have hit another lull and it’s not working for me anymore. I am tired of being tired. I am tired of being sick. I am tired of comparing myself to everyone else and trying to keep up with other people’s expectations of me (expectations that likely don’t exist, but they do in my brain). I need to get out of this, before I slip further backwards and it’s more and more difficult to climb out. I can’t go back to that dark place. I feel myself slipping back there, and I need to cry out for help this time. I can’t fight it by myself.

By bottling up all my fears, I make it harder for myself to open up to myself, let alone other people. That sure as hell can’t be healthy for me. So, I need to do something out it. I feel like I’m starting all over again, back at square one. I have to keep reminding myself that I’ve come a long way, and hey, I ain’t dead yet. That’s gotta count for something. More of my life needs to count for something. I feel like a robot just moving along to keep everything going smoothly in the world. Automatic. That can’t be a healthy feeling either. I constantly feel like I’m not good enough, and I’ve just about had enough of that feeling. Like, seriously. I don’t let up for a second. I’d never treat another human being like this, why do I keep treating myself like this? This is why I feel unbalanced. I argue with myself. And I lose.

Time to start treating myself like I matter. My friends and family have been doing it for years.

First up. Take a shower while singing along with Adele. Time to do some healing.

Sorting the laundry

Living with an anxiety disorder is an exhausting existence. There’s an active volcano in my brain that could erupt at any moment, causing devastation and a meltdown in the middle of the grocery aisle. It’s been happening more often in recent weeks and quite frankly, I am dead tired in trying to figure out how to keep up with it. Treatments have side effects and add that on top of already feeling like you’re about to fall off your plane of existence into oblivion… and well, it makes it incredibly difficult to get up the energy to do anything. My new medication is affecting my balance, so now I’m stumbling and falling a lot, which makes me look like I’m intoxicated. I then have anxious feelings about whether or not anyone thinks I am drunk at work, and I worry about that… and the snowball effect has begun. I have a worst case scenario mindset and my brain just runs with that. Nothing else… not like using logic to, I dunno, communicate with your fellow humans or not jump to the worst conclusion I could come up with for what other people are going to think about me…. yeah. Stuff like that. I know I’m rambling right now, but this is kind of therapeutic right now, and who knows, it might help me tighten a few of the screws I have loose.

So, I’m stumbling, and off balance. The doctor says it is one of the more common side effects of the new medication I am trying. So, we’re going to see if it sorts itself out in a week or so and if it doesn’t, we will try something else. Cool. It is a pain in the ass to be dizzy and off balance, like I’m on a boat and I haven’t got my sea legs yet. I am in week two of the most anxious and on edge I have felt in months, and like most people who deal with anxiety and panic, there’s nothing specific to pinpoint why it’s happening. I’d been on the same medication for months, things were status quo at my job, homelife was average with no blips on the radar, and then…. BAM. It was like a nuclear meltdown. Everything instantly seemed to be vapourised to ashes. Afraid of everything from being outside, to being around people in such a “fragile” state. Afraid of being by myself and afraid of being with someone. Horrified by my own thoughts, mostly thoughts of failure and worthlessness and the feeling of this weight in my muscles and bones, I ached like I haven’t ached in months.

Pardon my français, but it knocked me the fuck OUT. I feel like I fell flat on my face after tripping over my own feet. You know that saying, the only person in your way is you? Boy, ain’t it the truth? I keep realizing each time these brick walls smash me in the face, it’s me that’s built the brick wall. Something in my mind won’t let me rest. Keeps pressuring me to do more, be more, and flawlessly of course, because if I don’t look like I’ve been doing this my whole life and have every single duck in a row, I am a failure as a human being and am therefore a waste of time and energy. How’s that for being hard on yourself? Seriously, I am so fucking done with thinking this way. You’re killin’ me Smalls.

I really need to sort my shit out. I am so tired of living with so much doom and gloom in my head. I am so tired of just existing, and not living! I know I’m going to need help. And it’s going to be hard for me to ask for help. I’ve taken a first step and gone to the doctor. We talked for awhile and I described how I was feeling, and with Chad by my side, basically spilled my guts about how shitty I was feeling. I think I even swore a few times. Blood tests, new medication trial, and I’m being referred to a psychiatrist. Ze ball iz rollin’. I also got some breathing exercises, and was encouraged to continue my journal, because he said it truly can help sort out your thoughts and make a plan for the future.

 

So here we are.

 

I guess I’ve been airing my dirty laundry… time to sort, I guess? (Who am I kidding, I wash everything on cold and hope for the best… except my bras… those bitches are expensive)

 

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