Worse than I think I am…

It’s strange when my actions don’t really match what I think my emotions are. I have been off lately and I’ve been trying to figure it out. I haven’t been up for talking to most people, especially not one on one. Conversations about myself are still down to “How are you doing?” “Oh, I’m okay.” We all know I’m not but I’m okay enough to get away with it.

I can’t get away with it at therapy though. I don’t remember if I gave him a “name” or not, but for today, we shall call him Jim. Jim doesn’t let me get away with “I’m okay.” It’s pretty much his job to call me out on that. So, I started going through the fact that hygiene is getting more difficult to handle again and I’m losing interest in most of my games and my shows that I usually love. It hits me. These are signs of depression.

Some of this stems from being so sick as a side effect of my body getting used to a medication again. A lot, actually, because besides ‘feeling sick’ – I’m also isolated right now because leaving the house for more than an hour or two makes me even more sick the following day. I can’t change this. I need the medication for now until we can at least discuss other options. I need tests done for that. I am working on it all the best I can…

However, I’m still more depressed than I thought I was. This doesn’t usually happen to me. I’m usually much more self aware, much more able to gauge my own emotions. Being sick for a month will screw with your perception of everything though, I think, including yourself.  I am safe, I am not in danger of any type of harm to self or others, I’m just not quite emotionally available to people right now. Not as much as usual.

I will drink my peppermint tea (which I am so tired of but it helps), and I will snuggle with the cat. I will find new games to play for now for distraction and new shows to hold my attention until I’m more myself again. There’s just a lot of stress and sadness and grief in my life recently and I need to take time to process it.

I hope if you find yourself in a similar position, see signs of depression in yourself before you really “feel” them, that you give yourself permission for self care. Don’t just wait for it to get worse, do whatever you can to stay even or move forward, so when it passes, you’re ready to keep going in life.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

“My pain doesn’t matter because…”

Since the bombing in Manchester, I have seen a lot of “but my pain is nothing compared to…” This should stop. Yes, there are people out there grieving and suffering from trauma. This does not mean that your pain does not still exist. This does not mean that your pain does not still matter.

I have had at least three friends in the past few days use this phrase, and even more acquaintances. The truth is that there is always someone grieving. There is always someone experiencing trauma. This does not mean your pain and your trauma are “less.” The only difference right now is that it is a mass tragedy. This means you are more aware of the pain of others because it has been amplified by the number of people currently suffering.

You are no less important. Your pain is no less important. Mine is no less important. I have spent weeks trying to grieve while being ill due to side effects of a medication for my brain pressure. I was no less sick because of world events. In fact, I may have felt more grief in my own losses because I know others are grieving for theirs.

I missed my fiance’s mother’s birthday because of how ill I have been. I missed my grandfather’s memorial because of how ill I have been. Am I to dismiss my own grief because others are grieving? No. We both grieve. We both feel pain. We both feel loss. It is okay to feel and not compare.

There is no real “more pain” or “less” because people each experience pain, both physical and emotional, uniquely. When you say “my pain is nothing compared to” you are minimizing your own worth. You are saying “I don’t matter because they hurt” and this is simply not true. Please know that you can experience what you perceive as ‘minor’ pain while others experience major tragedy and loss, and your pain is still real and it still matters because YOU MATTER.

We’ve talked about others invalidating how we feel, and how hurtful that is. This is you invalidating your own emotions and I hurt when I see this because you deserve to treat yourself better than that. You deserve to treat yourself the way you would treat someone you love. Your pain matters. You matter. You ARE important.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Ingress, Anxiety and My Plans

Sometimes even when I really want to go out to do something, it still totally freaks me out. My anxiety kicks up in all the wrong ways, even when my excitement is trying so hard to override it. Later this morning, I’m going to go “people.” I’m going out to play Ingress with some friends, and some complete strangers, in a place I don’t know.

I’ve mentioned Ingress before (How I Got Out), it’s the augmented reality game by the creators of Pokemon Go that was the precursor. If you have anxiety issues, I still highly recommend it. Besides handling my agoraphobia, it’s helped with self confidence, making local friends and creates reasons to socialize in both small and large groups. Today should be a slightly larger group than I’ve been with through the winter. It is a cross-faction event, which means both my team and the other team will be playing together and competing together.

My friend Pretty Bit who has helped bring me to many events now, especially the larger ones, will be bringing me to “First Saturday” (on a Sunday) in PA. I’m glad she’s my ride, being with her makes me feel a bit more comfortable going into a situation where there will be many people I don’t know. There will be some I do, but meeting new people can go one of two ways for me. I could feel fine with it and seem a social butterfly the entire time, or I could withdraw and meet people one at a time, head down staring at my screen. Either way, I am determined to go, to have a good time, and likely will pass out when I get home.

No matter which way I outwardly handle this, I know it will take a lot out of me emotionally. I’m good with that though, it’s worth it. I want you to take note note of that… whether you have anxiety or know someone that does… I want you to hold onto the thought that sometimes no matter what you see from the outside, our emotional selves are being used and drained – that feeling I best explained in I can’t always be there for you.. We will need to recharge, whether that’s some time isolating, passing out, reading a book. That time to reclaim our emotional selves is important, especially if you are expecting to “people” again soon.

I will let you know how everything went soon. We can find out if I was a butterfly or a wallflower, or if I won anything (there are contests and a raffle). I suppose when you find out will be a pretty good indicator of how long I needed to crash for. Anyhow, this is me, checking in with my weekend, please feel free to let us in on your weekend plans as well and how you are coping with them.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Invalidation.

Yesterday, I was told that I don’t care about anyone but myself. This wasn’t by some random acquaintance or anonymous internet troll. I got told this by my mother. Last week we got into an argument, yesterday after a week of not speaking, same argument. She was telling me how to handle my doctors. I was telling her that I had it handled.

Any of you with chronic mental illness or chronic pain, you know the multitude of appointments it comes with. You know that sometimes you need to change treatment plans or doctors. I need to change psychiatrists and I am also going to a neurologist on Monday to work on a treatment plan, if possible, for my brain pressure that causes migraines. I’ve had all of this going on for weeks to months. The psychiatric issue has been half handled, the neurology is scheduled. Somehow I was being told that I’m not handling it correctly, that I’m not listening and that – and this one gets me good – I’m going to the wrong doctor for my brain. The reason that last one gets me is that she’s known about this appointment for six weeks.

Sometimes, yes, I do ask for help when it comes to where to go when I am unable to do it myself. This time, however, I had a plan. I had appointments. I hadn’t asked for anything. For some reason, this plan that my mother had been made aware of weeks earlier was not good enough.

This has happened before about a lot of things in life. It’s probably happened to you as well. You make a decision and people support you and back it and then they change their mind. Maybe it’s about a job and your best friend doesn’t think you should quit even though you already put in your notice. Maybe it’s about a guy and your dad doesn’t approve when you get engaged… Whatever it is, all of the sudden it’s as if your choices aren’t good enough. Obviously, being treated this way is going to create disagreements.

Sometimes the change of heart is because of something that is happening or has happened in the other person’s life. It’s okay to change your mind and change your views. It’s not okay to invalidate someone else’s choices because you change your mind though. It’s not fair to either of you. If you want them to hear you, you may need to hear them too.

I work hard to advocate for myself. I work hard to advocate for others. I am assertive when it comes to anyone’s healthcare. I want us to find the professionals we need to get the treatments that are necessary. I have also spent the better part of seven years running peer support on facebook. I have stayed with family to help care for them when they were unable. I have acted as extreme emotional support for people who have been unable to get it professionally. I have shown up on the doorstep of a suicidal friend so they would not be alone. I do these things partly because I can, I have the knowledge and capacity. I do them because it helps me cope with not working. I do them because I love.

So, now, I’ve been treated like I can’t deal with my own medical treatment and told I don’t care about anyone but myself. Honestly, I have been in pain for over a month almost daily. My medication was incorrect due to a differing opinion with a doctor, and a friend of mine has passed away. I don’t really have the emotional capacity to handle the problems of others that I usually do. This doesn’t mean that I don’t care. It simply means that I need to practice self care right now and have boundaries.

I draw the line at anyone invalidating my choices in life, my choices in healthcare and my opinions on how our interactions are going. Why am I telling all of you this? Because people WILL invalidate you in life, and I want you to see that it’s okay to stop letting them. This is me trying to explain to you that it is okay to make your own choices and your decisions ARE good enough.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Self Care

“Self care” and “functioning” seem to be interchangeable to some people, at least based on memes I see reposted/reblogged. I don’t think they truly understand what self care is. Maybe I am the one that is understanding things wrong. That’s possible and it would be okay but it would take a lot to change my mind.

When people are having trouble with depression or severe anxiety, to me, self care is more about self soothing than anything else. It’s about trying to make life feel livable through those moments. I recommend pleasing each of your senses. I do recommend bubble baths and incense, scented candles, chocolate, your favorite movie or book and a soft blanket. I recommend finding the things that make it feel worth moving forward. I recommend snuggling and sex. I recommend french fries and heavy metal.

I keep seeing posts on social media that say “self care isn’t the cute…” but then go on to list things like showering, washing dishes, paying your bills. If I am capable of doing these things, that means it’s a good day and I am functioning. Some days I can take a shower and I can put my dishes in the dishwasher. If I can’t do those things, then those are the times I actually NEED self care.

Sometimes I’ve already done the showering and it feels like too much. Afterward, I’m sitting here not really able to do anything and I need my soft blanket and a cup of tea. Am I the only one that feels that these are two separate things? That feels that self care is about taking care of your emotions so that you’re able to function later? Or that functioning can lead to needing self care?

I realize this is a somewhat rambling post but I have only slept an hour and quite honestly, putting my thoughts out there for others is a form of self care to me. Later today I have a doctor’s appointment and thus have to “function.” If we’re going by my descriptions which do you feel you can handle right now?

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Today hurts… so,

Can it just be enough?

Can it be enough for you if all I do today is love you? If all I do today is smile through the pain and give you a kiss? If I can’t think straight through the pain and I’m not sure I want to not think straight through the pills? Can it be enough if I just exist today?

If I can’t be there for you when you message me? Or if it’s been weeks and we should talk but I can’t dial? If I see that you’re hurting but I can’t explain that I care? If I am here and you know I’m here but I feel a million miles away?

Can it be enough that even through the pain I am still pushing to move forward?

I know there are things I should do, or would do if I were having a better day. I could shower, or maybe tell you that everything is going to be okay. If it were another day, I could do more than puzzle games and passing out. If it were a better day, I could actually giggle at your jokes, reassure you through your stress, and remind you how strong you are.

If it were a better day… but it isn’t. So, can it be enough for you if all I do is make it through to tomorrow?

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Pain, compassion, and frustration

As I sat here contemplating a DIY lobotomy, trying to figure out whether or not to take the pain medication I was prescribed, I realized I had therapy in a couple of hours. I, then, tried to decide whether it was better to go in severe pain as it coursed through my head like a pulsating rod from behind my right eye into the base of my skull, or go while I was loopy and entertained, but definitely not in a position to absorb information. I called to cancel last minute. Well, it was still a couple hours off but I do not like to cancel at all, especially the day of.

For me, creating a doctor’s appointment is creating an obligation and I try so hard to keep all of my obligations regardless of my mental and physical states. I try to make the necessary phone calls, show up at the necessary times. I try to drink enough water, to take my medication, to eat. I try to go grocery shopping through depression or anxiety because I do not think it’s fair to let my disabilities take away my ability to at least try to function on some level.

Days like today frustrate me. There was little I could do, I was not going to be able to function at the mental level needed for an effective therapy appointment. I could have wasted both of our times, but why? My neurology appointment is still a couple of weeks out and, as I am not having any ocular auras (and my kidney function labs were redone and fine), I have not gone to the hospital. This does mean that we are treating my intracranial hypertension (high brain pressure, there is an issue with my cerebro-spinal fluid) with pain management as long as it’s not affecting my sight. I honestly thought I could keep it from affecting my other obligations.

Obviously, I was wrong. The medication has worn off and although I can still feel pain, it’s a pain I can tolerate and maintain some function through. Six years ago, before this was ever an issue, it’s a pain I would have taken OTC painkillers for and whined about on the couch until it dissipated. Our pain tolerance changes with our life.

The same is true of emotional pain. What we could not handle ten years ago may be something we can cope with now, or due to manifesting disorders, or even simply new stressful situations coinciding with it, we may not be able to cope with them as well. All of this varies with time, situations and especially from person to person. While I would not expect a random stranger to be able to cope with this headache pain easily, this stranger may have already experienced worse pain and be prepared to handle it. It is as likely they have not, and it would temporarily incapacitate them until relief came. For all I know, you are experiencing the same level of pain right now.

Maybe I pass you in a parking lot, smile, nod, say “Good morning” and you reply with the same smile and greeting. Perhaps both of us are hiding immense pain behind that smile. Perhaps neither of us are. Maybe that cranky old man in line in front of you simply has his arthritis acting up and what you see is him coping with his pain. Not fair to the guy behind the register, maybe, but then the pain we experience isn’t fair either.

Over and over I see memes regarding not knowing the pain another is hiding or their struggles and it feels so cliche to write it, but at the same time, I have been in so much pain lately … Maybe you see me stare off during a conversation, you think I’m not listening, that I am ignoring you, but maybe it just hurts less if I let my eyes unfocus for a bit, maybe you’re sitting under a bright light and I just can’t bring myself to say, “Could you switch seats?” because I’m tired of my pain affecting me and I don’t want it to affect you.

All I really want to ask is for the benefit of the doubt, not just for me but for anyone you may encounter in your travels. You know my pain because I put it here on the screen. Not everyone is so visible with theirs. In this day and age of zero fucks given, I’m just asking that maybe you save one to give.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~