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~

Life gets in the way

I’d been doing this mainly topic based because most things in my life relate to a topic enough that I can expand them so that others can learn more about an issue instead of just about me. For the past few weeks, my depressive and mixed states along with other shit has just completely drained me of the motivation to handle even my own shit, let alone add to it.

This has left me very quiet here and I don’t apologize for it. Self care and reinventing one’s ideas on how to create is necessary sometimes. I have been drinking so much peppermint tea, I can barely stand the smell of it but it’s the only thing that reliably keeps the nausea at bay. I can’t think straight most of the time.

Even on facebook, my statuses are few and far between. Sharing has become frustrating and draining because I feel like a broken record. “My tummy hurts, I’m still grieving, I can barely leave the house…” After a month, people ask how you are and you just say ‘fine’ because it’s easier than explaining that yes, you ARE doing everything you can and yes it’s been a month, and no it doesn’t just ‘go away’.

I’m tired of feeling like I have to explain my inability to function ALL the time. It is frustrating though, because if you say nothing, people assume you’re all better. No, no I can’t go out next weekend. No, I can’t make plans yet. Just because someone stops telling you they’re in pain, never assume the pain is gone.

~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~

I found out last night

Right now, The Neverending Story is playing in the background and I’ve paused a game on my phone. I was going to write a post this morning. I was going to try to tackle something about fear or pain or medication. I was going to just try to get some sleep first. I was going to only be up for a moment…

However, I found out last night, during one of my repeated wakings, that a friend had passed. I was going to tackle grief. There it was, clear as day, what I wanted to share openly with all of you.

She passed due to an overdose. I was going to tackle addiction and share with you my feelings about a struggle that faces as much stigma as mental illness and sometimes shares a mind with it.

I was going to tell you my coping skills that I was trying to implement. This is as far as I am going to get right now. I will share my grief with you when I am ready to share. I will share my frustrations and fears. I will share my love for my friend. I will share my tears and the tears of those close to me.

But not today.  Today I am going to watch my movies and play my games and cry to myself because that is how I need to grieve right now. There is no wrong way to grieve, and so this is right for me.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

In loving memory of CP, may she and her loved ones find peace.

No, thanks.

We’re told to do so many things throughout the days. We’re told what to do on social media and by friends, by relatives, by strangers passing by. The reality is we don’t have to do what they say and we don’t owe them an explanation.

I really don’t have to (and neither do you, if you choose not to):

  • Smile! I’m pretty anyway, thank you. I am pretty when I’m pensive and sad and angry even if they show on my face. I’m pretty in a store, and I’m pretty in a picture, even when I don’t turn up the corners on my mouth.
  • Just think positive! I have depression issues, it’s not always in my control. Sometimes I am going to be negative, and sometimes being realistic isn’t positive, and thinking happy thoughts won’t make me fly like Peter Pan.
  • Stop worrying! Sometimes my anxiety doesn’t let that happen, sometimes I have things that concern me even when I can’t affect the outcome. I’m allowed to have things on my mind that upset me.
  • Cheer up! I am allowed to be sad or gloomy or grieving and FEEL my own feelings. If I could just ‘cheer up’ on command, I wouldn’t take so many medications.
  • Stop smoking. Okay, yes, it’s really bad for my health, and I really don’t care that you think i’m prettier without a cigarette, and I’m sorry for all of your losses, but this is my body and my decision. I will do it when I’m ready and your little speeches aren’t making me quit any sooner.
  • Lose Weight.  For some people losing weight is a medical issue. For some it’s aesthetics. For some of us, we like how we are now just fine! Or maybe we’ll do it when we’re good and ready to find a lifestyle that not just helps lose weight but that we feel we can maintain. I’m glad that those diet pills worked for you, they’re really not an option for me. I’m happy for your progress at a gym but I am not comfortable going to one. This is personal and not your decision, it’s mine.

 

I could go on, but quite honestly, it might get a little repetitive as some of the things that you may say out of habit, or because they’ve been said to you so often, they all have the same answers. No. This is my body, my mind, my choice. I’m totally okay with the fact that you’re vegan or christian, that you love to smile or you’re ready for bikini season, it doesn’t mean I want to change the way I live my life or even that ten seconds of my day.

I don’t want to, I don’t have to, and I don’t need to tell you why. Honestly, I shouldn’t be forced into that position and neither should anyone else. Throughout your day, consider that others simply are not you and maybe we don’t fit society’s mold of ‘normal’ and maybe we don’t want to put on a false happy mask just to please you. Maybe we’re tired, depressed, anxious, sad or simply have resting bitch face.

We’re allowed to ignore your unfair demands… and some of us are simply tired of smiling. What do you hate being told to do most?

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

The Clock – inspiration through despair.

With Easter approaching, I want to share with you the story of a friend I lost on Good Friday years ago. I don’t think I could tell her story any better now than I did in 2011, the year she passed away. I had already lost friends who had taken their own life, as well as my biological father whom I had never met. I’d lost family and friends to natural causes. Michelle’s passing was different, is different. If it could help just one person understand that this is the only life we have and we’re meant to live it, I know she would want her story, our story shared.

Beloved Friend – June 2, 2011

I’d been running my facebook support page for months. It had grown to the point where it needed multiple admins and to be checked multiple times a day instead of the once every few days back in the beginning. We had hundreds of members instead of the handful I expected. I guess I didn’t realize how many people there were like me, that couldn’t get to a face to face support group, or needed more when they were home.

I first noticed Michelle because her posts were a little hard to understand. She was using her phone to access the page, and her typos and missing words were always a part of the posts. She was very far down, there were no okay posts. Only down ones. She would say she couldn’t take it, she would say it hurt too much.

After a few weeks I was talking to her in inbox messages as well as on the page. We had added each other as friends. I read a note of hers that was titled “Read only if you are strong.” She never wanted to bring others down or put things on them that they couldn’t handle. She told me to make sure that I was doing good before reading it. It was a description of what she’d gone through recently. Her son has Dravet’s Syndrome – a child seizure disease. She was constantly overtired because he would have fits through the night as well as the day, and during the day there was no rest because her daughter was awake. She suffered multiple types of abuse by her ex husband, some worse than I want to remember reading, even after the divorce.

She only had one really close friend who would visit when she could, when she wasn’t working to help take care of Michelle’s son. Other than that, she was pretty much on her own. Even her family was not helping much regardless of her son’s health and her mental health.

She made a post one night when I was overtired. As I said before, sometimes her posts were hard to understand. It had something to do with finishing a handful, and I didn’t know what she meant. I am not even sure what I responded with but she said it was good that I didn’t understand her, and she deleted the comment. I realized that she was meaning to finish an overdose that she’d just been starting. I sent her messages in her inbox asking her not to, and begging her to call a crisis line, giving her the phone numbers (she was in the U.K. so I had to look them up, but I did as quickly as possible). I was pleading to a non-responsive screen.

The next day she apologized, she thanked me. She told me she flushed the rest of those pills. About a week later, we got a message that she overdosed and was in the hospital. She messaged us again when she was out of it, she left as soon as they took the needles out of her from the I.V. and left the room. She hated hospitals…

A week later I was messaging her again, I’d seen on her friends wall that she was “going to visit her friend for the last time.” I saw on her wall that her friend would be there soon. I asked her why this would be the last time. She messaged me back saying that she’d tell me the next day maybe. I assured her that I was doing good that Saturday morning, and that my boyfriend would be with me all day and all day the next day, so if I might need support, this was the best time to tell me.

She told me she was dealing with the consequences. I asked what that meant, and she said that her liver was failing. The two overdose attempts weren’t the first. The damage she’d done to her liver was irreversible and because of the reason for the damage, there was no chance of a transplant.

After a couple days, I finally got the courage to ask her friend how long she had, because through the conversation, Michelle gave no real indication. A couple weeks maybe… My heart sank. This woman suffered through so much between her ex husband, her mental state, her children’s health and she had tried to end it all, each time she’d lived she would ask God why, but say that he must have a reason. If she thought one of her friends was already depressed that day, she would inbox another friend with problems instead of posting where everyone could see. Even when she told me she was dying, her main concern was whether or not I was going to be okay with finding out. As the days passed, she would post things on the wall still of the support group. One stuck out in my mind the most.

“i wish i could turn back the clock but i cant”

Michelle English, mother of two, beloved friend, passed away on Good Friday less than one week after she told me she would pass. I’m not a Christian, but she was, so that is how I remember the day. The date was April 22, 2011.

Many people have attempted suicide. Myself included. Sometimes people plan it, sometimes it is done spontaneously. This is a woman that attempted, survived, and then had almost two weeks to come to terms with the fact that she WAS indeed dying. There was no passing out and not waking up, no immediate death. She had to come to terms with what dying really meant. Her response to it? “i wish i could turn back the clock.”

She is missed. She is loved. It took dying to make her want to live and by then it was too late. I hope anyone that reads this looks for what there is to live for, even if it’s just a single person they love, and holds onto it with all their strength until they feel that life is worth living again. We can’t turn back the clock.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

P.S. Please consider sharing Michelle’s story. This isn’t just about one life, it’s about all of us. It’s a reminder not to let the depression win.

Also consider commenting in honor of someone you’ve lost to depression.