After finally finding a therapist that holds me accountable and has me stepping out of my comfort zone, I am back on a routine. I know it has always helped, but the demons don’t like them, so I haven’t stuck to any. I’ve tried to-do lists, motivational quotes, making schedules left and right, but I haven’t been sticking to them.
So, I re-did the schedule that I made when I was in residential treatment. Yeah, the same one I posted a few weeks ago. It has taken me this long and some nudging from my therapist, but I finally am on Day #1 of ROUTINE. I made it in all caps because honestly, it is scary and I’m deathly afraid of failure.
My therapist also helped me re-arrange my daily schedule thingy. I’m not sure what else to call it. lol.
It should pop up in whatever type of Office-type software you use! Feel free to use it and edit it, but make sure you Instagram me!
Well, here I go. According to my schedule, it is lunch time.
Turmoil. That has been most of my adult life. Alot of it was self-induced, but not intentional.
Now that I have stability, I’m learning to not self-destruct. It can be hard, especially on bad days when everything seems hopeless.
Thankfully, I’m on an upswing and am experiencing minimal symptoms.
That means I am trying to do as much as I can with this time, including: community volunteer work, housework, spirituality, mental health tools, spending time with friends and family, being active in my plans to stabilize myself, and lots of self-care.
Wait, did I say volunteer work? YES! Yes, I did. I am on a committee for the Kenosha/Racine Rally for Recovery that is happening in September. I am actively working on communicating with a recovery group and reaching out to the community. It feels amazing. I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity. Not to mention, I get to hang out with some awesome people and build my support system.
Life is good, and I am moving in a positive direction. Isn’t that all we can really hope for?
I finished my application for Rutgers University’s online program this morning. I got my essay finished this morning and submitted my full application this afternoon. It is for their MSW online program. They will set up clinicals and everything for me once that time comes.
On one hand, I’m really excited. It is about time I take this next step in my education and actually try to do something with my education. On the other hand, I am freaking nervous. I need 3,000 hours of clinicals. That is 2 years worth of work. I have issues holding a job, so how am I going to do clinicals? I am trying to be positive, but it is hard with my track record with employment. I guess it is something to work on with my future therapist and case management team. I know that I can help people, because of my own experiences both current and past, so this is my attempt to do that.
I’ll keep you updated!
Anybody go through schooling, especially clinical work, with mental health issues? How did you cope? Tell me your stories!
Part of what has really been helpful throughout my recovery journey is having a schedule and being held accountable. While sometimes my anxiety/depression makes this near impossible, I do the best I can do. And by the “best I can do”, I mean I may overdo it when I am feeling well. The thing is that it really does help, so making checklists, weekly/daily schedules, having a ridiculous planner, and a daily journal are all things that I have scattered about me randomly.
The weekly schedule is on the fridge. My DBT BA (a basic explanation of what a BA, or behavioral activation is! CLICK ME! I CONTAIN KNOWLEDGE!) schedule is in my planner, my daily grateful/goals/self-affirmations are in my journal, and random to-do lists/events/and things to remember are all scribbled about somewhere in my planner.
Keeping track of everything I do helps me stay focused and gives me perspective when at the end of the day I feel like I didn’t accomplish anything.
^ this is my BA list, weekly.
Not only do I try to do better day to day, but I can make weekly goals, too. I keep them every week and try to look for patterns. Sometimes digging into patterns helps, but oftentimes I end up overwhelmed, so I try to do it sparingly. If you like my layout, go ahead and steal it! Add your own stuff in! Keep track! Then, look back and be grateful and proud of all you’ve accomplished.
To be honest, there are days that I can check off maybe 1 box of completions. But you know what? There are other days that I manage to get all of them done. It all evens out, even with the bad days. I promise.
No. This isn’t some fun carnival game that you get the chance to win a giant stuffed hermit crab at. (Who really wants a giant stuffed hermit crab? Seriously, where does my head come up with this stuff?)
This is my daily roll of the dice, spin of the wheel, deal of the cards…
How will I feel when I wake up? How will I feel around noon? How about 8 pm?
Round and round it goes, where it stops, nobody knows.
Today has been pretty consistent with a little bit of a crash in mood and motivation around 4, and now some womenly pains in the evening. Mood wise, it was a decent day.
There are 3 main ways that I feel: it hurts to be alive, I’m scared to be awake, or “hey, this isn’t so bad”. I violently bounce between these 3 at any point in the day. Sometimes, it gives me whiplash. My motivation goes from “my eyelids are to heavy to open” to “let’s do it all now and overwhelm myself until I am catatonic on the couch”. The floor would be more dramatic, but I honestly don’t lay on the floor much. My furniture is too comfortable.
It can just be exhausting to deal with the roller coaster.
If you are dealing with something similar, whether it is BPD, bipolar, depressive episodes…whatever it is, then know that you aren’t alone and somebody out there understands, even if you don’t get to win a giant stuffed hermit crab at the end of the day.
P.S. If you do want a big-ish hermit crab, check out Amazon, HERE! He is actually kinda’ cute….
I had a bunch of errands to run this morning. And, let’s face it, I don’t always do well when I am out of the house. Today, thankfully, I was fine, but there are times that anxiety overtakes me.
Those times, I need tools I’ve learned to save me. I always carry a small journal in my purse and a few pens. In my experience, there is usually somewhere to sit nearby that I can take a breather and write a little bit, even if it is just in my car. Along the same lines as the journal, I like to thought challenge. What exactly am I anxious about? What can I do to play devil’s advocate to myself and challenge what I am anxious about? If I feel judged, I can thought challenge that and ask myself why I care what other people think, or tell myself that people usually are too wrapped up in what they are doing to judge other people.
Another tool that I use is deep breathing. In through the nose, count to 3, out through the mouth while counting to 5. Science has shown that deep breathing can alter how your body is reacting to stress.
Last and not least, I may remove myself from the situation. This is last choice. I have to realize that sometimes, I cannot deal with certain situations. This does not make me weak, it makes me intelligent in that I am able to recognize my limits.
What do you do when you are having a bad time out in public?
If you don’t have any mental health issues, what thoughts do you have when you are out and about and get overwhelmed or stressed?
Any advice? Comment away!
Geez. My life is going in a completely new direction that it was on my last post. I’m not going to go into details quite yet, but suffice it to say that for someone who hates change, this is stressful and exciting all at the same time.
Also, I went to rehab.
I kept it close to the vest. Only people who were there when the rehab idea was put into action knew about it. To be honest, I was and still kinda’ am ashamed. On the upside, I made it through the 2 weeks and have a newfound understanding of the disease of addiction and associated disorders. I would go into details on what exactly I learned, but I had to sign a contract that said that I wouldn’t publish some of the info because it is not available to the public yet.
Moving forward on a different path.
To the future, whatever it may hold!
As I was falling asleep last night, I kept coming up with awesome ways to put the story of my life into words. I probably wrote close to 2 chapters in my head. This morning, the ideas were gone. Poof.
So, I haven’t been writing much. I’ve been on a roller coaster of highs and lows. I’ve had a few days that I struggled with my addiction, and I have had a few surprise adventures that have whisked me away from real life to help me cope.
I have spent at least 1 night a weekend in a hotel for the last month. Life is slowing down now, though, so reality is crashing back in.
I am doing a bunch of group therapy at my local community center, and even leading a few groups! Hoping the routine and socialization will help keep me stable.
We are still working on the process of getting a house.
I just read “Girl In Need of a Tourniquet: Memoir of a Borderline Personality” by Merri Lisa Johnson. So far, it is my favorite BPD book I have read. It resonated on so many levels. The disjointed writing let me think that maybe one day, I will be able to write a book on my experiences in a way that speaks to people who have had similar experiences.
Here is what is hardest to explain.
I chose hell again and again.
– Merri Lisa Johnson
That quote almost made me cry. I’m not the only one! If you have BPD, check it out, I highly recommend it.
Part of my new BA’s (behavioral activation, part of DBT) is to write 2 blogs a week. Hopefully, I will be writing more!
Signing off for now. I am off to combat the clutter monster that has invaded my home.
One the risk factors for having Borderline Personality Disorder is having a stressful or traumatic childhood. Causes and other risks can be explained more here at the Mayo Clinic website.
One of the ideas that I’ve heard in my various support groups is that people with BPD never learned some basic emotion regulation skills as a child, which goes back to the stressful or traumatic childhood.
This means that the skills that healthy people have still need to be learned by people with BPD. I am in therapy, and a lot of what we discuss is about how to take time before I react with high emotions and to dissect any action or decision I make to make sure that it isn’t unhealthy, impulsive, could cause me harm, or is against my values.
This doesn’t make me broken, it just means that I am still learning. It isn’t my fault that these things weren’t taught to me. Learning now is up to me. Becoming healthier and more conscious of all my decisions is now my responsibility.
I am still going to make mistakes, but by continuing to learn I can make sure that I make less as time goes on.
I just read an article here about the effect of depression on a brain. Apparently, long-term depression can shrink the hippocampus part of the brain. The article describes the effects of the smaller hippocampus on a person’s behavior. The researchers liken the shrunken hippocampus to brain damage.
It really shows how difficult it can be to work out of depression. Studies haven’t even shown if it can be reversible.
I just sometimes find it validating that studies are showing more and more evidence that mental illness is to be taken seriously.
The mornings that I can’t get out of bed, or the times when I can’t go out because of my anxiety, or the times I cry for hours at a time…there is a real reason, my brain has something off.