Moving

I am moving. Not always forward, but I seem to be moving forward in the overall picture.

It is hard.  It is difficult. I am re-learning how to live life.   I have a new therapist, a new group therapy, a Recovery coach, and I am regularly attending SMART meetings.  I am also putting myself in to the recovery community around me by being a committee member on a Rally for Recovery event.  I’m a public relations officer.  Fancy, right?

By moving, I’m also moving away from things.  Some things are obvious, like alcohol and mental instability.  Some things are not; like people, places, and certain ways that I thought.

I’m not okay with all of that.  Certain thoughts and behaviors are comfortable.  Changing them is uncomfortable.  Why would I want to do that?  I can be a better, more stable person by changing.  I am choosing to move out of my comfort zone.

GAH! I get anxious when I’m away from home for more than a couple hours and I am trying to completely move out of the space in my head that I feel comfortable in.

What is out there?  Show me pics and help me reach out!

Finding My Place

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?

Application In!

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!

Focus-less

One of the big issues that I have with my depression is losing the ability to focus.   Despite the fact that I love reading, I can go months without reading a book because my brain doesn’t want to focus.

This next week, I am going to make reading a priority.  There is NO way that I am going to hit my reading goal for this year, but I still can get a few books closer.

The loss of focus also makes me super absentminded.  I completely forget things, lose track of time, get easily distracted, and zone out a lot.

Does anybody else have this problem?  How do you cope?

Lists, Notes, and Planners, Oh, MY!

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.

ba-new

^ 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.

SO MUCH!

In the last 3 weeks, I have gotten out of a rehabilitation facility, gotten a new apartment, completely switched lifestyles, gotten 2 new kitties, and sprained my ankle.

My husband quit his job to follow his dream.  In those 3 weeks, he has come up with a custom product, has inventory (minimal, but building), has a website and etsy shop, and taken steps towards being an online retailer for one of the biggest dart companies.  I’m super proud of him, in spite of how all of the changes make me feel.

This all meant he needed an office, so we got a new apartment.  We are still in the process of moving, so things aren’t quite settled, yet. Also, a lot of the stability that a 9-5 job with benefits gave us, was suddenly gone.

Here’s the thing:  I absolutely hate change.  I don’t do well with it.  It supercharges my anxiety and gives my depression steroids.  Especially this much in such a short time.

I’m dealing.  I understand that this could be an amazing new direction my life is taking and we have taken a lot of steps to negate the negative sides of the changes.  I understand that my husband following his dreams gives me and Whimzy inspiration to follow our dreams.

I just is SO MUCH!  I think I’m doing pretty well.  No break downs or actual panic attacks.  I’m managing to stay positive, for the most part.

As I’m writing, I realize how un-confident I sound in myself.  To be honest, that scares me because it is hard to sound more confident without outright lying.  I’m confident in my husband and his ability to make his end work or go back to work in case it doesn’t work fast enough; I’m confident in Whimzy’s ability to adapt and thrive; I’m just not confident in myself and my ability to continue my routine and my plans while changing everything else.I know that good plans lay in their ability to adapt, but adapting has never been my strong suit.

I started out writing this blog in a way to inform my readers what was going on in my life.  Now, it has turned into a look at what is really going on in my brain.  I am going to use this new information and make myself stronger, that is one thing that I am good at: surviving, even when I don’t want to, and right now, I want to.  I want to make this the amazing thing that it could be. I want to be part of what makes this amazing, not the dead weight that gets dragged along.  That might not be how the people around me see me, but it is definitely how I see myself…sometimes.

New post coming on how I am going to move forward and keep my sanity intact.

Out and About

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!

DBT Stuff

I post a lot of stuff about how I’m doing and the activities that I do in order to keep going. What I don’t usually post about is DBT skills that I use on a daily basis.  So, basically, I am going to use this post to list a few of my favorite skills and how I use them.

*PLEASED – This skill addresses the physical aspect of being healthy.  It involves exercise, personal hygiene, diet, sleep habits, and abstaining from non-prescribed mood altering substances such as alcohol and drugs.  HOW I USE IT!  Sometimes, I feel crappy and don’t want to do anything.  I use this skill to hop in the shower and put make up on.  Sometimes, that simple act can turn my mood around.   I also use this when I need to be gentle on myself and take a nap or rest.

*One Thing at a Time (OT) –  I overwhelm myself easy.  I jump to conclusions and am thinking a few steps ahead of where I am.  This skill helps me take a minute and focus on what I am doing in the moment.  HOW I USE IT!  When I am overwhelmed, I take a mental note to clear my mind as best as I can, and mindfully do whatever it is that I am doing.  If I am taking a shower, I focus on the water and the smells of my soap.  If I am getting ready for the day and feel overwhelmed, I do my best to slow down and focus on the way my clothes feel, pick my make up more carefully, and so on and so forth.

*Build Positive Experiences (BPE) – This skill helps build up positive experiences that can eventually replace the negative experiences.  HOW I USE IT!  I love this skill.  I am using it every time that I decide to something awesome or epic.  I am using it when I plan parties, vacations, or even just simple family movie nights.  It helps me focus on the positive moments in my life.

Wow.  That was only 3 skills.  I use ALOT more than that on a daily basis.  I am far from mastering them, but I do practice a lot.  I’ll keep going in further posts about DBT.

Did I not mention your favorite skill?  No problem, there will be more!  Give me suggestions of skills you want me to cover!

Murphy’s Law

I sprained my ankle after breaking my other foot.  Then, after my 6 week check up from my surgery, I end up with an infection in my incision.  I get it taken care of, then my fever spikes again, I go to the ER. They give me antibiotics, and send me home.  Fever spikes again, go back to the ER.  After a terse confrontation about whether or not I should be admitted, my foot surgeon talked to the ER doctor and here I sit, in the hospital.  Hopefully I will be going home tomorrow.

Everything that could go wrong, went wrong.

Thankfully, my husband has been staying with me and my anxiety hasn’t gotten too bad.  Normally in hospitals, I get all sorts of discombobulated.

Thanks for all of the good vibes you guys sent!

This Is It

The thing about depression is that it covers a person in a darkness so dark that there is no light at the end of the tunnel.  It is all encompassing.  It feels heavy.  When this hits me, I sometimes panic.  I can’t see a way out.  I claw and I grasp at anything that will give me a little light.

Unfortunately, I’ve taken alcohol as a way out, too much.  This last time, I broke my leg.

This is my solemn oath to never drink again.  I know I’ve said that before, and I’ve nodded and agreed when other people told me not to drink.

This is it.

Day #3 of the rest of my life, in recovery.