1000 Little Thoughts

IMG_4837I’m going to start this out with a trigger warning…what I’m about to talk about isn’t easy for some people to hear or read. And if you’re family…I’m sorry I kept this from you, but this was  mine to keep and mine to share when I was finally ready.

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about suicide, suicide prevention,  and suicide awareness since the release of the Netflix series “13 reasons why”. I’ve heard some say it glorifies suicide and there is concern as to how “angsty” or “emo” kids and young adults would react. I’ve also heard others say it depicts the true nature of what those who have attempted and who have succeeded possibly feel and would want the world to know. I will tell you right off the bat I have not watched the series and I most likely will not. I am choosing not to watch the series for one reason and that reason is my mental health. I’ve struggled for a really long time to keep myself above water per say and I’m not about to fuck it up over a Netflix series. Am I happy that this type of conversation is beginning to happen? Hell yes…and here’s why:

What I can tell you is that suicide is not meant to be selfish or attention seeking . In fact most people who end up attempting do it usually as an act of desperation. Desperation to finally be free of the haunting words,feelings, and images they constantly see and feel.  Desperation to not feel numb anymore or to finally be able to rest. The desperation to allow the ones you feel you’re hindering to move on and live a better life. It’s blinding and manipulative to the person committing. It’s also the only way out of it all that they can see. People don’t do it to cause suffering. They usually do it to try to end suffering- both theirs and the ones around them that they feel they’ve become a burden to. I’m sure anyone else who has been in the type of situation could tell you multiple other reasons as well. I can only tell you what I know, what I felt.

I think for me it started in 8th grade. I just remember waking up feeling worthless and like I didn’t deserve to be around. I felt like I was a pain in the ass for people to deal with and that I had nothing to give to the world. I was a failure who couldn’t make anyone happy and disappointed everyone. Those feelings just got worse and worse through high school. I knew it wasn’t true. I had hard evidence saying the opposite. But even with all of the evidence I had I could never make myself believe it.

Once I hit college I spiraled. I became closed off and quiet. I didn’t really feel anything. I had given up. The below is part of a passage from an entry I wrote in November 2011- 3 months before my last suicide attempt.

“It’s hard to find a quiet place here. Not even the deepest corners of my mind fall silent anymore. It’s cold out. And in. I feel frigid. The negative seems to have consumed me. I hate it. I hate me. I hate what I am here. I hate who I am here. I feel fragile,dull,tainted- like there’s no purpose for me. I find it odd how fragile my mind is. It seems to shatter like a bottle thrown against a wall. I did that earlier…threw a bottle. I easily break and then tape myself together. I wonder how the trees stay warm. They’ve shed their coats and stand before me naked. If they’re truly alive how do they not freeze to death? If I touch one it feels cold- maybe they hide their pain too. Maybe that’s where the connection is. We both hide ourselves under what we think are layers, but in reality we’ve shed our skins to the point of being naked. Everyone suspects something. I wish I knew what they saw. But honestly my mind is full to the point of knowing nothing. Tomorrow’s just another day of soulless confusion. I can feel my body tingle, begging me to go inside. But I refuse. Just one more moment of silence- away from the nothingness. It’s so loud it drives me crazy. I wish I knew what else to say. There’s always more- but I’m tired of digging. I feel out of place, a thorn is someone’s side or maybe a needle in a haystack. But who really wants to find a needle? Who wants to find me?”

Once you hit that grey area it becomes scary and your options seem limited. 3 months later I attempted twice in one night. But I was lucky because that night someone did want to find me. I was lucky because someone forced me to spit out the pills. That same person fought to hold me down to take the knife away from me as I cried in desperation to just let me die. I was lucky because someone saw me. They saw I needed help but didn’t know how to ask.

Not everyone is lucky. Whether you choose to watch the show or not is up to you. But suicide, awareness, and suicide prevention need to be discussed. They need to be conversations. Those of us in the dark need to be heard- even if we can’t speak. Make sure to take the time to really talk to the people in your life.

I was lucky and because of that I’ve now gone 7 years with no attempts. Everyday I still wake up with the thoughts- those don’t really ever go away. But when I ask myself if I’m worthy, even if I don’t believe it that day, my answer is always yes.

We are all worthy.
You are worthy

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Coulda Shoulda Woulda…and Can’t

Ok, so, I’m going to talk about a word I LOVE to use and really need to stop using (according to some people). This word is “can’t”. Out of every word I use on a daily basis this is more than likely one of the over used ones. It’s very difficult and almost near impossible for me to not use the word “can’t” at least 5 times a day.

Most of the time it’s not even true though. I just tend to psych myself out to the point where I am so scared to even try to look at the possible outcomes of whatever situation I’ve gotten myself into and that’s where the coulda shoulda woulda’s come in. I almost always end up kicking myself for second guessing any decision, idea, thought, or for not even trying in general.

So- today- at 10:15 pm EDT I’m going to make a list of what I CAN do. (why do I feel like someone just gasped for air or had to do a double take?) Let me repeat so you know you didn’t read that wrong- I am going to make a list of what I CAN do. Now, this isn’t an easy step for me, so the things on the list may be rather simple or seem silly or pointless. But, for me, it’s a step into not using the word “can’t” as often and it’s a chance to make those coulda,woulda,shoulda’s- can’s, did’s, and shall’s.

I CAN…

walk on two legs

balance on one foot

act…and act well

cook pasta

sing

take awesome photographs

use a computer

provide advice

drive (finally)

do yoga

write…and write well (I hope)

legally drink

smile

do hair

travel

sleep in a home with a bed (and soon with a door and window!)

move with little assistance

make friends

keep friends

be honest

draw

play with my dog

swim and dive

laugh

get a tattoo

and I CAN learn to not think I Can’t.

 

What can you do?

The “T” Word

So, I’m going to talk about a touchy issue with a lot of people. I have seen this subject cause a lot of fights and a lot of silent treatment. It’s a subject  where most people say “well just don’t talk about it in public (or in private)”. This subject is *drum roll please…*

 Therapy.

Doesn’t sound so bad right? Wrong.

You’d be surprised how many people will give you a disgusted look,awkwardly shift in their chair, or just try to change the subject when you mention it. Maybe I just tend to notice the slight glances and clenched jaw aspect a little bit more than others, but this subject area seems to be a very uncomfortable one with many people (at least the ones that I know).

First let’s start with a break down of what therapy actually is.There are many definitions to therapy, but the three I have provided below seem to cover the bases. These are from Dictionary.com:

1.the treatment of disease or disorders, as by some remedial, rehabilitating, or curative process: speech therapy.

2.a curative power or quality.
 
3. any act, hobby, task, program, etc., that relieves tension.
 
Now, out of all three of these definitions only one matches what most people think of when they think “therapy”. The first definition is the only one out of all three that goes into the “professional” aspect. This is fine and great- we all need to know that there are many cases that fall under that first definition. But, this particular blog is to focus more so on the last two. Based on these last two definitions everyone goes through therapy. Everytime you do anything that relieves some sort of tension you have just done a form of therapy.
 
So, if you like to draw and it soothes your anger or nervousness- guess what- you just did some art therapy! If you like to garden when you are mad or have just received bad news…you just did therapy. Even drinking a glass of wine to wind down from a hectic day could be considered a form of therapy.
 
If we all do therapy everyday why does everyone get so uptight or awkward when someone mentions that they see a therapist? What makes this so different than reading a book to relax or blasting your music and going for a drive to the middle of nowhere?
 
The way I see it- people who see a therapist just need a little extra push or assistance in the right direction. Sometimes wheels get stuck in the mud or you need a stronger person to open the wine bottle. Everyone needs assistance here and there. I’m not saying that sometimes people don’t have some serious issues they need to work through in therapy. I’m just trying to relate the idea of therapy to every day life because to some people it is an everyday thing- even if they only see a therapist once or twice a week.
 
We all have experiences in our life that we have needed a second opinion on, whether it’s as small as “should I get the red shoes or the blue shoes” or as big as “should we get this house or the other”. We all need a little help in making big decisions that can impact our lives. A therapist just kind of helps push you into the reality of making your own decisions. Part of the definition for a therapist is “a being who helps…” Based off of this section of the definition a therapist could be anyone, including a puppy!
 
Technically we all see therapists, just for some that therapist is themselves or their pets. For others they need to seek assistance. Even people who see a therapist may not fall under that first definition though. Not everyone who goes to therapy and sees a professional has some deep dark issue or mental disorder. Sometimes they just can’t talk to others without receiving a biased reaction. And that’s the beauty of seeing a professional therapist- they will be real and unbiased. They won’t tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear.
 
 I’ll be the first to admit that I see a professional therapist and it took me a LONG time to be able to admit this at all. When I first started I was completely against the idea of therapy. I had been brainwashed into thinking that if I needed to go to someone else for help that I was weak and obviously couldn’t figure out my own life. Well…yeah! I was weak and I couldn’t figure out life-but not because I was seeing a therapist- it was because I was so completely lost and confused at the time that I couldn’t figure out right from left. Once I snapped out of the mentality of “therapist bad- suffering good” things started to actually take a turn for the better.
 
I won’t go into my wonderfully colorful experiences with therapy and the therapists I went to. But, I will tell you I still see a therapist and she is probably the best one by far. She has challenged me on so many levels and really made me think. And I’m not going to lie- she’s pretty fucking awesome. But, I get that seeing a professional isn’t for everyone. Do I think everyone should give it a try? Yes, not because we are all mental, but because sometimes it’s good to get a reality check from someone who can be 100% real with you.
 
So, if someone ever comes up to you and tells you they see a therapist or asks if they should go to therapy- don’t stick your nose in the air or walk away disgusted. They may just need that little extra push that playing soccer or singing gives you.
 
 

Living with the monster under my bed

I have lived with the monster under my bed for 24 years and refused to recognize it for the longest time. However, over the past 6 or so years I’ve come to understand that this “monster” is a part of me and that I can’t ignore her. This monster- the one that scares me, makes me cry, scream, doubt myself,and cuddle my panda bear…is the same reason I fight and work hard at having a life I can enjoy and will feel rewarded for working towards.

This monster under my bed is my anxiety. So, in turn, the monster is me. I’ve had Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) for most of my life and will probably have it for the rest of it. There are days where GAD makes it difficult to live and then there are days where I realize just how much of a blessing GAD can be. Every disorder comes with a scale- the postive and the negative. But, it’s our choice on which side we tip.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America GAD is defined as the following:

Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things.

People with the disorder, which is also referred to as GAD, experience exaggerated worry and tension, often expecting the worst, even when there is no apparent reason for concern. They anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues.

For those who know me- well this could be my personal definition and for those who are unfamiliar with GAD this can sound like a death sentence or “the worst thing” to be diagnosed with. I’ll admit when the diagnosis first reared I was NOT happy. I fought it and argued until my face was blue. But, this just proved the diagnosis correct.As I began to over worry about the monster I would get angry with myself everytime I did anything that reaffirmed this ideology.

Every day is a different battle and a different outcome. Some days I win and some days I lose. But anxiety has helped shape me and learn to fight for what I want or need. It’s helped me be persistant and take challenges head on. I’ve already learned so many lessons from this so called monster.

I’ve spent the last couple of days with high anxiety due to medcial issues and concerns. To me, my anxiety won the battle each day, but I am on my way to winning the war. Even though I was scared and felt I couldn’t do it I made it through two of the most difficult days and nights of my life.

There were many I can’t’s, I’m scared, it hurts, and what if’s. But each step of the way I proved the monster wrong. I did what I thought I couldn’t, I pushed past the fear, I worked through the pain, and I handled each what if that occurred. I may not have handled the situations as well as some, but I handled them. This alone is a victory, even if small.

I may live with the monster under my bed, but now I control my life. Now I am working towrads the life I want and deserve. Yes, there are many hiccups and hurdles, but that’s life and sometimes my hurdles seem bigger than they should be and my hiccups last longer or seem more painful. But I have something a lot of people don’t have. I have a handful of people I can lean on for support and who remind me that even though this monster is living under my bed, I can always get off of my bed and leave the room.

So, what monsters live under your bed and are you ready to tip the scale in favor of living? I know I am.