Today is the day. Today, I’m going to a new psychiatrist. After months of family begging me to see someone new, I’m finally taking the step to go. As with all psychiatrist appointments, I don’t know exactly what to expect. And that scares me.
The first psy. doctor I saw treated it as more of a therapy session. This was when I was about 11. My current, or I guess now former, doctor was more like a legal drug dealer. Get my new prescriptions and leave. I hope this one is more along the lines of a therapy session, that way she can truly get to know me.
I’m already dreading the long list of things she needs to know about. My previous addictions, my previous abuse, and all my mental health problems. I guess, at least now I can probably get the correct diagnosis for Bipolar Disorder. I had to fill out forms online and I recognized the Bipolar test. I was never given this at my last doctor. And she didn’t even tell me when she started treating me as someone with Bipolar type ll.
I have high hopes for today. I want this appointment to go well and be more centered around what’s going on.
Here’s what I want to change:
Antidepressants. My Prozac doesn’t feel like it has any effect.
Antipsychotics. I have felt no change in this.
Stimulates. They are controlling my life and dangerously effecting my moods.
I want to keep you all updated on my progress and new journey I’m embarking on. Hopefully, I can give some insight into how things go when you’re trying to find the right medication.
When you have a mental illness, alone time can be very important. Although, sometimes you want too much alone time and then you start to isolate yourself. It’s hard to find a balance, especially if you live alone. Trust me, I’ve been there. But, how do you cope when it’s the opposite? Suddenly, someone is there constantly and they’re living with you. It can get overwhelming.
This past weekend, my boyfriend officially moved in with me. No longer is this my apartment and no longer is it just my dog and I. No, we went and got ourselves another dog. So, now I have my little fur baby, his big fur baby, and him all in a one bedroom apartment. Yeah, it’s as crowded as you think. Don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of it (except when the dogs are acting up).
What I’ve found most helpful is my alone time, no matter how I get it. And I’m talking no dogs, nothing. Just me. Today, my boyfriend is off of work so, I had to ask for my alone time. Well, not really ask, I just told him I needed some time. He understands it’s not about him, I just get in these anxious moods and I need time to calm down. So, while I sit outside and drink my coffee, he’s inside with the dogs playing video games. I don’t know how long I’ll be outside, but I know he understands.
Now, during the week it’s a bit more challenging. I haven’t had any alone time without dogs because I’ve been trying to keep them separate when I go outside. I don’t want them to be alone together just yet. Tomorrow, I’ll probably put one in his spot that he stays in when we leave the house so I can have some time to myself. I won’t leave him alone too long, though.
How else can you cope when living with someone else while you have a mental illness?
Well, they have to be understanding. They have to be willing to help you when you need it. This past week, my boyfriend has had to do the dishes for me. I don’t like this, I’d rather do the dishes for him since he works, but he doesn’t mind. He also has cooked for me, as I tend to use that time to get my alone time.
The thing is, you have to talk and understand each other. If he doesn’t feel like cooking dinner, I want him to tell me that. I want to help him as much as he helps me. Some days I’ll be able to cook dinner, other days we’ll have to order pizza because he’s exhausted and my mind can’t function properly. It all depends on the day.
But, at the end of the day, it comes down to communication and respect. I always let him know how I’m feeling. Just so he can be prepared if something were to happen. Things have been going great, and I’m glad we made this choice.
Being overwhelmed is a lot like being depressed. It takes the energy out of you, it makes you not want to focus on the important things, and it just emotionally drains you. Self care is so important when you’re overwhelmed, just like when you’re depressed.
During the last few days, my routine has gone out the window as well as my motivation. I don’t want to deal with anything because I’m still processing the change taking place in my life. I’ve quit painting, I’ve found it difficult to write, I’ve quit planning, I’ve quit cleaning. I was doing so well before a new dog showed up and now it’s like it’s all gone.
However, it’s not all gone forever. Yesterday I was able to hang up laundry and clean up the bedroom a bit. While I did take three naps, I got some stuff accomplished. The day before that, I did two loads of laundry. I’m not completely at a stand still, I’m pushing myself to do what I can when I can.
I could very easily lay on the sofa all damn day and not deal with the dogs. That’s what my natural coping system is telling me to do. But, I’m getting up every now and then to deal with them and deal with life.
You have to take things a moment at a time, don’t push yourself too much.
I get that life happens, things change and the good and bad come and go. Accepting that reality doesn’t always make it easier to deal with, though.
As someone with many mental illnesses, I get overwhelmed easily. Hell, I can get overwhelmed not doing a damn thing! So, just imagine how life is when everything changes. A lot of the time, these changes trigger mania or depression for me. Right now, I’m going through some big changes. I’m not quite sure if these changes will trigger anything, but I can feel the overwhelmingness of it all.
No longer am I a single, independent woman with her tiny dog. No, now my boyfriend is moving in this week and we adopted a dog a couple days ago. So, now I’ll be living in my one bedroom apartment with a man and two dogs. So, basically I have three living, breathing things I have to take care of. That’s a lot of responsibility.
Granted, my boyfriend can damn well take care of himself. But, being the woman I am, I don’t believe he has to do it himself anymore. And neither do I. It’s now our responsibility to take care of each other. And the dogs.
It’s not “just another dog” for me. It’s another responsibility since I’m the one that’ll be home with him most of the time. On top of that, I could barely take care of the dog that I already had. So, it’s going to take some work.
I like to get one thing done before starting another. At least big things. So, now that I have another dog to take care of I’m also now struggling to finish what I had started. Making my apartment livable again for my boyfriend and I. I was in the process of redecorating and organizing everything. Now, it’s all still chaos. And I don’t have the brain power to handle it.
I’ve taken two naps today, not because I’m tired or depressed but, because I don’t want to deal with anything. I can’t deal with anything. My mind is still processing the fact that all of this is happening. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t prepare myself.
I want so badly to get up and continue cleaning. But, it’s so hard to get started again. I want to get back in a routine, but when will I have the ability to sit down and process what I need to do? I just can’t seem to focus, I’ve become so distracted by this damn dog that I can’t function.
It’s not the dog’s fault. I love having him here, it’s just how my brain is handling it all.
I can’t wait until my boyfriend comes home from work and I can just sit down and be with him. Sure, I’ll feel guilty if I didn’t accomplish anything but hey, it’s good training for him for when I do get depressed. It’s a little peak into what to expect, I guess.
Why is it socially acceptable to stay home and play video games when you’ve gotten a cold, yet when you’re depressed, you’re lazy?
Feeling a bit under the weather has gotten me thinking about this. I’m even calling myself out on it. When I’m depressed I feel as though I should still be doing things, acting normal. Yet, feeling sick with a cold I’m totally accepting of the fact I need to rest. Why is this?
Symptoms of a cold: fever, runny nose, sore throat, chills, headaches, lack of energy, etc.
Symptoms of depression: lack of energy, headaches, negative self talk, suicidal thoughts, self harming actions, overwhelming sadness, loss of appetite, feeling numb or no emotion, etc.
One can kill you, the other, not so much.
I sit here right now and wonder, why are we so hard on people trying to fight for survival? I’d much rather pretend everything is okay when I have a cold than when I have depression. But, depression isn’t seen as valid.
If I were to have a physical illness, one that you could see, that might kill me, you wouldn’t expect me to go to work everyday at a minimum wage job. No, you’d expect me to do everything I can to stay alive. Why is it different with depression?
Right now, I can’t handle a job. I don’t know if I will ever be able to again. I don’t know when or how bad my next Depressive Episode will be. But I’m still expected to carry on as if nothing is wrong.
For the last year or so, there has been something missing in my life. That something is, purpose. For a good part of the year, I had absolutely no purpose. I was wandering about aimlessly just trying to make sure it looked like I had my shit together. It wasn’t until I fell apart and broke down that I discovered my purpose.
While trying to figure out how to properly word this post, I came to a conclusion. We have more than one purpose in life. While I knew my purpose was to inspire and be happy, there was still part of it missing. I still wasn’t fully drawn to my purpose. That is, until realizing that last piece today. I don’t know if the best way to say it is family or love. Because, I had love in my life, just not romantically so, I guess I have to go with family. My own family.
My purposes are, inspiring, happiness, and family.
It wasn’t until this man came along that I got to start fulfilling my family purpose. Now, don’t get all crazy on me here. There is no technical “family.” The only thing we’re expecting is to have coffee in the morning! But still, it’s starting to feel like family. His sisters are two of my closest friends. And him and I have grown incredibly close in the time we’ve spent together.
Having him in my life has given me the last bit of purpose I needed. That last little thing to work towards. I’ve got a reason to wake up in the morning, I have to take him to work. I have a reason to clean the house, I don’t want him uncomfortable. I have a reason to do yoga, I want to be the best version of me I can be. I have a reason to eat dinner, because he eats so much he needs two dinners.
Don’t take this the wrong way. I’ve learned my lesson on making a man your sole purpose. He’s not my only purpose in this life. But I can’t lie and say that he hasn’t contributed to my meaning in life. Because, what is life if you have no one to share it with?
This post begins the series, At War. I will be bringing you with me into my battles against Bipolar Disorder (depression and mania), Anxiety, and PTSD.
As I began my day on Friday, I looked forward with optimism. Friday was going to be a good day. I didn’t have much to do, I created a lot to do for myself, though. Most of my days begin with a great attitude. I wake up to the hottest, sweetest man ever and I get to enjoy coffee with him. It’s out special time together, just us. Then I take him to work and we begin our days.
Of course, I start my day with one, of many, pots of coffee. Since I also deal with anxiety, and I take stimulants, I found it best to drink half caf coffee. However, my first pot is almost always regular just because I need it to make sure I’m awake enough at 5:30am to drive my man to work.
When I get home begins the day’s routine. Around 7am I take my first two little pills. An antidepressant and an ADD medication. The antidepressant no longer works on its own, and the ADD medication is for the racing thoughts I get, they worsen with Mania.
Then, around 8am (on good days) I begin to get ready. Today, I’m choosing to write this before getting ready for my day. Friday, I felt good enough in the morning to actually do my makeup.
I did a full face of makeup, even applying some false eyelashes. Doing this means I actually enjoyed time to do my makeup, it benefitted myself to raise my mood and make me feel more confident. When I’m depressed, I don’t feel like doing my makeup at all. So it’s always a good sign when I look well put together.
After my makeup it was time for walk number one with my fur baby. Unfortunately, it was the only walk we got on Friday.
I usually do this before getting ready, but I like to plan my days. Especially since I’m home alone 90% of the time, it makes me feel like I actually have things to do. When I’m in a good mood, it motivates me. When I’m depressed, it haunts me. Sometimes, I start out motivated and then my mood shifts and it no longer benefits me anymore.
Not shortly after writing my to do list, my grandma called. For the most part, it was a good conversation. That is, until the subject of school came up. She mentioned how my cousin, who has been facing depression as well, has gone back to school and is doing good. While hearing that makes me happy, it also broke my heart. I was wanting to start school back this semester, however the price of classes were too high. Or, at least that’s what I thought the reasoning was. As it turns out, my grandma actually doesn’t trust or believe in me to do it. I don’t blame her. See, when I was in community college I lived with my emotionally abusive mother so, I was always challenged and distracted. No one but me understood why I couldn’t get through school. Then, once I was on my own, I faced mental illness and could not stick with a job or school. As well as one time living with an emotionally abusive boyfriend, there was no place for me to succeed. I think I might make a post out of discussing this soon.
After crying, I was exhausted. I no longer had the energy to accomplish anything and my depression was let in a bit further. Crying doesn’t make you weak, but sometimes an event that saddens you can weaken your walls against depression. My day changed in this moment.
Attempting to get back into a better mood, I decided to take a hot shower. My hair needed washing and my makeup was ruined anyways. It did boost my mood slightly, and the warm water felt comforting.
I blow dried my hair, put on some new makeup, threw on some heels and headed out of the door. The best thing to do when depression begins to hit is to change your surroundings. I understand how this seems impossible after depression has full on taken over, but while you’ve still got strength it can help greatly.
I highly recommend going someplace that calms you and makes you feel happy. A place you can relax at. For me, I chose Target! I actually went there because I had to buy some bed sheets but, it worked. Also, probably not the best idea to go shopping at Target alone when you’re feeling depression sneak up, but I did fairly well at only getting a small amount of things.
When I got home, I decided it was time to take some action against my mental health. I created a new mental health bullet journal (blog post coming soon) and I read up on my illnesses in some books on depression, anxiety, and bipolar ll.
After some time, I tried that whole, moving around so Depression can’t catch you thing. I started to clean. My bedroom was a mess, and partially adding to my stress and depression.
I didn’t clean up the whole room, but I got it looking a bit better. Warren seems to enjoy it!
That little bit of cleaning exhausted me. I was done for. All I wanted to do was nap, even when it came time to get ready to pick up my boyfriend, I still just wanted to nap. All my physical energy was gone. I was tired, sad for no reason, and I had taken a bath in which I cried my eyes out.
Eventually, I got up and touched up my makeup. I went and picked up my boyfriend and we got tacos, my happy food. I love him. When feeling depressed, it’s best not to always isolate yourself so, I’m glad this guy is in my life for times when I just can’t do it anymore.
Oh, my sweet, dear depression. I must admit, there have been days when I have loved you more than myself. You’ve given me an excuse to lay down and do nothing, you’ve given me reason to go out in my pajamas, you’ve helped me lose weight by taking away my appetite.
Then, there are days I’ve hated you. You’ve tied me down so I couldn’t get up, you’ve weighed me down so it was hard to breathe, you’ve made me believe life is not worth living.
The bad outweighs the good in our relationship. Having you around is like accepting yet another abusive, toxic person. I have no tolerance for that anymore. You try to turn myself into my own toxic person, and I’m through with being treated this way.
You’ve watched me as I cut myself, you handed me the knife. You’ve watched me as I’ve cried out for help to an empty apartment. You’ve held me when I couldn’t get out of bed, you told me it was okay to spend an entire month there.
I don’t want you around anymore. This is as hard for me as it is for you because this means I’m going to have to work at. Work to keep you away. I’m building up my walls to block you out, I’m ready for a battle.
You don’t own me, you are not a part of me. I choose who I want to be and I do not want to be Depression. I am Elizabeth, and I am beautiful on the inside and out.
You, my sweet, sweet depression, well, frankly, you can go back to hell. Right where you came from.
It started with small thoughts sneaking into my mind. Then, I stopped doing my makeup, wearing cute clothes, and I stopped cleaning.
I haven’t put my clean clothes away in a week. There’s a mess on my bedroom floor that I can’t seem to keep cleaned up. And everything is just so slightly out of place in my apartment that it’s annoying. My kitchen is clean, though!
What I’m saying is, I’m noticing the signs that depression has arrived. Its not yet fully consuming me, hopefully it won’t. But, it’s here, haunting me. I’m beginning to physically feel it.
I’ve learned coping strategies, written in journals, I’ve done plenty of things to have the knowledge to keep this Depressive Episode at bay. But, that doesn’t always mean that I’ve got all the right weapons and soldiers to fight with. Just like medication, it takes the right combination to defeat depression. But I’m going to fight like hell.
What I’ve come to learn is that you have to fight depression, and keep fighting it until you can no longer move. Every minute of every day you need to actively be telling depression, “no.” If you don’t, you may stumble. I plan to fight until I can’t any longer. Fight until I can no longer get out of bed. Fight until all my fight is gone.
Depression is tough, sure. But I believe I am tougher. See, depression has been here before and I’ve beat it before. I’m not going to sit down and accept that this is what’s going to happen. I don’t want to lose life again, I want to continue living it. I’m not yet ready to give up.