Blogging, Mental Health, Writing

Recovery…

I have had some ups and downs during this period of recovery. I was manic for a while and wrote a shitload of stuff…none of which is on my blog. Thank god! It’s better that you don’t read my manic writing 🙂

Now that I’ve come back down…I fell a little too far, but not far enough to not want to breathe in and out and open my eyes. In fact, I landed with the type of discomfort that is pushing me to be hopeful….

Today, I showered. I went to lie in the sun…15 minutes on each side. My pasty (and it is pasty) white ass wasn’t showing since I had the compassion to wear shorts…my neighbors don’t need to be traumatized whilst I soak up some rays. My neighbors are Somalian and are shocked by the sight of my pale legs alone!

I felt really low today. The girls left for their dad’s visitation yesterday, and I have been blah feeling.

This past week, I have been sick with a head and chest cold that I caught from my lovely youngest daughter. Yep. Gave me all her germs and then some.

I’m feeling better with minor congestion, but I’m really tired. I have narcolepsy and didn’t take my Concerta (Ritalin) all week so that my body could rest. I am taking it again and my body just feels run down.

I plan to go to mass this evening.

Until then, I will continue snuggling with my dogs and I plan to read some blogs and research mental health recovery-I have an idea for a book on that subject.

Oh…and there is a pile of laundry that I need to sort and put away.

I am new to Instagram. My Canon dslr comes in the mail the first week of June, and I plan to learn photography this summer with the girls.

For now…I just have some basic iPhone shots posted. You can follow me if you want @ carolina.maine

Thanks and have a well mental health day 🙂

 

 

Blogging, Mental Health

Fear of Recovery?

It seemed a strange feeling-to be afraid of recovery. So, I did some research to see if other people with mental illness have ever felt the fear of recovery. And to my surprise-it is a common feeling!

Recovery has been defined by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential” (SAMHSA, 2011).  “Fear of Recovery” by Susan Noonan MD

Lately, I have been picturing myself attending a Catholic retreat this summer, being an active Catholic mom, attending biblical school this fall, eating a diet that is high in protein (No sugary sodas-well-maybe every now and then!), and becoming fit through a very expensive six month personal training package I purchased at my gym.

I picture myself learning Spanish and Hindi, writing some fiction, reading books, blogging, and going to a few writer’s groups this summer while the girls are with their dad. I tend to fall into deep depressions when they are gone for long periods of time. My therapist says the time I spend alone is time that can be spent reinventing myself outside of being a mother. I am trying to focus on that positive aspect instead of feeling the loss of not being needed.

My illness has kept me from participating in the Church. Mass is stressful for me. I feel ecstasy that turns to terror, and I often suffer from intrusive and obsessive thoughts during the service. I avoided mass for two years thinking that I would improve, but I did not. The same symptoms returned when I started attending. I am trying to stick with it. Having a spiritual connection with God through the sacraments is important to me. I have felt lost and alone without them, and I want my girls to experience the love of God through the sacraments as well.

I have been picturing myself being active and healthy for the first time in five years! I recently experienced a deep depression and I am recovering from it; however, I have developed unhealthy habits during the depression that I am now trying to leave behind. For instance, I tend to isolate myself and sit on the couch binge watching television shows and movies. Chores aren’t a reason to be active as I am tired of doing them after years of cleaning and organizing. The last time I cleaned (thoroughly) and organized was last October 2016 during a manic phase. My apartment is due for a deep clean now, and I want to get on top of it, but I feel overwhelmed by it all. I am newly recovering and it may just be too much to tackle all at once. I can break down the organizing and cleaning schedule, but I do need to be committed to actually following through with the plans!

I want to recover, but I’m afraid that I will recover and then my illness will resurface and ruin all that I worked hard to achieve. I’m not sure that I have repetitive resilience to start over again each time I experience a prolonged mood episode.

The blog post on Psychology Today that I quoted above includes questions to ask yourself about recovery. I will post my answers below. Read the article and answer the questions…it might just help you too!

  • Identify your fear.
    • I am afraid to succeed only to have my illness destroy what I have achieved. And I am afraid that I will not have the resilience needed to try again after each prolonged mood episode I may experience in the future.
  • Think about how it makes you feel (afraid, anxious, etc.).
    • I feel anxious and afraid; however, I am hopeful that I can achieve a more self-directed future.
  • What are the thoughts you have associated with your fear?
    • I think about being a failure. I think about being too weak to start again after a prolonged mood episode in the future. I think about letting other people down after they begin to depend on me while I’m well.
  • What are the benefits of staying in your old comfort zone?
    • I can lie in bed or on the couch and avoid the pain of failure. I can isolate myself to avoid losing important people I may grow to love.
  • What are the costs of staying in your old comfort zone?
    • My body and my mind grow weak without direct stimulation, and I am missing out on friendships.
  • Identify a few small steps to help you confront these feelings and negative thoughts.
    • I have confronted the thoughts, researched them, and I am trying to picture myself being successful in all that I attempt while living a life of recovery.
  • Identify the support people you need to help you face your fear.
    • My Catholic psychologist friend whom I share everything with. My psychiatrist and my therapist and my friends.
  • Begin with a few of the small steps you just identified
    • I will make a chore and organization chart. I will keep paying on my tuition for the biblical school that begins this fall. I will read books on writing fiction, try to attend a writer’s group, and study Hindi and Spanish. And I will actually cook the food I buy and attend my personal training sessions and fit in workouts on my off-days. I hope I don’t overload myself! I have turned down some volunteer engagements that I found to be stressful in the past-activities that I am passionate about but that would exacerbate my depression.
Blogging, Mental Health, Poetry, Writing

Don’t Feel Like a Poet Anymore

I don’t feel like a poet anymore. The last poem I wrote was in 2011.

I have had writer’s block for a long while now!

I’m going to follow more poetry blogs to see if that gets the juices flowing.

I’m still going to post about mental health and living with Bipolar Disorder, but I don’t want that to be my blog’s only defining attribute.

I’m sorry I haven’t been online very much. I haven’t felt well. I’m recovering, but I still have days that I struggle to get through.

I was following Millionaire’s Digest and there were so many posts that I couldn’t see the blogs that I have also been following which means that I missed out on a lot of your posts!

I don’t follow Millionaire’s Digest anymore. They have interesting tips but the glut of posts crowds out other blogs I’m interested in.

I hope you have a happy mental health and writing day!

 

Blogging, Books, Mental Health, Storytelling

Do You Know Yourself…?

I was driving and listening to a Christian radio station and the radio personalities were discussing books and how each one of us has a book inside of us. The question was if we knew ourselves well enough to be an authority-one whom others will turn to regarding an experience or  as a person with some set of knowledge-would we know ourselves well enough to write about that subject and be confident that someone else will benefit from having read the book we wrote?

I know myself very well. I was once a very narrow-minded, judgmental, and illness-shaming type of person. I thought mentally ill people were weak and should be hidden from view. I grew up in this type of family. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers struggled with mental illness-yet both families would not speak of their struggles or situation.

When I joined the Air Force in 1998, I became ill. The stress I was under caused my latent genes to explode into the full bloom that is mental illness. After more than a decade of denying my illness, I have finally accepted it.

I share because I don’t want to sit in silence, in supposed dignity.  I don’t want others to feel as alone as I have in my life and in my struggles. I want for my experience to help someone in some way, and I think that it has given the friends I have made regarding sharing the same or similar experience.

I am working on a memoir about my mental illness. Currently, it is reading like a timeline, and I don’t like that because timelines can’t delve into the minute detail that mental illness demands in expression.

As a writer, I have had to learn the hard way how to edit myself. I can often edit myself into silence. I still struggle sometimes with what I should share and what I should keep to myself-for mainly the fear of others using my thoughts and writings against me-which has happened in the past.

I’m going to revisit my manuscript and make a complete change in tone, pace, and perspective. I think writing the failed manuscript ,and reviewing it with kind criticism ,will help me make the final one stronger and more relatable.

So my question to you is,

Do You Know Yourself Well Enough to Write Your Book?