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.
Uncategorized

Be Ok…

I was lying down and listening to Pandora when Ingrid Michaelson’s “Be Ok” came on the station.

Open me up and you will see
I’m a gallery of broken hearts
I’m beyond repair, let me be
And give me back my broken parts

Just give me back my pieces
Just give them back to me please
Just give me back my pieces
And let me hold my broken parts

I have broken parts, but I’ll be Ok.

Ugh…”I’m No Good” by Amy Winehouse is now playing…

It’s true, I’m No Good…

It’s better this way.

That you don’t know me.

Blogging, Uncategorized

Letting Other People Grow

I’ve always complained that my family and other people in my life never really gave me the chance to grow-to start anew.

It never occurred to me that I did not allow other people to grow before now.

A priest I hated was moved to another parish, and I felt huge relief that we don’t even share the same air anymore…

But had I really allowed him to grow where he was or did I just keep him still in my mind and replay all of his annoying-ness?

I didn’t allow him space to change and therefore I did not change or grow either.

I hope he gets the chance to begin anew in his new parish this Easter-a time of renewal and hope. A Happy New Year of sorts.

And I think I’ll let him grow in my mind-give him space to change-even if he doesn’t-I have.

 

Blogging

Using One Note As A Journal

Journaling is highly effective for those of us with mental health issues. We blog mainly to get our thoughts out into the open and to connect with others; however, we do have to self-edit before sending our work out onto the internet. I haven’t always been so good with self-editing so I’m starting a journal in Microsoft Office’s One Note to help me reflect daily.

I did look into various online journal applications and formats, but most of the apps had strange companies producing them and my journal needs to stand the test of time. Microsoft’s One Note is a safer bet.

You can even password protect your journal in One Note to prevent your thoughts from being used against you by persons who are judgmental and who want to hurt you just because they don’t like you-for whatever reason they have. Who the hell knows with some people. See Update Below. 

I would never use someone’s journal against them, but even Susanna Kaysen had her journal stolen in Girl, Interrupted. All proficient and prolific writers have probably had their privacy violated at some point in time. Sometimes people just use words against you even if you share them openly. I call these people assholes 🙂

Enjoy your day and keep blogging and journaling!

Update:  I have the newest version of One Note installed now, and it appears ( I haven’t learned it all yet) that we can no longer password protect notebooks individually; however, you can password protect your computer and One Drive account-if you access it outside of your usual PC.