I’m not Sure What’s Going on

I don’t know what’s going on in my head. I am tired a lot lately. Like exhausted. I do my best to do something every day, but it’s hard, because I struggle to concentrate. It’s weird. I think it’s because I’m trying to handle several things at once and each is pretty exhausting on its own.

I’m trying to work on my projects, right now it’s photography, because being creative gives me energy, but… I honestly don’t know. It’s like there is a wall in my head that blocks my creativity and all my energy and I don’t understand it. It feels like I’m trying to go through a wall or something.

I know that recently in therapy we touched on some subjects that I had trouble navigating through. And also there are some sensitive topics that my husband tried to talk about with me and I just got so upset and defensive and just refused to talk about it. And I don’t know why I got so upset in the first place. I do wonder if there some thoughts and/or memories that I suppressed so well that even getting tiny bit closer to them is making me go into fight or flight response.

Which is weird, because I think I am aware of everything that happened to me in the past, everything that led to my trauma etc. It was fucked up, but I don’t think it was so bad that there would be some suppressed memories. It feels like my brain is overreacting, but there is also the thought that maybe there are things I didn’t process.

Basically the response to these topics is “Not talking about it.” “Why?” “I don’t know, but I’m not talking about it.” “Ok, do you think you’ll be able to talk about it in the future?” “I don’t know, I don’t want to talk about this anymore, can we just change the subject!” The more somebody pressures me (or I pressure myself), the more agitated, angry, defensive and anxious I get. And I can’t even tell myself or anyone why that is.

It’s Not Great

I don’t even know anything anymore. I want to say that I finally know what is going on with me, but I don’t. I’m a mess. My theory is that somehow I’ve started processing trauma relating to my parents, but it’s burried so deep and it started so early, that I literally have no way to express it.

I feel lost. My body is doing whatever, I’m sick every day, often several times a day, at this point it has become my new normal. It’s not fun. Also I sometimes start randomly shivering with cold. And thenI feel super hot. My sleep is all over the place. It feels like I’m fighting something, but I’m not physically ill.

Emotionally, it’s even worse. I function every day, but I feel empty. I have zero motivation to do anything. And then I have outburst of anger. Or crying. But nothing seems real. I feel so detached from everything. I thought that crying would help, because it did in the past. I would cry and the emotions would get out and I would be better. But these past months, it’s not working. I cry, but it doesn’t bring relief, nothing really does. And before you think it, no, I’m not pregnant. I wish I was, but that’s for another day.

I guess it makes sense in a way though. My therapist said that kids start to understand things way earlier than they have words to express or name emotions. So when something happens, even though I don’t remember, my brain does, my emotional memory does. But I don’t have words to name it or process it, because when it was written in my brain, I didn’t have words for it. And since I allowed myself slowly this year to just feel emotions and don’t supress them all the time, all the anger and pain my parents caused started to surface in full force.

The worst part is, I can’t accept help. My husband tries to be helpful and supportive, but it’s not working. I hate myself so much, with such force, I hate the fact that I even exist. I despise everything. And I can’t accept his kindness, having anybody be kind to me is… it makes me lash out, badly. I have never been good at accepting help or support from people, I have trouble with people saying they love me or being kind to me. I usually just brush it aside or make a joke or something like that. So him being kind and wanting to help is hurting me. Literally. It’s fucked up, but it is what it is.

Last week my therapist told me that she’s really sorry I’m going through this. And I felt nothing. Sure, it was nice to hear, but it didn’t touch me. I thought it would make me cry, but no. Nothing, nada. It’s… weird. And sad. And confusing. And it’s making me angry, because I kinda get where it all started.

Last night, I ended up crying on the bathroom floor. I didn’t want to wake up my husband, not that he would be upset, but I just couldn’t. It was late and let’s face it, he’s the one earning money, he needs to sleep. I cried, because I felt lost. I feel like dead weight, just slowing everyone down. Because I want to be better for him so badly, but I don’t know how. I’m nearing thirty and this is so not what I envisioned my life to be at this point. I see my friends having lives I thought I would have by now. I feel like such a let-down.

It’s not great.

I’m Not Disabled Enough?

Today I went to a mental health conference in Prague. It was really great experience overall and I’m really happy I went. Weirdly, I didn’t have much anxiety regarding strange people and place. I had some, but mostly about catching a train back. Cause even though I had my ticket bought already and had enough time, part of me was freaking. Of course. As always. I basically tried to ignore it and concentrate on the reasonable part that was sure I have enough time…

Anyway, the conference! There has been an effort to change psychiatric care in my country and change services for mentally ill people in general. Part of it is including mentally ill people more in decisions regarding their lives and experience. Take their input and advice, because we know the best what needs to be done, what could help us, where are gaps in the system etc.

It was honestly nice to see some of my problems validated by other people’s experience. One of the things I really struggle with are my limited earnings. I’m on disability, but on the lowest, which really isn’t much. I teach English, I translate. I’m constantly trying to figure out ways to earn more, I feel bad for buying things I need, like winter shoes or jacket, because I feel I shouldn’t spend money, when I don’t earn enough. I also feel bad for putting pressure on my husband to be the main provider, when he has his own issues to deal with. So it was nice to hear people openly talk about the same, that mentally ill people often struggle in this area, that the disability isn’t enough, hear people talking about not being able to work regular job…

It was just overall great. One of the things I have always wanted to do was to help people like me, people living with mental illnesses, to have better lives, to not be stigmatized and discriminazed against, to not have to be ashamed for their problems and certain limitations they might have. And with this reform and with the efforts to connect mentally ill people more there is a platform. And somehow, that gave so much hope for the future, that we might not struggle alone anymore.

But… as the title says, there is something kinda tainting this experience and my happiness. I always have this voice in my head, criticizing me, calling me weak, saying that I’m just faking my problems, I’m just pretending, that I just need to try harder, work harder and stop complaining and looking for excuses. That while other people there are legitimately disabled, I’m not. Asking for disability was really hard for me and year later I still feel that I’m surely taking money from the system for nothing, while other people might need it more. I know this feeling isn’t rational. I know that I’m not alone feeling this way, my friends have the same voice. My husband has it. I know it’s just a bunch of ableist sh*t that were drilled into me over the years. That I legitimately have limits. Sure, they might change and disappear in the future, but right now, this is what it is. I guess it doesn’t help that so many people judge anyone receiving disability, while not looking disabled. I know people think we’re just abusing the system, because we want to have money without work. Though believe me, the money really isn’t great.

So even though I’m mostly happy after today and I’m happy that I went and I hope that I will participate more in such things in the future and help create a better society for people like me, this voice in the back of my head keeps yelling: “You’re a fake, you’re a leech, others have it worse, try harder! Those people there were really great and they deserve the help, you don’t, you’re just making it up, you don’t have problems! You’re not good enough to deserve help!” So that’s fun. The internalized ableism is strong with this one.

Lonely Rant From a Lonely Scared Girl

Soooo…. I’m fucked up. Yeah, nice way to greet you all after such a long time. I have several post in the middle of writing, but left them. Probably finish them soon, because they are very real and accurate. But right now, it’s this.

I’m… anxious, depressed, scared, angry, there are lot of emotions in my head running wild, I’ve been fighting exhausting anxiety attack whole day. Right now, I’m drowning it in alcohol, good old alcohol. Very mature and very adult, I know. Like I’m either of those things anyway.

So what got me in such a “great” mood? I  have a job, an actual fultime job, not in my field, but earning money anyway. And I’m already screwing up. Or at least my mind is. Or my body. I can’t really tell anymore. I’m ok with the job, it’s not the best one, but I earn at least some money and not be burden for my parents. I’m not excited about the job, but I’m ok with it. But my health is getting worse. I’m trying to convince myself that it will get better that I will get used to all of that, getting up early, being with people all the time, with all their noise and emotions and all that. I’m sick and anxious every day. My hands shake, I get nauseous, light-headed, tired… it’s just… too much? And it’s scary, more than I say. Because what if I can’t work at a normal job, even if I more or less like it? I don’t want to depend on my parents. Or my husband. I want to work, why can’t I work?!

I’m scared. And angry. I didn’t choose to be like this. My bullies made me this way. They damaged me, broke me… Why do I have to pay for what they did? Why my life has to be so hard, when they are just ok? Why I have to fight for everything, when it’s not my fault that I’m like this?! It’s… scary. And exhausting. I want to work. I want to contribute to society, whatever that means. I don’t want to be a burden. But I’m damaged goods, I guess. I feel like it. I broke down today, I cried… three times? Then I took my anxiety pill. And now I’m trying to not think about it.

And it comes back, the thought asking “Why I can’t just be normal?”. Like other people, functioning adult. I…wish I was pregnant. Than my life would have direction and meaning. But my husband doesn’t want kids just yet. He wants kids, but the thought of me being pregnant right now scares him. And I thought he was the one who couldn’t wait to have a child. I’m afraid that when I get pregnant, his family will be all in our lives, controlling it and all that, they’re all so close…

What do I do? I tried to be normal, to fit in those stupid boxes, to have a normal job, work, be normal. But I’m not and what if I never am.

The Price of Sanity

I’ve made really not very pleasant discovery last week and that is what it costs to have long-term therapy.

I was seeing therapist for almost a year in my university town and it was great, it helped me a lot and the therapist was amazing. And it was covered by my insurance, which was also great help. Unfortunately, everything ends and so did my therapy, because in June I moved back to my home. So I went to see my psychiatrist here and asked for recommendation of new therapist, because the last one advised me to continue with the sessions. And I learned that I could get insurance payed one, but only short-term, which means about ten sessions and that’s it. If I want long term, I have to pay for it myself and it’s not small amount.

Personally, I think I could afford at least two sessions per month, that’s not the problem. I have the money, so I’m ok. But it got me thinking about the whole big picture. Imagine someone is having really bad depression and/or anxiety and it prevents them from having a regular job and supporting themselves. They are short of money and they are told that they get only ten sessions covered by insurance and if they want or need long-term therapy, they have to pay for it full. Which they can’t, because they can’t have a full-time job, so they don’t have the money to pay for the therapy that could help the get full-time job and get money and so on.

I guess other insurance companies might have better options, but honestly, I don’t believe it much. The one in my college town was probably only covered because it was in a support center for children and young adults. And I don’t know what is the solution, what is the way to get the help and support mentally ill people need. I just know it makes me sad and angry…

Stop the Stigma: The Realities of Mental Health

This article was originally published on Everyday Feminism and posted here with their permission.

 

There are some widespread misconceptions about mental health disorders. People think the cure for depression is to “keep your chin up,” that addiction is simple weakness, and that obsessive-compulsive disorder is humorous.

Let’s set the record straight about how this stigma actually affects the lives of people living with mental health issues with this infographic from Visual.ly.

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