I have been grappling with the idea up an ‘update’ post for the last couple of months. I didn’t want to write an update, promising myself that I would write regularly again only to let myself (and readers) down. I apologize for the radio silence.
I have been struggling in every way possible for the last seven months. I relapsed and spiraled completely out of control. I stopped taking my meds. I went through an intense break up which somehow made that spiral even worse. I impulsively left my job and stopped attending my online classes. My mental health has deteriorated significantly.
The relapse was rough, like every relapse is. I spent every hour of every day getting high or making money to get high. Going weeks without sleeping or eating, doing things I really did not want to do in order to use.
I overdosed in a gas station bathroom on the fourth of July and had to be resuscitated by paramedics. I have overdosed many times in the past and was given Narcan, but this time was different. Reading the court affidavits scared me because there was literally no life to me when I was found. It’s hard to believe I was so close to death. I haven’t used heroin since that day and have been working hard to quit everything else.
I recently started a new job and am trying to get back into the gym and other activities that I know I enjoy. It is SO hard to do though. All I want to do is sleep constantly or find a way to numb my pain. Thankfully, I have insurance again and will be seeing my doctor and therapist this coming week.
This wasn’t really what I had in mind for an update post, but it will do the job for now. I will elaborate more on all of this at a later date. Thank you for reading.
“They are scared of women like you. Women with hearts big enough to house suitcases full of pain. Women with laughs so therapeutic they can heal wounds. Women with passion fierce enough to start wildfires. They are scared of what they can’t tame or understand.” -Unknown
I have plenty of ups and downs this week – sometimes it feels like I take three steps forward and then five steps back.
Work has been less stressful. My department has hired a couple new per diem employees so they are picking up the extra shifts and I’m not having to work overtime. Going from 55-60 hours a week to 40 is nice. Although I will miss the extra money in my check! I am thankful for the timing though as my classes start next week.
I was able to get my financial aid approved for school and registered for classes. I’m taking statistics and psych research methods, I’m excited to get started!
I have been feeling significantly lonely the last week. Ever since I stopped using and hanging out with the people I used with I have really isolated myself. I only spend time with my boyfriend and dog and immediately family. The longer I go like this the worse it gets and eventually the thought of people around people causes so much anxiety I can’t get myself to reach out and make connections.
This week, my boyfriend went to see one of his friends and I stayed home. This should not be an issue. I know it is VERY codependent and unhealthy for my to expect him to only spend time with me but I still freak out and get so anxious. I’m jealous that he has friends that he hangs out with and it’s so easy for him. I miss my old friends that I pushed away when I used. I hate feeling abandoned. I know it’s an irrational fear and that my boyfriend can hangout with his friends and is still going to come home at night. But I work myself up so. Much.
More on that later. Off to snuggle the pup and enjoy my night off. Have a great week!
I hope you all like the picture of my boy. There is no real reason behind me choosing this picture today. It was 8 degrees out and Lincoln and I are both getting cabin fever. This picture reminds me of sunny days that will hopefully reappear soon!
Anyways, I wanted to write a bit about instant gratification because it’s on my mind today. What is it about my brain that is constantly giving in to short term fixes/rewards. For example, I am trying to get into shape for my cousins wedding. I know how to lose weight, I have lost weight before but I still eat way too much chocolate and carbs! Then I get annoyed at myself after and feel bad about it because I know the situation could have been avoided.
Drug use is another example of instant gratification that I have consistently engaged in. I never developed positive coping skills and the first time I experienced how drugs took every ounce of pain away, I was hooked. Why would I go to therapy and talk about my problems when I can use heroin forget them all? There are obvious answers to this, but for a very long time my brain was wired to turn to dope to deal with my anxiety and depression and any other emotion I could possibly feel. Cutting/Burning was always the same. I didn’t want to feel emotional pain and hurting myself took it away for that moment.
I am working on this day by day and focusing on my long term goals when my mind starts to wander towards drugs or self-harm. Fortunately, I know what good coping mechanisms are and am learning to slowly develop and rely on them as time goes on. My impulsivity scares me sometimes, but for today I am okay.
“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and fun as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.”
-Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things
There have been a lot of ups and downs this week, where do I even begin. I had a normal work week which was nice as I like having a routine. Work is still taking a bit to get use to right now because we now have two people on my shift three nights a week. Normally I always work alone so this is very strange for me. In all honesty, it is probably a good thing. I tend to not put in a ton of effort to interact with other humans besides my immediate family and the longer I go like that the harder it seems to get. The woman that now works second shift with me is great. She is also working on a graduate degree and is just very laid back and insightful and we have great conversations. Maybe I’ve made a friend?
I haven’t written much about health and exercise on here but that was a big part of my week as well. I have also been very active (as far back as I can remember) so exercise is a huge part of my life. When I went to rehab in 2016 I gained some weight and have had a hard time getting/keeping it off. I have tried not to be too hard on myself about this because at least I’m not shooting heroin everyday but I still want to be healthy. The exercise part is not the problem for me, it’s food. It’s like as soon as I put drugs down I can’t stop eating carbs! I know there is a physiological component of this as well but it gets so frustrating! Anyways, I started a new workout program this week that I absolutely love and have actually done really well in terms of nutrition. I am trying not to be super strict because that never leads to a good place for me. I will definitely make a post when I finish the program and let you all know how I liked it/my results.
I did a whole post on my therapy situation this week so I won’t go into that. I can say that my mood this week hasn’t been the best. Over the last month or so I have been trying to be upbeat and optimistic about things but I’ve just been down. I get into this mindset about why I’m even bothering to stay off drugs and be productive when I am still depressed all the time. I have been trying to blame it on the season or on needing new meds but who am I kidding. It does not matter the season or what meds I’m on, this has been my life for so long.
Anyways, I was trying to keep this post light and apparently that did not happen! Ranting and raving makes me feel better though so something good comes out of it. I hope everyone has a great week.
I decided last week that I wanted to return to graduate school and transfer my credits to an online program so that I can stay at my current job but also continue my education. I feel like I’m having deja vu. In the fall of 2017 I decided to enroll in a graduate program that started last year in January 2018. At first I did great but I was also working full time and had to drive 4+ hours to school and eventually got so burnt out that I missed two many classes. I actually ended up relapsing shortly after all of this happened.
I don’t want to get to that point again so I’m trying to take precations and be aware of what I’m putting on my plate. I think having everything online and being able to do my school work at home or work (I work third shift 3 nights a week and am able to do homework) will be ideal for me. The four hour commute was torcher last year, plus being around people I don’t know makes me anxious.
I also am only going to take six credits to start out vereses the twelve I took last year. How I thought it was a good idea to be working full time while attending school full time is beyond me. I get in these stages where I feel invincible and like I can conquer the world. Historically though, it only lasts a few months before I’ve abandoned everything on to the next plan or idea. I’m really trying not to do that this time. I am going to plan out a schedule and try to follow it, as I’m much more productive when I’m organized.
I am suppose to start my online program on March 11, wish me luck!
I wrote a post earlier this week about my anxiety over seeing a new therapist today. I wanted to write a follow up post because a few people were interested in hearing how it went.
When I left for my appointment this morning I was in a good headspace and actually felt ready to talk about some of my issues. I had to drive forty minutes to his office and when I was about half way there I all the sudden started panicking about it. My thoughts started racing about how I always drop out of therapy after a couple sessions so why bother? Counseling never works for me so why am I trying? Who’s idea was it to see a man in the first place when I am so uncomfortable around men?
I had some how convinced myself that it was not worth my time and that I wasn’t going, but I kept driving. I was anxious about finding the place but it was relatively easy. I parked and sat there for a while. I was starting to have physical symptoms of anxiety and actually crying. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? How am I ever suppose to get better if I can’t even walk in the door.
I started thinking about my life and what I want and I just knew that it was the right thing to do. I texted my best friend and told her I was panicking about seeing a new therapist and she gave me some reassurance. I know this probably sounds so dramatic to people and you’re probably thinking that I’m crazy for being this worked up over one appointment. You’re right, I am super crazy – hence why I need therapy.
I somehow made it inside and met this new therapist and it was all okay. I filled out paperwork and then he asked me to tell him about my life which is hard for me because I never know where to start. He started asking questions and the hour flew by. I actually felt like he was listening and reassuring because he would ask clarifying questions, etc. I have had therapist in the past scroll on their phone the whole session, so this was nice.
I don’t know why I get so anxious about therapy but I am so proud of myself for putting one foot in front of the other and going. Now I just need to stick with it.
As far back as I can remember, I see symptoms of mental illness.
I have had varying diagnosis from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to borderline personality disorder (BPD) and ore. The diagnoses are not as important to me now as they use to be. I don’t define myself by them anymore. Asking for help when I need it, regardless of the symptoms I’m facing at the time, is what I focus on today.
Asking for help has always been difficult for me, starting from a young age. I grew up in a great home, I have loving parents and an amazing sister. I had every opportunity and was given anything I could ever want. So why was I depressed? I did not understand that here didn’t need to be a triggering event or traumatic history in order to have a mental illness. I didn’t understand that it could happen to anyone, even me. I didn’t ask for help because I couldn’t face the “cheer up, your life is perfect” comments that would come from my peers and family. Instead, I struggled through school, engaging in extremely self-destructive behaviors with only a select few friends having an idea of what was going on.
Although I was struggling on the inside, I tried not to let it affect my outward appearance. I went off to college, as I had always planned, to become a social worker. These were some of the best and worst hears of my life. I got good grades and made amazing friends but I was struggling silently. I continued having the attitude that I needed to deal with my issues on my own, and that asking for help would show weakness. After graduating it became even harder as I began working at mental health agencies and having clients with significant trauma history. I compared my life to theirs and convinced myself that my problems were not worth talking about. I turned to self-harm behaviors and self-medicating in order to get through day-to-day life. This led me down a long road of what I can only describe as emotional turmoil. Eventually, it had to come crashing down.
The first time I really asked for help, I was terrified. I didn’t want to deal with the stigma around mental illness. I didn’t want to deal with the judgment I’d face as an addict. I didn’t want to let my family and friends down. Facing my fears and engaging in treatment was the best thing I ever could have done for myself. I realized my brain doesn’t produce enough of the ‘happy’ chemicals. I realized I have a hard time regulating my emotions and that those emotions can lead to rapid mood swings. I realized all of this is okay. I realized there are healthier ways to cope and that, with help from others, I could get better.
Asking for help is never an easy task, but today it is doable. Although I will most likely deal with mental illness for the rest of my life, I can see a brighter future for myself than I ever could before. A few years ago, I never thought that I could experience happiness. With the way y life was going, I never thought I’d live past 25 years old. I can only imagine what my life would have been like if I got help sooner. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of; neither is asking for help.