Category Archives: recovery

30 Day Mental Illness Awareness Challenge – Day 3

Day 3: What treatment or coping skills are most effective for you?

 

I participated in 6 months of inpatient schema therapy which was really great for me.  This helped me with my BPD.  Perhaps having to sit down for 6 months and break it all down into my mind is what this really worked for me.  It was all broken down into every group I went to, plus we had one group where the therapist added in a bit of DBT, but not much.  Schema therapy really was great though.

I also did quite a bit of CBT here and there.  It helped me when I really thought about it, but I never would actually practice it outside of a hospital setting.  When I was inpatient, and had the sheets in front of me, had to do the assignments, it all made sense.  Outside of the hospital — I just could never make myself think of it.

Outside of therapy programs though, using my coping skills is really the best thing for me.  When I am able to bring myself out of my “funk” enough to actually do something ….

  1. painting
  2. zentangles
  3. juggling
  4. reading
  5. writing
  6. writing on here has been amazing!
  7. walking or running
  8. support groups (NAMI)
  9. grounding techniques

those are the ones I try to use most frequently as they seem to be the ones that work right now….they change quite frequently… like a few months ago, I was obsessed with knitting — nonstop!

 

 

Why I Choose to Live

Why I Choose to Live –

During one of my hospitalizations, we had to create a safety place.  We were given a bunch of note cards and asked to put lots of different things on them….

  • Warning signs that we were getting depressed
  • Triggers for our depression
  • Coping skills
  • Things that made us happy
  • and of course – who we could call when we felt suicidal

One of those cards though also was for, why we chose to live.  Why did we want to live.  What were our reasons for living.

I found that safety place the other day and looked through it.  Most of it is completely irrelevant at this point.  None of those people are in my life anymore.  The triggers and warning signs I suppose are still there.  Coping skills have changed.  Things that make me happy are not the same.  And, the reasons why I choose to live — well I am pretty sure I completely made up every single one of those just so I could tell myself there was something to live for — or the hospital made me write something.

Like, I wrote I wanted to have kids — yeah I have never wanted kids.  Or I never wanted a baby of my own, to come out of me (sorry if that was graphic).  But since being molested and raped, I just don’t deal with things “down there” very well.  Adoption of an older kid, maybe.  I wanted to live for God — yeah I believe in God, but I also don’t think God will send me to hell for suicide (don’t really want to debate this on here, so please don’t).  Anyway, there was a bunch of stuff that I really didn’t understand why I wrote it.

So I figured I would make a new list — perhaps one I really thought about.  So here goes – Reasons why I choose to live:

  1. I want to be able to use my past to help others.  I am currently going to grad school to gain a degree in which I will be able to work with those that have been victims of trauma and mental health issues.  I have experienced both of these things and I never thought I would be able to actually to turn my experiences into something positive.  I hope that I can help others, by knowing where they are coming from, and relating to them, to help them overcome their traumas.  I want to live so I can achieve this goal – getting my degree and helping others.
  2. I want to live to see if I will ever be happy, like really happy.  I don’t know how to explain this, but I guess I want to see if there really is that light at the end of the tunnel.  If I give up today, and then tomorrow would have been the day that would have magically been better – that would really suck.  So I guess I should just keep living to find out!  I am going to live to find out if that day ever comes.  If it never comes, I will be pretty upset, but it won’t really matter if I am upset when I am dead will it?
  3. I want to live to see how much the world changes!  Seriously, I can’t believe how much has changed in the 26 years I have been alive already.  Just hearing how much it has changed for those that are older than me too.  I can’t even imagine staying alive to watch it advance even more.  What if they make awesome cool technology things – well of course they are going to do that!  What if they find a cure for the different types of mental illnesses?  I’m sure they are going to find better treatments for them at the very least.
  4. I want to see what the next big movie is.  I really enjoy movies and while a lot of them suck – there are also a lot of good ones out there.  Did anyone see Boyhood?  It is filmed over 12 years with the same actors, great movie!  Had a bit of triggers in there for me as there is some abuse in it, but it was sooo good!  That was the last movie I saw last week.  Now, just to keep living to see the next great movie!
  5.  Travel!  I really want to travel all over!  I choose to live because I have not been everywhere yet.  I will not die til I have been everywhere.  Even after I have been everywhere, I still have all these other reasons to live – but this is one of them! I want to go to so many different countries!
  6. Most importantly — I choose to live for me.  I have always done everything for everyone else.  I have gone to school for other people, well yes I know school is required as a child, but I picked my high school electives based on what I thought people wanted.  I picked my college major based on what I thought people would want.  I did enjoy is all, yes, but it was still all for everyone else.  I have always felt the need to please every (which goes back to my history of abuse).  I have never felt like I can do something just for me.  So, I choose to live for me.  Not for anyone else, but for me.

 

Why do you choose to live???

Live Through This: Suicide Awareness

This is a project by Dese’Rae L. Stage – about suicide awareness.  She interviews those who have attempted suicide and survived.  She talks to them, gets their stories, and photographs them.  She also has Bipolar 2 and is a survivor of suicide and self injury as well.

Per her website, her project is about:

The intention of Live Through This is to show that everyone is susceptible to depression and suicidal thoughts by sharing portraits and stories of real attempt survivors—people who look just like you. These feelings could affect your mom, your partner, or your brother, and the fear of talking about it can be a killer.

You can find her website at: Live Through This

Be Proud

Be proud of who you are and everything you have overcome.

A Light at The End of the Tunnel

Word Press Post A Day – You’ve been given the ability to build a magical tunnel that will quickly and secretly connect your home with the location of your choice — anywhere on Earth. Where’s the other end of your tunnel?

A tunnel? Anywhere on earth my heart desires?

To be honest, I am not sure this tunnel could take me where I want to go.  I could get wherever I want to go on earth on any given day if I really wanted to – by car, plane, boat.  I don’t always have the money — but I could save up for it, borrow it, be a stow-a-way (heck some 60 year old woman has done that 4 times and all she got was a little bit of jail finally, surely I can do that if I wanted!).  Anyway, back to my thoughts — there are a lot of places on earth I want to go to, I love traveling, but I wouldn’t want a tunnel to just take me to them.  That would take away me seeing all the beauty of getting there.

I would want a tunnel for something else.

If I could have a tunnel — I would want that tunnel to take me the I guess you would call it “the light at the end of the tunnel.”  I want to see this place that everyone keeps telling me about.  This place that is supposed to be there despite all my depression, bipolar, PTSD, and borderline personality problems.  Despite all my downs — I am supposed to have this “light at the end of the tunnel.”  Well, if I am finally getting a tunnel — I will definitely let it take me there.  I want to see it.  I want to see this light, I want to see if it really leads me to happiness?  Or contentment? Or as someone told me once – maybe it is just a train coming at me and I should just stop trying to look for that light because it is just as bad as the situation I am in now.  Umm thanks buddy for that encouragement…

There are good days and there are bad days.  There is no quick fix.  Nothing is going to make everything get magically better.  Life may seem miserable every single day.  You never know when you will reach that light at the end of the tunnel though unless you keep living.  It may be today, it may be tomorrow, it may be a year from now, or it may when you are 100 years old.  That tunnel eventually ends though and there is a light.  In fact, it may be broken up and it may stop and start again – there may be hints of light here and there.  It may be discouraging that the light keeps going away.  But it still has to eventually end all together – a tunnel cannot last forever.

How do you open up to your therapist?

How do you talk about trauma?

How do you talk about childhood sexual abuse?  Or childhood abuse? Or rape at any age – childhood or adult? Or any type of crime that has been committed against you?

It is important to be open with you counselor, I understand that.  I have an absolutely amazing therapist!  She makes me feel comfortable and I feel like she would understand and believe what I told her.

I do not know how to talk to her though.  I have written a few things, but even with that, it is hard.  I cannot go into details about things.  Writing or saying things just makes it real.  I don’t want it to be real.  I know it is real though – and I just want it to all go away.  It won’t though, and it haunts me, and until I deal with it — I am always going to feel bad and have these flashbacks and nightmares and want to hurt myself and die as much as I do.  I know I have bipolar and borderline personality along with my PTSD.  But I know if I deal with this PTSD, my symptoms will go down much more.

How does everyone else talk about their traumas?  Or just talk in general?  How do you let our your feelings, your frustrations, your thoughts?  I’m so scared to.  I want to.  I think about it over and over in my head because therapy.  All week sometimes.  I go in there with what I want to say.  I have rehearsed it in my mind.  Then, when I want to say it, my mouth can’t.  It is like it is all jumbled up.

I have gotten better about opening up.  But not about much.  It is never going to go away unless I talk.  I know that.  She has told me.  I believe her.  I just don’t know how to.  This is the first time I have ever face this stuff in therapy.  I have told her more than I have told anyone else.  I have gotten a lot out, but there is so much more.

So, how do you all do it?  How do you talk in therapy?  If you have been through abuse, sexual abuse, rape – anything like that – how do have you been able to talk about it?  Even if you haven’t been through any type of abuse — how do you talk in therapy, how do you let out your emotions?

You have the power…

You have the power to say,

This is not how my story will end.

Pros and Cons Challenge of Today 8/16/14

This is my challenge to create a “Pros and Cons” list of my day.  “Pros” are the things that I am happy for, grateful for, or things that just made me smile. “Cons” are those things that you just want to forget about because they do nothing to help with your anxiety or mood that day.  I actually almost forgot to do it today until Just Plain Ol’ Vic reminded me by commenting on yesterdays post! –Thanks for the reminder!

Pros –

  • I got a nice sleep thanks to my Ambien.  It was making my nightmares worse, so I quit taking it for a while.  But I wasn’t getting any sleep so I started it again, I’ll definitely take the sleep for now, even with some nightmares.
  • I got a donation to my GoFundMe account to help me pay for my grad school tuition!!! Not a big one, but every little bit counts and I am so grateful for it!
  • Mrs Doubtfire is on TV right now, this very minute as I write this!  It is so funny.  This movie came out when I was about 7 or 8 years old — I always wanted a nanny like him!  I didn’t binge watch and Robin Williams movies this week/end, but this one happened to be playing on the Hallmark Movie Channel, so I thought I would have it on in the background since it is one of my favorites.
  • Figured out an old student loan from undergrad.  Ugh will they ever leave me alone?!?!  At least for a little while longer I suppose.   “Leandro” promised me that it would be taken care of, so I expect not to get another bill from them — again.
  • I took a shower!  This might not seem like an accomplishment, but when I get depressed I can go days without one.  I hadn’t gone days, but I had gone two I think…and it was going to go on.  I stopped it though… I stopped it and jumped in and took one – a nice long hot one.

Cons –

  • I am trying to raise money on GoFundMe, for school but I am not really getting anywhere.  I am a little bit disappointed, but I know everyone is struggling with money.  Still kind of makes me feel bad though.  Keeping a positive attitude that it is all going to work out.
  • My apartment is kind of a mess — well it is always a mess, but I told myself it would get cleaned today and that just didn’t happen.
  • Slept a lot today, just kind of felt like escaping my emotions and didn’t feel like using any of my more active coping skills.
  • I ate too much 😦  Nibbling on food when I was awake — peanuts add up quickly in calories…especially when they are honey roasted peanuts.  I need some cocoa roasted almonds in those 100 calorie packs!

Goal for Tomorrow:

I really hope to be more awake for tomorrow.  I do not want to sleep through the day.  The weather here has been horrible – pouring rain almost all day long, literally, not more than 5-10 minutes of no rain or thunder.  I want to try to get out to a gym and walk or run on a treadmill a bit.  Just to get my anxiety out, get some energy burnt.  I want to perhaps read a bit of some of the text books I have received in regards to my future classes in grad school.  I want to maybe paint a small picture.

Now out of all of that — I just want to do one.  Small steps.  So if I just accomplish one of those, then I will be happy!

 

Finding the Right Therapist

I am so incredibly thankful for my therapist.  She has really been a lifesaver.  No, I have not been incredibly open with her yet.  Bit she has stood by me.  Through my crying, dissociation, suicidal ideation, not talking, avoiding it all – she has been there.

I have told her more than I have told anyone ever before.  I haven’t told her details about anything, but I have hinted at stuff.  That is still more than I have ever said to anyone.

I have never felt comfortable with a therapist before.  Well, once before I connected with a therapist, but it was after I had just been raped, and everything was so fresh on my memory I couldn’t comprehend anything and didn’t want to deal with anything, so I just didn’t.  She was wonderful and I got along with her, but I just couldn’t talk about the hard stuff.

Now, I have another great therapist after being with a million others – and I still have a hard time opening up, but I am getting there.  She has helped me realize that I need to talk to feel better, to heal.  I am really going to try to at my next appointment.  I don’t see her until next week.  I am really going to try to write and just practice talking out loud to myself to hear it out loud.  Say it.  I want to talk about it.  I want to heal.

Having a good therapist is such an important thing.  I don’t think I would be where I am today if I didn’t have my current therapist.  I still have bad days – horrible days.  I still have been hospitalized twice in the last year.  And even though each day I waiver on how I feel about myself, at least some days, I do feel ok about who I am.  Some days, I still hate myself, but there are some days that I do feel ok about myself now.

With my previous therapists, they didn’t even touch on my trauma.  Of course, we were trying to get my bipolar under control as that was completely out of control – but they also solely kind of focused on my BPD.  I am not saying none of that was irrelevant, but I think now that I have really been working on my trauma – I have been having a better grasp on my emotions over all and being able to control things – I have been able to take better care of myself over all.

As I said, I still have really bad days.  I still have almost had to be readmitted to the hospital, even recently.  I still have the suicidal ideations.  I still get mad and blow up at people.  But compared to how I was, having my current therapist has been a godsend.

If you don’t feel like your therapist is the right fit – keep looking.  It is ok to “fire” your therapist.  They are working for you, and if they aren’t the right fit, it is ok to find another one.  I didn’t do this a lot of the time… I kept sticking it out with mine and it never helped me.  I would just go to session after session getting nothing out of it, feeling miserable.  I would give up, stop taking meds, and just get worse.  I finally had someone tell me – its ok to shop around for a therapist.  You have to find one you mesh with, someone that you clique with, someone that you feel comfortable with.  And you will know within the first 2-3 sessions.  You don’t have to go for 3 months to figure out if they are the therapist for you.  And if they are a good therapist, they aren’t going to be offended if you leave – they know that not everyone works with well with everyone.  Certain styles of therapy work with certain people.

So – don’t give up if you don’t think therapy is working.  Keep looking for a good therapist.  Keep advocating for yourself.  I used to think therapy was stupid cause no one seemed to be helpful for me.  But there is someone out there that you will get alone with and connect with – you just have to find them.

You did not fall apart

One small crack does not mean that you are broken,

it means that you were put to the test and you did not fall

apart.