Sunday, September 9, 2007
dealing with my demon roller coaster
I am going to be a good therapist and preface this with a disclaimer. I am not diagnosed Bipolar (I or II), cyclothymic, dysthymic, or any DSM category. I am not depressed to the point of any self-harm or even harmful thoughts for that matter. I am not self diagnosing nor am going to write any diagnostic criteria here. I am not seeking out sympathy or pity. My intention is to step out of my area of comfort and express my thoughts and feelings with all their dings and dents. Even though I know you all read this through your own filters, expectations and assumptions of me and in relation to your own personal experiences, I will try to be as authentic as I can on here.
This is where I am at currently. I struggle most days with extreme dichotomies. The mood swings within myself rapid cycle throughout the day. Small things (or sometimes nothing at all) can trigger depressed feelings and thoughts. Other things tap into my elation and joy quickly (again, not in a bipolar way, it is comparatively subtle and not to such extremes). One minute I am filled with motivation, the next anxiety. I am acutely aware of how each mood, each change and each experience manifests in my mind and body. Awareness is what prevents me from directly and outwardly expressing my states of mind. I know that my energy affects whoever is around and I do my best to keep it under control so as to not harm anyone around me (by "harm", I mean upset or bringing them down).
Yesterday, one swing hit me so swiftly, that I removed myself from the room I was in with Greg. He is one of the last people I would ever want to cause harm to; One of the most important people in my life. I took some space, used distraction along with deep breathing and was able to let it pass. I then reassured him that it had nothing to do with him. He voiced his concern, but I also let him know that it's my "own shit". Even though I have some wonderful, loving and supportive people in my life, I do not like burdening friends and family with my issues.
I am keenly aware of where many of my problems stem from. Our pasts have an impact on our present and mine is no exception. Repeated disappointments and hurts bring up fear of those scenarios recurring. Fear of not ever having important things happen in my life, such as having a child or getting married, creeps into my thoughts with the littlest triggers. Being hard on myself for things like not yet having my PhD or owning a house shadows the accomplishments I have obtained. Perhaps the most difficult part is the recognition that such thoughts are irrational. Of course, I am also cognizant that feelings are valid no matter how irrational they may be. On the flip side, a single thought about any of the wonderful people in my life or bringing my awareness to one of my strengths can send me soaring into bliss and elation.
What else affects my mood? I have noticed how my hormones can flip it rapidly. How I nourish my body and chose to move it around helps or hinders my state of mind. Being cooped up in the apartment is the perfect canvas for seeing the changes. Even though I cherish my alone time, the lack of human contact brings me down and then I start isolating even more. My bad habit of nail biting (something I've done since, well, since I've had nails) has recently worsened with increased anxiety.
I am doing things and planning other steps that will hopefully help alleviate or lessen the experience I am having:
This week, I got back on track with my eating and have started implementing an at least 50% raw foods per day diet. I can feel the difference already. I am not getting energy crashes or that heavy feeling after eating. I feel satisfied but not stuffed. I even look forward to my morning fruit smoothies!
I started getting more active again, adding exercise to my days. I plan on restarting yoga daily, even if it is only a few sun salutations.
If my insurance covers it, I will go talk to a therapist for a couple sessions. (Yes, even therapists rely on therapists at times.)
I will continue my weekly acupuncture. Luckily, Providence has a community clinic which is extremely affordable. After all of these years, I continue to be amazed at what acupuncture can do for mind, body and spirit.
I will find the time to clean my nails up and be as conscious as possible of when I am inflicting damage to my fingers. Awareness, awareness, awareness.
I will privately journal my thoughts, especially my negative ones, in order to aide in work through them or, at the very least, get them out of my head.
Sleep is important. Plus I love to dream. Getting enough sleep is already a priority, I just need to keep it up.
Counting my blessings. I do this all the time, but sometimes they are overshadowed by the self-defeating, beat-myself-up-for-not-having-accomplished-more thoughts. Perhaps this point should be "get my negative thinking in check".
Purging through my stuff (actual things....and I guess mental stuff) will help clear my mind. My living space both affects my mood and my mood affects my space. This can be a vicious cycle if entropy is allowed to work on either.
Before ending this blog, I also want to apologize to friends that I have been neglecting to call. Sometimes I feel the need to step back from people when I am in certain states of mind in order to process through what is going on. It just gets too overwhelming and I know if I get on the phone, I will just stuff things down and numb myself out, which, in turn, makes me feel like I have nothing to talk about. (This is something I am historically adept at and something I am trying to change). Give me time with this one.
What a bummer of a blog, eh? Well, there are those sides of me that aren't so pretty and even one or two that I don't find any humor in. As I scribe this, I am aware that my mood has been inconsistent but not overly drastic. I am feeling a wee bit better after writing, but it is time for me now to get ready for bed, finish reading my book and do some deep breathing. Thanks for reading this all the way through, you're a trooper! I'll write my next entry when I'm manic. ha ha ha