Lamictal withdrawal: not over yet

People have been asking how my withdrawal has been going lately. Well, I’m not out of the woods yet.

I’m down to 25 mg and will probably be ultra-conservative and taper down to 12.5 mg. I might even be a real coward and do 10 mg for 2 weeks then 5 mg for 2 weeks.

Overall, I’ve been fatigued and I suffer from feeling slow and stupid. I guess that would be a lack of mental clarity. A few people have told me they already miss the blog’s news and regular updates. Truth be told, I put hours of time and research into those things and I no longer have the energy or the brain power for any of it anymore. I haven’t even been able to work on my novel recently. I don’t have the concentration to read a book all the way through.

All I can do now are mindless tasks like Twittering or taking “What Britney Spears song are you”?” quizzes on Facebook. I love crossword puzzles and Sudoku and even those have become a challenge for me recently.

All I want to do these days is exist. And simply existing bothers me because then it feels like I have no purpose.

I’m also more prone to negative thoughts.

I could go on and on but that about sums it up.

Con te partirò

I’ve been doing some thinking lately about this blog, mainly since I haven’t been blogging. If you’ve emailed me, I haven’t answered because I haven’t logged in to the email associated with this account. Therefore I have come to the conclusion that it may be best to terminate this blog.

You can continue breathing. I will not hit the delete button tomorrow. Or the day after even. I have—what I consider to be—a wealth of information stored in this blog and I hope to export the posts I have and import them into another site. It’ll be an extremely long and arduous process, especially since I will need to update all internal links. Despite the immense amount of time I’ll be putting into doing this, moving this blog to a free blog host will save myself $12 a month. Twelve dollars is a lot to spend for only regularly publishing Quote of the Week and not having a paying job right now.

I have also dropped off the face of the blogosphere. I have not been able to keep up with many of you—as interesting as you all are!—and this has led me into feeling guilty and also kept me away from blogging.

I recently finished reading a book called The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero for the women’s Bible study I attend on Wednesday mornings. He outlines six principles for an emotionally healthy church but I believe those principles can be applied to being an emotionally health person as well. The principle that spoke to me most was Principle 4: Receive the Gift of Limits.

Within Principle 4, Scazzero discusses “Learning to Discern My Limitations.” He expands on the following points:

  • Look at your personality.
  • Look at your season of life.
  • Look at your life situation.
  • Look at your emotional, physical, and intellectual capacities.
  • Look at your negative emotions.
  • Look at your scars and wounds from your family past.

I’ve evaluated these points in my life and am learning to discern my limitations. The season of life and life situation I had when I began this blog is much different than what it is today. I had less responsibilities, struggled significantly more with depression and suicidal thoughts, and had more time on my hands to blog and research. (And Facebook didn’t seem so appealing back then!)

Your season of life is also a God-given limit. Ecclesiastes teaches us there is a time or season for everything under heaven: There is “a time to plant and a time to uproot … a time to weep and a time to laugh … a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Eccl. 3:1–8).

I planted this blog back in July 2006 and boy did I ever speak. Now, I am silent and it is time for me to uproot. This blog has served its purpose and I would like to relocate it somewhere where it can continue to serve as a resource for people. I know I have many links throughout the web that will become inactive and broken. I will lose readership. I will need to rebuild a blog presence should I choose to continue writing about mental health issues. I have not lost my interest in writing about the subject; my season of life and life situation currently limit it. I must devote my precious time and energy to my novel now. And my personality—that guilty feeling that haunts me for not blogging and reading others’ blogs like I used to—cannot handle it right now. I am learning to discern my limitations. I have reached my limit with this blog.

Read the rest of this entry »

My online life is getting to be too much – I'm taking a hiatus

I’m currently taking a hiatus from blogging, my email, and my Facebook account. I don’t expect it to last too long but I’m really backed up—online and offline—and feeling overwhelmed. If you need to reach me, I am still on Twitter. Twitter doesn’t take much brain power.

"Have I told you you light up my life?"

candleAgain, my MIL has proven Satan wrong. She told me “I light up her life.” My existence here is so worth it and I do make a difference.

Possible light posting; other ways to keep track of me (if you're so inclined)

stressedI’m feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment because I have a hundred-and-one things to do and I just don’t know where to begin or how to tackle them all. I’m terrible at prioritizing. So here’s my requisite blog update lettin’ ya’ll know what the deal is. Until I’m no longer suffering a quasi-panic attack at the computer, this blog entry will have to suffice. I’m currently at a mood level of 4. I’m using Twitter a bit more frequently now (through my iTouch) so you can always follow me at www.twitter.com/mama_kass or just scroll down the left sidebar to the Twitter Updates.

In the meantime, donate to Philip Dawdy during his spring fundraiser and get a load of this.

Status update

I'm going to try to keep this as short as I can because I have a lot to do and finally have the energy — and mental clarity! — to do it.

I woke up at 5 am yesterday due to a bad migraine. I didn't fall asleep until 2 am. I'd laid in bed from 10 pm-12 am hoping to fall asleep since my thoughts had begun to take a negative turn and I knew it was because of lack of sleep.

I was up for a total of 21 hours. Between the lack of sleep and the medication side effects, it was a combo for disaster. I tried to use Twitter and play Scrabble and Sudoku as distractions but my negative thoughts continued to invade my mind. Go ahead, call me crazy, but I believe in evil forces and Satan was attacking me hard.

I am okay right now. My mood is just fine, holding steady at a 6 right now. But I was bad — very bad last night.

And yes, I should be eating better.

Happy Valentine's Day

I hate Valentine’s Day. I never cared much for it growing up except that my elementary school teachers forced us to make crafts with hearts aglow and such to present to our parents. But that’s not the reason I hate it so much.

Suicide jumpOn February 14, 1996, I tried to jump off the balcony on my mom’s 4th floor apartment. I’d left my friends goodbye messages but one friend was so concerned she called the police who promptly showed up at the door to make sure I was okay. My mother, who normally works during the day, took the day off just because she “felt like it.” (Which if you knew my mother, never happens and was very out of place.) When the police showed up, she had no idea that I’d been leaning over the rail outside on the balcony staring down at the concrete four stories below. I didn’t fall; I never leaned myself over the rail enough. And by the time I walked back inside (which wasn’t very long), the police rang the doorbell.

My mother looked like she had been hit by a truck. Why would her daughter want to kill herself? She and my father, immigrants from the West Indies, had worked so hard to provide me with a comfortable life, my own bedroom, my own TV, my own video game system, my own stereo, a Catholic school education… everything. Why this?

Not long after, I tried to jump out of the second story window at my high school. The students “tattled” and I suddenly found myself in the guidance counselor’s office. And my mother suddenly found herself sitting next to me as well, disheartened and dismayed.

Why? What prompted all of this? Was it my mental illness? No.

I was lonely.

A new freshman in an all-girls’ school, one of two black girls in the school and I just couldn’t find a way to make lasting friends. The friends that I did make weren’t in any of my classes apart from Music and everyone else seemed to enjoy taunting me and tormenting me. So essentially I had no one to talk to or sit with during lunch. The one girl I’d known from junior high who attended the school with me suddenly turned on me and became hostile. (I’m so forgiving, though, she’s one of my Facebook friends now.)

Broken heartSo on Valentine’s Day, girls got flowers and balloons from their boyfriends who attended other schools and friends showed other friends their affection by giving them cards or funny trinkets. I gazed out the window right before school ended only to see parents pulling up to the school with Lexuses and Benzes while a few guys following behind with their BMWs.

I didn’t speak to anyone the entire day and no one bothered to speak to me. Here’s a bit of TMI: You know that grimy feeling you get in your mouth after you wake up from sleeping during the night? Yeah, I had that by the end of the school day.

Our slim lockers were crammed all into one room so at the end of the day, you had to wait or fight your way to getting to your locker. I distinctly remember bending over while I was packing up only to have someone pinch my backside. Of course, stupid me, I turned around trying to figure out who it was but all I could find were girls chattering excitedly everywhere. Optimists would call it an accident; I dealt with enough that year to know it wasn’t and one of those girls had a few people laughing behind my back.

So when I hear of Valentine’s Day each year, I think of my first official suicide attempt. Nothing serious that landed me in the hospital but it was the first in a string of attempts to come. (I’ve never mentioned the knife-throwing incident at my friend’s 16th birthday party, have I? Well, that’s a story for another day.)

Oh and by the way, have a Happy Valentine’s Day.

(first photo of a Norwegian man jumping to his death; second from lifeofworship.wordpress.com)

Laid off

Laid off. For now. Tomorrow's my birthday. Joy. I've been dealing with social anxiety lately anyway so it's kind of a mixed blessing but I could really use the money! *shrugs* I'm "on-call" for the busy days. I don't see any busy days ahead and my boss says things will pick up again in March. I hope so.

In the meantime, maybe I can finally motivate myself to do freelance writing?

Yeah, right. And I'll motivate myself to be the Queen of England while I'm at it.

Rare long, rambling, stream-of-consciousness post

Update: I decided to republish this for two reasons:
1) It’s a great point of reference for me to reread when these issues rear their ugly heads again (reading a draft is hellannoying) and 2) Ana reminded me that it’s good to know others feel the same and know they’re not alone.

If you’ve stumbled upon this post for the first time, I hope it can help you in some small way.


It’s another one of those days. I’m at work, struggling with social anxiety yet again. I don’t normally ramble on my blog but I think everyone needs a vent post now and then. It’s not just about social anxiety but sort of a thought dump. It’ll likely be a long stream-of-consciousness vent post and may not make sense. I’m not editing it and it won’t have the best grammar. Expect run-on sentences. I don’t expect you to read it all; I have no attention span to reread it myself. It’ll just make me feel better. Deal.

WARNING: There is cussing in this post. If you are offended by that kind of language, I suggest you stop reading.

Read the rest of this entry »

My own fail Friday

It's so easy to get my mood sinking faster than the Titanic. Just tell me that a girl I worked with at the newspaper in college now writes for Forbes, my former college paper editor-in-chief has been able to meet Oprah and interview the White House press secretary, and that another one of my former classmates has interned at the New York Times.

It's not like I'm sitting here wishing I were as successful as they are. I'm having my own fail Friday. I'm pretty bummed; I don't want to do anything right now.

Btw — just in case you're wondering, I had a rant posted on here a few days ago that I took down because it sounded like total self-pity and I didn't like it. I might take this down too but venting for now makes me feel better.

This Girl's Biblical View

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7
(NKJV)

Personal interpretation
Don't worry about anything. Pray and ask God for your needs and desires, thanking Him for everything He's already given to you, and God will provide you with assurance—a kind of heavenly, unfathomable assurance—that will protect your heart and mind from constant worry and anxiety.

Personal meaning
While I know I shouldn't worry about anything, I still freak out over things and usually they're the littlest things. (See Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.) The verse encourages me to pray and beseech the Lord for help but I've got to admit, I often forget and try to do things on my own.

Personal application
The verse encourages me to really talk to God—to make God real in my life as though He were standing face to face with me. Just like I would talk to my mom and go, "Hey, Mom, I'm a little short on cash. Can you help me out today?" Well, not that irreverent but that's the idea. If I have a good relationship with my mom, I wouldn't sit in my bedroom, fretting and worrying about whether I should ask her for money or not—especially if I know she has the money she can spare me.

God wants to hear me talk to Him. And instead of opening my big mouth to Him, I start complaining about my worries and fears to other people. Voicing my concerns isn't so much a problem as ignoring that God can handle it is. And God's word promises that if I give my burdens over to Him (with faith in Jesus Christ), He will provide me with comfort and reassurance that He's got everything under control.

As I am wont to say: It sounds nice in theory. Maybe I should try testing it.

Mood rating: 5.7

December

I have since learned that December is also a hard month for me. December has certain markers, so to speak, that jump out at me throughout the month.

December 9 — The day my father died
December 14 — The day I found out
December 17 — The funeral
December 18 — The burial

Makes for quite a depressing Christmas. Even though he passed away only 7 years ago, it still hangs a dark cloud over my head. It takes me so long to get into the “Christmas spirit.” I now settle into the Christmas mood a week before the holiday, which is somewhat frustrating because it took me almost a month to finally enjoy hearing Nat King Cole’s smooth voice crooning through the ceiling speakers at Barnes and Noble.

I think celebrating Advent next year might help, however, I never know much about the season anymore since I no longer attend Catholic church and the Presbyterian church I attend doesn’t seem to acknowledge it. I need to remember that Christ is “the reason for the season” (yes, I know it’s trite) but the materialism surrounding Christmas really does a good job of distracting me from focusing on that. Materialism is tangible; Christ is not. But materials are temporal; Christ is eternal. Something to keep in mind.

I’ve been incredibly busy lately and have gotten pretty sidetracked from blogging. I’m traveling a good bit this (and the coming) year, trying to get a personal website up and running, running errands and accomplishing chores, trying to fit in exercise, spend time with friends and family, attend (usually) church-related activities, and make time for myself at night. My life in the past 2 years has moved faster than I could even imagine or fathom. The introduction of children could only make it crazier.

How’s my mental health in spite of all this? Well, I was doing pretty well most of the year with the exception of my “normal” dive in August. Lately, I’ve been dealing with some suicidal thoughts again. Mostly passing and no serious urges but the idea of trying has been tempting. I mentioned recently that I’ve felt a “need to prove” that I am serious about committing suicide. It’s a serious pride issue. Why should I care whether people think I’m suicidal for attention or not? That doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t be more concerned about what people think of me. Rather, I should be more focused on living my life to please God and for His glory.

I’m currently reading a book by J.I. Packer titled “God’s Plans for You.” (You can read a preview of this book through Google Books.) Lately, I’ve been struggling with what I should do with my life. I’m experiencing what has been deemed a “quarter-life crisis.” It’s like a mid-life crisis but with different challenges. Usually those challenges are related to career and vocational decisions. The mid- to late-twenties is the time when college grads are hit with the reality that full-time work isn’t as idealistic as they hoped and they are faced with the grim realization that some—or many—of their dreams may never come true.

This is becoming the case with me.

I obtained a degree in print journalism and a minor in English, hoping that I could enjoy working as a reporter or copy editor in the newspaper or magazine industry. It started out that way but then a move to Pennsylvania and a switch to daytime hours and a lack of clips set me back and now I am a freelance proofreader. Granted, I’m fortunate to even be a freelancer at 26 but proofreading at an ad agency was NOT what I had in mind when I took on my student loan debt.

While I enjoy the people I work with and have become more comfortable with the materials that come across my desk, I again have fallen into the perfectionism trap. I had a week where I caught a string of my own mistakes that I’d missed (other people—non-proofreaders—had caught them) and it was extremely discouraging. This has led me to wonder whether I’m even in the appropriate field. Now, I have a desire to pick up writing again (as opposed to sole editing) and am frustrated at my lack of internal motivation. I’m even beginning to wonder whether I should go back to a full-time job because it’s tough not knowing when a check will drop in my lap during any given day of a month and the fact that I am a terrible boss and employee when it comes to meeting my own deadlines. I’m even afraid of getting audited come tax time.

All in all, I’m currently facing a slew of decisions. Where to take my career and the prospect of motherhood, which may be hindered by my Lamictal (lamotrigine) treatment. I don’t want to be taking Lamictal during a pregnancy unless absolutely necessary and right now, I don’t feel that it’s absolutely necessary. I would like to take the risk and come off of it to see what happens but so far, it sounds like Lamictal withdrawal can be hellish. Lamictal during pregnancy raises the risk of a baby being born with a cleft palate. The likelihood of that happening to me is low and even if it does happen, it’s fixable but why take the chance? I’m also the super-psycho freak that will halt topical steroid medication of my eczema and zealously check all toys “Made in China” for lead.

Gianna at Beyond Meds and CLPsych over at Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry have written pieces on how Lamictal’s efficacy has been shown to be no better than placebo. This is something I intend on writing about soon considering that I’m one of the patients who could probably (currently, anyway) sing the wonders of the drug.

So there’s the update. That’s what’s going on in my life. I hope that you are all well. I likely won’t post again before 2009 so I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year!

Mood rating: 5

depressive introspective

I’m not sure I’ll be posting many newsworthy items as much as I used to. I suppose I’m getting lazy in some respects. Maybe my brain is tired or not fully energized. I’m also going through a period in my life where I’d rather discuss my personal experiences and explore broader issues affecting my mental health (like emotional eating) rather than daily current events.

Grow with me. I may shift back to regular news and celeb updates but I don’t feel obligated to post on them right now. And I don’t feel any pressure to do so. I’m feeling particularly… introspective. 😉

Great blogs that analyze and post on current events can be found below (in no particular order):

Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues

Colonial Williamsburg I’m taking a hiatus from this blog through the beginning of September. I might make a post here and there but nothing consistent. The Quotes of the Week are automatic. Be patient with me if I don’t respond to emails right away. And I’ll be on vacation in Colonial Williamsburg the last week of August. It’ll be my first time going there so let me know if you’ve been there and the places I simply MUST visit.

Things have been very crazy lately. My husband was suffering from intense depression and panic attacks last week (stemming from the way his grandfather died), and I’ve been going through a rough patch of depression myself. I am always tired and have no energy despite my morning cup o’ joe. (I’ve also realized that I need to beef up on my iron intake. no pun intended… well, maybe)

On Friday, my OB/GYN informed me that I suffered a ruptured cyst in my ovary in early July and that I need to go on birth control to flush it out of my system and regulate my ovulation. I took one pill yesterday but read the side effects: clots here, clots there, liver disease, high blood pressure, and stroke/heart attack risks everywhere. Considering I’m not suicidal right now, I don’t feel like shortening my life and ruining my health. I’ll suffer through my painful ovulations, thankyouverymuch.

childrenI’ve recently noticed that August has become a typical month for me to get significantly depressed (see sample posts from Augusts 2007 and 2006). Being aware of this now, I plan to keep August 2009 particularly free of all commitments. Therefore, as I was silly enough to volunteer as staff for my church’s Vacation Bible School this week, I will never do it again. Not only that, but I hate having to deal with 10 or more kids for extended periods of time. The morning could not have moved any slower. (And I had to make crafts with the kids and I LOATHE crafts. I’d be the most boring mother on the face of the planet.)

I went to a KT Tunstall concert Friday night at the Borgata in Atlantic City and a Neil Diamond concert at Wachovia Center in Philly on Saturday night. The concerts were great, but man, did those events make things even more stressful. I was on pins and needles all of last week because my husband seemed to always be on the verge of a breakdown and I was having a tough time just trying to sludge through the week. I didn’t even make it to work for 2 days because my husband was so depressed that he stayed home not to mention I ALSO was suffering from depression. I’m losing money from not working, which has me flipping out a bit but I really need this time to myself. I’m not fully functional. If I had a full-time job to hold down, I’d be in the hospital again. Thank God for this freelancing gig that gives me the opportunity to focus on my mental health when I need to.

This post has become a senseless rant as I’m still exhausted and thinking incoherently. Please pray for Michelle (beartwinsmom.wordpress.com) who’s going through a severe depression and rejoice with Gianna (bipolarblast.wordpress.com) who is finally off of Risperdal.

Anonymity

anonymous When it comes to blogging about mental illness, that’s something that I don’t want my name connected with. Sure, I’d like stigma surrounding the illness to be reduced but it still exists and I don’t want it to affect my chances of working at a decent company that would hire me if not for my bipolar disorder and history of depression and suicide attempts. I think of some mental health bloggers — Liz Spikol especially comes to mind — who are brave enough to post their struggles
with their real names and pictures for everyone to know and see. And I’m jealous.

Jealous that while Liz still probably suffers from MH stigma from idiots, she has the opportunity to be hailed as a hero in the MH community. I completely admire Liz because she’s been able to talk about her experience having through
hell and back, especially on ECT. Her name out there raises awareness about theses issues and her presence in the MH community brings comfort to many people who are struggling with similar issues.

Then there’s me, having to adopt the name Marissa Miller in the hopes that no one finds out who I am. (My real name is so unique that if it was Googled, all of my articles would pop up on the first page.)

If you’ve started reading this blog recently, you haven’t read some of the 600 posts here. Many of them are pretty personal.

  • Being Brave: “I have much to say / And there’s much I haven’t done / But what does it matter / When death’s got all the fun?”
  • Identification: “Now, if I have enough fearlessness to face death, why can I not have enough fearlessness to face life?”
  • Suicide and Baseball: “[T]he truth remains the same. Not just for me but for all suicidal people: We don’t really want to kill ourselves, we just want to end our pain.”
  • You can do this:  “I sat in my car this morning with the ignition turned on, ready to drive my car over the bridge into the Schuylkill River. I was ready to run home, make the stupid “goodbye world” post on this blog, text my husband “I love you. Goodbye” and then ram my car into a divider on I-76. It’s the worst suicidal thought I’ve had since I ended up in the hospital in October 2006.”

I wouldn’t hire me if I saw blog posts like that. Perhaps some people don’t get frustrated by the anonymity; I do. I don’t know if there will ever come a day when I can come clean about my identity and let the world know who this person is and what she really struggles with. God bless all of you who can put a real face to a name and still talk about deeply personal issues.

Current Mood Rating: 5.9

Obligatory post

stressedI’ve been quite tired and haven’t been much in the mood for blogging. I’ve been feeling bogged down by all the preliminary crap (see expenses, accountant, and IRS) that I have to do to begin freelance writing. I’m not particularly enjoying the administrative side of life.

On the other hand, I’d like to thank everyone for the kind words on my last post. The issue has been bugging me all week and I wanted to put the matter to rest so I e-mailed the ed-in-chief again on a whim:

Hi Joe,

I figured I probably wouldn’t hear back from you after my last e-mail. If you’re not willing to provide me with the $75 for my submission, at the very least, I’d appreciate having a copy sent to my home address. Thanks.

I figure I had nothing to lose since I’d already lost time spent on the article and the money he’d promised. A copy of the issue is the least he could do for me. (insert not-so-nice thoughts here) He wrote back about an hour ago:

i’ll be sure to make both happen at once. hope you’re well.

I’m not holding my breath. I’d rather be “pleasantly” surprised.

In other news, the ad/marketing agency I have been freelancing for has offered me a part-time contract position. I’ll be able
to do some writing on the side while I have a steady job doing some
proofreading and editing. That makes me incredibly happy.

Otherwise, I hope everyone reading this is getting along decently. It’s been a day. For those in the Northeast, enjoy the beautiful weather!

Your word's as good as nothing

In early February, I went to an interview in the hopes of obtaining an associate editor position at a trade magazine. The editor-in-chief—we’ll call him Joe—met with me in an interview for an hour and a half, maybe even close to two hours. He gave me an assignment to turn around in a week to determine whether he’d want to hire me. He said that if any of the articles I turned in were published, he’d pay me $75 for each of them. Of course, it sounded like a good deal so I agreed to it. I asked him if I could ask him for help if I ran into any trouble. He said, “Sure.”

I also asked Joe how soon I’d find out if I was selected for the position. He hemmed and hawed, hesitating to give me
any estimated time. (This made me uneasy.) I asked him, “Two weeks? A month?” His blue eyes lit up and he enthusiastically said, “Yeah! A month!” I looked at him quizzically and asked him, “Wouldn’t you know whether you would want to hire me after I write those articles for you?” He hemmed and hawed some more then responded, “Let’s see what happens after you write.”

moneyAt the end of my interview, he walks me out of the office building. It was a nice day so I figured he’d stand outside and get some fresh air or just take a smoke break. (Writers and editors have one or two vices: coffee drinking and/or smoking.) I again give my thanks and farewell and proceed to walk down the sidewalk to my car. I feel his eyes watch me as I move toward the parking lot. As soon as I begin to fade from his sight, out of the corner of my eye, I notice he turns around and walks back inside. I stepped inside the car feeling a little nervous now. During the interview, he gave me no reason to feel uncomfortable but at that moment, I realized that it didn’t seem like a job I’d be thrilled to have. Even though I decided I wouldn’t take the position, I forged ahead with my assignment. I didn’t want to take the chance of working for another trade magazine and enduring an uncomfortable run-in with him at a trade conference for not completing an assignment, but I mainly liked the idea of scoring a cool $75!

Read the rest of this entry »

Not on hiatus

I’m currently freelancing on-site for a company as an editor/proofreader so posting will be minimal this week through Tuesday. And yes, I finally am enjoying what I’m doing. It’s a nice feeling after having been at a job for two years "just to pay the bills."

Depression slowly settling in

I’ve recently started fighting depression again. My husband has pointed out that August through October tend to be challenging months for me. I’m not particularly happy about this. I’ve recently been fighting the urge to not go to work and sleep in bed. It doesn’t matter whether I go to bed early or not, I’m tired during the day and I come home with a feeling of ennui. I’m not interested in much anymore except for perhaps a game of Crickler. I’m also pretty upset that my job has blocked off access to my only outlet of dealing with my days. By the time I get home, it’s time for dinner, spending time with my husband, going to the gym… I’m not particularly at my “thinking” peak at 11 p.m. at night. Except when I’m not on meds.

I’m feeling currently somewhat numb and in a state of mere existence and nothing else. Sure I can laugh at a joke and have fleeting emotions when talking to people. It’s easy for me to force a smile, but otherwise, I’m feeling isolated and emotionally detached. I have my moments where I want to cry. But most of all, I want to do nothing but lie in bed all day and hide away from the world. I guess it doesn’t help that I’d like to break back into editing or reporting/writing and getting a 9-5 job doing that in Pennsylvania with only 3 years of experience is nigh unto impossible. I’m trying to be patient about my job search and I’m trying to convince myself that I should remain at my job through the end of the year because I’ve got all my vacation planned out, but I become extremely discouraged – an understatement, really – at the fact that I just may never be able to work in the editorial field that best fits my skill set. My occupation shouldn’t mean so much to me as a part of who I am – my husband calls it the “New York mentality” – but it is. I want to go to work and overall enjoy what I do every day. I’m not really the type who will work at one job for the rest of my life because “it pays the bills.” (This is probably easier for me to say because I don’t have children.) Finding a job that suits my skills won’t be the cure for my depression, but I can only hope that it will help.

And then there’s the whole “I just don’t fit in” feelings, but I’ll just keep those thoughts trapped in my mind. (Because yes, yes, I know I shouldn’t care what other people think of me.)

Hope everyone else is having a better time at dealing with life at this moment.

Revisited: Twisted Christian Viewpoint on Mental Illness

Many thanks to Gianna for reminding me about this post. It sunk into the recesses of my blog and I’d forgotten about it, I reread it recently and found it incredibly relevant and uplifting. Go ahead and read it for yourself.

Twisted Christian Viewpoint on Mental Illness

Despite the fact that Liz Spikol is messhuggeneh, she linked to an amazing blog with a Christian perspective on depression. (I’m ashamed I didn’t find it before!) I’m pleased and excited that a Christian in the blogosphere finally has the correct approach to mental illness.


CLIFFS NOTES VERSION: Christians have a very limited understanding of depression, suicide, and other various forms of mental illness even though there are SPECIFIC examples in the Bible. Christians need to learn how to take care of those with mental illness or they may very well isolate the people they are called to love.


(The rest is a half-finished personal background. You can stop reading here if you choose to.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Fear

"I fear / I have nothing to give / I have so much to lose / Here in this lonely place / Tangled up in our embrace / There's nothing I'd like better than to fall / But I fear / I have nothing to give." ~ Sarah McLachlan "Fear"

I've been thinking much on the concept of fear. I fear people, I fear my family, I fear my friends, I fear change, I fear airplanes, I fear those who teased me in grade school, I fear my hairdresser, I fear my boss, I fear saying no. My life is overrun with fear.

I'm trying to approach life a little differently. I've lately been asking myself "Why am I so afraid? Really, what's the worst that can happen?" And realistically, I analyze the potential worst-case scenarios. It usually follows with: "Will I get yelled at ?" (Answer: Probably not.) "Will this person be mad?" (Answer: Maybe but unlikely.) "Will I get shot?" (Answer: Highly unlikely.) "Will I disappoint?" (Answer: It's possible, but people will deal.) "Will I upset?" (Answer: That's possible too but it's not the end of the world.)

Talking through worst-case scenarios has helped me come out of my shell a bit more. I have a long way to go but I've been more assertive with what I need over the phone (I'm not afraid to sound nasty anymore – what do I care what people I never will meet think of me?) and I'm no longer as apprehensive to change an appointment or cause disappointment. Disappointment is a part of life – something that can't always be avoided so I do what I need to do and try not to think about it.

I had to let down one of the ladies that's trying to sell me Mary Kay. I agreed to a facial on Tuesday but realized I don't have the money and I don't really want a facial. She's a pretty good salesperson so I got talked into rescheduling and really – I really wanted the "try it before you buy it" facial at the time – but now that I'm at home thinking about it, I'm wondering again if I really need it and am wasting my time. And I'd feel terrible for her to drive a half-hour all the way out here to my home and me not buy anything. And I don't know what I'd do if I felt pressure to buy. I usually end up doing something because I'm afraid to say "no." Again – fear. I need to see if my new approach will work. Unless Mary Kay's products are so likable – as she says they speak for themselves – that I actually want to buy it. The challenge will be if I don't. Then I'm faced with saying no and feeling bad that this poor woman drove 35 minutes out of her and wasted gas for no sale.

I need to remind myself that people will feel bad and even though I may cause it – the way other people feel is NOT my responsibility.

Applying the fear factor with loved ones tends to be a little trickier. As such, because they're loved ones, we care more about what they think. I don't want to upset my mother in law sometimes so I agree to something that I'm not necessarily fond of, I don't want to upset my mother when she I disagree so I agree to whatever it is to avoid a fight (which usually ends up with me unhappy in some way), or I don't want to upset my husband so I either don't express my true feelings or I agree even though I feel differently. Some of it is superficial, but for the most part, it's harder because since these are the people I love – and will see again – what they think about me holds more weight in my mind.

[NOTE: Do not mistake my saying that "I am not responsible for the way he feels" as "I am not responsible for my actions toward him." I am completely responsible for any inappropriate or hurtful actions toward him. But in a situation where two people who are talking and a person takes the truth of a matter very hard, the person speaking the truth cannot be responsible for the way the other person feels. Especially if it was not said in a hurtful or injurious manner.]

"There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear,
because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is
not made perfect in love." ~ I John 4:18 (The Bible)

If the above is true then the opposite of fear is love. O, that I may be filled with more love for those around me and my fellow man so that I may do what is right, pure and honest – both for them and for me.

Letting go of fear releases the demons of depression and opens up paths to true joy and happiness.

More on All the Small Things

Wouldn't you know, I forgot my keys AGAIN. Luckily, however, I realized this before I walked into the train station in Center City. Sadly however, I needed to turn back around, get back on the subway, trudge back to work, grab the keys, and trudge back to the subway again to meke the next train in a half-hour.

Good news, though (no, I didn't save money by switching to Geico but instead to State Farm), it began pouring outside on my train ride home and my husband lost power at work. He called me, asked if I wanted a ride home and I said, "Sure!" Door-to-door service just doesn't get any better.

My day did end up better but I'm still quite tired and am learning to stack the small, bad stuff against the small, good stuff. I should make a pro/con list for every day and have the pros/cons cancel each other out for neutral days. I had a therapist who once said (in my answer to a question about happiness):

How do you know if you have a happy life?  If one can calculate more times or longer periods of time being happy than not then one has a happy life.  If the periods of being unhappy outweighs the periods of being happy then one does not have a happy life.

So overall, since I've been married, my life has been happy. I can't necessarily say the same for the years before that though. But happiness is a life-long process. So is beating depression. And maybe one day, when I've forgotten my keys for the third time that week and realize it, I will not trudge back to work grudginly, mumbling curse words under my breath, but will cheerfully bound over to my job, thankful that I had a good enough memory to remember I'd even forgotten it.

Sometimes we sweat the small stuff so much that we forget that there are other small (usually unnoticeable, taken for granted) things that are working in our favor.