I’m tired or am I depressed…

I’m tired. If I had a penny for all the times I have said that in my life. I would be able to pay my medical bills. Sometimes I say it when people ask if I’m okay and I don’t want to say I’m depressed. Sometimes I say it because I’m depressed and that makes me feel tired

It is always good to get to know the signs of depression. It’s especially important to know your signs of depression. For me I know that when I find myself saying I’m tired a lot that is a good sign I’m depressed.

I stop and assess myself. Really think about what I am feeling. Am I eating? Am I losing interest in normal things I like to do? Am I sleeping too much or not enough? Is the negative thinking worse then normal?

Once I know if I’m depressed I need to determine which kind of depression it is. Is it situational or chemical? If I know what type it is I will know the best way to handle it.

It may make me sound even crazier then I already am, but I find talking to myself helps when its chemical depression. When it is situational a funny movie or some kind of distraction helps. But with chemical depression there is not much you can do. Talking to myself helps.

What do I say? I remind myself that it is just a depression episode. It won’t last forever. It may feel like the end of the world, but it isn’t. I remind myself I have gone through this before and I was fine. If the thoughts go too dark and I start thinking I want to die (we have all been there) I remind myself that if I kill myself it will hurt the people I love. That it is selfish. It may end my pain, but everyone who loves me will be in pain. Guilt has always been a big motivator for me. (Family stuff I’m working on in therapy)

It’s not easy to do, but I listen to myself more then I listen to other people. I’m really stubborn and get defensive when people try to help me. That might be why I started talking myself down. Those are somethings that help me. What are somethings that help you when you are depressed?

Walk of Hope

Two blogs in one night!!

I was already planning to do the blog I just posted, but I wanted to talk about this too. Last Sunday I did the Walk of Hope. For the last 30 years in the city of Raleigh they do a 5 K for charity. What cause is it you ask, mental illness. The company my Dad works for has been one of the sponsors for years. He said it never occurred to him to actually sign up before. My excuse is I didn’t know anything about it. This year he signed us both up.

It was held at a very popular restaurant here in Raleigh, North Carolina. The place has a lot of room for booths, games for kids, and food. The booths were different places like NAMI and psychiatric places. One was the places was where I go to get my medication. There was also a mental health man that is the creepiest superhero ever. He gave me a lollipop that I didn’t eat. People could eat and play games while they waited for the 5 K to start.

Exercise is not my thing, but I have always liked walking. It clears your head you know. It was two of my favorite things walking and hanging out with my Dad. We walked all 5 miles. I am so proud of us. They said we could turn back anytime we wanted to. There were cars that would pick people up. My Dad asked me a few times if I wanted to turn around, but I wanted to do the whole thing.

I put on my Walk for Hope t-shirt and proudly walked those 5 miles. It was for a good cause. One I truly believe doesn’t get enough attention. The money went to help people with mental illness and our walk was on the news. People saw us standing up and saying people with mental illness need help. No more shame and whispers! Let’s talk about mental illness. We are not helping anyone by not talking about it.

I swear my jaw dropped a couple of weeks ago. A former coworker of mine had gone on the news to talk about suicide because her husband committed suicide this past year. She wanted to talk about it so she could help other people. I only know that she did this because another coworker brought it up. “She wanted to talk about what happened to her husband.” Her words. One of the new girls asked what happened to him. I said he committed suicide. My coworker telling the story says ‘shh don’t talk about that’. Jaw drop. WTF! Is that not the point of you telling us this. She wants to talk about her husbands suicide to help others. Not talking about it doesn’t help anyone.

Not talking about it makes people feel ashamed. If they feel like they have something to be ashamed of they won’t go and get the help they need. We should talk about it. She had no idea her husband was suicidal because he didn’t talk to her about it. Her husband is gone and her daughter doesn’t have a Father because he didn’t feel like he could talk to someone about his pain.

The Walk of Hope is a good way for people to start to talk about it. This is 2018 we aren’t locking the mentally ill in attics, prisons, and horrible hospitals anymore. We have so much more knowledge then we used to. We have medications that work. What we don’t have is an open dialogue about it. We have people who need help, but don’t know how to get it. They can’t ask because we aren’t allowed to talk about it.

All the people who came for the Walk of Hope gave me hope that things are changing for the better.

Darkest moment…

First let me say sorry for not blogging in a couple days. Work, stress, & hurricane prep.

Everyone has had their dark moments. Depression takes you to some pretty dark places. When people share their moments some may be darker then others. You have to remember to that person it seemed like the end. No ones lowest moment is worse then someone else. That being said I wanted to share with you guys the darkest moment that I can remember having.

Unfortunately people with depression and Bipolar disorder do commit suicide. That is a very sad fact. As many times in my life I wished I was dead I only attempted it once. I’m not even sure if I was doing it on purpose. I am the youngest of three girls. When I was in high school the middle sister JLC (we will call her) was in college. She had come home to visit. My parents were going to drive her back. They wanted to know if I wanted to come with them so I could see her apartment. Now my sister is smart, beautiful, friendly, and always seemed perfect. She is everything I never thought I was or could be. I always got her teachers and they were always disappointed I wasn’t as a good student like JLC. You could say I was jealous of my sister. I didn’t want to go see her college apartment. Basically I was being a brat.

My sister is also sensitive. For example when the oldest and I fought as kids the middle sister would cry. We wouldn’t get in trouble for fighting. We would get in trouble for making JLC cry. When I said I didn’t want to see her apartment it hurt her feelings. So my parents called me out on being a brat. My emotional state as a teen was a very unpredictable. I could be fine one minute and then just breakdown for no reason in the next. So, when my parents got upset with me I got VERY upset myself. I started crying. I couldn’t stop crying. Every jealous thought and insecurity just got bigger.

I thought my parents hated and loved JLC more. I was going over in my head all the things about me they could hate. All the things I hated about myself. I remember not being able to stop crying. The pain seemed endless. I just wanted to die. The pain was just so bad I never thought it would end. My life seemed hopeless. I remember thinking I want it out of my head. I wanted the pain to stop and it was coming from my brain. I started hitting my head on the wall. I just started banging away. The compulsion just came out of no where, but I couldn’t stop. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t. It felt like something had taken over my body. I just wanted all the pain to stop.

So, I sat crying and banging my forehead against the wall for I don’t know how long.  I remember my parents came up at some point. I think it was my Mom, because my Dad can’t get up the stairs very well. I think they came to see what the banging sound was. Which ever parent it was pulled me away from the wall. In my mind at the time they seemed more mad at me then worried. I could be wrong, but at the time obviously I was feeling like they hated me. I had a bump on my forehead, and I want to say a little blood. I can’t remember if that is right or not.

When I think about that night all I can think about is the pain. Not from my forehead. From my brain/heart. As bad as my depression has gotten I have only ever had that much pain one other time. That was last month. When I was depressed last month the pain I was feeling reminded me so much of that night. That is what got my attention that something was wrong. I called my Mom and talked to her. I made her aware about how dark I was feeling. She called and texted to check on me for a few days. I went into work even though I know that was not a state I needed to be in at work. I just didn’t trust myself to be alone. A few of my co-workers picked up on it. One took me aside and let me cry it out.

That amount of pain is something I will never forget. When I look back at that time when I was in high school I can’t help but think that was a stupid reason to get upset. If I had killed myself I think that would be the dumbest reason ever. But at the time that overwhelming pain and sadness made me want to die. It seemed like there was no hope left for me. I was worthless and nobody loved me. I was ashamed to even talk about this for a long time. With the many therapist I have seen when they ask have you ever tried to kill yourself I said no to most of them. I have talked about this with very few people, because I didn’t think they would understand.

Sometimes it feels like there is no hope left, but there is. Please remember that.

fine

My emotional tool box…

When I was sixteen I started seeing a psychologist and she was great. She left the practice to be with her kids more and came back later. While she was gone I saw another great psychologist. They were both very important in the change that would be coming in my life. They taught me so much. One thing they had in common was what they called an emotional tool box. They taught me how to use mine.

I am Bipolar II, and as you might know that comes with worst episodes of depression then the manic episodes. That is why I wasn’t diagnosed with Bipolar disorder at first. My episodes of depression have always been worse. They have been my main focus for most of my life. They seem to consume everything. My emotional tool box helped me learn how to deal with them.

I learned how to tell when I am depressed. Not always right away, but I do know the signs and can spot them. I learned to tell the difference between situational and chemical depression.  Once I knew which I was experiencing I knew which tools to use. If it was situational a funny movie or show to distract me. Listening to music. Talking to friends and family to work through what ever the problem was. Chemical is a lot harder and not as easy to get through. I am very lucky in the fact that I have always been a rational person. I’ve always been able to look at myself and see things how they are. This won’t work for everybody and it may only work for me. I remind myself that it is all in my head. That it is a episode that will pass. I just have to get through it. I remind myself when I think about wanting to die how selfish that is. That it will end my pain, but will cause my loved ones pain instead. I remind myself that I have lived through worse and I am still here. It is a constant dialogue in my head. It is kind of like talking someone down I guess, but you are doing it for yourself. I also share with someone what I am going through. It is normally one of my parents. I live alone so it is good to make someone aware I am in a bad place. They call and check on me. My Mom will stop by. I can’t stress enough how important it is to let someone in your life know that you are having a hard time.

These tools have helped me so much. I went from feeling helpless to feeling like I had some control in this mess. Those wonderful ladies gifted me with the tools that have gotten me through life. They are the ones to who taught me about this concept, but I’m the one who came up with the tools. They are all things I figured out on my own with guidance from them of course. Between these tools and the medication I was put on at the time I became me again. My personality was back. I was spending time with friends again, I started taking care of my neighbors kid after she got off the bus. She has become a great friend and a little sister to me. I started dating. I felt like I could breath again.

I had hope for the first time in so long. I want everyone to have that hope. To find themselves again. Start your tool box. Find the tools that will help you cope with your depression. Everyones tools are different. What works for me may not work for you. There is one thing I will tell you that you need most. Do not do it alone. You can do all the work, but let someone know you are suffering. A therapist, a friend, a spouse, or family member it doesn’t matter. Just don’t try to handle it all on your own. That is setting yourself up to fail, because being alone just makes the things in your head seem true.

Is it anxiety or is it real…

One psychiatrist told me I wasn’t being paranoid I was projecting my insecurities on other people. That kind of makes sense. Sometimes I’m not sure if it is my anxiety or if it is real.

I do not treat my social anxiety with medication. That is a personal choice I made a long time ago. (Everyone should make the choice that is best for them.) I have used tools I have learned in therapy instead. I have come a long way. When I was a teenager I couldn’t leave the house with out having a panic attack. Now I can run errands, shop, eat in restaurants, and go the movies alone. I drive places by myself. I took a 2 hr drive to the beach by myself. I work at a doctors office checking people in. I am very proud of myself for all of these accomplishments, but I do struggle with somethings.

I worry a lot about what people think of me. Sometimes so much that it can make me depressed or anxious. Sometimes I work myself up and get mad at people in my head. They have know idea I’m mad because I am non-confrontational. I try to remind myself that some of it is all in my head. But how do I know it’s in my head. Because of my anxiety issues when I was young I was not exposed to the normal social situations most people are when growing up. These situations teach you what to do. I am a socially awkward person sometimes. So, how do I tell the difference? I can’t always tell and I wish I could tell you. All I can do is try to calm myself down and think about what I am doing. Am I doing something that would cause this person not to like me? Am I taking my bad mood out on others? I have to look at myself. I can try to be do my best to get along, but in the end that is all I can do.

What do you guys do when you are having this problem? How do you get out of your head?

anxiety

First blog (Fingers crossed)

So, I’m new at this blogging stuff so please be patient with me. This blog is not about me. I will be sharing personal thoughts and stories with you, but this is about YOU. I want to hear your thoughts and stories. If you have questions I will answer truthfully. I want this blog to be open and honest. I just want to help people. Let’s start.

My thoughts have been a bit dark this week. There has been a lot of stress in my life lately. As you all know that tends to bring out the dark thoughts. One thing has been swirling around in my head all week is how unfair it is that we are looked down upon and made to feel bad for being negative. I have a dark sense of humor and I am also able to laugh at the bad things that have happened to me in my life. Which my therapist said is healthy. Apparently being able to joke about the shit in your life makes people uncomfortable according to my boss. Why do I have to change who I am because it makes other people uncomfortable, but people don’t have to change because they make me feel uncomfortable? Perky overly positive people get on my nervous. Is she telling them to stop telling me I need to be more positive? No. Who decides these things? Why am I made to feel ashamed for feeling the things I feel? I recently read something about that. The psychiatrist said people are made to feel ashamed for what are considered bad feelings, and that no feelings are bad feelings. Feeling sad doesn’t mean you are a bad person. You are allowed to feel sad. I read a book about Lincoln’s depression. The author said people with depression were born with out the rose colored glasses everyone else were born with. We see the world as it really is. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with you! Don’t let people make you feel like your feelings are something to be ashamed of. You are stronger then them for allowing yourself to feel those feelings.