This has been a really odd day. It started off being crappy, and I was going to make a big long post talking about my lots of mental health issues. And then – well, okay, I’m still going to do a bit of that. But at the end, lots of useful, awesome stuff happened, and I feel like the Universe just said “So now you’ve FINALLY acknowledged the whole list of your issues, I’m going to send you some tools to help you solve them.”
Thanks, Universe. No, I actually really meant that.
But okay, let’s go back to the beginning. So my week has been an everything-but-average week: lots of awesome, thank-god-finally sorts of things happened, and I felt good about them, and I also felt pretty depressed and stuff. And when I say I felt really depressed, I don’t mean the kind of “I hate my sorry ass and leaving this blanket is too hard so I’m going to stay in my pyjamas all day and scavenge instead of cooking” days* I mean more like “I’m really on edge and DO THINGS but really scared of doing things and I feel like crap and also like bouncing and possibly bursting into tears and throwing things.”
I am not a psychologist, or any kind of professional, but I am smart enough to figure out that this (which has lasted for…like…a week and a half? And has been getting steadily less Apathy and more Hyper) bears more than a passing resemblance to a classic bipolar mixed episode. I went to my GP with severe, uncontrollable mood swings when I was 14/15 and he said I had PMS and put me on the pill, which made me suicidal. And then there was nothing, and every time I mentioned my weird brain to my mother she would “reassure me” that I was normal.
Yeah, I don’t think so.
So anyway, I was feeling really unsettled and stuff earlier, so I just sat down and typed out the current contents of my brain onto a word document. My brain went waaaay faster than my typing (and I type pretty damn fast) and stuff kept getting stuck, but it ended up being guttingly honest. I wrote down for the first time the words “I hate myself”. I wrote about how my brain today seems to be “depression on speed”. I wrote about my unhelpful thoughts about eating and my body (long suppressed) which seem to be coming back, and how pathetic and useless and stupid I feel, and how scared I am that no doctor or psych person will take me seriously.
I have a counselling appointment on monday. But the last time I had a counsellor they just asked me a lot about how exactly my anxiety manifested, and whether I’d been bullied, when I hadn’t even got a chance to tell them about my soulsucking depressive moments or DO ALL THE THINGS obsessive ones. Also I’ve been told a lot that there’s nothing wrong with me and I should just stop whining and get on with life like a normal person – including by some doctors. The contents of what I wrote scared me, and I thought “wow, if someone else showed that to me, I’d ask them how recently they’d seen their psychiatrist.”
And then of course Kaitie read it and her response was basically “I kindof knew all this, also you know that I love you and will support you, right?” And that was the start of my day’s turnaround. I am loved. I don’t understand why, but I guess that’s tough, because I am anyway.
So I sat down on my laptop to read Captain Awkward, who is fantastic and awesome, and I was reading about how people get around their Jerkbrain** long enough to get out of bed and to work on time. Now all of this was super-helpful, but I also found a link to a woman whose method of dealing with her Jerkbrain is to talk compassionately to it. She says she finds that the bits of your brain that are being mean to you are trying to protect you, but they were made when you were young and sad and scared, so they don’t always go about it in the best way until you start talking to them. Crazy? A bit. Worth a shot? Definitely, particularly as a writer who’s used to active dialogue with her characters. Sounds kinda fun.
From there, I was linked to http://www.fluentself.com, which seems to pretty much be The Home Of My People. They’re all about Getting Better At Stuff, Finding Out How To Be The Awesomest You Possible, and doing this all with fun and kooky-yet-effective strategies and other such things which…yeah. As my ninjutsu instructor said on my first lesson, “I think you’re gonna fit in around here.”***
So all in all this day has been lots of gains despite how crap I was feeling earlier: I now have a much better handle on what my mental health issues actually look like, I have discovered that the world does not end if I write honestly about them, and I have also found loads of new coping strategies to try and like-minded folks to talk about them with. Though I didn’t get much actual concrete stuff done today, I’m going to put this one down as a win. And hope sincerely that I can get to sleep because I am WIRED and tomorrow is busy.
*I had a few of those. Like a week of them. Very little got done, and it sucked, but it is now over.
**A Jerkbrain is that bit of your brain that tells you you’re stupid and useless, and you shouldn’t get up because it’s scary and you’ll fail anyway, and stuff.
***he demonstrated a technique, the guy being demonstrated on made a hilarious pain face, and I giggled.