Mental Health

Awake, Part 14

Like many other nights, I’m wide awake long before I intend to get out of bed. You’re likely familiar with this. This is Part 14, after all…

For once, though, my mind is relatively quiet. I say relatively because those of us with depression, anxiety, and the like typically don’t know a truly quiet mind. In any case, I didn’t wake up in panic from my dreams (even though they were weird, as usual). I’m not in fear of going back to sleep. I’m not in fear of being awake with my thoughts.

For one blessed time, I’m just… Awake.

Progress?

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Random, Uncategorized

Today Will Be a Good Day

Dear Me,

I can be awesome. I AM awesome.

I WILL be productive.

I will NOT wallow in self-pity today.

I WILL set aside my negative thoughts.

I WILL think on my own self-worth.

I will NOT let all of my diagnoses get the better of me today.

I WILL be great.

I WILL have a great day.

And so will you.

💛 Lauren

Mental Health

Another Day, Another Diagnosis

As the years go by, more and more gets added to the fire:

Major Depressive Disorder

Attention Deficit Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (just a little)

Depression, Severe, Recurrent (I went up a notch!)

Then, recently, I was describing some recent behavior to my therapist and she says she thinks I had a manic episode. What does the doctor say today?

Bipolar Disorder II

What does this mean? It means more meds. Sad. Pills. Can’t sleep. Pills. Impulsive. Pills. Anxiety. Pills. Throw in my acid reflux medication and I have a mini-pharmacy. Is this really the answer? I fear that it is, sometimes.

When I left group therapy I was on a high. I could’ve walked on water. I felt accomplished. I was proud that I had seen it through. I was attached mentally and emotionally to my little family of strangers that I had shared so much of my life with. I was feeling hopeful. But, slowly, that high has gone down, down, down…. to the point where I don’t want to leave my sofa anymore. Does this mean that I’m meant to be a pill-popping, therapy-attending sloth forever? It feels like it. I don’t knock either of these methods. Some of us just need it. I, personally, am a completely different person when I’m not medicated. But, sometimes I tire at the necessity of it. Sometimes, I wonder if the doctors are really listening and actively helping us to develop coping skills outside of prescriptions. I felt that way today. Rushed. The doctor was filling prescriptions within five minutes of the session. She wanted me to talk to my therapist about a possible bipolar diagnosis. She knows me, so she should be able to do it, right? I said to her, “shouldn’t you?” I think this must’ve irked her because while she went on about not knowing me, she stopped long enough to listen to my symptoms and come to an agreement with my therapist’s concern.

I don’t know what the point of me writing this post was. Simply to express frustration, I guess, with the system and with myself. I just want to be happy all the time, one big f**king ray of sunshine. But, damn, it’s hard for some of us, isn’t it?

 

Mental Health

Awake, Part 13

It seems not to matter what I do anymore. My biological clock has reset to be awake during these wee morning hours. So be it. At least, I can be productive now.

When I left group therapy almost as month ago, I was on a high. I had learned so much, connected with similarly-minded people. Sure, there were/are aspects of my life that needed changing, but still, I felt hope. It was a beautiful feeling. It was like an addiction.

I’m back in reality and it seems that high was fleeting. I long for it the way an addict long for a buzz. I miss that hopeful feeling. I feel myself slowly shutting down again. I take solace in the fact that writing it down is therapeutic and perhaps that will help me feel better.

It’s interesting what our individual “heroin” can be.

May all that has been reduced to noise in you become music again. I’m listening for the change from dissonance to harmony.

Mental Health

Empty

You know those rare and random times where you have a decent day, or even a really good day? The kind of day where you got to be where you wanted to be when you wanted to be there. You were in good company. You satisfied some goals. You’re proud of your accomplishments. You did something nice for someone and made their day. You made a difference.

And then the days over. You come home. There’s no one here. And that high turns into the ultimate low, if it was ever really a high at all. Sometimes, we don’t recognize our own facades because we’re so used to wearing them.

I feel empty, depressed, down, unfulfilled, alone… and there’s some confused part of me without feeling.

What do you do when this happens?

Mental Health, Random

Awake, Part 10

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

I don’t even know. Knocks on the side of my head with my finger. Are there words in there?

My insomnia seems to coincide with the peak post time of people I follow. I’m thinking that I’m grateful for this because it gives me something to do while I sit here in bed alone, wide awake. My poor bed. It must feel somewhat distraught at rarely getting used for its purpose.

My therapist is concerned I might be experiencing mania. One more thing to add to the list of issues? We’ll find out. I do not want more meds, even if they do put me to sleep.

I went to a comedy show tonight. Loved the comic. Enjoyed my friends. Laughed. Smiled. Inconspicuously watched the clock wondering if it would be over soon. Irony. He made a Star Trek joke and became my new favorite person. 🖖🏾

Met the comic. He commented on how soft my skin is. Made a joke about how we should market it. I laughed. I smiled. I turned. I left. I stopped laughing. I stopped smiling. Am I spiraling downward again? Feeling mechanical, but unoiled. I’m the Tinman looking for the yellow brick road I must follow to my heart with that damnable dumb girl who kept making me sing. Why didn’t she ask what the shoes were for?

Awake. Wondering about all of these things and when this lack of sleep will kill me.

Random, Uncategorized

At the Bar

Wednesday evening at the bar. I had to check to make sure it was Wednesday. The days blur lately.

I’m having boneless wings in the restaurant’s special sauce. I’ve had them before. I didn’t feel like being brave today.

Tullamore and ginger beer. I have to ask for lime. Whiskey is my drink of choice, in general, but also for contemplation. The bartender has finally remembered not to fill my glass with ice.

To my right are two women exploring a jewelry catalog. One is speaking about how the jewelry can tell a story as though it is a spiritual journey. Their intense small talk about nothing makes me twitch. I wonder what, if anything, is really important to them.

The man who was sitting to my left has just left. I did not see him depart. His empty beer bottle, the condensation from it, and the signature on a soon lost piece of paper are the evidence that he was here. He was complaining about the rain. I think to myself, “It’s Florida…. Maybe get over it.”

The women have received their food. It grows cold as they are engrossed in their shopping venture. They are complaining about an acquaintance that’s super loud. I want to tell them they are annoying and they’ve killed the ambience with their unsubstantial bullshit.

“Is anyone sitting here, ma’am?” There is now a new couple to my left. He takes beer. She takes wine. Typical. They couldn’t hang with me. I look at their faces and I wouldn’t expect them to be together. They’re discussing the price of lobster rolls and whether or not they are hungry. It would seem they’ve come to the wrong place.

I’ve just realised I’m the only black person at the bar. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, I’m used to it in the South. Only an observation that only people like me tend to observe.

I am wishing someone I cared about was sitting next to me. I am wishing I would not walk back home in the rain alone. I long for the warmth of more than whiskey. I am longing for the warmth of your hand.

Mental Health, Random

Awake, Part 8

I know why the caged bird sings…

How I long to be free of my self-imposed battle with guilt. All the things I’ve done, all the ways I’ve wronged someone, all the things I’ve said, all the mistakes I’ve made, every embarrassing moment orbits the edge of thought trying to break into my brain’s gravitational field. I try to keep the thoughts at bay. Damn by interminable, long memory. It is like my grandmother’s, who at 100 years old, could spout of details of not only all of her offspring’s long ago mishaps, but her own childhood. I envy those who can easily forget and shake off the little things.

I’m afraid to sleep because I’m afraid to dream.

I’m afraid to wake because I’m afraid to think.

Where is the happy balance? Where is the freedom from this self-inflicted tyranny? Hope do I get out of this vicious cycle that keeps me caged in monotony, vulnerability, fear, and one damnably terrible sleep pattern?

The caged bird sings of freedom.

Random

Awake, Part 7

I am thinking of you, in my sleepless solitude tonight.

Awake again. I’m beginning to associate lack of sleep with normalcy. But, at least, I’m being productive.

I drank too much wine and the brain fog is settling in. But, at least I enjoyed it.

My Fitbit says my heart rate is 102. I don’t know if it’s the wine, the position I’m in, or anxiety about yet another day back to work. But, it’s Fat Burn zone, so maybe I’ll shed some pounds in my state of confusion.

I’ve discovered new pastimes for sleepless nights. One is writing my thoughts for others to read. The other is reading the thoughts others write. In some strange way, I feel bonded to everyone else who is awake right now, either because sleep is evasive or because it’s daytime in their time zone. But, strange though it is, it is also somewhat gratifying to feel like part of an unknown something.

I am thinking of you. I have been all day. You showed up in my dreams during the little sleep I did get. Now, I do not know if being awake is a blessing. But, it was good to see your face.

Mental Health, Poetry

Little Girl/Awake, Part 5/Collaboration, Part 1

Borrowed this photo from OraforLife for her poem The Locked Up Soul. Posting a poem I wrote that both her poem and photo reminded me of. Thank you, Ora! Hope you enjoy. 🙂

*****

Quite by accident one day
I was sitting on a bench alone
Staring into nothingness
Seemingly content
Then came this little girl
A familiar girl
She sat beside me
Prim and proper
Soft dark skin
Deep brown eyes
An angel almost
And in her presence
My soul felt more tattered
Then the clothes I was wearing
So I tried to ignore her
No
She tugged at my sleeve
I thought it would come off in her tiny hand
She posed her questions
“What is love?” she asked
Didn’t look at her.
“Love is waste,” I said
“Worthless, painful, never love.”
“What is hate?”
“Hate is the only true emotion.
What forces you to soldier on
What keeps you alive.”
“And what is life?”
I cringe.
“Life. Life is a trial.
It is agony.
It is blood outpoured
And never regained.
It is broken hearts and dreams.
Life is being here and dying.
Nothing more.”
When I finished
She was silent
I finally brought myself to look at her
To look deep into her eyes
There was sweetness there
There was hope
There was innocence
Would I destroy her
Wit the bitterness within me?
How could I speak these words?
How could I let her think these things?
And so I took her in my arms
And took her tiny hand
Held it tight
“Let me try this again,” I said
“Love is a splendid feeling
That should be given and felt
And though sometimes it hurts
We never give up on it
Hate is for the lost
Those who gave up on love
And so they choose anger
Life is not just what you see
It is only what you make it
So choose a path
Never look back
Do not be ashamed of it.”
When I finished
Her eyes were shining
She smiled
I looked at this child
This girl I used to be
The one who lives in me
I realized I had forgotten all I told her
I had forgotten what life could be
Forgotten happiness
I had only allowed myself to know
My rancid inner soul
No more
So I took her in my arms
Hugged her
Squeezed her
Until she was no longer there
Until I only held myself
I stood up then
With renewed spirit
A young girl’s hope
And a lust of long ago
I chose a path
A brand new road
I will not look back
I will not find shame