Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Words for Wednesday



I know that there is probably a better way to put this, but for whatever reason I can't think of it-what do I mean? I mean that I'm feeling "wordly constipated." I want to write. I got stuff in my brain to write about but it's sure having a tough time making it's way into the world! Please bear with me this week as I try to work out some words and work in the prompt words/image/phrase provided by Elephant's Child and Olga Godim at EC's blog.


Someone
Hopscotch
Days
Hotter
Hoaxer
Lonely

"I was just wondering if you could solve a little argument?"


I ended up using the words and not the phrase or image, but I left those up there in case anybody else was inspired and wanted to write from those too or instead :o)

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There wouldn't be a hotter day that summer. Mallory felt an overwhelming sense of stubborn conviction sink into her bones as she jogged around the paved park path. She had very little data to support her conclusion but it seemed like today would have to be the hottest because it was simply the perfect complement to her mental agony. She hated sweltering heat and she hated the misery depression and anxiety brought into her life.

It had been eight days now since her mood began sliding down and her anxiety flaring up. The shift in mental stability made her feel isolated and lonely; sick to her stomach at times and dizzy or faint at others. Images of various suicide scenarios swept through her mind multiple times a day and she struggled to ward off the intrusive thoughts that she was hopelessly flawed and burdensome to her loved ones. She recognized the symptoms of her mental disorders but despite her experience combating the darkness she had been unable to prevent the episode. Now she found herself outside, dripping sweat and risking sunburn while she jogged and trudged around the park in an attempt to bring her mood up and keep her mind from the darker thoughts and urges.

Someone laughed to her right and Mallory glanced toward the paved picnic area to see a group of children playing hopscotch and doodling with chalk. Instead of a smile she felt a frown collapse her features and she heaved a sigh. Hopefully they don't end up like me, she thought, writing off her life as an epic disappointment before catching the flawed thought and dismissing it. Just because I'm having a difficult time right now doesn't mean that my life isn't worth living or that I won't have happier days soon.

Mental manipulations and alterations like this were daily practices even when she was having better days; during the rougher times it was like "Mortal Kombat." For whatever reason she had to live with this type of brain that happened to try and convince her to kill herself from time to time. It was like living with a compulsive liar, some sort of masterful hoaxer attempting to pull one over on you so often that you begin to live in a state of suspicion and fear, unable to relax even at home in her lover's arms or with her closest family and friends. The threat was everywhere she was.

Mallory refocused her mind on her slow jog and counting her steps: 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, over and over until the sadness and anger disappated enough that she could focus on something positive. She chose to think of that morning at the gym and the music from her workout class. Reciting the fun pop songs helped her forget the darkness for a bit while the stifling heat and exertion from the jog contributed to her distraction and further aided her mental escape. 

As her muscles twinged and her breaths became ragged she encouraged herself to keep pushing; one step at a time, one breath at a time. She set a goal of jogging until the next porta-potty before taking a break to walk and suddenly realized that that was life; trying to keep going even when the going got rough, focusing on one step at a time just trying to reach the next benchmark. 

Mallory smirked and shook her head, negative thoughts chiming in about the futility of life and the unavoidable pain and struggle, images of death offering relief and escape. Mallory grit her teeth and confronted the dark thoughts with images of her husband and child, laughter and hope, silent words of encouragement and validation. 

The battle continues, she thought and wondered if the people watching her huff and puff and sweat her way around the park had any idea how much more challenging her mental exercise was. One step at a time. One thought at time. Just keep trying

And so she did.

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Definitely some real life inspiration there but a little different :o) Glad I was able to get something out-wasn't sure if I was gonna be able to at first! 

Thanks for reading. I'm going to be providing the prompts next month (EEEEEEEE! Nervous and excited!) so things might be a little different hereabouts on Wednesdays but I'm still going to try and write and keep the updates coming. August here we come!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"Think Less, Do More"

"Think less, do more" is the mantra recommended to me by my therapist to try and combat my reoccurring suicidal thoughts and just plain mean internal monologues of late that aren't any help to anyone.

It's certainly been helpful to me staying active and busy, my gym classes and more chores and walks and reading have been helping me cope and I achieved quite a few decent days for a good stretch there a week or so ago... but these past few days have been challenging and while they haven't been completely and totally awful they have had more than their fair share of negativity. Some days I haven't been able to cope very well at all and have felt hopeless and miserable but I also know that there have been many times that I am able to use my skills and keep myself from bottoming out completely and I'm proud of that.

So far, today has been better than the last few days but I'm still feeling unstable and fearful of dark thoughts. I thought of the mantra and dragged myself out of bed, adhering the to traditional morning practices of getting dressed for the gym and putting brekkie together and making the hubster's coffee. We began a game of Upwords and I took the dog out for his morning constitutional before kissing the boys goodbye and heading to the gym.

I didn't cry in class today (that happened in yoga class yesterday, I can't claim that I was totally stable to begin with but it was this song that really tipped me over the edge-I was wishing so hard that I could easily, simply change and be better for the hubster and BB as I listened). I got a good workout but wasn't quite ready to face the empty condo and lunch so I walked/jogged at the park until I felt spent. Big news, I made my own lunch today! That's a big deal! Lately I haven't had much appetite and have been inclined to skip eating so just to make sure I eat I end up getting some sort of fast food to just say I've eaten. Today I made a sandwich!

Anyways. Life has been tough lately. I have been emotional and frustrated, spitting angry at times (I seem to be struggling to accept that this is my life and that struggling against the darkness is likely always going to be a part of my life) and then alternately overwhelmingly grateful for the hubster and so loving toward him that it eases my pain for a while... it's been a roller coaster.

Thankfully the hubby recognizes that I'm in a dip and experiencing a challenging time and has been supportive. When my weekend didn't improve and Monday was still rough we decided to call into ECT and get another appointment, so I've got that coming up Thursday. I'm hoping that I'll feel better by then but we decided it would be best to have an appointment made and not need it than try to white-knuckle it.

I'm trying to do my best and stick with the DBT skills and soldier through the rough patch but it's definitely brought up a lot of my fears and confusion about my variety of treatments and what is working and what isn't and if I'm getting better; the wise-minded part of me believes that I'm making progress but the darkness can easily convince me that I'm not getting better and that I won't get better and that nothing works for me. I think I summed it all up as, "I'm trying to get better and I'm doing whatever I can to get better and that's better than giving in and just killing myself so just keep trying."

Well. I love typing and I could type all day but I feel like the loudmouth at a party that's run her mouth for too long! So I'll wish everyone well and hope that y'all are having good days :o)

Off to keep at keeping my head above water!

<3

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Rough

Today definitely had more than its fair share of rough patches. My DBT skills were harder to use than normal  (call with my therapist was a big help) and I fell into some very dark thoughts more often than I'd like to admit. Flashes of suicide techniques stalked me throughout the day and I've been struggling to keep positive thoughts in my mind and remind myself that life is worth living. We hope that today was rock bottom and things are gonna get better from here, if not I might be back in for some more ECT very soon. :o(

One moment at a time...

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Friday Variety Post

Still waiting for ECT to kick in and perk up my mood so I've taken to a local cafe for a change of surroundings, some distraction, and a delicious snack with scrumptious coffee. It's a gloriously rainy, gray day here in the Pacific Northwest (perfect for visiting a cafe) and I enjoyed my strength training class this morning at the gym. I'm very grateful for those classes and the sense of community I gain from them, such a great way for me to kick off my days.

Today I'm also feeling especially grateful for my blogging community and please know that if you're reading this I appreciate have you in my life <3


Now. I think I'm going to try and tackle some "Words for Wednesday" on Friday just because I kinda-sorta feel like writing and need something to keep me occupied and trudging forward in a positive direction. Perfect for "Words for Wednesday," right?

Here are the prompting words that I'm working with:


exhibition
feelings
bewitching
captive
gushing
candle


Another Attack

I feel no shame amid the stares
My feelings freely gushing forward, tears falling down my cheeks
I'm quite an exhibition for the creeping on-ramp traffic
My captive sobs muted by car windows
The context of a radio newscast obscured to my audience
These strangers may believe they can't relate but I know different
The tragedies bewitching me burden them as well:
Shootings, bombings, massacres, deaths, injuries, hate
Grief does not discriminate
Grieving as I do relieves some of the pain
My way of striking back with love against widespread fear
As a candle lights the way for nervous steps
I help light the way for other caring souls 
We walk this messy trail toward peace together
With teary eyes and brave souls
And hope for all



Poems are a challenge for me but this is where inspiration took me today. It's a bit too vague, I think, but hopefully the fact that it's about the mass shootings and other attacks comes through. These stories have been far too common on my local radio station and make me quite sad. While this scene didn't happen exactly I was screaming and crying in the car the other day from depressive symptoms. I think that experience and the shootings mingled in my brain and got mixed into one in this poem!

Love and kindness to everyone. Thank you for reading and hope you all have wonderful weekends :o)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Today

Up and down. I started out feeling pretty good this morning knowing that I had my ECT appointment and anticipating relief from my bad feelings, although I was a little nervous because ECT moved to a different hospital and the new surroundings were unfamiliar. I was glad to see familiar faces in the nurses, receptionist, and doctor though.

My appointment went pretty well. Didn't like the anesthesiologist today but they are usually different every time so hopefully I won't have to deal with him again (he started my IV and put it in my hand because it was easiest for him even though I said that it hurt me a lot last time they did that and then he didn't offer to use the lidocaine before the meds to prevent the stinging pain but luckily the treatment nurse that is almost always by my side for treatment remembered my previous experience and encouraged him to use the lidocaine).

I spoke with my doctor about how I've been on a downward slide the last week or so and how the hubster and I were thinking that the next time we would schedule a little sooner, like 2-1/2 weeks instead of 3 to try to prevent me from suffering and having to face the suicidal thoughts and such. She agreed that that was reasonable and sounded like a good idea, even saying that it might help us increase the time between treatments in the long run by avoiding those downward slides instead of me suffering through them.

I felt pretty good immediately after treatment but after lunch I got really tired, my shoulders tensed up, my thoughts started racing, and I began having really emotional moments-good and bad-where I'd suddenly feel immensely grateful and joyous or horribly sad and discouraged. It's been a tough afternoon. I wish I could go to the gym or go for a run/walk at the park but just walking the loop at a slow saunter took some work.

The hubby convinced me to take some Ativan to try and soothe my racing thoughts and reduce some of my tension and I think it's helping a little bit although I did have some major anger flares right after taking it. I think having him sort of managing my coping plan and having BB hollering in the background on top of my discomforts drove me over the edge. I even hollered a bit! Very unusual for me!

Oh, in other news I took a rather nice picture at lunch to send my mom and I thought I'd share it here. Not to often that I feel this good about a picture I take!


Kinda funny story, that drink in front of me is a strawberry lemonade with strawberry puree that they make in-house and it sounded delightful and yet I didn't like it. I swapped it for ice tea for no charge (which I also didn't like much but it was all right enough and I didn't want to refuse a second drink). Well, I ordered this skirt steak sandwich and I didn't like that either (the sweet potato fries and sauce were the best I've ever had anywhere though). I ended up taking three bites of the sandwich just to make sure I didn't like it, even the hubster wasn't interested and at the end of the meal we had over half the sandwich sitting on the plate. The lovely waitress noticed and after we refused a box she asked if I didn't like the sandwich either and I couldn't lie. She ended up taking it off our tab completely! So while I didn't enjoy the drinks or the sandwich, the fries were amazing and service was even more impressive.

Now I'm just going to be trying to cope and make it through the night, hoping tomorrow is better. At least tomorrow I'll be back in exercise class which usually helps at least a little with my mood.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Leaning into my fears... a little bit

Therapy yesterday was particularly intense. Lots of tears, lots of fears. It was upsetting but at the same time was good to feel a bit of clarity and perspective. I can't explain everything exactly but I can say that I came away from the session with a new sense of appreciation for how much motherhood means to me and how my fears of failing Baby Bananaface and hubster and our little family can paralyze me. It was intimidating but very grounding having it pointed out that I do care about things, that I do find meaning in life, that I am attached to this world. Lately I've had several bouts of dark thoughts that have made me wonder about such things.

It's very easy for me to get swept up in sticky, dark thoughts that lead me into a wormhole filled with questions about what life means. I have a difficult time accepting the unknown and I think "What is the meaning of life?" is one of those big questions without a single answer, but instead more answers than anyone could count. In that way it's a question without a solid answer and that wears on my mind, it tortures me and trips me up and shoves me down into my darkest places at the drop of a hat but as I gain a little more strength of mind I find myself returning to my ideas of "lowercase faith" and exploring my personal beliefs and trying to build up a defense against the dark pattern of my negative thoughts.

When I can navigate around those dark thoughts and resist the pull toward hopelessness I find myself considering questions of honor and love and hope and faith. I find myself believing and finding comfort in the idea that I live my life for love and that I battle fear and hate. It's quite simplified but it helps bring meaning to the suffering and remind me of those wonderful things about life that are worth sticking around for.

I'm still susceptible to those dark thought patterns and it can be a quick slide into a suicidal mental landscape for me, but I think that as I build my coping skills through DBT and build my strength of faith and sense of meaning I will find myself more resilient. It's scary to confront these thoughts and all the unknowns, I certainly don't know where I'll end up or what life will look like down the road and that's a scary thing. I can only do my best and hope that things will turn out all right.

This isn't quite the post that I was trying to create. I feel like I've shied away from many of the biggest deep dark thoughts and the hopeful bright thoughts that I've encountered over the past week or so, but that's simply how it is right now. The feelings that get stirred up as I explore my thoughts are uncomfortable and I can't risk falling into a hole right now, so I tiptoed my way around them as best I could and tried to stay calm instead of digging deep and potentially getting myself whipped into a fretful frenzy!

Well, I don't know what else to type right now except I hope everyone is well and finds some peace and happiness today.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Having a special moment...

Not too often I get to feel at ease and joyous lately with the babe
(as opposed to stressed and afraid of failure) but this moment when BB
snuggled up to me and put his head on my shoulder was divine.

I hope we have more and more special moments together in the future. I
don't always feel it-and it breaks my heart to say that-but I do love
him very much and I got to feel that when we snapped this pic!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Not Again

Another shooting.

Very sad at the state of our country, of the world really. I know things have been better times and worse times and there will be again... but right now... ugh.


I've been meaning to write about some of the intense thoughts that have been bombarding me lately but I've had a hard time. The thoughts are tough to sit with and that makes it tough to write!


I will try again when I can, until then know that I'm still plugging along, fighting for each day and hoping for better breaking news.


Love to all.

Be well.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Words for Wednesday

Elephant's Child has provided two lists of prompt words despite her unfortunate computer issues this week. I was inspired by both and ended up with two separate blurbs that I'll separate with dashy lines (----) and hopefully avoid confusing everyone :o)

Here are this week's words:

The First List
1. broad
2. bewildered
3. draconian
4. tie
5. impress
6. helpless

The Second List
1. clip
2. tie
3. previous
4. greet
5. attack
6. serve


First up are the first words that inspired me to write about an episode that I had Tuesday afternoon. It was pretty intense but I was able to use my DBT skills and despite things getting messy I think I'm still on an upward trend! So here's my first writing:


Slightly bewildered by the swift avalanche of emotion cascading through my body, I slowly lowered myself to a kneeling position on the floor of our son's room. Tears fell freely while my hands and lips trembled. Words occasionally stuttered or hiccuped forth with a sob as I tried to explain the rationale behind my need to get out of the house despite my day of indepedence without a baby to care for or job to work.

Feelings of guilt and shame rained down on me as I took in my husband's confused and frustrated face. I knew that it didn't make much sense for me to be so anxious and leary about staying home on my own to cook dinner while he went to a gym class and put the baby in the gym's childcare center. It was my assigned night to cook dinner, what more could I ask for than an empty home to myself?

He had worked all day, taken our son to and picked him up from daycare and now all he wanted was to hit a gym class and have dinner ready when he got home. I had no objections to his plans. I had been worrying about his lack of "me" time and felt like he fully deserved more breaks from full-time work, parenting, and husbanding. He'd been running himself ragged for over a year keeping our family afloat while I was cut down by postpartum depression and tonight my symptoms were hijacking our lives once more. It didn't matter how often my needs had already usurped our plans; my mental health crises taking precedence over anyone else's needs and making me feel like a burden and disappointment. This was just one more time.

I continued to try and explain my unstable mood while a familiar darkness invaded my thoughts. I felt helpless as the depressive logic coated my brain like warm, sticky tar; broad strokes of a vicious brush obscuring my ability to be reasonable. My speech broke down into deeper sobs as I recognized the dark thoughts and my suicidal impulses that they conjured up so easily. I had had so many good days of being able to avoid these slippery mental pitfalls but here I found myself once more in crisis.

My husband understood instantly what was happening. He knew when my mind wasn't my own any longer. He was familiar with my draconian thought process; the cruel depressive logic that had months before led me to tie a plastic bag over my head in a suicide attempt. We both knew in this moment that our evening's plans were now going to be directed by my disease, not by our desires.

He spoke low and slow, asking me if I could see him and if I could think of something else, even going on to ask me about our dog's bowel movements that day. Somehow discussing dog feces brought me back to a place a mild functionality and I was able to impress upon him just how sorry I was that I wasn't capable of helping him more when it came to caring for our son or making dinner more often or giving him time to himself. I wailed and shook in anguish. Harsh thoughts continued to lash out within me while I struggled to fight them off with positive, forgiving thoughts.

Somehow I kept my positive thoughts flowing, beating back the self-punitive barrage and replacing it with acknowledgment of my progress over the past few months and reminders that I did contribute to our family by doing chores. My husband rubbed my back and muttered soothing words as my crying slowed and my breathing deepened.

The storm had been a swift one, my tears and darkest thoughts erupting despite my intention to have a simple, composed conversation. With my descent so deep as to be touched my suicidal impulses, we decided it was best if I wasn't left alone and opted to attend the gym class together. It pained me to watch my episode reroute our family's life once more but I also recognized-much more than ever before-that it wasn't me being selfish or dramatic, it was simply a disease taking its toll.

I want to support my husband more. I don't want to be the one always taking from our marriage and not giving as much back, but for now I'm stuck taking. I'm stuck needing extra care and allowances while I strive to control these disorders. Until then, I will take my messy victories like the recovery we fought for today.

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The second list made me think of the Dallas shootings and although I struggle to express my opinions on controversial issues (self esteem issues make me feel like my thoughts and feelings aren't refined enough or justified) I felt inspired to free write a little bit about this and get some of my thoughts out. So here's my second writing:


I wonder what was going through his mind while he reached for yet another clip to reload his rifle. That brief pause in his attack giving an opportunity to hear the terrified screams, see the chaotic scene beneath him instead of only the narrow field of vision provided through his scope.

Did previous shootings and terrorist attacks around the world make him sad or afraid, or did they only generate blind rage? Could they have inspired a genuine desire for violence in him? It seems so unfathomable and yet I know just a little of what it's like to lose your tie to humanity, to feel ambivalent about human life. Perhaps he suffers from depression too, or some other vicious disorder. Somehow it feels better to blame the atrocity on a broken brain rather than believe that some people can simply be that cruel.

I imagine the protest before his ambush as a successful blending of police and public. Those police and protestors went there that day aware of their goal to serve their fellow man, their intention to try and improve the lives of everyone. I envision strangers exchanging shy greetings, sharing fleeting eye contact as they proceed down the street with a variety of handmade signs. Friends and family and strangers and coworkers blending together. Feelings of fear, sadness, anger, love, hope, and frustration simmering in the crowd, shared by all sides. Tense but safely orchestrated by mutual standards of conduct.

Then those shots rang out and all potential divisions disappeared. The whole situation doesn't make much sense to me but it makes lots of feelings. I wonder what the future holds, how many more will die before we find a solution to his terrible problem? Through the pain and confusion I seem to consistently find myself arriving at the conclusion that one thing I know I can do to help is to simply be nice. Try to spread kindness in my daily life and catch judgments in my mind and interact with my neighbors and stop isolating and feeding stereotypes and just waiting for a crisis to hit my town.

This all happened because a violent person wanted to emphasize a separation between people and yet, for me, it has emphasized that we are more the same than different, more together than apart. Where we are headed, I'm not sure, but I know that we're going there together and that we're going to get through this and figure out a better way to be here together.



Thanks for reading, I know it was a lot this week!

Update: My mood is good so far today and I'm planning on staying busy and cheering myself on. I can only proceed with the best intentions and hope for the best :o) I've been afraid of backsliding and anxiety and depression but I think I'm actually doing a decent job coping, just have to deal with those fears a little better and not frighten myself into another episode!

Anyways, back to it!

Monday, July 11, 2016

It's the 11th.

I tend to lose track of the days but today after gym class I was fairly confident that it was the 11th and indeed, it is! What does that mean? It means that it's been 3 months since I attempted suicide. It means that in 3 months I've gone from trying to kill myself to attending group exercise classes multiple times a week, making dinner at least twice a week, taking charge of Baby Bananaface for short periods, participating in social events, keeping up with my meds, shifting my internal bullying towards self-care, and so many other little (big) steps towards taking care of myself and making my way back towards thriving instead of just barely surviving.

I don't want to dive too deep into all the feelings and thoughts that this anniversary stirs up for me because I've been getting ambushed and overwhelmed by intense emotions lately and I don't want to step into a trap! That said, I do want to mention how it brings up some mixed feelings and a bit of confusion. I find myself cheering myself on and feeling proud and then I also find myself feeling sad and tearful and afraid of that darkness that nearly ended me, that darkness that still lives in me and could return at any time.

I've come a long way and I'm proud of that. I'm grateful that my wonderful husband saved my life and I'm also sickened by the thought of what I nearly did to him and Baby Bananaface. I feel shame and sadness and fear but then I feel happiness and gratitude and pride. It's a confusing mix, but I think it's reasonable. These are complicated things after all.

So today I'm working on being kind to myself while I work through my schedule and to-do list, keeping busy and warding off the bad thoughts. I piped up about the anniversary to the hubs and asked if we could go out for a bit of a celebration dinner and we've got plans for later which makes me happy :o)

Things are a little overwhelming/confusing but I'm just gonna ride the wave and accept where I am right now. Things happen. This is where I am now. Where I'll be when doesn't matter so much as taking things one moment at a time and accepting and loving and caring for myself the best that I can along the way so that I can love and live for my friends and family (including my bloggin' buddies!).

Today is the 11th. Today I am actively living my day and taking care of myself. Today is a good day.

<3

Thursday, July 7, 2016

I can't decide...

I have noticed a lack of pictures on my phone as far as Baby Bananaface is concerned and so tonight I took the opportunity to snap some photos while he was looking particularly relaxed and cute. Unfortunately, I cannot decide which photo I like best... Perhaps y'all can help me decide? They are each just a little different but all have smiles and Bubba chillaxing in his diaper with his afternoon milk and binky :o)

Vote for your favorite in the comments!


#1

#2

#3


I also cannot decide exactly what I'm so anxious about this afternoon/evening, but unfortunately I am anxious. I think it has something to do with the plans I have with my mom and sister tomorrow to go to a festival that we used to go to with my Aunt Sally. Having a pending activity/plans that violate my routine gets me anxious and I think the memories stirred up around Aunt Sally and my continued grieving is also mixed up into the mess of emotions.

I've been able to cope pretty well without meds so far, a little bit of an angry outburst and some discomfort but overall I've been using my DBT skills and taking care of myself pretty well, but boy howdy, these geysers of emotion erupt from time to time and give me little frights! It's usually a geyser of fear or anxiety but sometimes it's just extreme sadness or sensitivity and the sensation stops me in my steps, takes my breath away, and gives me a healthy dose of fear and doubt about whether or not I can handle the emotion or potential panic attack. Thankfully telling myself that these are feelings or thoughts and that they will pass has helped and I haven't succumbed to any panic attacks or losing myself in grief or other intense emotions today, but it's uncomfortable and draining.

Anyways. That's part of what's going on with me while I cope with these symptoms tonight. Been having a lot of days and nights like this lately and thought I'd give you a little glimpse!

In other news, we had a cloudy, rainy day here in the Pacific Northwest and it was lovely. I got to sip some coffee, watch the clouds, and read out on the porch and even enjoyed walking through some rain showers. A lot of people have been excited about the hot weather we've had this spring and early summer so far but I have savored this cooler bout much more than any of those record breaking heat wave days.



Hoping all you blogging buddies are well and sending affection and happiness. Thanks for reading and commenting. I really appreciate this internet community and refuge, especially on these challenging days :o)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Words for Wednesday

I am doing "Words for Wednesday" this week no matter what words poop out-it's just happening, folks! I'm just going with it!

I got the prompts from Elephant's Child this week and I believe they will be posted on her blog all this month:

First set-
1. Stop
2. Can
3. Boiling
4. Knotty
5. Scrape
6. Competition

Second set-
1. Tasty
2. X-ray
3. Bone
4. Aunt
5. Gabby
6. Stay

The phrase for the week-
Our precious hours are trickling away...

I liked the first set best and worked from those words but you are welcome to use the prompts however you see fit, all words and phrases or one it just doesn't matter as long as it gets you writing :o)

---

Inhaling through my nose and sighing deeply while exhaling through my mouth I let my shoulders slump, trying to relax my muscles and stop the waves of anxiety from sweeping me up in a panic attack. Swirls of tension erupted from my belly, flooding my mind and narrowing my vision as racing thoughts hijacked my brain. I felt a little lightheaded and disoriented but quickly recognized my familiar symptoms and lept into combat with strategic thoughts and coping skills.

"There's a thought," I said to myself as I freaked out at the prospect of messing up the cross stitch I was working on. "It's just a thought. This isn't a competition. I'm doing a good job. Even if I mess up a few squares it'll turn out fine."

Observing the receding tension in my body I forced a small smile onto my face and praised myself for the calming words and soothing sighs. I turned my attention away from the worries and negative physical feelings, focusing instead on the colors of thread at my fingertips and the sound of water boiling in my electric kettle just around the corner in my kitchen. I noticed my mind attempting to refocus on the anxiety again but turned my thoughts toward the smell of coffee grounds and anticipating the hot brew I would have in a few minutes.

My anxiety was triggered this time by a simple concern about stitching in the right spot. What would be a fleeting, nearly meaningless thought for some was an episode of major discomfort and potential crisis for me. Luckily the coping skills I was learning through therapy made the crises less and less frequent as I learned to navigate through my anxious episodes without succumbing to panic. I sighed again and thought of my dimming vision and the waves of panic I had felt building in my body, it had been a close scrape but I avoided a full-fledged attack!

"Oh, good grief!" I grumbled as my thread jerked awkwardly out of my needle's eye. Flipping over my stiff aida fabric, I found a knotty mess of thread gathered at the back where I just attempted to complete a stitch. It was actually a blessing in disguise, I thought, a chance to focus on untangling some thread was a good opportunity to refocus my mind away from the ineffective anxiety.

Smiling to myself I took to untangling the mess of knots while internally cheering myself on to happier thoughts. "Anxiety might be impossible to completely avoid but it's not necessarily impossible to cope with," I thought and grinned with a sense of victory while feelings of pride and contentment replaced my anxious feelings. "I can do this. One moment at a time, I can do this."

---

Whew. I wrote! It was weird for me writing in first person but that's just where things went this time, hope it isn't too awful a reading experience! While this is a fictional account the coping skills and events are based on real life and this is very similar to how I have coped through multiple anxious spells... I was going to write about a full-fledged panic attack but it was causing me to much anxiety ( ha! ) so I will have to do that some other time.

Happy writing to everyone!


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Appointments-Check. Anxiety-Check.

Had ECT Wednesday and a visit with my psychiatrist Thursday so the hubs and I were busy zooming back and forth to Seattle this past week.

ECT went well, I actually felt a mood lift after this time (instead of feeling down like last time) and my mother and I had a good visit. She even stayed for dinner and to see Baby Bananaface despite facing traffic on her way home for it!

The psychiatrist appointment went pretty well but I'm definitely frustrated with the medication situation. We've determined that my anti-anxiety pills aren't really helping so we're weaning off this one and going to try something new. Apparently the new pills are something used for PTSD but it might help me with my nearly all-day anxiety. We're holding off on trying another mood stabilizer for now but I've been having some angry outbursts that the hubster thinks may be symptoms so we might be trying another new pill soon.

I still use Ativan as needed but I've been able to get back to only needing it every few days-there was a week there where I was nearly everyday and that was disappointing for me... I don't like to use the benzos very frequently and I don't like to feel dependent. Thankfully DBT has given me some good skills for coping through some pretty tough anxiety but still sometimes I get wore out and just need some help.

Anyways. Anxiety has sucked lately. Other day I had 5 panic attacks! They're pretty short but still unpleasant and discouraging and 5 in one day certainly made me feel fragile. I even had one during a hike yesterday, I couldn't believe it! It's been really frustrating but I'm doing pretty well considering all the anxiety I deal with-the gym really helps too, even when I can't completely relax and lose myself in a workout I still get a mood lift and some comfort from the exercise.

In other news, I completed a craft project that the hubby got me off Amazon a few weeks back!



I've decided to give it to my childhood neighbors/family friends. They feed the hummingbirds too and have been supportive and comforting to me for many years, a little surprise prize is well deserved!

I really appreciated having the cross stitch project for distraction purposes. For whatever reason coloring just doesn't do it for me, but stitching helps me reach a happy place. I shall have to continue crafting. And puzzles.... puzzles are good.

In other news, the hubster and I got a new game-Upwords. We really like it but it can be challenging! Much more compact than Scrabble so it works out nicely as a game we leave on the dining table to play whenever we feel like it (we also keep Yahtzee! out and keep cards handy).

Sigh. I guess I can't not mention it... I had a mood dip this afternoon and things got dark. The hubs made an offhand comment that triggered my insecurities and I ended up feeling really low and even had some self-harming urges. Well, I have those thoughts pretty regularly but these were more urges-basically things got darker than they have in quite a while and it was pretty upsetting. We were able to recover and get the afternoon back on track but it was sad to see myself like that after doing so well for so long. Have to remember to be gentle with myself and not to judge. Bumps in the road happen but I can keep moving onwards and upwards in a positive direction, no need for a major negative detour!

So, there's the news from Bananafaceland. I've been struggling to keep up on my blogging lately but I'm trying to recommit myself-especially want to write for "Words for Wednesday" this week! It's been too long!

Hope everyone celebrating the 4th has a safe and enjoyable holiday. We're going to my parents for various activities and it's causing me additional anxiety but I'm also excited and think/hope that I'll have fun.

Warm thoughts and gratitude :o)



BONUS PICTURE: