Crafting mistakes and mental health blah blah.

So one of the things that helped me get over my funk last week was the package of goodies from Mindy. I traded her a thing of Nocturne for some maple tea, and she very sweetly included some extra goodies, including this cutie:

I’d made some (very) simple knotted bracelets ages ago at summer camp, so I figured I’d just pick it right back up. I tend to jump head first into new crafts – when I picked knitting back up a decade after I’d learned the basics, I just made a sweater. It turned out pretty well. Not so much with knotted bracelets. The stuff I did at camp was super simple. The pattern I picked out to start back up with, and this bracelet from Mindy (& others she’s posted)? VERY complex. So of course my interest is just piqued even more. But I have to step back and start with the beginnings, and maybe I’ll be making rad, complex bracelets before too long, too. šŸ™‚

2-Ironically, this is the other thing that made Thursday a turning point: someone smashed the back windshield of our car while we slept the night before.

Don’t get me wrong, it sucked a whole fucking lot for Greg to head out for work that morning, discover that shit, and then we had to deal with it. But it really put shit into perspective for me, and gave me the good swift kick in the ass I needed: no one was hurt, nothing had even been stolen from the car, and while it was a pain in the ass, it was actually pretty easy to fix, and not too terribly expensive. Made me realize the shit I’d been freaking out about for the previous week-ish 1-was mostly in my mind and not actually a real problem, and 2-if it was a real problem, wasn’t anywhere NEAR as big a problem as it seemed. So, yeah. Thursday was a pretty good day, actually.

So, basically, I haven’t been taking care of my mental and emotional well-being very well for a while, which combined with my increasing anxiety to leave me wide open to my stupid inner perfectionist. If you ever hear people talking about taking “me time” or doing stuff to “enrich your inner personal life” or “recharge” or whatever – turns out it’s really kind of important, and not just fluffy shit. I was so focused on trying to handle my anxiety, and trying to find time to spend with Greg, and get day-to-day shit done, that I didn’t notice I was pretty much isolating myself and being a hermit at home. Which made things worse, and left me wide open for a blindsiding by that stupid inner perfectionist. Which is super harsh and self-critical, so my mental dialogue was really negative and along the lines of “I don’t deserve nice things, particularly a loving, supportive husband,” and then I tried to sabotage that relationship, so I wouldn’t have something I didn’t deserve. Nice, huh? Yeah.

I saw my doctor Friday about it in case my meds needed tweaking, and she put me on a mood stabilizer. Which is kind of a big deal because it’s not easy for me to consider that I might be anywhere on the bipolar spectrum. And by “not easy” I might actually mean “one of my biggest nightmares, given my family history.” You know. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. The good news is, my therapist thinks there’s no way I’m bipolar; that it was just a temporary “mood-state,” nothing that will necessarily recur. And her interpretation of causes and events, etc., makes a lot of sense, and also triggered that nasty feeling in my stomach that comes up with she hits on something I’m trying to hide from myself. Actually, all I really care about is figuring out why the fuck I would try to sabotage my best relationship, and never doing that again. But, while I know the bipolar spectrum is wide and varied, and have had bipolar friends who were nice people and nothing like my dad, the idea of being bipolar myself is a heavy, troublesome prospect; so it’s nice to have that lifted. (Even if that relief makes me feel like a bit of a hypocrite with my whole “the stigma around mental illness is bullshit, and mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of” soapbox. But I’m not perfect.)

The only problem is, the mood stabilizer comes with some serious side effects and potential risks – and the most serious potential (and potentially fatal) risk is increased if you stop it and then start it up again. So, while I’m certainly not enjoying the flu-like symptoms and dizziness, and particularly not enjoying the muscle tremors (and worrying about possibly *keeling over* in bellydance class when my legs give out), I think the best course at this point is to stay on the medication until it’s certain that I won’t have a breakdown like this again. As much as I don’t want to take any unnecessary drugs, I don’t want to stop taking it prematurely only to find out I do actually need it, and then starting again and running a greater risk. (If I’m remembering the names correctly, it’s a risk of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which could then potentially develop into toxic epidermal necrosis.) But I have a follow-up with my doctor next week, and will be sure to bring it up with her and see what she thinks.

And if you made this far, you get a virtual cookie! Or a knotted bracelet in your favorite colors, under the condition that you try to be more mindful of your *own* mental and emotional well-being, and cut yourself some slack because perfectionism is destructive and full of suckitude. I’ve been wearing my bracelet because it’s cute, but it’s also a good (and needed) reminder that people aren’t so scary but can actually be quite friendly and kind, and so I don’t need to be so social-phobic. (Which is a direct result of the perfectionism, in the form of fearing looking like an ass in front of other people. Which is ridiculous, really, when you consider all the occasions I am perfectly willing to be goofy and make a *complete* ass of myself, and don’t feel embarrassed about it. Cognitive dissonance for the….not-win, or something.)

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14 thoughts on “Crafting mistakes and mental health blah blah.

  1. *HUGS THAT ARE AS BIG AS THE UNIVERSE* I have anxiety issues to but they are really tame, I used to be on meds but they turned me into a big ball of nerves instead of calming them. It’s funny to look at what would have freaked you out then and what really matters. I guess it’s just a part of finding/knowing yourself.
    Can I give some advice without sounding like a douche? You are wonderful and you do deserve everything good to come to you. The best thing to do is to tell yourself that every day. You are worth it! You do deserve a wonderful husband and a happy life. I only know you through what you blog but you are a fantastic person I wish I knew in real life. If you ever need any kind of support I’m here. *hugs again*

    • Oh, thank you! You are very sweet, and I appreciate it very much! And part of me knows I’m a good person and deserve everything I would wish for other people, and usually that’s the part in control. But sometimes it’s not. You know.

      And that’s the problem with meds – they work differently for everyone, and even in counter intuitive ways. Like xanax? Actually makes my panic attacks FAR worse than they would be on their own. Sorry you were a big ball of nerves, but I’m very happy you’re doing better! šŸ˜€

  2. Why the FUCK would someone do that? I seriously fucking hate people sometimes.

    I’m really glad you’re feeling better. I’m trying to switch to a new psychiatrist because the attitude of mine is basically “Well, the pills we’ve tried for your anxiety and night terrors haven’t worked, so we’re out of options”. What the fuck man, there’s a million freaking depression/anxiety medications. I really don’t like being told, “Well, you can’t be happy, and you only get a few hours of sleep each night! Try not to wake everyone else up with your screaming thinking there’s people in your room!” Fuck that guy. So I called the stupid clinic to try and switch, and they gave me some bullshit about how they’d have to talk to him just as a formality or something, and they’d call me so I could schedule an appointment with someone else. Well, they never called me, so now I have to call again. It makes me so mad that it seems like no one there cares about the state of my mental health. D:<

    Rant over… oh yeah, my mom is bipolar. It is really scary. She's been doing ok lately, but whenever she gets in her angry-manic stage, it's really scary. We actually got in a fistfight once. I don't ever want to be like that.

    I like when you post stuff like this. Even though I'm guessing it's kind of awkward for you, it really makes me feel less alone. My boyfriend lives 1000 miles away, and most of my friends are gone for college, or really busy in school. I don't feel like I have anyone to talk to a lot of the time, except for my blogging buddies šŸ™‚ I'm really grateful for that.

    • Greg thinks it was some kid trying to be tough. Whatever. It is irritating, especially when it’s like, “Oh yeah, REAL tough busting in the window of a parked car in the wee hours when its owners are sleeping and you do it real quietly and then run off. Look at what a badass you are.” But my first thought was that we’d inadvertently really pissed a neighbor off or something, so someone random is a happier…thing. (Since they probably won’t come back and do it again.)

      Dude, fuck yes, you need a new shrink. That doesn’t sound supportive at all – which should be the very first thing in anyone connected to keeping an eye on your health and well-being. It’s shitty that your clinic is being so unhelpful, but sometimes you just gotta get on peoples’ asses until they get shit done. (Like, say, getting insurance to allow prescriptions prescribed by your doctor. You know, they only have a medical degree; it’s not like they know anything about medicine, amirite?) Anyway, I hope this gets easier for you, and soon! Not sleeping really fucks up your ability to cope.

      It is kind of awkward to post, particularly since I tend to be very wordy about it. But my whole thing is that it shouldn’t be awkward to talk about, and people shouldn’t feel ashamed, so I try to be open about my own shit. Because it would be hypocritical to do otherwise, and also because *I’ve* been helped by other people being open and honest about their own baggage. So you’re very welcome!

  3. Been there, done that, bought the tee shirt and matching shorts dealing with mental health issues. It’s a long ass uphill battle so hang in there and fight, girl. And sometimes better living through chemistry is the way to go.
    As for the fucktards that smashed your car window, I wish them a lifetime of really lousy sex.

    • “A lifetime of really lousy sex” is brilliant! Oh, what a marvelous curse to wish upon someone – why haven’t I thought of it before. šŸ˜€

      Thank you, and well-wishings to you, too! I grappled with issues about being on medication for years, but yeah, sometimes it’s a necessity, so I’ve accepted that. If I get to a point through therapy where I can go off the medication, that’s cool, but if not, not a big deal, either. If you get a physical illness and there are meds that help, you take them, so it shouldn’t be any different with mental health.

  4. What a fucker, man. But I’m glad you’re feeling better. My very best friend tried to battle her crippling manic depression/bi-polar tendencies with diet and exercise, which worked until it didn’t. So now she’s got a much more positive outlook on taking her meds, though I think it’s still a real struggle for her. I feel you, honey, and send good thoughts your way. šŸ™‚

  5. Wow. I’m so glad you’re feeling better. I’ve been experiencing some similar stuff, especially with regard to my relationship. The whole pushing people away because I don’t deserve affection thing is my default. I’m also a freak about “being productive” I could work a full 16 hour day… but if I haven’t done something music related I feel like an epic fail. (so weird… right?) I’ve become that hippy chick who generally reaches for more holistic approaches to my mental health. Of course, needing to utilize medicine to help get through a tough patch is ABSOLUTELY nothing to be ashamed of. Nor is mental illness (whether temporary or long term – my mom is bipolar)

    For me, however, I have this fear of most anything that’s a pill or powder. I’m just totally fucked because from a young age I was misdiagnosed with almost everything you could think of and fed all sorts of medicines. I’m sure you’re aware, but you have to really have a good doctor that you trust! And even then, it never hurts to read up on different treatments for your particular issues and discuss them with that doctor.

    Moving on to the car thing… the universe must really love you! Because while the actual event was super sucky – it helped you feel better! How awesome is that!?!?!?!

    I’m so thankful I found your blog, and I hope you know that we all look forward to your thoughts, rants, makeup looks, and other awesome miscellaneous posts. You are AWESOME!!!

    • Yeah, meds are pretty scary – some of the side effects alone are crazy, and then the sheer fact that you’re taking something that can change the way you think or feel? But sometimes the risks aren’t as bad as not taking the meds. I guess that’s really the trade-off for every medication, though.

      With the car, it sucked – but as reality checks from the universe go, could have been alot worse. So, yeah, pretty cool in the end.

      Yay, thank you! I’m quite a fan of your blog, too!

  6. *MEGA HUGS* I’m so glad you’re feeling a bit better, and that you’re trying to get better. I had depression for fucking years as a teenager and the doctors were stupid cunts and wouldn’t give me medication, they were just like ‘oh go talk to this counselor’ even when I was fucking self-harming. And then after I graduated high school I really did feel depressed and just bleuuuuuurgh and it was so weird to actually rely on medication to feel okay =S

    Though it doesn’t help that the first medication I was on was the spawn of Satan and had so many side effects (it was called Effexor and all the shrink community joke and call it Side-effexor) and was even shittier when I came off it. Eventually I did come off it though because I was like THIS IS SHIT AND NOT WORKING and they put me on a much nicer one. I’m kind of scared to ever come off it though, because i don’t know if I’ll relapse or something :S

    I am going to punch the people who did that to your car, and sorry I turned this epic comment into a big long story all about me D: *hugs*

    • Funny, because Effexor was the first thing I was put on (back in college, when it was “just” panic attacks), and it was horrible for me, too. And I totally know what you mean about being scared to come off the meds – my therapist is wonderful, but also pretty anti-meds (at least in my case). And I do trust her, and I do think it’d be great to be able to deal with my anxiety entirely on my own, but if she’s wrong and the meds are helping more than she thinks…Yeah. Bleah.

      I’m glad you’re on stuff that works for you, though, and feeling better, too! šŸ˜€

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