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. 🙂
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.)