Why a Mental Illness is a Big Deal

I’ve been depressing for awhile now -as in, dealing with Depression. I’ve also entertained its close friend, Anxiety; plus a few hangers-on like Disassociation, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Social Phobias. I didn’t even know those existed till they walked off with some of my mental furniture.

Once I’m back to staring at the cracked ceiling of an empty apartment, I wonder why mental illness is such a BIG DEAL. Why does it always have the ability to kick my butt this badly every time?

Photo by Inzmam Khan on Pexels.com

Because, Mental Illness is a BIG deal.

Yesterday, I witnessed a boy who collapsed into a hysterical fit when his mother said they had to ride in the elevator. A perfectly healthy friend had to reschedule her doctor’s appointment for “a better day.” Another friend told how she could not sleep in the same room as her baby, since the baby’s normal breathing patterns kept her up all night.

Minor issues become major. Small things are big. Mole hills are mountains!

So, now what? Treats? Bed? Movie marathon? I wish. Those things cost money! We need practicality before the rest of our sanity escapes out the window, and takes the rest of the chocolate with it.

Knowing that a mental illness blows things out of proportion is empowering. How? When one of my kids starts melting down, I KNOW to back off and get him a snack. When fear and anxiety cloud my horizon, I KNOW to get outside for a walk. When my friend says she needs to talk, I KNOW to drop everything and listen.

Am I freaking out? Don’t have a mental couch to collapse on? I take a break. I breathe. I run a meditative exercise. Try it; re-focus with what works for you. Then, try the basics: sleep, food, love, happiness.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

On the flip side, stop doing the little things that make it worse: staying up, eating crap, avoiding affection, and wallowing in sadness.

Sounds easy, right? It really is. The trick is to not make it difficult. “Just go get in the shower,” I tell myself. “Just get in there and sit -you don’t even have to wash yet.” Or, “Wrap up in a blanket and hang out on the porch. You don’t have to get dressed.”

See? Believe me, I’m in the camp of making a simple thing much more complicated. I also know how BIG I feel once I get past the little, white lies of my mental illness.

 

©2020 Chel Owens

Community Mental Health Discussions on Discord

Welcome to the first of its kind Discord community in which our goal is to provide a safe, anonymous, immersive, and experiential learning experience into mental health discussion.

James Edgar Skye (The Bipolar Writer) is collaborating with Grounds for Clarity on a new Discord Channel called Community Mental Health Discussions. It will be a place where you can come anonymously if needed discuss the many topics that come with mental illness and mental health. Our goal is to have open-ended discussions that are open 24/7. Myself and Grounds for Clarity will be moderators.

Want to join? Go to www.discord.com

  • Sign up for a discord account.
  • Then add me as a friend – JamesEdgarSkye#4190
  • Send me a message that you are from WordPress, introduce yourself if I don’t know you, and I will add you to the group!
  • If you have any questions or need help simply reach out.
  • Or email me @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com

Here is the introduction to our discord:

Welcome to the first of its kind Discord community in which our goal is to provide a safe, anonymous, immersive, and experiential learning experience into mental health discussion. 

We will provide a safe, anonymous, immersive and experiential learning experience into mental health discussion by sharing our personal stories. Here, we value transparency, your story, your authenticity…. in a place where we accept everyone’s point of view.

And what that means is, we may not always agree with one another and we believe within our community safely challenging one another’s perspectives is the key to collaborative discussion. 

We strongly desire for everyone to speak from the lens with which they view life including but not limited to: 

  • Politics
  • Religion/ Deity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Ethnicity
  • Racial make-up
  • Education
  • Culture
  • Physical/ Mental/ Social/ Emotional/ Environmental/ Spiritual factors
  • Lifestyle
  • Age (Group is reserved for 18 years and up)
  • Mother tongue
  • Professional/ Role in society
  • Taste of music
  • Sense of humour
  • Criminal record
  • Sports affiliation
  • Military background

Discord Moderators can be personally messaged if you wish to voice a concern. However, we strongly encourage open discussion during “stuck” times in conversation in order to foster mutual respect. 
The right to delete comments, ban individuals and block chat members is reserved to Discord Moderators as follows:

James Edgar Skye
Grounds For Clarity 

If you have any questions please contact me or leave comments below. This separate from our weekly Saturday discussions that we will be hosting on Zoom. (See tomorrows blog post.)

Always Keep Fighting

James

You can visit the author site of James Edgar Skye here.

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

Become a Patron of James Edgar Skye and be a part of his writing here: Become a Patron!

Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

Left on Read

As an adult I’ve found it difficult to make friends and keep friendships afloat. I try my best but it doesn’t seem to be enough sometimes.

During this quarantine period I’ve made two online friends through anime Facebook groups. Both of them have been great to talk to, I’ve really appreciated having them to talk to.

The one person, her and I spoke today so we are fine, but the other I’m not sure what happened.

Her and I would chat multiple times a week about anime and read each other’s fan fiction. (Please don’t judge me for writing fan fiction, I’ve already judged myself enough for it. It’s a new hobby.) We got along really well! I enjoyed hearing from her and the conversations we had. I felt like we were actual friends.

Late last week I wrote to her asking if she had any time to proofread my story. I didn’t hear a reply that whole day so I looked back to the message to find out if she saw it.

Read

Being left on read I thought maybe she is busy, she will reply later.

She didn’t.

A couple days later I sent her my story because she had previously said she was ok with reading my work. I saw her post something to our group but I heard nothing from her so I checked the chat.

Read

She has continued to post on her Facebook and the group we are a part of so it makes me wonder what the hell I did. Our conversations had been normal, we didn’t have any drama between each other.

I feel stupid for a plethora of reasons, from letting somebody who I don’t really know get to me and asking myself why anybody would want to be my friend in the first place.

This isn’t the first time this has happened in my life.

In high school, a good friend of mine who went to a different school did the same thing to me. I would call her, text her and even wrote her a letter with no response. I still don’t know why she distanced herself from me, I probably will never know.

Why is this a pattern in my life?
Is it me?
Is it them?

During all of this I was happily reminded of the longterm friends I’ve had since university. I went to a Zoom birthday party for my friend and got to see a few other friends which was so nice! It made me feel really good to be remembered and invited.

I’ve found a lot of value in the friends I’ve had for years. Even though we live in different places and haven’t seen each other in years, I know that they are still there for me.

Have you been left on read? Have you had friendships dropped for reasons you don’t understand?

SNAKE (part 2)

I wake up covered in vomit. There’s a tinge of daylight outside the shed. It’s cold. So cold.

O God, no.

Why did you make me wake up? I pleaded with you, God. Did you not hear my voice? Did you not see my life? My struggle?  WHY , God?

I lie in the vomit on the sandy floor and watch the sunlight creeping up, up, up  in the sky.

A new day has dawned.

I am alive.

And so is the guilt.

What have I done? How will I explain this ? How, o God, will I carry on ?

It’s the thought of my son that gets me to move.

I walk to my car. Slowly. My legs are wobbly, my brain fuzzy, there’s a roaring in my ears. The world outside comes into focus, then disappears into a bleak black and white landscape. But I start the car.

I start the drive home.

(ps. This was a record of my 4th suicide attempt. I survived an overdose four times. During the above event I swallowed enough tablets to have killed me. They didn’t.

It is now ten years later. 

My life has made a complete turnaround due to the correct medication, cognitive therapy and eventually Electroconvulsive  therapy  (ETC).

When I posted SNAKE (part 1) I ended up feeling like a fool. 

I felt that the post was overly dramatic and that people who read it would think I was just looking for sympathy and attention. 

But I feel that if someone ( even just one person ) read the post and saw the eventual positive turn my life took afterwards, I was prepared to feel a bit foolish!

Remember this :

The suicidal brain is not functional normally anymore. The suicidal state ( which I call “The Snake” ) is convincing the individual that THERE IS NO WAY OUT. It is hard to argue with your own brain when it has become suicidal. Your brain is telling you death is the only relief. But if we can just WAIT IT OUT for a few hours, the suicidal impulse does pass. 

There was a time when my first impulse after an argument, a hurt, a rejection was to swallow endless amounts of pills. 

I now have a warning and a reminder on the door of the medicine cupboard . It says :

“Die Jirre lief jou, Finish en Klaar!” ( Afrikaans for : God loves you. No Ifs and no Buts)

To me these words mean :

STOP.

WAIT.

THINK.

I hope my post has reached someone ready to end things.

I hope you WAIT. STOP. THINK.

And know that you are not alone. Your situation is not without hope.

“Die Jirre lief jou. Finish en KLaar!”       

   

If you would like to read more I’d love for you to visit my personal blog about my life on a farm in South Africa and my career as a teacher at a rural Xhosa school. 

https://teachingtough.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Chapter on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy From my Memoir

Last Saturday, I held a “mental health discussion” on Zoom. I consider it a success as there were many questions and great dialogue within a small group. I will be writing about this experience later this week, and on Saturday, I will be hosting another Zoom get together. One of the topics that came up was Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and I wanted to share one of the chapters in my memoir The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir about learning Mood Induction therapy, which has served me well as a part of my CBT training. Mood Induction is a small part of the process, but for me, it is one of my favorites. I am in no way a professionally licensed therapist, and this chapter from experience only. 

I promised one the participants that I would share this as a stepping stone for them to research CBT.

Chapter Thirty-Two: My CBT Journey – Mood Induction

SINCE SUMMER 2017, I have been working on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. My therapist introduced it to me after a bad stretch of anxiety and social anxiety from January to March. My goal was to work on ways to fight anxiety without Ativan. I have learned a few techniques over the course of the summer and I want to share what has worked. One of the goals that I set out to achieve is to give advice about things that have helped me along my journey. 

CBT is the practice of developing personal managing strategies that help solve problems. The point is helping to change negative thought patterns in positive ways. The outcome is working on what is wrong with your thoughts. I have used CBT only for anxiety. I have known people who have used it for other mental illness issues, like depression.

Mood induction has been helpful for me as I work toward my goal of conquering my ongoing battle with social anxiety. Different experts go about using mood induction techniques with music in different ways. I am by no means an expert, but rather I will share what my own therapist gave me in the form of steps. Music has always been a great coping tool that I have used over the years, so it was exciting to work on this technique.

The first step is simple, the initial response step. First, find some music to listen to that will evoke emotion while you listen. It might be helpful to rate your mood before you listen to the song. Focus on the song and what it brings out in your thoughts and emotions. Then write down the emotional responses that you first felt (like happy, sad, or frustrated.)

The second step in the mood induction process is the intensity of emotional response. This step is your determination of how strongly you felt the emotions in the first step. Using a scale of 1-10, you rate how much emotion came when listening to the chosen song.

The third step, reaction to emotional response, is perhaps the most important of the steps. This step breaks down into important steps:

  1. Describe your thoughts: This is simple. What thoughts came to your mind while listening to the song?
  2. Describe your sensations or feelings. Did your heart rate increase while listening to the song? Here you talk about any feelings and sensations.
  3. Describe your behaviors while listening to the song. Did you fidget, pace, or sigh?

This step is important to the process because it is here that you analyze your thoughts and behaviors, which is helpful in real life. You take a moment in time, listening to a song, and you range your emotional response. From there, you can focus on what these thoughts mean to you. It also helps find the meaning behind such emotional responses. In my experience, it helps to choose a song that brings out a strong emotional response.

I use an Excel spreadsheet to help log my breakdown. Here is what a complete breakdown was like for me:

  • Song Choice: Nineteen Stars, Meg and Dia.
  • Emotional Response: Relieved, happy, good.
  • Rate Response: 8
  • Thoughts: Meaningful, it reminds me of the journey that I have been on. Where I was ten years ago to now. I want to be a part of this world now. What this song meant to me in 2007.
  • Sensations/Feelings: Heart rate increased.
  • Behaviors: Fidgeting and moving my legs up and down while sitting at my computer.

The responses and emotions are different for each person and the results will of course vary. I have used this on hundreds of songs. I used an excel worksheet to break down each section.

I have found it useful going back to the songs that you have already broken down and do the process again. It helps to see if your thoughts and emotions change when listened to the second time or a third time.

This is one part of CBT. There are so many books and schools of thought that I have found over the years. It has helped me sort through my anxiety. It’s a long process and I am not where I want to be with my social anxiety. It’s important that I keep moving forward and working towards using CBT every day. 

Always Keep Fighting

James

You can visit the author site of James Edgar Skye here.

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

Become a Patron of James Edgar Skye and be a part of his writing here: Become a Patron!

The Creative Connection – Part One

Another influential writer in my own life Hemingway had a long history of mental illness. Hemingway, known at the time as the most celebrated American Writer, but had his demons he was fighting over the course of his life.

Recently I was asked to discuss the connection between Bipolar disorder and creativity. The blogger wanted me to link some famous people and choose the writers that influence me that had some level of mental illness. Creativity and famous people will most likely turn into a series where we see creative people in history and the present dealing with a mental illness,

How Mental Illness & Bipolar Disorder Connects to Creativity

If you research the subject, there is a real link between mental illness and creativity. In my research, on the issue, the links are as creative as the people themselves. The truth is many who have a mental illness like Bipolar Disorder, have been known to have a creative side. Even those artists that go undiagnosed have at some level issues with mental illness. I have always thought that my creativity, as it is, comes from my struggles with Bipolar One.

Today I thought it would be great to list some of the more famous writers and artists that have a history of the Bipolar disorder and mental illnesses in general.

Edgar Allan Poe

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It seems fitting to talk about the greatest inspiration in my writing first. If you have ever read one of Poe’s poetry, short stories, or really anything he wrote you can see that he was a real genius.

Though Poe never saw a diagnosis with a mental illness, he was a heavy drinker, and he had issues suicidal thoughts. Poe often discussed death in his work, and my favorite from Poe’s poem will always be “The Raven” where he talks about death. Poe certainly knew the dark depths of depression and that darkness haunted him. My favorite short story (detective work) will always be “The Purloined Letter.” The truth when I studied the man himself I see many similarities in my own life as a writer. It is why I honor Poe in my work by using his name in my pen name.

Ernest Hemingway

Yousuf-Karsh-Ernest-Hemingway-1957-1558x1960.jpg

Another influential writer in my own life Hemingway had a long history of mental illness. Hemingway, known at the time as the most celebrated American Writer, but had his demons he was fighting over the course of his life. Hemingway was known to be very manic at times in his life, and depressed. Those closest to the writer say that he was manic-depressant (Bipolar) his whole life.

His creative genius was apparent in everything he wrote. My favorite novel from Hemingway will always be “A Farewell to Arms,” and Hemingway wrote about influences in his own life experiences as an ambulance driver in World War I.

If you know nothing about Hemingway, then it might surprise you that he committed suicide on July 2, 1961. Hemingway had a long history of suicide attempts and hospital visits in his adult life. It goes to show that even the most creative of us a susceptible to the darkness and suicidal thoughts.

Sylvia Plath

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Sylvia Plath is another influential writer that I turn to so that I can get inspiration from her amazing poetry. Like the other writers on this list, Plath had a history of being clinically depressed and had been hospitalized many times in her life.

The poet also made several suicide attempts over the course of her life and succeeded in 1963. If you have not read any of her work, “Ariel” is a fantastic piece of poetry that shows the darkness that Plath felt during her life and why she turned to suicide. Plath was a creative genius, but like so many on this list, her mental illness eventually consumed her.

Ezra Pound

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Unlike the others on this list, I know the artist Ezra Pound’s work but little about his mental illness history. Pound’s diagnosis in his life Narcissistic Personality Disorder which influenced his creative work and political views over the course of his life. Some believe that Pound also had schizophrenia, but many debates about the validity of this have happened for many years in both directions.

Ezra Pound is another example of creative genius, and mental illness can collide over the course of a life and have positive and negative connotations.

Leo Tolstoy

Leo+Tolstoy.jpg

Leo Tolstoy is a compelling creative artist that explored his depression in his original creative works. If you have a chance, please read Tolstoy’s work– A Confession for a look at his own experiences.OWhat is impressive is that like most of us, Tolstoy spends a lot of time contemplating and examining his depression. I know for me writing my memoir and part of the focus being my depression I examine the many facets of who I am as a writer and someone who is dealing with a mental illness.

J.K. Rowling

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Okay so maybe this is the wrong time to put Rowling on the list as many of the others on this list are dead, but Rowling will always be my favorite modern writer. I grew up with the Harry Potter series and he works will still be influential in my life– Rowling also has a history of depression and suicidal thoughts.

Rowling makes this list because she has been open and vocal about her struggles with mental illness in her life, at the same time she has been influential in the fighting of her depression. Not just a creative genius, Rowling is also a fantastic human being and advocate.

The End Thoughts

This post has been great, and I have more to tell in the future about other influential creative artists who advocate (not those who use their mental illness for their means to gain fame), and I will be putting out more of these in the future. I want to show creative people using their craft for good and to help end the stigma. I hope you like the series and you see that you can succeed even with a mental illness. At the same time, there is the other side where we as a society have lost creative geniuses because of the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Stay strong.

Always Keep Fighting (AKF)

James Edgar Skye

You can visit the author site of James Edgar Skye here.

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

Become a Patron of James Edgar Skye and be a part of his writing here: Become a Patron!

Photo Credit:

Mel Poole

Poe image from Poetry Foundation

Hemingway Image: Google

Sylvia Plath, Ezra Pound, Leo Tolstoy images from http://airshipdaily.com/blog/022620145-writers-mental-illness

Rowling picture from Google.

7 Ways I Changed from Hunting the Good Stuff

I spent some time in the Arizona Army National Guard. They had started a program called Master Resiliency Training (MRT). Arizona had one of the highest suicide rates among soldiers. They sanctioned this program to help soldiers “overcome adversity.” The Psychology Department of the University of Philadelphia created the program. After a few years I had forgotten a lot of the training. One thing stuck with me though I never practiced it. It was called “Hunt the Good Stuff.” A simple exercise of writing down three good things that happened to you that day before bed. And writing why those things were important to you.

I remember a Major telling everyone about when he first heard about this exercise. He thought it was stupid. His instructor told him to try it. What did he have to lose? The training went for three days. He noticed by the second night of “Hunting the Good Stuff” he was sleeping better. This Major also had two young daughters whom he didn’t know how to connect with. One night at dinner, he asked his family to tell each other three good things that happened to them that day. His family started doing this every night. His daughters start talking about their good things before anyone else. He was able to learn about and connect with his children with this exercise.

Over the last couple years, my life has had many ups and downs. After so many things chipping away at my resolve, I grew more depressed and negative. I got so negative that someone close to me told me they didn’t want to be around me anymore. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I felt I had hit rock bottom. My job offered six free counseling sessions and I took them. I started a “Hunt the Good Stuff” journal. I still have a long way to go but I’m 1000% better than I was. That was five months ago. This one exercise has done more for me than I ever imagined. I wish I had started doing it sooner.

1. When I Look for Good Things, I Find Them

When I first started this exercise, it felt daunting. I wasn’t sure if I could find three things to write in this journal every day. I had to think for a few minutes. The more often I did this, the easier it got. I used to get angry and sad because my mind autopiloted into negative thoughts. When I sat down and thought about the good things, I always found good things. Perspective and attitude do play a role in one’s mindset. Reflecting on something good, no matter how small, every day has helped to change my way of thinking.

2. Others Noticed a Change in Me

It took several weeks before someone said anything. My sister mentioned noticing a huge change in me. A better change. My coworkers noticed too. One of them wanted to take photos for a work Instagram. I joined in and enjoyed being in the photos. I overheard someone say they had never seen me smile so much. Coworkers were happy to see me when I went to work. They were excited to work with me that day. Positive thinking has led me to enjoy the people I work with even if I don’t enjoy the job itself. 

3. I Gained More Self-Confidence

I talked with a coworker about some of the things I had been doing since I felt my life had fallen apart. I mentioned my counseling and “Hunting the Good Stuff.” I thought she would say that she noticed I was happier. But what she said surprised me. She noticed that I was more confident in myself. I never would have guessed that would be a result from positive thinking. It makes sense. Being positive had made me act sillier and have fun without the concern of what others might think. I can’t remember the last time I was like that.

4. My Attitude Changed; I’m More Positive

As expected, positive thinking has led me to see the world in a positive way. I don’t always assume the worst from people. I rationalize things differently. When someone says they forgot about plans we made because they didn’t put it in their calendar, I understand. I’ve done that too. Before I would assume, I wasn’t important to them and that’s why they forgot. Sometimes people get busy and it has nothing to do with me. I don’t make plans as often now, but I don’t get upset if things don’t go to plan.

5. I Changed How I Talk to Myself

One of the things I started along with “Hunting the Good Stuff” was a positive affirmation. The person I was close to who didn’t want me in their life anymore gave this to me. I repeat the phrases, “I like myself. I love myself. I deserve good things.” I once repeated these words over and over for about 20 minutes. This helped but writing three good things every day helped too. My internal monologue has changed. I don’t call myself stupid when I make a mistake. I don’t say negative things to myself as often. It’s still there now and then, but less frequent.

6. I Sleep Better

It doesn’t work every night. Some nights I’m still restless or only sleep a few hours. But overall my sleep has improved. I have dreams more often. Fewer nightmares. I sleep longer and deeper. I don’t always feel energized, but I don’t feel drained upon waking up anymore. I give myself a couple hours in the morning before work. I allow myself time to ease into the day. This has added to my daily productivity and attitude when going to work. Most of the time, I can go to sleep at the time I want to start sleeping.

7. I Enjoy Things Again

I used to have a general crabby disposition. Even when I used to enjoy something, I didn’t show much enthusiasm. I find myself feeling good after doing things. I go to movies alone and reflect on having a good time with myself. If I go to a party, I socialize for a bit and enjoy some food. I walk in with no expectations and walk out having had a great time. I get more reading and writing done because I enjoy doing it more. 

I’m surprised how much this one activity helped change my perspective on life. I still have hard days where I have to force myself to find good things. The last few weeks I’ve moved from at least three good things every day to four good things every day. More and more days are having five to seven good things. As of writing this, I’ve been practicing this exercise for over 150 days. That’s five months. I may never get back the people I lost when I was negative and depressed. But I will do everything I can to not make the same mistakes twice.

The good stuff is always out there. You just have to look for it. Happy hunting!

James Pack is a self-published author of poetry and fiction.  Information about his publishing credits can be found on his personal blog TheJamesPack.com.  He resides in Tucson, AZ.

If You Ever Need help

If you ever need someone who will help you through a tough time in your life, I hope to be that person, because it is important to me to be accessible to the readers of this blog.

The idea of sharing my number is not the first time I have done this, but I wanted to double down on my recent renewal of being more of a committed mental health advocate.

If you ever need someone who will help you through a tough time in your life, I hope to be that person, because it is important to me to be accessible to the readers of this blog.

My inspiration of late comes from the outpour of support from the followers of this blog. I am going through one of the worst experiences of my life. I can say with certainty that I am not suicidal even though my thoughts have been depressive at times. It is a significant thing to lose a mother. My mom would want me to dive deeper into my mental health advocacy, as she always told me, and so that is why I am doing this post. So here again, I am posting my number, you can find it on my blog as well on the main page.

James’ Number – 831-287-4369

If you need someone to give you some advice on how to get through how you feel, I will be there and answer as quickly as possible. The other route of course is my email.

James’ Email: jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com

I will also list my social media platforms so that if you are not comfortable with these ways of connecting to The Bipolar Writer, you can always contact me.

Twiter: https://twitter.com/JamesEdgarSkye

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesEdgarSkye/

What I want is total transparency with being there for the people following this blog and the mental illness community. So I hope that those who feel like reaching out because they are suicidal or anything mental health-related do.

Lastly there is always the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Always Keep Fighting

James

2019

2019 has been a year of growth and challenges.

But I can never blame myself for wanting to live.

Everything is teaching me something.
As long as I’m open and willing to learn.

Everyone comes into this world being enough. I am enough. 💫

Here is to 2020.

Thank you for being with me.
Angel Love and Blessings.

Love, Francesca.

Taking a Break with my Therapist

I have been thinking for a while now that I want to stop seeing my therapist. Typing that makes me nervous about ending it!

I have been seeing my therapist almost 3 years, which is crazy to think about. She has been my support through everything that’s happened in my life. When I was suicidal, she was there for me if I ever needed her outside of our sessions. When I was struggling with self-harm, she never shamed me (I am 487 days clean!). She was helped me dig through my negative thoughts, depressive episodes and anxiety attacks.

My mental health has been pretty good for the past few months. I have been seeing her monthly to discuss what’s going on in my life, how my mental health is and whatever I’m worried about at the moment. I love seeing her but I think it is time to take a break with our sessions.

The idea of stopping therapy scares me.

It automatically turns on the anxiety bells in my brain and starts to tie my stomach into knots. My worry is that I will get bad again, that I will plummet to the bottom and not have her there to help me get back up.

She has helped me get to this positive place in my mental health journey. She has helped me with coping skills, rational thinking and how to question my anxious thoughts.

BUT

Change always makes me depressed even if it’s a good change. Growing up I would get depressed when I moved up to the next grade. I got depressed every time I moved back to college or moved home from college. Most big changes immediately send me into a depressive spiral.

I have a big change coming up that I am pretty sure will make me depressed even though I am excited about it. My boyfriend and I are taking a huge step together! We are buying a house! (Please don’t tell me in the comments that I should be married first or that I’m doing this backwards.)

I’m worried already about everything that comes with buying a house and moving in with a long-term partner. I worry that all of the stress will push me into a depressive/anxious mess that I would have to cope with without my therapist.

I meet with her the second Monday of July. There I will tell her what I’m thinking, maybe she will alleviate some of my worries.

What has your experience been like after you stopped therapy? Leave me a comment please!