Exploding With Emotion.

I am not an outwardly emotional person. Behind closed doors, I spill it all. If you asked my mom or friends, they would never describe me as boy crazy. I had plenty of crushes but I just am very mindful of how I present myself. I think this is why, when I get into the room with my mental health provider, I am a puddle. I explode with what I can only describe as relief. I feel like I spend my days trying to control my feelings for fear that I am going to push someone too far. When I finally let the emotions flow, so do the tears. I am passionate, hopeful, empathetic. I am all of these things to the extreme. I try to help people who didn’t ask for my help. I cling to people who just want to walk away. I bet everything on a maybe.

That burst of tears that I feel when I go to my appointments, the one where I just feel relieved and heard? I feel that here. I feel that with every post that is written and I can relate to. I feel that with every comment shared on my own writing. I feel heard, I feel understood. I imagine this is how people who run feel (ugh running amirite?). I have heard people describe it as cathartic and how they love leaving everything and just being in the quiet with themselves.

I leave it all on the page. I am sure that I can’t be the only one who “journals”. My journals are just lists, scribbles that don’t mean much, a to do list, a grocery list, a goal, a dream I had last night. I don’t intentionally journal. I don’t even write full sentences or dates. I just release my thoughts onto a page in whatever format or stage they might be in. Sometimes, all I have done is budget. It feels good to see it on paper. One day, when I am gone and my kids clean out my things, they will realize how insane I really am. I have stacks of notebooks with scribbles in them. The same way a child might color random pages in a coloring book with half of them never completed.

Thank you for being the only real “Journal” I have ever had. Thank you for consistently making me feel understood and sane, even when I know that I am not at times. Thank you for encouraging me to come back and carry on.

The List.

 

I once read that a good strategy in dealing with bipolar is to recognize what is an episode and what is just a run of the mill bad day. When I find myself feeling “moody” I make a list of things that are pissing me off. I look over it and try to determine if the things triggering my anger are truly things that I should be upset about or if I am overreacting. Whether or not it is an episode, it is a way to hold myself accountable.

 

I thought I would give you a glimpse into my list from this week. It truly is….something. If anything, it is hilariously ridiculous.

 

  1. I walked into the copy room to use the copy machine and there was a coworker in there organizing the incoming faxes. I just started the job so I asked her if I needed to dial nine to fax, to which she responded no. As I start typing in the number in she turns to me and says, “you have to wait until I am done with the fax machine”.
  2. People answering a question with any information outside of the answer to the question I asked.
  3. I work with a woman named Carrie. That is how she spells her name. She is from New York. She corrects anyone who says her name without the New York accent.
  4. Someone held the door for me and then proceeded to their car. When I went to back out (after taking time to plug my phone in and respond to a text) they were backing out behind me and I had to wait.

 

This list is small. This is because I am saving you from the 13 other ridiculously unimportant things that pissed me off. As you can see, I blew things out of proportion.

 

My whole life, my grandmother has hated when someone does not clear the microwave after using it. Lets say that you put food in to heat up for one minute and took the food out after 45 seconds. You better not leave that fifteen seconds on the microwave. My thoughts on this have always been if I see it as being easy enough for her to just not say anything and clear the microwave, then it is just as easy for me to do the same.

 

These things that happened did not hurt me or alter my life in anyway. It is far easier for me to make myself aware of this than it is to explain to someone that I have a mental illness full of mixed episodes and mood swings where I blow up over the preferred pronunciation of YOUR name.

 

I am a huge proponent of people learning about mental illness, ending stigma, and coexisting with those that have them. I am not a proponent for expecting everyone around me to deal with the fallout of my bad days.

The One Thing That Keeps Me Going

More and more people tell me to do what makes me happy. Writing makes me happy. Whether I’m writing a poem, a short story, a novel, or blog journal post; writing makes me happy. Lately it doesn’t feel like anything else makes me happy. Nothing really. Sometimes coworkers make work fun but it’s not something that makes me happy. I mean truly happy like this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. Something I feel within my soul reminding me why I’m alive and why I was born. Writing is the only thing that has given me that feeling.

I look back on things I’ve done and things I thought I enjoyed. I feel everything led me to this point. Everything made me who I am; who I’m supposed to be. This realization comes with one fear. I believe I’m supposed to be alone on this journey. Every experience, every encounter, every person I’ve met; it feels like it all is telling me to let go of everything and pursue this adventure alone. I don’t want to be alone. I’ve always felt alone. Why would the Universe tell me my journey is a lonely one?

I’ve heard people say writing is a lonely craft. That’s not true for everyone. Most writers have an editor. Sometimes it’s a close friend. Sometimes it’s a professional who becomes a friend. Some writers have a core group of people they trust to read the early drafts of their work. I’ve tried and failed to find this. People express interest but not much else. When I approach them with my work, I think they’re surprised like they didn’t expect me to follow through. So, I write five different drafts until I feel satisfied and either self-publish or submit to online magazines. I get many rejection letters.

Everyone says that is the life of the writer. Even the great writers had many rejections. Add those rejections to the personal rejections in life. I mean finding the courage to talk to your crush and getting rejected. I mean trying to make new friends and then they disappear and ignore all your attempts at communication. I mean the rejection one feels everyday added to rejections that say your writing isn’t good enough. All those hours you spent improving your story didn’t improve it enough. Rejection on top of rejection on top of more rejections. Not including rejections from childhood that stay with you.

Many writers struggle but most have a support system to help them keep going. Family and friends who tell them not to give up and keep at it. Never give up; never surrender. I don’t have that support. I share my writing and most people ignore it. I share a cat video, and everyone loves it. How do I keep going? The only answer I can think of is writing makes me happy. Nothing else in the world brings me that kind of joy so the rejections don’t break my resolve. I know I’m depressed when I’m not writing.

Writing gets my emotions out. Writing releases my thoughts so they don’t bottle up. It’s therapeutic. But it’s not enough. I’m seeking help but I still need a support system. I need friends and family. I gave up on my family years ago. I keep trying to find new friends, but I don’t think they want to put them time in on me. Maybe I’m too much for them. Maybe they think I’m a basket case. Maybe they don’t care about my writing or if I’m alive or dead. I’d have given up by now if not for writing. Sadly, writing has yet to help me pay the bills. I guess I’ll keep writing until it does.

Anxiety’s Lies

Why is it so easy to believe the negativity anxiety pours into my mind?

At the moment, my anxiety has taken the form of a dark storm cloud in my mind that is off in the distance. Each day getting closer and closer, like waiting for an impending doom. I stare out into this imaginary sky with a racing heart and the feeling that all of my organs have contorted into a knot.

What does this storm cloud mean? What horrible thing is on its way? What did I do wrong to create this storm cloud in the first place?

I worry and worry that my life is going to be turned upside down by this imaginary cloud in my mind. That the rain will start pouring with no end in sight, I will drown in my own imaginary realm.

My anxiety has taken the reigns of my brain and it is not giving them back.

Very rude!

In this magical holiday season I am trying to find positivity but I’m having trouble holding on to it. It’s like water, I grab it but it slips through my fingers.

It is mainly because anxiety telling me all sorts of shit like: “Something awful is coming your way, Megan. Better watch out!” and “Your boyfriend says he loves you but are you sure he does? You two have been getting along really well for months, that can’t last for too much longer.”

Anxiety is a shitty fortune cookie that I wish I could throw in the trash.

I hold on to those thoughts, no matter how negative or impossible the worry is. I keep them close to my heart even though it only weighs me down. I have no actual reason to believe my brain but I do.

The strain on my body from the anxiety makes it all the more real. My worries feel real even though I have no actual proof that there’s something bad headed my way.

My anxiety knows what to say to make me freak out, it comes straight for my throat. Anxiety never shows mercy.

I’m seeing my therapist tomorrow morning so I am hoping that her and I can sort this all out.

Happy Holidays everyone! I appreciate everyone who has read, skimmed, liked or commented on my posts since I joined this massive family here! I’m so happy to be here and be able to share my experiences and encourage my fellow writers.

When I Was Not Enough: Death of A Friendship

Seeing a friendship that was once vibrant with life and laughter die in front of your eyes can be a sad sight. As it takes its final breath, I have to remind myself that it could not be saved.

This friend tried to control me and when I did not do as she demanded, she would get angry with me. Looking back, I now see that I was not enough in her eyes and I’m alright with that.

My former friend and I were best friends since 2013 when we were roommates in university. I felt like I could tell her anything, that she would always be my right-hand woman on Team Megan.

Until 2016.

From then on our friendship began to die.

She did not approve of the man I started dating that year which brought distance between us. After my now ex-boyfriend left for Army basic training, she said that I had to either dump him or marry him immediately.

Those words furiously buzzed in my brain, I was so upset by them that they induced my first panic attack.

After that she and I didn’t spend time together for months until the guy dumped me.

She was present until I began my downward spiral of suicidal thoughts, severe depression, almost daily self-harming and intense anxiety. She refused to listen to my struggles, she couldn’t understand so she closed her ears.

From there I began to distance myself even more from her.

In June 2017 she asked if I would move in with her. I told her no because I just started a new job in April and did not want to leave my boyfriend that I started dating in January. Neither of these things she approved of in the first place.

She was angry with me. She was irritated that I did not drop everything for her. She wanted me to follow the path she was trying to establish for me.

The final straw for me was when she came up to visit me this May. She bought me coffee at my favorite local coffeeshop, sat me down and came for my throat. Figuratively.

She told me how she missed “college Megan” and that she could help me get “back on track” with my career. She began listing off mutual friends saying, “They are doing so well for themselves.”

I understood that as, they are doing great while I’m a loser.

I on the verge of bursting into tears. I couldn’t believe the person who was supposed to be my best friend was saying such hurtful words.

Once she finally left later that afternoon, I laid in my bed and cried.

The next day I texted her, I knew if I called I would cry. I told her she upset me with everything she said and that she made me feel like a failure.

She pulled a Kanye West! She said, “I’m sorry but…” My jaw dropped as she began to justify why she said those hurtful things. She was not sorry at all.

I was not enough for her.

My anxiety tells me that I’ve made a horrible mistake in losing her as a friend. That “if I only listened to her” I would somehow be better off.

My rational self says that I am doing fine without her.

Thank u, next.

Whelmed.

“I be high, then I be low.”-Kid Kudi

But seriously, this is how my life used to be. Before I sought out help to maintain my moods and take control of my life, I was constantly told that this is a normal reaction to things that happen in life. I believed that for so long because my life was in constant chaos. I mean, I guess I still have a lot of chaos but I am in more control now. I used to have these reactions to situations that everyone has play out in their minds. I would go from zero to one hundred in the blink of an eye.

What they don’t tell you is that you will plateau. You level out on mood stabilizers and I cannot describe it in any other way but nothingness. I believe that we (those with mood disorders) are so used to feeling an extreme that we lose our sense of being okay. It is almost as if I am looking for the next big dip or rise.

I guess I just need to get that thought out there. Now that I write it, it seems silly or pointless. When I started writing my blog I thought that it would be a place for me to reason with myself and my emotions. A healthy outlet to express what I am feeling and maybe find others who can validate what I am feeling because everything about getting better is new and foreign.

Now I feel that there may be people out there who are searching for a raw look into what those with mood disorders think and feel during “recovery”. As I write this I took time to look up “plateau bipolar” and found a rather interesting article describing the feeling as “whelmed“. LOL…literally LOL. I love that. It is perfect in describing that I am not overwhelmed or underwhelmed. I have hit a spot where my medication is adjusted just right (crosses fingers) and although I know that the appointments and therapy are necessary, I just don’t want to go because it seems like a chore now.

We all have things that we must do, but don’t realize the importance of until we stop. Brushing our teeth is a great one. We just do it and one day we might fall asleep on the couch without brushing before bed and wake up with a very REAL difference. My difference would be late night writing of lists and effortlessly running on 4 hours of sleep until my body gives out and I fall into a heap of exhaustive tears.

tomato tamoto though amirite?

I never mean to discount what all people feel. That is the best part about the internet. There is always someone out there living a different life that can relate on some level. Regardless if they have an identical illness or lead a similar life they can find a way to relate to that feeling you get.

I don’t wish that anyone has this feeling, but if you do I would love to know if you have anything that makes you feel better in the moment. For me, it is connecting with all of you beautifully minded people.

Finding My Antidepressant Match

In the late fall of 2016 I was at my lowest point mentally of my entire 25 years on Earth. I laid in bed most of the day, suicidal thoughts constantly buzzed in my head and I was struggling with self-harming on an almost daily basis.

My therapist was very serious when she told me it might be a good idea to get on antidepressants. I never in my life thought I would get to a point where medicine was necessary. I thought about the stigma behind taking antidepressants, that people who take them are “crazy” and “can’t function on their own”.

But you know what? I couldn’t function on my own so I started my grueling journey to find my perfect antidepressant match.

I called my doctor who took my condition very seriously as well which I am so thankful for. I swear without her and my therapist, I wouldn’t be here. She prescribed me a low dose of an SRI as well as Larazapam for my anxiety.

Immediately I got nauseous from the medicine. I already was having trouble eating so the added nausea wasn’t helping. I took it daily for weeks with no improvement in my depression. She increased my dose but it didn’t help.

To get me on the right track with my medicine I was sent to a psychiatrist who created a long list of medicines that he thought could help me. It started with a bunch of different SRI prescriptions but none of them worked for me.

For months I tried different pills at their highest doses but nothing made any difference in my mood nor did they decrease my suicidal thoughts. After 6 months, I was ready to give up. I had heard positive things for other people so I questioned why these pills didn’t work for me.

In spring of 2017 I saw my psychiatrist again hoping he would be able to figure out a better solution for me since no SRIs worked. He said to try a medicine typically prescribed for individuals with bipolar, Wellbutrin.

Starting that was the first time in months that I saw a change. I began to think more clearly, I wasn’t nauseous, I had more energy and my mood was getting better. It was a relief!

If you are trying to find the right medicine for your mental illness, do not give up. It is absolute hell until you get there but finding the right pill for you is possible.

I thought I would never find my perfect match. Even though it took a long time, I am glad that it finally worked out.

Makeup Saved My Life

Please don’t judge me for the title of my post, hear me out before you think of me as someone who is “fake” or “self-absorbed.”

In my life, I have always enjoyed wearing makeup. I never thought I did a great job at it, but I admired others who had a true talent for it.

I fell into a severe depression in 2016 where I could barely get out of bed, was self-harming and was suicidal. At this time I was seeing my therapist twice a week and starting my 6-month long journey to finding the right antidepressant for me.

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon the beauty community on YouTube, but once I did, I was completely sucked in. As I watched the makeup tutorial after foundation review after getting ready with me videos, I was able to forget the pain. For the moments I was watching the videos, I wasn’t consumed by suicidal thoughts that plagued me day in and day out.

Watching women like KathleenLights, Tati Westbrook and Emilynoel88 made me feel like they were my friends and that they were helping me through this horrible part of my life. I could count on them to make me feel better when nobody else could.

Eventually, I started buying lots of makeup that they recommended. My makeup collection grew from a small bag of products to a small pond of them. I began practicing their techniques which helped me express myself in a new way. When I was focused on recreating a look, I could go into my zone and be safe.

At the time I was working for a newspaper so I asked if I could have my own makeup column. I wrote Megan Does Makeup for a year and I loved it! I started an Instagram account, @megandoesmakeupxo, to go with it and everything, it was (and still is) great for my mental health to have that creative outlet.

It’s 2018 now, and I have come so far in my mental health journey. Makeup is still an amazing escape for me when I’m feeling depressed or anxious. I am so incredibly thankful that I stumbled upon whatever video first pulled me into the beauty community.

See, I’m not so shallow, am I? 😉

The Long Road to Betterment

As human beings, regardless of our backgrounds, we’ve become conditioned to evaluate our success in life based on the monetary value of our material possessions. The impact of this trending train of thought has become detrimental to our society, and is especially toxic for those of us who already struggle to find our sense of selves, our true value.

This shift in humanity, in my opinion, grew exponentially with the rise of the technological era. While it’s existed within us for several generations, it’s much more prominent in the last few. And while recently there has been a small faction bringing minimalist living to light, currently more than ever we have become obsessed with the idea of owning the best and newest things.

This has been a difficult post to write because of my own current struggles on the topic. Where is the line between valuing possessions over what really matters, and yearning for a sense of security you’ve never known? There’s obviously financial security in the way of assets, and then there’s having a stable life. Who’s to say when we’ve taken it too far, and how do we separate the wants from the true needs?

I was raised as a welfare baby, my mom on social security, section 8, food stamps, and I’ve had government provided health insurance for my entire life. My mom still survives on the programs, and now I’m raising my daughter on food stamps and free health care as well. It’s not a choice, because while my husband works, it’s not enough, and I can’t bring in enough money with my disabilities to make the pain they’d cause worth the while.

I’m sure my mother wasn’t proud to need all that assistance to raise me, and I’m certainly not proud either. We recently began trying to apply for home loans, as we’ve both lived under mostly slum lords for our entire lives and we want better for our daughter. Long and painfully disappointing story short, we got denied this week and it broke me.

This switch has gone off inside of me, making me feel guilt, inferiority, and judgment towards myself. I swore I’d never raise my child on welfare, but this was before I knew of my physical restraints. Despite my lack on control in the matter, there’s a certain self resentment that comes with that, a sense of worthlessness. I thought I’d found the perfect home for us, actually allowed myself to get excited for once, and now someone else’s family will fill the home.

It’s been an incredibly trying week, with tensions always escalating and tensions always rising due to our current crappy living situation, and I haven’t felt this defeated in a really long time. Especially for those of us with mental illness, stability is incredibly imperative to our success, and it’s my firm belief that if I can finally achieve stability, maybe I can finally begin my journey to betterment.

What I thought was one step closer turned out to be two steps back, but I must still press on. I have to believe that there’s more left in life for me than just the current chapter, that the book will have at least a relatively halpy ending. Here’s to everyone else who’s had a disappointing week or felt broken by something outside of your control. Life gave us lemons, so I guess we’re making lemonade, no matter how sweet or sour it tastes.

Depression Journal – Part Three

I wanted to share more of my journal in 2015. These two pieces are from early in 2015 when I was in a bad place. Everyday seemed to be worse than the last. As always these entries are as written.

You can find the other two blog posts here:

My Mental Illness Journal

Mental Illness Journal – Part Two

My Poem that I posted today correlates with this time frame as it was written in early April. You can find it here. Depression Poetry

Depression Journal Entries – February 2015

Journal Entry February 3, 2015

It has been a tough day…

Really just a tough week. My biggest problem is that I think wanting something to change means its gonna change in an instant. I am not really good at being patient and letting something come to me. It really sucks to be feeling depressed about things that I have no control over. Yet I worry about every second that passes by and nothing happens. I mean, why must things always be depressing. I don’t what to do sometimes.

I guess I just continue to press on the best that I can. Nothing else I can really do but try to move forward. My life has been one big marathon that I have been trying to stay focused on.

My sleep has been so problamatic. I can’t sleep and then I sleep in. I hate myself because I want to wake up at a certain time but it never happens. It is my life I guess. You would think I would get used to it.

My one solace is my writing but even that can’t keep me focused. I want to work on a new piece, maybe my novel or my memoir but I can’t decide, so I do what I always do, nothing. So much of my life is like that, I worry about what is and decide not to act on it. I am hopeful that it will get better.

I was never really good at finding a job. Most of my jobs didn’t require interviews (and I missed about seven year of working) but hey I can only do what I can. I have no experience in anything, and I am almost thirty.

It really sucks to be me at times…

Journal Entry February 5, 2015

I am trying to find myself…

So If you have any idea where I went, that would be great.

I am always trying to find myself. My identity. Who I am, who do I want to be. It is such a hard question to figure out. I know what i want out of my life. Just to write, is that so hard to ask? I really want to just be happy and write. If I could do that, life would be so great. But, sadly it is not so simple.

I have never really sat down and asked myself who I am and who do i want to be. Saying that even makes no sense. But, it is what it is. I have yet to really find myself, so I find that I am constantly lost in this abyss that is my so called life. I really hate it because I know that there is greatness in me, I just can’t seem to be able to get outside my head for more than three seconds. I want to get better so much that I live in the past trying to figure out what I did wrong.

The thing is, the past always seems to be what gets me in the wrong mood. I want to write about my experiences with bipolar disorder, but I can’t get my thoughts straight. It becomes so hard to just write because this story really means so much to me. So where can I go from here? Do I move on or muddle through this.

I really fucking hate this feeling. I want to be great, and maybe someday i will. Or the real thing.. I could end up in the hospital or even worse dead. Please God help me find my way. It would mean the world to me…

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoChris Barbalis