Depression While in Quarantine

I’ve been working from home for about a month now. As I hope many of you are, I am staying home about 95% of my weeks, the 5% is just to go out for groceries and pick up takeaway orders from some local restaurants.

Being home all of this time has made the voice of  my depression loud and critical. Because I have been depressed, I haven’t felt like doing anything besides laying around. I say to myself that I should do something, even just one thing, but often times that is a fleeting thought.

Depression tells me that during this time at home I should be productive. I should be exercising in some capacity twice a day because I have gained a little weight. I should be cleaning the house and doing home improvements that I have put off instead of playing The Sims 4. I should be posting on my makeup Instagram account or I will lose all of my followers I have worked so hard to get.

On Tuesday it peaked and I had a minor freak out. My boyfriend kept asking what was wrong, I would say nothing and he would reply, you’re lying. I was lying. Saying that nothing is wrong and that I’m ok is my most told lie.

I did open up though. It was hard to express myself in that moment. I’m a writer, I find it difficult to express myself in speech compared to writing it out.

He was supportive of me and said it was ok. That I don’t need to always be productive, that it’s ok to play The Sims.

I know that I would give the same advice to somebody else but I could never tell myself that.

This weekend I hope to get at least a couple things done to quell the demands of my depression. I hope when Saturday arrives I will have the motivation and strength to follow through.

How has your mental health been lately? Are you feeling things for intensely than you normally would or have you become numb to it all?

The Re-release of “The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir”

I have been working on getting back to this point. I am announcing that once again, The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir is finally available to buy once again on Amazon!

I have been working on getting back to this point. I am announcing that once again, The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir is finally available to buy once again on Amazon!

Working on getting my memoir republished all has been a humbling experience. So many hurdles came with republishing my memoir, but I learned a lot throughout the tribulations of these experiences. It is the same with being Bipolar–it is a learning experience. That is the essence of my book!

I will link to my author page below. If you purchased the first version of this book, you would notice that there is a different cover now. I wanted a fresh start with the cover design. I have put my book on Amazon in print and digital, if you want to purchase my book, please do from my author website page because there is a digital version of the old book still on Amazon. There are some old copies in print too, but those will not be under my name. I hope that the end of the week, the other digital copy from my publisher, finally takes off their edition. It takes time. Please purchase my with the cover above with the raven. I will be setting up some special offers for the re-release on Amazon!

Please purchase my memoir from my author website here!

Always Keep Fighting

James

A Decade Mental Health Reflection

10 years is a really freaking long time. Looking back I think this may have been the most transformative decade of my life because so many monumental things happened.

I graduated from high school and college. I got my first part time job at Wendy’s (a fast food restaurant in America) and first full time job (that I reluctantly quit). I fell in love twice, lost my virginity, had my heart broken many times and bought a house with my boyfriend of nearly 3 years.

**I’m going to be writing about self harm and suicide. If this may be triggering for you, I suggest waiting for my next post. Talking about self harm is triggering for me still but I want to talk about it openly and honestly.**

Self-Harm

During this decade I learned about depression and anxiety, finally labeling how I had felt for most of my life. I cut myself for the first time in 2011 in my college dorm room because I felt an overwhelming sense of depression and loneliness. This action impacted my life quite a lot. I used it to cope with my mental illness when I was at my lowest points for many years.

You can still see some of those early scars on my arms in the right light. I usually notice them in the summer when the sun shines the brightest. It takes me back to all of the pain I felt in those moments, when I thought this was the only way I could survive each day.

Therapy

Back in 2014 I was in my last year of university, I had returned to the main campus after spending a year in a big city and abroad in England. I struggled so much to readjust to life on campus but I couldn’t. I couldn’t focus, I had no energy and no drive to attend classes or do my assignments.

This brought me to seeing my first therapist, Jennifer. She was the total opposite of me personality wise, she was straight-laced, practical and put together while I walked into her office a total wreck. She was a counselor at my university that I saw every other week. She helped me take those first steps to sorting through my mental illness which lead me to the therapist I have been seeing since September 2016.

I love my current therapist. She has been with me through my very darkest times struggling with intense suicidal thoughts and daily self harm. I saw her twice a week for months until I got a grip on myself. Once I finally made it to once a week I was so proud of myself. I now see her more or less on an as needed basis which I never thought would be possible.

Suicide

After a bad breakup from my first love, my life was in shambles. Before this I had occasionally had suicidal thoughts but they were not even close to the level of intensity these were. “Kill yourself” was on repeat in my mind constantly. I couldn’t have a moment of silence without hearing that phrase.

I never attempted suicide, I think because I had such a strong team of professionals supporting me. My therapist, doctor and psychiatrist were helping me, I didn’t want to let them down by dying. And we were all working to find a medicine that would help me.

Since being on medicine I haven’t had intense suicidal thoughts. I have them occasionally  if I’m at a low point but other than that I am ok.

I’m sorry this post is so long but I wanted to write up a brief bit of my mental health journey from this past decade. In 2010 I wouldn’t have expected for all of this to happen. Life surprises us, it surprises me on a regular basis.

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Social Anxiety and Me

Starting a new job can be challenging for anyone but when mental illness is tossed into the mix, things can be even more difficult.

I am about to start the fourth week at my new job which involves doing marketing for a local charity. Of course during my first week I was nervous, you never know what your coworkers will be like after they aren’t obligated to be polite anymore.

Positive to Anxious

Everybody was very nice during my first week. I got to chat with a lot of people my age which was really great. I didn’t talk to many of my coworkers at my previous job so I had a lot of culture shock which is odd to say about a new work environment.

Week 2 was not as easy as week 1. I had become suffocated by my anxiety, unable to speak to anyone unless they started the conversation. Even then I would try to end the conversation or leave the room entirely to find a space to be by myself which is hard. I used to have my own office but now I share a workspace with 3 other people.

When I did get time alone, I was spinning in my chair, pacing the floors trying to get my head to relax. One day I had to hold my coffee cup with both hands to drink because I was shaking so badly. I asked myself, “Megan, what the hell?! It’s just a new job, how is your anxiety this bad?”

Here Comes the Depression!

That Friday as I walked out the door of the building into the chilly evening, my anxiety plummeted into depression. All weekend I had no interest in anything, I was completely numb. I kept myself busy by constantly cleaning and cooking so I wouldn’t fall pray to my usual answer to depression: laying in bed for hours.

My boyfriend kept thinking I was upset with him or that he had done something wrong. This is the first time he has truly seen my depression first hand since we moved in together. I had to explain that it wasn’t his fault, that it was the new job.

To help I asked if we could watch a “Harry Potter” movie together. I chose the fourth movie, “The Goblet of Fire” which is my favorite one! We got out our toy wands and he put on my special Harry glasses which made the experience so much more fun.

My Therapist Saves the Day

Thankfully I met with my therapist the next day to talk everything out. I explained my fear that nobody would want to talk with me even if I initiated the conversation and that I was too nervous to make the first move.

She reassured me as always that they all just met me and that in time maybe I will make a friend or two. That would be pretty cool to have a new friend!

Her positive words and encouragement helped me get through my 3 days of work last week. I was able to speak to people and even begin conversations with my coworkers!

So progress? We shall see what this week brings, I never seem to know what my future has in store for me.

Have you had a similar experience? How to do deal with social anxiety?

I’m sorry this is so terribly long!!

TLDR: New job makes me anxious so I talked to my therapist. Last week was better than expected.

How Does One Fit In?

This is my second week at my new job and I am struggling to find my place there. During my first week everyone was friendly so I used a ton of energy interacting with them. I was exhausted at the end of each day because of it.

Now that it’s my second week I am trying to figure out how I can fit in despite my anxiety. Being new makes me even more nervous to speak to anybody. Today I couldn’t stop thinking that nobody liked me, that I won’t be good at my job and because my desk is in the basement office, I will be forgotten. I’ve already heard from multiple people that “they forgot I was here.” I thought, “Wow, great, cool, thanks for telling me how forgettable I am.”

At my last job I kept to myself most of the time. I didn’t talk to my coworkers very much and really only made connections with my supervisor. Whenever I was at staff meetings I rarely spoke unless I was spoken to or needed information from someone.

This is what I am accustomed to so I don’t know how to navigate this new environment. I don’t want to come off as antisocial or rude but I don’t know how to be my actual amiable self.

That is one of the interesting parts about anxiety, you keep to yourself because you’re anxious but people perceive it as stuck up.

Today I only had a conversation with one person. It was a really good one though! She is only training at my office so I will probably never see her again after her training is complete. But every time I consider opening my mouth to speak, I close it and scurry like a startled bunny back to my desk and put in my headphones.

How do you adjust to new situations? How do you put anxiety to the side?

Searching for Balance

Sorry I haven’t been so active here on the Bipolar Writer as I normally am. My life has been so out of whack that I can’t seem to find balance.

I have been coping with this imbalance by binge eating/overeating on a regular basis. Once I open my mouth, I have no idea when I will reach my limit. For the past three days I have felt incredibly bloated because of it which, of course, makes me feel depressed and critical of myself.

Each day I get angry with myself, saying, “Why can’t you just stop, Megan!? You’re not hungry, why are you eating again?”

The stresses of life have been chipping away at my mental health. I get home from work and am immediately overwhelmed by everything that I have to do. The daily chores get done but I feel like I can never get to the random tasks like pulling weeds outside or finally organizing my closet.

There aren’t enough hours in the day to work full time and keep my house the way I want to. Because I go nonstop after I get home from work, I feel like I don’t get to enjoy any Megan time. I want to be able to write again, go to the gym, do yoga with my cats and not worry that I have chores to do.

My anxiety kicks into gear when I start thinking about this sort of stuff.

How do you find balance in life? If you have achieved balance, do you have any good tips?

How Do I Be Positive?

Getting into a cycle of negative and pessimistic thoughts is so easy for me. I look at a situation and can pick out all of the insurmountable challenges.

Whether it’s related to work, writing, relationships or general life, I see life with a negative perspective. It’s like having permanent sunglasses on that prevent me from seeing the positive light shining all around me.

As I’ve written in some previous posts, I am in the process of moving which has been overwhelming. The house my boyfriend and I just purchased was left filthy. I am still shocked that people chose to live in such filthy conditions. The bathtub and dish washer are moldy, all three sinks are grimy, I don’t think they ever cleaned their dryer vent and I feel like I have to wash my hands every few minutes to feel clean.

My negative mindset says, “You’ll be cleaning up these people’s shit forever!” “You’re never going to feel clean in your own home.” “This house was a mistake.” “Why am you so lazy that you can’t clean everything in one go?”

I spoke with my therapist today. She suggested to take each task one step at a time. To compartmentalize instead of looking at the house as one giant task.

It’s hard to look at it positively though when you live in a negative thought cycle.

Do you struggle with negative thinking? How do you change your mindset to think positively?

Losing My Safe Space

Since 1997 when my parents built my family home, my room has been my special place. I am safe here among all that is familiar. My four walls stained with blue sticky tack from years of hanging posters up and my cozy bed that I share with my cats.

Whenever I am feeling anxious or depressed I have always had the freedom to come to my room. Once I lay down in my bed, I feel safe. I feel comfortable in every way.

As I’ve written in a post earlier this summer, I am moving out on my mom’s house. My boyfriend and I are creating a home together starting with signing all the papers next week.

Am I depressed and anxious because of the change? Hell yes.
Am I already longing for the comfort of my home? You bet.
Do I already miss my cats? More than I am willing to admit!

This is a big change for me. Big changes and me usually means a roller coaster of anxiety then deep valleys of depression. The cycle eventually stops once I get used to the change but it’s getting through it that is the hard part.

What has always helped me through those big changes was the sanctuary of my room. If I had a bad day at school I would rush up to my room to play with my Barbies, dive into a good book or write a little story.

I laid in my bed during countless nights when I was so anxious I couldn’t sleep and the days when I couldn’t find the energy to stay awake due to my depression. My four walls have seen it all.

My room has been my safety blanket for so long that I fear losing it. I’m trying my best to cherish every moment I have left in here. But the more I think about it, the sadder I get.

How do you handle big changes? Is your room your safe space? If not, where is?

 

Also sorry for not posting super often recently. I am sure I will have a lot to write about in these upcoming months as I attempt to adjust to my new life.

Nostalgia is Comforting

In my endless YouTube watching I recently stumbled upon a cooking video starring Christy Carlson Romano (Wren from “Even Stevens” and Kim from “Kim Possible”) and her “Kim Possible” co-star Will Fridel (he is Ron Stoppable and is also famous for playing Eric Matthews on “Boy Meets World”).

In that episode Christy asks why everyone so nostalgic crazed now? And Will hits the nail on the head. He responds, “I think the world and our country are in a really interesting time…(nostalgia) is comfort food, a longing for a simpler time.”

As his character Ron Stoppable would say, BOO-YAH!

That’s exactly it. July was a difficult time for my mental health and that seems to be continuing into August. Before it was a lot of anxiety, now I’m crossing over into the dark ocean of depression.

As a millennial at the ripe age of 26, I find a lot of comfort in nostalgia. I think that goes for many of my peers as well. When I’m feeling very depressed I will always put on “Mulan,” which is probably the first movie I saw in cinema. That movie pulls me up to the surface for a breath of air and keeps me treading water for a while.

I also always go back to reading “Harry Potter” when I’m feeling depressed. When I was in university and moved to a different campus without my close friends, I watched “Heroes” and read 3 Harry Potter books within the first month of school.

Nothing is new after consuming this comfort food, as Will Fridel calls it, yet there is something warm about it. It’s like eating a hot bowl of chili in the middle of January (which is very cold where I am from). Your insides feel cozy and you can’t help but relax.

It’s exactly how I feel when I am reading “The Goblet of Fire” or watching “Digimon.” I can wrap up in the familiarity of it where I can be safe and cozy. In those fantasy worlds of my childhood, nobody can hurt me.

My mental illness cannot touch me when I immerse myself in those worlds.

What are your thoughts about nostalgia and its correlation with mental health? Are you someone who finds comfort in nostalgia?

This topic is very interesting to me. I am considering writing a book about how nostalgia and fandoms effect people’s mental health and why those sorts of things are often beneficial to people with mental illness. (Please leave me a comment about this because I haven’t told anybody about this idea and I would love some feedback.)

The $2 Patreon Challenge

ask a lot from the followers of this blog. Maybe too much. I about to publish my first book with a legit indie publisher and The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir is becoming a reality and will be published soon. Update: I am in my final edits and working on my cover with my artist. It sounds like everything will be done on 8/15 as a tentative completion date. I need help continue to be able to write full-time.

I ask a lot from the followers of this blog. Maybe too much. I about to publish my first book with a legit indie publisher and The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir is becoming a reality and will be published soon. Update: I am in my final edits and working on my cover with my artist. It sounds like everything will be done on 8/15 as a tentative completion date. I need help continue to be able to write full-time.

The last count for this blog 12,400 followers and I love that so many people are a part of this collaborative blogging journey. I want to challenge my followers to subscribe to my Patreon account for the minimum $2 tier. I know for so many, myself included, we have so many responsibilities when it comes to this mental illness life. The sign up is easy, and I offer a lot, even at the lowest tier. There will also be a special blog post for those that become patrons in June and a release of a never before seen poem for those who join this week.

$2 is a lot of money, but in reality, it’s just a cup of coffee actually less. I would love for people to join for higher tiers but all I am asking is the $2 a month from half my followers will help me to finally be able to add a podcast and other mental health advocacy things to this blog life t-shirts and The Bipolar Writer merch.

With that said, I hope I can get many of you to rise to the challenge. If you can’t I understand, if you can’t subscribe, please share this post. It would mean the world to me. The process is a simple one, just click the link below and sign up and subscribe to a tier. If you have questions feel free to ask!

Become a Patron!https://c6.patreon.com/becomePatronButton.bundle.js