My Heart is Heavy

My heart feels so heavy in my chest. It weighs so much I feel like it will drop to my feet by the start of next week.

I’m not sure if second hand trauma is a real term or not but I think it’s what I’m experiencing.

**I am going to be talking about suicide so if this topic is triggering for you please do not read. Take care of yourself first! **

Last week my neighbor killed himself. His girlfriend found him in the shed in the middle of the night. She screamed so loudly she woke up my boyfriend, me and many of our neighbors.

The next day was very difficult for me. I did not know him, we never spoke, but experiencing the aftermath of his actions was very intense. My boyfriend and I stayed up until all of the first responders left.

I started to feel better about what had happened until last night. Last night our neighbor was outside sobbing in her backyard. This weekend is the viewing and the celebration of life so I think she is really struggling with those events coming up.

Hearing her pain made it hard for me to sleep and has made today difficult to get through. All day I’ve had trouble focusing at work because of what I heard last night.

I’m a very sensitive person so hearing everything going on weighs heavy on my heart. I can’t get in to speak to my therapist for a while so writing a blog post is the next best thing.

This weekend I need to focus on my mental health and get myself to a better place in my mind. I want to relax, clean up my house and eat good food. I think exercising would also be good in a situation like this.

I’m sorry to put my second hand trauma on your shoulders.

Have you ever experienced somebody else’s traumatic experience? How did you cope with that?

If not, what are you doing lately to take care of your mental health?

Distracting Depression

When our brains get so focused on one negative thing, it can be really hard to stop letting those thoughts spiral you into a pit of despair.

For me, my brain has a few cassette tapes that it plays on repeat for me when I’m really feeling depressed or anxious. Some of my mental illness’s favorite are “Nobody Loves You: An Unromantic Song for the Lonely,” “Megan’s a Failure (She Can’t Do Anything Right)” and “Let’s Lay in Bed Forever, Nobody would Miss Me.”

I have had some really negative thoughts spinning in my mind for the past few months but I found out that they were not true. Which is somehow always surprising to me when my anxious thoughts are false. Anybody else feel the same?

Lately I have been dealing with the repercussions of my action regarding that situation and I’m feeling totally awful about it. I let my anxious thoughts cloud my reality. I have been letting my fear of change get to me too.

Sometimes I have to disconnect my mind and focus on something else. I have to distract my depression and anxiety to make it be quiet.

What I often do as a distraction is to do something that I can be completely immersed in. Whether it’s studying Japanese (日本語を勉強する), watching one of my favorite movies (“Mulan” always helps), exercising or petting my cats; it makes a difference most of the time.

The reason I began studying Japanese was to distract myself from suicidal thoughts in 2018. It’s similar to why I became obsessed with makeup in 2016 to distract myself from even more severe suicidal thoughts.

I knew Japanese would take full brain power and determination to learn. I had to learn two alphabets plus be able to at least recognize basic kanji (they’re the more complex looking symbols). Studying the alphabets was the easy part too! On top of that all of the grammar and vocabulary makes it quite challenging.

Being able to practice on Duolingo, do lessons on YouTube and watch subtitled anime to hear how Japanese is spoken naturally makes me happy.

I have always enjoyed learning languages even though I’m not fluent in anything but English. I took Spanish and French in high school then German in college. I found German to be quite difficult since it was my first non-romantic language that I studied and I didn’t feel like I had enough time to devote to really understanding it.

How do you distract your mind from depression/mania/anxious thoughts/OCD tendencies? Please leave me a comment!

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Does Mental Illness = Weakness?

This weekend was very difficult for me. My mental illness had me in its grip tight which kept me in bed for Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and about 75 percent of Sunday.

My boyfriend and I were butting heads which really made me anxious. I was having so many worries because of our argument that it made things worse.

He is a very introverted person so sometimes he needs an entire day to re-energize. He told me that he needed alone time this weekend to recharge and spend time with his friends who he doesn’t see very often. In true Megan fashion, I freaked out.

I plunged into my anxious thoughts so deeply that I thought I might get sick. I worried fervently about whether this was the end of our relationship. Whether he didn’t love me anymore. Whether he wanted to find somebody better than me who could meet every single need of his without fail.

My mental illness often makes me feel weak. That if I didn’t have these nagging thoughts that led me to staying in bed for hours, flipping out over a change of plans and crying a lot.

I feel like I should be stronger.

That I should be able to tackle my mental illness to the ground because I don’t fall for its bullshit anymore. That I should be able to rebound quickly or just stand strong after my intense sensitivity teams up with my anxiety to spiral me down into the arms of depression.

If I was stronger I wouldn’t lose an entire weekend because my feelings are hurt and my anxiety is making it 50 times worse.

But I can’t do those things.

I am too weak to overcome my mental illness.

I always ask for your opinion at the end so please leave me a comment! Does your mental illness make you feel weak too?

I Jump to Conclusions like an Olympian

If jumping to conclusions was a sport, I would be competing in the Olympics. See you all next year in Tokyo 😉 !

When something bad happens like I make a mistake or I’m having an argument with somebody, my anxiety launches me to the worst possible conclusion. I get hurt, put on my jet pack and zoom off far away from reality!

My anxiety has always influenced my reactions to something that has either hurt or scared me. It takes me from the actual situation and sucks me into my mind where it tells me that something horrible is about to happen.

“Megan, you’re so stupid, why would you even say that? Everyone now knows how dumb you are.”

“Megan, why would you do that? Now they hate you! They never want to speak to you or see you again.”

When I get like this I hide. I hide away in my room if I’m at home, I hide in my office at work or hiding can be me not speaking to anybody for a while. I do this out of guilt and fear that everybody hates me.

I also jump to the worst possible possibility when I’m reading too deeply into something. My mind tells me that “they’re doing that because nobody wants to be near you” or “this is happening because you’re a terrible person that nobody likes.”

I know it’s all rooted in anxiety which intensifying the fears I’ve held on to all my life. But when you but an ant under a magnifying glass, it can look pretty damn big.

In therapy I’m working on not jumping to conclusion so fast. I’m trying to take time in my thought process and attempt to assess reality (which can be really difficult).

If you struggle with jumping to conclusions, is there any tips that you have on how to work through them and return to reality?

You are all such strong individuals, I love reading the posts on this blog. It absolutely makes me feel less alone in my mental illness.

The Ups & Downs of Being Mentally Ill

I have not written on here for a while because of how up and down my mental health has been. Especially over the past week, I have had some really low days. On Saturday I couldn’t get out of bed,  shower or muster the energy to open Netflix to watch a movie to calm my anxiety.

My first post on here was about how my mental health was in a good place. For months I felt really good! I didn’t have any suicidal thoughts or urges to hurt myself in any way. I had energy, I felt that things were finally going my way.

Sure I still had my depression and anxiety but I felt that I was in control instead of them controlling me.

Then all of a sudden the tables turned (or the turn tables, if you’re a fan of The Office).

My brain decided to tell me all sorts of horrible things it knows will make me fall to my knees. It went from whispering to shouting in the last few days that the world would be better without me in it. That nobody at all would miss me but rather breathe a sigh of relief.

Writing that out makes me cringe but from reading the posts on here, I know I’m not the only person who is feeling or has felt this way.

When I’ve been doing well and then my mental illness tackles me to the ground without warning, I’m taken off guard. I have to remember how to handle these situations. How do I calm myself down when I’m shaking with anxiety? How do I stop these negative thoughts from drowning me? Why don’t I have a drop of energy?

I have my eyes looking forward to therapy today where I hope I can get myself situated again.

I hope that if you’re going through these ups and downs too, you can find peace and make it through this challenging time.

Stay strong, everyone!

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.

Falling Back Into Depression

A month ago I wrote about how I wasn’t feeling depressed, that I was able to feel happy and be productive (check it out here). It was really great while it lasted but I have started falling back down into the hole of depression.

It hit me yesterday evening, just tripping me up. I began to lose control over my emotions  during a stupid little thing with my boyfriend. I began to cry, something I often do when I feel out of control and when I feel like I have done something wrong. I cried even though he tried to tell me everything was fine but that voice in my head told me otherwise.

I woke up this morning figuring yesterday was just a fluke, that everything would be better today. I was very much wrong. My brain kept conjuring up feelings of guilt and telling me that my boyfriend doesn’t love me anymore because I am the way I am. I began sobbing, shouting into my bed that everything is all my fault. That it is my fault he is unhappy and that I am ruining my relationship even though this isn’t true. We have been together for nearly 2 years and are planning to live together in 2019.

In that fit of sobbing I knew my brain felt weird. That something wasn’t quite right, something was off. I felt depression grabbing me, dragging me back down into the imaginary hole where it lives. I’m back to where I was a few months ago. Feeling empty, sad, lazy and that I am not good enough for anyone or anything.

It is such a stark contrast from where I was yesterday afternoon. Depression gives zero f***s about when it wants to punch you in my stomach and drag you back to where you were trying to escape.

I feel disappointed in myself to be back in this depressive state. It feels unfair that I have to return to this state of being after being truly happy for over a month.

Friendship, Reignited

To those of us who’ve spent the majority of our lives struggling with anxiety and depression, one of the biggest obstacles to overcome is isolation. For me personally, this wasn’t actually an issue until I became a parent, because as someone with very little family, I always felt as though I needed a barrier of friends around me for protection. Fortunate as I was to have found those people when I was younger, I came to find, after entering adulthood, that friendship wasn’t quite what it seemed before.

What was once a crutch for my fear of loneliness, has now become an a burden of sorts, for I cannot seem to get back to being the kind of person who can actually maintain friendships. I was the type of friend that was always there when you needed them, but was also the one who failed to get invitations to parties and such. I’m the person who will tell you what you need to hear, no matter how badly it’s not wanted, and while I’m conscious of it as a flaw, I still tend to categorize it as a strength.

Recently I reconnected with an old friend, someone who’s been through some of the worst moments of my life with me, someone I’ve known for 16 years. There was a time when we were inseparable, never going days let alone years without talking, but we haven’t seen each other in about a year and a half. We’re both nearing our thirties yet we live completely opposite lives – mine revolving around my husband and daughter, and her still being single and living at home with her family. While it’s difficult to relate to her now in some ways, it’s also refreshing to talk to someone with a little bit of outside perspective, because sometimes that’s exactly what we need.

The moment that I basically gave up on everyone in my life was shortly after my daughter was born, nearly no one I’ve ever called a friend has even met her, and I got tired of always hearing the same old line, “Let’s make plans soon!” or “We’ll have to get together soon!”. Eventually you just stop believing it, seeing it for what it really is, a formality to lessen their guilt over not even remotely being there for me in any way at all. I began pushing everyone away, and I can’t honestly say that I regret it very much. It seemed like the mature thing to do, just accept it was all talk, let everyone off the hook, and focus on my daughter, since no one else was interested in being part of her life.

Back to now though, I’m relieved to have someone I can talk to outside of my husband, because while he’s my best friend, sometimes a woman just needs the ear of another woman to feel heard and understood. And let’s be honest, there’s just some things that men don’t want to talk or hear about, and I try not to overburden him with all of my anxieties and stresses, as he’s carrying enough on his shoulder trying to keep food on our plates and a roof over our heads.

This time around, I’m going to try to force myself to stay in touch with her, because at least she knows the true me and has been there through some of the defining moments of my life, good and bad, and doesn’t need explanation for my feelings and thoughts. We have plans for tomorrow and I have to admit, I’m more excited than I’ve been in years. She’s genuinely thrilled to spend time with my daughter, and what could warm a mother’s heart more than an old friend bonding with your child? Right now, it feels priceless.