Today hasn’t been the best day mental-health wise. I just woke up around an hour ago and it took me until now to drag myself out of bed because I honestly just didn’t want to move, let alone get up and face the day.
Yesterday wasn’t a good day either. I’m not sure what was going on, but I felt sick and exhausted the whole day. I did make myself go to a group meeting yesterday (a recovery from religion support group). My husband is helping to lead the group and it is fascinating to hear everyone’s personal stories about religion and how specific forms of indoctrination affected each of them differently. Some of those who come truly have experienced abuse at the hands of religious leaders and organizations, much like I have in my past (mostly due to my messed up family).
The meeting lasted almost three hours, which socially exhausted me. Maybe some of you don’t experience social exhaustion, but when you are autistic, being social takes so much focus and attention to do it “right”, that it always leaves me burned out and just wanting to go home and nap. Add to that, the social anxiety I had about going to the group in the first place, and I guess it is no wonder that I felt like crap both physically and mentally most of the day.
I think today I’m just going to try to take it easy and recover from the exhaustion as much as I can. I need to have my precious time alone and indulge in some distractions to take my mind off real life. I definitely welcome hearing from you guys though!
I saw my therapist this past weekend and it went ok, but I honestly think sometimes my therapist gets kind of annoyed or frustrated with me. I feel like she sometimes wants to see more progress than I’ve made, especially in the self-esteem/self-loathing area. To be fair, I haven’t always been the best about following up on actual practices to feel better about myself. I have done affirmations and things like that in the past, but I always end up kind of feeling ridiculous and giving up pretty soon when I don’t see immediate results…even though I know that immediate results aren’t likely.
At the end of the session, the therapist gave me the homework assignment of looking up some affirmations that I genuinely liked and related to and giving at least a few of those a try every day, so here goes. I did a google search and found some affirmations I actually kind of related to on a Huffpost article. Here are the ones I’ve actually decided to work with:
- I am courageous and I stand up for myself.
- I possess the qualities needed to be extremely successful.
- I forgive those who have harmed me in my past and peacefully detach from them.
- My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil.
- Many people look up to me and recognize my worth; I am admired.
- I am a powerhouse; I am indestructible.
- I am conquering my illness; I am defeating it steadily each day.
Most of these spoke to me because they were just simple and straightforward, or because they address issues I deal with constantly (like health issues or past trauma). #5 may seem a bit conceited at first glance, but I think it is important for those of us who feel really bad about ourselves to realize that others don’t share that negative view. If any of these affirmations speak to you like they did to me, feel free to use them for yourself!
My recent renewed passion for baby dolls and stuffed animals has me wondering as it often has, whether I have some kind of suppressed motherhood longing or something like that. Many people have asked me why I don’t have kids of my own, and that is a subject that has several dimensions.
First off, I’m not sure I CAN have kids of my own. When I was 10 years old I sustained some internal damage due to being hit and run over by a delivery truck while crossing the street. It was a scary experience, partly because when I woke up in the hospital I had no control of my legs. They were shaking and moving on their own, but I had no motor control of them. Luckily that didn’t last too long, but the doctors did mention that the internal damage done might cause me issues down the road, including having children.
Perhaps since I always thought I might not be able to have kids, I convinced myself early I didn’t want any? It is also highly suspected that I have endometriosis, which can greatly affect fertility. My husband and I haven’t always been very careful and there are plenty of times I could have potentially gotten pregnant but didn’t, so I figured it just wasn’t in the cards.
Another reason I have not sought out having my own children is my desire to not pass down some of the problems I have struggled with my whole life. Autism and bipolar run heavily in my immediate family – everyone has bipolar or a mood disorder to some extent. Many in my family also share some of my physical ailments that cause me so much agony, making me fear those might be genetic as well. I wouldn’t wish what I have had to live through on anyone, and certainly not on an innocent child.
Lastly, when it comes to the idea of giving birth, it has always terrified me. I’m not sure if I died in childbirth in a past life or what happened, but even as a little child the thought of having a baby terrified me. I always knew somehow that it would be extremely painful and dangerous, even though I never saw it firsthand and no one told me that as far as I remember. I still wonder to this day why the thought of giving birth scared me so much even back then.
I did lean heavily towards considering adoption when my husband and I were fostering, but we never found the right match. When we had to quit fostering due to my increasingly poor health, I kind of gave up on my dream of adopting. I still sometimes daydream about adopting, but with my mental and physical health the way it is, I just don’t think it would necessarily be a good idea.
Today I see my psychiatrist again. These appointments make me nervous because there is always worry that my meds might get changed and I might have a bad reaction to another one, like I did the Cymbalta. I also often wonder what to share with him. I want to be as honest and open as possible, so I get the best treatment, but I also sometimes have a tendency to overshare or over-explain things that might not be pertinent.
I figure the things that I should share with him most this visit are my “episodes” of rage and paranoia the past couple months, even though they only lasted a few days to a week each. I have actually had a couple “episodes” of feeling almost hopeful and optimistic recently, so that is good I think. It was really odd that during one of these times of having at least a few days in a row of feeling pretty good, I had one of the worst days I have had in a while, where I was so horribly depressed and so full of despair that I sat on the couch holding a bottle of pills and wishing I could take them all and maybe not have to wake up again, but of course, I know that wouldn’t be the right thing to do. Especially to my husband. Oddly enough, the very next day I was back to feeling fairly decent overall.
I also always wonder how much to address my physical problems with the psychiatrist. After all, he isn’t a doctor who treats those conditions, but those conditions greatly affect my depression and anxiety levels. When the physical pain is extremely bad for a few days in a row, that tends to bring on a kind of despair that is hard to cope with. It blackens my view of my entire future and makes me honestly feel sometimes that life isn’t worth living if you have to be in this kind of pain. I probably should take my Tramadol (opioid pain killers) more during those times, but I am afraid of becoming dependent on it if I take it too often.
Well, thank you for listening to me overthink things as I always do lol.
Recently I have been having quite a bit of success selling my artwork and I am so thankful! It means the world to me to know that people love my art and want to support my creative efforts! I do have something special I am doing with the proceeds I get from my art and I wanted to share that, so that if you are purchasing my art, you will know how you are helping me in multiple ways.
As many of you know if you follow my blog regularly, due to worsening chronic mental and physical health conditions, it has been hard for me to work outside the home for a while. I am hoping to get my SSDI benefits at some point in the future, but it can take years for that to happen due to backlog. I in no way feel bad for going after these benefits since they are not charity or welfare, but instead are the very benefits I paid into for years. I think it is ridiculous how long many of us have to wait to get a real person to make a decision for benefits we worked hard for over many years.
Due to my trouble working, I constantly fear that were something to happen to my husband, I would eventually end up homeless once the little bit of life insurance ran out. It is a terrifying thought that haunts me every single day. I am not guaranteed eventual approval of my SSDI claim, nor do I have any way to know for sure when I will find out since I am still waiting for a hearing date to even be scheduled.
So, I figured that instead of simply living in fear every single day without taking any real action to plan for the future, that I could take small steps to try to do what I can to provide any measure of security for myself. I have decided to start saving every bit of money I get from my art sales and book sales, to hopefully help build a nest egg to provide a little extra help if someday I need it. I have also been adding extra cash here and there that I manage to save to the “future fund”.
Yesterday I was supposed to go to therapy, but I was feeling really sick and ended up calling off. Whenever I have to do that, I always end up feeling bad, like it is my fault that I have these health problems and often have to cancel appointments or activities.
Honestly, nowadays I don’t even schedule much of anything outside of medical appointments because I would rather not plan anything than have to feel like I’m letting myself or others down if I’m too sick, depressed, or anxious to go. It really isn’t a fun way to live, and it frustrates me. I often feel like I’ve almost given up on living a normal life and that saddens me.
On the plus side, I am fortunate to have a supportive husband and still have a place to live and food to eat even though I am too sick to work a regular job. I really don’t know how people like me make it without support, especially since it can often take years to get any help from disability. If I had tons of money, I would spend it helping out those who are in similar predicaments, whether they struggle with autism, mental illness, physical illness, or a combination of all of the above like me.
Yesterday I had the most fun I’ve had in a long while. Being chronically ill doesn’t allow you to do much that is just pure fun and silly, especially when being unable to work also makes you chronically poor. However, yesterday I pushed myself a bit and my husband and I went to a local family fun arcade. We played video games, pinball, and silly carnival-style games. It was a blast. By the time we were done, I was sore and exhausted, but it was worth it. Even though I woke up feeling like I had been run over today (after sleeping about 13 hours), I wouldn’t change a thing.
At my last psychiatrist visit, the doctor encouraged me to “have as much fun as possible”. I guess he could tell that it was sorely lacking from my life nowadays and it seemed like he was pushing it as a possible antidote (or at least a brief reprieve) from the crippling depression I deal with every single day. Because of this, my husband and I are making an effort to find little ways to include more fun and silliness in our lives. It may not “cure” anything, but it does help improve my mental outlook at least a little bit.
* Art by Maranda Russell