Transparent vs Whiny

This morning I woke up thinking about my online reputation and what I would like it to be. When others read my poetry and personal blog posts (especially the ones having to do with mental illness, autism, or chronic pain/chronic illness) the things I strive to represent are honesty, openness, relatable vulnerability, realistic hope when possible, comforting solidarity, the healing power of sharing our pain, and the courage and inspiration to keep going, even when things feel hopeless.

However, since I myself struggle from mental illness and chronic pain, being transparent and honest means that often my viewpoint comes across as dark and bleak. I don’t try to hide that or tone it down when it happens, because to me, that is part of being honest and vulnerable enough to share what the experience of dealing with those issues is like on a daily basis. Putting a happy face on it would be lying.

My only worry is that sometimes the reality of dealing with daily mental and physical pain is that you can start to sound whiny. Part of me says, “well, of course, you are going to sound whiny now and then if you are in pain all the time! No shit!”, but for some reason our culture makes whining out to be such a negative thing that most of us want to avoid that look at all costs.

Maybe we as readers and audiences have to decide rather we really want full honesty and openness (even if it includes some whining and negativity) or if we pretend to want the truth, but in reality just want a short, scrubbed clean, feel good version of life. I know which I prefer, but I guess everyone has to decide for themselves.

Dragging Myself through Christmas

2 days until Christmas, and I don’t think I could feel less festive if I tried. I’m dragging myself through each day, not really wanting to get out of bed or do anything. I’ve tried to break the depressive funk by making myself go to a couple holiday events in the past week, but the deep sadness I feel will not be pushed away or covered for long.

I’m still dealing with a lot of hurt from recent events with my husband, and while we are working on healing and doing therapy, the wounds are deep, especially for a heart like mine that struggles to trust so much in the first place due to a long history of trauma and abuse. Sometimes I despair that I’ll never be able to truly trust again.

My heart aches. My body and mind are worn out. I feel little hope. I wish I could report better things.

Life Update – Health, Exciting News!

It’s been a minute since I just did a life update, so let’s take a minute to do so! I’ll break it up into categories for ease:

Physical health – Thank God, the Topamax increase seems to have helped the migraines quite a bit. They aren’t gone entirely, but have been much better lately. Still having some digestive issues, so I’m seeing the GI doctor soon. We suspect Gastroparesis or some other motility disorder might be at play. I’ve already been following a gastroparesis diet and it has been helping my symptoms, but we won’t know till I get a test obviously. That condition is really common with Ehlers Danlos though.

Mental health – Uh, all over the place. Anxiety like crazy. Kinda hyper. Hard to concentrate and focus…that one has been a real pain lately. Even getting stuff like this done isn’t easy. My brain wants to go in fifty million directions, none of them what they are supposed to be doing. Depression too, but kind of medium level. Like just the blahs. Apathetic. Need constant positive stimuli to not start feeling blah again, but that isn’t reality, is it?

My writing – Finally, some good news!!! First off, I was contacted by a music professor at Central Washington University in Washington state who wants to use one of my poems to set to music for a project she and her colleagues and a few students are working on. They will compose music for the poem (for instrument and voice) and then put together a concert music video for it (because covid and all I assume) and it will be released in April. Of course, I will be credited for my part in the project, and will share the video when I can.

Also, I just got an email today that the educational resources website Twinkl has chosen my blog to be one of their Top Autism Blogs of 2020! They get pretty high traffic on their site, so it is quite an honor and I’m psyched about it!

And the Mood Disorder Strikes Again…

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I’ve had a really bad couple days. The day before yesterday I had a total meltdown because I couldn’t get a painting right. It was kind of the last straw, as I have been struggling terribly with irritability, anxiety, ocd, and anger lately. At first I thought it was just a phase or one of the mood swings that mood disorders bring, but it has lasted a long time now and I am starting to wonder if it has to do with the new med I have been put on (Lamictal). The irritability and worsening ocd definitely seem to have started as I began taking higher doses of the drug.

Yesterday all the anger, irritation, and anxiety turned into depression and I cried a lot, felt helpless and hopeless, and entertained some pretty dark thoughts. I was in one of those moods where I felt utterly worthless and felt that no one liked me or cared about me, I even felt like my husband was sick of me. That was probably projection as I’M sick of being around me in this state.

Today I’m a bit better (no crying yet), but still feeling low and exhausted. I haven’t been sleeping well lately at all, which isn’t helping. Just not in a good place right now.

Not Taking Your Psych Meds

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Maybe it is the bipolar, but I tend to go through cycles where I stop taking my antidepressant or bipolar medicine because I start thinking either it doesn’t really work for me, I decide I would rather try natural alternatives, or I start thinking that the new agers are right and the pharmaceutical industry is trying to poison us all or trying to block or destroy our pineal gland with the medicine so that we can’t have real, meaningful spiritual experiences (or so that we can’t exercise any innate psychic powers – whatever they may be).

During these times, I do at least taper off. I’m not stupid. I don’t do the cold turkey thing. And honestly, I DON’T notice much of a difference with some of the meds, even after being off them for a month or more. However, I do notice a difference with the antidepressant and I notice it quickly. I’m not sure sometimes though if it is really the medicine or my fear of going off of it since I have taken antidepressants for YEARS and feel almost dependent on them at this point.

Anyone else experience anything like this cycle of suspicion, doubt, and desire to be off the psych meds for good?

Struggling to Blog

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Lately I have really been struggling with motivation to blog. Due to a depressive slump, I’ve been having trouble with the desire to do much of anything, but blogging especially has fallen by the wayside.

It makes me feel bad because I truly do appreciate this community and love the interaction I get with all of you, but when the whole world feels dark, it is hard to even try to reach for some light.

I’m not sure if my current state is just a continuation of the depression I was already feeling, or if it is worsened by gradually switching mood stabilizers (Seroquel to Lamictal), but I am hoping the situation improves soon. I have only been on the Lamictal since Monday and am only on the first dosage level, with at least two increases planned, so maybe my brain is just struggling to adjust.

I’m hoping my passion for blogging will return eventually, but for now, I’m trying to hang in there. If I’m not as active as usual, all of this stuff is probably why.

Quarantine Depression

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I’m struggling right now mentally and emotionally. Here are some of the reasons:

  • I found out yesterday that my psychiatrist is retiring at the end of the month, so I have to start seeing someone new, beginning with my next appointment in June. I think one of the worst things is that I won’t get a chance to say goodbye and I really liked my current psychiatrist. He was weird, but in a good way. I feel anxiety and fatigue at the thought of having to start over with someone new and share all my issues from the beginning.
  • My husband is in a bad funk because of the quarantine. He desperately misses work and since school has been cancelled for the rest of the year, he won’t be able to get back to work until at least the next school year starts, if then. His constant low mood is making it more difficult for me to keep my head above water mentally-speaking.
  • I’m feeling lonely and disconnected, perhaps due to the quarantine? Although it is certainly a feeling I was familiar with far before all this madness began. Maybe the social distancing just heightens what was already there.
  • I have no desire to do anything. I don’t want to write this blog, but I am pushing through. I don’t want to do my normal housework, online work…any of it.