A Night Full of Nightmares

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Last night I had a bunch of nightmares. In fact, I woke up feeling like that was all I did all night – face some of my darkest fears. These nightmares didn’t feature vampires, ghosts, ax murderers, clowns, or spiders…they featured the person I love the most in the world, my husband.

In these dreams my husband turned cruel and cold. He stopped caring about me. He wanted to leave me or even kill me. The betrayals started small in the dreams, with him choosing friends over me and simply being uncaring and dismissive of my feelings, but they accelerated as the dreams went on and turned to him expressing extreme hatred towards me and even trying to stage an “accident” to get rid of me.

Let me say that these dreams ARE NOT representative of my husband’s treatment of me. We have been together 15 years and he has been wonderful. Caring, patient, understanding, loving, forgiving….all of these are adjectives that fit him perfectly. He always puts me first before anyone else, often, even before himself.

So why the bad dreams? My guess is PTSD. When you grow up in an unstable environment with mentally ill, abusive, and selfish people who often put their own desires before your needs, it fucks you up for life. You always feel unworthy. You always feel like the rug of security can be pulled out from beneath your feet at any time. You feel like you don’t deserve good things, and if you do happen to get love and affection, you are suspicious and paranoid about it. How I wish I could just forget the past.

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Hypersensitivity to Criticism

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Recently my therapist and I have been talking about and working on my hypersensitivity to criticism. I have always had some hypersensitivity to any kind of criticism or rebuke. As a kid, I was the one you could make cry by looking at me wrong or even gently scolding me. I still tear up over things like that, even though I wish I didn’t.

This inability to deal constructively with any kind of feeling of failure has haunted me throughout my adult life, especially in the work world. I think this fear of not living up to expectations is partly why I struggle with immense anxiety around any kind of authority figure (bosses, teachers, doctors, police, etc.) Many times this anxiety is so strong that I am almost struck dumb (probably a type of selective mutism), such as when I have had to go for job reviews or any other kind of personal evaluation.

I have noticed though that my hypersensitivity to criticism focuses mainly on 5 areas. If I am criticized on something outside of these 5 topics, I am likely to be able to shake it off better or not let it bother me in the first place. Here are the subjects I am referring to:

  1. My art or writing. I am extremely sensitive to any criticism about my art and writing. However, I think this one is fairly normal for creative types. We all put a bit of our heart and soul into the things we create, in a sense they are our “babies” and we gave birth to them. This does create problems for me when it comes to having the confidence to share my art and writing publicly, especially in person.
  2. My looks and weight. I have always felt that I was rather plain or average-looking, so I have a bit of an achilles heel here. I was bullied quite a bit in middle school when I gained some weight after my dad died, and although I lost the weight a couple years later, those mean words about being “fat” have stuck with me. I have always relied on my intelligence, not my looks, to get me anywhere. I am proud of that fact, but sometimes I wish I felt more confident about the way I look.
  3. Any accusation of laziness or incompetence. I think the laziness thing bothers me because my mom would accuse me of that all the time. “Lazy”, “good for nothing”, “useless”…words like that stick with you. As for the incompetence, it doesn’t even have to be someone else that says something. If I feel even slightly incompetent (at anything) within myself it is enough to send me into a meltdown, probably a result of my perfectionism.
  4. Any perceived insult to my intelligence. As I said before, I have always relied on my intelligence to get through life, so if that is questioned or doubted, I feel worthless.
  5. Any insinuation implying that I am childish/immature or a crybaby. I have a lot of “childlike” qualities, as do many with Aspergers syndrome, and those can be endearing, but when people turn it into a bad thing and accuse me of childishness or immaturity, I feel misunderstood and hurt. I am extremely sensitive in some ways, but I hate the term “crybaby”.

So, what do you guys think? Do you share any of these insecurities? Are you also hypersensitive to criticism in these areas or others?

Hypomanic Therapy, Festivals, and My Little Pony Toys

Today was a busy (but good) day! I had therapy this morning, which went well. I am a bit hypomanic, so I think I talked for the entire hour straight with my therapist not getting much room to say anything. We discussed my difficulty dealing with criticism (which I may do a separate post on later this week) and we also talked about my long list of things I would do if I weren’t so anxious and scared to try. It was a long list! Maybe I will share that sometime too if anyone is interested.

After therapy, my husband and I went to the local Sweet Corn Festival in Fairborn, Ohio. We shared a delicious funnel cake, then bought some homemade soap, a jar of a concoction called “Black Bear Jam” (made with blackberries, blueberries, and black raspberries), and a little bit of handmade maple candy.

Lastly, we went to do a little shopping and I found these awesome 35th Anniversary My Little Pony Windy and Skydancer toys for sale at Target:

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They even came with 80’s style puffy stickers! I had been hoping they would re-release some unicorn and pegasus ponies, so that made my day!!!

Astrology Talk: No Wonder I’m So Emotional

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My personal astrology chart

I don’t know if any of my readers are into astrology, but I’ve always found it fascinating (one of my Asperger obsessions maybe). I don’t give any credence normally to the daily astrology forecasts you find in newspapers and magazines, as I figure much of that is probably made up and not even necessarily written by people who really have a good grasp on astrology, but I do find that there is some truth to the fact that people born under specific signs seem to share certain personality traits, characteristics, and life themes.

One thing that many people don’t realize is that according to true astrology, it isn’t just your sun sign that makes a huge impact on your personality and life path. Your moon sign and ascendant sign matter a lot too. There are websites where you can put in your birth information and find out what all three of these signs are, as well as lesser astrological influences.

When I looked mine up, I found out that all three of my major signs are water signs: Sun – Scorpio, Moon – Pisces, Ascendant – Scorpio. And what are water signs known for? Being emotional and intuitive. Just like large bodies of water, we are fluid, constantly shifting, and often unstable. With three major water signs, is it any wonder that I often feel ungrounded (lack of the earth element), apathetic and lazy (lack of the fire element), and heavily weighed down by uncontrollable feelings (lack of air element)? Seems to me water signs were made to be bipolar lol.

I know some people think this is all mumbo jumbo, and I respect their opinion, but I still enjoy studying it. If any of you would like to hear more about astrology in the future, let me know!

A Bipolar Self Image

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Just like with my thoughts and feelings, my self image changes so wildly with my mood. A good example of this is my view of my looks and/or attractiveness. Most days I think I look average when I look in a mirror. I’m not delusional, thinking I am some kind of supermodel or show-stopping beauty, but I also don’t feel like I am a troll or a goblin.

Once in a while, when I am slightly or fully hypomanic, I look in the mirror and think I am beautiful. I will never be gorgeous in the artificial Hollywood kind of way, but when my mood is just right I can see a kind of classic or wholesome beauty in myself that I like.

But then there are days, like one I had recently, when I feel as if I am sitting in the rock bottom level of despair and gloom. On days like these, I may accidentally catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror (because I wouldn’t intentionally look), and upon viewing my reflection, I feel down to my very soul that I must be the ugliest thing in existence.

Bipolar and other mood disorders can skew our view of reality so much, sometimes I feel like I am living in different realities from day to day. Today isn’t too good, but it ain’t too bad either, so I guess average wins out again.

Walking Towards Depression

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I recently sold this oil pastel drawing shown above, but I wanted to share it because it is one of my favorite pieces I have done recently. If you can’t tell, the image is of a person and a little dog walking through a rainbow world (which represent happiness and life), but ahead of them lies the darkness of depression and they either don’t see it coming, or are impelled to continue walking, perhaps against their own will.

As someone who struggles with bipolar type 2 and chronic severe depressive episodes, this is clearly a personal feeling conjured into a visual image. I thought I would share though, because I bet some of you can relate to it too.

Hypomania Turns Me Into a Jerk

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Yesterday was a weird day. I started feeling hypomanic (probably because of my psychiatrist upping my antidepressant again). Even though I was already feeling restless and off, I decided to go ahead and go with my husband to our weekly meditation group. Turns out that wasn’t the best idea. Have you ever tried meditating or even just sitting still in the dark for 30 minutes while hypomanic? STRESSFUL.

I didn’t outwardly spaz out or draw attention to myself, but I sure felt like it. My head was buzzing with what felt like a million thoughts and feelings, and my body wanted to get up and run around the room. I wanted to scream, but of course I didn’t want to make a scene and freak everyone out, so I screamed on the inside. By the time it was over, I felt like a nervous wreck.

As we were leaving, I told my husband what was going on and how much I had struggled, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t really get it, because a few minutes later he sort of sent me over the edge a bit. We stopped at the Chick-fil-A drive-thru to get some ice cream, and I became pretty agitated because there were two lanes and the one we joined took FOREVER. People who joined the other line after we got there had gotten their food and driven off BEFORE we ever got to order! Normally this kind of thing wouldn’t bother me so much, but in the state of mind I was in, it was infuriating.

My husband tried to distract me and cheer me up by being playful and sort of tickling/poking me. Normally this would make me laugh, but with all my senses already on overdrive and feeling angry, I screamed at him to stop and smacked his hand away. It was a huge overreaction and I felt bad afterwards, but I simply couldn’t help it. The rest of the drive home I could tell he was not sure how to act and that made me feel even worse.

Today I’m feeling more normal again, but we’ll see how it goes once I take my medication…

Helpful Tips for Fellow Depression & Chronic Pain Sufferers

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Hello everyone! Lately I have implemented a few things into my life that I do feel are helping my depression and chronic pain symptoms, at least to an extent. No, I am not cured, and I still have some really bad days, but I feel like these small changes have been for the better, so I wanted to share:

  • My psychiatrist has been trying to get me to take Omega-3 supplements for months now, and I finally decided to make sure I actually take them on a regular basis. I have been trying to take 2 supplement pills a day, one in the morning and one at night. It is supposed to be really good for depression and inflammation, so it is worth a try. I don’t like the taste or how huge the pills are to swallow, but I am making it work anyways.
  • I have read multiple places that people with fibromyalgia are almost always lacking in Magnesium when tested, so I started taking a daily supplement of that as well. I do think it has lessened the severity of the body aches and cramps I experience on a daily basis.  I also started taking a Vitamin C supplement in hopes it will help boost my immune system and prevent some of the chronic ear infections I have. I am trying to eat healthier, more natural foods too.
  • I have started practicing mediation on a regular basis again. I try to take at least a few minutes most days to meditate, focus on positivity, and allow the spiritual side of myself to shine. My husband and I have also been attending a once-a-week meditation group when we are able to. Having that time to connect with others on their own spiritual paths has been helpful. They all seem to be very open-minded and open-hearted individuals, which are the kind of people I would like to have in my life more.
  • Lately I have renewed my dedication to my own creative process and have felt inspired to create art again, something I have definitely been missing in my life. I simply feel better when I can create beautiful or unusual artwork, even if others don’t always understand it. Honestly, I create for ME. Yes, I sell my artwork and it fills my heart with joy to know that others appreciate and collect my efforts, but deep down, I create simply because I need to express myself.
  • Make it a priority to spend time with nature. Whether it is going to a park, hiking through the woods, sitting on a swing outside your own front door, or bringing plants, animals (pets), crystals, and other natural objects into your home, reconnecting with nature always seems to be healing and comforting for myself. Maybe it will be so for you as well.

Late Night, Can’t Sleep Thoughts

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The following is a journal entry of random thoughts and feelings I wrote down one night when I couldn’t sleep. As you can probably tell, I wasn’t in the best mood when I wrote it:

“Lately I’ve been deeply struggling with so many dark thoughts. Not necessarily dark thoughts about myself, but about the world and humanity in general.

I feel like I have lost all sense of personal ethics and could do anything if pushed far enough. Lie. Steal. Kill. Betray. I don’t feel guilty about this though, because I think it is a universal human weakness. I’m not sure that ethics and morality even exist once you push a human being past rational thought.

One thought resounds through my consciousness, that much of humanity isn’t worth the breath that is wasted on them. The twisted side of me wants to see the world burn, even if I burn with it. I am often confronted with the very real possibility that the world would be better off if humans went extinct.”

*By the way, if you are struggling with feelings like these, BetterHelp offers some great advice about online therapy options!