I’m still struggling quite a bit. Feeling lethargic, numb, and exhausted all the time. Still not wanting to get out of bed, even though I’m not finding much refuge in sleep either, since my dreams the last couple nights have been overrun by nightmares. Quite an assortment of bad dreams too: A dream about my husband not loving me anymore, a dream about giant ants, a dream about trying to get kicked out of high school. Even in my dreams I’m miserable. During the high school dream the reason I wanted to get kicked out was because I was so depressed I just couldn’t function and wanted to go home and crash.
I’m hoping this depressive episode passes soon. I’m not sure if it is maybe exacerbated by seasonal affective disorder since I haven’t seen the sun in a while, or if this is just a shitty coincidence, but I wish I felt better.
I’m going through a depression slump right now. I can tell because I am sleeping half the day away and not wanting to get out of bed even when I do finally wake up. I don’t feel like writing, creating art, talking to anyone, or simply functioning. I want to stay in bed and either sleep my life away or curl up under all my heavy blankets and leave reality behind.
I have some important appointments coming up soon (my Ehlers Danlos testing and my SSDI hearing top the list), but right now I don’t even care about those things. I don’t feel like doing them and the thought of dealing with them is overwhelming. I hope this slump passes soon.
I’ve had a rough few days. I think the main problem is that I’ve been out of my anxiety meds for a while because Buspirone is on national back-order for some reason, and my pharmacy doesn’t know when/if they will get it back in. I contacted my psychiatrist today to ask him to prescribe something else, hopefully he will do so soon. I was going to try to just hang on until my appointment with him at the end of the month, but I am having some real anxiety issues cropping up without my meds.
For one thing, I’ve been having some body dysmorphia issues, which happens now and then. I’ve heard that issues like these are common among high-functioning autistic people. I’m not trans or anything like that. I don’t want to be a man. But, for some reason, ever since I hit puberty, I’ve always felt kind of uncomfortable in my own body. I’m not sure why. I don’t think I’m extremely ugly or anything like that, but it is like there is some kind of disconnect in my brain when I look in the mirror. I feel like my body looks wrong somehow or like it isn’t the body I should have. It is hard to explain.
I think part of it has to do with always feeling unfeminine. Like I said, I don’t want to be a man, but I’ve always felt like I’m not very good at being a woman either lol. I feel like a tomboy, I always have, yet sometimes when I look in the mirror I look more like a woman than I feel. It is weird. I also have always wished I was thinner, more flat-chested, and athletic-looking overall, but my genes just don’t cooperate with me. It is funny to me when I hear women saying they want bigger boobs. I’m always like “why would anyone want that?”, but I know everyone has their own insecurities, and some people obviously have different ones than I do.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
Yesterday I commented on a post by blogger Myloudbipolarwhispers about mental illness labels. In the comment, I explained how one of my foster kids once had a therapist who talked about the dangers of “alphabet soup”, which is when people start collecting so many labels (ADHD, ADD, ASD, PTSD, SAD, OCD, DID, BPD, RAD, and so on and so on) that they lose sense of themselves as a person or even worse, those treating them lose sight of their humanity and just see them as a list of diagnoses.
I shared in the comment that I even wrote a short poem about “alphabet soup”, which ended up in my book about foster care (From Both Sides). Myloudbipolarwhispers mentioned that she would like to see the poem, so I figured I would just share it in a post here, since it definitely fits the themes of this blog:
By: Maranda Russell
Some good old-fashioned RAD,
a touch of PTSD,
just a hint of OCD,
a generous helping of ADHD
and a pinch of ODD
Add it all together
and what do you get?
and a kid
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:
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!!!
I figured I would do a short follow up post about my psychiatrist visit a couple days ago. It went ok I guess. Instead of switching me off the Prozac, he decided to try upping it one more time to see if that would do the trick, but promised me that if that didn’t make me feel better we would try something new next time. He did mention Wellbutrin as a possibility, which I have never taken. If anyone has experience with that drug, please let me know your thoughts on it!
The first few minutes of our visit, we talked about Netflix and the shows I have been binge watching recently (Black Mirror, Atypical, Stranger Things, American Horror Story). Then he asked how therapy was going, and I felt like at that time I needed to admit how bad my depression had gotten and that my therapist was actually worried about how low I was feeling.
My psychiatrist asked me why I didn’t bring that up immediately when our session started and he kind of jumped to the conclusion that I was trying to be “a good patient and not complain”, but I had to explain to him that his assumption was wrong. I wasn’t trying to make things easier for him, it is just simply hard for me to talk to anyone in person about how bad I really feel when at my lowest. It makes me feel vulnerable and exposed, and I hate that.
I know that last sentence may seem weird, considering the fact that I am so open and bluntly honest in my blog writing about how low and horrible I feel sometimes, but it is just easier for some reason to write that all out to a blank page and post it to the ether of the internet. Being in front of a living, breathing human, it is so much harder to peel the layers away and let my real self be seen.
I’m not in a good place right now. I wish I was, but I’m not. For the past couple months, I have been struggling off and on with what almost feels like a new low level of depression. Half the time I can’t stop crying, and half the time I feel almost absolutely nothing. I swing between numbness and despair, with a few almost decent days thrown in here and there. This may sound strange, but I am even too depressed to entertain suicidal thoughts. I just can’t think that far ahead right now or drum up the energy to make a decision like that.
There seems to be no rhyme or reason. For several days I may be weepy and lethargic, skipping meals without even meaning to, and only finding comfort from burrowing in a pile of heavy blankets or laying on our swing outside. Then out of the blue, I might have a decent day where I can get myself showered, dressed, and actually get a few chores done or do a little shopping…but the very next day, I’m likely to be right back huddled up on the bed or the couch.
I guess the only good news is that today is my appointment with my psychiatrist, and I am praying he takes me off the Prozac and can get me onto an antidepressant that will actually work again, because the current cocktail of medications doesn’t seem to be cutting it anymore.
While cruising the internet, I recently came across some mental health related symbols and sigils someone had created. I thought these were pretty cool, so I did a little artistic version of my own for the subjects that pertain to my life, such as bipolar, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, insomnia, and PTSD. They are very simple drawings, but I still like the way they turned out:
If you enjoy my art, please consider supporting me by visiting my Ebay store!