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Tag Archives: Depression

Leaving the Past Behind

I had a breakthrough on Saturday afternoon. I was talking to a long time online friend and I got to talking about the past, and how I missed it. See, when I was 12 and first got on the internet I started collecting friends who were usually kids a couple of years younger than me. These friends usually had a lot of problems. Depression stemming for things like child abuse or neglect, suicidal thoughts, self harm, etc. My therapist and I had talked through all this and she had told me I basically became a mother to these friends, because I was the one there to listen, advise and comfort because they had no one else. As a child, I could never separate myself emotionally from their problems, so I would become depressed and terrified for their safety and it would add huge amounts of stress to my life. I still invest myself to emotionally in other people’s problems today, though I’m slowly getting better about it.

Well, this friend I was talking to is one of those friends I helped take care of then. I told her how hard it was lately, how I missed having her and the others to take care of. How I felt like I wasn’t a good friend anymore because everyone had grown up and didn’t need me like they used to. I felt guilty for feeling that way, because I am also so proud of all of them, because they went through so much and they are productive people today working on fixing their problems. I felt lost and broken without being able to be that person anymore. I, at some point, started to have a break down as I was telling her these things, which I really needed to do. I had been thinking about this stuff a lot over the last year, and every time I did I felt like crying but just couldn’t bring myself too. I didn’t really know why I wanted to cry until I started letting it out to her.

I sobbed, I hyperventalated, my head hurt by the time the tears stopped. But I feel better now. I feel like I can let it go and move on. It was something that weighed heavy on my heart and my self worth, and I don’t think I could have really gotten past it without being able to talk to one of the friends involved about it. I think I had to do that to really see that I was still seen as a good friend, even though I am no longer anyone’s emotional crutch.

Like the awesome friend she is, she talked me through stuff and comforted me. We talked about her struggles and how she is doing so much better now. She has worked through some of the same issues I’m currently working through and is healthier than I am today, which is quite the switch from 10+ years ago when we were kids.

Sometimes it’s very hard for me to separate my self-worth from what I do for other people. If I’m not helping or being useful to someone I don’t feel like I’m worth much. To be honest, it’s near impossible to feel like anything you are doing is worth much of anything when you have had periods in your life where you have actually kept people from killing themselves just because you are that person’s only friend.  An 8-5 job just seems like a waste of time when someone out there, in the same situation, doesn’t have a friend to talk to.

I am slowly realizing that I can’t save everyone. That I have to stop being so codependent. That I can’t be that person all the time because it makes me unhealthy and unhappy. I have to learn to not base my self worth on the happiness of other people, because I will always be unhappy if I do that. It’s a hard lesson for me to learn, but it’s starting to sink in. I deserve to be happy and to take care of myself before others. There is nothing selfish about that, there is nothing wrong with it.

This was kind of a rambling post, but I needed to get it out there. Thanks for sticking around through it if you did 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Depression, Mental Health

 

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Building a Support Network

A healthy support network is something that everyone needs in their lives.  This network should consist of people who love you, believe in you, and who are willing to let you lean on them occasionally.  It should consist mostly of positive people who are mentally healthy, and possibly people who realize they have issues and are actively seeking help and getting better. People who rely on you as their personal therapist, who are not actively trying to get better, and who are just all around negative people should be interacted with on a minimal basis.

Part of my problem up until this point in my life is that I clustered together with people with issues in my social network. My support came from people with severe depression, social anxiety, low self esteem, etc. This was not healthy, and over the last year or two I started realizing I couldn’t pull myself up when my support network kept pulling me back down into what I was trying to escape. Amy told me that this is very true and that it makes it much easier to help yourself get healthy if you surround yourself with healthy people. I still have a lot of my friends who have issues, but I am no longer their go-to person nor do I spend a lot of time with them on a regular basis.

Right now I am working on rebuilding my support system. This is hard, as I find it difficult to seek out mentally healthy people to be friends with. I feel like I am a person most healthy people would not want to deal with due to my own issues. However, the more I get to know healthy people the more I find that this is not the case. They seem to be very supportive, positive, and want to help encourage me to get better and it’s great! Naturally, you don’t want to overwhelm these people all the time with how you are feeling (that is what your therapist is for!) but talking with them occasionally about stuff is definitely helpful!

Currently, my Healthy Support Network includes:

My Therapist – Amy is wonderful! She has an amazing sense of humor and we click really well. The first therapist I had was very serious and I just don’t mesh well with serious people on an emotional level. I think this is proof that if you don’t connect with your therapist that it might be time to find a new one!

My Yoga Instructor – Though my Yoga instructor is very new to my life, so far she is awesome!  I had a private class with her Saturday so she could show me poses that would help lessen my anxiety and help with my breathing and she was so positive and supportive! She told me I was a very bright individual for going to seek help and for considering Yoga as a way to lessen anxiety and help with my mental health. Just like when Amy says I’m bright I felt a sharp pang of disbelief, but it’s definitely helping with my self esteem issues to hear multiple people who haven’t known me for years say it 🙂

My Work Friend – This person has been really eye opening, because she’s my first local mentally healthy friend. With the few times we have hung out outside of work and the card she sent me she has blown my mind on how caring someone can be without being emotionally connected from having similar mental health issues. The only people I’ve really connected with in my life have all suffered from depression and that’s what made me feel close to them. My work friend has had issues with depression, but only in stressful situations like the near death of her father, and is otherwise a mentally healthy person. Er… well.. she is a bit OCD, but that’s completely different then any of my problems, so I don’t count it 🙂

My Significant Other – Though my SO does deal with depression and low self esteem, he admits to this being an issue and is actively working to help himself get better. He does not rely on me to fix it, it is not the main topic of conversation every time we talk, and I think it helps us both stay encouraged seeing each other making progress and feeling better about ourselves.

My Sister – My sister has a few issues similar to mine. I know she has mild social anxiety and does suffer from occasional bouts with depression, just not on the same scale as I do. She is very independent and is doing what she wants to do with her life and right now is a very happy person. She is also great at listening and knows what to say to make me feel better or diffuse my social anxiety.

My Parents – Though originally my parents were suprised that I was seeking help for my mental health, they have been very supportive of it. As time has gone by and I’ve let them in to see how truely unhappy I am, they have grown more and more supportive of me switching jobs and doing what I need to to be happy. This has taken a lot of stress off of me, as I am very much someone who has a strong desire to make my parents proud.

My Online Friends – Though I don’t talk to them as much as I used to, the online friends I have had for a decade have all been very supportive. Not all of these friends are mentally healthy, but they are all very supportive. One of them in particular has found this blog via Twitter, and has sent me very positive texts when he notices a negative post.  Another has told me he refuses to talk about his problems anymore with me while I seek help, because he knows I get very emotionally invested in other people’s problems. They are all great in their own right, but I try not to over utilize them as I need to work on building a better real life support network.

As you can see, I need to make more local friends to add to my support network. I have several friends around it’s just the ones I currently have are the ones that still hold on to depression and other issues and are not actively seeking help so I can not count them as part of a healthy support network. I am working on making more friends, and have a couple of specific people I think it would be easy to become friends with. It’s just difficult for me to find a healthy route to become friends with someone. Friendships usually spring from someone having a really bad day and me listening, and then we are friends!  So this is a new experience o.o

I am very happy that my healthy support network is growing, and I can honestly say I can see the difference having healthy people in my life has had on me. It’s harder to find negatives in life when you are surrounded by people who are positive. It’s harder to not believe in yourself when the people around you keep reminding you that they believe in you. It’s hard to fear the world when you have people willing to help you meet it head on.

I think my life is definitely heading in the right direction, now it’s just up to me to get enough courage to steer it where  I want it to go 🙂

 

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Profit vs Progress – A Personal Struggle

The path to progress and profit

Image taken from an article on Good.Is titled Progress vs Profit

I am at a cross roads in my life. My current job pays the bills with extra to stash away in the bank, it has good benefits, and I am basically completely independent and can prioritize my day in any way as long as it benefits the company and stuff gets done.

However, my job does not make me happy. I do not feel like I am accomplishing anything, that I am giving back in any way, or that I am being challenged at all. There is no growth here, those above me on the food chain I often think are idiots or spineless, and a lot of my comments or suggestions fall on deaf ears. I take attitude from my users, tell my boss, and am told to “bite the bullet”. I ask for a reasonable raise, and I’m told that my boss has consulted the vendors that work for me and that they say that doesn’t seem reasonable. I do not hate my coworkers, but I enjoy the company of very few and have even fewer that I have a anything in common with. There is no creativity here. There is no self expression. It is a dull and lifeless place full of squabbling hens and cocky roosters.

I have decided I want nothing more to do with this “easy” life path to Profit, I want a fulfilling one that challenges me. I still want to Profit so I can pay my bills and feel financially secure, but I also want to feel like I’m on the path to Progress and doing something with myself and the world around me.  Not only does the squiggly line look like the harder path but it looks like there are way more chances for adventure on it. And my life, thus far, has been seriously lacking in any real adventures.

Growing up I always thought that money = freedom and debt = prison. I needed a lot of money to live a fulfilling life and to have a real sense of self-worth. I believed that up until I started writing this entry.  Money is a prison for me. The more I make, the more I need, and the less secure I feel. I keep saying that once I am making a certain amount of money a year, or have a certian amount in the bank, I will feel less stressed and more secure, but the closer I get to that goal the more anxiety I feel. The more money I have in the bank the worse I feel about buying anything at all. The bigger my financial cushion the more terrified I become of falling, failing, and losing it.

I feel better being able to mull over this internally and look forward to hearing Amy’s (and anyone else’s) thoughts on it. I don’t really know how I am going to get over my unhealthy relationship with money, but I’m ready for something to derail me from the Profit Path and get me started down the line with a little more Progress in it.

 

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Love, My Inner Child, and I

A bag to remind me to love myself and one to remind me to love my inner child.

I bought two bags Saturday. One represents my 27 year old mind that needs reminded that it is OK to love myself and to do what’s right for me. The other is a gift to my inner child who has been struggling to hold on for dear life the past few years.

In my therapy session Saturday morning we talked about my inner child. I told Amy about my feelings  of being to young to look at properties to rehab, and how I felt that others would perceive me as a kid and not take me seriously (irrational). I told her about how I used to write so often and create when I was younger, and that about the time I hit college and had to start taking life more seriously I had stopped doing those creative things I loved as a kid. The problem is now my inner child comes out at impractical times and is scared to death of a lot of things. Like buying huge old buildings to fix up and taking  other “adult” steps. This leads me to feeling inadequate and “to young” when I have no reason to feel that way. So the goal is to combine my inner child with my 27 year old self to become a happier person and be truer to the real me.

I felt like walking after my signification other had left for work so I started down the street with a goal to look at the Owl purse. I have looked at this purse a couple of times now. There is a wonderful shop that opened up recently downtown that has some of the cutest bags and the neatest jewelry and I really like visiting it. I have never went shopping downtown by myself before despite having lived here for almost 2 years now. Sad, isn’t it? I’ve only in the last few weeks managed to get to where I can walk down the street in the mornings by myself (SA still flares when someone else is walking towards me on the sidewalk >_<), add to that  small stores are hard for me to be comfortable in so I always take my sister or a friend.  Saturday, though,  I resolved to go, because I wanted to. I ended up staying in the store for 45 minutes or so looking at things, and buying the Owl bag and a peace sign bracelet. The bracelet is to remind me to breathe and to be at peace with myself.

The Owl purse is significant to me, not just because it’s a bit whimsical, but because it is an item I loved from the first moment I saw it but felt silly purchasing it. It’s one of those items that while I would love it on someone else, I end up feeling like I would look completely ridiculous with it and that it would draw attention to me.  This is absurd, as it will look just as cool on me as it will on the next woman!  Not to mention, owls are my sister’s thing and she has been my biggest supporter through my life dealing with SA, so the owl reminds me of all the hard work she’s done to help me and that it is now my turn to help myself.

Then, as I wandered back to my appartment, I stopped into another store that I go to much less frequently. Inside I found this wonderful drawstring backpack with a heart that says “i am love”. Not only do I really enjoy this style of backpack for a lot of things (namely running around conventions and theme parks), but the message spoke so loud and clear to me I couldn’t pass on it. It was like the universe was telling me I really needed to think more about love and how it effects my true self. I love and take care of so many other people and then neglect myself, and that needs to change. So I bought it as well, which is super unusual.. I dislike spending money on things like purses and bags. How many does one person need, after all?

So, not only did I do something I wanted to do by myself, I bought items that made me feel like I was really committing to this whole process. Over all I felt drained, but happy about the day. It definitely feels good to do the things you want to do.

Looking for inner peace. Anyone know which way it went?

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Mental Health

 

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Oh, the Highs and Lows!

There is a previous post related to this one! Social Anxiety, Phone Calls, and Real Estate Investing

I did manage to go through with looking at the building! However, the night before I felt very depressed and defeated. My brain told me I was silly for calling about it, that I didn’t have the money, that there was no way they’d take a kid like me seriously (I’m 27, and in situations like these I feel like I’m 14!),  they’d judge me for bringing my parents, and that somehow they’d be condescending and just know that I was never going to buy it. My attitude made me want to call the real estate agent back and call the whole thing off! Needless to say, it was a rough 24 hours before I even got to the showing!

Thankfully, the real estate agent was wonderful and very helpful, and the owner was a 60+ year old, skinny biker who just oozed the hippy vibe. Loved them both! To be honest, my first impression of someone in a trade will often effect my anxiety later down the line, so had I gotten a very pushy and unpleasant real estate agent this time, my anxiety would have been 10x as bad the next time I tried to contact one. So my good experience is definitely helpful to future me!

The building itself was overwhelming! The size of it, folks! It was three levels, plus a basement, and I believe the real estate agent said a little over 30,000 square feet! The things I could do with it! I’ve actually began working on floor plans and ideas, and will share those once I have them where I want them (perfectionism).  My significant other does have a friend who has done a lot of contracting in his life, and he’s agreed to walk through it with us sometime next week to see if he can give a ballpark figure of how much money you’d have to have to fix the place up. There is a lot of water damage in one part of the building, the roof at one time collapsed in and fell through the 3rd floor, onto the second, and then proceeded to leak water to the first. There was a new roof put on it around 12 years ago, so that stopped the decay, but there’s already a lot of damage done in that section!

Now, why am I continuing along with this anxiety inducing lunacy if I have no intention of actually buying the place? It’s a learning experience! I have been given the numbers for different places in town that help with grants and such for historic old buildings, and I need to call city counsel with what I’d plan to do with the building to see if they’d approve it. If I go through this process now then when I do it seriously it will be less stressful. Right now I have the knowledge that I can back out at any time it gets to stressful, and know that it’s not likely the building is going to sell tomorrow.

I’m glad I went, but it’s definitely caused me a lot of anxiety this week, and made me moody and I’ve hit at least one rather extreme depressed spell. I almost went home from work sick yesterday because I could barely function. Thankfully, work picked up in a way that had me running all over the office, and the physical movement helped tremendously!

I have a lot of things I want to write about, so I may have to break my Mon, Wed, Fri rule and put up a post or two over the weekend. We’ll see! Hope you all have an amazing Friday!

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Investing, Mental Health, Real Estate

 

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I Should vs I Want

This last session was particularly rough. I left feeling very emotional with my stomach in knots. The changes that Amy had presented that I needed to make were the ones I had feared. I had now been told, by someone who had years of education and was certified on the matter, that I needed to start thinking more about myself than others.

I told Amy about the time I went to Canada to meet an online friend for the first time. I told her how before we had left for the airport on my final day there that he had asked me to stay, and I had said no, because of the job I was supposed to starting the following week. The one that everyone was so proud I had gotten. The one that everyone said was an amazing opportunity for someone just out of community college. The one that my previous employer had helped me get. So, I went home and started that job. Three years later I still regret not staying in Canada and wonder what would have happened if I had. I comfort myself by saying it would have probably been disastrous. I probably wouldn’t have found a job or been able to get a work visa, and thus would have had to come back to the states with nothing to show for it. It might have spelled the end to my long time friendship, the stress of the situation eventually making us hate each other. It could have ended horribly.

But would it have been better to take the chance then to wonder? Would I have always been sad I didn’t take this “amazing opportunity” to work at this job in an industry I didn’t even want to continue on in?

Who knows, really.

This is one of just many things I haven’t done due to my desire to please everyone around me. I can’t stand the thought of letting others down, and I knew if I didn’t come home to start that job a lot of people would have been very unhappy and disappointed in me.  I am quickly approaching 30, and it seems like every day I think of one or two things that I wish I had the courage to do. Those one or two things are always quickly strangled by the thoughts of taking care of other people that I love, how my choices would effect them and their lives, and how selfish a person I must be for even thinking about doing the things I want to do.

I feel absolutely and totally selfish just attempting to figure out what it is I actually want out of life. What I want to do.  The words I and want just seem like such a horrid combination. I feel sick uttering them in my head. They are quickly replaced by I should and I ought and I must, the three phrases that Amy has told me I need to keep out of my thought processes and replace with I want or I will if I feel like it. I must say, this was much easier for the little every day things. But replacing my shoulds with wants for the big, life changing stuff is quite the emotional ordeal. My stomach is in knots and I don’t  even want to try to  think about it. I am terrified of doing what I want to, lest I fail and know that I should have just listened to everyone else.

With the fear, I am also a little excited. How amazing would it be to just make a decision based on what I want and how I feel and not have to take everyone I’ve ever met and what they would think about it into consideration? How freeing would that be? How amazing would that feel? How much happier would I be? Would I be happy with the failure if it was my failure for once and no one else’s? Looking back on life, have I ever really failed so disastrously that it is anything really to be afraid of to begin with?

There are so many questions in my head. So many doubts. My mind doesn’t even know where to start in processing this concept. This blog entry has helped sort out the chaos slightly, but it’s still a muddled pool of confusion in my brain.  This is going to be the hardest part of my therapy, but it might be the key to getting past the other problems of anxiety, depression, and perfectionism in the end.

Time to practice my deep breathing again.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Mental Health

 

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Being Medicated

5mg once a day for the first 6 days, and then 10mg a day until gone.

I stared at the 10mg tablets sitting in the bottom of the orange medicine bottle.  They sat on my desk a midst various odds and ends, leaking an aura of temptation around the idea of feeling normal and level headed. However, the possibility of feeling better didn’t quite overcome the fork of doom tipped with thoughts of negative side effects that kept jabbing my brain.

Over the past few months my ability to focus on tasks had deteriorated quite quickly. My depression was taking a toll on my ability to want to do anything, be it work related or fun. I couldn’t finish a work project in one sitting, I couldn’t bring myself to focus on a craft project I was mid-way through at home, and forget about the laundry it simply wasn’t happening.

Focus. FocusFocusFO-cus. FOCUSDamn it all..

This led to an interesting problem. Not only was I not getting things done, I was getting increasingly stressed out by the fact I didn’t seem to have enough time to do anything at all. Hours rolled quickly by and just as I was mustering up the gumption to start something the work day would be over, or the SO would walk in the door from work, or it would be time for bed. The side effect of not having accomplished anything that I felt I should (evil, evil word) have was a very cranky, depressed,  severely moody and just plain miserable me. Which led to my SO being fairly miserable as well, being the one left alone to deal with the mood swings.

Eventually, I just didn’t care what the negative side effects were anymore.  I took my first 5mg of Escitalopram with reckless abandon, I didn’t care enough about anything anymore to have the right to care so much about what it could do to me. To my relief, over the next few days the rain in my head subsided, became a drizzle, and eventually stopped. Every once in a while it threatens to start again, but so far nothing worse than the drizzle has returned.

As my brain has began to dry out and get rid of the excess water and clouds, my focus has improved. I can sit here and write a blog entry, or I can focus on a project at work and finish it in the same sitting. So far this focus has came and went in spells, take for example the other morning at work where I accomplished quite a bit, but then that afternoon my brain failed to focus on anything at all. I’m hoping these short lived periods of focus quickly turn into something a little more solid.

As for the negative side effects, we’ll just say mine so far have been on the intimacy side of things, but they aren’t bad enough to throw the baby out with the bath water just yet.

Naturally, the end goal of therapy is to prepare me to deal with everything without the use of medication. I look forward to the day when I don’t need it, but, right now, just having the rain clouds gone and being able to sit and write a few words here and there is an amazing feeling.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Mental Health

 

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