Group Therapy: Different Thoughts, Different Paths, And The Man Who Hasn’t Given Up On Me…. Well Ever.

August 25th, 2021

Yesterday I woke up and got myself ready for therapy. It started out how it always does. You’re in groups with such small breaks. So many emotions come out throughout each day and yes it may be draining at some points, but it is it worth it. Getting those feelings out, saying them out loud, by talking about different topics with others who have their own struggles too… It helps me for some reason when I listen to others talk in our group because I see other sides of mental health, different situations, similar situations, how others have coped, and we’ve come to a great place by now.. we confide in each other and we try and help each other the best we can… I don’t know, I just have felt like all of my thoughts started to become more clear after some time. I’m finding that I have definitely been processing these thoughts I’ve hidden deep down for so many years and I have found myself moving from a place of anger to a place of forgiveness.  I don’t want to fight anymore. I don’t want to keep saying sorry. The past is all I have and I will damn right say goodbye to it. It has held onto me for way too long. And that is what I’ve been working on the past weeks. I held anger inside for reasoning I won’t say. But like I already said, that anger has turned into something else. I have some negative moments but for the most part, that anger has faded. I now want to find peace with all of my surroundings. I want to move on. I believe to be truly happy, I have to face all of it. The good, the bad, the ugly. And after facing what I’ve avoided for so long, a weight came off. I feel fucking fantastic and free. I feel understood. Now, as I said above, yesterday I did wake up well. Today, I woke up better. I can’t describe how good it feels to say that. And I just want to continue feeling better and better. I plan to continue to educate myself on my conditions and to really be present and focus. This is not going to go away. I will struggle for the rest of my life. But with teaching myself and learning to be more aware of what is going on in the moment, soon before I have an episode, or the rabbit hole I’m about to fall down and you never know how many days I’ll come back or even shower for that matter… that is when coping skills will come in. I used to think they didn’t even work. Not until I really started to figure out where and when I needed them. I am working hard to learn and pick which coping skills they have out there… which will work for me and in what situations. These skills have a potential of slowing or even stopping episodes. Focusing and paying really close attention to the days, moments before a breakdown so that it stops before it even starts. That is my goal. Once I enter into the mindset of anger and anxiety, that’s it. I go black and I fight. I fight verbally mean and dirty. I just wish I could remember them. I don’t even know I’m in it until I’m out. That is why it means so much for me to find a pattern and/or a way to cope and to pull back instead of diving right in.  I want to strengthen myself to have the capability to shift my mind, occupy it, whatever works to help me get through the bad times and make my life and more importantly my family’s life less stressful. They are concerned often. Can’t blame them. Their daughter tried to end her life. I don’t want them worrying about me and scared that I may attempt again. A few of my close loved ones have been there for me before and after I woke up in the hospital. They all worked together to make sure someone always came to visit me and I didn’t feel alone. I truly am lucky. A special shout out to my boyfriend Chris, who has been extremely loyal, loving, and patient… The past years I took medicine which by itself can’t fix your problems, and struggled still but I just kept going. I felt empty and out of control but I didn’t take the right steps to improve on anything in my life. He has always had faith in me, he has every day since we met. Without his support….I don’t even know where I would be. But that’s enough about him. He’ll get his own post. I skipped around the paragraph above. I literally can have 5 different conversations in one. It’s not the best quality. But anyway, In conclusion, it can get better. It will get better. You’re hearing that from a person that never thought I would ever succeed or be capable of doing anything in life. I thought I was going to be depressed forever. Adjusting how you spend your time, learning and understanding what you go through, accepting what you go through, allowing yourself to lean on your support system if needed, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, we have to do everything we can. Medicine can only do so much. But that won’t make you happy. It is just a crutch. You need to take care of yourself. I need to take care of myself, which will be new for me too. I never cared to take care of myself. I didn’t think I could do it anymore, seriously. But I learned that I can. Watch the company you keep. Be sure you are surrounded by kind and caring friends and family. If you don’t feel you have any support, call me. (201)742-2167. Text. Whatever. Just please reach out if you need someone to talk to. 

I may be years late, but I finally feel like my life is going to move forward. I smile just thinking about it. I want to say I wish I learned this years ago, but I can’t think that way. I am where I am today and I’m stronger because of what came my way. I am so curious to see how group is for the next few months because the clinicians already have been a tremendous help.

And again to my man, I love you. Thank you for not giving up on me. On us. I am still trying to wrap my head around how you are still by my side and how much stress I’ve caused you. I owe you so much. I am going to work hard babe, for me and for you.. because you deserve it. And nobody has ever believed in me as much as you do. And I wouldn’t have anyone else by my side.

xoxo

The Apology We Will Never Get – And That’s OKAY – One Love Is Better Than None

Having a falling out with somebody you love is hard to process. As someone who has went through actually more than one situation with a loved one, I completely understand now how challenging it is to put back together. And sometimes, it doesn’t get fixed. It just doesn’t work out the way you wished.

Between the past 2-4 years, I have struggled understanding the actions of others more than ever. In the past, I haven’t exactly made the best decisions and my life has been in such a negative direction. I self medicated throughout my entire 20’s and have dealt with some addiction myself. Money I worked for always went to drinking and drugs, impulsive spending and shopping, and not a dime in my bank account to show for any of the hard work I put in. I mean, I was a mess. I don’t know how else to describe it. And I never thought I would be where I am today. I didn’t know how much my mental health has interfered and affected affects my life. Sounds dramatic, no? It does. But it is true. I was going through so much and my low self esteem and hopes for the future were extremely low. I did my best to numb myself every day and always put on a front because again as I said in another post, I needed validation from outside sources and never even thought of the simple question, how can I choose myself? How can any validation of who I am come from within? What can I do now though? Those years are gone now and I have spent way too much time and stress on going over and over every bad move I’ve made throughout my years. I have been entirely unfair and too hard on myself. I missed so much because I followed the party, party friends, music, and party favors. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had so many great times with great company and danced until I dropped (when I wasn’t stuck in a corner). It was definitely noticeable to some that I was in a downward spiral slowly but surely, but it was never brought up. I really wish it was. I wish I could have noticed and told myself to get up and get my shit together.

The reason I am bringing this up is because when I got myself to move in a better direction, I felt so much guilt and sadness. I felt I didn’t deserve anything good because of how horrible I acted and the lack of accomplishments I had. VIP was probably my biggest accomplishment. Sad, I know. It’s like I flowed through this wild pattern of life and just snapped out of it. And when I did, it took time but I did realize I had much more of a serious condition than a past hard partier. And it is hard to believe still that I live with bipolar disorder. I can look back and understand better why I blacked out without any alcohol in me and fully raged with anger, and it usually was on the people who mean the most to me. 

I make excuses for others for different reasons whether it be lack of support and/or betrayal. I’m not proud of all of my decisions but I can truly say I’ve learned. I learned the hard way. I have been unfair to myself and to others. My most negative times I will say though have been from hypomania or mania (and these are not euphoric moments). This is no excuse, but I have been working hard to learn it and try to stop it before I ring that fucking alarm and go off. And I’m doing quite well by the way, finally. Don’t jinx me.

One thing I have learned though is that we all have to sometimes put our pride in our pocket and be there for those we care about, even if we may be disappointed or upset with them.. Even if we don’t agree.. A fair example would be 2019. November 2019. After an unfortunate suicide attempt, I woke up in the ICU with my mother and father looking at me with facial expressions I could never forget for the rest of my life. They were terrified. But I wasn’t. I was angry and upset that I woke up. I’ve never needed help from my friends and family more than ever than during that time. My sister and my boyfriend were both in ICU through the 2.5 days I was out before I woke up. I am really lucky to have them. My boyfriend could literally have his own post because he really is that great and he believes in me more than anybody. I’ve taken that for granted so many times because of my sadness, my grief, my anger, all of my emotions. He is always my punching bag. But I’m working to get past that in my life and I don’t want to jinx myself (again), but it seems like my mania and anger states have dulled and I communicate more which has helped me feel lighter and him even more understanding of who I am. Instead of sitting in my anger and sadness, instead of letting these episodes occur, we now talk about our goals in life together. I finally know who I should always confide in. I’ve confided in the WRONG people. I’ve been dropped like I was a piece of garbage. I honestly can’t believe my guy is still here after almost 5 years. He really is my biggest fan. But he may tie with another beautiful booty babe who wasn’t in that ICU but tracked every moment with my family until I woke up…. My best friend who I’ll keep unnamed spoke with my family daily and wanted to visit me in the hospital, but I didn’t want to distract her from her life so I told her it was fine to wait until I got home. I checked out of one hospital and I checked myself into another that felt much less scary than where I was before. I refused to be treated by their team. This hospital had phones that we were able to use from morning to night, aside from meals and group therapies. My boyfriend and my best friend were at their phones 24/7 and opened up to keeping me occupied and talking with me whenever I needed them. I was there during Thanksgiving so I was extra lonely missing a holiday and being in a hospital. My parents, my sister, my boyfriend, and my best friend came to visit during visiting hours throughout the week so I would always see a loving face. My girl literally came on Thanksgiving by surprise at during the later hours. She just drove to spend the holiday with her family and her husband and 4 year old daughter were in the car patiently waiting because her husband cared too, and they proved so much to me. Another I called just didn’t answer and I tried multiple times. That killed me the entire week because I again really needed my fucking people. Others I would reach out to but they would sound so happy and busy that I just didn’t want to admit I really needed them. And they really didn’t ask or care about what was going on my life. And that’s not okay but it is. You can’t force anyone to support you. But what I learned, some people aren’t my people.. And they should have known. 

I got out of the hospital and I went home and still took time before going back to work. I didn’t want to tell many people so it was lonely home. This time just sucked, especially with my cousin/best friend passing of suicide a month before my attempt. It was so much in such a short time. I lost my way. But I’ll always remember those who were there and I will unfortunately always remember the negative words that came my way from the last person(s) I would ever expect. And today, I know I am a good person. I know I am not perfect in any way. I know I have potential and a better future ahead. And I know how hurt I was. And that I’m allowed to feel that way. I felt so much guilt too in the past years because I always thought it was my fault, but it wasn’t. Many people who don’t apologize may not want to, they may have too much pride to, or they may not think the apology will be accepted. But that’s OKAY. We’ve shared beautiful memories in the past and I just want to forgive and wish well. And that is what I am doing. I’m trying my best to not be disappointed in the people who mattered the most to me. People I would do anything for. I read an article that I’ll share below from TED.com. That is how I learned the perspective I always needed to get by easier. Like I tried to mention above, the article states the following which makes so much sense to me:

To be clear, even the most conscientious among us occasionally fails to apologize. When this happens, it’s usually for one of two reasons: (1) We don’t care enough about the other person or the relationship to take on the emotional discomfort of owning our mistake and apologizing for it; or (2) We believe our apology won’t matter.”

I mean, what a a great point! It helps so much when you finally understand something you couldn’t wrap your head around for years. Another statement that stuck out to me is the following:

“People who can’t apologize appear to be tough individuals who refuse to back down. But they don’t do this because they’re strong — it’s because they’re weak.” 

This definitely can be true. I know because I’ve been there. Remember, we don’t always need closure from another person because not everyone is willing. Sometimes we need to fill that void with closure on our own. It is really hard to do, especially when you really love somebody, but it is what we have to do to continue and not keep that dull ache inside every day. And today, I really just want the best for others, even if we have not always been on the same page. Somebody can be really stubborn and not forgive but may actually be vulnerable underneath. So remember to show empathy too (I also learned that from the article I read on TED.com).

You can have the best of friends for years, but it always is really important to show up when that person really really needs you. I just tried to kill myself and I couldn’t talk to mostly anybody that I’ve been close with for the past years. I felt guilty for feeling lonely but I fucking did. I was so empty and I felt like I was all by myself sometimes. But I am so grateful for the ones who did show up for me during a brutal time and not a time to party. Living with mental disorders, we tend to feel guilt and very low. We also experience paranoia that can be so tricky with trying to see who really does value you, and who doesn’t. But we all find out at one time or another. 

And if you are reading this and have felt the same, or if you just need somebody, I am here and more than happy to talk to you. xoxo for now..

danimalefsky@gmail.com

NINA BEAR – She Saves My Life Every Day

For me, Nina is the best support I could have (along with her brother Bleaker and sister Lyla). She is a Pitt Terrier and she loves to love. My dog came to me by complete surprise and I just went with it. This was brand new. She needed help. I’ve never been a dog mom. I can’t even keep a plant alive.. and I was so nervous because I had no idea how to take care of myself never mind a dog! This dog though, she came into my life around 4.5-5 years old. She came with love and kindness from a beautiful family who had an unfortunate situation and couldn’t continue to care for her. I hit the jackpot with this one and I’ll forever thank Pacha NYC for introducing me to her absolutely amazing mommy. She is 11 now and looking back, she has helped me so many times and in extreme ways and I didn’t even know it. Her temperament is calming and loving and she is the ONLY one who can fill my heart and help me feel better when I am struggling badly. I never feel alone with her. She has always been witty, ditzy, loving, stubborn, and loyal and she still is to me and to our family every day. Nina Bear has been by my side through all of my worst times and she is my best friend in the entire world. She has helped my days in a way I can never amount to and I’m forever grateful. To more chicken, walks, tail chasing, and snuggles my favorite girl.. xo

“IF HAVING A SOUL MEANS BEING ABLE TO FEEL LOVE WITHOUT LOYALTY AND GRATITUDE, THEN ANIMALS ARE BETTER OFF THAN A LOT OF HUMANS.” – James Herriot

Nina was diagnosed with cancer right into the pandemic. In May 2020, she began to quickly show symptoms of nausea, white gums, and fatigue. We rushed Nina to the closest ER late night/early morning after monitoring and seeing no positive turn. After an overnight stay (yes, I was frantic) and nobody to talk to directly because of Covid restrictions, I was told over the phone that my dog in fact showed cancerous tumors in her scan. I took her out of the hospital and brought her into Oradell Hospital (didn’t have good vibes about the other facility). We were then told she has white mast cell tumors, 2 on her spleen and 2 on her abdomen. She also has a mass that grows outside of her cute little butt. This type of cancer is also pretty aggressive. So, what did we do? We did our research, I asked Social Media and tried to find similar situations to compare and make sure I make the absolute best decision. After a lot of thought and multiple phone calls with an oncologist that I am thankful for every single day, we’ve entered a safe place at Oradell and a place of trust. After being given an approximate lifespan due to her cancer, we knew we had to kick ass and be the best parents in the next 3 -6 months because that is all I had left with her. When I say we, I mean my boyfriend and I. He is a huge part of Nina’s life and has been such an incredible team player. He has been so helpful not only with Nina, but with me dealing with this real life nightmare. Nina simply adores him and the love and fun they share together. She has been on 5 different chemo treatments with a 30-40% chance of taking so far, not much discomfort, and each happy day at a time, life is working. And guess what? Nina has absolutely no idea she has cancer. She just sometimes knows something is on her butt and she likes to itch it and bother it which causes it to get a bit inflamed and sometimes bleed. It is August 2021. I have been lucky enough to have her in my day every day and the most pain she has is a finger in her butt by the Dr.! She is a beast and she is handling treatment like the true champ that she is. My little hero!!! Our connection with our animals means so much and if we worry, so will they. I totally freak out since she’s been diagnosed and I have cried when I get too much in my head, but never in front of her. I am strong for her. I show up for her. And I refuse to be selfish and live in fear because what I have now is what makes me happy and the only thing I need to do is keep the same loving and happy vibe right back. She deserves to be happy every day and every minute.
She is my walking miracle.

“Pets don’t see imperfections, they only see lovE.” – Unknown

Nina loves her brother Bleaker (calls himself a cat but we swear he is half dog or rabbit). Bleaker’s biological sister Lyla is our little princess. We call her our Michelle Phieffer and Bleaker our George Clooney (But much more of a troublemaker). These cats were just a few weeks old and needed help. I packed them up at my office and traveled the train back to New Jersey. I bottle fed my babies and I never knew I could like a cat until them. I adore them even though they drive me crazy. Watching all of their relationships grow in the past years has been hysterical and so cute. The cats owned the house and then Nina came in and changed it all up. But they manage. With depression, these animals save me. Animals accept us and they give us unconditional love and we don’t deserve what they give us.

Nina loves the sand but hates the water! She loves her dad and has grew quite the bond with him. She has done so much to make my days brighter! I literally enjoy my dates with her better than anybody else!

Nina getting diagnosed gave me guilt because I truly felt thankful for the pandemic for that slight and small reason because it’s given me the time and relieved stress by being able to be with her during this time. Day and night we were with her, or at least one of us was, probably more for my comfort than Nina’s. It took me time to accept her diagnosis and I couldn’t help but think the worst. I had to know what she was doing at all times. But having so much time together, we’ve made so many more memories. And I’m lucky enough to still make them with her every day, my angel.

I will continue to share my baby girl’s journey. She is so strong and I am amazed at the care her Dr. has done for her at Oradell. It makes things more comfortable when you fully trust and communicate with the vet. Her oncologist at this point tells me what to do and I do exactly that.

Best emotional support dog and a I said, my bestie for life!

Give Social Media a Break and Work To Learn and Love Your Qualities as Much as Those Who Love You Do.

Have you ever been asked your best qualities and what others love about you? I have. And I’ve always found it difficult to answer when it comes to speaking about myself. So many of us find the good in others so much easier than our own selves. Why is that? This can be such an important topic for depression. I can reminisce back to so much good I’ve done but the bad always outweighs and erases any chance of me actually thinking I deserve to treat myself like a decent human being. I have had such a hard time giving myself the love and care I should be. And I have avoided the subject for quite some time. But anyway… on another note… my perspective of Social Media completely changes while my moods are unstable. It definitely has not helped me think better of myself as I scroll and carefully compare myself to every post I see. Sometimes, we can all use a break.

Social Media is a lot. There is such a variety of feed that can flood on our screens. I am not here saying that Social Media is a bad platform and does no good. It does a lot of good and we can really learn so much by giving our attention to the subjects that we connect to. It can help with success and also awareness. We should try to steer away from content that can trigger us and give us false validation. I personally have to take a break completely sometimes because I have a huge problem when it comes to comparing myself to others when I feel down. I feel completely unaccomplished most of the time and I feel even worse when I scroll and see posts of others succeeding. I don’t get negative on the people I compare myself to, I wish them all of the best. The negative thoughts for the most part are always about me. I become my own worst enemy. I am my biggest challenge. I just self sabotage and I give even less value to myself when these situations occur. And it isn’t fair. I shouldn’t be looking at a screen of photos posted when I have no idea whatsoever of what is actually occurring behind that post. You really can’t compare what you really don’t know! But of course my brain always finds a way to and it has been such a toxic pattern that happens over and over again. So, I have recently took another break from Social Media. I want to believe in myself and reach the small goals I have wanted to accomplish for a long time. This way I can continue to reach my bigger goals.I want to give myself value and I don’t need the distraction of Social Media when I know it can be always is a huge trigger and does not mix with my depression.

So, here is a little story…Recently someone I follow posted some words that caught my eye. One statement basically said if you can write and complain about feeling like shit and scrolling Instagram, you should be able to better yourself, write in your journal, meditate, list why you are grateful…you get the idea. The first thing I thought about was myself and how I react to life when I am depressed. This person’s words are not valid and it is clear this person also doesn’t understand their own post. And it was also a reminder to myself that Social Media is NOT always right! What you read doesn’t always make sense. Not every quote is true that we read. I mean, maybe if you are depressed the above statement can make some sense, but not when you live with depression. It realistically can be debilitating. So here are my thoughts when I am not feeling good..

Better myself? I already feel stuck and I don’t deserve to better myself. I’m sure some of you think that is an excuse. I wish it were just that. And write in my journal? Write what? How terrible my life is and why I will never succeed? I fear what I’d even write down and I guess I avoid it so I can ignore reading my words through my moods later on (which I know is actually helpful; I’m working on it). Meditate?! Yes! Silence alone scares me. My brain feels like it doesn’t work or it goes so fast that I can’t keep up with it and I struggle to recognize what is real from fake at times.

Another quote this expert added is to give credit to those who stay quiet during their dark times and only share success/happiness. Can be true for some.. and more power to you. But, I promise you from my own experience, sharing raw and real life struggles and situations can really help others. That is why I love writing on this blog. It warms my heart to know it may reach some who struggle and maybe just need to read it to feel less alone and isolated. Getting out of a negative hole can feel impossible and so overwhelming to get out of. Some people have absolutely no idea how hard it is to be positive and feel good when you’re in a depressive state. Yet they find it so simple to call out the weaknesses we face. I mean this politely, it’s actually a fucking disorder. My personal advice, don’t be so fast to judge. You are looking at/from one perspective and have no idea the pressure you can put on somebody that reads what you share (especially when you don’t understand). Understanding isn’t always the most important. Just being supportive is. And if you don’t want to support what you don’t understand, that is okay too. Just don’t judge what you don’t know and maybe you are the one who needs to stay silent… or maybe do your research.

During this Social Media break, I am going to actually use the time and focus the best I can to answer the question I was asked in therapy this past week. What are my good qualities? Well, so far I am still not sold on any good qualities which I told you before. But, I will convince myself of the truth. I am so much better than who I think I’m not and I really look forward to prove that to myself. I did do what the therapist recommended and I asked my closest loved ones who love me so much and also really know me who I trust to tell me what they think my good qualities. I then typed up a list of feedback. One thing I loved about their responses was that there turned out to be many of the same words repeated. Many of my loved ones thought alike and that makes me feel really good. I feel so lucky to have such wonderful people who care about me so much. I am going to open this list the next time I feel down and out and I hope it can help me read these good qualities and give me a reason to get up. I want to be able to redirect my mind when I need to! If I can’t be good to me myself, how can I be successful and live a full life I dream of? Hopefully these words will be able to help me start to like myself again and believe in myself, by believing in the ones I love. They sure as hell believe in me.

bye for now.. and remember to give Social Media a break and work to learn and love your qualities as much as those who love you do 🙂

Small steps… 

GROUP: My First Day And The Unfortunate Reminders It Brought Up

I know you’re probably wondering what the hell even is group? I still really don’t know myself. What I do know is that it is an outpatient intense therapy program with other attendees and also 2 weekly days of individual therapy sessions which are about an hour each. You speak about endless topics and learn ways of coping and bettering your life. The clinician I will be with is the same who completed my Assessment. That is a score right there because if you read my last post, you’ll know I felt a connection with her. 

Yesterday I was having a really hard time staying calm because everything financially that could go wrong did and I started to fall down the rabbit hole FAST. I felt myself as I would on a roller coaster. I feel myself going up and up, just waiting for the drop to come. And it doesn’t. And all of a sudden I am flying so fast. Of course in that state my boyfriend could do nothing right. He takes so many beatings but thank god he has the faith in me he does because he knows this will one day be controllable…which is a huge goal for me. If I get manic and I blackout, the anger and impulsive moves come haunting. Yesterday when I did go black, I was very angry and I packed my bags and my dog and I left. I drove which is the last thing I should have been doing in that frantic state. I put myself, my dog, and other drivers in possible danger. That right there is something I am prioritizing to fix. It will be my first goal in group to learn better coping skills to calm me down during these manic messes. They will happen in the future. I will get triggered and I will do something I will regret even though I have no idea that I’m doing it. Fucking scary, right? 

So anyway, I told you that for a reason. I woke up today, well more like jumped, with really shaky hands and a huge pit in my gut telling me I can’t go to group. What happened yesterday wasn’t fully over. I still felt manic. But I got in the shower and put some music on and I got my ass out of the house. I spoke with a close family member on the way there to make the ride easier and to help calm me. It did help a lot. I walked into the front building where you check in with a check in my hand and I asked for a certain form I need for medical reasons that I sent last week. I expected to have it. My Doctor told me to send it ASAP so he can fill it out. It wasn’t ready yet I was told. I explained the importance of it and a blonde female at the front desk opened the file I sent in and asked me if that was the correct document. I said yes. She continued to scroll down showing me it was not filled out. Along with the scroll, she really enjoyed telling me it can’t be filled out today. I continued to try and get this somehow fixed and asked what time the Doctor is coming in and blondie said he isn’t in today at all (he came in at 1:30PM). They offered absolutely nothing besides the advice that it isn’t worth sitting to wait for. They will send him a message. That is what I was told. Then they have the nerve to ask for my payment for my outpatient program. I declined and said I would pay when I receive the document I need. Now I get where they were coming from I a sense, but working at a Mental Health Facility you would think they would have protocol to help or find help if someone is in a manic/panic…whatever it was! No, this girl just sat and loved every moment it. And her coworker next to her had nothing to say because come on, we all know they will have their backs. I sat down and I felt it. My heart was jumping up and down (you probably could see my boobs bouncing that is how fast and hard it was beating). The front desk sat there as I tried to calm myself down and I couldn’t. I started to get frantic and my thoughts were getting more and more negative. I finally stood up and was a manic mess. I ran out the door and at that point I was not in any shape to even drive. And if I did, I didn’t want to come back. I didn’t want to go and be around a group of people at that time.

As I left, a woman ran to me as I walked to my car and she had my Doctor on the line. He filled the paperwork out with me on the phone with no problem at all and constant apologies for the way the employee acted. It took ALL of that to get a document filled out in less than 5 minutes. The woman helping me is the supervisor nurse on staff and she was so excellent. She stood with me after I got off the phone and talked to me and helped me calm down so I could drive. I didn’t want to attend my first group in that form…I just didn’t feel comfortable. And I was late already. I want to pay for a full day that I am supposed to have. Tomorrow is a new day and I will begin again.

There are so many wonderful people in this world. It worries me though to see the type of people that work in the Mental Health field. The most attentive care I’ve gotten was from a non-profit company. A really nice girl came into my hospital room one of my stays and she talked to me and put a bracelet on my wrist with her phone number on it so I can call at any time if I have thoughts of taking my life or any thoughts I can’t handle on my own. I’ll never forget her. From experience, being in some facilities I have had to be so incredibly careful how I acted and what I said because these Doctors will throw you right into involuntary without a thought because they can. Because they abuse their power and they make patients feel like they are in fact crazy. The stigma of mental illness in this world has grown so much in a positive and supporting way and it is so great to see. But when I was in that hospital, the Doctor that followed me threatened to throw me in into an involuntary psych ward as a threat, not as a treatment. I was asking questions. I cried because I wanted to go home. I was really scared. I just woke up out of a 30ish hour sleep in ICU and I was completely lost and I felt helpless and trapped. But that just doesn’t matter. God forbid you actually act with emotion, they will throw you out like you’re garbage. When I was in involuntary care once after an episode I had prior to all of this drama, I was told I couldn’t leave the hospital unless I took a shot that medicates you for a month. This medication is actually called InVega. I didn’t want it. I didn’t trust it. But I had a flight to South Carolina with my boyfriend for Christmas with his family who I call my own and I was not missing it (or maybe I should have). So, I caved. Give me the shot. I’ll take it! I just wanted to leave. They gave me the shot in 2 separate doses (over 2 days) and they discharged me soon after. My trip was completely ruined because I felt the worst I have ever felt in my life. I was a mess. I felt like I was out of my body and had no control at all. I was completely numb and scared and uncertain of what my body felt still because this medication is in my body for 4+ weeks and I can’t stop it. I binged drinking because it was the only thing that could help me act semi normal for a short period before I went to bed. I looked forward to sleep every single day while I was there. I didn’t have to think or feel or try. My boyfriend’s family didn’t see me at all for who I actually am.

This all is being brought up because of how I felt today and a reminder of how I have been treated before. Do not ever let anyone belittle you because of your mental state. People really do take advantage. And don’t just take something if you don’t feel comfortable. Don’t allow a Doctor to force you to take anything in order to get yourself out of an environment. There are laws and there are our human rights. Also, take a deep breath and keep your cool the best you can. I am actually pretty sure it is illegal what they did forcing a medication on me in the state I was in. I just wanted out. If I could go back, I would have done everything in my power to fight back and not take that shot because I did NOT have to. I will never make that mistake again. And if you’re reading this, neither will you I hope.

Sooooo, with that said.. Just to wrap this up, I know I said a lot through this post and it shows many examples of different times I was treated improperly. I am not an angel. I haven’t always been the nicest person. I am not proud of how I have treated others in my past. But again, IT IS NOT OKAY. If you work for an oncologist and the patient checking in seems stressed, angry, or sad, don’t act the same way back and use your behind the desk powers and completely lose any of your professional being to be negative in return for your own selfishness. What if that patient had a bad night of chemo and was up all night sick? What if a family member of a patient is overactive with questions or demands to see the Doctor? This person could have just been extremely worried and maybe anxiety! Maybe they struggle with Mental Health struggles. Do we all know exactly how to handle somebody we love going through something like that? No! We can freak out! I am not making it right, what I am trying to say is regardless, the workers at the desks in Doctor offices or hospitals should be trained and know how to help the situation and not make it worse for someone. Be kind and smile and try to make the visitor’s day better. This could happen at any office; a primary, a neurologist, an orthopedic, a nursing home or assisted living, and so on. We have bad days but part of a position is to leave that at home and do the job you are assigned. But my biggest lesson of all is to not use up my energy on someone/something so SMALL. I will however make sure it is known at the outpatient program because if somebody was in my position in that office, they could have left and done something tragic, or driven and caused an accident. Or maybe they would give up the idea of the therapy because of what a front desk (the face of any company) caused them. Not a good look.

We could not ever know what someone is going through. If I wasn’t already in such a bad state (I was going on a 3 day hypomanic state at this point), I would have not reacted. I would have left and went to group and expressed it there. I wouldn’t of given her the time of day. But she knew I was very anxious and worried and stressed she used that and poked me and poked me until I frantically lost it and walked out. I know we all have our bad days, believe me. But workers in the medical field have to leave their negativity at home. People are counting on you to make them feel comfortable and hopefully happier. If you can’t, you’re just not fit for that position.  

To a better day tomorrow….

Written 6/29/21

The Assessment

An Assessment is an hour+ process you and a clinician go through together which pretty much is a conversation about everything in your life. Your family, your loved ones, your hobbies, your mental health challenges, medications, triggers, your past and current trauma, you talk about it all. Talking about trauma has always been really hard for me. I put myself down constantly. I blame myself for a lot in my past and it has always made me blame myself for e v e r y t h i n g. Don’t get me wrong, I have not done everything right in any sort. However, I have not done everything wrong. I am not playing victim here. I am just telling you truthfully that I put so much weight on my shoulders with blame and guilt throughout the past years and it has sucked. It is such a common habit to do and it doesn’t help anything. I have gotten more confidant in talking about subjects I have always disliked to talk about.. anything that makes me feel really uncomfortable.. anything that I have blocked out of my brain at my best for the past 10+ years. I spoke through these assessments and the more I talked about it, the more I’ve always learned. And of course, I am always speaking to a professional/loved one. If I felt an off vibe though, I stay more quiet. I trust my gut more than you.

I now understand more of what I have been through and what it really has meant since and how I need to cope to come to peace with this bottle of self doubt and damage. Sometimes talking through your thoughts and fears can turn out better than before you spoke. YOU NEED TO LET IT OUT. This is a prime example of how I can’t express enough that talking about what is in your head and what may be bothering you can really help you. I will say, until the time I entered Morristown Hospital in 2019, I have not fully told anybody at all the demons that I have faced at night. I always found any possible factor in a situation that would make me at fault. But I wasn’t. I was just insecure and scared and I needed to say it out loud. I needed help. And it took many years and an incredible Doctor to help me realize it was not my fault.. a lot of what I went through ate at me for years and years and after a simple small conversation the Doctor and I had, my entire perspective was changed. These assessments really have helped me, along with therapy. I strongly suggest you spill out your guts to someone you trust. You will feel SO much lighter. I’ve been through many assessments and outtake forms that pull me apart for each and every part of my life that has occurred growing up.

Today I had an assessment with my new therapist. This assessment is for the group therapy I am going into. This will help her decide what level of care I need and the amount of hours I should spend in the program per week. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve done countless intake forms because of all of the different Doctors and hospital visits. I saw many psychiatrists because I already have trust issues with doctors. I wanted to see how they looked at me. Pretty much every single doctor diagnosed me exactly the same. No mixture of medications helped me until I saw my psychiatrist now. I told him (most) feelings and episodes I was going through at a time and he always knew what to tweak. He still does. 

These assessments, intake forms, whatever the hell you want to call them… they started about 5-6 years ago. I started by being very careful and only sharing basic information. I was scared. What happens if I tell a Doctor I have thoughts of leaving this earth or not being wanted here? I would for sure have thought I’d be tossed right into an involuntary psych ward. And you may, it really depends all on who it is you’re speaking with. You need trust and someone who truly cares. But I began to spill it out. I felt that anything I hold back could hurt me more. Some things I couldn’t even believe came out of my mouth. Saying everything out loud is challenging but can also feel like that bag of bricks just lost so many pounds. The more I spoke, the more I began to listen and understand my own mind. Who I am. How to heal. I had absolutely no idea that the thoughts latched inside my head were affecting me so much. 

I was very happy leaving my assessment today. An hour and a half of telling every single detail since I was young made me feel a release again and I for the first time in a long time was able to speak my truth with more certainty. I really connect with my therapist and I feel safe and comfortable around her. I also felt better about how I explained my thoughts..I felt stronger and I rambled less than usual. My thoughts are more structured and not as scattered. That itself is a victory for me right there. My therapist again also is cool as shit and I felt no discomfort at all being in the room with her. I always thought I wanted an older therapist, thinking they would understand me better. I proved myself wrong. My current therapist is younger…in her mid twenties I would say. Our vibe felt so effortless and happy and I am really looking forward to building a relationship. I think I am really going to value her perspectives. I will definitely let you know.

Written June 25th, 2021

My Current State

My Current State

It is 4PM and my brain is wiped. I am on yet another journey. This one has been long and heavy so far. I have so many emotions and they don’t all meet in the middle smoothly at all. Let me just go back a bit and tell you about the drama in my life. I call that drama bipolar disorder. And it is severely altering my day to day life. 

I have struggled to be consistently reliable to a job position for years. The outcome is always a layoff. If not that, it is me frantically running away because I am terrified. I’ve been hesitant to share this but I feel that I have to. I want to be completely transparent. This last position was referred to me by a great person. We worked together previously and he brought me in for an interview at his place of work knowing my background of not being present. I thought in my head I was just going to take the interview to practice my skills and return the respect. I of course owned the interview because I was my bubbly self yet professional, and kind. I will say I am a great employee…when I show up. I left the interview and we were all on cloud 9. The owner was probably the best business owner I have ever met. I saw higher numbers on my offer letter than expected and right away told myself I could do it this time. This I’ve noticed has become a pattern of mine, for a long time. Let’s talk about the fact that I was also in school at night at this time and didn’t have much time to breathe. But I still took the job. I think I lasted a little over 4 months. I always tend to take on way too much. When I was younger I always took on 2-4 jobs. I was always moving. My goal was always distracted and always changing.

When I started to notice my struggling and my grades declining, I took a leave from school because I was just in a really bad place, which upsets me because I for once was doing very very well. But everything else in my life affected it so much that I had to be safe and take that leave and not a bad term. When I was at the office, it was almost all wonderful. I was good at the job I was training to perform and I was able to speak to different people every day (I love to talk). But the darkness just follows. It came swinging in and pounded me into the ground. Let’s just say my thoughts become so low and sometimes scary, so I sleep. I sleep hours and hours. I sleep the suicidal thoughts away. Sometimes days and days. It affects my hygiene, my thought process, my relationships, my dog’s schedule, my work, school, my life.. Waking up out of my lows just feels even worse than before I would go to sleep. This obviously won’t put me into a bright and happy mood waking up because I think most of us know that oversleeping comes with depression. How am I supposed to get myself to work when I can’t even get out of bed because I know in my head with certainty I will never be anything? My mind is weak and the depression beats my ass. I will never be better. I will always be a complete failure (x10). My circle has gotten smaller and it is all my fault. I fight to think just one positive thing about myself during these times and I cannot. I literally never have yet.. It blows my mind how people in the position I am put in (or put myself in, I don’t know!) are able to function and are able to just simply get from A to B. That is SO strong of you. My paranoia also for some reason has filled me with the fear of driving from point A to B at times. I also get HIGH anxiety at times. The anxiety can come after missing work and going back because of what others will think of me. It is awkward and I hate the feeling. It can also be from too many thoughts about the future, finances, friendships, even sometimes just existing. Have I pushed myself through these shitty times? I can say yes but the percentage of me actually getting up is at an extreme low.

Anyway, these awful moments do get better. They get better and then my head just feels like it is restarting. So far the better days have only been temporary so far. I know bad days will happen, I just wish they wouldn’t affect me the way they do. Give me a flat tire or a sold out flight I can’t get onto. These highs and lows are really overwhelming. I really think people do not understand sometimes. Some see it from their perspective and don’t understand or simply don’t believe yours. Another moment of anxiety that flies through me is when I would go back to work after a bad spell I would feel so much pressure and guilt from everyone around me. Why wouldn’t I? They had no idea what I was going through and they probably wouldn’t even understand. I think they began to not even take me seriously. Can’t blame them.

When there is no low, there could be a stable moment where I see what is going on and what I need to fix. I feel more grounded and I do what I have to do. I just get through the day. I dance in my car as I blast Ariana Grande. I love that feeling. Just feeling in control. Feeling some kind of normalcy. Then there is that feeling of a lack of breath and an increased pulse rate, along with a racing heartbeat and most likely a slight increase in my blood pressure. I rise and rise until I think I am happy but I am talking a mile a minute and planning the whole next year. My brain moves so fast in different directions and I can’t keep up. If I get triggered by anything during this state, I react in a very negative way and I can’t even tell you how I get myself so worked up (I’ll go deeper into that in another rant). I am not in a normal state of mind. I am manic. Sometimes during these episodes, I get filled with so much anger and when it gets to that point, it is very hard to calm me down. I completely black out and don’t remember much at all when I come to. Why am I so angry? What puts me into that place of rage? I am trying to figure that out. Just another # on my list to work on.. When I go full panic, my body feels like it is flying yet it tingles and feels quite heavy. I’m explaining all of these feelings because maybe you feel them too. And I for sure don’t want to be alone. I hope you reading this makes you not feel alone either. I’ve been put on medications, a lot of them, and I’ve been somewhat “fixed” but I still have so much more to go. I am not me. I am the closest to me I have gotten so far, and that is not saying much. The side effects of these meds are brutal. And obviously something is not right because I am still going through these struggles and I still have not been able to learn to cope and keep myself afloat. So, now I do what is necessary after being laid off and this time, I am finding help for myself. I’ve always sat in my sorrow but I haven’t done anything to feel better about myself. I am not committing to anything until I can break through this. 

I plan to enter an outpatient program that hopefully can help me mentally get stronger and a way to learn better coping skills. I am now going to take the time to take better care of myself mentally and physically. There is so much I know that can be done. It is so overwhelming on where to start. That is why I am choosing to get help. I choose the route of being 36 years old in a weekly therapy program with no accomplishments or better skills because I am not mentally ready or capable to consistently work and simply be my best potential most days. How can I? I have different thoughts of myself and the world around me every single day. I miss me. So so much. But I am sick of failing over and over again. Small goals they say, yea I know. That in itself makes me nervous. But I’ll do it. I know I’ll do it. What do I think of when I think of me at my best self and where I want to be? I need to start caring about myself..all that self care and self discipline..I need it more than you can ever know. I want to be stable and happy for myself and my family to not be worrying about me, for my boyfriend who supports me through everything I’ve went and am going through. I want to feel emotions so I can return the love he and my loved ones give me every single day. I want to be trusting to become a wife and start a family. I want to be well enough to help others. I think it feels so good to help people. It is therapeutic to me. I want to be able to get up in the morning and fight what comes my way, and me be for once be the winner. I want to not pick at every single thing. For example, recently a social media user who is close to mutual friends (or ex-friends) unfollowed me. I wasn’t sure of why she unfollowed me and I didn’t understand what I’ve done wrong. But in reality, I don’t even care about this person. Like, I really do not care in the least bit. Not saying anything bad! But WHY do I allow my mind to pay so much attention on something so small? It all wraps around the way I feel about myself. I just always think I am to blame. But fuck that, I’m not and my life did not end over these petty things. All of these negative thoughts drain my energy so much. Just have to learn to control it. That is why right now, I am the most important part in getting better. I want and absolutely need to help ME…in very small increments at a time of course. But as I move forward, I hope to become a better version of myself. I am trying to keep that mentality as much as I possibly can. And I know one thing, I am not turning back.

Here we go….

Written on June 21, 2021