And After Denial And Anger And Depression Comes Acceptance

Yesterday’s post was written a day or two after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. It was a messy few weeks, of crying and ableism and cancelling plans and haze and tough decisions and more crying. I yelled at people I loved: my mom, Tom, my sisters, God. I pretended nothing had changed with everyone else. Both took a toll.

But now I’m almost a month in. And things are looking up. My worries and fears from July have come to their foregone conclusions for the most part and I am looking for the upside in them all. And life is looking a little like this:

  • Downside: I decided not to go EUDC in Croatia. Upside: My space went to Andrew, who deserves it and will do it justice.
  • Downside: I have been transferred out of Nursing and will not be graduating in 2015. Upside: The college are making what is essentially a new course for me (BSc Health Studies) and I will graduate in 2016. The next year will also be part time, which will allow me to adjust to professional life at my own pace.
  • Downside: Running is a no-no. Upside: Swimming and yoga are still yes-yes.

It helps that two of my dearest people have disabilities, and are up for a venting session when it is needed. It helps that I bought a shower chair so that I can wash myself in peace. It helps that I am getting into a low-sugar, low-caffeine, bed at 10pm routine. It helps that I am taking more me time. It helps to multitask less. It helps that I am taking a break from worship team, and approaching God in a slightly different manner. It helps that the American explains relevant theology (and makes silly faces) when I am upset. It helps to have a mother who does lots of research about fibro and test runs facials on me.

You get to a point where you start being okay with being a spoonie, a fibromite, a pillow fighter, and whatever other cute names online support groups have for their members. You start being okay with walking less and sitting more, less nights out and more sleeps in, less fancy coffee and two more paracetemol.

But it’s good. This is good.

 

Waiting, Surviving, and More Than Surviving

It’s been a few weeks, sporadic blog readers. One of those months, you know? Where things are going from bad to worse, and a cycle begins reminding you of all the other bad things that have already happened in your life thus far. The cycle then goes on to speculate on all the terrible things that are inevitably going to happen as your life progresses and you get caught in this storm of desperation and disinterest in anything else in the world.

The latest in is that I have an undiagnosed something. Readers and real life friends alike are fully aware that I give out about my hip pain a lot, and as time has gone on, it has become more of an issue. Now I’m waiting on a rheumatology consult, need to take day time naps to deal with the fatigue, and am relating far too well to The Spoon Theory. It’s frustrating and exhausting and it takes a whole ton of effort to do not very much.

The build up has started: I am tired and in pain, so I can’t get a job, so I have no money. I am tired and in pain, so I can’t work as a nurse so I have to consider transferring into something else, which isn’t dropping out, but feels remarkably similar. I am tired and in pain so I can’t sleep at night and am exhausted during the way which makes it harder to socialise, serve, and survive.

All this happens and it would be so easy to give up. I could just take to my bed and watch Netflix and drink tea and never stir. Which I do some days, and it is absolutely necessary. But not every day. And I have to remind myself, as we all do sometimes, that I have survived the terrible things before. I survived bulimia, and dropping out of med school, and coming out as queer, and being raped, and having PTSD, GAD, and panic attacks, and having IBS (I am alphabet soup apparently), and a whole host of other things that felt like the end of the world (like being broke and relationships ending and growing apart from friends.) I am still here after all of that and so I must keep going. Or all that effort will have been a waste.

I can survive, and more than survive. I can adjust. I have a computer. I write (and get paid now. That’s cool). I have Skype. I have a rent free room to live in and meals made for me, courtesy of my beautiful father and mother. I have best friends who are not in the least bit frightened of all my baggage, and often come to the rescue. I have Jesus, and God’s infinite love. I have hope.

And that’s good enough for now.

500th Post Encouragement

June 21 2009 was post #1. This is post #500. 500 posts that you, dear readers, have spent allowing me to narrate and whine and wax lyrical about my life. I don’t know why a diary is better with an audience. When I first started reading blogs, I read them for inspiration and encouragement. I have over the years frequented many a genre, from fitness and running blogs to ED recovery blogs to self love blogs to queer blogs to Christian blogs and everything in between.

I’m not sure if my ramblings help anyone. But I think I am more coherent in the written word than in real life. The world is an unlovely place. But I think its possible to survive it. We just need the help of others.

I once asked the American how he could be so lovely to everyone. He said that he was just trying to get people to see themselves in the way that God saw them, even if it was just a little bit.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV). We struggle on. We keep trying. We lean into people. We lean into Jesus. And we’ll encourage each other as we go and we will survive.

 

 

25 Ideas To Break The Bell Jar

Incidentally, I like to read the Bell Jar when I am sad. Today was a day in which I wanted to stay in bed (my mother forced me up at 1pm), mope, do nothing, and repeat as needed. So the following is a list of things I do (or at least think about doing) when I feel like the world is closing in around me and there is no air available. Following on from yesterday’s post, it is so much easier to break these spells if you are aware of the patterns your mind follows in the first descent. This takes a lot of time and work and therapy, but you’ll get there x

Practical ideas

1. Shower. Wash away the unpleasantness. Dissolve yourself in just-too-hot water. Water helps.

2. Set an alarm that is out of reach from your bed. This requires you knowing you will not want to get out of bed, but it means you have to get up to shut it up or someone else in the house will get pissed off enough to force you to get up a la my mother, which at the time seems crappy, but in retrospect is great.

3. Make a list. Sometimes I make a list and do absolutely nothing on it. But I feel productive for having made it. Sometimes I make a list of really basic things, like: tidy room, wash self, empty dishwasher, read 5 pages of a book. Ticking things off makes me feel less like a lazy mess, and more like a legitimate human.

4. Play music. Whether this means listening to it or playing it yourself, play it loud and unapologetically. Be emotional. Be silly. Be overly dramatic. Fuck everything. Follow the rhythm.

5. Make sure that you have taken all required medication. Whether this be your anxiolytics, anti-depressants, heart meds, thyroxine, or just your b complex vitamins, take your damn pills.

Hard to start but good to finish

6. Exercise. I know, it sucks. But but but. The endorphins will improve your mood PLUS you feel productive PLUS your body is moving which is good for your health PLUS its a distraction from your thoughts. When I’m super not motivated, I do low impact things like light cardio, walking or yoga. And I pump up the emo tunes and have at it.

7. Look up vague future unplanned plans on the internet. I look up grad school courses and visas to foreign lands, knowing full well that I have neither the means nor the qualifications to do it right now. But it gives me some gist of what might maybe could happen in a few years.

8. Do a 20:10, a la Unfuck Your Habitat. Or do 5:10. Or just pick up your dirty underwear and put it in the wash. Baby steps if you have to.

9. Leave the house. Even if its just for five minutes to walk to Centra to buy toilet paper. The air will do you good. The reminder that people exist will do you good.

10. Talk to someone. Call a friend. Sit down with your mom. Write a blog. HUMAN CONTACT. It’s a scary awful sounding thing, horrible to initiate, worse to maintain, but at the end of the day, there is not beating the support and love of other people.

Avoiding maladaptive coping mechanisms

11. Make rules to avoid the practice. If this means you set a timer for an hour (or longer) before you can engage or you need to attempt x amounts of alternatives before you can use your coping mechanism, try and put something in place to give yourself time to consider the consequences of what you are going to do. For me this looks like: 1. Ciara asking me am I sure I want a drink (often the answer is no). 2. Sitting for half an hour before eating more chocolate (Still a work in progress). 3. Telling someone I feel sick and that I’m upset before purging (which leads to no purging).

12. Use distraction techniques. This is the least useful for me, but others find it fantastic. Leaving the house is possibly the only distraction that works for me. That and college deadlines. If you need something to do with your hands, crafting (especially knitting or crochet) is a great occupier.

13. Make up a similar (but less harmful) alternative. I binge on tea instead of chocolate. I know people who draw scars in sharpies instead of blades. My doctor advised me to snap an elastic band against my wrist whenever I had negative thoughts about my body.

14. Blog. Or go on Tumblr and look at funny stuff and kittens. There are other websites with funny stuff and kittens but on Tumblr you can block certain tags and avoid potential triggers. Huzzah!

15. (Warning: Shameless self plug) Reasons To Not Kill Yourself

Ways to pass the time (when it feels like the day is never going to end)

16. Play Candy Crush. It’s mindless and colourful and you’ll run out of lives within 15 mins so it is not a complete waste of your time.

17. Watch anime. You literally cannot be sad watching Ouran High School Host Club.

18. Listen to Welcome to Night Vale. Its 20 minutes of your life and you will have emotions (mainly positive) at this beautifully surreal podcast.

19. Learn a language. I get these fegaeries to improve my french every now and then, and Duolingo is a super cute way to do it, with sounds and pictures and affirmative ding when you get an answer right.

Nice apps for not-so-nice moods

20. SAM. Its cute, its easy to use, and if (like me), you deal with panic attacks and anxiety, its super useful.

21. Dumb Ways to Die. Its a silly game to make you laugh plus you’ll learn about train safety.

Things to read

22. Hyperbole and a half. If you ever want someone to accurately describe depression in a series of cartoons, this is the website to go to. Just trust me. Just read it. Just go.

23. The Bible (or whatever religious text goes with your beliefs). I find hope and truth and purpose in Scripture. It is a source of good in my life, and there are certainly days when I don’t want to read the Bible, but on those days I want to want to read the Bible. So I pray for the will, for the courage, and know that this too shall pass. If you want to read the Bible but don’t own one, YouVersion is a lovely app. That is also free.

24. I read the Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath because I am a giant stereotype but also because I love it. I love how it so accurately describes how I feel when I feel trapped by the world, I love how much I can empathise with the main character, and I love that it ends with hope.

25. Andrew’s recommendation (and I quote): “Atlas Shrugged to remind me of the power of free market capitalism”

Why I Stopped Blogging And Why I May Start Again

The last time I posted anything was over two months ago (I’m not counting the Queerbash post. Promo is promo.) The long and short of it is I had a setback. The melodramatic part of me wants to write ‘breakdown’, but setback is a better word. What happened was this: I went on placement, read about mental illness for 8 hours a day, and started having panic attacks. I returned to college and this advanced to flashbacks and derealisation and depression. A few doctor appointments later and I had my medications revamped and a diagnosis of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD.) I took the rest of the week off and did nothing with myself.

Things got better from there: the meds kicked in, I learned coping skills from my new counsellor, I talked through my flashbacks, I joined a church and threw myself into service and learning more, I got on top of college work, and my mother and Andrew ensured I remained a human being.

This improvement came at a price: I had to stop writing for Gaelick (and the blog), I cut down on committee things, I am still completely unmotivated to run or play music or not engorge myself on sugar. My IBS has been playing up, I had a period of touch phobia, and I am getting the shakes from another medication adjustment.

But things are looking up.

Life seems good again.

Things I Like

In following with Fran and Brian, here are some things I like. I was nursing a funky mood all last week, which had a lot to do with the flashbacks and anxiety that I mentioned on Tuesday, so I think it is good to focus on what I have to be grateful in my life and appreciate the ability to come out of the doom and gloom.

Things I Like

  • My dad and his ability to free me from the leather jacket that I got trapped in
  • Andrew and his ability to fix my panic attacks
  • Les Mis. All of the feels.
  • Warm woolly tights
  • Neil Patrick Harris
  • Having conversations about knitting with my nana
  • Fluid dancing. I am sexuality. I am gender. I am river. *Spoilers*
  • Stir fry dinners
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (courtesy of Project Free TV)
  • Giving injections
  • Blogging sometimes and not blogging other times
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Getting the opportunity to talk about bisexuality and queer issues on the radio, online, and in my college.
  • €2 books from O’ Mahoneys
  • Running in misty rain
  • Looking at Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman converse online
  • Comparing Doctor Who characters to people in my own life
  • Listening to the radio on the way to work
  • UL
  • Putting Malteasers into a container of popcorn
  • This post on Tumblr

 

 

starxapple:

starxapple:

my grandpa has a date tonight and hes really old and in a wheelchair and has to drag around this breathing machine but hes just sitting there waiting for the hospice shuttle to take him to pick up his date and he looks suPER EXCITED and its the cutest thing ive ever seen

update he came home and i asked him how it went and he said, “i should have taken an extra tank of oxygen because she took my BREATH AWAY”