A great way to wrap up a depressing week

Hey friends.

I had an appointment with a new therapist yesterday. So far, so good. I really like her. She is kind and very empathetic, and it feels like she really understands what I’m going through, which I guess is her job, so good on her LOL.

So, here’s how my Saturday went.

I woke up from a horrible dream, completely drenched in sweat, around 5 AM. My dream was that I was fired from my current job as Online Marketplace Manager, and I had to go back to work for Rockwell Automation (RA for short, and usually I wouldn’t use actual names of places, but I really don’t care). In this dream, I kept having to tell myself “I don’t work for [current company] anymore, I work for RA again.”

Working for RA was soul-crushing. It was dog-eat-dog, and a man’s world at RA. There was little to no room for creativity, and I would come home from work every day like “this is what life is like now…”

Anyway, so the dream stems from my irrational fear of getting fired on the spot at my job. My mom put my mind at ease earlier this week, saying “you know, it’s kind of hard for a company to just up and fire someone these days,” and I thought, “yeah, she’s right,” and besides, I have given them pretty much nothing to fire me over anyway…

So yeah, I wake up from this dream, come back to reality about having a really depressing week, remember that I have a therapy appointment later in the day.

I hear my cat making all these really strange noises… coughing, sneezing, and she’s breathing out of her mouth. I think, ‘shit, that’s really not good,’ but I just hold her for a few minutes and fall back asleep.

I wake back up around 9 AM to the vet calling to confirm my cats’ appointment on Monday. Half asleep, I’m just like ‘yeah, we’ll be there,’ and then I doze off again.

My mom calls shortly after and this time I’m like, alright time to get up. I tell my mom about Torti mouth-breathing, and she encourages me to hang up and call the vet.

I call the vet back and say “I have an appointment on Monday but I don’t think we can wait. My cat is not doing well.” They ask, “is she breathing out of her mouth?” I say “yes,” and they say, “you need to get her here as fast as you can.”

I look outside and it’s literally snowing sideways. It’s right in the middle of the worst winter storm of the year in Chicago, not just snowing like crazy, but super windy and very cold.

I start to bundle up, get the kitties in the kitty stroller, and we set out on our way.

I have to carry the stroller half of the 5-block walk because the snow is so thick that the wheels won’t roll. The wind is blowing the stroller all over the sidewalk when I try to roll it. Not much has been shoveled yet, and the street corners are slushy puddles. It was a tremendous struggle trying to get the cats to the vet.

I looked like a crazy lady with a stroller in the middle of a snowstorm and people were probably like “what the hell is that lady doing with a baby out in the blizzard?” SURPRISE! It’s not a baby, but 2 babies of the feline kind and it’s an emergency so fuck off!!

We get to the vet and I’m soaking wet, from both sweat and trudging through 6-12 inches of snow, sludge, and snow drifts. My feet are soaking wet and freezing cold.

We get back into the exam room and they were like “ok, well she is not dying but severely congested and we’re going to get her fixed up.”

Another $200 later and now I have two sick kittens that I have to get back home.

So, that’s $400 I spent at the vet this week.

Pepper in her kitty stroller at the vet.
Poor Torti mouth-breathing because she can’t breathe out of her little precious nose.

Then, I get home and I have to get to my therapy appointment with my new therapist. I thought about canceling more than once because trudging through the blizzard again did not sound like my cup of tea. But, I knew I really needed to go and I would continue to feel guilty and depressed if I canceled, so I mustered up the energy, got some dry leggings, socks, and boots, and headed out again.

I get to the place where I’m now going for therapy and the office is absolutely beautiful. I walked in and there was NO ONE in sight and all the lights were off besides the one directly over the door. I walk around like, “hello…???” and I didn’t get any answer but I was about 15 minutes early.

There was a grocery store right across the street and I decide to go get something to eat because I realize it’s almost 2 PM and I was starving cuz I hadn’t had any time to eat yet. I grab some food, and come back right at 2 and this woman comes out and introduces herself and then we head back to her office.

Since it’s the first appointment, we had to sign forms and blah blah blah and the whole time I’m feeling some serious word vomit coming on.

She says “so the first 3 appointments are usually an assessment about what brought you here,” and I don’t interrupt her, but at the first chance to say something I say “ok, well I really don’t want to focus too much on my past, I will fill out a permission form for you to get that information from my previous therapist, I really need to talk about what’s going on right now, today.” She says, “ok,” and we’re off to the races.

After venting for about 25-30 minutes about everything that’s been going on for the last couple months, it’s no wonder I was out of commission this week. I told her how this week all I wanted to do was lay horizontally, and after I told her everything, she said, “after everything you just told me, it’s no wonder your body just needed a break, can you see why you just couldn’t get yourself up and running this week?” and I was like… “hmmm… yeah that’s a good point.”

It helped alleviate some of my guilt for laying around as much as I could last week, and helped me realize that I probably should’ve taken some pre-planned vacation time after the holidays to regather and recoup myself.

We talk a lot about the big big thing on my mind, which is potentially telling my employer about my anxiety, and mainly, my depression, that is mostly kept at bay with medication and coping skills, but sometimes gets the best of me. It’s been about 2 years since I fell into the type of depression that I was in this week, so it’s not like it happens all that often, but when it does happen, I don’t want to feel the shame and the guilt I felt this week for making ‘excuses’ to take a couple days off work, I’d rather just be honest and work something out that is mutually beneficial.

She made some suggestions, but, I had this weird hope that she would just tell them, instead of me having to have a conversation with them, but of course, that’s not how it’s going to work and I am going to have to tell them myself.

I told her my fears about what they might think… thinking that maybe I’m not that dependable, capable, or that I think I deserve special treatment or that I’m requesting special treatment. She made a good point and said, “it sounds like those are YOUR fears, and although they might think those things, you know there is nothing you can do to control what or how they are going to think and react.”

She’s exactly right and I hate that I can’t control what they are going to think.

Ultimately, I want to tell them because I would feel better and I would feel relieved getting it off my chest. I don’t like hiding something like this from people I care about and people who care about me, and people who depend on me.

She made some good recommendations for what I could say, like “if this happens again, I will get my work done, but it just might not be during traditional work hours and I might need an extra day or two,” which is exactly true because when I was depressed like I was this week, it was hard to face the daylight and I felt much better and more productive when the darkness fell, and that’s when I felt like I would be able to work and get things done. And, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for an extra day or two to get things done when my usual turn-around time for various projects is like, ASAP, so yeah.

I just have to think carefully about how I’m going to word it because I am most fearful that they will think I am requesting special treatment or think that I think I deserve special treatment, which I don’t want, but ultimately, if I’m not mentally healthy, everything is all outta whack.

My therapist and I also talked about the relationship issues with guys I’ve had lately.

I was seeing this one guy, E, for about a month, and it came to an abrupt end this week.

I had reservations about E from the very beginning, I honestly don’t know why I kept hanging out with him. I think he thought he had me wrapped around his pinky finger which he most certainly did not.

I could see through his manipulative and self-absorbed ways right away; again, I don’t know why I wasted my time on this guy.

Well, on Monday of last week, we were on the phone and I really had no intentions on talking about the status of our relationship because up until that point, our conversations somehow always ended with talking about the status of our relationship and I just wasn’t up for it that day.

On Monday, I was so anxious I threw up. I was beginning to feel the depression coming on, and I was feeling just so down. I just wanted to talk.

Well, he starts talking about the status of our relationship and says something along the lines of “I like spending time with you and I think you’re a great person, but I don’t see us working out long-term.” I’m like, ok, well then I have no interest in continuing to see you anymore because A.) I already had reservations and now those reservations have been confirmed and, B.) no one is getting any younger here and I don’t have time for guys who just want a fuck buddy. I have zero interest in that, and now, I don’t even want to continue developing any sort of relationship with you because you “don’t see us working out long-term,” and frankly, I didn’t see it either or whatever.

I got pretty angry with him, and it honestly felt good to get angry with someone and kind of let loose on them. I hadn’t raised my voice like that towards anyone in years and I feel a little bit bad about it, but not bad enough to warrant an apology after what he said to me…

He goes “you should be grateful I’m telling you this now and not stringing you along, like I could be,” like WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. I should be grateful that you’re not being a shitty person?! FUCK OFF!! No one is going to tell me what I should and should not be grateful for ESPECIALLY when it comes to just being a decent fucking human being.

He kept putting words into my mouth, telling me I was feeling fearful and scared that “he was distracting me and taking my focus of my goals,” like…. No, I wasn’t feeling fearful or scared because I do have room and the capacity to both be in a relationship with someone I care about AND continue working towards my goals and remain focused on work and shit.

I just had had it with him putting words into my mouth and spewing bull shit and I promptly hung up on him the minute he continued to try and put more words into my mouth.

So that happened.

Ok, so now, back up a few weeks, or I guess a year.

Last year around this time I was dating this guy, I don’t remember what I called him back then in this blog or even if I used a name for him, but from this point forward I’m going to call him Simon.

Simon and I met when I was about 90 days sober at an AA meeting. It was honestly one of those “love at first sight” moments, and even in the lack of self-confidence at 90 days sober, I went up to him and started a conversation, continued the conversation after the meeting, and got his number.

We became good friends, dated for a while, broke up, dated again, broke up again, and then didn’t talk to each other for 9 months. We stopped talking in about May of 2018 until he randomly texted me on my birthday, Dec 30 2018.

I was shocked when I got his text, and of all days, on my birthday.

He came over that night and we talked for like 5 hours straight catching up on all that had happened in the last 9 months.

When we stopped talking in May, I was still living in sober living and I had all these goals to get my own place, make more money, get pets, and other things.

Having him come over to my apartment on my birthday was cool because he was like “wow, the last time we talked you were just talking about all of this and look at you now, you’re actually doing it!” and I was like, “hell yeah I am!”

He told me about some things he had been dealing with, and one of them was starting to participate in the SLAA program, or Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous, because he felt like he was unable to have a healthy relationship due to sex or whatever.

He was telling me what his SLAA sponsor was making him do… and the whole time he’s telling me, I’m like, “well that’s just totally unnatural and unreasonable.” I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about what he had to do to make his SLAA sponsor happy, but the whole time he was talking about it, I could tell that what he was saying were just things that people told him that he needed to do, not what he actually thought he needed to do.

Well, about a week later, Simon had completely stopped texting me back and I knew what happened – he told his SLAA sponsor he had come over to my apartment, and his SLAA sponsor reprimanded him for talking to me and seeing me and required him to A.) cease all communication with me, and B.) write me this bogus letter.

I get the letter in the mail with no return address so I couldn’t write him back. When I got the letter, I knew he would’ve blocked me on his phone so there was no use in even texting him. But the letter made me mad and sad at the same time… the words on the page were clearly written with someone standing over his shoulder telling him exactly what to write. The words were not his… the words were so not true and it broke my heart even more. Not the first time this guy has broken my heart.

SOOooooo….. yesterday, after I get home from my therapy appointment, after I had just talked to her about these stupid guys and these stupid relationship issues and even cried a few tears over the bogus letter I got from Simon, guess who texts me…. SIMON.

In his letter, he had told me not to acknowledge any communication he would ever try to have with me. Of course, I ignored it and I texted back like “Hi. According to your letter I’m not supposed to acknowledge you,” and he was like, “yeah I know I was really hoping you would text me back,” we continued texting for a while and then he drops this on me and it made my heart burst and hurt and the same time…

“the truth is I miss you so much and I want to be with you.”

Like… I have been waiting for an entire year to hear those words. Even though I’ve dated around since Simon, the feelings I had for Simon never went away. Things just felt right with Simon. I felt like when I hugged him, we fit together like pieces of a puzzle. I felt more comfortable around him than I had around any other man in probably 10 years.

I was super hesitant because of everything that had happened between us leading up to this point. So I thought to myself, ‘proceed with caution…’

So, I said “I feel like we need to talk about this,” and he agreed to come over and have a chat with me.

We talked for several hours about how we felt about each other, and realistically, how it could work between us, and how both of us have not lost any feelings for each other since we first met.

Basically, and I don’t know or care if this was the right thing to say or not, but after we had cleared the air and talked about all the sappy, emotional stuff, I said “well, I’m basically ready whenever you are, and I have been for a while.”

We switched gears and started listening to music and joking around. We both felt like going for a walk in the blizzard. I live a couple blocks away from the lake and we bundled up and headed down by the lake to watch the snow and the waves crash in.

It was a glorious, exhilarating moment… after the week I just had… full of depression, anxiety, guilt, shame, fear, anger… and to wrap up the week feeling like the life was breathed back into me… standing on the beach in the freezing, bitter cold, watching a blizzard come down and the waves crash in and freeze on the beach, standing with someone who I have NO reservations about, someone I know cares for me and respects me the way I care for him and respect him… what a great way to get back to life.

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Anxiety and Depression Update

Hello again.

Here’s an update on what I’m feeling today.


I’m feeling less like the world is closing in on me, more like I can and will be able to get through. Reminding myself that feelings are not facts and feelings are temporary really helps.

I had a really great conversation with my mom tonight, which immensely helped my outlook right now.

After sick days and leaving early from work this week, I’m nervous about what my coworkers think. Specifically this one coworker, I’ll call her Jill.

Jill is the one that made quite a few snide and passive-aggressive remarks to me late last year that made me feel really uncomfortable at work. After the bosses had a talk with her, the snide comments almost completely stopped and it was wonderful.

She’s an older woman, and I was told a couple months ago that she’s only a couple years away from being able to retire. I had no idea she was that close to retirement, she ages well.

She’s quite funny actually. Sometimes, when a truck driver pulls up to the warehouse and lays on his horn to get the guys to open the garage door, she’ll say “ope! there’s my date! I better get goin’!” She likes cats and we share funny stories about our cats doing cat things that cat parents laugh about.

So, anyway, Jill seems to keep a watch on everyone at the office. If you leave early or come in late, it seems no one notices but her.

She is one of those people that looks the same, acts the same, does the same exact thing every single day. Works 8 AM to 12 PM, takes a lunch from 12-12:30, then goes home not a minute before or after 4 PM. I know this because I work right next to her and have been for the last year and a half, and it’s always the exact same.

She comes in, turns the phones on, checks the fax machine, sets her bags down, turns on her radio, gets her yogurt and fruit and oatmeal breakfast, gets coffee, and sits down to get to work. Every single day.

I WISH I could be like that. I wish I could be so in-sync with my routine that people know what my routine is after working with me for over a year. But, no one knows my routine, because I can’t seem to get in-sync with a regular schedule.

For one, I travel at least once a month for my job. Whether it’s on a plane to another state, or downtown Chicago, I’m out of the office traveling here and there. Then, I switched my schedule so I work from home on Friday’s. Then, I’m usually in the office between 8-9 AM and I usually leave between 4-4:30 PM. There have been weeks where I was able to get there at the same time and leave at the same time every day, but that’s not how my routine works. She drives, I take public transportation. Sometimes I’m at work at 6 or 7 AM because I can’t sleep and I just say fuck it and go into the office, and then I leave at 3:30 because my 8 hours done been worked. Sometimes, I have to clean up cat poop and then I miss the ‘good train’ (the one that gets to the station right before the bus leaves so I can hop on it real quick) and then have to wait at the station where I transfer to a bus for 20 minutes. Also, I do several hours of work during the evening or over the weekend to make up for lost time during transportation, appointments, etc.

Anyyyywayyyyy… so yeah, Jill, she seems to keep tabs on everyone. Especially me for some reason.

Marketing girl has an even stranger schedule. She comes in at 8:30 and leaves at like 3-3:30 and then doesn’t work on Friday’s. I don’t understand her schedule or how she gets 40 hours in, but it’s none of my business and I trust she’s got something worked out with the bosses to accommodate for her work-life balance. I wish Jill would realize my schedule is none of her business.

Now, this week I was barely in the office. I just couldn’t do it. I can’t explain why, I just was overcome with severe, almost insurmountable anxiety, to the point where I had a hard time putting sentences together, looking people in the eye, etc.

Tomorrow is Friday, my work from home day. So I will see her next on Monday, and I plan on getting back to work on Monday full swing.

I know what I’m doing here; I’m exhibiting several cognitive distortions, specifically jumping to conclusions, about what she’s thinking and feeling. I know I’m doing this and I’m worrying about something that will likely not even happen, so why am I spending so much time and energy thinking about it?

Side-note: learning about and keeping in mind the common cognitive distortions is really helpful in everyday situations for anyone – whether you struggle with mental health or not. Click on the link above to learn more.

I do need to learn how to better deal with coworkers wondering why I’m leaving early, not in the office on Friday’s, etc.

So, I Google “how to tell coworkers about depression,” and of course, I find a few good articles that I’m going to quote.

I like this one from this article: “I have appointments during office hours each week that I can’t schedule for evenings or weekends, so [your employer] and I have set up a work schedule that lets me make up the time.”

I mean, my bosses know I’m a little ‘off my rocker,’ I have to believe the other people in the office know I struggle with mental health, because I’ve hinted at it in the past when Jill passive-aggressively commented “I’ve never met someone with so many appointments!” Well, Jill, I do have a lot of appointments, but I need to stay sane, soo….. I believe I said something along the lines of “yeah, I need to go to therapy to be able to work,” or something like that.

Did you know that: “Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability among adults 15 to 44 years old, affecting nearly 7% of adults in the U.S. each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. And depression causes an estimated $23 billion in lost productivity in the U.S. each year.” Hmph. Interesting fact.

Anyway, I don’t think my depression is a “disability” per say, and I don’t think I need or deserve “special treatment” because of it, but I’m struggling with how much to tell my employer about it. How much accommodation do I need, and how much can I reasonably expect? They’ve already done so much for me… kept my job for me when I went to jail, allowed me to adjust and readjust and re-readjust my schedule… how much more can I ask for?

I’ve hinted at “mental health days” to my boss versus taking a “sick day” and they are not buying it. She says “when you’re sick you take a sick day. When you’re not sick but don’t want to come in the office you take a vacation day.”

Ugh…. I’m not planning on taking anymore days off anytime soon because I’m actually really looking forward to getting back to the office and the routine that going to the office provides, but.. it’s not like I don’t want to come in to the office, I just… I guess… yeah, I don’t want to.


Furthering my research on depression and anxiety and mental health in the workplace…

Here’s another good article about depression and anxiety in the workplace. It says:

You have difficulty concentrating on work, are exhausted because you can’t sleep, feel on the verge of tears all the time, are nervous and overwhelmed, or some combination of the above.

But that’s just part of work and the daily grind, right? Better learn to suck it up and deal, right?

Not exactly. There’s a definite difference between regular ol’ stress at work—a big presentation, a client’s disapproval, a heavy workload—and serious depression and anxiety.

Definitely a difference between working on a big project and the anxiety that causes versus my ‘other’ anxiety that is nonsensical and doesn’t seem to have a root cause. I actually thrive in the stress that a big project has… I like getting down to work and being able to focus on that project for several hours at a time. I’ve tried to explain this to my employer, like, no, it’s not the project that’s driving me insane, it’s this ‘other’ anxiety and depression that I can’t put my finger on…

The article goes on to suggest:

“Take short breaks during the workday—go for a walk and cry if you feel the need, call a friend or family member, or simply take some time to yourself. It’s also important not to isolate yourself.”

Yes! I started taking a walk around the building, which takes about 2 minutes, every hour or so just to get off my butt, clear my head, and get some fresh air. Often times, I come up with some of my best ideas and solutions on my short walks.

Another article talking about how to tell the bosses about depression.

I’ve told my bosses about being a recovering alcoholic, and I’m hesitant to tell them about the mental health issues now? Like… one would think that owning the identity of a recovering alcoholic is harder than owning the depression and anxiety, but for me, the opposite is true.

I have come to terms, 100%, that I’m a recovering alcoholic and I have no problem telling anyone I meet that I’m in recovery. But telling them that I suffer from depression and anxiety is like… idk… harder than telling someone I am a recovering alcoholic.

Telling people I have depression and anxiety… it’s like, poor me, right? Fuck! I don’t want special treatment or pity or for people to baby me because they think I can’t handle whatever it is… I just want to be normal 😦 Hopefully, this new therapist I’m seeing on Saturday will help me deal.

I drafted this email to my boss… explaining what I’m doing to get my mental health under control… going to therapy, taking meds, talking to friends and family, making plans with friends, etc. etc. What would be the harm in being open and honest? Should I hit send?

I can’t decide. I would feel better if I hit send. But, will it jeopardize her opinion of me as a good, capable, dependable employee?

Just had an idea. I’m not going to hit send. I’m going to go over the email with my new therapist and then decide. Good decision, Judith.

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

Judith

ANXIETY & DEPRESSION

Fellow WordPressers,

Thank you for tuning in to tonight’s edition of “What the fuck is going on in Judith’s head.”

Seriously, though.

My mom is going to read this, and ask “why didn’t you tell me about this?! Why didn’t you call me?!” and the thing is… sometimes I can’t put it into words so I just don’t talk about it until I can finally communicate what it is I’m feeling, and that moment I can communicate it, I do. And right now, this is that moment. This is the moment it all comes out in word vomit gibberish, and I’m sorry for holding it in for the few days I couldn’t say what it was that was bothering me.

I’m so awake on a weeknight, at 1 AM, feeling like I’m walking through mud, and feeling like I’m just… UGHGHGHGHHHHH.

I posted on Sunday that I finally feel back on my game after the holiday’s. Well, that feeling was fleeting and temporary. I now feel like I’m on the verge of a mental breakdown.

Here’s the thing… I have not been drinking. I have been taking my medications as prescribed. Doctor added a new medication, one I’ve been on several years ago, but when I was on it several years ago I was also drunk as fuck so it had no effect on me, and if it did, I was out of my mind anyway so I don’t know if or what side effects I actually experienced.

I don’t know how much of what I’m feeling right now can be attributed to this tiny tiny pill, smaller than a lentil, that I have been prescribed. The medication I’ve been prescribed is for bi-polar. Bi-polar has come up with many doctors I’ve seen, several times, so I’m starting to believe the bi-polar thing has some validity.

On top of this, I apparently have this weird virus that can’t be necessarily diagnosed, but here’s what it’s doing to me: complete, utter exhaustion; bone, joint, and muscle pain; GI issues (very unpleasant); instant and unpredictable nausea; headache and chills; sneezing and coughing; sensitive to light… but I don’t have a fever and apparently not contagious. Bottom line, I feel like shit. and my anxiety is like screaming at me and beating me up.

I am noticing some irrational fears of mine becoming a problem. Examples: irrational fear of being fired, irrational fear of being attacked or mauled on the street, irrational fear of taking public transportation (which I do every single day, multiple times), fear of people thinking I’m drunk or high because my anxiety is literally tweaking me out, fear of my downstairs neighbor coming up here and beating me up because he bangs on the ceiling/floor at all hours of the day multiple times a day. Like… what the hell?!? WHY?

My doctor brought up that I might have fibromyalgia. I don’t know how I feel about that. I look up the symptoms and yes, I have all of the symptoms. But, like, anyone can have all those symptoms. I do not mean ANY offense to anyone currently suffering with fibro, but part of me thinks fibro is a ‘catch-all’ for anyone experiencing pain, fatigue, memory and mood issues. But like, yeah, I have all that shit.

I posted on Sunday I’m having issues with memory. Remembering what I just ate, remembering what I was just in the middle of doing, remembering where I’m going.

I have contacted 2 places that are covered by my insurance to start some fucking psychotherapy. I feel like I’m losing my mind. Tomorrow I’m going to call them again and try to get in right away because I can’t handle the internal struggle I’m going through right now.

I have no idea how I’m going to pay for the therapy I need, but I will figure it out, I’ve done it before and I can do it again. I hate that I have to think about the cost of therapy.

On the one hand, I tell myself “Judith, you are smart. You are very resourceful. You’ve gotten through some tough shit and you are not going crazy,” and then the other part of my brain is like, “you psycho crazy need help now.” I’m trying to reason with myself and I’m trying everything I can to put my mind at ease but it feels like there are two sides of me fighting each other for control over my mood, feelings, rationale, everything.

I don’t feel like drinking. I know drinking would not do any good and when I wake up I would hate myself for undoing almost 21 months of sobriety and everything I’ve accomplished along the way, and these problems would still be there, and be worse, than before I had a drink.

I don’t feel like doing anything I normally like doing. I’ve reached out to friends saying “hey I feel really depressed right now,” and they’ve texted back with words of encouragement. I just feel like a hot mess, but then I survey my apartment and all the things in it that I’ve gotten back or have because of my recovery, and I realize the hot mess is all up in my head.

Some people say to me, “it’s all in your head,”… like, yes it is all in my head, but I’m the one that has to put one foot in front of the other to keep on truckin’, and right now, I actually have to say to myself, “put your foot in front of the other, then the other, there we go…” I have to think about walking.

I don’t want to scare anyone, I just need to document exactly what I’m feeling at this moment because when I do finally feel better, this will all have felt like it wasn’t that big of a deal and I need to be able to put into words what is/was going on, right now, when I feel like I’m falling apart.

I feel like I’m fraying at the edges, losing pieces of my sanity along the way. I don’t know what started this, I don’t know how to put a stop to it. The best way I know how is to talk about it, journal about it, try to go about my daily life, and reach out for professional help.

I’m thinking about the saying “feelings are not facts,” and that is SO easy to say but not easy to apply in situations like this. All the quotes and things I’m about to reflect on originate from this article by Psychology Today.

Upon occasion, every now and then, some people get a feeling that isn’t real. They may think that it’s real, it may feel very real, and they may truly believe it’s real, but it’s just a feeling. It is wise to remember that, as important as emotions are, feelings aren’t facts.

No, my irrational fears are not facts. The feeling like I’m fraying at the edges is not true. It is a temporary feeling and soon I will feel like I am doing well and keeping it together enough that I resemble a normal 27-year-old adult. I’m copying and pasting some good words that I need to remember and possibly even meditate on right now…

The best thing to do when you are feeling like something isn’t right is to check it out. Don’t sit on it, push it down, or try to ignore it; your emotions won’t cooperate. Sometimes the only way out is by getting into the feelings and first looking at how you might be creating them. Combine that with some gentle (not accusatory) questioning of the person or people who you believe may be the cause. Look for truth and be open to see how it’s possible that your feelings may not be accurate. It also can be helpful to get an outside perspective from someone you trust.


This process isn’t an easy one, but it is far less painful than living your life feeling like your world is crashing in on you.

Just because I feel like crap, and I feel like I’m going crazy right now, doesn’t mean that I actually am.

I have done some productive things in the last few days. I got a cat sitter for the kitties when I’m gone to Las Vegas. I did my laundry. I cleaned up my apartment. I’ve gotten a little bit of work done. I paid my bills.

I can’t understand why I feel like physical, emotional, and mental SHIT. I don’t understand how I can go from being a productive member of society to a bum seemingly overnight. In a few days, I went from feeling relatively OK to feeling like I just can’t do life.

It’s a struggle to get myself in the shower right now. I don’t feel like taking off the shield that is my clothes. I don’t feel like getting wet and cold. Then I do and I’m cringing the whole time. Why is this so hard?!

I looked in the mirror and I barely recognized myself. I don’t look like me right now. I don’t feel like me right now.


So here I am, it’s almost 2 AM, and I’m googling “crippling anxiety.” I found this blog, written by Fiona Thomas, about living with anxiety and depression, and accepting it. I’m pre-ordering her book, “Depression in a Digital Age: The Highs and Lows of Perfectionism.”

I’m not necessarily awkward in social situations, but when I get this awful anxiety, I can be. I like this quote:

I’ve spent years giving myself a hard time for not coping well in social situations, but I’ve made peace with the fact that I’m an anxious introvert who needs plenty of alone time to recharge my batteries. Learning to forgive myself and show myself a little more compassion is proof that I’ve finally overcome the demons that contributed to my anxiety, leaving me content and ready for the future.

https://www.healthline.com/health/crippling-anxiety#7

Fiona says in her blog:

On the good days, I make it to the shore and I’m climbing up that hill at a mile a minute. My motivation is unstoppable and I honestly question if I was ever really depressed at all (oh, hi there imposter syndrome).

https://fionalikestoblog.com/2017/10/10/depression-recovery-relapse-feels-painfully-good/

Yes yes yes. On the good days, I’m like the queen of productivity, and question if I was every really depressed at all, which is why I feel it is important to write this blog post right now.

When everyday tasks such as showering become overwhelming I know it’s time for a sick day, but the thought of having to admit this to my employer just adds fuel to a fire which is already burning out of control.

https://metro.co.uk/2017/10/09/why-i-refuse-to-tell-new-employers-about-my-mental-illness-6979682/

I get so much anxiety over taking time off/sick days. It’s rooted in my irrational fear of being fired on the spot.

If I’m feeling good, I feel great. And I’m sure people begin to question whether my depression and anxiety is even real. Then, when I feel bad, like now, I feel like I’m complaining and being dramatic. But I’m not. I just don’t feel right.

A comment on her blog post says this:

For those of us with mental illness, it can be such an exhausting task to make yourself do the things you know you should do, when it would be so easy to just let go and give in to temptation of sinking back to the depths of your sickness.

More quotes and things to remember right now…

Some depression triggers can be avoided, but others can’t. “A person has to learn how to move through the event or the experience as best as possible,” Serani says. If you’re starting to feel stressed or overwhelmed by something in your life, Serani suggests taking these steps:


Get through it with positive talk. Tell yourself, “This is temporary,” “I’ll feel better soon,” or “I’m just experiencing a bad moment, I’m not stuck in a bad life.”
Nurture yourself. “It’s essential to feed your senses when triggers loom in your life,” Serani says. “Listen to music, or savor a cup of tea, soup, or coffee.” You might stimulate your sense of smell with soothing peppermint, florals, or woodsy scents with aromatherapy, candles, or a walk outside. Taking a warm bath can also be soothing.
Reach out to others. “It’s easy to want to be alone when stress hits, but isolating yourself from people can worsen depression triggers,” Serani says. “Let others know you’re struggling and talk about it openly as much as you can.” Consider joining a depression support group to be able to talk to other people who also understand what it’s like to live with depression.


If you suspect you’re experiencing a new bout of depression, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or therapist. Remember that depression relapse is common and nothing to be ashamed of.

https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/major-depression-health-well-being/factors-can-trigger-depression-relapse/

Ahh the positive self-talk. I am totally not doing that right now. I am reaching out to others, I’m trying as best I can to talk about it. Maybe the therapy places I’ve reached out to have depression support groups.

Anyway, I should try and calm my mind and head to bed to get to work tomorrow.

I’m scared to actually hit “publish” on this post because I’m not looking forward to bringing all of this to reality. But, here it goes…

It’s been a while! Happy New Year!

Hello Everyone!

It’s been over a month since I’ve written a blog post on here. You know how it goes… holidays, new years, birthday (for me)… etc etc.

So, what’s life been like for the last month? I hit 20 months sober on January 9, so that’s pretty neat.

This will be a lot of me rambling about what’s bouncing around in my head tonight.

I’ve been BUSY, as I’m sure we all have. In one of my last posts, I made reference to starting a business for the greeting cards/postcards I was making. Well, I did that. I have my own website, Etsy shop, and I’ve been attending art events & pop-ups to sell my cards. So far, so good. I know I probably can’t make a living off selling $5 handmade cards, but it’s really fun and has become my main coping skill as of late.

If you are interested in the cards, let me know, and I will direct you to where you can find them. A few examples below:

So yeah, I’ve been staying very very busy with that. I love collecting materials to collage with, I have fun listening to podcasts, music, and watching shows while making the cards, and it’s been a great source of entertainment because friends have been busy with their families and such, as have I.

It’s fun to laugh at my own puns, jokes, and thoughts as I put a card together. It’s even better to see people laugh at the cards I make. Besides art shows, I haven’t sold to anyone besides friends and family and when I make my first online sale to someone I don’t know I am going to SCREAM and CELEBRATE!!!


This year, it felt like getting back into the daily routine of life after the holidays was a lot more difficult than in years past. I can’t be sure why, but finally, going into this week, I feel back on my game.

Last week, I was so distracted and all over the place. I lost my Ventra transit card, I left my umbrella at work and then it rained, I couldn’t focus at work, my apartment was a disaster, I felt so scattered. I couldn’t remember what I just ate or what I just did. I would walk into the kitchen like “why am I in here?” Not just the usual forgetfulness that everyone has, it felt worse than that. It led to a lot of feelings of anxiety and frankly, depression.

The after-holiday lull is a real thing. Even if it is just back to reality, as this article suggests, it still sucks. The article makes a good point, saying:

“Your blues, like the excitement that preceded them, are temporary and natural, so you needn’t fight bad feelings or cling to good ones. The best way to deal with this is to examine your ever-changing states—without judgement—knowing feelings and circumstances will inevitably shift again, and practice celebrating real life with all its many quirks.”

Ahh yes, practicing acceptance. Good reminder after the celebration of Christmas, my birthday (it was on Dec 30, I turned 27), and New Year’s.

Most of all I think I’m just, like, disappointed there is no real time off work until Memorial Day (late May, for those not in the US). A whole 5 months without a paid holiday… feels like soooo long. Which reminds me, I need to plan out my vacation days for the year, because 10 days of vacation goes by really fucking fast when you don’t plan it out.


In other news, I changed my work schedule. Not much, but a little bit. I used to work half-days on Friday’s, now I work from home the entire day on Friday. I am so relieved by this. Going into the office for 5 straight days is exhausting and honestly I don’t know how everyone does it. I don’t know how people go to work for 5 days straight and feel like they’ve had time for anything else but work and sleep.

Monday I’m usually glad to head back to work. Especially after the last 2 weekends, which I’ve spent pretty much by myself. By Sunday at about 5 PM, I get a little restless and ready to put some real clothes on, put on some make up, and go somewhere. Tuesday is usually fine, Wednesday is fine. But by Thursday morning I’m like… UGH.

By Thursday, things have piled up that I need to do. Go get groceries, do my laundry, clean up & do the dishes, pay bills & budget, go to appointments, etc etc. I get anxious leaving my apartment when things aren’t cleaned up. It sounds silly, but I live in a small space with 2 cats, and when something simple is out of order, like my bed not being made, it totally makes a difference in how this place feels.

Anyway, with working at home on Friday, I can get up and start work at 6 AM or whenever I roll out of bed. I can take a break to go to appointments and pay bills. Or, I can put in my 8 hours and get it all done by 2 PM. I love the flexibility my job offers, and I’m so happy they ‘keep up with the times’ by allowing me to work from home for 1 day a week.

My boss has offered that I just pick a day a week to work from home for the last year, so I finally took the offer and just picked Friday’s.


Last night, I watched the movie Beautiful Boy. It’s based off a book, written by David Sheff, the father of Nic Sheff who wrote Tweak. Here’s the links for the books:

Anyway, I read the book a long time ago, before my addiction got out of control and a very real thing for me and my family. Watching the movie, now, after over 20 months sober…. holy shit.

I cried, no, I sobbed, several times. The things that Nic would say in the movie to his Dad, to his parents in general, the manipulation he used to get them to enable him… the way his Dad finally cut him off, the way his Dad did research to try and understand what his son was going through… it was all so REAL.

The movie was incredibly well made. I tend to be skeptical of movies that have something to do with addiction, because several movies I’ve seen doesn’t portray the heartbreaking reality of addiction.

I would recommend this movie to anyone, but especially for addicts themselves, to gain a better understanding of what it was like from a parents’ perspective.

I remember reading both of these books in high school, and I was in awe at the power that addiction and mental illness can have on a person. Now that I’ve been there, done that, I KNOW, inside and out, the depths and despair that Nic went through. I feel like I know (though I am not the parent of an addict, and hope and pray I never will be) the struggle of loving a child in active addiction, through what my parents and I have discussed and from reading and watching different things about it.

God… it’s just so fucking sad. So fucking sad. I don’t know what else to say. The movie ended with a quote that said overdose is now the leading cause of death for people under 50 (or something along those lines). How has it come to this?!

I mean… I think I know some reasons for why it has come to the leading cause of death for people under 50… but god damn.


What else?

I don’t know. Just livin’ the dream. New Year New Me? Nah… I like who I am today. My only new year’s resolutions include: not working as much overtime unless absolutely necessary, and trying to think through shit before I act on it a little more. That’s what I’m going to work on this year.

Big ass trade show coming up. I’ll be in Vegas for almost a whole week. I’m part excited to see Vegas for the first time, and I hear there’s some great AA meetings out there, and I’m part dreading being gone from my cats and my apartment and my city for that long.

Yes, I said that… AA meetings in Vegas. Why not? I’ll give it a shot.

WFS is still goin’ strong. I’m starting a bi-weekly Tuesday night meeting for people who can’t make it to the weekly Saturday noon meeting. I’ve gotten quite a bit of interest in it… we’ll see who comes!

Volleyball is starting soon… I just had to confirm I will be available to coach the spring season. This is the last season I’ll coach these girls before they’re off to high school and (most of them) trying out for their high school volleyball teams. I’m thinking I’m going to take a break from coaching after this season. I will have been a coach for 2 years after this season, and I’m feeling like I could use a break… but I’m going to miss the extra cash it provides… IDK we’ll see how I feel come fall season.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading 🙂

Have a fabulous week!

Judith


Weekend Update for December 1 & 2, 2018

Hi Everyone. I want to write about several things tonight. But first, there is something that is heavy on my heart.

I’m saddened recently by the news that the life expectancy in the US has dropped for the nth year in a row due largely to suicide and drug overdoses.

See this NY Times article for reference to quotes I’m about to use.

At what point to we stop stigmatizing mental health and drug & alcohol addiction and realize, THESE PEOPLE NEED HELP. Our friends, our family, our coworkers, our coworkers family’s, the people we pass on the street; they MIGHT be struggling, and if they are, we need to HELP them with empathy, compassion, and love.

Not stigma, tough love, or ignorance; not ostracizing them or kicking them to the curb like some hopelessly gone degenerate.

The thing that I struggle with, is that these deaths are avoidable, treatable. As this Dr. quoted in the article says, “These sobering statistics are a wake-up call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable.” People do not have to die from drug overdoses and suicides.

People are experiencing increasing hopelessness, driven by “financial struggles, a widening income gap and divisive politics.” Like… What the actual FUCK! Government and society CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS SHIT.

Another thing, this report is likely not accurate. The NY Times says “The CDC figures are based mainly on a review of 2017 death certificates,” and we know that death certificates are not 100% accurate when showing the cause of death (according to NPR, and this article).

Lastly, this is all about drug overdoses. What about deaths related to alcohol? Accidental injury,  cirrhosis, heart disease, cancer… all of these things could be attributed to alcohol if we drilled down to it. Not to mention suicides.

It pains me that this is the reality we are faced with today.

When I was at the grocery store this evening, I am 99.9999% sure I walked in on a woman shooting up. Here’s what happened:

I walked in to go to the bathroom and I noticed there was someone in a stall. I noticed a few odd items outside of the stall. A take-out container, a water bottle cap, and a lighter. Not typically things you would have in a bathroom. Knowing from experience, I knew these items are things that are used for drugs. Anyone else walking into that bathroom might have thought someone left this, but I knew it belonged to the lady in the stall immediately, and I knew it was for drugs. I could sense it… I have a 6th sense of detecting when someone is using drugs, on drugs, drinking, etc because of what I’ve been through.

I do my business and come out to wash me hands. She comes out of the stall, grabs the items outside of the stall, and begins to wash her hands and rinse out the container, the cap. I try to mind my own business, but I see a syringe fall out of her jacket sleeve into the sink. Confirmed – I have walked in on someone shooting up.

I look away, I busy my hands with the paper towels. I make eye contact with her through the mirrors and I see that familiar loneliness and resigned look I had in my own eyes during my drinking days.

Sometimes, I will say to someone “are you ok?” just to check in and let them know that someone, a stranger, sees them. But, this time I didn’t. I just walked out and went home.

GOD DAMNIT… Should I have said “look, I don’t know you, I don’t know what you’ve been through, but you do not have to live this way. There is another way, there is a way out,”? I feel for her, I know what it is like. While I never shoot anything, I know the emotion, physical, mental, spiritual pain that addiction causes. I wanted to help her… but for some reason, I just didn’t say anything, this time. I don’t know why, my heart was just telling me to let her be.



Next on my things I want to write about tonight… and on a lighter note… Christmas.

The last several years, I had NO money whatsoever to buy gifts for people I care about.

This year, I have a little extra cash to buy friends and family gifts, and I am so excited to GIVE this season.

I put a lot of thought into what I am giving my friends and family, and then I made a bunch of collaged Christmas/holiday cards for everyone on my list.

Here’s what the collaged Holiday cards look like:


Non-Holiday

I cannot wait to give the gifts, that I started giving early!

I gave my friend K, who works at an animal shelter because she loves working with animals but hates the job that she’s doing there a mug that says “I just want to drink coffee, take naps, and save animals.” I couldn’t NOT get that for her!

I got the boss lady a tacky mug that says, “Dear Boss Lady, thank you for being my boss. If I had another boss, I would punch her in the face and go find you,” and then a tasteful gift of a picture of her & I at a tradeshow earlier this year.

I got the boss man a tacky journal that says “My favorite employee gave me this journal” but I have to tell him the story behind it. Because… this journal comes… and it is so cheap and tacky that I can’t give it to him without an explanation.

First, I didn’t notice the journal says “she deserves a raise!” at the bottom. Like I just got a raise, I can’t make this comment, even with sarcasm. Then, and the worst part, is that the journal has little quotes in it that are suggestions for a boss to say to their employees to encourage them, like “It’s clear how much pride you take in your work.” Like this journal is SO bad-tacky that I can’t even give it to him as a joke.

I returned it on Amazon, but it was one of those returns that was refunded but you don’t actually have to return the item. So, I’m still going to give it to him, but with the preface of the story behind it. I hope he at least appreciates the story LOL.

I can’t tell you what I got my Mom and Dad because they read my blog… but just know… the gifts I got you guys are so perfect for your situation of parking your cars outside of the garage, you’re gonna love em.

I can’t tell you what I got my Aunt because she also reads this blog, but I hope she has a little extra wall space for an 8×10 frame 🙂

The other Aunt I can tell you about because she does not read my blog (for various reasons… it was my choice to not share this with her). She is a boss lady at the cosmetic company she works for and she OWNS it. So I got her a gold-foiled print that says “BOSS LADY” in fancy letters and I’m going to frame it for her so she can put it in her office.

For my cousins… I printed pictures we took earlier this year (actually at my 1-year anniversary/Mother’s Day party) and I’m going to frame those, too.

My Grandma and Grandpa are getting collaged cards with a note. I have no idea what to buy a 79-year-old man and an 87-year-old woman (I actually don’t know with confidence their actual age but I think they are that old).

I even got Marketing Girl something. For all of my coworkers, I got 4×4 pictures that we took during that company photo day printed of us, and I’m going to frame those.

I got all my friends a coffee mug that reminds me of them, and a little something else that I’ve noticed they like. For example, one friend came over and commented on my letter board, so I got her one of her own.

Even the kitties got presents. I got them a scratching post (finally) and a window hammock.


And for myself, I got this “Be Courageous” sweatshirt/sweater:

Ahh.. the season of giving. I am truly enjoying the fact that I can give this year. YAY PRESENTS!!!



I started an Etsy shop to sell the antler chandeliers that our friend and neighbor up-north (by my parents new house) makes. His dog finds the antlers, he crafts the chandeliers. They are quite overpriced, looking at the other antler chandeliers that people are putting on Etsy, but I’m just gonna leave them the way they are for now, until I can curate some more authentic antler decor to draw people into the shop.

I think selling on Etsy will be my new hobby. You know those collaged cards I was talking about that I am making for everyone this year? Well, I’m thinking, they are so cute and fun that I might sell a pack of 12 for a couple bucks on Etsy. It only costs $.20 to post a listing, it takes me a few minutes to make, so even if I make $5 on the pack of 12, I’ve just bought myself the coffee I drank while I was doing it.

If you’re interested in seeing the existing Authentic Antler Shop, click here.

Stay tuned for the new shop of collaged greeting cards I guess LOL!


Anyway, take care of yourselves this Holiday season.

Have a fabulous weekend & BE COURAGEOUS!

Sincerely,

Judith

Fun Facts about Judith

  1. I buy a bag of ice every other day, if not every day. I love ice cold drinks.
  2. I always have good scents… whether it be from a candle, a wax warmer, or a diffuser.
  3. I rush home to watch The Nightly News with Lester Holt.
  4. I cried when Jon Stewart left The Daily Show.
  5. I can rarely sit long enough to make it through a movie.
  6. I am sometimes a night owl, but almost always a morning person.
  7. I make lists. All. The. Time.
  8. When I get in the mood to craft or collage, I can go at it for hours. But then I won’t feel like doing it for months at a time.
  9. I truly enjoy being alone, except when I’m lonely.
  10. I had a pug named Mikey growing up, and Mikey is a legend. When I get together with my family, we almost always talk about something Mikey did.
  11. I also had a black lab named Cleo growing up, and we often share stories about him, too. He was a loveable ass hole.
  12. I want to be friends with everyone until I just want to go home and be by myself.
  13. I have a love-hate relationship with traveling right now.
  14. BLTs are my favorite sandwich.
  15. I worked at Jimmy John’s for 5 years, throughout college and as a part-time job afterward.
  16. I HATE overhead lights with a fucking passion.
  17. I love miniature things and oversized things, but not normal size things. Normal size things are OK.
  18. I eat a lot late at night, right before bed, and I’m trying to break that habit but it’s a habit I developed after I stopped drinking.
  19. I don’t typically drink coffee on the weekends.
  20. I generally don’t set alarms in the morning, I seem to have lucked out with an internal clock that wakes me up when it’s time.
  21. Even when I’m wearing pajamas, I like to match.
  22. I used to think I was Rebulican (I mean… in my defense, Republicans weren’t as bad in the late 90s, early 2000s, when my younger self was forming a political opinion.)
  23. When I go on a date, I immediately envision myself married to that person. I can’t help but think 5 years ahead.
  24. My first job was as a camp counselor at a Christian youth camp. I can’t believe at 18 years old I was entrusted with 24 would-be 3rd graders.
  25. I can’t think of a 25th fun fact right now. LOL.

 

More to come as I think of them.

 

What are some fun facts about you?

 

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

Judith