Teenager Woes

Mood did get better after PMS passed. It seems this keto diet has enabled me to be better in tuned with what is going on with my body and emotions. I suppose because it is not all mucked up with sugar highs and lows. I like it a lot – to have a more cut and dry picture of what is happening inside of me. 

This week my daughter had a fight with her best friend.  When my daughter apologized, her friend said she still didn’t want to be friends anymore. I lost it. Not in front of my daughter but alone and then later in front of my husband and other daughter. It was like going through PTSD symptoms from last year when this happened with her other friends. I didn’t know how she was handling it because I only recieved a brief text about it while she was at school, but I was assuming the worst, which was my biggest mistake- assuming.

Turns out it didn’t devastate her as much as it did last year. In fact, I was taking it much harder than she. It bothered me so much that this girl wouldn’t work it out with her. They are very close friends, our families are friends and we see each other all of the time. I was full of anger, frustration and sadness all week, losing sleep and tears and temper, unbeknownst to my daughter, however.

I was also so angry because this friend was my daughter’s ride to school and now I had to rearrange my whole morning with my other kids to take her. It’s a huge inconvenience for both me and my other child who now has to sit at school 45 minutes before the bell rings.

Finally, last night, her friend made ammends for her part in the fued and they made up. I feel so relieved this morning. Less angry and stressed. Still sad because I know things are going to probably be different between them from now on since they’ve decided to spend less time together. 

She’s still not taking my daughter to school, which I think is incredibly selfish but what can I do.  I’m trying not to let it bother me but it’s hard. I keep reminding myself that it’s best for them to be apart and it’s selfish for me to want it the other way. It’s not about me. 

What to Do When Thoughts and Feelings are Jumbled

alone-513525__180My mind is all over the place this morning.  I get into the groove of wanting to write something educational for you all because I do write mental health articles for other websites, and I am just not used to writing so much about myself personally.  It really takes a lot of effort to reflect on what is going on inside of my head and how I am feeling.  When I sit to do so, I often feel nothing and then things turn panicky because I get scared of the “nothing” feeling.

When I think about my thoughts, they are either blank or seem to be hiding behind walls in my head.  What is that all about?  I surely don’t know.  I suppose meditation could help me get in touch with more of these thoughts and feelings.  I meditate sporadically, often looking up 10-20 minute sessions on YouTube.  I can’t sit through anything longer than that without getting restless and bored.  This probably means something.  I wish I had a therapist who could give me feedback on it.  Does anyone out there have any thoughts on it, or has experienced it and knows why?

I bet a therapist could give me feedback on a lot of things.  You know who gives me good feedback?  My husband and a few select friends.  I have a small faith group that meets a few times a month and we share about real stuff and give each other honest, loving feedback.  Talking and listening is truly one of the best ways for me to “unjumble” my thoughts and feelings.

Another way  I get things out is to write about them, which is why I started journalling on this blog.  So, write I will….

My daughter is doing great at her new school.  Her anxiety is under control and she has adjusted well to the new environment, which is so much better than her old school.  She feels comfortable and safe and happy.  I feel relieved and grateful, and so happy for her.  I want high school to be a positive, fun experience for her, not a nightmarish hell.  Prayers have definitely been answered.

High school was pretty much a nightmare for me because I had undiagnosed depression and probably the beginnings of bipolar disorder as well as alcoholism.  I also lived in a home with active alcoholic parents.  It was tough.  I am glad I am in recovery now, being treated for mental illness, and providing my children with a much better childhood than the one I had.

One of the things I love about being stable is that I feel like doing my hobbies – photography and writing.  I enjoy them so much and feel so fulfilled by doing them.  It is so disheartening when my mood takes a dip, as it always does with the bipolar disorder, and I don’t have the energy or motivation to do them anymore.

The writing especially goes by the wayside.  The words just don’t come….at all, which sucks because it makes keeping up a blog a bit challenging.  My hope is to make connections here that are consistent and lasting.  So, feel free to comment and I will always reply and check out your blog as well.

I am scanning my brain trying to think of any house chores that need to be done, but there are none.  It is the perfectionist in me who is acting up.  I need to learn to let things go a little.  Although, some of it may have to do with needing something to fill up my time.

I am thinking about looking for a job as a photography assistant.  Not sure if there is anything like that out there, but I won’t know if I don’t look.  Hopefully, by working on my negative judgements like my psychiatrist asked me to, I will be able to maintain a stable mood longer than I usually do and be able to possibly do something crazy like work a little part-time job.  Wouldn’t that be amazing, considering I haven’t been able to work in seven years?

Hope you’re having a nice day.  More soon…

The Morning After

hangover-173669__180I surprised myself and ended up going out with the girls last night after all. I decided at the last-minute that it would be good for me to get out and socialize a bit. Plus, I wanted to be there to celebrate with my friend on her birthday. It made me feel good to do that.

Isn’t it interesting that all of our motives are selfish. Even when we think we are doing something nice for someone else, we get a good feeling for doing it, hence there is a little selfish motive to it, isn’t there?

Anyway, selfish or not, and for the most part, I am glad I went. Nothing is ever black or white, however. There were some fun moments, belly laughs; also, some awkward, wish I were at home in a cocoon type of moments. Most of them were the former, so I’m pretty happy with the whole experience….I think. And therein lies the problem: I start thinking –

Did I laugh too loud? Did I talk too much? Did I not talk enough to that one person? Did she think I was snobby? Did I sound stupid? Did I sound opinionated? Did I have bad breath? Was there something in my teeth? Was I over-dressed? Did they think I was weird? (I think I am weird, in a good, funny sort of way, but do they think I am weird in a bad, annoying way?)

I am assuming this is all part of my social anxiety again. So great that it not only plagues me before and during the said event, but I also have to listen to its ugly chants the morning after as well. I’m dealing with it as best as I can by telling myself that what is done is done. I can’t go back and change any of my behaviors; what they think they think – can’t change that either, so I need to just quit worrying about it.

The biggest problem, the root of the problem, the damn problem is that I care too much what people think of me. How to get over that I would love to know. Throw me some answers, people. I would love to hear them. I am sick of living this way.

Don’t get me wrong – many days are better than others. I sound like I have way worse self-esteem than I actually do. I just can’t stand it when people have a less than favorable opinion of me. Lol. Especially when it is people I love.

Guess it is that whole “fear of abandonment” thing that the professionals say those of us with borderline personality disorder have. Guess it is why I am such a perfectionist, why I am so hard on myself, why I beat myself up when I make a mistake, etc. etc.

I think I’ll get my DBT binder out and see what skills I could be using to deal with some of these feelings and fears. DBT is Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I went through a year of it about five years ago and it changed my life. My emotions are so much more manageable than they used to be, believe it or not.

But, like everything, experiences such as last night show me that they could use some fine tuning. And rather than sit here and just complain about it, I think I’ll go ahead and do something to change it.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

oldtimer-1537018__180Do you ever 25% want to do something and 75% not want to do it?  This happens to me a lot with social engagements.  Oh, not when I make them.  When I make them it is always 75-100% that I want to go, but when the day arrives, I inevitably wake up thinking about the evening ahead and the dread sets in.  By mid-day I am praying for an illness to strike me down so I can have an honest excuse to cancel.  What is going on here?

I suppose I should clarify that it quite often depends on with whom I make the plans.  This evening they are with two individuals who I am fairly close to and five to six others who I do not know or with whom I am only acquaintances.  I think therein lies the problem.  The OTHERS.  When I was first invited and said yes, I thought it was to be just me and my two closer friends.  The others have since been added.

I have social anxiety, and I just don’t feel like risking the extra energy it may take sitting through dinner with a bunch of people I do not know.  It’s rainy and dreary, and I’d just rather stay home.  In my yoga pants and t-shirt.  And eat take-out.  And watch a movie with the husband.

I know I sound like a whiny baby.  I am a whiny baby.  Oh my gosh, there goes my negative thinking again, which my doctor has challenged me to change.  Here is how I am going to change this conversation:

I would feel guilty for canceling on my friends because we are going out for one of their birthdays, however, this would not make me a “bad” friend anymore than going tonight would make me a “good” friend.  I have been there for this friend in her times of need and advice and many other celebrations.  I have strong values when it comes to friendship.  I have a right to change my mind.  I am not so important that my absence there will ruin anyone’s night.  I can tell her I am not feeling well enough to go and it will not be a lie.  Mentally not feeling well enough is just as valid a reason not to do something as physically not feeling well enough.

To put it in terms people understand, however, I don’t have a problem with telling people I have a bad “headache.”  I find that people without mental illness can’t understand what we go through.  It’s not their fault; they’ve just never experienced those levels of depression and anxiety.

Many will take your word on how debilitating it is for you, and have compassion and understanding when you cancel plans because of your symptoms.  On the other hand, some may roll their eyes behind your back or inside their mind or take it personally when you cancel plans on them because of your symptoms.

When I am not sure what a person’s view is or know that they don’t really “get it” I just tell them I have a really horrible headache, because after all, it is in our head and it definitely hurts.  (Yeah, I’m a bit of a word manipulator.  Oops!  There I go, negatively judging myself again.  Oh well…another time, another post.)

A Mother’s Lament

I’m not writing a poem today, but more of a journal entry, for I need a space to tell you about the horrible pain my daughter has been going through for the past two months.

She is in the midst of a depressive episode, and on top of that she had a falling out with her best friend, who happens to be the leader of the high school clique of which my daughter was a part. Thus, my daughter lost her other best friend along with the rest of her support system. No one is talking to her, inviting her anywhere, acknowledging her presence.

It has been the most awful thing I have ever witnessed in my entire life. We took these two friends on week long vacations with our family just this past summer. They were a part of our lives, ate meals at our home, slept over, spent days at our house! How they can be so cold and uncaring is beyond my comprehension.

I have fallen to my knees in utter despair, choking with sobs and tears, begging God to help my daughter find new friends; praying for Him to relieve her suffering.

She is experiencing extreme amounts of anxiety at school, understandable so since she has classes with these girls. She calls or texts me almost everyday from the bathroom at school, crying, emotionally breaking down. My husband or I have to take her and pick her up from school everyday because the bus is too overwhelming for her. The crowds in the hallways and in the cafeteria cause her to have panic attacks.

Of course at this point, even if the girls wanted to reconcile my daughter wants nothing to do with them. All trust has been destroyed. The pain is too great for her to get past.

She is currently on a mood stabilizer and an antidepressant. I am taking her to the psychiatrist today to discuss the anxiety issues. She also sees a counselor once a week.

I know I am doing everything within my power to help her. I just can’t believe this is happening sometimes. It is bad enough that she has to deal with mental illness, but then to throw this whole friends crap in on top of it seems like the cruelest thing the f’ing universe could do to her. I just don’t understand it!

The main best friend is making some questionable lifestyle choices, so I am choosing to believe that God is saving my daughter from some future harm. I have no other choice but to trust in the events that are unfolding before us no matter how unbearable they feel in the moment. I must believe that better friends are in her future. I just wish they were here already so that her suffering could end.

Although, she does have opportunities to nurture friendships with some friends outside her original circle, but is choosing not to at the moment. I think she is just too overwhelmed, too shut-down. I suppose she needs to heal before she can move on to starting new friendships; before she can learn to trust people again.

Such hard lessons for someone so young. I am monitoring how this is affecting my own mental health since I, too, suffer from bipolar depression and severe anxiety. I seem to be responding appropriately. Of course I am sad, worried, and upset; trying to keep the homicidal fantasies toward these former friends of hers out of my head!

Bottom line is I have to be strong. I have to be there for my daughter. She needs me. She depends on me. I pray the doctor can do something for her anxiety today.

Autumn’s Bounty Abounds

The crickets were cold
but we weren’t, by the fire,
hands tucked between legs,
biting hard on caramel apples.

I forgot to be anxious; forgot
to be crazy like the Dog who
kills possums for fun, or for duty,
or for instinct’s sake.

Under plaid flannel blankets, under
orange and yellow trees,
under the stars, we laughed and played
like children chasing fun.

Bellies filled with roasted hotdogs
and pumpkin bars,
hot apple cider and friendship,
Autumn’s bounty abounds.