Don’t Take Anything Personally With Mental Illness

I’m doing something I never do…I’m writing this post on my phone. I always use my laptop so I can easily type away, format the way I want, insert the appropriate sized image just right, and spell check everything.  Tonight, however, I just don’t care. I don’t need to be perfect. I’m too tired and worn out to put forth my best effort. I take that back. This is my best effort.

It has been weeks since I’ve posted on my photo blog or even edited anything, or God help me, gone out and shot anything worthy.  I haven’t kept up with visiting my blogging friends for way too long either.

I miss my photography. It’s winter and it’s cold and dreary in the Northern Hemisphere right now. Although a month ago it was warm and full of fall colors, but that didn’t get me and my camera out.

I keep telling myself that I am not depressed, and I truly think I am not.  I am just so busy with kid stuff that I have no energy left for my own things. I suppose that is what has changed. I recently had energy for both, now I don’t.

So, decreased energy, increased anxiety, feel like crying for no reason, loss of interest in hobbies.  It could be depression.

I had to stop taking the Spironolactone last Thursday for my acne because they think it caused my creatinine levels to increase (to 1.32, where normal levels are between 0.5 – 1.1.)  I have to go to my PCP to have it retested to be sure, in case it is something else.  I wish the dermatologist would retest and if it doesn’t come back down THEN send me to my PCP.  It seems to me a waste of a co-pay and my time to have to go to another doctor when she (the dermatologist) could just reorder the lab work herself.

I’m exhausted from Christmas shopping. Did it all online; spent hours and hours looking. Remodeled bathroom, so, been busy with that. Then Thanksgiving Day holiday family stuff, and kids off of school.  Like I said, it’s been really busy.

I’ve had a lot of incidents of social anxiety lately, too, with my daughter’s new volleyball team starting up and having to meet and spend time getting to know new parents. It is so hard for me to do this.

Today there was an event we had to go to and I slept terrible last night, almost cried twice today and felt like I was going to throw up and had digestive issues all day because of nerves about it.

I also had to take anxiety pills this week for two visits to see family like I always do because they are so stressful.

I need to cut myself some slack. Some days I am so busy, so productive and on top of things and in control that I feel manic and other days I am so drained I feel depressed. Maybe I am cycling. Mostly, I don’t know.

I’m still reading The Four Agreements book by Don Miguel Ruiz.  The second agreement is “Don’t Take Anything Personally.” Basically anything anyone says to you or about you is because of what they believe or what kind of mood they are in or how they were raised or any other number of reasons that have nothing to do with you. So, don’t ever take anything personally. It’s never really about you. It’s about what is going on inside of them.

My favorite quote in this chapter is “Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about ‘me.'” So true!

I feel like I am drowning in my thoughts most days. There are too many of them at one time rolling over one another in constant motion.

I still do my breathing meditation for 10-15 minutes about 3 times a week. It takes a lot of concentration to focus just on my breathing, and most of the time I can only do it for a minute or two before my mind wanders.  I’ll bring it back and try again and again until my alarm sounds. When I started this practice two months ago it wasn’t this hard.

The worst feeling is not being comfortable being with yourself. I usually don’t have a problem with this. I normally enjoy my time alone during the day when everyone is at work and school. It is much more serene and peaceful than when everyone is home in the evenings and on the weekends.

However, lately being alone is more nerve wracking than being around everyone. At least when my family is home I am distracted from the racing thoughts and impending doom that looms over me; the aches and pains in my head and neck and over all muscle fatigue and weakness of depression’s handiwork; the feeling like I’m coming down with the flu or I have a hangover but it’s just another restless night’s sleep and anxiety-induced digestive issue.

Can anyone relate?

I’m sure someone can. It’s mental illness after all, which is why I can’t take it personally.

Be Impeccable With Your Word for Better Mental Health

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I made it through the first part of the book, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  The first agreement is “Be Impeccable With Your Word.”  He says that our words have power; are like magic.  Words can harm or help.  Words can incite hate or promote love.  It is here where the impeccable part comes in.

Impeccable means to not sin against one’s self.  When we attack or speak unlovingly to others we create in them negative feelings towards us, thereby causing harm or “sinning” against ourselves.

Being impeccable means being genuine and loving with ourselves by being genuine and loving with others.  It’s knowing when to say something and when to be silent.  It is avoiding gossip at all costs.  It’s not only learning what to say, but HOW to say it.  I am finding out, as I try to apply this agreement to my daily life, that it is a very difficult thing to do.

I find myself NOT being impeccable with my word about things all day, even silly things like complaining about an app on my phone – saying things like, “These app developers don’t know what they are doing.  If they had any sense they’d know what people want!”

That is not being impeccable with my word.  Instead I could have said, “I wish the app had this feature on it.”  See the difference?  In the former I felt irritated and angry and self-righteous.  In the latter, my emotive state would have been much calmer and serene, thus impeccable.

This is going to take a lot of practice and mindfulness to change, because I think I am more of a complainer than I realize.  I gossip and I judge and I complain.  I’ve worked really hard over the last couple of months to stop judging myself; to be impeccable with my word directly towards myself, and I’ve made a lot of progress with it.

Now, it is time to look outside of myself and make some changes.  Now, it is time to try to be completely impeccable with my word in not just my relationship with myself, but in how I relate to everyone and everything.

Wish me luck.

 

I Will Do the Best That I Can

There’s a lot of confusion in my brain when it comes to my behaviors, because depending on my mood state my behaviors change considerably.  For example, right now, and for the last four days or so, I have been rather hyper and talkative and gossipy, opinionated, controlling, passive aggressive, and argumentative.  I’m normally somewhat controlling and I gossip sometimes, but not to this extreme.

I am working on Step 6 with one of my AA sponsees, and I thought maybe I should probably work it myself on some of the aforementioned character defects.  But, are they true character defects or are they symptoms of some hypomania?

It fucking drives me crazy trying to distinguish between the two.  I keep trying to tell myself to stop doing these things and then a minute later I am compelled to do them again.  It is like I can’t stop myself by sheer will power.

How can I improve my character if my character isn’t even the problem.  But, then again, what if it is?  Or is it my bipolar?  How do I know?

Just to be on the safe side, I’ve decided to reread a book I have, called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  It has some awesome communication tips that I think will make me feel a whole lot better if I am able to follow them.  (See #1 below.)

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I just got to get out of this mouth-running, ego trip, complaining, controlling, perfectionist, high and mighty state of mind.  It makes me feel guilty for talking about people in a negative manner.  It makes me feel shameful in front of the people with whom I am gossiping.  I beat myself up over it, often berating myself with negative internal dialogue, which I am not supposed to do.  My doctor warned it can trigger depression in me.  I feel remorse after I do it, too.  Guilt, shame, and remorse – not fun.

I’ve been having a hard time communicating properly with my family as well, being passive-aggressive or yelling aggressively.  Always apologizing, and again beating myself over it afterwards.  I think Agreement #3 will help me a lot in dealing with my family from here on out.

This all stops now.  If not the behaviors totally then the negative internally dialogue for sure.  I can use Agreement #4 as my mantra to combat the times I start to beat myself up for slipping.

Wish me luck.