It feels like I’m being torn apart

“Just because you don’t experience it doesn’t mean that it’s not a reality for someone else.”- Why Mental Illness Makes People Feel So Tired All The Time

Recently while in a couples session, our counselor asked each of us what depression felt like. My partner hadn’t tasted the bitterness of mental illness before, not until this past year at least when we were apart. He expressed that he had to keep himself busy from wake to sleep, otherwise his emotions would make him “sad.” When the counselor turned his attention to me, the first words that escaped my mouth were, “It feels like I’m being torn apart.” His head tilted, his eyes squinted, and he asked what I meant. Not in judgement, but for better understanding.

I explained that for me, my depression and anxiety were almost these presences that hid in the corners of my mind. It may seem counteractive giving them this power, but they honestly do feel like little dark versions of myself. And they are always hungry. I try not to feed them, but at times their hunger becomes too much and I end up satisfying their need to overwhelm, drag down, and hurt.
I explained that even when I am busy, at work or exercise, my mind doesn’t shut off like my partners or fully focus on the task at hand. The depression and anxiety don’t just close themselves in their tiny brain apartments and hibernate for the season. They only slide a little further into the shadows, waiting. And sometimes they like to peek their heads out for a surprise attack.
I explained that even when I seem like I am doing well for a few weeks or even months, that I am still struggling with my thoughts on a daily basis.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

And it is exhausting.

Not only am I anemic, which makes me tired anyways, but I have to deal with my dysfunctional brain while trying to be functional.
Some days I come home completely out of it I barely make it out of the shower before I’m drooling on my pillow. Some days I’m so tired of interacting with people I fight going to the gym (which I do enjoy), because that means more socialization and expending energy that I honestly feel I don’t have.

I’m not tired because I’m lazy and don’t want to do anything. I do want to do things.
But, I have this opposing force that I am continuously pushing against to keep going. I only have two arms and two feet, and one body.

So yeah, you may have to be a little patient with me while I fight.

And I’ll try to be patient while you fight too.

Going The Distance: Travel Tips For the Cuckoo Cat Lady

Now that I have a few minutes to relax, I can finally write. June was a crazy month and honestly flew right by for me.
I recently decided to move back to Iowa to work things through with my partner. So while my mother was in-and-out of doctors appointments, I was slowly packing up my things.
I’m no amateur when it comes to moving. I grew up traveling the world with my family. I know what it’s like to pack up a whole house in boxes and reopen them sometime later in a new home, new country. I’ve even traveled across country a few times now (with my cats!).

Below are just some tips I’ve found handy traversing the lands.

  1. Self Medicate
    I chose this as my #1 tip because maintaining your medication regimen is extremely important and sometimes life saving!
    Being a person who takes a handful of pills a day, making sure I have enough for my trip is top priority.
    As soon as you find out you’re traveling somewhere check that you have enough of your meds. If you’re planning on vacationing for an extended period of time, ask your doctor to setup refills. And, check where the closest pharmacy is to wherever you’ll be staying, in case of an emergency.
    *This goes for your pets medications too. Do NOT wait to the last minute to refill their meds.*

1.5 Collect them like seashells
If you take a rainbow of pills, get yourself a decent pillbox. Since I take my medications in the evening, I like the two week count boxes. I packed up most of my medications the week before leaving for this trip. My box held enough to get me through that week and the past few days of traveling.
Not only does a box make the little OCD part of my brain squeal, but it honestly helps me keep track of my medications.

Photo by Anastasiia Ostapovych on Unsplash

2. Pack the Essentials
Okay, so that may seem like a no-brainer, but people over pack all the time. And it’s easy
to see why. You get excited or stressed and think you need the extra options. But you
don’t actually need them. It’s alright to have a those spare undies and maybe an
additional outfit in case of an emergency. Packing just what you really need saves space
(and weight!) in your luggage. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to bring home more
souvenirs without purchasing that last minute Duty Free bag. And personally, it gives
me peace of mind knowing what I need is easily accessible, rather than trying to
remember which bag my bras are in.

3. Pet Friendly Hotels
Websites can be deceiving. They
may say they are pet friendly, but
really only accept dogs.
One thing I learned, is even if the
chains website states they accept
both cats & dogs, each hotel has
different rules.
Double check by calling the hotels
in person before booking.

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

3.5 Cat Hotels
These are the hotels that I have personally been able to book with my cats.
Motel 6, Super 8, AmericInn, & Quality Inn. Motel 6’s are nice because they have
laminated flooring, which is much easier to clean and keep clean from pests that
may harm your pet.

4. Pack Smart
So, if you’re ever on a road trip across the United States like I was, you’ll want your car
organized. Now, I had more items packed than the average Jo, but that’s because I was
taking a whole room full of things with me. If you’re just traveling with a few bags and
your pet, you’ll probably have more space. Either way, being a Tetris master will be
helpful. Since your pet will most likely be in the backseat of your car, I suggest packing
what you need with you in the hotel back there too. Everything comes out of one place
and you don’t have to rummage through your trunk for that extra cat or dog bowl.

5. Gas Guzzler
There’s nothing like the fear of
running out of gas in the middle
of nowhere. I swear.
Pay attention to your GPS or map
for long stretches of road. There
are few rest stops and even fewer
gas stations. Before hitting the
scenic route, fill up your gas.
And this may seem extensive, but
keeping above half a tank most
of the trip saved me from roadside
meltdowns.

Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

6. SNACKS
Can this one be anymore obvious? Pack those darn snacks. You will want them.
I promise! Bring a small cooler with you to pack your favorite sugary or energy drink
(whatever keeps you awake!) and favorite munchies. And if you want to save money,
pack yourself a lunch or buy pre-made lunches to help your through the day.

7. Money Tree
This tip is another big no-brainer,
but stuff happens. Anyhoos, always
carry cash & coins with you.
Depending on the route, you may
hit cash only tolls. Or, if you’re
traveling oversees, public
restrooms require coin entry.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

ER Observations

We arrived at 5pm.
The “waiting room” was quiet, as eyes slowly rose to see the next poor soul(s) walk through the doors. I say “waiting room” with hesitance, because it was more like a waiting hallway. Mismatched chairs and leather benches lined the glass wall of the ER entrance. Near the vending machines is a couch and a few plump chairs.
Right next to the check-in desk is the triage area. A half-wall of glass separates the two. And a wooden half-wall separates the triage from the hall of pained visitors. Two doors lie behind the triage, mostly open during the night.
Every word is loud and clear, for all to hear.

My mother checks in, her side pained, and the receptionist only takes a name and reason.
We sit, one in a chair and one on a bench, facing the triage area.

A man is wheeled in around the same time we arrive, an IV already jabbed in his arm. He’s pale and hunched over.
At hour 2 he asks if there’s a place he can lie down. He’s told to rest on the couch. At hour 3 his IV bag empties. At hour 3.5 he has the IV removed, frustrated at the wait. At hour 4.5 he’s finally called back to be fully examined.

An elderly man and woman walk in. He’s tall and she’s bent over, both their feet shuffling on the marbled floors. He explains how he had surgery recently and can’t void. They give him a cup to pee in.
At hour 1 he finally goes to the restroom, his gait jerky and unsteady.
Half an hour passes.
He’s been too long.
A visitor comes out of the restroom, stating someone has fallen.
A nurse and security officer walk calmly to the men’s room, wheeling the elderly man into one of the usually open rooms. The triage nurse asks “What happened?” The aid responds “He fell over and smacked his head.” Her eyes roll, as if the mans tumble was inconvenient.
No one notifies the wife until fifteen minutes later.

Hour 3, for us, a woman comes in with her boyfriend. She whimpers during the initial check. Two hours later, after finally finding a comfortable spot for herself, a nurse brings her a choice of an ice-pack or heat-pack. She cries out when she leans over for the nurse to place the comforting packs, and the nurse looks on sympathetically.

Photo by Jan Genge on Unsplash

Hour 4 a woman comes in alone, tears in her eyes. She explains she’s had some severe cramping. She’s told to sit until triage. The same nurse from above checks in on her. The woman quietly says, “I think I’ve lost my baby.” She holds up a small bag. The nurses eyes go wide and the woman is quickly taken to the back.

Hour 4.5 a man walks in with his right lower calf bandaged. He sits at triage, trying his best to answer the nurses questions. It’s clear he doesn’t speak English well. “Are you allergic to any medications?” The nurse asks 3 times during the course of her five minute analysis. Her fingers tap against the keyboard as she adds her notes to his impromtu file.
The bandage is never taken off to see the severity of the wound.
As we’re finally called back, I note he’s curled up on a leather bench. The skin around the bandage looks almost black.

Around hour 5, the hallway starts to fill. It’s after work hours on a Monday. People finally have the time to take care of themselves. More and more people file through the ER doors, more and more people have to wait.

Hour 5 is when my mother is called back to the reception desk. She’s sat down with a man, who apologizes for the wait. He says, “I called your name a few times.” She responds, “There’s been 3 different people with the same name.” He says, “Well, you’re the lady with this and that, right?”
No. She wasn’t the lady with this and that. That lady was brought back 3 hours ago.
“Oh.” The man says.
He finally takes my mothers insurance information, officially checking her in.
5 hours after we arrived.

Babies cried. People shuffled back and forth down the hallway, trying to distract themselves of the pain they felt. Someone kept coughing and coughing. Everyone sighed at some point.

5 1/2 hours.

May Favorites

Image

Who’s ready for may favorites of the month?! Get it, may instead of my? Yeah, I know…LAME!

Music

“Without music, life would be a mistake”- Friedrich Nietzsche
Ugh, is this true or what? Music makes everything, for the most part, better. My monthly obsession is Lewis Capaldi. Oh-my-goodness does his music give me the feels. His lyrics hit me right in the heart.
It’s great listening to him, but also watching his personal videos and interviews. Here’s this guy with a heavenly voice and he’s such a GOOF! A very funny goof.

One of my new favorites of his is One:

Facebook Page

There’s nothing like scrolling through your Facebook and seeing a post that speaks to your soul. Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but you know what I mean. Sometimes, it’s nice to know others feel the same as you do.
I know some of these posts have helped me get through the day and even the night.

Check out Wordables page if you’re seeking some wisdom or inspiration! Click here.

Gaming

Okay, so this one is for all my nerdy peeps who like to button smash the night away. Yeah, that’s right, I’m a gamer. Not a very good one I’ll admit.
I wasn’t always into games. I mean, I grew up with my older brothers obsessing over Halo and Fable. I even gave those games a shot. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I ventured from console games to PC.
I have a select few games that I love and always return to, but I’ll just pick one for now.

Image: Article on ESO expansion

Elder Scrolls Online. For anyone who has played Skyrim, this game is for you! Or not. Just saying, it’s pretty fun. There’s nothing like sneaking around as a thief or fighting dragons. I’ve played a few MMORPG’s and this game has to be one of my favorites. The environment is beautiful, the voice acting is great, and the game play is super fun.

But that’s just my opinion. Don’t hate on me if you disagree.
Click here for more info on the game!

Something I’ve Learned

How to give and take.
Wow, is it important to know when to pick and choose your battles. And that goes for pretty much everything in life. Work life, social life, family life. Knowing when it’s time to step aside, put your pride aside, and work things through is kind of essential. Otherwise, you or whoever else involved end up butting heads and most likely end up nowhere.
The choice is yours though. You get to decide what you take a stand on and what are willing to compromise.
I’ve come to a fork in the road recently. It honestly feels like that too. That I have only two directions to go. I either keep quite and let things happen that hurt me or I speak up and risk the chance of losing what I love. I know it doesn’t have to be this way. There could be a third option. One, where both roads are combined.
I’m learning to navigate these roads though and it’s a process!

Face Cleanser

One thing that I’ve noticed since starting antidepressants, is the change in my skin. Yes, I had the odd pimple here or there growing up, but never to this extent. And by that, I mean my jawline has turned into a war zone. An ugly, nasty, bloody (truth) war zone that sometimes enters back territory.
I’ve definitely kicked in to high gear on my skincare regimen. One of my new, favorite products, is Aveeno’s Clear Complexion Pads.
Firstly, Aveeno makes some amazing and gentle products for hair and skin. And secondly, these face pads feel super nice. My skin always feels great after using one.

I believe it works so nicely due to the salicylic acid in it. For those who don’t know, salicylic acid is a key ingredient in acne prevention and treatment. It’s molecular structure helps it slip past those nasty oils and clear out your pores.

If you’re looking for a new product to try, maybe this one can help you as it has helped me.

I believe you can find this product in most stores. I got mine from Walgreen’s.
Click here for link.

No cat photos you ask. Why yes, I failed epically this month to capture a non-blurry photo of my fur babies. But fear not, I will most definitely make up for it next month.
Once again, hope you enjoy and check out the links!

*Always thoroughly research products to make sure they’re the best fit for you*

There’s no excuse for being a jerk

There’s something I’ve come to terms with. And that is, I can be an a** at times.
Okay, I get crabby when I haven’t eaten anything all day and my head feels like it’s going to explode, so I snap at close ones. Fine, I’m feeling hopeless and my self-worth is in the trash, so I make others around me feel guilty. Alright, I ate something bad and I feel like Satan is being summoned from my no-no hole, so I blame someone else for my poor culinary choices.

No.
It’s not okay. It’s not fine. It’s not alright.
Just because something feels like it’s gone horribly wrong or maybe something did go horribly wrong, that’s no excuse to act like a class act jerk.

NO EXCUSE!

You can try to fluff it up or try to validate your actions as much as you want. But at the end of the day, you’re most likely not wanting to accept your flaws and faults.
Sure, no one wants to come out the “bad” guy. No one wants to feel like they did harm. But sometimes you did do something hurtful or you did act out inappropriately.
If you can realize and take responsibility for your actions, then good for you!

Photo by Mathias Arlund on Unsplash

I relied on my depression. When I gave my partner the quiet treatment, it was because I was in a depressive episode. When I got snippy and seemed agitated, it was just a symptom. Okay, so some of those things may be caused by my unstable mental health, but that doesn’t give me the right to throw them out there as a way to excuse myself.
I am pretty high functioning, which makes my depression/anxiety/and possible bipolar disorder seem less than. I’m well aware of my issues. I know what triggers me. I understand my symptoms. Do they sometimes get the better of me? Sure. Should I use that as a reason to excuse the hurt I caused the people I love? Hell no.

Now, this is my personal take on it.
I believe, for the most part, people who struggle with their mental health are aware. Some may deny it. Some may justify their feelings and actions as things everyone goes through. But I feel, that on some level, they know.
Just like I knew. I normalized what I was going through because other people seemed to go through similar things. I told myself my depression and anxiety and feelings were just things everyone went through. It took me years to accept that maybe, just maybe, my brain chemicals were a little off.

At first, I was like “WAHOO!” There’s finally a name to it. There’s a definition of what I’m going through. I can finally relax.
And then I realized, just because I can put a name to my wacky behaviors, doesn’t mean they are okay.

Now, everyone is different. Every case of mental illness is different. Some people are high functioning like me and some are debilitated by what afflicts them. Some people may have learning difficulties and may not understand “normal” social cues.
It gets difficult then, to know when it’s acceptable to let things slide. Even I struggle with that.

I know I am not perfect. I’m not meant to be. Will I slip up at times? Probably. Will I use my depression as a crutch for acting like a cranky b*tch? No, I don’t plan on it.
I know what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable when it comes to my mental health. My depression and anxiety are a huge part of me, but they do not define me.

And I am no better than anyone else because I now understand what’s going on with me. I am no better than anyone because I accept my weaknesses. I am not above anyone else. If I do something wrong or hurtful, even if I don’t realize it until someone says something, I will take a step back and take a look at the situation. I am not stubborn and unbending enough, that I won’t accept that maybe I messed up.

If I messed up. I messed up. And I don’t have the right to act like a baby or say hurtful things, just because someone doesn’t agree with my actions or views.

But, that’s just me.
Yes, I can be a queen beeatch.
Is that okay though? Nope.


Article: It’s a Mental Illness, Not an Excuse to Be an A**hole

I will be the stars for you

Love me.

Love me because I laugh at stupid jokes. Love me because I talk about Greek food with such passion. Love me because I light up the room. Love me because I can continue to get up and fight for another day.

Love me because I am not broken or a thing to fix. Love me for all the pieces that I am.

Cherish me. Hold me tightly. And love me.

Article: If You Love Her, Don’t Destroy Her

Anxiety is a b*tch

“When we don’t like feeling out of control.
we don’t handle conflict well
we don’t handle being yelled at well
everything you say to us will be repeated and deconstructed in our head a million times after
and if I am silent for a while,
it is because I have to fight with her before I can fight with you.”

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash
Poem by Jae Nichelle

Please check out her blog for more poetry here.

This video popped up on my Facebook page. I stared at the title. I stared at the the brief excerpt from the poem.
Anxiety.
I clicked the play button. I listened. I felt.
Tears were brought to my eyes as this beautiful, strong woman opened up her heart for others to see. Tears were brought to my eyes because her truth spoke volumes with my own.

After years and a broken relationship later, I finally found something that truly expressed how I have been feeling. It’s difficult to put into words how breathless you can become fighting yourself. How tired your body becomes after struggling through a single minute. How physical anxiety can be.

You can be standing in front of a crowd, seemingly fine. Yet, your hand has a slight tremble that no one seems to notice.
You can be laughing with your friends. Yet, no one notices how your eyes shift side-to-side, gauging if your reaction is alright.
You can be telling your partner you love them. Yet, they don’t catch the slight quiver in your voice from insecurity.

It’s truly exhausting always being on edge from that inner voice yelling out you to be careful or don’t you even dare try.

This video. This poem. Is everything to someone who struggles with anxiety.

Everything.

April Favorites


Photo: Margarita Petrianova

Hi all!
April just wrapped up and there’s a lot to share. Let’s get to it!

Cats

My cats are my fur babies and I just want to spoil them. I have two favorite must haves if you’re a cat owner.

So this cat bed is a Whisker & Co. product. I’ve gotten three of their cat beds in the last two months. One has pineapples all over it, one has doodled cats, and one is in the shape of a milk carton. I found them at both HomeGoods and Marshalls, at a discounted price. TJMaxx sells them too! I’ll link the website here.

My next must have cat product is this cat cage. Now, I never was a fan of cages. But when I moved to Washington I knew I needed something to help my cats adjust to their new surroundings. The first week I would close them in at night, hoping they would become comfortable relaxing in it. And, they did! Especially Gandalf, pictured to the right.

I have two of them, one for each cat. I’m still adding more blankets and bedding to make them cozy. My goal is to one day DIY the top and sides with scratch-post material.
Now, Gandalf is a 15# cat, which is pretty heavy considering the average healthy weight is 10# (this varies depending on cat breed of course, but for mixed breed house cats that’s usually the goal). My point is, the condo is pretty darn sturdy. He can jump between the shelves with no issue and nothing has snapped from his lard-ass (I love his chubby butt).
Another great feature is the bottom tray slides out. I have one litter box in each condo. And my cats love to make messes, which can be a pain to clean up. Not anymore. I remove the box, slide the tray out, and wipe everything down. It really is easier than having to vacuum/shake out those rubber mats you can get.
You can find the cat cages on Amazon.

Lastly on my cat shenanigans, are just some photos taken this month.

Luna (left) & Gandalf (right)

Music

I don’t know how I would get through the day if I didn’t have music. This April I discovered Billie Eilish. I had heard her music previously, but I hadn’t paid much attention. She popped up a few times on my custom Pandora station, and ever since I’ve been playing her playlists on Youtube.
I’d highly recommend checking her music out, if you haven’t already. She is a highly talented, young artist.
I’ll share one of my favorites of hers below:

Something I learned

This past month I’ve kind of been on a roller-coaster of emotions, more so than usual. Listening to my mother talk about her own struggles and dealing with my own, I have come to realize fear is very real.
My counselor told me we need to be able to distinguish between fears. Fears that can be rationalized and fears that seem irrational, yet hold us back. This task isn’t really easy at all, but I know it’s important to try. Try and not let fear rule my life.
I’ve always had the fear of being a failure, in any situation. I have the fear that my weaknesses will be used against me again. I have the fear to open up. I have the fear to love.
But I don’t want those fears to hold me back anymore. I want to try a new thing and just do it.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”-Eleanor Roosevelt

Please check out The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health Blog on their post: Courage to face down the ogre. It’s a great piece expressing the importance of facing ones fears.

Facebook Page

The one social media presence I’ve stuck with through the years, is Facebook. I don’t usually post too many personal things on it, not anymore really. But, I do share a lot of posts I find inspirational, similar to my own feelings, and delicious looking (Tasty videos are the bomb!).
3am Thoughts is one of the pages I love. When I’m wriggling in bed, sleep avoiding me, I scan through their posts. They remind me of my late night Tumblr scrolling.
If you use Facebook often, and want refreshing truths, check them out here.

Organizers

After reading The WellBeing Blogger’s post on benefits of being organized, I’ve been on a spree. Check out her article here.

I got this nifty organizing cart at Michaels on sale. So, I’m not using it for crafts (although I will in the future), but it’s been super handy storing shoes and accessories. Organizing my room so I feel more put together is perfect.

Planners are Godsend. My life would be pure chaos without my planner. Okay, so, it actually has been pure chaos, since I only just got my Recollections planner. But, I’m on the right track of getting my shit together…I swear!
I also got my planner from Michaels. Maybe Michaels should be on my April Favorites :p

Welp, that’s all my April Favorites. I’ll be trying this kind of post out end of May too. Hope you enjoy and check out the links!

*Always thoroughly research products to make sure they’re the best fit for you*

6 Motivational Benefits to Become Organized — The Wellbeing Blogger

There are a lot of reasons to want to become organized, as well as some great benefits. In this post, I am going to give you 6 motivational benefits to become organized. I know that you are bound to have heard others talk about how great it is to become organized. It may have given you the push that you needed to give it a try. That’s great. But, did you also know that there are many benefits that come from being organized as well? Other than knowing where your stuff is and having a clutter-free lifestyle, let’s go over what else you can gain. Below are 6 benefits that will give you the motivation to become organized.

6 Motivational Benefits to Become Organized — The Wellbeing Blogger

Courage to face down the ogre — The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health Blog

Courage is always required to move forward in life. I often think about courage and how hard it can be just to do ordinary things for those of us who suffer from PTSD, anxieties, depression and other traumas. 766 more words

Courage to face down the ogre — The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health Blog