On The Bright Side...

I suppose I am feeling optimistic and positive today, but I do believe that adversity does make you stronger, or at least shows you just how strong you really are once you are past it.  I tend to wallow in "whoa is me" too often, I am sure.  How many of those times I should have been able to control it, I have no idea.  I know I do not *like* feeling that way, but has it become a habit?  Is it a way or an excuse to get out of doing things I do not want to do or have the energy to do?  If so, why do I not just do them - get them out of the way?  The more I do not do the things I should and need to do, the more they pile up.  THEN it is all overwhelming and I simply will not do whatever it is I should do.

Maybe that is being too hard on myself, or perhaps I should be MORE hard on myself.  Actually, I confuse the hell out of myself.

In my last post, I ranted about our marriage counselor spending most of our sessions talking about her personal life - even interrupting me when I tried to talk about our relationship.  Imagine my surprise when, for the first time that I can remember, she arrived and actually was beginning our session - talking about the relationship, before she even shut the door.  I can not recall a single time she talked about her personal life and what was going on at all.  Things like that make me so suspicious.  It was definitely a coincidence, right?  Coincidences happen ALL OF THE TIME!  To think there is any possible way she read my blog, and even if she did, to know it was me and that it was her is mind blowing.

We shall see next week.

Mark's 'rents will be here in a few hours.  UGH.  I have managed to do the absolute impossible - with help - paid help, of course, but I worked a lot too. Make almost the entire house (4,000 sq ft), minus one spare bedroom and the laundry room clutter free and spotless.  It feels really good!  The girl I hired for a few hours to help with my wreath business came over two Saturdays for several hours each day and we cleaned together on clutter and got SO MUCH DONE!  She is incredibly efficient, has a ton of energy and I told her she was the supervisor each day!  The maids did their regular cleaning on Friday but I had them do some extra things and had told them and their boss it had to be spotless for my Mother-In-Law.  They absolutely understood what I meant, ha!  That reminds me, I should write their boss an email letting him know how much I appreciate their hard work.

I have the MOST awesome psychiatrist/therapist now.  She just sent a text encouraging me to make two wreaths today - that she knew I could do it.  She knows I get so overwhelmed and then I feel like such a failure.  I so adore her.

I need to write a post on my experience with my last psychiatrist and why I  now have a new one.  My last psychiatrist is one of the best in Illinois and I felt so incredibly lucky to be able to get in to her and that she took me as a patient.  And YES, she is an AWESOME doctor.  Sometimes though, there are really, really weird things going on in offices that there is no way you could have ever imagined even happening in a professional office between medical (and married) psychiatrists.  What a nightmare.  It probably requires an entire entry.  The thing about it?  I now know that basically the entire mental health community knows about it!!  It is no surprise!!

I Don't Need My Therapist to Be My Friend

I have been feeling pretty good lately.  Probably somewhat lonely I guess, but who wouldn't be that spent day after day by themselves at home working with very little social interaction.

I am still behind in my work, but pleased I am actually DOING it.  And there have been no complaints to speak of about "Where is my order??".  I have been trying to work on my communication when it comes to not meeting my shipping commitment dates.

Mark's parents will be here Sunday.  O-M-G.  I have had all of the clutter picked up MAJORLY!  (Okay, so I paid for most of it, but I have done a lot of it myself as well).  I still have quite a bit to do, but now see a very near light at the end of the tunnel.  The dishes...SO MANY.  No, they are not scattered all over the kitchen like you see on hoarders - they are neatly piled in one side of the sink, but piled really high.  That is even after I did a load of dishes!  The maids come tomorrow to clean - their normal stuff.  Get the hardwoods clean and shiny, etc.

I am planning on not spending a lot of time with them while they are here.  They always make it obvious that they are here to see Mark, not me, and I will have PLENTY of work that needs to get done ASAP.  I guess they mean well, but they really annoy me.  I told my sister-in-law they will be visiting, and she is so funny.  She said I am such a better person than she is, to put up with them in my home.  HA!

I do not remember if I have talked about our marriage counselor.  She was originally my therapist, then we went to her for counseling together and I no longer see her by myself.  Most of the time it seems worthless.

She goes ON and ON and ON talking about herself.  I mean - I do not know how to convey how much she talks about herself and it not even be an exaggeration.  I *know* I do not have a pleasant look on my face and she should know me, but either she is oblivious to that fact and that I no longer participate in her routine conversations, or Mark has picked up where I left off.  He gives cues that he is listening to her that I have completely stopped, like "uh-huh".  and "yeah", and faking a laugh here and there.   I say absolutely nothing, thinking she will shut up but she never does.  I will try to inject relationship issues just to be interrupted while she continues to talk about herself.

I do not want  her to be MY FRIEND, I want her to help us with our relationship!

It is SO bad that when we were driving to her office one morning, Mark actually said "I wonder what we need to help her with today?"  She is really beginning to annoy me.  A lot of times she says things to me that I do and blames it on having a character flaw (at least that is how I interpret it), not caring about something that is important to Mark and that I am simply not trying hard enough or at all.  I can not stress enough how much this, when it is totally WRONG, it infuriates me and hurts me at the same time.

Finally one day, she was lecturing me about my poor sleep habits, that I needed to force myself into a sleep schedule, take vitamins, be more active, eat foods that help induce sleep.  I DO go to bed religiously every night at the same time.  I get the being more active part as well.  But when I ran almost every day, it did not change, and she can take her holistic mumbo jumbo and do with it what I think she needs to do with it.

So I said, very aggressively, that there really are things about me that are CHEMICAL reasons that I am absolutely not capable of changing on my own.  Seriously - she was referred to me by a freaking PSYCHIATRIST!  HELLO?  Cleaning house - again, I have ADHD (or ADD?) and even with medication, I have been told by my psychiatrists that some things are personality habits that cannot be changed, like that one.  Not that I do not try!  *That* is the issue that she harps on that bothers Mark that she thinks I do not care and do not try.  When I aggressively addressed her (about sleep), she had a surprised and a bit shocked look, but then said she agreed and has not brought up my need for sleep again (but not cleaning house).  I hate confrontation, and I am not at ALL aggressive.  It takes a LOT LOT LOT to get me that way - and she absolutely has to know that.

My new psychiatrist/CBT therapist seems to really get it.  Since she is a psychiatrist, she easily recognizes the difference - is it a chemical imbalance or something else?

Cleaning the house, making wreaths....yep, my life is exactly the way I thought it would turn out..  Ha!  However, the luxury of working from home for someone like myself is absolutely priceless.  I have good days and bad days, but my bad days seem to be way worse than most people's.  In those cases, it is such a relief to be able to concentrate on myself and nothing else.

Keep Trying.

I have a lot of work to do which I do not want to do, behind as always.  Maybe that is why I am writing so much, but I looked at blogs that have been around as long as I have been - 10 - 11 years?  Many have become complete advocacy blogs, sharing absolutely nothing about themselves any longer.  What does that mean?  Have they finally got their crap together, after 10 years?  It certainly seems that I should as well.  Yet why haven't I?  I went to one of the best psychiatrists in Illinois, yet...I do not.  If I have not blogged about that experience, which is very possible as I just got back into being locked out of my blog recently, I will do so soon.

When I write in my blog, I know I do not pay attention to proper sentence structure, punctuation, even spelling or grammar.  I do run spell check though - but that only goes so far.  If I do not write in this fashion - as a stream of consciousness, and am consumed by HOW I am saying what I am saying, I will never get it out.  It will end up not being authentic and genuine.  I have been through many writing classes, but honestly, this is my journal and I just do not care.

I guess I have turned a *bit* into an advocate, but in real life, which I am not sure if that should transfer over to blog life.  I adore Project Semicolon, and purchased a hand stamped semicolon that I wear on a chain along with a very small diamond cross that my husband gave me as a gift.  The necklace may be one of the most meaningful pieces of jewelry I have ever owned.

HOWEVER.  I need to fix it.  While yes, the semicolon has a special meaning to me, I do not need to be reminded of depression, suicide and my mental illness every time I look into the mirror!  That is NOT who I am. Yes, I constantly struggle with it, but I do not need to remember that I am damaged all of the time.  I try to forget, be myself which is a NORMAL person and do not need a mirror telling me that I am not.

As far as Project Semicolon suggesting everyone should tattoo a semicolon on their wrist?  I used to think that was a great idea - spread awareness.  Now that I have this necklace - that I need to fix - make sure the cross is on the outside covering the semicolon, or if that does not work, simply turn the semicolon around, I see that if I had gotten a tattoo of a semicolon on my wrist that I would be regretting it (but I would not have gotten a tattoo).  I would only be getting one for me, and now I know that I do NOT want to be reminded of something so terrible in my life.  Why should I EMBRACE it?

However, I AM trying to start conversations about depression and suicide.  I AM more readily telling people how serious my depression has been.  Besides my friend that was suicidal and checked into a facility a few weeks ago, I told another person that I had been suicidal and had been hospitalized.  There are a few things I am hoping for.  First of all - I am trying to help break the stigma.  People only know me as "normal".  Okay, they might think I am a bit...flaky, I have no idea and that might be a bit paranoid. Sometimes I just do not want to do something that I previously said I did.  If I tell them, maybe in the future my disclosure might help them understand my strange behavior once in awhile.

Also - if I discuss it openly, I hope they feel they can discuss it with me and others as openly as well.
For my age group, suicide is the #1 killer, yet all I hear about is the heart foundation, obesity, etc.  People do not talk about suicide, yet it trumps all other forms of death for those my age!

I am SO not being preachy or advocacy-ish.  Personally, I am doing all I know to keep myself together and it is a day by day thing.  And some days I do all I can, some days I am not so good at it.  I am working on that - most days.  I don't know, I am probably a mess.  All I know is to keep trying, even when I fail.  Eventually, get up and keep trying.

Yes, 11 years of it.  Get up and keep trying.

Hello - Me Again.

I do not really want to read my last post, but I am guessing it was written when I thought I did not have much anxiety but actually did.  The sad part is that it was better than it had been for several days - much better.

I question if I will ever be able to work like I used to.  I get so anxious that it is truly, truly debilitating.  Then I think something is wrong with ME.  Why can't I just get up and work?  Why am I so lazy, sitting around, reading news and getting even more anxious?  I literally do not think I am able to work.  Just like depression - it can be so bad that I can not work then either.  I do not feel depressed AT THIS VERY SECOND, so I can not describe exactly how that feels.  I can remember, but not enough to describe the details.

Because of the anxiety, thinking of worse case scenarios of everything, especially myself, it only raises my anxiety more.  In my mind, eventually, I have lost everything, my business, my husband, my dog, my house, my life.  And of course it is all my fault, and of course I deserve it.

Still now, after a few klonipin, I am questioning it.  Will I?  And do I?  I actually do not think I am deserving of anything really.  Who am I that I can stay home and work on a home business that is paying for itself and any profit I reinvest back in the business but I have not been helping the family finances.  That must be bullshit to my husband.  I am not contributing.  Why is that okay?  Because I have a mental illness?

What would I do if I was not married, if my husband did not understand, and does he understand?  IS THIS the reason he is okay with what I do?  I am so confused.

If I had to get a job, what skills do I have?  I have great skills from incredible companies, but that was so long ago.  No one cares that I worked for the best consulting firms...10 years ago.  They DO care that I do NOT have a formal degree.  And Chicago is NOT a place to be looking for a job right now, God no.  It does seem to be the place that Mark's family from Texas likes to visit in the summer though.

I just do not want to see anyone, have anyone in the house, go anywhere, with anyone, be viewed by anyone.  I just look like skanky poor trash.  Do I really?  I don't know, probably not, who knows, and does it even matter?  That is how I feel inside.  Whether I actually look like that does not matter.  It is 100% my perception and I am so mortified and embarrassed to be seen in public by anyone under any circumstance.

Does that sound too much?  It is how I feel.  Maybe people do not normally get so specific, but if I knew stronger words to use to detail how I feel about myself, I would use them.

This song has a dual purpose description of me right now:

Let Me Be Me

If you watch the video, I feel I look as different from everyone as he does - so out of place, that everyone can tell there is something wrong with me. It does not matter what they do, if they approach me because *I* know *they* know, and I know I am hideous.

The words - I have always felt this song described how I felt about my mental illness and taking medication.  I had to take it so I could fit into society.

However - unknowingly, Mark said the most interesting thing yesterday without realizing it.  I have been REALLY struggling with my allergies and asthma lately (that I did not have in Dallas!). I did not take my maintenance inhaler or allergy/asthma pill for about a week and got pretty sick with allergies.   Still trying to catch up to where I was.

So I asked him if he thought that once I started taking all of this crap for allergies/asthma, that now my body depends on it and I will ALWAYS have to take it?

He thought of it another way.  He said I started taking each thing I take for a reason, not anything as preventative at the time.  So...why wouldn't I think I would have a problems if I stopped even one thing?  I thought about that - it was a good point.

The same is true with my medication for my mental illness.  Of course there is nothing I take that was given to me as a preventative measure.  Each thing was added to combat a symptom that was causing a problem in my life - and to me, not to anyone else that I recall.  So taking one away is only hurting myself.

Still.  I remember being a happier person.  But then it hit, out of nowhere, when I was 19 and I literally could not get out of bed.  I was at my then boyfriend's house (who turned into a then-husband).  Why do people act like it is more normal than it is?  Days in bed, refusing to leave bed, take a shower and go anywhere?  I had NO IDEA what was wrong with me, and you know, I did not care as long as I did not have to get out of bed.

If things do not seem normal - do someone a favor and suggest they get help - maybe offer to help them find help if they are willing.  They might not know they need it, but I bet they suspect it.

Thoughts Are Scrambled and Everywhere - Maybe I Am Too

It has been really rough lately.  I pretty much ran out of klonipin.  I want to say I do not know how it happens, but obviously I take too much in a certain time frame.  But how could I take THAT MUCH?  Both Adderall and Klonipin - the two worst medications I could take too much of, I usually do within the month.

I now have my Klonipin back and have felt so sick for almost a week lately.  I thought I would take it and ta-da, all of my negative thoughts that were keeping me from getting my wreaths done would be gone.  I am so far behind that just that is a lot for me to deal with.  I hate when I know people are already disappointed in me and upset that they do not have their wreath, then making it it and getting it to them, knowing they will not be happy no matter what I do at that point.  So I let one more day, two more days, etc., pass.  Well of course, that makes it even WORSE!

I want to just refund their money and move on...but that seems to make people even angrier when I have done that.  My designs are original.  If they fall in love with them and I refund their money, it is not like a magnet they buy on Amazon.  They cannot just find another seller to buy the same thing.  That is good, but in a few situations, it can be bad.  I am a procrastinator I guess.  I hate disappointing, I hate making something for someone who is already mad.  I picture working hard to make something perfect for someone who is going to be upset and leave a horrible review anyway.

I need to get over this whole perfection thing.  I am going to TRY and talk about this to my psychiatrist/CBT therapist on Thursday.  We end up talking most of the time about medications.  This REALLY needs to be fixed though or I will lose my business.  I have orders that are a week behind.  I have spent maybe 5 days dragging my feet - so those orders are that much late, even longer for others.

Once they are late, I feel like I am already a failure, a disappointment.  It is SO hard to get the motivation to make those wreaths.  I do not let myself make wreaths that are currently due because ones before that are late, so EVERYTHING starts going downhill, and fast.

I also have this really weird thing - I have to "feel it" to be able to work.  Is it some weird artist thing?  Why can't I just work?  I used to go in and work a regular job - regular very stressful and demanding jobs - 10 - 12 hours if not more, very productive, no matter how I felt.  Those were in no way artistic though.   Other people held me accountable.  Now, I am the only person and I am competing against no one.  Maybe I really DO need to find someone to compete against on Etsy.  I need SOMETHING to motivate me.

I do not know why, but last year I sold a TON of Fall wreaths - it was the first time I fell behind.  In September, the sales topped over 75 that month.  For me, all by myself, that was a lot of wreaths to make and get out and delivered by Thanksgiving.  I was a frantic, anxious mess.  I ended up taking the majority of Christmas - which SHOULD have been my biggest month, off.  I was exhausted.

NOW I am already totally freaking about this fall, and it is only June.  But seasonal items have to be posted and promoted early.  My items that people loved last year is everywhere this year, but the ribbon that people so adored last year is not sold anywhere (so far) this year.  For some reason, that has absolutely stressed me out.  I have been TRYING to tell myself that no one has told me I have to sell x amount of wreaths for the year, for fall, for Christmas, etc.  It is just disappointing.  I had been counting on that all year and have no idea why it appeared people loved those wreaths so much because of that particular ribbon.

The ribbon is actually nothing special.  Just a striped canvas ribbon of orange, brown, and plain canvas in the middle. I have several other ribbons I have purchased to replace it and try to remember how I did not think that ribbon would  be liked by anyone when I used it last year, but really, it is not like I have a choice.  I think this year I have some much better choices yet...I had a sure thing without realizing I did when I first made the wreaths last year.

Here is the ribbon I used last year on one of the more popular fall wreaths:

Is it really that big of a deal?  Once I said it was sold out and offered other options, it stopped selling.

I know, a lot about wreaths, but I am so obsessed with it.  I need other things in my life.  I do have friends, I just do not SEE them.  I could, but I choose not to.  There is only one friend - or I guess one set of friends - that I do choose to see, and that is pretty much because I do not have a choice or that I feel it would be taken the wrong way.  That is Mark's friends that he had before we moved here.  I actually really, really like them and they seem SO accepting of me, and I have done quite a bit which takes tolerance.  Mainly that would be drinking too much, getting very sick and having to leave many places because I was vomiting.

I have gained maybe 50 pounds since I started taking Trazadone about 3 years ago.  My new psychiatrist added Zonegran the last time I saw her and it has helped my appetite SO MUCH!  I am now trying to watch WHAT I eat since my appetite is so much less now.  I think I have lost about 2 pounds now - not much but better than gaining.  I will take anything.  When I lost 70 pounds, it took
2 years.  I realized 2 years of my life are going to go by anyway, might as well be thinner in two years than when I started.  2 pounds a month for one year is 24 pounds.  For 2 years is 48.  Just 2 pounds a month is very doable - lots of wiggle room if you cheat - easy to get back on track if you can keep your head together.

I wrote this long thing about how I feel about my appearance and then it somehow disappeared.  I do not know all I said, so I will just say this.  I do not like to be seen in public.  I feel absolutely horrible about how I look.  I do not want to meet new people who's first impression of me may be of a fat person.  I do not buy the same kind of clothes that I do in Dallas because I am just forcing myself to buy anything when the mood strikes - which is not often.  And then only online, because I will never buy something if I am in a store and try it on, with other people around.  I cannot even imagine going somewhere knowing I will do that.  I know I will walk out, probably in tears.  I have not had my hair done in a salon in over a year.  I do not even have enough self confidence for THAT.  This fat girl walks in - what the hell is SHE doing here when she obviously does not care about her appearance?  Fat and ugly!  Fugly.

I do not want to be seen by anyone.

Let's Start Talking!!

Although I am not exactly heavily pushing, I find it extremely difficult to start a conversation about suicide.  For my age group, it is the number one cause of death.  To me, that says that everyone must know of someone that has committed suicide.  Yet no one wants to talk about it?  Why?
It is scary, but I am slowly becoming more open about my illness.  I haven't really said that I am. bipolar and do not feel much guilt about that.  My psychiatrist tells me quite often I am "mildly bipolar".

Don't get me wrong - I am not in denial or saying I do not have it, I do.  And I need to have a diagnosis to explain when I do have my hypomania symptoms.  But I do know what she is saying.  I have those awful, horrible bipolar depressions that begin the process in my mind of the way I want to die and become obsessed with searching the internet over ways that will not be painful (I actually have had a plan chosen since being suicidal in 2001), but when I am manic...it's hypomania, I recognize it pretty quickly - within a few hours and it does not last long.  There is typically a lot of time between them - a year maybe?  If that is true, then I am overdue for one.  I hope the next one is a happy one. I usually get the irrationally irritated mania, and I am just barely rational enough to know to stay away from social media, sending emails, etc.  But it does not matter which I get, the outcome will be the same.  Immediately following, more than likely, will be a drop in mood that hopefully can be controlled as much as possible.  So crossing fingers in this lottery of emotions for happy hypomania!  Ha! : )

I am not trying or even want to be a mental health advocate, I am definitely not the person to advise anyone on anything about mental illness.  But I really *do* want to be able to discuss it openly with people, like a broken leg, asthma, or lifelong conditions such as allergies.  Is the comparison to allergies too trivial?  I have bad allergies since moving to Chicago, and believe me, they f*ck up my life and well being a LOT and OFTEN, but that is a comparison only I can relate to.  Maybe a failed kidney - where you need a bag to urinate?  See, that seems worse because at least I don't have to carry something around and it isn't SO obvious.  I cannot think of a physical illness of the body (not the brain chemicals) to compare it to.  The hidden disease....

So behind on my wreaths.  I have orders that are 6+ days overdue.  I just want to create new things, not make copy after copy of things I have already made. and copied a million times over.  But...like anyone or anything else, that is why I get paid.

When I first started my business almost two years ago, how could I have known people would actually LIKE my wreaths?  It still amazes me that people pay real money for something I designed and made with my own hands.  I never would have guessed they would like them THIS much for sure.

Even though I do not really believe it, it still makes me feel good when people say I am talented.  But no, I really do not think I am.  More like...persistent from my point of view.  Although...it does take creativity to come up with my own original designs.  Some people do nothing but copy the most popular wreaths and then sell them at a lower price.  That has already happened to me, but I don't care that much.  This is my second year of making that wreath and I am SO bored of making it.  Where is the artistry in copying other people's original designs though?  That is the WHOLE REASON I like what I do!  That would be incredibly B-O-R-I-N-G!  I guess they would rather be a mimic than a true artist, which makes me wonder what drew them into what they do in the first place?

Back to work!

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