Can I Be Excused?

The other day one of my Facebook friends posted a status saying how they wish people would stop using anxiety as an “excuse”. Well, um, excuse me, but anxiety can be used as an excuse.

I understand what this person is saying. We all know those people who love to throw pity-parties for themselves. But let’s be real here; most people I know have never said, “I can’t go out tonight, I’m way too anxious to have a good time.” Those of us with anxiety tend to make up bullshit excuses to get out of things with people we don’t know very well. I was invited to a party one time (and literally only one time) and I spent the entire time from being invited to the night of the party stressing about it. I was going to bring someone along to try and make myself more comfortable, but even that didn’t bring me much peace of mind. So, I lied and said I couldn’t go because of X reasons.

I also understand that today’s youth kind of gets a bad rep when it comes to anxiety/depression. Other people who don’t understand these issues sometimes think (or say), That’s not a real problem, get over it. But with anxiety and depression, anything can become a real problem. As I’ve gotten older I’ve developed better coping skills and can process my emotions and deal with them in more mature ways, but I still get extremely upset over little things, particularly when I’m already in a vulnerable state of mind.

Anxiety takes over your life, therefore it is an excuse. Mental health issues constitute excuses. And it’s saddening to see that some people just don’t think of these health concerns as being legitimate.

– Z

My Life Is Not That Interesting

This semester I decided to take a risk and sign up for a class called “creative non-fiction”. This so far has entailed personal essays and memoir-style writing. I took it as a challenge, since I actually, believe it or not, really dislike writing about myself.

I like writing these blog posts because they’re anonymous. I face no judgement from anyone. I can say anything I want. Hell, I could even sign my full name and it wouldn’t really matter, considering it’s the internet and someone across the country criticizing me doesn’t affect me at the end of the day. But this class is proving to be a struggle. My last assignment was to write a personal essay and the suggestions were: a spiritual journey, a turning point, a significant place, a reflection on family, a love lost or gained. My paper turned out to be a piece of utter garbage, let’s just say that.

I wracked my brain trying to think of something. A turning point? I don’t know. A spiritual journey? I’ll get back to you after I do peyote. A love lost or gained? Not applicable, unless you’re counting pets. A significant place? A lot of places have meaning to me.

I felt particularly frustrated because I simply couldn’t remember a lot. I’m left wondering, is my memory that much worse than everyone else’s? Or has my life just been really…uneventful? If I were to write a memoir, it would be more of a depiction of mental illness than anything else, since, well, mental illness controls my life. Not much significant has happened to me.

Maybe not much significant, by many people’s terms, has happened to me, but there had to have been some things, right? Yes. The fact of the matter is, I’m very insecure and unwilling to open myself up to a group of strangers. I don’t want their judgement. And yes, I know, it’s more about the writing than the content of it, but it still matters to a degree. I don’t like feeling vulnerable. I don’t want to bare my soul for this group of people, I really don’t. I don’t compare. I don’t have a dead parent, I’ve never been physically abused, I’ve never had someone close to me die, I’ve never, I’ve never, I’ve never.

Memoir writing is clearly not for me, but I have ten weeks to go, so I guess I’ll have to try.

– Z

Regret II

I made that post titled “Regret”, but recently I’ve been thinking about if I could go back in time and change anything, would I? The answer is no, I wouldn’t.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that things ultimately turn out the way they were supposed to. We have control over major decisions in life; where are we going to school? What are we going to study? Are we going to take that job offer or not? You get the idea. But there are also little things that may go unnoticed by others and add up. What if I had said something else? What if I hadn’t taken that street?

I don’t think “everything happens for a reason” but I do like to believe that there has to be some purpose behind events I find significant. I think this idea is mostly for our own comfort as humans – we need something to believe in, whether it be God, fate, our own power, whatever. There are a couple things I still haven’t taken a lesson away from, and that frustrates me because I have the human desire to make sense of the events, but maybe I will someday.

A friend recently asked me something along the lines of, If I had to go back and relieve this particular period of time over and over again (as my eternal Hell), would I? I said yes, I would. Despite the sadness, confusion, and emotional distress it caused me during the time and even after, I would relieve it. There’s nothing I would change. If I were to go back in time and change anything, I wouldn’t be who I am at this very moment, and I kind of like who I am right now. So why change anything?

Regret is a very natural feeling. It’s a very unpleasant one, at that. Guilt and regret are feelings that weigh us down, and we feel helpless because, well, shit, what’s done is done. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Without regret, we wouldn’t know what to avoid or do differently in the future for a more positive outcome.

I don’t know if there is such a thing as fate, and I don’t believe in mankind’s monotheistic religions or any sort of “God”, but I think there is a possibility of something “bigger” out there. The universe is a vast and strange place, and I’m going to continue to take comfort in the idea that everything is in its right place.

– Z

Desperation

I’ve reached a point that I can’t ever remember reaching before: desperation.

Oh, trust me, there have been many points of desperation, but more so in the sense of giving up completely. I’ve reached a different sort of “low point”, a point where I feel as though I’ve fallen into a black pit and I’m trying to claw my way back up and I am doing anything I can to escape.

I’m one of those psychiatric patients who is probably quite difficult to deal with because I’m picky with medications. I also discuss medications with my father (who really should be a psychiatrist, considering his vast knowledge of meds and psychological disorders) and I take his recommendations very seriously. I refuse to take anything that has a more-than-low risk of weight gain, I refuse antipsychotics (which isn’t a bad thing, despite my disillusioned thinking), and I refuse antidepressants (also not a bad thing – antidepressants can severely worsen Bipolar Disorders).

When I saw my psychiatrist yesterday, I explained the panic attack/emotional breakdown combination I had last weekend, and he agreed that the Tegretol isn’t helping anymore. He gave me blood work to complete and a prescription for Lithium. I feel accomplished, almost triumphant, in saying this because my father has had success with Lithium for a couple years now. Its actually the best-researched medication for Bipolar Disorder and seems to be the one that provides, overall, the best results. Beyond BP, it is used for treating the entire mood spectrum. Of course, you have to be careful, since it can cause kidney damage, but that shouldn’t happen if you’re taking a dose that’s right for you and getting blood work done regularly.

I’ve had a rough couple weeks. Well, a rough few months. Beyond that, a rough nine years. I’ve had no success with the long list of medications I’ve been on (I was on Lamictal for over a year, which some people with BP experience success with, it didn’t change a thing for me), except for, most recently, the Tegretol, but that didn’t last long at all, and it was a very quick and severe change for the worse. It’s frustrating how much my mental disorders are affecting my life right now, as they always do and always will, but I just feel like if I even get poked with a metaphorical needle I will break entirely. I feel guilty because I know my mental state affects others, and I need to be sure to put on a facade for some people, god forbid I burden them. I get it though, I really do. It’s hard to deal with an emotional person, and, as much as I love them, my close friends either back themselves away completely from the situation or hug me, and both are ineffective.

I’m desperate. I’m desperate for a positive change, and I know plenty of that comes back to me. Eat healthy, exercise, get seven hours of sleep! I know, I know. All I can say is that it’s very difficult to make positive changes when you have no energy and you don’t care what happens to you anyway. But I feel, at least today, that I do care, because I need to be better. I can’t wait around to fall further and to be buried.

– Z

Apathy

It’s one of those days where I don’t feel like doing anything yet I have so much I need to do.
I should really write those three papers for school. I should go and fill out more job applications (I woke up and went on Craigslist again today; not much to choose from). I should work on the blog post I have due next Friday. I should exercise. But I woke up with my neck twisted and sore and I’m tired and the last thing I want to do is put on makeup.

I’m just not doing well.

I have an appointment with my psychiatrist tomorrow and I’m determined to use as much time as possible, despite my appointments often lasting no more than 15 minutes yet costing close to 200 dollars. For some reason I can’t articulate my thoughts and feelings very well when I’m there, but I can speak effectively about them when talking to my close friends and family members. My doctor, while somewhat helpful with his feedback and knowledgeable of my disorders, frustrates me because I often feel as though he doesn’t take my suggestions seriously. Yes, I know he’s the one with the prescription pad, but when I suggest a certain medication, I feel unheard. When I tell him my anxiety is controlling my life and I find myself panicking for no reason on a near-daily basis, nothing is done about it.

Medication can’t fix everything, I know that, but it is absolutely essential to stabilizing me and helping me feel better. It’s actually the first step. Once I feel better mentally, other things will come along. When I was doing pretty well in the summer, the idea of going to a new school in 2015, and despite all of the massive changes that come along with that, I felt confident. I told myself, I can do this. Now I feel the complete opposite. How will I cope? Is there any chance of success? It doesn’t feel like there is.

I believe that being in your early 20s to even your mid-20s is a very difficult time. I know all of my friends are struggling with their present state and even more concerned about the future. I have a plan, but my present state is, well, shit. I feel like things will be better once I’m in graduate school and they’ll be even better once I’m out (and I know it will be difficult) because I’ll have a chance to start a career and get paid to do something I actually want to do. Yes, the debt I’m going to be in will be terrifying, but I have to tell myself it will be worth it. Right now it seems like all of us are just working menial, dead-end, minimum wage jobs and we feel stagnant. It’s also very hard to save money when you’re a full-time student and you work a minimum wage, part-time job. I really should put away even ten dollars or something from every paycheck, but I always end up having to go into my savings because, well, shit, I have to pay for things. I already owe my parents hundreds of dollars and I can barely afford gas, in the meantime.

Not much brings me pleasure these days. Everything I do takes so much mental and physical energy and it’s hardly ever worth it. I feel the need for constant distractions. Sobriety sucks, but I don’t have the money to escape it. I guess I would just love to wake up in the morning and not dread the coming day.

– Z

The Power of Negative Thinking

I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but I do not how to combat my negative thinking, and it takes a toll on, well, everything.

I’ve thought roughly the same way since I was a child. I’ve never had self-confidence and I’ve always been in the habit of thinking the worst of things, and I’m also very stubborn.
I hear people say things along the lines of, “Confidence takes time, you don’t just wake up one day and are confident, it takes work, etc.” That’s great, but that’s so vague. What can I do to be more confident? What did you do to feel more confident? Because despite everyone saying all this, I don’t know how to change.

I was more confident this past summer when I was about 40 pounds lighter, but as I was driving home tonight I realized that there’s not actually much of a notable difference. I still refused to wear short sleeves in public. I wouldn’t wear shorts. I recoiled when someone touched me. I still thought of myself as fat when actually, I was average. It’s a little worse now since I’m aware I’m heavier and I destroyed all the progress I made, but there’s no difference in my actions. I still cover myself completely, try not to draw attention to myself, still criticize my body in the same way. So what can I do?

I doubt myself all the time. I don’t deal with change well at all, I criticize my abilities and doubt my talents, I expect nothing but bad things. And while I do think there is some validity in the “power of positive thinking”, because I have experienced positive thinking for a short amount of time, it’s incredibly difficult to achieve that mental state when you are just not doing well emotionally.

The answer is probably just this, really: I need to find a medication that works for me. I need to work out regularly. I need to establish a healthier diet once again. Those things really do contribute to a healthier mind. My frustration is still there, though, because some things never change. Some things are out of your control.

I’m aware that positive thinking is another lifelong process. But it would be nice to be able to feel as though I can walk out of the house in summer in a t-shirt instead of a hoodie.

– Z

Regret

There was a point in my life, not that long ago even, when I was one of those people who truly didn’t have any regrets. I looked at what I had been through as a part of life, stepping stones, lessons learned. But as some time has gone by, regret and shame has eaten away at me. I lie in bed at night unable to sleep, the picture books of terrible memories flipping through my brain.
If I were to condense everything into one regret it would be going through a time where I didn’t treat myself very nicely. I made poor decisions and I ended up damaging myself emotionally.

I first had sex a couple weeks after I had turned 18 (it was actually on my mom’s birthday, which is even worse). I met the guy at work. He was older, 24 or 25? I can’t remember. We got along. He actually asked for my number and all that jazz, which was shocking and flattering, and since I sort of had a thing for him, this was all very exciting for me. A person….interested in…me?! Never had this happened before. We hung out once and nothing happened. He wasn’t from my city so I took him downtown to the art gallery, which I scorn myself for now, because that art gallery is beautiful and he ruined it for me. Then soon after, he invited me over to his place. I was prepared. I knew I was going to have sex. It was terrible. It was just…awkward. I have major body issues, more now than I did then, but still, and I didn’t like being so exposed in front of someone who had the capability to judge me. I felt vulnerable. It also just didn’t feel good. Giving a man a blowjob isn’t enjoyable, let’s face it. I didn’t even enjoy receiving oral. The penetration was alright, but I mean, obviously I’m not going to get off.

Moving on. I had sex with him five or six times after this, and the more I had sex with him, the more I hated him. There’s not even any reason behind it other than the fact that he was just sort of an asshole in general. I was just a booty call and not even one he could manage to show an ounce of respect to, or, god forbid, help get off.

This past summer, one of my friends and I were talking about it, and she just said to me, “You regret it”, and it just hit me. Yes, I regret it. I regret every time I either gave into pressure or gave into the feeling of being wanted when, really, I wasn’t. Just because I felt ready and was ready to have sex didn’t mean my future self was ready. I wish I had waited, not with the intention of “saving” the experience for someone I “love”, because I’ve been single since day one and I don’t expect that to change in the next few years to come (I can’t even look at attractive people when I see them, I pretend they don’t exist.), I guess I wish I had waited because it wasn’t worth it to do it. What did I ever gain from it? Nothing, except feeling stupid and easily manipulated and desperate.

I have no interest in sex at this time. I haven’t felt interested in sex in a very long time. I know my experience was just with one person and it’s going to be different with someone else, but I also know my body and I know myself and there’s a big chance of me just not enjoying it. Unless it’s with someone who shares a mutual affection for me, but again, fat chance (ha, get it?).

I regret putting time and effort into people who never did the same for me, and this goes for all relationships, sexual or non-sexual.

– Z