Depression/Mental Health, Life in general, When Life Happens, When Life Isn't Too Great

I am “normal”…I swear…

Mental illness SUCKS. I’ve had anxiety/depression for a while, and have been medicated on and off since 2009 (steadily since 2012 or so). I’ve had tons of ups and downs, lost a well-paying job, and (in my opinion, anyway; it could be all in my head so to speak) let several wonderful friendships lapse along the way. My behaviour over the years, in hindsight, has definitely caused a lot of trouble for a lot of people; family, friends and colleagues alike. I could drive myself INSANE wishing I could go back in time and change things, there are so many incidents I can think of! I have days where all I want to do is sleep and feel like crying all day; then the next day I feel fine and that I could conquer the world. One day feel like I hate people and don’t want to talk to *anybody*, and the next day I’ll be back to normal (whatever that is!). Some days it feels like I work as hard as I can at what I’m doing, and that that particular day’s “best” is a “normal” person’s “just ok”.

I’m writing this because today is a good day and I feel inspired. There’s no reason in particular; with me, there is sometimes no rhyme or reason to good/bad days. I think the fact that I have read so many things about mental illness in the past few days- Kate Spade’s untimely death, a post on my Facebook feed, an ad on the back of a bus for mental health help- has bolstered my confidence and made me realize that no, I am *not* alone in this. I’m not stupid, useless, or a burden. I can be lazy by nature and can often use a swift kick in the butt, but so could millions upon millions of people without a mental illness. If I try my best at what I do and treat others (AND myself) with kindness and respect (even if I REALLY think they don’t deserve it!), then I think I can do OK in this crazy world of ours. Remember, if you think you’re alone…you’re not. There are others out there just like you. 💚

 

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When Life Isn't Too Great

Thinking…

A former hockey coach named Pat Burns passed away today (well, yesterday now) from cancer. I’m a hockey fan, not a HUGE hockey fan, but I had heard of this guy. I remember him best as a portly, mustached man, re-faced and yelling at his Toronto Maple Leafs players from behind the bench (not that it did them a heck of a lot of good! ;)).

Even though I didn’t follow his career, I knew his face very well, and I also knew that he was very ill. Tonight, on the news, I was utterly shocked to see footage of him at his last public appearance early last month. This was not the man I remembered; this was a man who looked like what I can best describe as death walking. He had wasted from what was probably 270lbs or so down to 100.

THIS is why, to this day, I am glad that my very last memory of my grandfather was of him sitting on a chair as I said goodbye to him after a Christmas visit. He, like Pat Burns, had cancer. If I had seen him in the hospital, obviously in pain, weighing next to nothing, I would probably be haunted for life (that’s just my personality; I tend to remember bad/negative things more than good things). I have no idea what I’ll do in the future if a loved one faces this situation again; I’ll deal with that when the time comes…

Cancer is a horrible, HORRIBLE disease…and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. Just thinking of my grandfather, how much I miss him, an what a shame it is that hundreds of thousands of lives are cut short by cancer every year.

I miss you, Grampie  🙂  We remember you at every holiday, at every meal, and whenever someone pulls out their camera to take one of those unexpected shots when you’re in the middle of a mouthful of food. We all love you and miss you, and remember you with nothing but good thoughts. I’m glad I got to know you for as long as I did, and that you are no longer in pain. Thank you for the jaunts to fast food restaurants, the stories, building Legos, drives in the country, those special shopping trips, the trip to Pictou, and just for being a great man. Please know that I smile way, way more than I cry when I think of you, and that your legacy is being carried on with each and every one of us.

Oh, and yes, the water was wet today  😀

Depression/Mental Health, When Life Isn't Too Great

Realizations

Or, the alternate title: what NOT to say to a person with depression.

–>”You shouldn’t feel that way.” Gee, thanks. Thanks for asking me what you can do to help, and then when I tell you, completely dismiss my thoughts. I’ll definitely come to you with any of my future problems and/or difficulties in life.

–>” You need to get over what has happened in the past.” Yes, I do. I won’t argue with you there. The problem is with the ACTUAL GETTING OVER part. You need to realize that what happened in the past has an ENORMOUS impact on who I am today. Now that I think of it, I will never EVER get over what has happened in the past, but I really, really want to learn how to manage it better than I am now.

–>”Tell your therapist that XYZ is wrong with you.” Never, EVER tell me what I should be telling my therapist. YES, I am having trouble finding work. YES, I know why. YES, I’m going to bring it up with the therapist. I don’t need a laundry list of things to tell her…I KNOW I have a problem.

*sigh* can you tell it wasn’t the greatest of days? I hate, hate, HATE this dams illness. I don’t use it as an excuse, but it sure makes things harder. I would give ANYTHING not to suffer from it, but I do, and I have to make the best of it. My current living situation is neither conducive to me getting better nor ideal, but it’s all I have for now. After Christmas, I hope to be making a big life change…at least that’s something to look forward to  🙂

Depression/Mental Health, When Life Happens, When Life Isn't Too Great

More on my thoughts on depression

First off, I want to admit something; I’m not a fan of the phrase “Unless you ***, then you can’t possibly ***”. I mean, a male OB/GYN has a heck of a greater understanding of my inner parts than I do, even if he doesn’t, and never will, have them himself!

However, with depression, I’m a great believer in the fact that you don’t really have a true idea what’s it’s like dealing with it on a day-to-day basis unless you’ve been there, or are there, yourself. I’m not saying that you can’t HELP someone with depression if you don’t suffer with it; I’ve had help from several professionals in dealing with my illness. While I’m not sure (and frankly, it doesn’t matter) whether or not they themselves have suffered from a mental illness, they’ve all helped me immensely in one way or another.

I have a person in my life who thinks they (side note: as a grammar geek, I know that using ‘they’ is incorrect. However, I’m using my artistic license here in order to conserve anonymity) are supporting and helping me deal with this illness. They tell me that they did the best they could, to forget things that happened in the past…what they don’t realize is that part of my getting better is trying to get over what happened in the past, so that I don’t let it affect what happens in the present and what will happen in the future. They criticize what I wear, what I eat how I look…all in the name of “trying to help”. I’m sorry, but I’ve made it clear to this person that bullying (or what I perceive as bullying) is NOT something that helps me. However, this person continues to do this.

Something I’ve been working on is realizing that you cannot control what and how other people feel about you, and you cannot change those who are not willing and who do not want to change. I’ll give this person credit; they are willing to help me, but the problem is that they are always going to be how they are, just as I am always going to be how I am. I may get thinner, or fatter, or smarter, or more successful but my personality is a static thing. This person’s personality just does NOT go with mine, and this is very, very difficult for me to deal with. However, they’re going to be in my life for awhile, and I’m just going to have to deal with the facts and move forward, which I am working on  🙂

This post was inspired because I’m not having a good day today. I know some reasons why, and they’re both in and out of my control. That’s why I hate, HATE this illness so much; I can be fine one day, and not want to get out of bed on others. However, today I got myself out of bed and out of the house despite how I was feeling, but I’m still a bit off. One step at a time…

When Life Happens, When Life Isn't Too Great

Online friendships

For the past year and a half (tomorrow, actually, will be 18 months), I have been in a relationship. For 18 of those months, things were never “right”. I knew it and he knew it, and he basically told me as much. I heard what I wanted to hear, not what he actually said, and I think I gave him a “free pass” of sorts in the relationship department. I know that I’m not innocent in the whole thing; some of the problems are definitely my fault. However, looking back, there are definitely things I would have done differently.

I am very, very grateful to a group of people on a certain message board (you know who you are!) who are helping me with this issue. It’s a process, and when you don’t have friends IRL to bounce things off of (yes, I have a therapist, but it’s not the same), it makes things difficult. So to all of you, thank you, and you haven’t seen the last of me. I’ll be bugging you til (Magic) kingdom come!  😉