mental health

Farewell 2017

2017 was one of my hardest years. I went through physical illness as well as battling mental illness. I’ve taken so many painkillers it’s not funny at all – and my biggest wish for 2018 is to need less of those.

This post is my way of looking back; Remembering, dealing, saying goodbye. It might not be worth it for anyone else, in that case, it’s just for me.

It’s not fun for me to look back at 2017. I went into the year with great energy from having lost 12 kgs – almost half the weight I was supposed to lose in total, and I was on a roll and ready to continue. It felt so doable and it felt like something I could conquer!

It didn’t even last a week. I got sick with stomach problems and the next 10 days were terrible. Stomach aches, throwing up and barely getting any sleep were some of the stuff I battled those ten days – but I was happy when the ‘bug’ finally went away and I was able to regain my energy again.

Then came the middle of march. And it started again. And it lasted almost two weeks, then, on a day where I had requested homemade pizza for dinner at my parents house with my entire family, a quick visit to the doctor turned into a hospital stay – and me on a ‘no food’ regulation, until they decided if I was going into surgery that night or not. That evening I could barely talk or think about anything but food. During a short nap in the hospital bed I even dreamed of swimming in lasagna and cream sauce.

12 days. That’s how long it took before I was released from the hospital again. It had taken a while – and a lot of pain – but they had actually found the reason for my illness and had given me enough morphine to take the pain away, until my body fought the inflammation in my pancreas. That was the diagnosis: Pancreatitis caused by gallstones.

I left, completely worn out but happy to finally put a name on what had been wrong with my body – and most likely also the reason for my ‘attacks’, like I had in January. But my body had suffered and my energy levels were low for a very long time, moths after even. Weightloss became impossible.

Along with fighting the low energy and gaining my normal body functions back, I fought my mental health. The physical pain hadn’t made my depression and anxiety disappear. It sort of felt like they had been put on hold? Does that make even make sense? I don’t know. But I know, that it felt so much harder to battle it after the hospital stay.

My energy was low and my depression was strong.

My family and few friends were the only thing that kept me going for a long time. Exercise didn’t happen at all – it was too hard to leave the house, and even when I managed, my energy didn’t reach very far at all. Something that used to be easy, like going grocery shopping to the nearest store, became exhausting. Everything was hard. It became a battle.

It’s hard living like that. Expecting one thing from yourself and the results being something else. I kept going like that through summer and fall mostly. I don’t know how life went by like that. Sitting here I remember my family holiday during summer and one during fall – everything else is blurry. Did I even live? Really live? If i’m being honest, I think I just existed. Took the pills I was prescribed. Participated in a study that might help depression, but didn’t help me. I went to see my family sometimes, but nothing major happened.

Major… hah. Well. Except I became ‘major’. No. It’s not funny. I ate like crap most of the days. Candy was easy to buy and way easier than to cook something healthy. Accessible. My weight went up. In december I reached 98 kgs again. Now just 5 kgs away from my starting weight. So much work has gone out the window.

It makes me sad. Makes me want to give up – throw in the towel. Except, I’m not allowed. I need to be down to 78 by the time my teeth have been moved enough to do my jaw-surgery. I haven’t mentioned that yet, but my teeth have been reason for a lot of pain this year too.

I got two wisdom teeth surgically removed in January, and three other teeth pulled out in October/november. All that hurts. I got braces, that a whole new battle – keeping them clean, having sore teeth, wires poking me. It’s not fun. But; it’s part of a journey that is leading to something great.

That’s how 2018 starts, I hope. As part of my ‘something great’. I even see signs of it already; 1) I might actually be on some medication that seems to work (finally), 2) I’ve been doing group therapy – which, I believe, will be a great tool for me to get better, 3) The braces doesn’t hurt as much now that they’re on – even when they get tightened it’s not as bad as I had expected – and I can actually see my teeth have moved so it’s going the right way!

It’s on it’s way. My ‘something great’. And I’m ready for it!

 

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Temporary fix

The best one – and the first one that comes to mind: Cleaning my room by shoving everything into the closet.

It clearly solves the situation right away, but it’s only temporary. It’s obvious that the second I open the closet I will see the mess, I feel be bothered by it when I start looking for stuff and at some point the closet will overflow and the mess will pile out.

While battling anxiety and depression for over a year now, I’ve felt some of the same things as with the closet and cleaning up.

I’ve learnt how to deal – and how to temporarily get better. I’ve found out how to shove my feelings aside and hide them, but the problem is that it is not a permanent solution. It is temporary. At some point the stuff will come out, it will overflow – pile out. I wont be able to hide my feelings forever – I wasn’t. Stuff came out and I had to deal with it all. Try at least.

The big improvement for me is still yet to come – but I’m hoping it will come soon! The important thing is that I’m working on it – working on learning how to deal with the mess and not just stuff it into the closet.

It’s still a work in progress though – and I’m still very glad that I have space in my closet to keep things from everyone else.

 

Important appointment

Psych-ward. Is that what they called it? Tomorrow I have an appointment at the psychological hospital, the department for anxiety and depression.

Me being me, I sit at home, nervous about it. And I do what I always do when I’m nervous: I keep myself awake instead of going to sleep at night.

The thought is that if I sleep the time will pass faster and suddenly it will be time for the scary thing, by keeping awake the time passes slowly and I get mor time to prepare (or in reality – more time to get even more nervous). It’s not a good way to deal – but it’s how my body reacts. Even if my mind tells me that it’s not a good plan at all and that there aren’t actually any good things about the strategy at all.

I don’t know what I am scared of about the appointment tomorrow. Not really. I mean, part of it is that it’s a place that I’ve never been before. Part is the transportation. But mostly I think it is the talk part. Will I be able to convey my feelings and thoughts? Will they be able to understand? Will they offer a treatment that I like? Will they want to do things that scare me?

Honestly, I have no idea what will happen after the first appointment. It’s only a talk where they get to know me and then decide where to go from there – but I have no idea where we would go. Therapy? Maybe. I don’t even know the possibilities.

What is keeping me relatively calm and motivated to go is the fact that it is a step towards getting better. Feeling better. Going away from being sick. It’s the goal. It’s a step and hopefully a step in the right decision, even if it is very hard to put on my shoes and start walking.

Feelings fighting knowledge

So.. no idea how to start this really. I might not even know what the conclusion for this will be.

It starts with how tomorrow I have an appointment at the hospital to talk about my future teeth-surgery-plan. I’ve been there several times, at least 3 times this year alone. And it is just a conversation. No doctors touching me or taking tests or anything that might hurt or otherwise do anything to me. Just talking. But I can still feel something building in my stomach. A feeling. An uncomfortable knot starting to take form.

In my mind I know everything will be fine. I’ve taken the buss I’m going to take several times. I have it all before. And yet, my stomach is fighting my mind. My feelings are fighting my knowledge.

I feel nervous. I can sense that I will continue to feel more nervous as we grow closer to the appointment. I feel like I will have trouble falling asleep, I wont even want to go to bed cause I know that in bed I will feel even more nervous. At least while awake I can distract myself a bit. I’m already nervous and I can only see it getting worse.

Except. I’ve got nothing to be nervous about. I know that. I really know that. Except it doesn’t feel like I do.

What do I do? My normal nerves are worsened by my anxiety, and that makes it even harder to trust my brain. I hope I get through this, cancelling would be terrible.

Feeling crowded and overwhelmed

It’s been a while since I felt like this. Heart rate picking up, sweat starting to appear on my face and a rush inside me that just tells me to get out and away from everyone. But I felt like that today.

I was out. Since getting home from the hospital, my energy has been very low and actually I wasn’t quite up for going out today, but I had a package waiting to be picked up that could not wait any longer so there was a big reason to go. So I did. And it was good. However, while my energy kept up – it might even have spiked from the fresh air and walk, I got worn out in a way I hadn’t expected, even if I maybe should have.

I was in line for the cash register in a store, and ahead of me was guy who had both a wife and two children who ran past me in the small isle, and he was busy speaking to the employee in a different language that I didn’t understand. So busy in fact that when it was my turn he didn’t move and I had to literally go stand right between the two men as I paid – while at the same time, suddenly there was another man behind me, who they also knew and he joined the conversation.

I’m not against having different people in my country. I’m not against them speaking their own language – but it made me so uncomfortable to be caught in the middle, with none of them even taking notice of me or making room. It wasn’t considerate of them. It just wasn’t.

I’m so happy I only had two items to pay for, and then quickly I was able to move past the first man (who by the way still hadn’t moved!) and get out of there and find a space for me to breathe and get my body to calm down again.

Being crowded triggers my anxiety. Not being able to get away easily, being surrounded by people. Strangers. It’s not a good feeling for me, and somehow among all the worrying if I would even be physically able to handle the trip I forgot to include the fact that I might meet other obstacles.

The good thing about it all though, is that I made it. I got myself to calm down and stayed another half hour in the shopping center before I left. I felt with a good feeling. I’d done what I came for, I’d gotten what I needed and I was in a good place going home.

What makes you laugh when you’re alone?

If you’ve found something that does – then keep it and treasure it forever. I’m not the sort of person that sits alone and chuckles or giggles – or even openly laughs out loud. But there are some things that will do it.

And I try to remember and save those things to repeat again at some other time, cause odds are that I will laugh at them then too. And it’s important.
Laughing can’t be valued to high, it brings joy to the soul and a smile on my face.

Honestly I probably don’t do it enough. Find things to laugh about in my daily life, I mean. I should. I think it would make the dark days a bit lighter, it could bring a bit of life when I feel emptiness or even maybe, just a small smile on a grey day.

When dealing with depression and anxiety

It’s been a while coming. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for maybe 3 years – one of which I’ve known what I was up against.

I think maybe I’m getting to the spot where I do actually know a lot about what my struggle is. Not necessarily why, but I know what signs to look out for and how to protect myself.

It’s a key part to getting better, at least that’s what I believe. It’s easier to fight a known enemy, than one you don’t know. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy at all though. It’s taken time for me to accept that and sometimes I wonder if I’ve even done that yet.

Acceptance is a big step. Accepting that I’m weak. I am not as strong as I thought and all the times I’ve though “that wont happen to me” – they just don’t matter anymore, cause guess what, it did happen. And now it’s time to accept it, give in and start fighting back.

It wasn’t luck. I conquered!

If you’ve read a few earlier posts from me, you will know that I struggled this weekend. I wanted to go away with people from my club, but found it extremely hard due to my depression and anxiety. Saturday morning I was 95 % sure I wasn’t going anywhere and I was upset with myself for it.

But then I kept working on it. I didn’t give up on myself or the idea of going. I started thinking about calling some of the people who had already gone, to hear what they had to say. I didn’t actually make any calls, but I imagined. They would support me, they would offer to look out for me and keep close, they would say they missed me.

It’s actually hard for me to imagine those thoughts, cause I tend to think that no one would care if I were there or not. But they would. They do care. They told me that once I got there.

Cause I did end up going! It wasn’t luck. It was hard work, but I did it. I conquered. I fought through my feelings and thoughts, my instincts and instead I went with my dream of going – and my want. My need.

I don’t know how to label what I was feeling and doing right then, but somehow, I found myself in a car, on the way – and it felt like a victory.

Luck – not today!

For the first time in my life I feel like “fuck this” is actually the only thing I can say that would fit.

I’ve never actually said those two words together before. Ever. Or written. I don’t think it’s a nice way to speak and it’s not actually that great a way to express feelings. But tonight it’s how I feel.

I feel like using it about:
– my anxiety  that has made it impossible for me to go away like I planned today
– depression and the thoughts that come with it
– my sleep schedule
– my stomach for acting up
– not even tv series cheering me up

I just.. I’m disappointed. I have been looking forward to this trip and now I’m just.. I was hoping to at least go Saturday morning then, but I’m not. It is not gonna happen. (Things can maybe still change but it’s not looking good)
I’ve ft more and more nervous as thursday and friday went on and I just.. I couldn’t. Why did I even think I could? Me spending a weekend away with 35 people? that’s not realistic. But I wanted to so bad. I still want.

I just…

No ‘fuck it’ doesn’t even cover it. I feel like giving up and throwing in the towel, staying at home alone forever. But I wont. Maybe this weekend I will stay here, but I’ll go out soon again and I will make friends with more of these people. Maybe slower than I hoped, maybe not the way I planned, but I will!

 

Written in response to the daily prompt: Luck – and as a way to get the words out of my mind.