Hi lovely readers,
Happy Wednesday! I hope in terms of COVID, wherever you live is starting to return to some semblance of normalcy, and that you are staying healthy, safe, and sane.
I decreased the dose of one of my medications recently, and it seemed to trigger a very long and severe depressive episode, and that medication is only available by going to the US to purchase it (for a hefty price, unfortunately). Not only is it financially unfeasible right now but the US/Canadian border isn’t even open yet, and I was running out, so I had to stop taking it, and I can’t start again having seen what the decrease did to my mood. I felt a mixture of normal Bipolar 1 depressive episode emotions and had those typical repetitious negative thoughts, except much more intensely than I had in about a year when I began that medication, and there was an added layer of hopelessness knowing that I couldn’t just take it again, nor could I even reach my psychiatrist to discuss options until two days ago. Prior to starting a new med that’s in the same family as the former one, I lay in bed without eating or showering for 4 days. I haven’t been in that state in a really long time, and wow, it was bleak. But, I have taken this medication twice now, and it is fast-acting, so I’ve already noticed some great changes in my mood, despite a few kind of frustrating side effects.
Having been so unwell for the last while, I let a lot of habits and responsibilities slide, and though there’s an element of unpredictability as to whether I will be able to accomplish all of these goals should the side effects persist, either because I will physically be unable to do it all as a result of the terrible migraines it’s giving me, or because I’ll have to come off of it and my mood will dive again, I am trying to be optimistic and determined.
So, let’s get into it!
- I want to get caught up in my summer courses. I am behind because of my debilitating depression, which is unlike me: I really have managed to stay on top of school despite most mood-related difficulties over the last few years. But, it’s certainly not too late in the semester to make up for lost time, and I’m going to make this as easy and enjoyable as possible by utilizing my usual routine consisting of putting all of the important due dates in my calendar and to-doist app, making sections in my notebooks for different topics and making those headings aesthetically-pleasing, and breaking the work I’m late to start down into manageable quantities to finish in 45 minute work periods, which I will have every day.
- I would like have some socially-distant hangouts with friends, and facetime my friends in the states, so I can feel connected again. I really let my friendships slip away when I’m depressed, because I feel ashamed of my negativity and it feels like a monumental effort to start or participate in conversations over my phone. Fortunately, my friends are well aware of my mental health concerns and they are, unfortunately, used to my sporadic disappearances, so they aren’t angry with me nor do they take it personally. Even if my medication’s side effects don’t completely stop, I at least feel calm and positive enough to be comfortable doing something low-key, like sitting in a park, with my friends again.
- I would like to try to get back into my hobbies, such as singing and recording music, makeup artistry, blogging, and photography. I felt a little inspiration spark yesterday within me, so I made myself run with it and wrote for a while, and though it’s not my best, it felt good to start to practice that again and express myself on paper.
- If possible, I’d really like to work on my physical strength and cardio again. I have lost a lot of weight recently, though it unfortunately wasn’t a result of healthy eating, I was just disinterested in food as a result of my sadness and too drained to cook for myself, and now I would really like to feel strong again and to see some tone on my body. Additionally, cardio is a huge mood booster for me, as I seem to be quite lacking in dopamine, haha.
- I want to stay away from dating for a while, and really focus on myself, though I know that is so much easier said than done. My last two serious relationships were damaging, and were for the people who’d been my partners, too, I’m sure, and when the last one ended I found myself feeling as though I had no identity anymore, and zero concept of how one gives themselves compassion or respect, let alone love. The happiest times in my life have been when I was single, which always baffles me to think about, because I felt really free of anxiety and obligation and codependent thinking. After my last official breakup I took a brief pause, but then I met someone and we went out a few times, only to find myself seeing the same red flags occurring that I saw in the last two partners and that I previously ignored. Everything I’m reading about people who attract cluster B personalities, as in narcissistic and/or borderline, is that it doesn’t recur because they are seeking you out randomly, though they do look for people with your attributes. It’s because you kind of seek them out, perhaps to prove to yourself that in the same but slightly different scenario you can behave differently and have a different outcome in which you feel loved and worthy and respected, which is a trauma-response, or perhaps because they validate negative thoughts you have about yourself, and in some chaotic, strange way, you like that kind of validation. And frankly, while I actually did practice setting and sticking to boundaries during this casual dating experience, I still exude an air of being really passive, and insecure in certain ways, and empathetic to an extent that always backfires, and it’s not surprising that I am both drawn to these kinds of people and that they are drawn to me. I’m nervous I won’t succeed at this goal, because I only have for a considerably lengthy period of time once in the last 7 years or so, but I’m gonna listen to Drake’s ‘Fancy’ and my ‘bad bitch’ playlist, and try to remember that I was an whole, complete person prior to ever dating someone.
- I want to realign with my bigger goals, and perhaps revise some of them. I recently was accepted to a law/MSW program, and when I originally wrote out my goals a few months ago, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to attend the program or choose that as my future career. Since the tragedy that was George Floyd’s murder occurred, and Black Lives Matter came to the forefront of the news once more, I have felt a renewed passion for the pursuit of institutional change for the benefit of minorities, whether it be the mentally ill, people suffering from addictions, POCs, our country’s enormous homeless population, many if not most of whom are also mentally ill or in addiction, and women. There has also been a lot of talk about a law that would allow self-intoxication to be a defense for sexual assault, and that has also lit a fire within me to be a proponent of change as best as I can, now and when I have my degree and a position.
- I am determined to participate as actively as I can, whether it be online, through donations, signing petitions, participating in conversation and providing persuasive and accurate resources for information in the hopes of educating and changing some passively and aggressively racist opinions I keep seeing on my timeline, much to my horror, and hopefully attending a BLM protest in my city. At present, attending a protest would be difficult given my mental and physical state, but I am really, really hoping that changes soon. Though these are dark, divided times, and I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to be a black individual – trust me, I am not attempting to pretend I have any perspective on the total gravity of living in a world such as ours as a POC – I am also feeling the fiery beginnings of inspiration and I am happy to have been reminded that there are causes far outside of myself that I want nothing more than to fight for; a sentiment I used to feel all the time prior to beginning to exhibit symptoms of bipolar and becoming an addict. I am thankful to the black activists I am seeing courageously fight for rights, in particular the right to goddamn stay alive as opposed to being murdered in another act of police brutality, that should be a given for all. I don’t know if I am capable of such bravery, but I promise myself and those who have called upon white allies to use their privilege for good to do all that I can and all that is needed from me and asked of people like me to work toward a world that isn’t, frankly, racist and violently so.
- I would really like to conquer the agoraphobia I’m experiencing post-quarantine. Most of my city has opened up, with some new limitations, but I have spent so much time inside my apartment that I actually find it difficult to breathe when I so much as go downstairs and out the backdoor briefly to throw out my garbage. I have always found it challenging and fear-inducing to leave, previously, the room in the house I lived in or my room at my parents’, but I used the ‘fear-ladder’ technique to eventually mostly conquer my fear. But it never stopped being a little nerve-wracking, and then I fell out of practice, and now it is really bizarrely scary for me. I so enjoyed wandering the city alone or with friends or heading to the gym or studying in a coffee shop in the past, and I know it makes me a much happier person to be out and about, but I’m really frightened and I don’t know why. But, history proves that I am capable of getting past this to some extent, and I’m going to focus on that.
- I would like to work on my body-dysmorphia and insecurities. I have finally stopped facetuning my instagram photos, and though I still add a filter or two, I post without getting rid of my eye bags and wrinkles and any acne spots or a (completely normal and actually a sign of health for women, y’all) roll on my stomach, but it is a mental battle every time to do so, and often I look at the pictures anyone takes of me or I take of myself and it somehow doesn’t look like me, or if it does, I see something in that photo that no one else agrees with. In my mind, I gain or lose 20 pounds like every. other. day. And, my face, which is MY FACE, so it’s the same every damn day aside from there being some dark circles and breakouts occasionally, somehow shape shifts in my mind from being pretty decent to utterly ‘gross’ on the regular. I don’t judge anyone else for how they look, and it honestly isn’t an important quality to me to be physically conventionally attractive, so I have very little understanding as to why my brain distorts the way I look so frequently. There’s a lot of stuff to cover in my therapy sessions right now, but I really want to get to this soon because I finally have acknowledged that this impacts me almost every day of my life, mostly because it leaves me… really confused.
That’s everything I can think of right now, lovely reader. If you have any goals for this month you’d like to share in the comments, please feel free to do so – I really love reader participation and any kind of feedback, and it gives me a sense of community during times when I’m feeling quite lonely, so thank you if you have commented before, and thank you, too, if you’re just someone who likes to pop in and read.
I know these are overwhelming, and quite honestly, sad times, for everyone, and for POC particularly, and I really want to say that I am always available to lend an ear if you need someone to listen, or if you just want some lighthearted conversation, or to exchange funny memes or things you find inspiring or soothing right now and not talk at all, leave a brief note below and your instagram handle or some way of reaching out to you and I will. It would do me a lot of good, too. But if not, please just know I am thinking of you, reader, and I am wishing you safety, health, rest, stability, support, and that you have the ability to cope in spite of so much occurring in the world at present. You are very strong, you are worthy in every respect, and whatever difference you make, regardless of whether it may seem small, is going to help change things for the better.
Lots of love,