I’m Alive!

Project K9 Pack WalkI know, I know! I haven’t written in a few months. Sorry about that, hope I didn’t lose you all. I was on bed rest, thinking I would have more time to blog, catch up on paperwork, work on my website, advertise and work on marketing ideas. Maybe even take some much desired ‘down time’ to play video games, read, watch videos, and catch up on all my favorite shows. Umm, wait.. ‘down time’? Yeah, I don’t do that. What did I do instead? I trained Caleb, I did sell a lot of dog food, I hobbled around, I trained clients, I did a lot of advertising, social media, and worked on SEO. It all paid off, we’ve been slammed all year! I don’t stay down for long. I hobbled around, trying to feed and clean, and sometimes even handle dogs… Even if it was just to watch Caleb work. In the beginning, I watched nearly every session because he was still learning and I was coaching. I attempted to teach obedience on the floor, and we played recall games with the puppies. I would go outside to watch the dogs with him. I didn’t distance myself from my business at all. I took a step back with training and handling, but I think I learned more about myself during that time than I thought I would. I learned how to train someone to my expectations. At first, I tried to teach him like a client. Then, I realized my expectations of him were much higher since I would be teaching him to teach OUR clients. I was present for every session and still did all the private sessions, he was my legs.

 

Project K9 Heather working obedience with a broken foot I also had a proud moment at what I had created. I have successfully built a sustainable company. I hired my first employee, and I have learned to teach someone what I do. I share this passion now. There are ups and downs, of course. But the joy I feel of sharing what I have built is so powerful. At first it was hard and complicated. And during my recovery, I had a hard time going slow. I kept wanting to jump in and do everything. I constantly overdid it. But I changed. I started to slow down and let him help. I am a very independent person, and it took a lot for me to step down and accept that I physically couldn’t do everything. We started to become a team. I asked for help. I accepted help after a while. This is the way it is supposed to be.

 

Project K9 Dog Socialization

Caleb, watching the group.. but who’s doing the watching?

 
Project K9 Utah Dog TrainingNow that I’m done reflecting, I’m sure you’re all wondering how I mentally handled all of this. Yeah, I was rapid cycling like crazy. As long as I kept myself busy with as much work as I could physically handle, I seemed to stay within a ‘normal’ level. I was angry I broke my foot and couldn’t work, it was stressful training a new employee where I couldn’t demonstrate, I felt overwhelmed with too much responsibility and not enough ME. I constantly felt like I couldn’t do enough. So, naturally, I fell into the depression side of things. When I was manic, it was just as bad since I couldn’t actually do anything. I was going stir crazy!! After what seemed like an ETERNITY, I was finally able to crutch around and put weight on my foot. Still no handling dogs, but this took 2 months to get this far. I was out of a cast now, but not walking. At this point, Caleb is a pretty good handler, knows the basic principles, and sent home very well trained pups! Still going stir crazy, but we attended a 3D workshop hosted by Heather Beck at K9 Lifeline (Caleb’s first one!!) and that helped a lot to regain some motivation, and some of the happiness of this industry.

 

Project K9 Utah Dog Training

The recovery at this point actually seemed like it happened pretty quick. After I got the ok from doc to put weight on it (HOLY MOTHER OF OWW!), I was walking with a heavy limp within a week, completely off of crutches. Fast forward a month… I have no limp and very little pain. I have full range of motion back, can put all my weight on my foot, and I can’t jump or run on it yet, but I can ‘limp run’! Feeling much better about everything now. The last few months, I’ve really struggled to stay in the ‘middle’ of my levels instead of get sucked into the negative, depressive side. I’m at full capacity, and full function when training dogs. I’m running my pack walks again, though I missed my group classes this year. I had a lot of really big plans for this year… Next year. I have lots of new classes in the works, and I’m working on expanding as well. So excited for what is to come. I’m getting back on track, the business is looking awesome, and I have accepted I can’t control everything, and it’s ok to ask for help sometimes. It’s ok to not do everything. And it’s nice to have company.

 

Working Through Complicated Emotions

europe-after-storm

Over the horrible suicidal hump again.. It always ends, but in those moments, I’m worthless. I hate how it’s never the same. It’s never after a ‘high’ or a specific time of the month, it never comes at opportune moments when I don’t have 1000 things going on, and it never lasts the same amount of time. It’s unpredictable.

But now I’m over that hump, and I’m “fine”.. if I person like me can be fine. I’m training, I’m working, I’m cleaning, and I’m focusing on the things that make me happy and feel like I have a reason.

I wish there was a pill I could take that would get rid of the lows while I could still feel the highs. But it doesn’t work like that. I have to suck up, buck up and bear it. And in those moments, I am at my most raw, vulnerable state. I focus on every negative thing that is happening, and I can’t see how much people care about me. I only focus on hurting. It’s blinding, I feel like I can’t breathe. Like there’s a weight on my chest and it’s going to crush me at any moment.

My newest dog helped me quite a bit this time by giving me the support I needed to work through the panic, the pain, and the feeling of being totally lost. The last time I felt like this was almost 5 years ago. It hasn’t been this intense in so, so long. I forgot how powerful this feeling is and how much it hurts. Last time, I didn’t call anyone. I just did it. This time, I called my mom.

then-it-hits-youI got news my divorce was final. I was already overwhelmed, depressed, stressed, and anxious. And then I got that email. It floored me. So many complicated emotions. I couldn’t handle it. I called my mom, and had a panic attack on the phone. I grabbed my dog and she stayed on the phone with me the whole time while I thrashed around and screamed and cried and held Thorin. He just laid there and let me grab him, and thrash, and he handled it. My mom stayed on the phone with me the whole time. I was in the ‘red zone’. The most dangerous place to be mentally. This time, I asked for help. I couldn’t function, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t work. My mom was there for me the whole time and didn’t leave my side once. I vented and cried and screamed and let her see me at my worst. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been in this place. And fuck, I was wishing so badly a jet engine would fall on my house and crush me. I wanted my house to spontaneously combust or fall into the Earth and take me with it. I just wanted to end the horrible feeling.

After the feeling of utter helplessless, I feel nothing. It may take a few days to get to that point, but then I can’t feel anything. Usually after that, I have deep gratitude for everything and everyone in my life who make me a better person. My mom is a big one. I hope she realizes how much she means to me, and if not, I hope I can show her. She drove all the way to my house that day. And then left at midnight, with an hour and a 1/2 drive home. Then, came out to me the next morning to be with me. To watch me, to protect me. To be there for me when I really needed someone. She was there. I hope I can be there for her as much as she’s been there for me.

I know quite a few people with mental illnesses, disorders, or depression. It seems these people have a trend. We feel everything. And we feel it so incredibly deeply. When we feel sad, we feel our world is being torn apart. When we are happy, we feel joyful and like we can take on anything. When we get hurt, we want to die. When our heart breaks, it’s exemplified to the point where we don’t ever want to feel again. It hurts too much. When we love, we love with all our heart. We would give everything to the people we love. We would do anything for them.

As for the feelings about my divorce… I’m still sorting through them. When I feel I can accurately describe this, I will share. I can’t today.

What’s the point?

All those times of I said my life was getting better, I was manic. Feeling great. The higher they go, the harder I fall. I want to die now. I want to rip my heart of my chest and throw it in the garbage disposal. It hurts. Everything hurts. I hate my heart. I hate the way it makes me feel. It tricks me. I don’t know what to feel anymore.  I’m so stupid to get caught in the same traps over and over again. It’s the same shit it always is.

The 15 cognitive distortions, and their definitions. The links below also talk more about each disorder. When dealing with a mental illness. I do all of them, but the ones I seem to always fall back on are:

Emotional reasoning
Mind Reading
Mental Filter
All or Nothing Thinking

I’ve talked about Emma before, and I’ve recently seen her again. A lot lately.

I hurt so much. It seems like no one understands what this is like. I can’t talk to ANYONE who understands. I want to scream and self mutilate. I want to cut and bleed and feel real pain. I want to feel something other than emotional pain. Physical pain is a release. Death is a blessing.

I hate it. I hate feeling. Drug me or kill me. I can’t do it anymore. Once again, I can’t do it anymore.  I would rather be dead than feel the way I feel.

I put on the face. I pretend. I smile, it’s fake. “You ok?” “Sure. Yeah. I’m fine.” I play the part, I do my job the best I can. When I’m alone, I cry and panic and think about cutting and dying and ending the pain.

But somehow I don’t do it, and I get up in a huge mess and do it all over again. I torture myself by being alive. What’s the fucking point?! What is the end goal? Do I even have one? No. I don’t have an end goal. Because the end is to die. What is the point?Strong

The Return of Emma

Heather Hamilton Rose Panic Attacks anxiety bipolarEventually, the everyday stressors add up and you start to make mountains out of molehills. The tiniest little inconvenience sets off the balance of the day. These little things start to wake Emma up over time. She starts to take over the cognitive thinking. She turns every thought into something negative. She starts to think things and feel things that are not my own.

Then it’s a war between Heather and Emma. And eventually, one of them has to give up. I always want to just curl up in a ball and die. I want to find a release to the pain I feel. Death is such a sweet release, but I won’t do it. I won’t let Emma win. That’s her game. To get me to give up. She is part of the demons I face.

She is the one who wants me to take the magic pill. She’s the one who wants me to cut. The one who starts to put things into my head. She is the one who makes me feel worthless. I’m an adult. I treat Emma like the child she is. I don’t let her control me. But she makes me weak. Sometimes, she wears me down to the point where I give in to the tricks and the lies. She makes me emotional and makes me feel stupid.

I hate Emma. But she’s a part of me. I hate part of myself. When she starts to wear me down enough, I start to feel trapped. I’m claustrophobic. I can’t breathe. I can’t think. The air to my lungs becomes thin and I need to inhale faster to get more air. It keeps constricting, and it gets harder to breathe. I give up an panic. I’m suffocating. I feel like my insides are being crushed. Like I can’t take any more pressure or I’ll die. And then, that’s all I want. For this pain to end. And I feel cold, but I’m sweating. I’m hyperventilating and choking while I want to scream for the pain to end. For it to kill me. It hurts. Everything hurts.

Once it seems I’m dead, Emma is laughing. Making me feel stupid for feeling. Stupid girl. She won. Another little piece she takes. How many pieces of me does she need before she stops? And what game does she play to keep wanting to take more from me? She is the game master and makes up the rules. She changes them at her will, and punishes with disasters when things aren’t chaotic enough for her.

I live at an 8. How bad is it? Depression is 7, anxiety is 10. Emma is thriving. Heather is drowning. Emma 1, Heather 0.

Plastic Bag

I hate this. I hate it when I can’t stop it. When I know it’s coming and there isn’t anything I can do. I feel like the tears fall silently for no reason and there’s no stopping it. I’m not sad about anything. Nothing is wrong. It’s just me. I’m wrong. I’m broken. I can’t explain it and I can’t win. I never feel good enough. I feel like I’m always suffocating. Like I can’t breathe.

Deep breaths don’t help. I try to breathe deep and slow, but it doesn’t help. The deeper I breathe, the more I feel like I can’t. The more I feel like I’m trying to breathe life into a dead husk. It feels like I’m dead inside.

Deep sadness that I can’t stop, I can’t change. The deep depression that never stops. It doesn’t go away, I just have to live with it. It comes on so fast. It’s like I was fine the second before, and then it just hits me, and it feels like there are worse things than death. Death is a release from the invisible pain.

It hurts. It hurts so much to live. I wish sometimes I could step out and come back when it feels better.

It starts with the muscle aches. The misalignment in my spine, the aching in my jaw, and the headaches. Then it continues onto aches throughout my whole body. Then anxiety, and then the irritability. After that comes nausea. Each step, I know it’s coming. Then it’s like someone hit me. I’m overwhelmed with the feeling of lack of self worth, no energy, and it feels like everyone I know would be better off without me. A waste of space. A mistake. A failure. In the way. A problem.

I feel like a problem with no solution. Broken, with no way to fix me unless I’m totally replaced. I feel like my heart is broken. For no reason, which makes me feel even worse. There is no answer, no solution, and I feel like I have a mental plastic bag over my head and I’m underwater. Like I’m choking on toxic air, and everything is so happy around me, except for me. It’s like I don’t fit in in the world. It feels like I bring down every person who is around me. Like I always come up short. Always making mistakes, creating problems, complicating for everyone else. The tears won’t stop, and I can’t make them stop. I feel like to help everyone else, I have to stay away. Keep my ‘downer’ personality away from the world. I should just hide in a closet until my ‘sunshine self’ comes out again.

I try to put on a happy face and fake it. But it hurts more when I have to try to be ‘stable’. I hate this.I_can__t_Breathe__by_EllyDelice_large

This Feeling

This feeling. I hate this feeling. I hate how much hurt I have to feel. I wish my wounds weren’t so deep.

Feeling of loss. The last 10 months have been so incredibly hard for me. It feels like I have lost so much.

Heartache.

My insides being ripped apart. They clench and tense, it hurts. Every muscle hurts.

I can’t think. I can’t focus.

It hurts to breathe. It literally hurts to be alive.

This feeling of wanting to shrink into the floor. I know people would miss me if I died.. but sometimes, I still don’t feel I deserve to exist. I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to be. Sometimes. Like now.

Panic. Pain. Tears. Screaming.

I wish I could ‘snap out of it’ or ‘just smile’ or whatever else people say. ‘Just be happy’ they say. Oh, ok. Thanks. I’ll do that now.

It doesn’t work like that. It hurts to be alive. It hurts to breathe

Wanting to shrivel up into a dead husk. No one misses a dead husk. Lack of self worth. I’m not anything. Logically, I know that’s not true. I have these feelings sometimes anyway. There’s my second self telling me I’m nothing. That’s telling me every single hurtful thing anyone has ever said. Then there’s me. Telling me it’s not true. And then there’s everyone else. And they are telling me it’s not true. I believe them…but for a second, I believe I’m nothing. In that moment, I’m nothing.

IT’S SO FRUSTRATING! Sometimes, I have anxiety attacks because I can’t change this. I hate it so much. I can’t stop them, I can’t stop this feeling. It comes whenever there is a trauma or a trigger. I don’t want comfort or sympathy. I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what I can do for myself to fix this.

I’m scared to sleep. Scared to dream. Scared to wake up to this reality. Scared to see the demons again.

I want to reset. I want to rest my tired body. Every muscle aches. But I can’t.

I don’t know what I want. I don’t want to sleep, but I don’t want to be. If I sleep, I cease to exist for a while.

I am so strong, and then I’m so weak. Feelings make me weak. Rip them out. Dope me up. Drug me. Stop the feelings.

I hurt so much. It’s like it will never end. I hate my world half the time.

Rapid Cycling

We all make mistakes. We all sometimes feel stupid. We all sometimes keep doing things we know we shouldn’t. And eventually, it comes crashing down. Occasionally, this crash is life altering. We feel like we will never be the same. For me, this is a trigger. It triggers rapid cycling.

Rapid Cycling

Rapid cycling. What is this? Well, in my own terms, rapid cycling means I am swinging from one mood to the next with little to no warning. Manic hyperactivity, lack of impulse control, crazy happy, I can CLEAN THE WORLD attitude. That’s the fun part. Rapid cycling also includes incredible lows. This means lack of self worth, suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, panic attacks. Let’s not forget the toll this takes on the body. The physical pain of being up and down so often. I get horrible stomach cramps, knots, I sometimes vomit, sore or tight muscles, irritability, and fatigue.

I’m experiencing all that pain now. Sore neck, sore back, tight shoulders, cramps, irritability, fatigue, knots from anxiety, can’t focus… I’m trying to just concentrate and get through it. But this part sucks.

Whenever I go through a trauma, immense stress, or a big decision, it triggers a cycle. I know I have one coming on when I can’t sleep very well, or when I have knots in my stomach. It also seems like my triggers come all at once. Not just one big event, but multiple.

I like to think I can handle it all the time. I like to think I’m a badass and I don’t need help. I don’t need people, I don’t need to be taken care of. I don’t need support or friends. I’m hardcore and can handle anything by myself.

I’m lying to myself. I do need help sometimes. I need support. When I’m in my ‘downs’ I want to disappear from the world. I want to hide and just wait it out. I also have to admit I enjoy the support. I appreciate it, and really feel loved. I feel guilty a lot when someone supports me, or when someone takes care of me. I should be able to do it by myself. Right? I don’t ever want to be co-dependent. I want to live my life without relying on other people to take care of me. I can do this. Even when I’m in my worst down peaks.. I can do it. I just have to wait it out. Waiting feels like forever. It’s exhausting. And yet… having to wait it out with someone who wants to be there for you makes it so much less daunting.

emotional roller coasterRight now, I’m ‘level’. In between a cycle. I had one of the most severe downs I have ever had… and I’m proud of myself. Yes, I had quite a few thoughts of suicide, but then I immediately thought “ok, stop. Go do something”. Almost a day after that cycle, started the rapid cycling of manic and severe anxiety/panic. After that… it’s always either full blown manic, or deep depression. I hate this part. I just wait for it…because it’s happening. And there isn’t anything I can do about it. Sometimes, my manic cycles are so much worse than my depression. But other times, the depression is suffocating. It’s like I’m getting on a roller coaster, and it’s different every time.

Welcome to the Heather Train.