A Promise

You know when a song comes on the radio, and it’s the montage of your life right now? It reminds you of all the pain and suffering you are going through? Well, that’s how my day started. I wanted to escape for a bit, so I put in my headphones, got geared up and went out on a bike ride. A song that reminds me of the love of my life. A song that reminds me of all the good things, and I think positive, happy thoughts. This may be borderline intrusive to his privacy, but he’s hurting. And all I want to do is take the pain away. I guess I am falling into the ‘fix it’ trap. I want to fix it. I want to take all his pain and dissolve it into the universe. He doesn’t need it, and nor does anyone else. I want him to feel light and happy, and I’ll do anything to make that happen. That’s what this song reminded me of.

I go on my bike ride, and listen to positive, uplifting songs, and think about the good times, laughing, smiling, happiness, and bright, healing light enveloping him. I just think about sharing love and happiness. I think about healing light and happy thoughts. I’m ripped out of my own head by a sharp pain in my right ankle. I look down, and a dog is fucking biting me. WTF? Are you serious?! I crash, and kick it in the head. Wow, ok. Remind me to never leave the house again. I already can’t walk my dogs in the neighborhood because of off leash dogs attacking us. Now, I go alone on a bike ride, and a dog attacks me?! I kick him in the head repeatedly until he stops. Well, neighborhood dog walks, pack walks, non-dog walks, and now bike rides are off the table. What a great start to the day…

I’ve been struggling and trying really hard to stay positive. I’ve been dragging my ass out of bed to try to take care of everything. To try to smile and have it be real. To have real fun, instead of faking it. To enjoy the company of others instead of just want to crawl into my hole. Getting out of the house in itself is a challenge. I have to mentally prepare myself to go. I have to mentally prepare to present myself to other people. I guess it’s a mandatory evil when you teach people for a living. When I see 5-10 people a day, it’s exhausting to put on a happy smiley face every day. Sometimes, the faking it actually does help. When people say “thank you”, or “you’re amazing”, it’s like it just goes over my head. They’re saying that because they have to, not because they actually mean it. I’m the same as everyone else. I don’t bring anything special to the table. I’m just another person with another job.

I’m also trying to tell myself I’m worth something. That I matter. That I’m important. I don’t recognize myself much these days. I thought I left these feelings behind. I thought I was over it. When I tell myself I’m important, I really don’t believe it. I try so hard, but for what? I don’t see a change I’m making on the world. I don’t see my ‘big life’ I thought I had. My ‘big dreams’ I thought I had. They are just distractions, and they’re bullshit. I thought I was strong, that I was a ‘warrior’. Someone told me that once, and I felt it gave me power. Now, I don’t see it. I just see a weak, frail person in a disgusting body. I feel ugly. Not just on the outside, but on the inside, too. I don’t like my body. I don’t like what’s inside it either. I don’t like this person I’ve become.

I feel like I’m starting over. Like the journey I took before faded, and now I need to do it again. What was my regime? Oh yeah, writing a lot more, working out every day, eating crazy healthy, spending more time with friends, positive outlooks, and literally no booze, no electronics, setting goals for myself, and just enjoying nature. I want to feel better, so I guess I can do that. I went through a self-destructive phase where I wanted to cause as much damage as possible. I was a wrecking ball. I drank too much, used people, and alienated the most important people in my life until they left me forever. Bridges burned for an eternity. I don’t want to make the same mistakes, and I feel it happening already. I can feel the anger starting to come back. So, I need to stop this before it escalates into destroying my life… again.

I’m making a promise to myself. I can be the biggest rebel in the world by not allowing negativity to swallow me. That’s the popular option. That’s what everyone does. So, I don’t want to be like everyone. Rising up IS the counter culture.

So, I’m making a promise:

  • I won’t drink. I will take care of my body and only put in things that help me.
  • I won’t be a party animal. I won’t allow my judgment to be impaired. I can still have a good time without the use of drugs and alcohol.
  • I will make an effort to set work out goals for myself. I will compete if I have to.
  • I won’t abuse myself or others. When I hurt, I’ll spread love, not give into the anger.
  • I will find the positive in everything. No matter how bad things get.
  • I won’t yell, scream, lose my temper, or be impatient. I’ll listen.
  • I will spend time with myself every day. Really spend time with myself and allow myself to validate any feelings that come up.
  • I’ll be gentle with myself.
  • I’ll go to the mountains several times a week to meditate and ground myself.
  • I won’t succumb to negative self talk. I will stop thinking of things that hurt me, and turn it around into a strength.
  • I will create a happy place for my soul to emotionally live.
  • I will acknowledge the feelings, and I will protect myself. I will create healthy emotional boundaries to protect myself spiritually.
  • I will keep my heart center open. But I will not allow myself to be abused emotionally, psychologically, or physically.
  • I will tell myself I am safe. I am safe. I am safe.
  • I will tell myself this is not my fault. Assigning blame is negative self talk.
  • I will tell myself I have people who care deeply about me. Even if in the moment I don’t know who they are.
  • I will tell myself I am not alone. I am not alone.
  • I will tell myself that this too shall pass. That this is another breakdown to breakthrough. Smile and let the tears fall, because pain can be beautiful. Feelings are beautiful.

When we feel, truly allow ourselves to feel those emotions, we acknowledge them, and then let them go. Numbing them, stuffing them down, or trading them for anger and hate are not dealing with them. History will keep repeating itself unless we deal with the baggage.

I’ll be ok. I’ll make it through. I’ll take care of myself. I’ll be gentle. I won’t beat myself up. I won’t succumb to the darkness that took over my life before.

Oh, want to know what the song was to start all this? “Ophelia” by the Lumineers. It always makes me think of my love, Rob.



Anxiety FearsOf all of the part of Bipolar disorder, by far the worst is anxiety. Mine tend to be localized to a few different categories. Generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, and panic. When I am stressed, I experience it all the time. It is uncontrollable, unpredictable, untamable, and overpowering. It’s almost always irrational, and I can’t explain it. Stress makes it infinitely worse. I have noticed lately my heart rate is always above 100, even when I’m resting, reading a book. Recently, my stress levels have been very high, and I always think something horrible is going to happen soon. I have images and thoughts going through my head that my loved ones are going to get hurt or disappear, my dogs will run away or die, or that someone spreads negative rumors about me and people stare at me. When people look at me, I assume they are thinking bad thoughts or judging me. This has been a constant for the last few weeks. Anxiety attacks and nightmares are becoming ever more common. I have gone back to therapy to get some help.

I gauge my levels based off a system a friend had for her son. I thought it was a great idea to rate my levels to know ‘how bad’ it was on any given day. The way the system works is simple. I rate where I think my levels are based on my experiences in the past, as well as listing my ‘symptoms’. I rate my stress, my depression, and my anxiety levels. There is a pattern, so I can usually pinpoint it and change it. Right now, it’s stress. I’m so incredibly burned out, and there are a lot of big things happening in my life.

My levels right now:
Stress: 10
Anxiety: 10
Depression: 3
Symptoms: Contact stomach ache, negative thoughts, panic attacks, aggressive behavior , no motivation, muscle soreness, TMJ acting up, OCD thought patterns, insomnia, high heart rate, frustration, anger

Sometimes, I can feel it building up, and I wait for the attack. It has happened while I’ve been driving, in public places, or at when I’m trying to relax and can’t seem to shake the anxiety. Sometimes, it comes on so fast, without warning, and it’s terrifying. Especially when it happens in a public place..an otherwise quiet place… like a bank. The feeling of that happening in a public place makes it feel like there is no way out, no escape. No help, no support system to help. The only words I can use to describe this is desperation without any hope. Utterly and literally alone while the fear, convulsions, and feeling of dying wracks through your body. And then, when you start to calm down, the fear returns again that it will continue in front of everyone. Some people stare, some try to touch to help (omg please don’t touch me), some try to get people to back up and give me ‘breathing room’.

And then, “You ok?”

“…Yeah, I’m totally fine, this happens all the time… Anyway, I need to make a deposit…”

Because what else do you do? Walk out and cause a bigger scene? I’m comical, let’s try to play this off as it’s totally normal. People didn’t look at me anymore. They avoided looking at me like I was some deformed monster of a person. Of course they did. I have no idea what it is like to see myself having a panic attack, but I’m sure it’s hard to watch. I’ve seen other people have them, and all I do is ignore it, and pretend like it didn’t happen.

Anxiety Worry Depression

There is a way to stop all this. To control the anxiety, I mean. And the nightmares, and OCD tendencies. There is a medical way. And when these things happen, there is reason for me to want to take the magic pill and float away. Here’s the thing. I don’t want it. Why? Because I’m stubborn. Because I’m afraid of all the horrible things that could happen. I could end up a shell of a person with no way to feel emotion. I wouldn’t feel happiness or joy. I wouldn’t feel sadness or anger. I wouldn’t feel. Sometimes, that’s what I want. But the feeling of overwhelming joy I feel…I want that. I want to feel that happy. Living in the manic isn’t healthy either, but I’m afraid I’ll lose the joy. I’m also afraid I’ll lose the ‘touch’ to work with animals. They know when you aren’t all there; You smell different, your energy is different, you move different. I can’t jeopardize the training the dogs get when they come to me. I have worked so hard to help them and their owners find a balance in their lives, I have to find a balance in mine without resorting to drugs to straighten me out. I feel responsible, and I’m scared I’ll lose what I have worked so hard to achieve. I’m also nervous about the fact it takes weeks/months/years to find the right dosage on the right drug, and the right cocktail with anti-depression, anxiety, psychosis, and bipolar meds. I don’t want to spend that time feeling cloudy or like a shell of a person. So, I have chosen more natural remedies.

Meditation, breathing techniques, a service animal, journaling, and essential oils are some of the things I have tried. Not that they don’t work, but when I feel this anxious, I think one thought, and then 10 more flood me with awful thoughts. I have to really try to block them out and pick out some positive ones. It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting. So I’m exhausted all the time. When I’m too tired to do that anymore, I resort back to the symptom list. Especially aggressive behavior. I pick fights, I’m angry and frustrated. If I sleep in that mindset, I have nightmares. Vivid, realistic nightmares. And I wake up thinking they were real. Like it was really happening. Constant fear, sleep deprivation, stress, and anxiety make up my moods lately.

It’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t stop. I’m trapped on this ride and can’t get off. I’m nauseous a lot and my stomach hurts. I feel empty, but force myself to keep going. Which means the ride keeps going faster and faster. I find some things to distract me from the living nightmare, but it never ends. I don’t know what makes it stop.

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

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.