On Mental Health

When All Else Fails, Just Write About Yourself.

I wrote something last week that I was proud of until someone pointed out how dismissive I was and about a certain attitude and I WAS SO DISMISSIVE because I didn’t take the time to really explain my point so I “drafted” the blog post. And Y’all – it happens a lot. I need to write the day BEFORE, let it SIT, and then REREAD, before I publish. Once this comment addressed the problematic section I was like, “DUDE. KIM. Brief much? You can talk about boob sweat for 4 pages but you couldn’t discuss this for at least a paragraph so it didn’t sound like you were totally dismissing people with serious fears after a real crime? UGG.”

ANYWAY. So I wanted to write yesterday about something complicated too but I didn’t write about it FIRST on Sunday and I wanted to give myself a day buffer but then our schools were shut down and the day was chaos and our internet was intermittent and here it is TUESDAY and I still want to write about it but I’m not giving myself a buffer AGAIN so I’m probably going to write about it poorly and THE CYCLE WILL START ALL OVER AGAIN

But, I’m in if you’re in. Let’s go.

True story: I just wrote like 5 paragraphs on empathy and government entitlement programs and deleted it all because UAREIONLEKJAOIJEIOAWFNEWFJ – I can’t get it right.

So, we’ll go to the standard “Let’s Just Talk About Me” format.

I’m feeling still kinda bleh in my heart. I failed at my 100-miler and while the shame is definitely fading to allow the pride to shine through, it’s like that race just removed that very fragile damn I had built to hold back the sadness with the help of 20mg daily of Lexapro and now I find myself floundering a bit again. It doesn’t help that I’ve shifted a little bit of my technique with dealing with conflict (I blame this on the common symptom of rage in pre-menopausal women) and have engaged more lately than I have before. And while I am proud of myself and 100% stand my ground in all of the conflicts, engaging wears at your soul a bit and if your soul is already fragile, it can really make you feel gray.

My doc and I are currently trying to tackle the symptoms I experience with my anxiety disorder now. The Lexapro helped with the depressive symptoms and we tried Buspar for the anxiety and it has not done shit. As a matter of fact, I swear it makes my anxiety worse. This disappointment (I suffered the same painful disappointment when the 10mg of Lexapro didn’t do shit for my depression) adds to the gray because – Y’all? I’m lazy. I know I do shit a lot, but inherently I am lazy and I have to fight that laziness to do shit and I JUST WANT THIS TO BE EASY. I just want to have pills that make it better without fighting because I AM SO TIRED OF THIS SHIT.

I made an appointment with my old therapist. Because I had stopped going regularly (for various reasons) I had to wait to get in with her. She was really helpful in many ways for what I was going through 2 years ago, but I’m not sure she’s right for the shit in my head now. We’ll give it a try, at least until therapists start advertising that they specialize in “Current Event Anxiety” or “Family Conflict Triggered By Politics” – I don’t know how to shop for a new therapist if she can’t get on board with my new anxiety triggers.

I will say there is one HUGE difference in my life since I saw my therapist last. I sold the albatross house and moved into a smaller house in a more convenient part of town and that change has made SO MUCH DIFFERENCE. The emotional toll a big house takes on your soul is no joke. Maybe if you pay someone to clean it, it’s different. Maybe if you can keep up with the trends to update things on a regular basis so you don’t feel overwhelmed, it’s different. Maybe if you don’t fill the space with clutter, it’s different. But the knowledge that I couldn’t keep up with cleaning, that filling rooms made me feel claustrophobic with our accumulation of crap, that the outdated parts were just getting more and more outdated…all of it made me feel anxious ALL OF THE TIME.

This 1500 square foot house we’re in now? It’s a dream. Even if there’s big projects that need tending to (we lost a retaining wall in the back yard with the last big storm) nothing feels TOO daunting. Even when it’s at it’s filthiest, I’m confident that I can get it presentable in an hour. At least ONE bathroom, and you really only need one clean bathroom, right? I feel like small changes make a world of difference and when I make an effort to clean I can bask in it without being angry at how much time it took. I just LOVE this change in our lives. We’re close to the trails, to the pool, to downtown, to our favorite breweries and our main branch library. We just adore this and that’s one huge change I’ll have to tell my therapist about because the anxiety of selling our house before WAS KILLING ME.

Some days I do still feel like I’m floundering, but just not in the envelope of darkness I felt like I was in before. I don’t have the voices in my head as much telling me that my family would be better without me. I don’t feel overwhelmed by hopelessness. I don’t cry for no reason, or worse – start cathartically with no emotion for no reason. I always felt like crying was better than silent overwhelming despair.

So I’m definitely out of the trenches, but the war still rages on in the distance and I’m trying to figure out how to best arm myself before jumping into battle with my demons again.

6 thoughts on “When All Else Fails, Just Write About Yourself.”

  1. Hi Zoot, baby steps. you always sound so hard on yourself, when really you achieve so much. Please look back at the past year or should be really proud of yourself. Also your posts about ‘white privilege” and “sharing our crayons”, really resonate with me, all the way to the U.K. Please always remember your family is NEVER better without you, but I understand those dark days and whispering voices too. I admire you.

  2. I so hear you about EASY. My track record for dealing with NOT EASY is not good. It began in childhood; school was so easy-peasy that when something came along that wasn’t, I assumed I was NO GOOD and would just give up. For you, it’s dealing with anxiety; for me, it’s making the lasting changes I need to make in order to lose weight. I have failed so many times, it’s like, “Why even try?” And I’ll see your laziness and raise you on that. LOL

    I love hearing all the successes you’re experiencing, though. It gives me hope. Especially the downsizing part. I am looking forward to ditching my 4900 sq. ft for something about 1/2 this size. I still want enough to have large gatherings (I have 4 kids, ya know… and grandbabies… and more family/friends). I was thankful for my extra bedrooms this week, however. That enabled me to offer my house as a haven for my childhood friend and her wife and two Boston terriers. It has been a nice few days catching up, getting reacquainted, and getting to know her wife. (Not to mention cuddling with one of the dogs!)

    You are doing so great, Kim. Your self-awareness is amazing and will really help you on this journey of healing.

  3. It can be so, SO disappointing and overwhelming when you win one battle and realize that you have a (possibly lifelong) war ahead of you. But those things you’ve already overcome can give you the strength to keep fighting, simply because you KNOW you can do it (because you’ve already done it). It sounds like you’re in a good place actually, self-aware and able to focus on the positives around you. Be proud of yourself and kind to yourself. Think about doing for yourself what you’d do for a friend who was struggling, and I think the way forward will become clear.

  4. I find it amazing that you consider yourself lazy. I am lazy. I don’t run. I don’t volunteer at school like I should. I don’t keep my house clean.

    I’m glad the voices have stopped. I remember those and they are terrible and they are LIARS. Do NOT listen to them. Your family is better off WITH you, always!

    You have come so far and you will get there. It does get easier. The kids get older (as you know), the daily responsibilities lessen, and then you have to figure out how to have free time again. It’s weird and more difficult than I imagined. (but difficult in a good way I guess. I’m not complaining.)

    Anyway, you are amazing and I want to be you when I grow up. (even though I’m older than you.)

  5. I just said this at work yesterday. I know that the mountain ahead of us is still pretty huge, but every once in a while you need to stop and look back down the mountain and see how far we’ve come. Not negating that there is still lots to do, but we tend to forget about all the things we’ve already accomplished once they’re done. So, look back down the mountain every once in a while and be proud of what you have done. 🙂

  6. Friend speaks my mind. My mother’s death anniversary is a year and a day after 9/11. Fifteen years? How is this possible? She is with me daily and gone forever. A bungee jump from the global to the intimate, and I swing up and down for a few days on either side of this time. For my 50th birthday I wanted to climb Mt. Shasta (14,180), invited friends to join me and trained my ass off. That particular day, I did not summit, 2 of the 4 in my team did, but I chose to stay with the one who didn’t want to go further (the one who climbed Whitney and Kilimanjaro!) We were less than 200 ft from the summit, but it would have been some time and storms were rolling in. And, we had to get back to our cars (which we did after leaving base camp at 2:30 a.m. and reaching the cars at 9:00 p.m. the next day. Didn’t mean to distract from your story, just sharing how much I relate. Sometime the “facts”
    weigh us down.

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