On Mental Health

Adrift.

I am struggling in ways I can’t quite articulate. My psychiatrist encouraged me in these downswings to try writing, but lately I end up in this weird pattern of thought. It goes something like this:

  1. I am struggling with issue A, I should write about it.
  2. I can’t write about it anywhere publicly
  3. Guess I won’t write about it then.
  4. Why am I only able to write about things publicly? Why does writing not work if no one reads it?
  5. Am I self-absorbed? What is wrong with me?

And then I panic and delete all my social media off my phone.

I was wishing I had “phone-call” friends yesterday. When I was a smoker, I would smoke outside and often take that chance to call friends or even my Dad or family and catch up with them. If you remove social media (which I did yesterday) I don’t have anyone I communicate with regularly outside my home. I don’t have running friends anymore that I see every few days. I spend 45-55 hours a week at (or driving to) work so I don’t have a lot of time to offer to anyone for a “regular” friendship. Which is why I was wishing for phone-call friends. Ones I could catch up with on my commute. But we all hate phone calls now, don’t we?

The nice things about phone-call friends is you don’t have to make eye-contact so it’s easier to be vulnerable. That’s always why I bonded so well with my running friends too! This is also why I can be really vulnerable on my blog and on social media. I can write about my eating disorder recovery, or my political heartache or my depression or anxiety because I don’t actually see anyone’s reactions who read it. This is why my Facebook friends know more about my daily struggles than my husband.

But recently I’ve had struggles outside of my own experience and you obviously can’t write about those publicly without compounding the problems. I also have a job I love and I don’t want my personal life to trickle into my work life through social media. And even if I could write about them, they’re not easy to articulate. WHICH IS WHY I NEED TO WRITE ABOUT THEM.

When I have a problem I can’t articulate, writing always helps. It helps me make sense of things. I have tried recording audio notes to myself, talking through things. And honestly, that’s helping more than I expected. But I’m just in this weird place where I feel so full. My anxiety is just bubbling up every day and my dread lingers in every breath and I’m actively working with my psychiatrist but it’s hard because I only talk to him periodically and I have such a hard time explaining what is happening in my head.

And, as always, I struggle with finding a mental health professional that affirms every part of my life experience that I consider valuable. There’s always some part of me they want to “change” that I only want to affirm. Some are religious and can’t help but trying to help me with spiritual solutions. Some try to reduce or minimize my response to political issues, like I’m “over-reacting.” Some worry about my weight-gain and don’t want to accept that as an okay way to exist in ED recovery. Some don’t want to affirm where I am on any part of the ace spectrum, and instead would rather “fix” me. Some don’t think my parenting style is appropriate.

But, some DO affirm some of those things. So I wish I could pick and choose. Could I talk to this person about this topic, and then the other person about the other topic? Can I choose a different therapist based on what is bothering me on that day?

I mean, obviously I can do whatever I want, but what I really want is someone that affirms all parts of me and just helps me navigate my anxiety and depression while still honoring the parts of me I don’t believe need changing.

My point is I’m floundering. And I’m not sleeping well. And my Dad’s birthday is tomorrow. And tWitch took his own life and I can not stop crying about it. And this is just weeks after I cried for 3 days over Noodles dying. What is it with parasocial relationships that make grief hit so strong?

Anyway. Keep me in your thoughts if you can. I’m fine in all practical senses, of course. But jeezus I would like my brain to just let me rest so I can maybe be a little more productive instead of just being sucked into downward brain spirals that severely cramp any hopes for productivity.

7 thoughts on “Adrift.”

  1. Ok, this might sound completely bonkers, but a thought occurred to me after reading this. I have a lot of the same struggles and like you, it helps so much to just be able to verbalize what’s going on. What if we had someone to reach out to in the moment (by phone or text) who wasn’t a friend or a therapist but who somewhat understood our struggles? Kind of like an AA meeting where no one is trying to “fix” each other but just provide support by sharing their mutual struggles, if that makes sense?

  2. I’m sorry that you’re struggling! No helpful advice that probably wouldn’t help anyway, but definitely sending good thoughts your way.

  3. Feel free to email me, if you ever want to write in a not-public kind of way – I’m not even in the same country, so it won’t have any impact on your local life. And I feel we have shared some of the same struggles, so I could at least tell you I’ve been there.

  4. Don’t know if this helps but I did find it interesting. This fall I got a new van and for the first time had blue tooth phone calling options—I can literally be talking to a friend in five clicks of my left thumb on the steering wheel! So I entered some numbers in the favorites file and wondered if I would ever use them. Then practically every route home had construction on it for like a month and as a distraction I started calling people—just randomly when stuck in traffic and I was so surprised that so many of my friends were actually quite happy and surprised and grateful that I had called—even people who I would never really call if I were just at home. So my point is don’t assume people won’t talk to you on the phone!!! You may be pleasantly surprised 🙂
    Julie A

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