What this means.

To all my fellow mental health bloggers, please check out Inner Light Legion’s blog!! Here is his wonderful speech from last Thursday at Sac State University for the Out of the Darkness Walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention and mental illness. He did such an incredible job, I’m so proud of him. 🙂

INNER LIGHT LEGION

I was asked to speak this past week for a walk that brought awareness to mental heath, mental illness, and suicide prevention. When the coordinator asked me I jumped at the opportunity but I really didn’t know what to speak about. I asked her is there anything specific you want me to speak about, after a solid week of trying to come up with to talk about. She replied through email and said give a little description of what this means to you. She continued by saying what does suicide prevention mean to you? What does mental illness mean? Why is this important to you? I sat for another couple of days thinking this over. And I kept asking myself,”what does this mean”:

This means we have all come together. This means we have all come together as one. This means we have come together as one to bring light…

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Anxiety

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A fellow blogger and follower of mine has all great content regarding anxiety, I highly encourage those who struggle with anxiety, fear, panic, and/or agoraphobia to check out his website Time For Anxiety. I personally struggle with social anxiety disorder (SAD) at times and it can be difficult for me to get through the tough times in social settings. This fellow blogger was kind enough to share some of his views about anxiety with me that really helped me, as I’m sure it will for you too. Below are a few words from him:

~

Introduction to anxiety – The anxious mind is a tornado of fear based thoughts that seem to be never ending.  A brain loaded with anxiety can create disaster out of the innocuous.  It is important to remember that these thoughts, feelings, and sensations are all a creation of the mind, and not a result of a person’s environment.  People with anxiety may believe that their mental discomfort comes from their parents, their environment, a mean boss, or a hidden health emergency.  All of these excuses are wrong.  Anxiety may be enhanced by these reasons, but it is all a creation of the individual.
There is good news.  Anxiety is one of the most easily treatable conditions in the wide world of mental health issues.  I know it sounds unbelievable, but it is true.  The part that is most enticing is that medication is not needed for a person to transform from an anxious thinker to someone who can handle any situation or thought that is thrown their way.  Medication for anxiety does help to calm a person down who finds themselves in the depths of an anxious episode.  This is good, but when the medication fades away the anxiety will come back.  It is an endless cycle of anxiety, pills, anxiety, pills.  The medication is merely a band aid.
Every person has within themselves all of the tools necessary to confront their anxiety and take their lives back.  It is important to remember that everyone has anxiety, but those who are not affected by their anxiety have the ability to not give into the fear.  Anxiety is important.  It is a mental process that has evolved over time to protect humans against predators.  Sadly, the anxious brain was molded during the times when people had to worry about dangerous animals.  We still have the anxiety, but the fear it used to react to perfectly is no longer a part of our daily lives.  We now worry about our health, speaking in public, getting a job, and plenty of other life events that are scary, but in no way life-threatening.
Fight or flight is something everyone with anxiety experiences.  When faced with anxiety we can choose to stare it in the face, or we can choose to run from it.  I’m here to tell you that running from your anxious thoughts only gives them more strength.  It is frightening whenever your heart feels like it is going to pound out of your chest, or your mind starts creating the most frightening of thoughts.  Those events feel real.  Those sensations can give the person feeling them the sense that their world is crashing down, but what happens a few minutes after those sensations appear?  They go away.  They always go away.  The mind and body will always find their way back into a normal flow, perhaps a little bit shaken, but closer to normal than a few moments ago.
Anxiety is real.  Fear is real.  Both anxiety and fear will be with all of us forever.  The key is to accept these emotions as a part of life that everyone experiences.  Let these feelings in, take them for what they really are, and believe that you will not let those emotions control your life anymore.

Heavy and Light

 

I drove to Los Angeles by myself to attend Heavy and Light, To Write Love On Her Arms. It was by far an incredible experience.
I stood in a room full of stories, music and other people that have suffered or struggled like I have.
I overcame a fear, I learned a lot, and I can honestly say how proud I am of myself to have come this far.

Growing up as a teenager, I was scared to be alone, and go places alone. I thought the word “alone” meant “lonely”. Only until the last few years have I learned that there is a major difference between the two. After having two kids, one at the age of 18 and the other at 21 and my husband working swing shift every night, it taught me to grow up. I had to learn to live in our house alone, go to sleep alone, I had to learn how to cook and take care of the kids and the house when he wasn’t home. I was terrified in the beginning, we just bought a brand new house when I was 20 years old, it was about 45 minutes away from family, in a town in the middle of nowhere. I remember the first few weeks I would call the cops every time I heard a noise. It was awful, I had never been alone, I didn’t know what to do.

On January 15th of this month, I made the decision to drive by myself to L.A. and visit the House of Blues for the Heavy and Light show by To Write Love On Her Arms. I got my own hotel, walked around L.A. by myself, went to the show, then the next morning I took a drive to Santa Monica (I’ve never been there before) and walked around with my headphones in along the ocean and had a nice lunch to myself on the pier. The weather was 75 and sunny, couldn’t have picked a better time to go. It was the most empowering experience I’ve ever had. I had moments of anxiety, but I pushed forward and did something I had always wanted to do. A lot of people told me, “Wow I could never do that, I could never travel somewhere alone.” It made me feel proud, and brave. I did it and the best part was, I can’t wait to do it again. Below are some pictures of my trip. 🙂

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My BPD Thoughts

Today is a tough one for me, so I’m going to write this out and see if it makes me feel better. I’ve never actually wrote a blog while I was having an episode. These are my current random thoughts this morning:


 

My heart is racing a million miles a minute, I can’t seem to calm myself down.

I just had therapy yesterday and it well, why do I feel this way?

I called in sick yesterday, I wasn’t feeling well, I was stressed, I had a lot of things to take care of, yet nothing was accomplished. I tried. Why can’t anything go right for once?

Finances suck balls; Registration is due, speeding ticket is due, smog check is due, car needs repairs. Of course, everything falls into my lap all at once. #57 BPD

I tried to book a hotel for a future small trip I’m taking soon and of course I booked it for the wrong day, I wasn’t thinking. I call customer service and after trying to resolve the issue; I snapped at the lady. I rarely lose my temper, especially when the issue was my own damn fault. Why did I do that? Now I feel bad and I can’t apologize.

I had to come into work today, although I feel that nobody really needs me around here I’d still feel bad if I left. Why do I feel bad? My health should be my number one concern.

They took a job task away from me yesterday and gave it to someone else while I was out of the office. That fucking hurts, they know I’m always asking for more, they know I need the challenge. Why did they do that to me? They must hate me.

My thoughts are all over the place. Why can’t I calm down and just breathe?

Another admin at work is vindictive; nobody likes her. She’s picking a fight with me via email and there’s nothing I can do about it. I really wish she didn’t work here anymore. Wait. I really wish I didn’t work here anymore. Fuck this place.

I sleep 10 hours a day and it’s not enough, I’m so exhausted. I must be slipping into depression.

I’m hiding in my cubicle today, trying to catch up from yesterday. I can’t focus on anything! If one more person walks over and asks for something, I might lose it. Let me at least have my coffee first and catch up on my damn emails.

My boss last week told me that he knows when I am struggling with my disorder. I asked how he could tell aside from alienating myself from everyone in the workplace and hiding in my cubicle with my headphones in. He said, “I can tell because on days you struggle, you look like shit! You don’t do your hair, you don’t do your make-up, you look so exhausted.” His phone rang it was an “Important call” and he shushed me away. He apologized the next day, but why does it still bother me? I don’t even want to look at him. I always keep it professional and try to look my best. Knowing that I’m struggling today, do I look like shit? Can people tell?

Nobody has yet to ask me if I’m feeling okay? Did they even notice I was gone yesterday? Fuck, even my boss didn’t acknowledge my text about calling in sick yesterday. I guess he doesn’t give a shit. Nobody cares.

Apparently I forgot to punch out for lunch last week. They didn’t make the corrections because I was out of the office so now I’m going to be shorted on my paycheck tomorrow. Let’s just add onto the financial stress! #68 BPD

I just really want to be in bed, watching friends. That always makes me feel better.

I’m trying to find a new place on my own, but with an eviction 3 years ago and bankruptcy, I keep getting rejected. I’m never going to find a place for me and my kids. Stupid past mistakes! I’ve come so far, I really wish someone would give me a chance.

Headphones are in; music isn’t helping. Music almost always helps. I must be having a really bad low.

Kayla, all this shit is just in your head. I’m usually positive, think positive!

Just took my Lamictal, wish I didn’t have to take meds to calm me down. Why am I not strong enough to control these ridiculous thoughts?

Tonight is my night off without babies. A night to myself. OMG I can’t wait to do absolutely nothing! Yup, I must be slipping into depression. I always keep myself busy, but fuck it. I don’t want to right now.

My heart is still beating out of my chest. I need to focus. Breathe.

Why did I turn out this way? Why do I still struggle every once in a while? What triggered this?

Please dear God, don’t let me break down crying in the office. That would be embarrassing.

I need to schedule an appointment for taxes, I usually always get a lot back every year. What if I don’t? I really want to pay off debt but with my luck, I’ll have to owe this year. Sigh.

This feels weird opening up and venting to complete strangers, I hate complaining. I usually always keep to myself.

I’m not going to let this ruin my day, I can’t. I’m okay.

I can make it through one bad day. I’m not dying, it could be so much worse. Cheer up Kayla.

Nobody hates you. I have two beautiful kids that love me and a very loving boyfriend. Gosh he’s amazing.

I need to stop fighting this episode and just embrace it. I got this. It’s okay to be okay. #51 BPD

I have so many things to be grateful for. I need to focus on that, oh and these damn reports that are overdue.

This isn’t my all time low, I’ve felt worse before. I picked myself up then, I can pick myself up now.

I should get back to work, after I get some more coffee of course, and food. Food always makes me feel better.

Breathe. Just Breathe. I am not alone. I can overcome this.

Peace out.

 

 

 

Depression

21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed

So you’re sad all the time and don’t want to do stuff. It’s actually way more complicated than that.

1. Most of the things people will say to help you are profoundly and dangerously unhelpful.

Thanks to a plethora of misinformation about what depression actually is, people often seem to think that saying things like “just be happier,” “don’t be depressed,” and “just try harder” are legitimate pieces of advice. They are not.

21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed

2. It physically hurts.

In the human body’s least amusing attempt at metaphor, many depressed people report physical symptoms like muscle ache, joint pain, and stabbing sensations in the chest. If you are depressed and feeling pain, check with your doctor to discuss possible causes.

21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed

3. Asking for help feels counterintuitive.

One of the many lies depression will tell you is that nobody cares about you, so you won’t want to “bother” people by reaching out to them. Fight this lie. Wrestle it to the ground. Punch it in the face. Somebody will listen to you.

Asking for help feels counterintuitive.

4. Your relationship with food changes to “it’s complicated.”

Whatever moderation there is between “forgetting to eat for a day” and “eating all of the things” just isn’t on the menu anymore. Poor eating habits can make depression worse, though, so seek medical help if your diet becomes worrisome for you.

Your relationship with food changes to "it's complicated."

5. Some “friends” might ditch you (and that is OK).

Some of your so-called friends won’t know how to be around you and will vanish in the haze. Let them go and keep doing you. It’s the people who stay that will make a difference.

21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed

6. You feel like you are absolutely losing your mind.

Depression is a shape-shifting mental disorder; it co-manifests with panic attacks, compulsive thoughts and habits, social phobia, and any number of other issues. Remember that you are not “crazy.” You are sick and you can get better.

21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed

7. Everything will start to annoy you. Even you will start to annoy you.

Irritability is a symptom of depression that doesn’t get enough attention. Feeling grumpy is just a part of the process, and you shouldn’t be made to feel bad about it.

21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed

8. Everyday tasks will feel overwhelming.

Something as simple as making a bowl of cereal suddenly has too many steps and now you’re frustrated with yourself and oh dear, don’t cry…

21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed

9. It’s nearly impossible to tell when it’s just your “depression talking.”

Trying to tell your healthy, rational thoughts apart from the stuff that wouldn’t cross your mind if you weren’t depressed is like scooping only the pee out of a swimming pool, but being able to tell that difference is an important step on the road to recovery.

21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed

10. Depression will wreak havoc on your sleep schedule.

You can’t sleep when you want to, but when you actually have somewhere to be you get knocked out with a completely unplanned, five-hour nap.

Depression will wreak havoc on your sleep schedule.

11. Depression can also mean not feeling anything at all.

If you’re depressed it’s assumed that you’re sad, but depression can also make you feel numb and/or emotionally exhausted. No matter what other people say, that’s still depression; if you feel emotionally numb or blank you should report it to your doctor or therapist.

21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed

12. It’s incredibly boring.

Imagine that you can only watch one thing on Netflix, and it’s an 80-season show with 24-hour episodes. Imagine that you have no interest in this show or its characters or its plot. When you are depressed, your life might feel like that TV show. Try to distract yourself for brief periods of time with anything that will hold your attention and stave off the boredom, however temporary the distraction is.

It's incredibly boring.

13. You’ll feel guilty.

What’s worse than being depressed? Feeling like you’re a selfish, ungrateful failure for having a disorder you can’t control. This is a common depressive thought, and is not true. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you identify depressive thoughts and emotions (like guilt) and can give you tools to work through these feelings.

You'll feel guilty.

14. Probably because people will tell you things that make you feel judged.

Yes, people are starving. Yes, there are people with “real problems.” That doesn’t make you any less sick.

Probably because people will tell you things that make you feel judged.

15. Your dreams get weird.

Some studies say that as people move through the stages of their depression, the content and quality of their dreams fluctuate.

21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed

16. Mirrors become your worst enemy.

Low self-esteem is a symptom of depression, so your mirror can remind you of how much you dislike the way you look or who you are. Sometimes it’s best to just cover them up for a few days.

21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed

17. Depression will seem like a “logical” state to be in.

Some studies show that depressed people have an unusually realistic worldview, so you might rationalize your depressive thinking (“I am a bad person”) as an incontrovertible fact. This is not true, and therapy can help you understand how depression flaws your logic.

21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed

18. So you will earnestly argue with people over how terrible you are.

“I think you’re awesome.”
“NO YOU DON’T, I’M CLEARLY THE WORST PERSON EVER GO AWAY.”

So you will earnestly argue with people over how terrible you are.

19. Trying to reenter society after being depressed for a long time is very awkward.

It might be a while before you feel good around people again, so it’s OK to take your time and slowly reintroduce yourself into social situations.

21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed

20. You won’t be able to think clearly about your future.

Not only does this nuke your capacity for hope, it also renders meaningless the idea that at some point things will get better. If you feel like this, please take steps to seek medical help or talk to a trusted friend or counselor.

You won't be able to think clearly about your future.

21. Depression will make you feel that you are alone. You are not alone.

21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed

If you need information on depression or want to talk about your depression, you can call the Crisis Call Center at any time of the day. Their national number is 1-800-273-8255 and all calls are free of charge.

If you don’t like talking on the phone but still want to be heard, forums like the Reddit boards r/depression and r/anxiety have strong communities of people who may be working through an illness similar to yours.

For more information on your depression, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has up-to-date research in the field of psychology as well as articles and fact sheets on mental illness.

To find a doctor or support group in your area, try searching on the Healthfinder for nearby support groups or use this GoodTherapy online tool to locate therapists in your area.

BPD Things #1: Understanding

#1 BPD

 

How many of us feel this way? From time to time I will get frustrated with myself because I can’t figure me out. Am I borderline? Am I bipolar? Am I cyclothymic? Or am I just a woman that struggles with PMS? I don’t know. Then again I don’t want to label myself as anything either so I try not to worry or think about it. I like to read and do research on mental illness. I love doing anything that involves learning or self-improvement. I try to have a positive mindset and not focus on the negative things in life. I tell myself one thing, I’m only 27, I’m still learning who I am, what I like and don’t like. I strongly believe that people change the most in their twenties; therefore how can we completely understand ourselves? It’s okay to not have all the answers. We can’t beat ourselves up over it. One day we will understand and it will all make sense.

Cyclothymia Disorder

I have been visiting my therapist every week and she is terrific! We have both been doing our research and studies on different disorders. She doesn’t believe that I have BPD or Borderline Personality Disorder. In her opinion, she thinks I may have a mild form of Bipolar Disorder, like Cyclothymia Disorder. I’m just going to jot down the symptoms below as apart of my homework assignment.

“Cyclothymic disorder, is a type of chronic mood disorder widely considered to be a milder or subthreshold form of bipolar disorder. Cyclothymia is characterized by numerous mood disturbances, with periods of hypomanic symptoms alternating with periods of mild or moderate depression.

An individual with Cyclothymia may feel stable at a baseline level but experience noticeable shifts to an emotional high during hypomanic episodes, with symptoms similar to those of mania but less severe, and emotional lows involving depressive symptoms that do not meet the criteria for a major depressive episode. To meet the diagnostic criteria for Cyclothymia, a person must experience this alternating pattern of emotional highs and lows for a period of at least two years with no more than two consecutive symptom-free months. For children and adolescents, the duration must be at least one year.

While diagnosis of Cyclothymia is becoming more common, it is not as frequent as that of bipolar disorder. Diagnosis of Cyclothymia presupposes absence of a major depressive episode, manic episode or mixed episode, which would qualify the individual for diagnosis of another mood disorder. When such episodes manifest after an initial diagnosis of Cyclothymia, the individual may qualify for a diagnosis of bipolar I or bipolar II disorder. Although estimates vary greatly, 15–50% of cases of Cyclothymia later fit the diagnostic criteria for bipolar I and/or bipolar II disorder (resulting in a diagnosis of bipolar I or II with cyclothymic features).

Although the emotional highs and lows of Cyclothymia are less extreme than those of bipolar disorder, the symptomatology, longitudinal course, family history and treatment response of Cyclothymia are consistent with bipolar spectrum. Lifetime prevalence of cyclothymic disorder is 0.4–1%. Frequency appears similar in men and women, though women more often seek treatment. Unlike during episodes of bipolar I disorder, people with Cyclothymia are more likely to be either somewhat or fully productive, and sometimes even hyper-productive.

Cyclothymia is similar to bipolar II disorder in that it presents itself in signature hypomanic episodes. Because hypomania is often associated with exceptionally creative, outgoing, and high-functioning behavior, both conditions are often undiagnosed. As with most of the disorders in the bipolar spectrum, it is the depressive phase that leads most sufferers to get help.”

 

Hypomanic episodes. Symptoms of the hypomanic episode include unusually good mood or cheerfulness (euphoria), extreme optimism, inflated self-esteem, rapid speech, racing thoughts, aggressive or hostile behavior, lack of consideration for others, agitation, massively increased physical activity, risky behavior, spending sprees, increased drive to perform or achieve goals, increased sexual drive, decreased need for sleep, tendency to be easily distracted, and inability to concentrate.

Depressive/dysthymic episodes. Symptoms of the depressive/dysthymic phase include difficulty making decisions, problems concentrating, poor memory recall, guilt, self-criticism, low self-esteem, pessimism, self-destructive thinking, constant sadness, apathy, hopelessness, helplessness and irritability. Also common are quick temper, poor judgment, lack of motivation, social withdrawal, appetite change, lack of sexual desire, self-neglect, fatigue, insomnia and sleepiness.

New Challenge: 31 Days of BPD Master List

I saw this and thought this would be an awesome exercise for me as I struggle with BPD.

I am doing this 31 days of BPD challenge because of the stigma associated with Borderline Personality Disorder.  It is probably one of the last talked about (honestly) and explained from personal experience than any other mental illness.  All these prompts have to do with characteristics of BPD, whether to do with specific symptoms and criteria of the illness or vague questions about items that are related to the illness, ex questions about specific relationships.

  • Day 1: Think of the last time you were really angry. Why was that?
  • Day 2: Why did your last friendship end?
  • Day 3: Do you self-harm? If yes, how?
  • Day 4: Have you ever attempted suicide?
  • Day 5: Have you ever written a suicide note?
  • Day 6: How’s your love life?
  • Day 7: Have you ever dissociated? If so, how often?
  • Day 8: Do you have any other diagnoses? Which ones?
  • Day 9: Do you get mood swings?
  • Day 10: What kind of impulsive decisions have you made?
  • Day 11: Is there anything you do that helps keep you grounded?
  • Day 12: What’s your relationship with your family?
  • Day 13: Are you a perfectionist?
  • Day 14: Do you ever become obsessive?
  • Day 15: Have you ever changed your opinions, depending on the people you are with?
  • Day 16: Does your style (clothing, hair, etc.) change a lot?
  • Day 17: What are five of your biggest fears?
  • Day 18: Do you worry what people think of you?
  • Day 19: What are some lyrics that describe what you’re going through right now?
  • Day 20: How do you usually express yourself?
  • Day 21: How many people know about your diagnosis?
  • Day 22: What’s a random story from your childhood?
  • Day 23: How do you think other people see you?
  • Day 24: If you could pick one year of your life to give back and start over, which one would it be?
  • Day 25: What’s one thing you wish non-borderlines could understand?
  • Day 26: Name three fictional characters you relate to.
  • Day 27: Do you have any bad habits?
  • Day 28: Do you consider yourself high-functioning or low-functioning?
  • Day 29: If your mind was a house, what would the house look like?
  • Day 30: What is your “safe place” when you are upset? (This can also be a person.)
  • Day 31: Post a picture of yourself and tell us your story.