Happy New Year

As I sit here at my lap top, on the last day of 2014, I am reflecting over the past 12 months. Overall I have to say it’s been pretty good. I’ve had some terrible moments, but I think that I’ve made massive progress in dealing with my peculiarities (i.e. Bipolar, Anxiety, etc)

Case in point – in the last month alone I’ve attended no less than 5 social functions (some with work and some with family) and made it through them. In fact I actually even managed to enjoy them! Plus I didn’t feel the overwhelming need to retreat after the first hour of socialising – this achievement in itself is totally amazing and new for me!

I’ve finally made the decision to study next year – I’ve been putting off doing a Bachelor of Science for the past 3 years. I’d started and then my ex left, and things went a little downhill and I needed time to get myself together emotionally and financially. So I’m ready and waiting. I’ll be studying part time, and I hope I finally finish a degree.

Hopefully in the early new year I’ll be moving into my brand new home, which is basically my fresh start for me and the kids. No more living in a house that is trapped with bad memories and sadness of my relationship breakdown. And no more renting! I will finally have my very own home which excites me more than anything.

Since starting this blog in September, I have made some really lovely friends and I am so very grateful for this network and these connections I have made. I look forward to reading more of your blogs, and talking more with you and hopefully we can help each other grow and become stronger. Oh and I finally realised that I reached the 100 subscribers milestone – so thank you to everyone who reads and especially comments on my posts. You have no idea how much it means to me to not feel so alone in this world – I thank you most sincerely and emphatically.

So as we head into the New Year I just want to wish you all strength, happiness, love and a totally brilliant year ahead. See you next year!
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Merry Christmas

I just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and hope the day is filled with plenty of joy, laughter and cherished moments with loved ones.

I’m doing pretty well at the moment. I had a session with my psychiatrist last Monday, and she’s happy with how I’m doing on the increased meds.

I’ve actually really made some progress over the last months in terms of dealing with my social anxiety – I’ve been to 2 Christmas parties through work, participated in my departments Kris Kringle – which involved an after work gathering. I also went to my team Christmas Breakfast. I’m very proud of myself for putting aside my anxieties and fears and making the effort to socialise.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read & comment on my blog since I began it in September. I really value the connections I have made, and actually experiencing the fact I am not alone in this world. It’s one thing to logically know that other people like me exist, it’s another to actually realise it.

Again I wish you a very safe & merry holiday season.  Much love to you all.

Emotional Abuse & Low Self Esteem

I have issues with self esteem, it’s been something I’ve struggled with for most of my life. Thinking back, I think it initially began with my ballet teacher. She taught the R.A.D (Royal Academy of Dance) classical ballet – and was known for being strict and disciplined. In terms of classical ballet – her school was one of the best around, because of the high standards associated with the R.A.D.

However she was a horrible person. If I were more spiritual I’d venture to say she had a very dark and nasty soul. Logically though I think she was mentally disturbed.

She treated people either with general indifference, or sheer nastiness. I was one of the people she singled out to mistreat. Nothing I ever did was good enough – right from the beginning she picked on me. I was only 6 years old – and preparing for my primary ballet exams. All grades were gathered and taking turns to rehearse their solo dance for the examination. Others made mistakes, big mistakes, and she’d get them to start again. If I did something minor – like not look up at the introduction, or not smile, I was sent to the back of the line, no second chance. This went on all night, it got late, well and truly beyond my bed time – and I’d not even been given the chance to do a full run through of my dance. Each time I was sent to the back of the line for a minor infraction.

It got worse as I got older. When I started a growth spurt at about 10, one leg grew faster than the other. So I had 1 leg a little longer than the other. As a result, my hips didn’t sit straight. My teacher would yell at me for not standing straight and hit my hip. Sometimes she’d grab me round the neck and pull me upwards.

One time, one of the girls in my class asked me what I got for my exams and I’d received honours, and told her so – and I never ever boasted, just quietly stated my grading. My teacher yelled at me and told me I had no right to brag about my grading, and never to talk about how I did in the exams. She never told anyone else off for talking about their results, only me. I wasn’t allowed to be happy that I got high marks.

Because of her devaluing me at every chance, I learned to believe that I was worthless. I tried so hard to gain her approval, but never could. And I suffered emotionally & physically at her hands. And yet, year after year I kept going back. Like a sick little puppet on a string I tried to bend to her every whim. It wasn’t until I was 12 that my mother finally had enough of her behaviour towards me and pulled me out of the school, 2 weeks before the end of year concert.

But by then the damage had been done. I hated myself, and in my eyes I couldn’t measure up to anyones expectations. I was a loser. And I was lost, without my tormentor. Without her poison to drag me down I turned to poisoning myself. I started the emotional abuse, perpetuating all the things about myself she made me believe. It’s sick, I know. But I was young, impressionable and because I couldn’t gain her acceptance I believed that something was wrong with me.

She planted the seeds of abuse, but I’m the one who took a steel pipe and bashed the living hell out of my self esteem.  She was just a bully, but because of her I learned exactly how to torment myself.

Illness and Depression

One of the things I struggle with when I’m physically sick is depression. Right now I’m fighting off a sinus & chest infection and I’m taking up a lot of my energy to not spiral down into the mental dumps. The thing that bothers me the most is that I’m forced to take time off work. I hate having to take time off work for illness, it’s just something that wracks me with guilt even though I legitimately shouldn’t be at work.

Here is how it’s going in my mind – “It’s only a little cold, man up and go to work”. But in reality it’s not just a “little cold” in reality I’ve been up half the night coughing and gasping for air. I can’t talk for any period of time without descending into a painful coughing fit. My lungs and stomach ache from all the coughing. The doctor has prescribed me antibiotics, and ordered me to have bed rest at least until Friday.

And yet, I still dragged myself into work today because I hate taking a “sick day”. I’m not a workaholic, I’m really really not. I just have an impossibly high personal work ethic that doesn’t include sick leave. But apparently it doesn’t matter what I think I can do – my boss has (and I’d say rightly so if it were anyone else but me) sent me home. And while my body is glad for it – my soul-eater aspect is starting to needle it’s way into my consciousness and attempt to convince me that the people at work think I’m just slacking off, and are talking about me behind my back. That all I’m going to be remembered for is the girl who faked being sick.

Yes I know it’s ridiculous, but I know myself well enough to know that the thoughts I have aren’t always logical and definitely not necessarily healthy. But I also know how powerful my mind is, and how it can make me believe practically anything it wants me to. It’s really quite annoying on one hand, knowing one thing but on the other still persisting in believing something totally different. This is where the fracturing of my mind into different aspects is really stressful.

Please excuse this abrupt ending, I need to lie down.

I’m Party Animal

As I wrote previously I went out last week for a Christmas Party, got more drunk than I had any right to be, and stayed out till like 4am. Next weekend I have my work Christmas Party. I don’t think I’ll be drinking but I’m definitely going – I’ve agreed to give a mate a ride there and back to force myself to attend! And for the first time since gosh I can’t remember (maybe 1999! haha) I have some tentative plans for New Years Eve.

Look out party girl Karlee is on the loose!!

Not really, the NYE plans aren’t huge. I’m going to my brother and his girlfriend’s place – they are having some friends over to celebrate the new year. It will be the first time since having my children that I won’t be with them. Their dad is going to take them to see his parents a few days after Christmas (they live in the country) and he’ll bring them back sometime early January.

I normally spend New Year’s Eve in bed asleep, helps stave off the depression of ringing in another year that will probably end up being as shitty as the previous one. It’s usually just another night … but this time it’s probably going to be awkward as heck when all the couples invited to my brothers place give their significant others big New Years kisses. Oh cripes if I don’t stop thinking about that I’ll end up making up some terribly transparent excuse to not go. And I can’t do that, my brother already worries about me and is over protective enough as it is! He’d probably kick down my door and drag me to his place if I made up an excuse.

At least the NYE thing will be casual. I have to dress up for the Christmas function this weekend. The theme is like cocktail (or something like that) with a “touch of bling” if there was ever a word I hated it is bling. If I was a smart ass I’d turn up with a diamond grill in my mouth and a giant gangster chain round my neck. But I’m not that brave, so I got a couple of understated pieces of jewellery and a pair of silver shoes to wear with a black dress. The shoes are quite pretty, not really the kind of thing I’d go for in usual circumstances – but I think they’ll fit the theme really well. Plus they fit my obscenely giant feet!

But I think 3 parties will tide me over until the end of next year! haha!

Today The Loneliness Hurts A Little

I’m feeling a little melancholic today and I’m not really sure why. I’m not depressed (not yet anyway) it’s just that there is a little heaviness in my heart. I think it’s the fact it’s getting close to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It really sucks feeling lonely at this time of year.

Three of my team mates at work became engaged over the past couple of months and so they do a lot of gossiping about their upcoming weddings and all the plans they are making. I’m not jealous, I’m really, really, not. I don’t want to get married, not really. It just seems like too much of a hassle and too much money to invest into a single event.

I just want someone to love me. But I know that can’t happen until I love myself. I really don’t have the energy to devote to anyone else when I am still so fragile. And I can’t honestly say that I have any love for myself. I don’t hate so much anymore, but I’m still a long way from love. Indifference I think it where I am at in my feelings about myself. Oscillating between sheer indifference and vague dislike.

And until I can find at least a shred of love to give to myself, there is no way I could even begin to let another person into my life. That would be dishonest and irresponsible. I couldn’t expect anyone to love me when I haven’t any for myself. But how do you make yourself love something you are so heavily programmed to have negative feelings towards? That is something I don’t yet have an answer to, but I’ll keep looking I guess.

Unfortunately logic and rationality doesn’t ease the nagging sadness in my heart.

Finding The Right Kind Of Help

One of the things I’ve found the most helpful in my road to living with mental illness is the importance of finding the right mental health professional. Over the years on and off I’ve seen numerous counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and sought help in many other ways. It started with a counsellor in high school and went from there.

Until the last 5 or so years ago, my attempts at getting help were sporadic and short lived. Previously I’d go through a really bad time – see my GP, get prescribed anti depressants and get referred to a counsellor or psychologist. I’d see the therapist for a few weeks, and get fed up with the way it was going, make excuses and stop going.

It was always the same thing that did it. These people all wanted to delve into my past – find some childhood or adolescent trauma that made me the way I am. Was I abused? Did I have a loving childhood? They always wanted to try and find the point of origin. And they always has some kind of condescending advice to give to help me “snap out of it” and tell me that things “will get better” all the usual bullshit people think you want to hear.

It wasn’t until I was at the end of my rope that I finally found my current psychiatrist. And my word has she been the best for me. She has helped me to see that there is no beginning cause to my mental illness to speak of and it’s pointless to try to look for one. I don’t need a why or a when – none of those are helpful. I just need a how and a what. How can I manage my mental illness? What can I do to make my life easier?

She doesn’t give me shitty useless advice – she helps me to unlock the answers I hold in my own mind. She asks me questions that help me draw my own conclusions. I have the control to change my life. She puts me firmly in the drivers seat, and just offers me a road map every now and again.

What I want to say to anyone who needs help coping with their mental illness is this: don’t give up on looking for the right person to help you. It mights take 5, 10, 15 different practitioners over as many years until you find the mental health professional that helps you in the way you need help. But don’t give up looking. If one doesn’t suit, move on to the next one, and the next, and the next, until you find the one that you click with and that genuinely helps you to help yourself.

Don’t stick with someone who doesn’t take a proper interest in your health, or you don’t feel comfortable with, or who gives you condescending advice, or you just don’t gel with. Keep looking until you find the one. It’s like a relationship – don’t settle for second best. Likewise with your mental health don’t settle for a sub par therapist.

I know costs can make finding the perfect help prohibitive, but keep looking until you find the one that is right for you and doesn’t make you bankrupt. Don’t give up. You are important, your mental wellbeing is important. You deserve to have a balanced and happy life.

Don’t ever give up.