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.

Last Friday Night

Man am I feeling really seedy today. I overdid the whole “loosen up and don’t be such an uptight stick in the mud” resolution that I’d made for myself.

Last night I went out. I work for a bank selling General Insurance – and the company that underwrites the insurance products hosted their annual Christmas Party for all of their business partners that work in the same financial sector as us.

I decided that I was going to treat myself and booked a hotel room in the city for the night that was near to the bar. I figured I would take total advantage of a night off from the kids and pamper myself. My plan was to go to the party for a couple of hours and then go back to the hotel room and indulge in some room service and a couple of movies.

Something put paid to that idea. I can’t pinpoint what it was exactly but there was free drinks and food and I was having some good conversation with my workmates. The thing is that I’m not really a drinker – I’ll have one maybe two drinks once in blue moon and be over it and not drink any alcohol for months. Last night I somehow managed to get started and found myself knocking back the drinks. Not just one type of alcoholic drink either – I went from wine, to bourbon, to scotch, to rum, to vodka – I was drinking whatever the person I was talking to was drinking (except beer, never beer)

Four or five drinks in, and I decided I needed a cigarette. I do not smoke, never technically been a smoker. Years ago I went through a period of time where I’d have a couple when I went out but that only lasted a couple months. I was never a legit smoker. I bummed a cig from my mate, and it just snowballed from there. I must have had near on 15 drinks in total last night, and probably around 10 cigarettes too.

Everyone at the party got well smashed including yours truly. And yet I really surprised myself because I didn’t get silly or trashy or sick. I spent the whole night merry but still very much aware and on good behaviour. I started conversations with people who work at other banks – I was very nicely loosened up and introverted Karlee was nowhere in sight.

After the party all the guys and girls from my work headed to the casino to continue the night. I was outside having a cig with my team mate (he’s my work bestie) and somehow he and I found ourselves stuck in a conversation with this random couple. It was really bizarre because he and I are both introverts (he’s INFJ and I’m INFP) and yet we found ourselves in really heavy conversation with this couple for a long time. Both he and I were quite puzzled at how we ended up talking to them when we finally managed to extricate ourselves.

I’m super proud that I managed to get out of my shell and talk to strangers. But I’m a bit sad that it took so much alcohol to get me there. And I really did not sleep well when I got back to the hotel room. I had a massive headache as I started to sober up. I also started to feel sick from the smell of the cigarettes and the taste of ash in my mouth. I had to shower, and I brushed my teeth like four times. Then climbed I into bed with a cold and wet face washer over my eyes and forehead. Eventually the headache left but I started feeling really dizzy and sick. Lying down made me dizzy, sitting up made me dizzy. It was horrible.

I finally managed to get some sleep. But all day long I’ve felt my stomach churning, and still can’t get the smell of cigarettes out of my nostrils, and ash in my mouth. I feel so sick even thinking about alcohol or cigarette smoke. So I’ve definitely changed my mind at this stage and won’t be going to our work Christmas Party. Not when it’s going to take me at least a week to recover from last night.

But I will say this – I had fun, even though I’m paying dearly for it today.

Picking Up Good Vibrations

I’m feeling a little bit loved today. A few of my colleagues at work were making a very impressive joint effort to get me to say yes to attending our works Christmas party next month. One of my teammates even said he’d give me a ride there and back! That is a big deal for an introvert like me.

A lot of my introversion stems from my severe lack of self esteem. I am constantly terrified that people don’t like me. Even at work though I get along with people, I have this part of me that still believes that none of them would really want to engage with me in a social situation. So because of this fear I tend to avoid social functions at work. Ironically, this probably makes people think I’m stuck up and not really want to socialise with me.

For people to genuinely try to convince me to come (not just a half hearted “oh you should go” and leave it at that) makes me actually want to go. And gives me warm feelings of actually being accepted. This is fantastic because my mind is evil to me and constantly gives me an irrational nagging worry that I’m only tolerated and not accepted.

The burning question now is – can I actually bite the bullet and make myself go?

I Choose This Life (But I Don’t Approve)

I often write my blog sitting alone on my bed. Tonight it occurred to me that though I’m drawn to spending all my spare time in bed, it’s a place haunted by misery and pain. It holds the painful memories of sharing it with the person I loved more than anything. It is a constant reminder of the emptiness both in my bed and in my heart.

I am lonely. I hate admitting that because I consciously choose to make my life this way. I choose to exile myself from the world. But even though I choose this path, it doesn’t exactly make me happy. It’s so difficult to explain. I don’t like being around people – they don’t understand me. They don’t think the way that I do or feel the way that I do. So I withdraw from the world. I lock myself away, thereby creating my loneliness.

Why would I choose loneliness? I think it’s because reality doesn’t compare with my imagination. I know it sounds like I have incredibly high expectations, impossible ideals, but why would I settle for harsh reality? Why would I settle when my inner life has so much more to offer me? If I can lose myself in my imaginary world for long enough I can conjure up peace: both of mind and soul.

It gets harder to leave the sanctuary of my imaginary world. The disappointment of reality burdens my heart. When I’m in the real world I am painfully aware of my loneliness and heartache. I’m aware that I don’t have a connection to someone special, that my heart isn’t entwined with another. So it’s too easy to retreat into my fantasy world, where I can dream up perfect love and perfect acceptance.

This loneliness always goes the same way. I’m (half heartedly) trying to convince myself that I am in love with someone who … ugh I don’t even want to explain this because it’s too embarrassing to admit even to myself. He is a person who exists on earth. But he doesn’t know me, I don’t even really know him. We’ve not actually met, not actually spoken to each other – but I’m infatuated with his voice, his eyes, his crooked grin. Honestly he may as well be imaginary because he is just so out of my reach.

And it’s even more hilarious (in the most self insulting way possible) that I’m acknowledging this train of thought. Clearly I’m not in love with him. I’m just lonely, so I imagine and project these false feelings onto him because he is unattainable. And by falling in love with the impossible I’m protecting my vulnerability. Because in my warped mind it’s better to be hurt by loving someone who doesn’t even know you exist, than it is to entrust your heart to a real person and risk them breaking it.

Thus I am in a perpetual circle of hurt and loneliness. I justify my self-imposed exile with the belief that if I put myself in reality I’d only end up hurt and lonely anyway. This circular “reasoning” is so draining. I put the word reasoning in quotation marks – because clearly the turmoil inside my head doesn’t have even a single iota of reason about it. Nothing about what I have typed is reasonable – except maybe my admission that this entire post is unreasonable.

A Virtual Hug – One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you again Hev at A Little Place of My Own for nominating me for another blog award! I’m so honoured you consider my blog to be interesting enough a read to share with others 😀

one-lovely-blog

So to keep this thing going I first have to give you 7 facts about myself, and then nominate 7 people for this award.

7 Facts About Me

  1. If I find the way someone says a particular word (or makes a sound) intriguing I will often mimic it. Not because I’m taking the piss, but because I liked how it sounded and want to recreate it.
  2. I was born at 11:34pm and I’m a night owl. Coincidentally my daughter was also born at night and is a night owl, and my son was born in the morning and is an early bird.
  3. I can wiggle my ears.
  4. I started watching Season 7 of Doctor Who because there was not much else on ABC iView at the time and became hooked (I haven’t gone back to watch earlier episodes yet, but I’ll get around to it.)
  5. I don’t watch the television because I cannot stand advertisements – the only shows I watch appear on our government owned public broadcasting channel ABC and even then I only watch shows online (ABC iView).
  6. I love love love love British crime shows, comedies, and dramas. I’m lucky we get loads of those on the ABC.
  7. I love Musicals – my all time favourite has to be RENT.

My 7 Nominations:

Before I list my nominations, I just want to say that if Hev hadn’t already nominated me I’d be nominating her. I’ve discovered through reading her blog we have lots in common, and if I knew her in real life I think we’d be great friends.

I read so many great blogs and wish I could list them all. I’ll be fair and offer nominations for a few I read often and that are different from my last award nominations:

  1. The Persistent Platypus
  2. Take a Ride on my Mood Swing
  3. INFJ Ramblings
  4. Blahpolar Diaries
  5. Pieces of Bipolar
  6. Journey with Carley
  7. Hazelnut Pie

To those I’ve nominated, I won’t be upset or offended if you choose to ignore my nomination. I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your blogs, and reading them helps me feel connected to this world.

Friday Night Freak Out

Apparently Friday night I had a freak out. I don’t actually remember it, but I’m told that the kids dad (my ex) actually took a detour on his way to a job to come over and do a health check on me.

I remember sending him a message telling him that the kids were doing my head in and I couldn’t take it anymore. They weren’t listening to me when I told them to clean up their toys, and they made more mess, and it sent me over the edge. I don’t recall much after that. But my phone shows he called me seven times and I kept hanging up. And it prompted him to come over and make sure I was ok.

I also must have taken 3 days worth of my meds the same night, sometime after my freak out – because I woke up the next morning and noticed my pill box had 3 days missing when I only filled it up the night before. He says that it showed in my change of mood – I suddenly went from highly agitated and angry to calm and tranquil and very sleepy.

But sometime before before the calm set in I must have started writing a post, because I found it earlier today when I was doing some maintenance on my blog. It’s interesting what I think and feel when I’m off my rocker. I usually don’t remember so when I have something I wrote in that state I’m pretty fascinated.

Oh shit the cracks are starting to show. My carefully constructed veneer is chipping at the edges. I thought I had it together enough to get by. I thought I was in a place to be ok. Two and a half fucking years. It’s been two and a half fucking years and I should be able to cope now.

But I can’t. It’s getting worse. I’m getting less and less able to deal. Fuck I don’t love him. I don’t fucking love him. But without him I can’t fucking function. I can’t breathe without him. Fuck I hate him so fucking much. He fucking ruined me. Tore out my heart and crushed it. He didn’t fucking care that it broke me. He broke me.

And the fucking joke of it all. I’m still so fucking weak for him. The need for him is clawing me apart. I keep waiting for something to give. My heart most likely. I guess.

That is definitely the deluded rantings of a crazy girl. I am living and breathing without him. I’m doing just fine thank you very much. If some else had written this and I read it, I’d be like “wake up and smell the coffee you still love him”. But I don’t. I really really don’t. And I know that I am better off without him. I definitely can’t feel any chemistry between us. Absolutely not.

Alright so maybe I feel just a little. But I’m going to keep on ignoring it. It’s better that way.

Don’t Stand So Close To Me.

I’m really quite funny about my personal space and how much proximity and actual physical contact affects me. About 15 minutes ago I had one of my moments where I became immensely aware of how uncomfortable a situation, especially ones involving strangers, can be.

I’d just finished my appointment with my Psych and I was at the counter paying and making my next appointment. An older lady came up to the counter and stood right next to me because she wanted to speak to the receptionist. And to make matters worse another older lady came up on the other side of me to take up a free magazine they have on offer at the offices. But instead of picking it up and walking away, she stood there flicking through it.

So now I have these 2 complete strangers flanking me, practically standing at my shoulders. I could almost feel them breathing. I couldn’t shake the ominous feeling that came over me – even though logically I knew I could take down both of these old birds if for some insane reason they started to attack me. I am not kidding when I say it actually physically felt threatening to have strangers standing shoulder to shoulder with me like that. My baser instincts of fight or flight started winding me up, and I was starting to get angry with them for standing too close.

There was absolutely no reason why the lady wanting to talk to the receptionist couldn’t wait in line behind me – it was quite rude and impatient of her to stand there as if she was going to butt in. And as for the other lady: take the freaking magazine and read it elsewhere. Don’t stand there at my shoulder reading it. I know it sounds really odd, but things like that make me so uncomfortable, and a whole influx of crazy thoughts go through my head – from staging a “freak out”, to aggressively pushing them out the way, to planning what I will do when they start to attack. My mind goes into defensive overdrive when people stand too close to me like that, and it takes so much self control to not take it to the nth degree and go mental.

I (Don’t) Want…

If I were honest with myself, I mean really truly deep down in my heart of hearts honest with myself … maybe I would admit that somewhere underneath it all, I want the story of happily ever after. Maybe.

But I’m never completely, without a doubt, 100% honest with myself. So I don’t need a handsome prince to rescue me. I’m not dreaming of a fairytale, because fairytales don’t exist. There isn’t anyone to sweep me off my feet. And I don’t want that anyway.

I don’t want the romantic proposal.

I don’t want the diamond ring.

I don’t want the beautiful bridal gown.

I don’t want the honey moon in Hawaii, or Paris, or where ever.

I don’t want someone who’ll write me songs, and sing to me and take my breath away. I don’t want to belong to them and they belong to me. I don’t want to hear the soft sweet sighs meant only for my ear. I don’t want someone to take me by surprise every time they tell me they love me. I don’t want anyone to look so deeply in my eyes that I can see my name etched onto their soul. I don’t want fall asleep listening to the even breaths and the heartbeat of the one beside me. I don’t want any of it.

Except I ever so badly do.

Ugh My Meds are Killing my Creativity.

I’m 2 weeks into my increase in meds and one of the things I’m hating is how dopey they make me. They make me so sleepy, and tired during the day. It was really difficult waking up this morning to get the kids to school and me to work. In fact I overslept because I couldn’t open my eyes long enough. I’m never a morning person really, but the higher dosage makes me even more groggy.

The other thing it’s done, and I hate this the most – it’s put a block on my creativity. I can’t think properly now. I feel like my thoughts are just wandering aimlessly through a thick cloud of cotton wool. I can’t write creatively. This has put a serious hamper on my story I was working on for NaNoWriMo. All attempts at writing have failed miserably. I can’t write, I can’t draw, I can’t create and if this keeps up it’s going to send me into a tailspin of misery.

I do like the fact that I’m so chilled out right now, like really chilled. Nothing gets to me – I’m Sunday Morning. In that respect it’s awesome, it’s like smoking weed without the munchies (thank fuck!). But I just hate that it totally blocks any creative thoughts. I want to get into my brain and find that place, the one where I can create again.

Instead there is nothing. Nothing but the calm. I’d say fuck this, but seriously I’m way too chill to do that right now.

A Bad (Holiday) Romance

I have previously talk about how naive and awkward I am when it comes to romance. When I was 22 I unwittingly added being an asshole to my list. I was getting over my first serious relationship and decided to take off for a two week vacation in Hawaii. Overseas alone was a very daunting expedition for an introvert who was still living at home. However, I stayed in a hostel in Waikīkī, and even met two really delightful English girls and became instant friends.

One night they took me to a pub they’d found and introduced me to the joys of a Long Island Iced Tea; and watched the 74th Academy Awards on the big screen TV.  There were a couple of guys at this pub who I believe the lasses had encountered on a previous day because they came over and joined the table. One of the guys, his name was Jake (at least I’m pretty sure it was, shit dude sorry if it isn’t – now I’m an even bigger asshole!!) came across as rather cocky and sure of himself, and the girls didn’t really care for him all that much.

But he got to talking with me, probably because I was the only one polite enough to respond and pay attention. And it turned out he was actually a decent sort, cocky yes, but very intelligent and witty. It turned out we had a few things in common, an interest in Ancient Egypt and old classic films. Somehow, I got to calling him Humphrey Bogart (he said was his favourite actor) and he was calling me Audrey Hepburn (my favourite actress). It was a fun night and I did come away with just a little crush on Bogart (I’ll keep calling him that, just in case his name isn’t Jake ^^’ )

I ended up going to North Shore for a few days with the girls and came back to Waikīkī the day before I was scheduled to return to Australia. That night, on a whim, I decided to go to the pub, just in case Bogart was there. And he was there. He started buying me drinks. We had some pretty deep conversation going, and major flirting too.

It gets late and I’m on the happy side of tipsy and decide I’d better call it a night and head back to my dorm. Bogart walks with me until the intersection where his apartment is a different direction to my dorm. And he gives me the most spellbinding passionate kiss, like straight out of one of my favourite movies. Dead set, it was amazing. And now that he’s charmed me with that incredible kiss, I find myself going with him to his apartment.

A few times I stop walking to half heartedly say I should probably be going back to my dorm. Keep in mind I’m not saying this because I really wanted to go back to my dorm. I’m only saying it because part of me knew it was very improper to take off with a complete stranger in another country. He distracts me with kisses trailing up my arm, my neck and to my mouth … of course I am putty in his very expert hands and my thoughts have turned to mush and I can only think how much I want him.

Seriously those kisses were captivating, I’d not been kissed like that before. It was like he walked straight out of my mind and into real life – his personality, his kisses, his unconventional cuteness it was all like my ideal mate come to life.

Except for the bit that came after.

I don’t have much to say except that the sex really was actually pretty disappointing. So we ended up falling asleep at some point and when I wake up the next morning, I realise with dismay just how much better my holiday fantasy would have been if I hadn’t actually slept with him. I am also shockingly aware of just how awkward and uncomfortable I feel right now because I desperately want a shower and a toothbrush (fucking alcohol fuelled morning breath).

I tell him I’ve really got to go and I hurriedly throw on my clothes, distractedly rebuffing his offer of breakfast. He goes to give me a kiss goodbye and I hold out my hand (like offering a handshake) and say it was nice to meet him and thanks for the memory.

Yeah real smooth, sleeping with someone and then shaking their hand like “it’s pleasure doing business with you”. I didn’t want him to kiss me because I was paranoid about the fact I felt unclean – I hate even talking to people when my mouth doesn’t feel clean, let alone kissing. But of course I came off as an asshole by totally brushing him off, which wasn’t my intention at all.

So um I guess I owe you an apology Jake (yeah that’s totally your name, I’m sure of it now) – I’m really sorry about being such an asshole. I did quite like you, and if I wasn’t such a freak about my having clean teeth and such, you would have gotten at least one more kiss out of me. I probably would have gone another round with you too, just in case it was alcohol that made the sex suck. At least I hope it was the alcohol, and not you. (SHIT! I’m still being an asshole…sorry Jake!)