Do you know the feeling when you successfully book your flight tickets and accommodation for a vacation? No, not the feeling of excitement. An uncertain feeling in the pit of your stomach that tells you something might go wrong on the trip-- anxiety.
Boundaries are one area in my life that I wish I was better at. I have trouble completely putting myself first, even if it becomes a detriment to myself, especially my mental wellbeing. It dawned on me though that I have set boundaries before. While I had thought I didn’t really have any, I do have boundaries I’ve set up to protect my mental health. The reason I’ve never really thought of them in that light is because I’ve struggled with feeling like a bad person by doing so.
Distraction from bipolar symptoms is something I rely on as a coping skill. In fact, it's pretty much an everyday coping skill for me. Bipolar symptom distraction may sound overly simplistic, and sometimes it is (although, not always), but sometimes the simple things just work.
This is going to be another one of those posts that doesn't have any easy answers. I've realized that many of my mental health issues are ones that don't have simple fixes, and that sometimes, the best I can do is think out loud to at least attempt to get a better understanding of what I need for myself. I hope all who read will allow me the indulgence.
I never really had a hobby, per se. I married young and had three kids. That, plus a full-time job, left little time for me, let alone hobbies. I write—this blog, for instance—and read, but I don't consider either of these hobbies. As a creative outlet, and with the hope that I could channel my thoughts and energy into something that wasn't all about my trauma and residual anxieties, I decided it was time to pursue a hobby.
If you had asked me a year ago to describe someone suffering from depression, I would have given you a generic and straight-up basic answer. My response would have gone something like this: A depressed individual--versus an individual who is currently battling depression--is sad and doesn’t enjoy pleasures that were once joyful. I’ll be honest, my answer is not incorrect, but I can’t seem to shake the hint of judgment in my tone birthed from ignorance towards depression that I had at the time. I would even go as far as to say that I had an unconscious bias towards the illness and mental health issues in general; little did I know, depression, like people, comes in all shapes and sizes.
In a previous blog post, I illustrated how I combat harmful thoughts about food. Now I want to take this a step further and examine how I recalibrate behaviors around eating. These days, I have a healthier relationship with food than I ever thought possible. I attribute much of this transformation to a framework called intuitive eating—and the decision to make a peace treaty with food as part of my eating disorder recovery.
Verbal abuse can look different to everyone. For example, while some people experience humiliation, others may suffer from gaslighting. Alternatively, some abusers use multiple forms of abuse to control their victims. Unfortunately, my story involves virtually every textbook element of abuse, from verbal assaults to gaslighting and controlling and manipulative behaviors.
Recently, I came down with a really bad cold, and my schizoaffective disorder and accompanying anxiety made it worse. I honestly thought I would never get well again. Here’s what it was like.