In "Dating Like a 'Cougar' Is Leaving Me Lonely," I discussed my mixed feelings about continuing to identify as a cougar. I was worried that the term might be too small of a box to fit myself into. Having thought about it more, I now see the term more like a shoe that fits. It might be a tight fit, but it still fits.
I'm sad all the time. I'm miserable. I'm caught in a well of darkness and depression -- all the time. Now, not everyone who is depressed experiences this. Some people who are depressed experience persistent sadness bouts, yes, but they aren't necessarily constant. Depression can also be characterized by diminished interest or pleasure instead of a depressed mood. In other words, being sad all the time is not required for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder; but it sure seems to be required by my major depressive disorder (that occurs because of bipolar disorder). And the trouble with all of this is that being sad all the time is just too heavy a burden to bear.
I'm writing this just a few minutes removed from a morning run, which I hated almost every second. I'm not like the runners you see in the movies who gracefully jog with their camera-ready smiles; my face is usually fixed in a mask of focused despair, disguising not at all how distasteful I find the whole situation. This run was no different—my feet hurt, my heart pounded quicker than it wanted to, and my respiration struggled to keep pace. In short, the run absolutely, unmistakably, irrevocably sucked. It was exactly what I'd hoped for. I was hoping to increase my distress tolerance.
Being the victim of verbal abuse can create vulnerabilities in several areas of life. I know that I still experience negative feelings of vulnerability even though I am no longer in an abusive situation. Thankfully, I am learning how to properly be vulnerable without making myself a target for further abuse.
Terminal uniqueness is a concept I first learned about in eating disorder residential treatment. At the time, my restless, irritable teenage brain had no interest in the phrase. But over the years since, I've come to realize that terminal uniqueness is a common barrier to eating disorder recovery. In fact, it's not a unique or rare phenomenon at all—ironically enough. So what does terminal uniqueness mean, and how can it affect recovery? Let's unpack this further.
If you hurt yourself when you fail at something, know you're not alone. Other people, myself included, have struggled with this urge—and have since found better ways to cope.
This week, "Snap Out of It!" talks to lawyer Julia Stephanides. She schools us on the rights people with mental illness have at work and how you can use those rights to better navigate working with a mental illness.
When some people read about those of us dealing with the effects of schizophrenia, they feel the same way I do about some other chronic illnesses. How can we find joy when we can't trust our minds? How do we function when we have to go through psychosis or stay at a psychiatric hospital or treatment facility? How do we go on when we hear voices or have paranoia or delusions of one form or another? How do we form relationships, go to school, or, if we are fortunate, go to work?
I've been leaning into the practice of mindfulness lately, and the daily practice is helping me learn to accept my life situation at this moment as it is. Mindfulness helps me stay focused on what matters to me instead of slipping into eating disorder behavior when I am feeling sad, afraid, or angry. Mindfulness is helping me through binge eating disorder recovery.
I've been flitting in and out of a bipolar mixed mood for a while now, which leaves me trying to find the cause of my bipolar mixed mood. This is no mean feat. So many things can impact a bipolar mood state that narrowing it down to a single mixed mood cause is pretty tricky.