Flare ups

Been a while since my depression really kicked my butt. Like, a few months at least. Got used to feeling fairly good consistently. And then the past couple days came and the symptoms were back.

I almost forgot how bad it feels, how little others understand, how hard it is to admit something is wrong or even try doing anything about it.

I started today crying and hardly able to get out of bed or get dressed. Almost neglected hygiene. Eventually I texted some friends, only one responded. Couldn’t eat and am only just attempting to make myself eat. Went to get coffee at a cafe I frequent, so I’d be around people I know. It helped a lot but was hard. I didn’t want them to find out what was going on.

Still in a funk and somewhat isolating. Waiting on food to cook, not really hungry but going through the motions. Luckily I have an appointment tomorrow where I can discuss what’s happened. I’m not sure how I’d feel if I didn’t know that’s coming.

Just been a hard weekend and I’m trying to be gentle with myself and get through this. So far it’s tough but slightly better. Trying to move forward.

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Blossoming

Life got busy but yielded a lot of growth. Also, my hibiscus finally has a bloom! I waited all summer for the flowers to open. Think it was hindered by being kept inside this year. Last summer I kept it beside my walkway. Here it is!:

It was the first plant I bought after buying the house. I doubt I’d have become a home owner at 22 if I hadn’t been homeless a couple years prior. It’s amazing what a little effort and some time can do. Not the biggest place, older, has its quirks, but I love it here.

Unfortunately it took a long time for me to trust that I had stable housing. Even after two years renting and one year owning a home, it can still be hard to wrap my mind around. I catch myself in old habits acting like it’s only temporary. Something tells me I need to put my hibiscus in the ground this year and literally grow some roots.

Growth is a gradual and scary thing that comes inevitably. We can try to avoid it and distrust the process, but human beings are made to grow and move forward. Life is a series of lessons. I often need to remember to let go and give myself a break. That’s partly why I enjoy plants, they show that lesson in every stage and let me find peace even for a minute.

Great start to the week!

Got caught up in life and last week flew by. It’s been a time of change, some bigger than others. I often forget positive things can be just as difficult to handle as the negative. I’ve had to make an effort to reach out instead of isolate, and it does help.

Seems the less I stress, the easier things come together. I remember spending months applying to many jobs when I was younger and seldom hearing back. Now I applied to one job and have an interview set up in 2 weeks flat. I think a lot has to do with changes and progress I’ve made. I went about it conversational and with an attitude of not really needing the job, which allowed me to be more open in communication. And now it’s working out better than ever. That’s been a huge lesson for me: not being standoffish and putting myself out there. I never could before.

Also been at a standstill with my art. I got on a roll, but it’s hit a wall and I’m unsure what to make or paint next. I put together a puzzle thinking the colors or shapes might inspire me, and I think it slightly did, but I’m stuck. I may just start something and see what it becomes. That can be very therapeutic.

All together it’s been an eventful learning experience and I’m excited to see where this week takes me. Still awaiting the start of classes in August, trying to do my best to be successful and have a full life. It’s a journey and a little effort has a big effect on the future. Doesn’t have to be something difficult, even tiny day to day things stack and become great change with time.

End of week thoughts

Another week done. It’s been a challenging one with lots of lessons and opportunities, the type of week that just keeps giving additional work. Started out slow and ended so busy. Had a rough beginning.

One major challenge has been triggers from a friend. It didn’t improve after talking to her. In fact, when I said what happened and how it affected me and why, she took it upon herself to reiterate the triggers and try making me come to 12 step meetings with her. Another friend suggested I grey rock her and act boring until she leaves me alone. I may just have to do that to protect myself.

I’ve never had an easy time putting myself first. It’s hard to understand I matter too, and just as much as others. I’ve been told it’s selfish to take care of myself so many times it’s a struggle to think otherwise. That’s been one of the bigger lessons that came up again this week. Maybe one of the most important ones, if only I’d get it right one of these days.

Also still trying to cope with having a lot of free time. Classes start sooner than I think, yet I’m panicking about money because I’m not used to not working full time. It’s a big adjustment but I think I need to focus on classes and move forward at this point in life. There has been a lot of change, which has been a large trigger of its own.

Signed up for Misfits vegetables and got into cooking/baking pretty heavily. Have about 4 recipes to try. Anything to use up these vegetables before the next box comes! Really enjoy having it shipped to me, I think I’m already saving money and eating better. The produce section is mystifying and I’m looking for ways to simplify my life for the best chance at success.

To summarize, it’s been one of those up and down weeks with interpersonal relationships, adapting to this new pace in my life, and just trying to find ways to make things easier. At least my newfound hobby of trying new recipes is off to a great start. Thinking of some new art to make too.

Making new friends

Yesterday I talked to a friend I’ve known for over a decade. She’s been going through it with her own multitude of mental health symptoms, and we’ve been talking more than usual because of the similarities in our struggles. She asked me a question that’s often haunted both of us: how do you make friends?

I’ve never been all that social. I don’t keep to myself as much as I used to, but I don’t go out of my way to hang out with people normally. It’s a delicate dance between socializing and avoiding overstimulation. The balance gets easier to find with practice, yet it seldom comes naturally.

All I could think of was how I spend too much money at coffee shops. It’s not that I like coffee so much, or that I can’t make it at home. It’s always been barely inside my budget. Yet it became a habit because I craved that slight social interaction. I’ve met more people by going to coffee shops than anywhere else. Because of that, the high price is worthwhile to me. Others may not have the same experience or feel a $3 to $5 drink makes any sense.

Last year I moved, and started checking local Facebook pages and Google events for anything that fit my schedule. Didn’t matter if it sounded like something I wouldn’t normally do. I tried new kinds of music performers, city events, a comedy show, a car show, and game nights. Checked out a little church. Met up with strangers for coffee. I didn’t stay in contact with even half the people I met, but did make friends just by hanging out and seeing what things are all about. I’m not always able to do that. I wouldn’t say I even did it weekly. But I got out there sometimes and it made my life more bearable.

Then of course, more solitary activities like art and writing have been best shared online. I’m trying to find the confidence to share my creations in person but I’ve been attacked so many times. One day I’ll take baby steps towards being open and maybe make connections through my hobbies too.

There’s many ways to make new friends, no matter what interests you have. I suppose this can be summarized as just getting out there being the most effective method. It doesn’t have to be all at once, any small step counts! There’s always going to be someone that shares at least one interest you can connect over.

Rain

Another rainy day. The weather always affects me, I often think seasonal affective disorder must be somewhere among my list of conditions. It hasn’t been easy to get going or feel good today. I had a very slow start, eventually got dressed and left the house. I try to be around people on days like today.

Sometimes it really is the little things that make a difference. I often try to do too much and get exhausted. It’s nice to have the time to go at my own pace, but when I’m working that isn’t always possible. There’s been plenty of half-baked days I’ve muddled through. Then it becomes a struggle of prioritizing. Too many tasks or options can paralyze me.

I don’t plan on doing a lot, trying to get my thoughts and feelings on paper and not isolate too badly. Now that I’m up and moving I may work on art again. Food is another goal, I achieved chai tea but haven’t eaten proper food yet. Some days that takes the longest to get the energy to do.

Overall, I’ve had to remind myself my health comes first and it’s okay if I’m not able to do something right now. But it is important to try my best. It may not always look like much, but little things add up.

Art, creativity, hobbies:

It’s never been easy for me to stick with activities. It’s not that there haven’t been things I enjoy or am good at, it’s just that something else comes along and takes its place. It’s a continuous cycle of going from one thing to another.

When I’m not working I paint and do other crafts. It’s what I like more than anything, though I’m not focused enough to ever make a career out of it and doubt I’ll sell anything. It does help me though. Probably the most disappointing thing has been my therapist hearing this and then asking for a free piece of art. It reminds me of the musician playing for “exposure”, just really leaves a bad taste in my mouth when things like this get said. Despite thinking my art can’t sell/is unwanted, I think it has more value than being free.

Anyway, just been thinking about what really drives me since I’m passing time until classes start on August 21. And still having those thoughts of “how disabled am I? Should I apply for disability? Should I have applied years ago?”, along with getting hit by a small wave of depression early today. Meant to get a lot done but just went to buy sea glass to finish a small clay thing.

Here’s what I worked on most recently: