You can’t spell monumental without mental.

Today was monumental for me.

I’m laying on my couch, my freshly shampooed hair in a wrap, I’m wearing my super soft bathrobe, tucked underneath my favorite, most cozy blanket. I currently have three conversations going, via text messaging. This makes me feel good.

I had plans for today. Exciting plans. They had to be scratched thanks to the awful, terrible, no-good weather we are having, though. Booooo! Thunderstorms, incessant rain, and temperatures hovering around freezing all day. I woke up, got dressed, and headed to my parents’ to visit my pup and go shopping.

By the way, you know my incredible parents? The ones I mention every now and then? They have been keeping my dog at their place and taking care of him for me all month! In my completely biased opinion, they are the closest thing to angels and to saints that exist.

Early this month, when I talked to my doctor about how much trouble I was having with sleep, she told me to pay attention to all the little things that kept and/or woke me up. Noises, lights, the temperature, distractions, whatever.

I was sad to realize that more than anything else, my dog was affecting my sleep. From wanting to look out the window at night, and thus messing with the blinds [noisy]; to making himself comfortable on my bed, which leaves me with little space to get comfortable myself; to keeping me up late or waking me up early because he needs to go outside… All of this impedes me from getting a good night’s rest.

I had to do something. I live in a studio apartment, so keeping him in another room isn’t an option. I suppose I could crate him, but he’s eleven years old and has never been crated in his life [I assume this because he was an outdoor, junkyard dog until I adopted him last year]. I had to improve my sleep, though. I knew it was a key to me getting better.

And so, my parents continue to be my heroes. Parents don’t stop being parents when their kids turn eighteen and are out of the house. Not the good ones, at least. Here I am, age thirty-three, at my most desperate hour, and my parents are once again at my rescue. I asked if Bruiser could stay with them as I work to become healthy again, and without hesitation, they agreed to it.

I do not feel guilty about it because he’s in great hands. He is getting more attention than he does here alone all day, waiting for me to get home. And I simply have to get better. It will be to his benefit, too, to have a healthy momma who will take him on long walks, short runs, and trips to the dog park.

I love him so much. It was good to spend most of the day with him. The awful, terrible, no-good weather called for naps, so we lounged in my parents’ living room and dozed off for over an hour. Sleep is sleep and I was grateful to get it!

Mom made me lunch when I woke up, delicious as always. I often say she is the best cook I know, and I mean it. She is so creative, and pays such close attention to detail. She also cooks with her heart. She expresses love to others my feeding them, and I am convinced this is why everything she makes is simply amazing. I ate until I was full, which is another huge step for me.

We went shopping. 🙂

I got home a little after five, tidied up a bit, worked out (!!!!!!!), and showered.

Then… That sinking feeling of loneliness started creeping, about an hour ago. Why? Why would it? I literally spent all day with my favorite person, and with my pup, but loneliness still prevailed. It makes no sense.

As my mind started to spin out of control, I remembered that my therapist and I decided to skip our session this week. That’s how well I was doing when she and I last spoke! Today is Wednesday. I would’ve gone today, but I didn’t.

I SKIPPED A WEEK.

Maybe I shouldn’t have? Maybe I should text her? What would she tell me to do?

I thought about calling my usuals – Cristina, Sarah, Cent, Cheryl, Julie – but I stopped myself, told myself to snap out of it, to appreciate the solitude. Breathe, Daisy.

The solitude did not last long. Cheryl texted me. Then I texted Nadia. Then Bri texted me as well. And just like that, I remembered that I am NOT alone. People do need me, just like I need them. What a wonderful reminder.

Monumental:

  • I slept/napped.
  • I ate very well.
  • I exercised.
  • I skipped therapy.
  • I helped my friends.

Deep breath. I like where this is going. You’ll be home soon, Bruiser Boy.

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Still going.

I had to go back and read my last entry to remind myself of where I was on my journey.

I was exhausted. Depleted. Demoralized. Defeated. Afraid. Angry. Desperate. Overwhelmed.

Yet determined.

At no point has giving up on myself been an option. I am doing absolutely everything I can to feel better. I’ve continued my therapy sessions, I diligently complete the tasks in my workbooks, I take my medications without fail, I reach out to my army as soon as I sense negative thoughts (and with them negative feelings) coming on. Sleep has become a priority, and there has been MUCH improvement thanks to the benzodiazepine I have on hand now, and my less wacky work schedule.

I am giving this everything I’ve got.

And it’s actually working.

I have now gone two weeks without crying, and I have been sleeping at home (for a while, I was staying at my Grandma’s) alone (I’ve also had friends and cousins stay with me at my place).

I have more energy, I am laughing again, I am feeling more like myself again.

During our last session, my therapist told me that she is starting to see my true personality shine through, and that she can tell that I have a great sense of humor and that I love to laugh. Ugh – it’s flooring when strangers notice these things about me! Yes! Laughter is so important to me, I love making others laugh, and I love being around those who make me laugh! What wonderful medicine… welcome back!

One of the people I laugh – and sometimes simply giggle – with is my coworker (now friend) Cheryl. I don’t typically see much of her at work, and when that is the case, we tend to call each other or hang out at the end of the week just to catch up. Last weekend, we went to see her brother-in-law, a local musician, play a benefit show at a brewery on the outskirts of the DFW area. Yesterday afternoon, we were on the phone with each other for over an hour! On both occasions, we laughed and laughed and laughed. We commiserate over work, because we can’t help ourselves, and over all the shit that life continues to throw at us (I won’t reveal her details, but personally, I was the victim of identity theft last week… Joy!). And then we just laugh about it. I was seriously on the verge of tears yesterday! A different kind of tears. 🙂

I already love that lady.

There have been other little things that have been bright points on my journey recently. The hospital radiologist meeting my brother and saying to my brother, “You have an awesome sister,” or something along those lines. The emergency doctors both thanking me for my hard work all throughout the week. Having been able to help my friend Julie with tasks that were insurmountable for her to do on her own (more about that in a later post). Staying at my Grandma’s this weekend not because I needed to, but because she needed me to (my aunt and cousins who usually stay with her were out of town).

It all felt good.

Unfortunately, because life is life, there was also darkness last week. No, not the stupid identity theft (although if that had happened just a couple weeks ago, I may have fallen apart!), but other news. Another mass shooting at a school and a member of our social vegan group being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

There is a common suggestion in the books I have been turning to as I navigate through this bout of mental illness. I have come to expect it, entire chapters or activities dedicated to it. Turn to religion and spirituality, they all say.

Well, I’m atheist. Religion is not my thing. I sometimes wish that I could believe in a god. That would totally make things easier. I get it, I get why people believe.

But it’s not me.

I then saw a post on Pinterest (addicted, by the way) stating that Buddhism is not a religion, but a practice. Hmmmm – this is something I may actually be able to get into. Many pins and two books downloaded onto my Kindle later, I am giving it a go. It may be another piece of the puzzle towards getting better.

I decided to start with one simple task: stop, close your eyes, breathe deeply, focus on someone, send them your love.

My love is being sent to Florida and to a local cancer treatment center.

Peace and blessings, my friends. And love. Thank you for joining me and for your support.

-Daisy

Time to talk.

I had no idea when the day started yesterday that it was Time to Talk Day.

I scrolled through Instagram, as I do daily, and noticed a friend post about her own struggle with depression. So much of what she wrote resonated with me, especially when she mentioned keeping her daily goals simple: eat, sleep, drink. She also wrote about closing herself off from others because she doesn’t want to bring them down, and not posting as much on social media because she has nothing happy to share.

So it’s not just me.

Last night’s therapy session was my most emotional yet. This week was huge for me, and I told my therapist all about it. Sarah was with me, she sat at the end of the couch, to my left. I cried and sobbed as I expressed myself and described all that had happened, and everything I felt. I noticed my therapist look over at Sarah, so I did the same.

She was crying.

I can’t describe what that moment felt like for me. The empathy. The love. The support. The worry.

Something told me early this week that it might be a good idea to take someone to therapy with me. What a great decision.

My Mom had driven me to last night’s appointment. I waited in the car with her until Sarah showed up. When I noticed Sarah arrive, I let my Mom know. Mom asked,

“Daisy, can I meet her?”

I went up to meet Sarah, let her know that my Mom wanted to meet her, and we walked back over to my Mom’s car. Mom got out and immediately hugged Sarah. I heard Mom thank her multiple times. They embraced and held each other for a while.

Again, I can’t quite describe what that moment felt like. I cried. I just have so much support and love in my life.

After therapy, I decided to make my own #timetotalk post. The response I have received has been moving.

I am feeling overwhelmed once more, thinking of it all. I will leave this at that for now.

Gratitude and goals.

I am so thankful I’m not going through this alone. In the last two weeks or so, I have opened up to an additional six people, all of whom have been incredibly supportive and caring.

At a previous session, my therapist told me that the fact that I have so many people willing to be there for me and help, talk, check in on me… It speaks volumes of the kind of person that I am. She said it reflects on me. The quality of my friends indicates that I myself am a wonderful person.

Last week, Jocelyn took me out on a hike. She packed small healthy snacks for me, knowing that I had not been eating well. Monday night, she showed up at my job with a bouquet of daisies and even more healthy snacks.

Lindsey and Jacob have been texting to check on me and offer words of encouragement.

Tonight, Sarah will be joining me at my next therapy session. Cristina will be flying in to Dallas and staying at my place with me for the night.

Mom, though? She has been my rock. Driving me everywhere, making sure I eat (albeit not very much – I’m trying), comforting me when I cry, listening to me, staying with me, cleaning my apartment, watching my dog for me. She’s amazing.

Everyone is amazing.

I know that some people with mental illness close themselves off from others, they don’t want anyone to know, they’re ashamed, or they don’t want to bring others down. I have been open, I have known from the very beginning, when the darkness first started creeping in, that there was no way in hell I’d be able to get through this on my own. And while I do feel guilty for constantly having to reach out, everyone assures me that they are glad they can be there for me.

Thank you all.

My goal is to continue to think of all I have to be grateful for. Other goals include:

  • Eating. It has become such a daunting task. I’ve lost ten pounds (that I didn’t really need to lose) in the last two months. Yesterday, I decided to wear something other than scrubs or sweatpants, to maybe boost my spirit. I was in awe when I looked at myself in the mirror. My clothes are probably three sizes too big for me now. I looked like I’m wasting away. I feel the lack of energy as well.
  • Sleeping. I can’t sleep because I’m stressed and I’m stressed because I can’t sleep. It’s an awful cycle that is leaving me exhausted. I live in fear that my lack of rest will start to affect my performance at work, especially now that I’m in a leadership role. I went to my physician early this week to ask for sleep aid. She instead prescribed an antidepressant in order to treat the root of the problem. Unfortunately, it can take weeks to kick in. In the meantime, I have a weighted blanket, eye mask, ear plugs, and a relaxation routine (taught to me by my therapist) that I rely on, although they haven’t been much help yet.
  • Controlling my thoughts. There is so much negativity and fear that I need to let go of. It’s only drowning me more. I’m trying to remind myself that this is only a season, that we are (as of today!) halfway through the winter, and spring will arrive again! I can’t bloom year round, and that’s okay. This winter was the harshest I have ever experienced, but my hope is that I will survive it and be better prepared for future years.
  • Being patient. I need to give myself time. I want to be better now, I really do. I want to go back to being my old self, I miss her. But I need to trust this journey. My meds will kick in at some point too, right?

Thank you all for reading. If you have any words for me, please share. I would appreciate them.