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. πŸ™‚

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

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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.

It’s a process.

Here’s an update on my journey.

I am still not sleeping well. I can sleep for two hours, wake up with my heart racing, stay awake for 1-2 hours because I cannot calm down (neither my body nor mind allow it), eventually fall asleep, only to wake up again after two hours and start the cycle all over again. Some nights, most nights, I only do this cycle twice. And so, I have only been averaging about four hours of sleep a night. It is exhausting. It is frustrating.

I cannot nap either. I tried to yesterday after work, then became so irritated that I couldn’t relax, and I started crying. I reached out to friends.

Really, the only place and time that I can sleep is when I am in a car, when someone is driving me somewhere. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the movement, maybe it’s because I know the people driving me (usually family) love me and will keep me safe, maybe it’s the feeling of getting away.

[sigh]

At my last session with my therapist, after I told her about my last trigger – cleaning out my vacuum cleaner only to discover that it was clogged with my deceased dog’s hair – she told me that although, yes, I do show many of the signs of depression, what I am dealing with isΒ grief.

I have known that I am grieving. I guess I never realized that grief is the issue. My grief is causing these signs of depression. The depression isn’t causing the grief. I have to tackle the grief, address it and heal.

Somehow, that gives me more hope. For some reason, grief does not seem as big an enemy as depression. Grief seems more manageable. Grief is feeling.

I can do this.

Source energy, universe, all that is good, please help me through this. Help me heal. Help me release all the negative energy I store. Help me learn from my mistakes and become a more complete person, help me ascend. Help me find my higher self. Please.

Please.

Here I go.

This has come as a surprise to people who know me. It certainly caught me off guard, shocked me and shook me. I had never experienced it before, and so it frightened me even more so. I am not one to leave issues unaddressed, however. I love myself, and I love a lot of people who love me too.

I am battling depression and anxiety.

Me. Happy Daisy. The girl who is always so positive, the one who lifts others up, the light in the lives of her friends and family (seriously, they have called me that), the one who wants to save the world. The badass, the go-getter, the adventurer, the brain.

I’m depressed.

I have been since early December, although I didn’t call it that. Initially, I had an emotional breakdown. Then, I cried and felt sorry for myself. I reached out to anyone who would listen to me – my closest friends and my Mom. I bawled. This lasted for about a week. I quickly identified what had triggered me, and thought that just doing that was all I needed to get out of the funk, and I did… But then it crept back on me and hasn’t left since.

I reached out to Cee, who told me that she has been struggling with depression. What? Oh no. Why hadn’t she reached out to me? I’m so sorry I wasn’t there, I never asked. She told me that she was getting better, she was seeing a therapist. She started off seeing him twice weekly, but now she only sees him once a month, because she’s better. It took her a while to find one she was comfortable with, one that clicked, but it was the best decision she could have made.

And so, I decided to take that step as well. Everything felt overwhelming, I was anxious, I was afraid, I was grieving losses that had happened and already grieving those that have not, I stressed. I was not sleeping well (I’m still not) and started losing weight rapidly (I still have not been able to put it back on). Maybe a therapist could talk me into feeling more like myself again, teach me new coping mechanisms, give me advice… SOMETHING.

I researched therapists covered by my insurance and found one not far from my place. I was able to make an appointment for that same week! I had to fill out lengthy paperwork, including a 30 minute questionnaire, one that made me dig way back into my past. Wow. We are going to uncover some shit with this. Let’s do it.

I cried during my walk there for my first appointment, emotional over the fact that I needed this. I arrived early and cried in the waiting room, nervous that I wouldn’t know where to begin, feeling immense loneliness the longer I waited. There was nobody around. Just a sign that read, “Please make yourself comfortable. Your psychologist will come out to greet you.”

She eventually did. She gave me a warm smile. Somehow, I immediately felt safe.

I don’t know how I did it, but I explained it all, within 90 minutes. I just talked and talked and talked. And cried, of course. I think I went through five or six tissues. She took notes on the questionnaire I had filled out. She asked me about the answers I made on it. We were going to get to the bottom of things. Not instantly in that first session, but eventually. We would figure out a plan for me, a map towards making me better again, mechanisms that would work for me. We clicked!

Towards the end of our first session, she said those words to me: “You’re depressed.”

I cried even more. As sad and overwhelmed as I had felt in those weeks, I never thought of myself as depressed. I knew something was wrong, I knew I wasn’t myself, I knew I was hurting, I was stressed, but… Not depressed.

I was, though. I had all the classic signs.

“You’re depressed.”

Cry. Deep breath. Heart racing. Another deep breath.

I am depressed.

Wow.

I have gone through life never fully understanding depression, wanting those I loved who experienced it to get better, not always knowing what to say to them. Was I insensitive to them? Probably, yeah. Would people be insensitive towards me? They already had been. I’m in my thirties, I’ve been thriving, I’m optimistic, I’m ambitious. How could this be happening to me? Now? At this age? To me?!

It was happening, though.

At the end of my first session, my therapist told me to be as compassionate towards myself as I am towards others.

Oh. Oops. I saw it now. I spent so much time building others up, giving so much of myself to the people I love, that I neglected myself. Because on the surface, I was okay. Sure, I hurt every now and then. My heart was heavy at times, my self-esteem dropped at other times, but I coped and toughened up. Because others were going through so much worse. And I had to be strong for them.

All the while, I was sinking.

I wasn’t really coping. I was distracting myself. I didn’t address my feelings, my thoughts, my beliefs. I ignored them. And then? Then what happened?

Everything I kept within me, everything I failed to face and address, it boiled up inside me all at once and I exploded. It was bad. I won’t deny it. Very bad.

Unfortunately, the person who witnessed this explosion was… Just not the right person. His reaction could have pulled me up, it could have been a floating device that would encourage me to start swimming on my own again. Instead, it only pulled me deeper underwater. Much, much further than I’d ever been.

That was when my depression started.

I am still hurting. My mind is in turmoil. Some days, I feel confident that I am getting better. Other days, I sink. It’s a roller coaster.

My therapist and I are still trying to uncover things. We have learned that I am too hard on myself, I demand too much of myself. Why? Why am I like this?

[sigh]

We’re working on it.

I know I will get better. I need to trust the process, trust the journey. I am proud of myself for immediately seeking help, for recognizing that this was not okay for me, for not being afraid nor ashamed to open up.

I have definitely opened up. My goodness, my support system has been amazing! There with me every step of the way. Patient and compassionate towards me. I feel their love, I feel how much they care. Most importantly, I feel how much faith they have in me. They know I will get better, they tell me all the time. They tell me they are proud of me.

Mom, Dad, big brother, Cristina, Sarah, Nicole, and Cent. Thank you for being my lifeguards, my unofficial therapists between my sessions. I know I’m not better yet, I’m not in the clear yet, but I will get there, and it will be because of you as much as it is because of me. I could never repay you for all that you have done for me thus far and all I know you will continue to do. I love you all so much.

Thank you.

And thank YOU for reading this. I may share more of my journey. We shall see how I feel. I have another appointment with my therapist tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it. Please send me positive thoughts. I don’t typically ask for them, but I need them now.

Take care.

-Daisy

Soon you’ll be okay.

Every now and then, just outside my window, below my balcony, a middle-aged man grabs his saxophone and plays it loudly in the park across the street from my place. He is doing so now. He is an angel, he must be. Hearing that sweet sound, those soulful notes, the way they linger in the air, is what I need. Now there’s another man, letting the lone musician know that it sounds good and that he should keep playing all night. I need that too. Strangers being kind to one another, complimenting each other, without invitation, without compensation.

Thank you, my angels.

Life is so beautiful.

I have always thought it so. I have always gazed at the world around me with awe. It still impresses me, even after nearly thirty-three years. I took two of my pets to work with me today, and kept going over to them because animals never fail me. They amaze me every day. Gosh, they are just so cute and how lucky am I to be able to bond with them? Isn’t it astounding? How is that angel making such beautiful music? How is the sun still shining mightily when it is nearly 8 pm? Can I truly be blessed with such friends and family? Why do people consistently come to my aid when I am in need? Why are they so unexpectedly nice to me? Strangers, too!

It is all so beautiful. It overwhelms me, yet I cannot get enough of it.

Which is why I struggle to understand why anyone would take his or her own life.

This week was rough. We lost a good one, humans and animals. We lost a beautiful soul, the sweetest of spirits, one who certainly did not deserve to hurt, not the way she must have in the end, not ever. Now, I hurt for her. I hurt and hurt and hurt.

Death is shitty. It is terminal, it is permanent, and it is devastating. I am atheist, I do not believe in an afterlife, I do not think that she has found freedom nor that she is finally “living” happily somewhere. She is dead. The one life she had is now over, her one shot at happiness has come to an end, and my heart is crushed fearing that she never experienced it. Maybe she had moments of it scattered throughout her lifetime, right? Maybe I should take comfort in that. Because this bullshit that I might see her again is just that. Bullshit.

What the fuck, life? As beautiful as you are, what is this?

 

 

 

 

Last week, I finished watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. I was captivated, episode after episode, scene after scene. I could never say that I enjoyed it necessarily, but I do not regret watching it. There are certain stories that need to be told, truths revealed, issues to be faced. I was moved.

Shortly after watching the series, I noticed a series of tumblr posts by a friend I admire and adore. They were morbid. They invited and welcomed death. Some were self-deprecating. Worry for this friend came over me.

Then, Chris Cornell took his own life. But why? Really? Why? No, it’s too tragic.

Then, my friend. Then, a colleague and former client.

May 2017, you suck.

 

 

 

 

I need a break. I need a break from social media. I uninstalled Instagram and Snapchat from my phone. I deactivated my Facebook, but did so rather hastily. I have since logged back in to gather information on groups that I am a member of before I peace out again. All my protests, gatherings, meetings are listed on Facebook. How will I learn about them now? I could also take a break from my activism as well. I simply stay too busy.

This, too, is a result of not believing in an afterlife. I feel it so necessary to cram as much as I can into the only life I will ever have. I need to see everyone, spend time with those I love as frequently as possible, I must hurry and save the world. The world only gets me for a limited amount of time, I cannot let it down. I have to do it all! All of it! Now or possibly never. Nothing is guaranteed, have we not all learned that lesson?

Fuck it, though, I am going to take a break. It’s decided.

I have already started to, actually. I never got too far with learning videography and film editing because someone with actual experience stepped up to volunteer. That freed me up. Most of my activism as of lately revolves around making phone calls to my congressman’s office every Monday, which is a rather easy task. That is pretty much it. I will get a break from that with Memorial Day coming up. Those phone calls can make me angry, I admit and you can probably imagine. Break from those? Yup!

Break from everything but love and light.

 

 

 

 

 

I am hoping to soon figure out what my next move will be. Where do I want to focus, how do I want to honor Beautiful? What will heal the world, and dammit Daisy, sometimes you need healing too! Be selfish and look out for yourself too, lady. You have to come back strong like the bad bitch you were destined to be.

Thank you, you who stand by me and support me and come to my rescue. I love you all. You especially. You did not have to do that. Not any of it. But you did. You are good to me. You are good.

Everyone else, I love you, too. If you are reading this, I love you. You are welcome to my home, to my sofa, to my hugs, to my friendship. I will lend you my ear, my advice, my care. If it is parental advice you seek, I cannot help you, but you can borrow my parents. Many do. I do not mind sharing. You can also come over and let my critters love on you. They are the friendliest little loves. They will make you smile, I promise.

It is not for me to understand why you self-harm or consider suicide an option. You do not owe it to me to help me understand. What I owe you is assuring you that you do not need to be ashamed. Your way of coping differs from mine, and that’s that. It is okay to talk about it, to seek help. Your battle is unique, but you do not have to go through it alone. I know that you can’t just get over it or forget about it and move on. Anyone who expects that of you is clueless.

I love you, okay? Take care and be kind.

Especially to yourself. ❀