New counselor

Ok, so tonight is huge.

Got a new counselor, something I’ve been meaning to follow through with since August, and it’s the first time I’ve been in the right place. Not location (even though I’m terrible with directions).

Since the trauma from growing up, high school, and the rapes; I haven’t told the full story to any doctor or counselor. When I was first raped, I talked to a later counselor about friend drama. When I was diagnosed, I talked to my counselor about my wavering sexuality. I tried to talk to partners about the rapes and usually ended up telling random people while drunk about the traumas or my sexuality. Nothing’s ever lined up in my life that I was able to linearly explain my life to a counselor, using direct language, and while in a decent headspace with life that I wasn’t lying to cover a severe depressive episode.

Tonight happened and I couldn’t feel stronger than this. I told her about my current work and amazing coworkers, struggling with the panic disorder and depressive mood swings, my bisexuality and dating history, the rapes, the promiscuity following, the celibacy, the diagnosed years, the moving to a new city, the family of mental health disorders, and the going about these stresses with friends instead of family.

She was extremely supportive and reassuring that I am a strong, independent person, regardless of how my family perceives me. She told me that I was experienced with my anxiety and was the first patient she’d received in a while who wasn’t in crisis, but was there to see her as a proactive measure. She made me feel smart and strong and like a survivor.

I left her office feeling thankful for her and justified of how I’ve handled things the past 10+ years. It’s a really good feeling to know you’re okay and will continue to make it.

Talking through everything tonight to her made me feel whole.

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Red heart emoji playlist

I made a playlist on Spotify that is under the red heart emoji. It’s my self love playlist for all the moments I feel love for myself.

Like Friday night when I got so drunk with coworkers then Ubered¬†to Connor’s house and had sex with a guy for the first time in 2 years. And when he stopped and sent me home midway through because he said I was too drunk just before I unloaded the rape stories and how he was my first in 2 years and all the other trauma related word vomit I could erupt in that moment. I’ve heard from him since, somehow couldn’t scare him off, or he just wants sex and can ignore the other stuff.

Also I regret going home this weekend. It was nice to see family but I really just needed to be alone. I felt distance and irritable and had no appetite and could just feel the emptiness creeping in.

My first counseling appointment is this Thursday. It’s shocking to me how much I don’t know what to do with myself now that sex is back in my life. Like how I keep forgetting how strong I’ve convinced myself I am. I have moments where I completely forget what person I’ve become since the rapes and the celibacy years and the dating different genders and coming out and working and moving and taking care of my silly brain.

I sound dramatic, but I know better than to take this lightly. No one knew for 7 years as I coped with my 2 rapes. Somehow I managed for 5 years without medication. Even within 2 years of celibacy, I found it almost impossible to get emotionally close to anyone. I feel like within all these years that I should’ve professionally faced my traumas at some point and I didn’t and so when things like sex start happening again, that I don’t know how to live as this new person and fall apart like last time.

I literally have no idea what I’m doing and I’m just hovered on the tip of another depressive episode. There’s things like exercise and friends and therapy and water and good food that I’ll do consistently this week to keep away the depression so yes, I know what to do.


Within all the fear and anxiety though, there’s also a lot of relief. I started the celibacy to detox myself from all the bad habits and self destructive behavior. It worked, and then I was too afraid to break the streak. I was too afraid I wouldn’t be able to control myself or that I’d be terrible or hurt even worse. So it became easier to just not have sex with anyone.

Breaking those 2 years reminds me of the Andrea Gibson quote/my foot tattoo; “Breathe deep and dive.”

Deep down I know that in order to continue past the trauma I would have to be able to start balancing sex in my life again instead of staying afraid of it.

And this is the self love I mean. Not the bubble bath self love, but the kind when I could be crying or depressed or panicking and all I can really manage is to calmly be thankful for making it this far and realizing that somehow I will get myself through everything else.

Remind me where that is

I don’t know how to hold myself together anymore.

I don’t recognize myself, who I’ve become in the last 6 months.

“Remind me where that is” was the name of my old blog. It’s the saying I repeat to myself when I feel lost like this. Lost at sea.

Like the waves of the sea, help me get back to me. bd6866bbe7b7547b436dad6ffb566b4a.jpg

Clear view

It’s amazing how fuzzy the world gets when I’m in a depressive episode.

About a week in is when I realized it was depression, but realizing it didn’t make it better. The depression was like a tranquilizer; slowing all my movements, my speech, blocking my memory, stealing all my energy or motivation to do anything, convincing me I was a disappointment and should just quit my job and give up…

Work is still stressful and hard. I still have little chest flutters every now and then when I think about school and going back for another full week. HOWEVER, there hasn’t been any panic attacks today at all.

I can think again. I celebrated my little sister’s birthday with her by going to a vegan lunch (her dairy allergy), taking profile pictures via informal photoshoot out at the lake, watching a new Netflix movie together, then going out for beers that night and playing scrabble at the bar. It was perfection. I still depressed and anxious, but those feelings were on the back burner the whole time I was home with her. Coming back, I attended my church, did laundry, changed my sheets, made chickpea salad for the week, relaxed with a movie, and didn’t start school work until 7:00.

I was able to relax for most of the weekend. Like, whoa, huge progress from a few days ago.

I wrote all my birthday thank you letters and mailed them along with all my bills.

I did all of this and I actually feel hungry at meal times and a little tired for bed now. I’m not done with lesson plans yet but this feels so good! I can breathe normally again and be happy about my life and feel like I can make it until May and I’m only a little, normal amount of anxious when I think about work.

I didn’t even go to the school today to do my planning because I knew I couldn’t print anything, so I’m doing it all from home.

Life is so much easier without the weighted feeling of panic attacks and depression. I can think again! The anxiety isn’t at a perfect point, but the depressive episode is mostly over so I feel like I can mostly manage life again.

It’s lifting

And just like that, the anxiety is slowly lifting. There’s still the thoughts of what I need to do in the morning and which students I need to talk to, but the overall crushing, headache-inducing anxiety has almost faded.

I’m back on medication; just antidepressants this time, and counseling. My coworkers are amazing, and I’m making some strides with my student’s behaviors.

The weights will lift, things will get better, I will start to enjoy this job at some point.

My teachers brain is slowly coming back and the constant state of panic is dissipating.

As much as I hate the ocean, I can sure relate to the waves.

Not a choice

I don’t want to be writing tonight.

I will not quit my job. I did take sick day yesterday with my supervisor’s advice, which means I did tell her about the panic disorder and the back-to-back panic attacks I had all of that night and into the next morning.

She said she told our overall principal about the panic attacks, which I am okay with. I ended up telling my supervisor and TA about the bipolar in addition to the panic disorder. I told them that I feel so overwhelmed with planning and the behaviors so my TA agreed to take over planning for 2 of the 7 classes, and my supervisor assigned a float staff to our classroom for most of the day to help with behaviors and help teach. I didn’t have a panic attack at school, though in the morning it felt like I would. Some of the stress is relieved and I think it’s all from the support at school and the way my coworkers and supervisors responded to my disclosure.

I’ve never told a workplace about my disorders before. The thing is; I’ve never had to. I’ve not always been the best teacher, but I’ve covered up my low moments to where I didn’t need to admit to any reason behind strange behavior.

It scares me that I can’t control the panic disorder. Is it the job that’s so intense that’s bringing out the worst in the disorder? Is it just that I’m older and the disorders are now starting to take effect and take over my life more, like is there any way to stop how intense these feelings and thoughts are becoming? Is it just a depressive or hypomanic episode that I’ve never had panic attacks attached to so I didn’t realize it was the bipolar all along? What the fuck is happening and how do I stop it?

I saw a new counselor today, but didn’t feel comfortable disclosing more than just the stress happening at school. That seemed like the most immediate need and I didn’t feel like I had much time. I should probably talk about the rape next week. That would be smart to open up the other triggers.

And I’m back on medication. Just the antidepressants from before; the new doctor prescribed me another months worth. He says it should help with the anxiety and depression (obviously).

I just want this intense anxiety to be over with. All the things I really know about myself are just above a surface I can’t quite keep my head above. All of the anxiety delusions of not being good enough, being a terrible teacher, not controlling my student’s behaviors, being weak, being too fucked up to maintain a career…are the thoughts pulling me under, minute after minute.

I feel so desperately at a loss for how to make the anxiety and hopelessness stop.

BetterHelp

So, I’ve been absent from blogging partially because I’m not depressed or manic, partially because I’m freaking out about school starting soon and can’t really put those feeling down, and partially because I got a counselor through Better Help to help me carry over until the point where I can actually go see a counselor in person. My insurance through this school is different and my appointment with my new primary doctor isn’t until the end of August, so I’m not sure when I can actually get in with a counselor I like. I didn’t think I could wait until September with all the stuff on here I’ve been opening up about so I’m trying Better Help in a desperate attempt to stay okay for awhile.

I got a tiny discount, which makes it easier to be okay with, and it’s actually helping? I didn’t expect to feel relief so soon, but I do and it’s nice.

Also, 20% sure I saw Nicole at Hyvee yesterday. If she recently shaved part of her head and dyed the remaining swoop purple, then I definitely saw and purposely ignored her while having mini internal panic attacks in the gourmet cheese section.

iPhone – Timeline

July 7, 2018

December 12, 2016: I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 and Panic Disorder

June 1, 2017: I came out to my family about having both disorders

December 31, 2017: I came out to my sister as bisexual

January 1, 2018: I came out to my parents as bisexual

July 6, 2018: I admitted to myself I’d been raped on February 11, 2011, I used the R word

July 7, 2018: I admitted to myself that I’m not bisexual, I’m gay

 

 

It’s a process and it’s always updating.

Leg work

On my end will be the mental stuff

Like telling myself I’m good enough.

I want you to make me strong

So everyone else knows it.

But really, I’ve joined 2 running groups, a biking group, 1 yoga studio, and 1 gym with hopefully 1 personal trainer.

Time and place

When was a time where you came the closest to killing yourself?

A lightening storm in ’08…

Not when you were still just thinking about it.

A college dorm in ’11…

But when you almost left.

A kitchen floor in ’16…

So only a few times, that’s no so bad…