Anxiety and Other Stuff

My anxiety has been extremely bad the past several weeks, daily panic attacks sometimes multiple times a day.  I’m not really sure why, they seem to be pretty random.  However, the past two days were panic free.  I’ve still had some severe anxiety but I’ve been able to manage it by using my top 3 coping skills: reading, listening to music, and drawing.  I’ve also been getting out of the house more.  I hung out with my friend yesterday.  We got a pizza and watched Men In Black: International.  Had a lot of fun!  It had been quite awhile since we spent time together.  Taking walks has been a great way to get rid of nervous energy too. My mood has been great, no psychotic symptoms and I’m sleeping well.  Feel very stable.  It’s amazing really.  I’m doing the best I have in a long time and I’m very thankful for that.

I’m able to focus on drawing more often which is great, it’s becoming second nature again.

The weather has been amazing.  As I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, I love cold weather.  I’d take freezing temps over a hot summer any day.  The meds I take cause heat intolerance as well so I’m much happier in the Fall and Winter.

I’m still working on getting into a new/more affordable apartment.  I’m on another waiting list now in addition to the other place I applied to so now I have two options, and whichever comes through first I’ll make a decision then.  It could be awhile though.  My case manager is great and always on top of things which I appreciate.  Hopefully something becomes available by the beginning of 2020.

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Schizoaffective Art

This is something I’ve been wanting to draw for awhile now.  It’s basically a representation of how schizoaffective disorder feels to me, specifically during and after psychosis.  Complete confusion and chaos, and afterwards it feels like my mind has been ravaged and even simple things are hard to understand.

 

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Favorite Mental Health Related Books

I’m not great at reviewing books but I thought I’d at least but together a list of books that I’ve enjoyed and have helped me in with dealing with my mental illness.

These are non fiction, with the exception of one

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Here are some of my favorite mental health related books

Hearing Voices, Living Fully by Claire Bien 

Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life by Melody Moezzi 

Bulimia a Guide to Recovery by Lindsey Hall

The Eating Disorder Sourcebook by Carolyn Costin 

What a Life Can Be: One Therapist’s Take on Schizoaffective Disorder by Carolyn Dobbins, Ph. D

The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays by Esmé Weijun Wang

Surviving Schizophrenia by E. Fuller Torrey 

Maintaining Recovery from Eating Disorders by Naomi Feigenbaum

Coping Skills: Tools and Techniques for Every Stressful Situation by Faith G. Harper 

The Soloist by Steve Lopez

Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo and Me by Ellen Forney (graphic novel)

The Buddha and the Borderline by Kiera Van Gelder 

also, anything by Geneen Roth relating to eating disorders is good 

 

Here are some workbooks that are very helpful:

The Dialectical Behavior Skills Workbook for Bulimia by Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher and Michael Maslar

The Bipolar Survival Guide by David J. Miklowitz

The Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating Workbook by Carolyn Coker Ross

Thoughts and Feelings, Fourth Edition: Taking Control of Your Mood and Your Life by Matthew McKay Ph. D, Martha Davis Ph. D and Patrick Fanning 

 

Fiction Mental Health Books:

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low

I seem to have spiraled into somewhat of a depression in the past several days after getting to my ultimate high and feeling amazing for once. I slept for most of 48 hours /Friday through Sunday.  Got up a few times briefly but went right back to bed.  I’m doing what I can to manage it though.  I have a lot of agitation and anxiety as well.  Not sure where this is all coming from.  Today was better in many ways though, I got out of the house at least and I didn’t sleep the whole day.  Slept a lot, but not as much as before so that’s an improvement. I’m doing everything I can to distract myself and stay calm despite the underlying restlessness and depression.  I’m hoping to pull myself out of this.

That Spark

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That spark I was missing for so long is finally back.  I used to find inspiration everywhere, constantly getting ideas and wanting to learn more.  For a long time, probably the better part of the past year I wasn’t feeling any excitement or happiness.  I had tried to get it back for so long, but nothing did it.  It’s not something that can be forced, it’s not just a state of mind, it’s a physical feeling as well.  I wasn’t necessarily unhappy or depressed but I didn’t feel good emotions intensely anymore. Maybe it’s my recent medication changes/adjustment, all I know is I feel like myself again.  I have always been a really upbeat optimistic person, and I feel happiness on such a deep level.  After about 3 months of not hanging out with friends and isolating myself making up excuses, cancelling plans all the time due to anxiety, I started being social again.  Earlier this week I spent the whole day with a good friend of mine and had a lot of fun.  Today I went out to lunch.  I’ve been drawing and writing much more frequently, exercising, staying on top of cleaning my place. Things excite me again, I have goals and ambitions.  I’m hoping very much that this continues, and am definitely taking advantage of it.  🙂

 

Another Year

My birthday is coming up in a few weeks, I’ll turn 25.  I’m actually for the first time a little on the down side about it.  I guess it just dawned on me that probably over a quarter of my life is over.  I’m not sad, it just feels sometimes like I’ve wasted so much time and I feel like I’m running out of time to do the things I want to.  I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything near what I’ve wanted to by now.  I guess I have to give myself some credit, despite the mental illness I’ve managed to complete nearly half of my associates degree.  I have quite a bit to go, and I want to eventually get my masters, but I’ll get there.  I’m persistent if anything.  I’m thankful for my life though, I’m very lucky to have supportive family and good friends.  I’ll try to focus on the fact that life in itself is a gift, and could be taken away at any moment, and I’ll appreciate and take advantage of all the time I have ahead of me and think back on all the good times I’ve had.  I guess I don’t need to measure myself in comparison to others’ lives, everyone’s journey is different.

Moving, Books, and Better Motivation

I might be moving this summer into a new apartment.  Have an interview and building tour this Friday at the place I applied to.  I’m very excited.  The thought of moving is stressful but it will be a nice fresh start.   It would be much better for me financially.  My only concern is getting the cats there, they allow cats but physically getting them there is the problem.  They won’t get in their crates,  and I honestly don’t blame them.  It was a total nightmare trying to move them across like 4 states several years ago in a car. I’m going to try and get them one of those nice travel things.  The good thing is the new place would only be like a 5 minute drive from where I currently live, so worst case scenario I would just have to put them on my lap in the car on the way there 2 trips at a time.

I’m a month into my eating disorder recovery, really proud of myself.  Never thought I’d make it this far after so many years of struggling.  My mood has been great, and I’ve been doing things I enjoy.  Reading a lot, drawing/coloring, playing games, learning Italian.  I’m wanting to cut back on caffeine, I had like 6 or 7 cups yesterday….I’m trying to cut back a little at a time.  Bought a Yoga/Pilates book and am definitely excited about trying out that.

Right now I’m reading a book by Debbie Macomber (one of her Christmas stories)  I always like reading holiday stories in the summer because I can’t stand the heat so I pretend it’s winter/Christmastime 🙂 The next book I plan on reading is Mother Teresa; A Complete Authorized Biography by Kathryn Spink.  🙂

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The above picture was taken by me in Savannah Georgia while on a trip visiting Columbus, GA.  It’s so beautiful there!

Agitation and Anxiety

The spring/summer time is difficult for me.   I’m not exactly sure why but I get very agitated often during these months.  It’s like I’m ready to implode or something, it’s frustrating but I’ve been doing my best to calm myself down when this happens.  I think that I’ve made a lot of improvement over the years.  A long time ago if I was feeling like that I would generally act on impulse and do stupid/reckless things.  I’m able to recognize when I’m feeling on edge now and to take steps to chill out.

Last night it was coloring and videogames.  I enjoy coloring, it’s relaxing, hard to get myself to actually do it but once I do I get lost in it and feel a lot better afterwards because I’m doing something with my hands, coloring different pieces one at a time and focusing all of my attention.  Videogames of course are a great distraction for me.  Right now I’m playing Lets Go Pikachu.  Next game I plan on playing is Stardew Valley, I already own it but wanted to just focus on one or two games at a time.

I took a walk today and it felt really nice to get out and clear my mind.  The weather was beautiful.  Another thing I’ve been doing is turning on my scented wax tart melter.  Aromatherapy helps keep me grounded.

One problem when I get agitated and restless is that I feel so.. I don’t know how to describe it other than crawling out of my skin, so I get aggravated because at first it’s hard to get into any of these things when in the state of mine.  What I do is make myself take a deep breath and give it a shot and most of the time I ended up getting really absorbed into whatever distraction or hobby I’m doing and before I know it I’ve calmed down and feel much more relaxed, even happy.  It’s definitely a challenge but I think the more I turn to these things instead of letting emotions and feelings simmer and build up to an unbearable point the easier it will get.

Here’s a picture of the coloring page I did yesterday 🙂

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Awake and Alive

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The above image is a sketch I did a few months ago.  I really enjoy nature! 🙂

 

Hello!

I know my posts have been very sporadic and not very interesting.  I had some serious struggles with my mental health the past several months and am going through med changes and adjustments.  I’m beginning to feel normal and actually happy for the first time in quite awhile.  I’m able to sleep too which is always nice!

Right now I’m reading a book called Surviving Schizophrenia by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. (6th Edition)  It’s very interesting and strange at the same time.  I’m reading about this stuff and looking back and seeing how things progressed over my teen years to the first major episode when I was 18.  I had no clue back then, didn’t recognize any of the signs and symptoms as they slowly crept in.  Even years later I had trouble figuring out how it all happened,  to me looking back it seemed like all the sudden I lost my mind but that’s definitely not how it actually occurred.  There were major signs and problems leading up to the onset.  Things I could never explain or even knew there were terms for.  Even up till now I’ve always assumed in addition to the schizoaffective I was just a really bizarre person but they were actually signs and symptoms I wasn’t aware of.

I don’t feel disoriented right now, I feel peaceful.  I really am hoping this lasts.  I’m feeling motivated to get back into my artwork as I’m able to concentrate now.  Trying to do things to take care of my mental health.  Staying in somewhat of a routine at least with sleeping and eating.  Getting some exercise and going out of the house everyday, cleaning, keeping up with personal hygiene, doing things I enjoy. Yes, personal hygiene.  That’s embarrassing to say but it’s a struggle with many mental illnesses and tends to really decline when a person isn’t doing well.

So, I hope to start making posts at least somewhat regularly.  I hope my readers are doing well!

I also wanted to share two links that I’ve found helpful to refer to when struggling with hearing distressing voices

https://www.rw.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/hvnwa-coping-stratigies-poster.pdf

http://www.hearing-voices.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Hearing_Voices_Coping_Strategies_web.pdf

 

 

 

Cats and Comfort

My cats are so wonderful, I never really realized how much they help me with some of my symptoms.  Sometimes I get really agitated when I’m having auditory hallucinations, I end up pacing obsessively.  I noticed that one of my cats gets really upset when I do that, she doesn’t like it at all, she knows somethings wrong with me.  She’s literally pulled me back to reality at times and I would make myself sit down and try to calm down instead of working myself up even more.  Of course, both of them are wonderful, they know when I’m upset or anxious.  They always make me smile and are so relaxing when they’re laying down with/on me.  They’ve got such unique personalities, they’re definitely family!

I had times in the past where I would be very depressed and having serious thoughts of suicide, but I wouldn’t act on it because I would miss them and I didn’t want them to go through not having someone to take care of them and ending up in a shelter, I would never want them to be abandoned like that.  It’s really true that pets are great for reducing anxiety, they provide unconditional love and are so wonderful.

These are my two girls, the orange one is Annie, she’s 6 years old.  She was a rescue I got when she was a kitten.

The greyish one is named Kitten, she’s 10 years old and I got her from a friend when she was 4 years old, the friend of mine was moving and couldn’t bring Kitten with her so she let me have her.  🙂