hollymath: (Default)
Truly awful mental health day today, with no apparent cause. Most inconvenient, and no fun at all. I mean they're never fun, but the ones where you don't have to put on a bra all day or talk to anyone are slightly more bearable, you know?

Got to the point where I really wanted one of my anxiety-attack meds, which of course were back here because I don't carry them with me any more because I hardly ever have anxiety attacks any more.

I had a migraine last night, too. My brain chemistry's all kinds of screwed up right now.
hollymath: (Default)
I've had a terrible night's sleep: I am something of a connoisseur of insomnia and nightmares even at the best of times, yet tonight's examples were extreme. But I was pleased, maybe even amused, at certain features of those ludicrously awful dreams.

There's a theory that it's a good sign when you start to dream in the foreign language that you're learning: it's supposed to indicate a level of familiarity with and proficiency in the language. If it's really a sign of having integrated something into your mind and life, I'm amused and soothed to realize that new features of my dreams tonight include
  1. comprehensive mental health care that incorporates the specific experiences of bisexuals (I was amazed at how much time and energy it saved to not have to argue about or justify bisexuality and biphobia); and
  2. me using my white cane! even when I'd gotten dream-news so bad I was crying enough to wake myself up, I was using it. Don't remember that happening before in any dream.
hollymath: (Default)
+ I ordered myself some much-needed clothes online. New trousers like the ones I have, and a bright red duffle coat.

- The process of paying for stuff online was so stressful it reminded me why I never do this.

- I don't seem capable of normal, proportionate responses to situational anxiety lately: at the slightest provocation my body goes into full-on attack mode, which the last two days has left me in pain and exhausted before breakfast-time.

- I determined from this I really should go back to the GP to seek out something for my anxiety.

+ I was able to help out friends with a childcare emergency thanks to their toddler being too ill to go to nursery. She was well enough to demand repeated book-readings and throw all her toys over the floor though. I had fun with her and was glad to be useful.

- I was gone longer than I planned to be, so didn't get around to calling the GP today.

+ The weird "edible bouquet" of fruit carved into the shape of flowers, that my mom praised when someone else had one a while ago, has been ordered and will be delivered for her birthday.

- Andrew had to call up the florist because I didn't have the spoons to.

+ Andrew knew to offer because it wouldn't get done otherwise.

+ He also brought me home a ready meal because by this point I was way too tired to make myself dinner.

- I was too tired to make myself dinner because I'd had a couple more anxiety attacks about stupid things this evening (most of the time I'd spent babysitting, I spent convinced I'd left the back door unlocked and I'd return to a house devoid of valuables; of course I got home to find I'd done no such thing...and then I freaked out because the damn dog disappeared as soon as I returned even though I knew he had to be somewhere in the house; of course he'd trapped himself in the spare room, where he was not supposed to be, by being unable to understand doors). It's so frustrating to be debilitated by things I know aren't worth the effect they have on me.

- I ended up having a stupid facebook conversation with someone I know will never learn to stop being a clueless well-intentioned bigot.

+ I did help the mutual friend whose facebook we were arguing on deal with the situation thus caused.

--- I found out I have another bloody meeting on Thursday afternoon, so it's looking gloomy for me being able to see [personal profile] magister before I'm away for the weekend.

+ I'm away for the weekend! A much-needed little break from this daily grind.

So many things...

Brainwatch

Sep. 3rd, 2015 09:39 am
hollymath: (Default)
Really bad brain day today.

I walked through Piccadilly clutching my stick so tight my hand hurt. I wanted to hit someone who thoughtlessly pushed by me (when if he'd waited a millisecond I was moving out of his way anyway). Someone was nice to me when I reflexively apologized for nearly running into him/his suitcase and his few kind words almost overwhelmed me just because someone was being nice to me (so much that I wonder now whether British people unnecessarily apologize because it's a way to elicit kindness from their fellow human beings?...maybe it's a bit like saying "do I look fat in this?" as a way to get compliments that might not otherwise be so forthcoming).

Don't know what's up with me today.
hollymath: (Default)
The great thing about having plok for a friend is that he knows what I'm talking about even when I don't know myself.

Vaguely apologizing in an e-mail the other day for my lack of having replied to e-mails for months, I mused that it's been kind of a strange year for me. His reply started
Strange years happen, eh?  I feel like I've had a couple of those recently, when people have asked me what I've been up to and I flat-out have NO ANSWER, even if I just went on a helicopter ride that afternoon.  It didn't feel like tunnel vision, it felt like something else...what do you call it when you buy groceries and then are completely surprised to see them when you open the fridge?  Not that I'm saying this is extensible to your experience, but it's what my most recent strange years have been like:  I *have* been doing stuff, but somehow it all fails to get properly flagged. 

I don't really know how that happens.  It seems like maybe I'm reading my current emotional state for memory?  Like, I forget about the trip and the work and all the peak (or trough) moments, all I can think of is the book I'm reading or how I have to buy toothpaste or how I'm a bit hungry...hmm, or maybe I'm reading *past* emotional states for memory, something that happened last week that I haven't adequately sorted through.  "What have you been up to?"  Well, I've been wondering why I seem to be short a couple of pillowcases...really need to get up to my parents' house and take care of a couple things anyway, maybe I'll look for them there?

"Uh...but didn't somebody tell me you just won the lottery?"

Oh yeah, and I won the lottery...the thing is, I remember the last time I *saw* those pillowcases, but I don't know if it was last week, or last month...

But at least if I'm already like this now, I don't have to worry about turning into this when I'm an old coot, eh?
I feel well on my way to old-biddy (biddy is the feminine form of coot, right!)-dom myself. And I have long thought that my problems started (though I don't know whether this was a cause or an effect) with failing to process things that happen to me, failing to flag them or sort them out exactly as plok says here. It's bugged me a lot that I was never able to write much about the two "tracks" of my life I was working on through the whole first half of 2015 and, now that I've got them sorted -- as much as they're going to get for now, anyway -- I still want to write about them, partly to update the people who read about how I'm doing here but largely for my own benefit: I feel stuck. And the reason I haven't written much -- a near-complete inability to focus or concentrate, a tiredness that cannot be fixed by any amount of rest or good eating or exercise -- is dragging me down still further itself.

To have this articulated for me with the words I cannot find these days, to know that this is a thing that happens to other people too, is an immense relief to me.
hollymath: (Default)
This isn't a perfect list for me (no single attempt is going to work for everyone), but it's a pretty good start.

Bah

Mar. 13th, 2015 08:50 pm
hollymath: (Default)
The good news is, maybe the anti-depressants are finally working on me after all?

The bad news is, the only evidence I have for this is that I've accidentally stopped taking them and I have felt unusually shitty all week.

I can only hope these two facts are related. It'd be the easiest fix for this problem, and I really want to fix it.
hollymath: (Default)
I'm seriously starting to count "talking about immigration or related issues on the internet" as a self-care failure, as bad as forgetting my meds or not eating properly when it comes to the effect it has on my well-being.
hollymath: (Default)
Elsewhere, a friend relates having been told by someone else "You've had [good thing] and [other good thing] happen, how can you be depressed?

To which I said: Because that's not how depression works, is why. Sheesh. It's a disease. That's like saying "but you're so tall, how can you have eczema?" The two things are just completely unrelated.
hollymath: (Default)
I seem to be alternating weeks where I am really productive with weeks where I get absolutely nothing done.

I noticed this pattern a couple of weeks ago, and it was my guilt and anxiety over that "wasted" week that got me to accomplish stuff I felt good about last week. But this week is all exhaustion and indolence again. Trying to fight it just seems to necessitate more naps.

I try to be kind to myself but it's hard to know where the line is between "good self-care" and "indulgence of poor character traits that will make getting a job impossible."
hollymath: (Default)
Andrew walked in from work yesterday evening, saw me curled up in front of the laptop, and said "Poor Holly! Having to watch The West Wing!"

Wow, I thought. It's that obvious?! I mean, clearly he hadn't seen the Facebook update I'd posted a bit earlier:
My head won't ever stop hurting, I fail at napping, what can I do now?

Oh yeah: it's been at least a year since I watched this!
"Poor Holly, not being able to deal with or think about anything new or that's happened in the last fifteen years!"

Yeah, pretty much. (Though I tried to argue it's less than ten years since I started watching the show in the middle of its run and I hadn't seen these earliest episodes until I bought the DVDs eight or nine years ago.)

But I thought this was a totally new revelation, that I'd just developed while staring forlornly at our DVD shelves. I didn't know this was such a glaring fact about me! It'd have saved me a lot of time and trouble if I did.
hollymath: (Default)
I had a panic attack in a dream last night. Until a couple of weeks ago, I didn't even know that was a thing that could happen, but this is the second time it has, now.

It was very convincingly done: the cause was something that'd elicit exactly that kind of reaction in my waking life, and when I woke up in the middle of it I felt almost as exhausted as I do when they really happen.

And when I finally got my sorry self downstairs, Andrew told me I'd talked in my sleep! That's a new one on me (or at least, it's not something that's happened when anybody else has heard and wanted to tell me about it.) He says I said "Boo." It woke him up. He asked me what I was on about but of course got no answer because I was sleeping. He says he doesn't know if I was trying to be scary or to express my disapproval about something. Bit ominous, I think, either way.
hollymath: (Default)
Oh well, I didn't like that laptop anyway.

I've still got fingerprint ink on my hands (good liberal that I am, I made sure the fingerprints were only for purposes of eliminating me from stuff and they wouldn't be kept after that). The fingerprinting lady was super nice and chatty, and half-convinced me to do a course and get a job like hers, perhaps because I seemed interested in things other people would be upset about, like my house being covered in powder.

Of course this was the first day in a month that Andrew was going into the office. After weeks of teasing him about how inconvenient it is that he's been around all the time, today he had to leave. He already had a back-to-work interview to stress about before he had to turn up and tell them his laptop had been nicked.

His work laptop has all kinds of complicated locks on it, so it won't be any use to anyone else. "They'll probably only get fifty quid for the lot," Andrew said of our laptops. "They might as well have just asked me for the fifty quid!"

"I wouldn't have given it to them," he added, needlessly.

The police officer had been really lovely too. Total opposite of the last time we were burgled, when I had to deal with them on my own and despite Andrew saying on the phone that his wife was off work sick with depression and be gentle with her, and me actually hearing that message come over their police radios, they said I wasn't depressed. It was my first day on my first SSRI, which had made me throw up already that morning.

This guy has a daughter with autism and a sister with depression so he was very good at the things we needed him to be good at. He was very thorough and kind. I actually felt better when he left than I had before, and I wasn't expecting that.

After the fingerprint lady had gone I was finally free to leave the house, and lovely [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours and [livejournal.com profile] greyeyedeve told me to come over and have tea. So I'm sitting in the gazebo with [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours now, feeling...a bit like I have the flu, post-panic attack: shaky and too hot or too cold all the time, not able to eat, and just feeling all uncomfortable and wrong.
hollymath: (Default)
This is mostly a reminder to myself, somewhere I'm actually certain to look, to take my sertraline in the morning.

I'd been considering trying this anyway because my sleep's been so awful recently. Since I forgot to take it last night, I figured this morning was a good chance to change it, but I have years of "meds = bedtime" to overcome so I'm not confident I'll remember.

It's not easy for me to tell yet whether it's having any effect at all, good or bad. I don't know if it's affecting my sleep but I know the kind of insomnia I've had in the last week or two is particularly unusual and miserable for me, so I'll try tweaking anything that might help with it.

Today I am finding myself very sleepy very early, despite a reasonably good night (except lots of nightmares, so my sleep wasn't hugely restful but there was a fair amount of it and I didn't have much trouble getting (back) to sleep) and not a particularly taxing day. All of which might be an interesting correlation with not having taken the sertraline last night and having taken it this morning, but also might well be a coincidence.
hollymath: (Default)
Woke up late, got dressed to go out to shops. We're out of everything.

On the way picked the free newspaper out of the letterbox slot to put it in the recycling. Did that. Moving back to the path, though, I slipped on the hated gravel (I do fucking hate the gravel the previous owners put in the tiny space in front of the house; it's ugly as well as cumbersome...still I've never fucking slipped on it before) and fell hard on my one leg, enough that when I instinctively tried to right myself again it hurt so much I...wasn't exactly crying but was making these "Ah-ahhh-aaahhh!" noises that weren't far off. I pulled up my dress to look at my knee -- the skin was scraped in a way very familiar to me from being a kid, but it looked okay and the pain was lessening. I, again still almost without thinking, tried to carry on what I'd been doing.

But when I pointed myself away from my house I saw a guy across the street, middle-aged Irish guy, smoking next to a truck that may have been his. "You all right?" he slurred and now I had to be embarrassed as well as in pain, which made me feel much worse. I babbled something about the gravel and how much I hated it.

At this point I didn't want to deal with him any more, and my leg (I'd scraped the shin as well as the knee, but not as badly) was hurting more. I turned around and slowly hobbled the few steps back to my door. I heard the guy behind me mumbling about "gravel," as if he was talking to someone who was with him but I hadn't seen anyone else there. I found my keys, opened the door, and when I turned to close it after me saw he was now standing on the path to my front door, having crossed the street no doubt with the best of intentions to examine the situation (and there wasn't anyone with him, he was either talking to himself or directing his unhelpful mumblings at me). I wasn't feeling threatened but I was feeling annoyed, this guy whatever his intentions was adding to my stress.

So I shut the door firmly and leaned against the wall just inside the door with a big sigh. That turned into a little sob, because my fucking leg hurt so bad. I crouched down to see how the knee was doing and sure enough by now it was oozing blood from a relatively vast area of skin real estate. My shin looked ugly but the skin wasn't broken. Crouching seemed to make my leg hurt worse, though, so I couldn't help sliding down and sitting on the floor.

And then I really cried, at first because of the leg hurting, then because I hated that pestery guy in the way you can hate someone you only know one thing about and that one thing is how they behaved for ten seconds one time, then because I knew this wasn't going to get any better until I'd gotten myself up the stairs to the band-aids and antiseptics in the bathroom cabinet and I didn't want to go up the stairs...and then just crying. Maybe because everything in my life that's making me miserable is waiting on me to do something to sort it out that I can't or won't do right now.

So I started writing, because I knew by the end of it I'd feel better. And I do, a bit. Now my tears have mostly dried and [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours picked an opportune moment to say hello on IM and has offered me lifts to places that'll help me sort my life out -- namely Ikea and Tesco -- so I do not have to do everything on my own and I can do it and it's all fine and I will be okay, I always am.
hollymath: (Default)
As late as yesterday morning I was thinking how nice it was, in a way, that so many people felt able to talk about depression and suicidality and mental illness generally. Even only a few years ago, I don't think it'd have happened like that: there was more awkwardness and discomfort in people's reactions to suicide and they seemed keener to change the subject.

Now people are criticizing tabloids for not following the Samaritans' guidelines on how to responsibly talk about suicide and while I haven't seen or heard anybody saying suicide is cowardly or selfish I have seen many swift and thorough smackdowns of those ideas in response to such things being said elsewhere. Now a lot of people are talking about their own experiences of mental illness. It doesn't seem to be associated with a campaign or an organized effort on anybody's part; something about the state our culture's gotten to and perhaps the particularity of Robin Williams -- who was popular for so long to so many different kinds of people, including a lot of film roles that were important to people at young impressionable ages (like Aladdin or Hook...or, if you're me, Good Morning Vietnam and Dead Poet's Society, because I was a weird child) -- has made for this organic outpouring of grief for his particular tragedy and rage at the misunderstanding and stigma surrounding mental illness.

I'm glad of that, even as I've found it hard to see all these things and to think all these thoughts and see the effects it had on the people I'm closest to.

Not helped by the fact that I had a terrible mental-health day yesterday, for unrelated reasons -- I cocked something up and induced possibly the worst panic attack I've yet had, one whose effects lingered for hours afterward and I'm not sure aren't still ongoing (if only because I have zero reserves of energy or self-care right now). So it was a really hard day all round, really, and I'm struggling to find reasons to be cheerful even now.

But I did want to share this link, from trusty Captain Awkward, about how to reach out to people with depression. It's the most cheering -- not to mention helpful and useful -- of the many, many things I read yesterday.
I think one thing you can do to help your friends who are depressed is to reach out to them not in the spirit of helping, but in the spirit of liking them and wanting their company. “I’m here to help if you ever need me” is good to know, but hard to act on, especially when you’re in a dark place. Specific, ongoing, pleasure-based invitations are much easier to absorb. “I’m here. Let’s go to the movies. Or stay in and order takeout and watch some dumb TV.” “I’m having a party, it would be really great if you could come for a little while.” Ask them for help with things you know they are good at and like doing, so there is reciprocity and a way for them to contribute. “Will you come over Sunday and help me clear my closet of unfashionable and unflattering items? I trust your eye.” “Will you read this story I wrote and help me fix the dialogue?” “Want to make dinner together? You chop, I’ll assemble.” “I am going glasses shopping and I need another set of eyes.” Remind yourself why you like this person, and in the process, remind them that they are likable and worth your time and interest.

Talk to the parts of the person that aren’t being eaten by the depression. Make it as easy as possible to make and keep plans, if you have the emotional resources to be the initiator and to meet your friends a little more than halfway. If the person turns down a bunch of invitations in a row because (presumably) they don’t have the energy to be social, respect their autonomy by giving it a month or two and then try again. Keep the invitations simple; “Any chance we could have breakfast Saturday?” > “ARE YOU AVOIDING ME BECAUSE YOU’RE DEPRESSED OR BECAUSE YOU HATE ME I AM ONLY TRYING TO HELP YOU.” “I miss you and I want to see you” > “I’m worried about you.” A depressed person is going to have a shame spiral about how their shame is making them avoid you and how that’s giving them more shame, which is making them avoid you no matter what you do. No need for you to call attention to it. Just keep asking. “I want to see you” “Let’s do this thing.” “If you are feeling low, I understand, and I don’t want to impose on you, but I miss your face. Please come have coffee with me.” “Apology accepted. ApologIES accepted. So. Gelato and Outlander?”
if nothing else, it sounds like a lot more fun than Being There to Help.

Observation

Jul. 2nd, 2014 05:31 pm
hollymath: (Default)
The good thing about having been prescribed something (and no I don't really want to talk about what it is because I'm not in the mood for anecdotes about how good/bad things are because they're so different for everyone) that I am supposed to take only when I feel I need it is that it's made me much more mindful today about how I'm doing.

I am doing fine, as it happens, and it'd take quite a big sudden drop (not that those don't happen!) for me to need to take anything.

But still, I've noticed several times today just thinking to myself hey, how'm I doing? How's everything? Paying attention to that is bound to be good for me, though.
hollymath: (Default)
I wrote a long grumpy thing about the equivalent of the Magical Negro for mental illness (Magical Mentalist? I spent a lot of time the other day, while I was supposed to be watching a movie that finally solidified my dislike of this lazy and boring stereotype, wondering what its TV Tropes page should be called) but the accidentally deleted it.

Just as well, I suppose. I really wanted to write about something nice (thank you for all your kind and supportive replies to my last entry but thinking about the whole subject just depresses me so much I can't bear to reply to them any more), but I'm struggling to find anything. And sometimes it's still true that if you don't have anything nice to say you shouldn't say anything at all.
hollymath: (Default)
I don't really know what to do with the fact that I'm finding regular stuff like packing and cleaning the house so miserable that it seems to be fulfilling the urge for self-harm I've had the last few days.
hollymath: (Default)
Wow, writing an entry all about not giving into self-destructive ideas and then deleting it before posting it. I'm turning into a cliché!

I was asked the other day if I blog about my really bad times so that I can later look back at the entries and see how I got through things that at the time I never feel like I can get through. That's certainly a benefit of writing those things, but I'm never that forward-thinking when I'm in the state I have to be to write them. It's all about the immediate benefit: the possibility of supportive comments, but the certainty that writing it out helps me feel better.

Sometimes it helps enough just to write them; no one else has to see them at all.

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