Thursday, August 10, 2017

A look at self harm

What comes to your mind when you think of self harm?

What if I told you that you probably have someone close to you that struggles with self harm? You don't believe it?

What if I told you that 4% of the population in the United States, suffer from self harm? Would you assume they were all teenagers? 

You would be very wrong.

I began cutting myself when I was 15 but it has continued throughout my life.
My depression and anxiety were at an all time high in high school. Many times, when people think of a teenager who struggles with self harm, they think of a girl, dressed in all black, listening to emo music in a dark room, crying and thinking about how she can use it to get attention.

And here lies the misconception.  I mean, I listened to pop and country music mostly.

Seriously though, I was the bubbly girl known for her contagious laugh and good personality. I was involved in all kinds of activities. Involved in church. The whole nine yards.

People that legitimately struggle with self harm, don't want attention. It's actually the worst thing that they can imagine. They don't want the people that they care about to know that they hurt themselves.

Think about it.

Do you think if you told someone close to you that you feel a sense of relief when you cut your skin open and see blood run down your body, that they would say "oh we're happy you found something to help relieve stress"??

I hid my cutting from everyone. I did it in areas that people couldn't see or could be easily covered. As the depression got worse, so did the self harm. I began getting sloppy and cutting more visible areas. I had rabbits at the time, so it was easy to explain bandages on my arms. Long sleeves and pants were my regular attire regardless of the temperature. I just said for years that I didn't want to wear anything but jeans. I rode horses alot at the time as well. So again, easy to get away with.

Two of the biggest signs that someone might be a cutter, I had explanations for. There is usually always an excuse of some sort. We learn to come up with lies to explain the cuts pretty quickly.

Now don't get me wrong, cutting is not the only or even main form of self harm. It's just the main one for me. I've dabbled in other things but always received the most relief/euphoria from cutting.

The definition for self harm is: Nonsuicidal self-injury, often simply called self-injury, is the act of deliberately harming the surface of your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. It's typically not meant as a suicide attempt. Rather, this type of self-injury is an unhealthy way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger and frustration.

The other big misconception about people that self harm, is that they are suicidal. The opposite was true for myself and many other "cutters" that I've asked. I was literally scared to death of death. Still struggle with that today. I don't want to die

We don't want to kill ourselves.

Most of the time.

This isn't one size fits all.

If someone you know has been making suicidal comments or plans, that's a whole new ballgame and you need to seek help for them.

But for the most part, the two reasons that people tend to use self harm is because they don't feel anything and desperately want to feel. Or they are feeling way too much at once and need one thing to focus on to calm down.

You know how if something hurts, sometimes people will say to pinch yourself somewhere else to take your mind off of the pain you felt originally? That's what a self harmer is essentially trying to do. Distract themselves from their internal pain. Is it healthy? No. Is it the right way to express emotions? No. Is it a good coping mechanism? No. Do I recommend it? Hell no.

I want to shine some light on this subject. I want it to become a topic that people can talk about without judgement. I want there to be support groups for the self harmer besides the psych ward at the hospital. I want like a Self-Harmer Anonymous vibe going on. A safe place for people to come to learn good coping skills. To get through an urge as it's happening. Let's support each other. Get rid of the stereotypical views and stigma surrounding this topic. Reach out. Get help. I'm here for anyone, anytime.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Inevitable Spiral

 It's happening.

I can feel it.

The clouds are forming and the shadows are setting in.

It's a dark, cold, lonely place.

And I'm back to visit.

God help me.

When the moods of a bipolar patient shift, the world becomes a different place each time. For the last few months everything has been vibrant. Fun. Bright. At ease. It's been my light after the dark just a few short months ago. It's when the adventurous part of me blossoms and makes memories to remember until the light comes back again. I crave this place. This setting. The place where anxiety doesn't really exist. Where I feel high on life. Where I am not seeing a doctor or therapist every week because I have nothing to talk about. Where I eat anything I want without worry of how I look or how it makes me feel. When I'm in this place, I feel like I could do anything. I can accomplish any goal that I've ever dreamed about. I'm capable. Strong. Taking less medication. The best, and ultimately worst, times of my life are spent here.

Why the worst times?

Because, inevitably during a Bipolar 1 manic phase, you go too far. In one way or another, you lose control of yourself and do things that you wouldn't normally do. You spend too much, you leave and don't tell anyone, you stop your medication all together, you disregard responsibilities because you don't care about anything else but the happiness and elation that you are feeling. You never know how long it's going to last. So you become consumed with trying to make it last as long as you can. Doing things to keep your happiness up even if it means hurting yourself or someone else.

Can you relate? Have you been there? Have you hurt someone that you care about during a manic episode? Have you hurt yourself?

We think mania is our friend. We think that it's the time where we are our best self. The happiest, smartest and most beautiful that we can be. But before we know it, the elation is gone. And we are left with the aftermath of our manic episode. Whatever that might look like.

The guilt sets in. How did I not see it coming?  I knew the happiness and the feelings of accomplishing anything were unrealistic for me.

But we don't want to stop it. It feels good. We feel bad too often. We hate ourselves and our minds too often. Without the mania, we feel empty most of the time. Like life is swallowing us and there is nothing we can do to stop it. We don't feel strong. We don't feel capable. We feel tired. We lose the control that we swore we had during mania.

But mania isn't controlled. It controls you. It takes over. It tells you that the only thing that matters is your happiness. It tells you that you deserve anything you want, even if it's not what's best for you. It's a liar. It's selfish.

So as this manic phase comes to an end, and the darkness starts to roll back in, I'm going to practice self care.

I'm going to tell myself that it's going to be okay even as the mania fades. I'm aware of my mood shifts and how they work. I have my resources on speed dial. And I'm not going to let the darkness take over.

I'm going to have to fight like crazy.

But the darkness won't win.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Guess who's back?

Hey everyone.

I'm back.

I know, I know. You've been dying for me to write another post. You just haven't even been able to function for the last like 8 months.

No?  Not so much?  Your life doesn't revolve around my blog??  Pshh.  Fine then.

No really though. I'm so happy to be writing another post.

I'm learning that my lack of commitment in pretty much every endeavor that I pursue, tends to make me unreliable.  Being a blogger has definitely not proven to be any different. 😂😂

So, life has been pretty crazy with it being summer and the kids being out of school.  It's been fun.  But crazy. But we have just been trying to relax and enjoy it.  See what I did there???  😉

So far since the kids have been out of school we have: taken a week long vacation to Disney World, went to multiple birthday bashes, went to the zoo and have been swimming like fish!!

Disney was AH-MAZING. Best week of my life. I had never been, so obviously I was worse than the children when it came to excitement.  I mean, getting to see Cinderella's castle in real life? Getting to meet the real (you can't convince me otherwise) Minnie and Mickey Mouse??  All of my dreams literally came true that week. So incredible.

We took the kids to the zoo which is always a good time as well. Got to see a new Dinosaur Island attraction there that was pretty stellar as well.  Many more trips in our future because we got ourselves a membership this year. That's right. We don't have to pay $10 to park anymore. We're kind of a big deal.

So as far as mental illness goes, it's Summer, which means I seem to need less medication to keep me from panicking all day everyday or going into a deep depression.  So that's always good news!  I tend to go into mania around this time though as well.  My manic times have not fared well so far.  So I get nervous when this time comes. I'm not the best at seeing it coming. But luckily, I've got plenty of friends and family that can tell when my crazy is just getting beyond out of control. They let me know that it might be a good time to go talk to my counselor that I've cancelled my last three appointments with because I feel fantastic! Or they I might want me to let them hide my debit card because my kids don't need 10 pairs of shorts when they have a dresser full at home.  Ya know. The stuff friends and family are there for! So thank God for them. Lord knows I wouldn't be here without them.

So anyway, this has been the latest edition of my ramblings. I'm thinking I'm going to continue rambling at least for the next week or so. But I'm not going to say "oh yeah I'm posting everyday and this is my new big thing that I'm going to do all the time."  Because that never ends up working out for me.  As we discussed earlier, I tend to lack motivation when it comes to these things.  So instead, I will say, I'm currently in the mood to write blogs, so you will probably be seeing a few in the near future!  If not, just know that I really was thinking at the time of writing this, that I want to blog again.  Hopefully it sticks this time and I can keep impressing you with my fun and witty diatribes.

Thank you for reading this hot mess of a post. I promise they will get better. I'm sure I'll read this tomorrow and think, what the hell was wrong with you last night? But for now, I'm thinking this post is pretty much comedic gold.

Goodnight all.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Being a mom is pretty awesome!

Hey guys,

So, I've taken quite a long hiatus from blogging and I've decided that it's time to come back and share my wittiness with the world. I know you are so excited.

So far on the blog I've focused mostly on my mental illness and all that it entails. Which is alot. But there is a whole other side to me that I haven't talked about much and I want to share with all of you.

I'm a mom to three pretty amazing children.  I love them with every ounce of my being.  They are the sweetest, most wonderful children (at times) and for the most part, they keep me sane.
My oldest son got my sarcasm and my emotions. He wears his heart on his sleeve and can get hurt so easily.  But he also loves deeply and is always there to help someone in need.  My middle son is extremely strong willed and wants everything to go his way. But he is also one of the funniest and most caring little guys that I know.  My daughter is a threenager. She is my light in the dark world and can always make me smile.

They, along with my incredible husband, are my world and I'm so excited to share about my crazy life with them. I can't wait to share how funny and witty they are. You may not care, but they are pretty hilarious so it needs to be shared.

Any other moms out there that are just trying to stay sane until bedtime?  I know I'm not alone!

Anyway, just wanted to update the blog and let you know that I'm going to try to shift gears to a little lighter content.  Try to bring some humor and goofiness into the picture and just trying to enjoy life a bit more. That's what it's all about right?  Can't wait to talk with you all!!!

Be back soon!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Stop The Stigma

Have you ever felt completely debilitated by something?  So completely taken over by emotion that you honestly don't know from one minute to the next if you are going to keep breathing?  Keep holding on?  If you even want to anymore?

Welcome to the world of anxiety.

Lately, my anxiety has been through the roof.  No real rhyme or reason to it usually.  Just one small little thing in someone else's eyes, can cause a complete breakdown for me.  One small shot of pain through my body can make me think that I'm dying.  One negative thought about myself can send me into a self loathing spiral.  It really is that simple.  

Life isn't easy for any of us.  It's hard and complicated and can break even the strongest person.  Before my diagnosis, I never understood why people that seemed fine on the outside, couldn't take care of everyday tasks.  Yes, some people are capable and they just don't do what they should.  I understand that.  But 1 out of every 4 Americans suffer from a diagnosed mental disorder.  That's over 26% of our country.  Yet, it's one of the least respected and understood illnesses.  For some reason, people assume that you should be able to be stronger than a chemical imbalance in your body.  You should be able to think good thoughts and convince yourself that you are fine.  You should be able to control your thoughts and your emotions.  It's your fault that you aren't happy.  Just change it.  

I wish it was that simple.  If it was, there would be so many illnesses that would just go away.  Pretty much any chemical imbalance should be able to be reversed with that logic.  No one should suffer from diabetes.  No one should struggle with auto-immune disorders.  If you just convince yourself that you are fine, you will be.  It's all in how you look at it.  

Let me ask you a question.  Do you think that people who suffer from panic attacks want to feel like they are dying?  Do you think that they love feeling like they can't breathe?  They want attention so badly that they break down in the middle of a store?  Think about it.  Do you think that people with depression love feeling like the world would be better off without them here?  Do you think they wake up every morning and say, I can't wait to get up and have absolutely not energy or to feel no happiness when I look at my children?  Let's be realistic.  

The stigma has to stop.  These are legitimate illnesses that need professional help and many times, medications to control.  We live with this every day.  Many people with mental illness are the strongest people that I have ever met.  They wake up everyday, knowing that they are going to have to fight every thought that comes into their mind.   Every urge that they have to stay in bed, hurt themselves, not eat, cry, panic, worry, become irritated and so on. 

We fight harder than people can even understand.  Just remember that the next time you think someone is being lazy.  

Friday, November 6, 2015

Hey everyone.

It's been quite awhile for me again. I'm not really sure why. I guess just feeling like it's not that big of a deal if I post or not. But I've definitely noticed that blogging helps me. When I don't get things out on here, I bottle them up, and then usually explode. So I need to stop letting this go. This is my safe place that I can let out the ridiculous amounts of emotion in my head on a regular basis. Whether anyone reads or not, it's good therapy for me.

So Monday I start a new therapy called EMDR. It's an eye movement exercise that is supposed to help you kind of reprogram the way your mind works. I've realized through my sessions thus far that my biggest problem is that I am a failure. Or at least, that's what goes through my mind every minute of everyday. I've convinced myself that this is true and so it has become true. I never finish anything completely. I get really excited about things and then just let them go after a few weeks because I feel like I'm not good enough. When I'm working, I feel like I'm not a good enough mother because I'm leaving my kids. When I'm not working I feel like a failure because I can't ever hold a job longer than a few months because I feel like I should be at work and providing financially for our one income family of 5. This struggle goes on in my head daily. Everytime I've had a job I get so anxious and panicked thinking that I'm not doing a good enough job, I should be with my kids, the person training me hates me and thinks I'm stupid, people don't like me, etc. Etc.  You should try living in my head sometime. It's great. Really.

I do this with everything in my life. I'm not a good enough wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, etc. That's where my constant need to help everyone and try to fix everything comes from.  But, all that does is make the feelings of failure worse because I always come up short. I feel like a disappointment to everyone because I'm 29 years old and have 3 kids and still can't get my crap together.

So, as you can see, I'm definetely in need of some reprogramming. Soon. I know this sounds like a whoa is me post. But it really isn't. I know that I have so much going for me and an amazing life but to me, I don't deserve any of it because I'm worthless. I know. Harsh word right? Try living with that mentality everyday all day and no matter what, never being able to shake it. Hence, why I'm writing. Why I'm going to therapy. Why I'm trying different avenues to try and not feel this way anymore.

Thinking this way is just a downward spiral. And no matter how much I tell myself that it's not true, I truly in my heart, feel that it is. So next time you want to tell someone to suck it up, get over it, move on, don't worry about that stuff, etc. Please just consider the fact that they don't want to feel/think that way. They really don't. It doesn't help them or make things easier. They aren't attention seeking. They are expressing feeling and thoughts that they truly believe. I'm not saying any of this to hear people say "ooh but you have an amazing life and you so deserve it" "you are a great person" " don't think those things about yourself ". Because no matter what you say, at the end of the day, I'm still a worthless failure in my own eyes.

If you are the praying type, keep me in your prayers the next two Mondays as I'm trying this new therapy. Let's hope and pray that we can redirect some of these awful thoughts.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Hey guys.  

So I kind of went off the deep end the last few weeks.  Just kind of disappeared into my own world in my head and haven't really reached out.  For those of you that actually do read these and like to keep up with my progress...I'm sorry I've left you hanging!  Definitely not intentional.  So many times I thought, man I should get on there and give an update.  Then I thought, one really cares.  

I do that to myself A LOT.  Try to convince myself that no one cares.  No one will really notice if I don't post.  No one will notice if I don't go to church.  No one will notice if I start self harming again.  No one will pay attention to my moods or if I'm down.  

But guess what.  That's crap.  People do notice.  And then I get angry at them.  Why should they care what I'm doing with my life?  Is it effecting them?  Most of the time it's not.  Not really.  What gives them a right to watch and criticize me??  That's not their job.  Only one person can do that.  Blah blah blah blah blah.  I genuinely dislike when someone takes interest in me or how I'm doing.  I disappoint myself enough as it is.  I don't want to have to worry about disappointing anyone else.  But I do.  

The truth is, no matter how much I pretend that I don't give a crap what people think, it's what makes or breaks me.  I wear my heart completely on my sleeve.  If I am close to you, you will know it.  I will do ANYTHING for you.  Literally.  Anything.  If I'm out doing something with my kids or family and something happens to a better believe I will think of every possible way to try to change my plans to help them or make them happy.  It could be something as trivial as they are bored and really wanted someone to hang out with or go to a movie.  I'm so afraid of not being the person that they need in that time, that I will change around my entire day to try to cater to everyone else.  

Don't get me wrong.  I say no.  Usually it's when I'm in a bad mood and really just don't want to do anything.  At all.  Or when I'm reflecting on things and feeling like people are not there for me like I am for them.  Then I get resentful and it turns into a big thing where I just say no to everyone for like a week.  And obviously, anything with my kids will come first. If I'm busy with them, I can say no and feel justified.  But if I'm sitting at home and someone I love is having a hard time in one way or another...yeah.... I will usually be there.  

My husband tells me that I have a savior complex.  A need to rescue people.  He's pretty spot on with that.  I like to feel like I can save someone even when I can't save myself from my own mind.  If someone is struggling, I want to be the one that fixes things for them.  I want to make things all better.  And when I can't, I take it VERY personally.  Even when what they are doing is to themselves.  Or a choice they are making on their own.  I can't stop my NEED to make them stop.  To change their point of view and their outlook.  

But let's be honest.  

No one can do that for them just like no one can do that for me.  No matter how much I wish someone could take this all away from me.  How badly I want someone to just turn off my mind or give me a pill to take it all away.  I know that it's not possible.  No one can do it for me.  

But I honestly don't know how to do it for myself.  

I see so many inspirational quotes on Facebook and Pinterest telling me to "Be the change you wish to see!"  "There is no remote in life!  Get up and change it yourself"  "If your path seems too difficult it's just because you have a higher calling!" (WHAT IS THAT??)  Or my absolute favorite " I just woke up one day and decided I didn't want to feel like this anymore. So I changed!"  Oh, how much I hate these quotes sometimes.

How AMAZING it must be to be these people!  I mean, those quotes are totally awesome for greeting cards.  Really great.  But for the real world?  Come on.  Let's be realistic.  You can't just change everything on a whim if you feel like it.  Life has consequences.  Bad things happen.  Every day.  To each and every one of us.  Does it help if you have a good attitude about it?  Probably.  Does it change the fact that life kind of sucks sometimes?  Nope.  I can have every single positive thought in the book and just live with a smile on my face all day every day.  It's not going to change the fact that bad things are going to happen to me.  To the people I love.  Should I dwell on that?  Nope.  And I don't plan to.  But I really just wish that people could be realistic.  Everything isn't rosy.  NO ONE is in a good mood all the time.  And we shouldn't have to be.  I shouldn't have to hide if I'm going through a depressive episode.  It's me.  It's who I am.  If I could change it, I would...most of the time.  But I can't. So I deal.  And I wish everyone else could too.