He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not – Either Way, It’s All in My Head

I feel like those of us with mental health issues are constantly chasing normalcy – in whatever form comes quickest at times. Sometimes we really buckle in and do the hard work through therapists and psychiatrists – but sometimes we’re weak, or we get laid off and our health benefits expire. Ya know, fucking life.

I’ve chased “normalcy” through temporary fixes like drinking, “carving” (my version of “cutting”), eating disorders (usually binge eating), a weirdly satisfying addiction to the gym for a short bit (I was so happy with how I looked – but in an unhealthy fixation kind of way), and then there was always my natural state of mania that sent me into my typical two week high of insane self-esteem and destructive behaviors that can only come from a confidence that is completely unfounded.

I recently lost my job. I had already asked my boo to move in before that. It had been a roller coaster ride of depression and giving in on the low swings up to determination and being set on kicking ass when on the up swings. Now, he’s moved in.

On the outside it’s going relatively well. On the inside I cannot shut my brain off. It’s so infuriating. My thoughts are destructive and illogical. I KNOW this. These unfounded and ridiculous thoughts serve no purpose other than ruining something good while destroying my own self esteem. And yet I can’t stop them from popping up every few hours. And then I have to BATTLE them. It’s so fucking absurd! Knowing they’re illogical and having to fight my own brain to shut them out with facts and reasoning makes it feel like I’m an exhausted parent trying to tell a screaming child there is most certainly not a monster in the closet and to GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP. Ugh.

I don’t have a therapist any more – thanks to losing my health insurance and not wanting to pay out of pocket costs. Even if I did though, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to admit any of this to my therapist – I was doing so well!!! So here, on the internet of anonymity, I bare all. Here, where I know there are others like me, I feel safe.

I’m sad because I feel like it’s only a matter of time until he realizes how defective I am and decides I’m not worth it. It really should be clear that I’m a lot of work – I don’t know if I’m truly worth it.

I’m mad because he, and almost everyone else, seem so ok, so functional, and why can’t I just be that way?

I feel insecure because I’m not who I think/know I am all the time. And when I’m not feeling like myself, I ask for reassurance that “we’re ok” which I’m sure is exhausting to him. Because he’s not in my head – he doesn’t understand it’s just to shut up this little voice that I know has little validity – but it NAGS at me until I get that completely pointless confirmation. So it’s this stupid vicious cycle of obsessing over it. Maybe I should add OCD to my co-morbid diagnosis. I just cannot shut my brain off.

And the thing is, I’m 90% sure he absolutely loves me. My brain won’t even let me say 100% despite the fact that he fucking moved in, spends almost all of his free time with me, shows me affection, makes future plans with me, and is constantly making me laugh. That illogical part of my brain is debating every single one of those points with some stupid nonsensical point though! It’s like a tug-of-war over a daisy doing “he loves me, he loves me not” where both the number of flower petals and how he actually feels/acts toward me/makes me feel are COMPLETELY irrelevant! What in the actual fuck, brain???

Anyway, I just had to get this all out.

I’ve got a new job! And I’m painting again! So I’ve got to get back to painting before I leave for work.

Fuck this mental illness bullshit. I’m over it.

Edit:

Here’s the painting! It’s the one on the bottom. I did the one on the top last night.

Farewell, 2017, you were. . . you just were. (part II)

wishing you a very

Where did I leave off? Ahh yes. . . August. . . (part I)

August. . .
Nothing terribly exciting happened in August. I kept up with physical and mental health therapy. Thanks to the mental health therapy I was better able to navigate the hiccups of early relationships – or at least, the hiccups I seem to have (seem to create, maybe?). Therapy has given me a lot of room to think in my head – in the good way. I’ve always thought too much but now therapy has helped me pause and challenge those thought patterns. Though I just recently realized I could use some more work with negative thought patterns. . . I should look into that when I get health insurance again.

September. . .
September was more of the same with a work trip thrown in. We had corporate training where I expressed my fair share of common sense and equality-promoting ideas which didn’t seem to jive well. I had gotten to the point of being fed up with the injustices I was seeing across the company and couldn’t really bite my tongue any more.

October. . .
One of my fellowship fellows somehow managed to get a comped ticket to a local women’s conference and the caliber of the speakers was PHENOMENAL. It was an energizing experience and helped boost me back up to previous levels of excitement about my creative goals. I had been wavering since the end of the fellowship in June and being surrounded by these women was SO GOOD. The boo and I threw a Halloween party at my house! We had to postpone it from one weekend to another, which I think threw people off, so attendance was kind of low (only one of his friends showed up, and only a handful of mine) but we decorated the house TO THE NINES. It was SO GOOD. I’m super excited for next year’s party! Also, the boo said “I love you” – yay to that! We took a composting class together and though I haven’t set it all up yet, I’m excited to eventually get a little garden out back.

November. . .
Turkey day!!!! I hosted Thanksgiving at my house for the first time. The boo, my ma, and my brother all spent the day together. It was quite nice. I went to the boo’s Thanksgiving as well, his family did it on the weekend after. So I got to meet his family! It was fun, I like them.

December. . .
And now to today, the last day of December. I have to admit, I have a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth about December. Glass is half full: I’m travelling with the boo for New Years, currently beside a fireplace (because it’s freezing here and we’ve got Florida blood) and writing on my blog because I want to actually do something for myself this upcoming year as a potential career. I did 3 mind mapping sessions with facebook friends (so two I don’t really know at all, one I do know pretty well) to help them identify and plan out goals for the new year. It was a lot of fun – in a challenging and rewarding way. I gave them all homework and will be following up in two weeks. I’ve been painting a lot more and am working on another website to cater to selling to corporate clients (you can check out my attempt at a stop gap measure here!). Glass is half empty: I was “laid off” from the company and job I had been with for just a month shy of 5 years so I’m existing off of my paltry savings (remember when I bought a house 7 months ago, that was a lot of money down) and a meager “reemployment” contribution from the government. I interviewed with a dream job and am waiting to find out if I made it to round two of interviews. I’m applying left and right to other jobs – both potentially dream jobs and the “holy crap I have to pay a mortgage so I’ll take whatever I can get” jobs. This went down on the 8th so it’s been a shit-tastically tainted Christmas (thanks, bossman) but I’m hoping the new year will wash away bad vibes and I can start accumulating the good ones again. Fingers crossed!!! I’m terrified of not having health insurance, I’m trying to get over being mad about the “lay off”, I’m working on keeping my stress levels low about being unemployed, but I’m very grateful for my tribe – my family, friends, and boo – they’re all cheering me on and offering to help. I’m excited about the prospects of bigger and better things – even things like becoming a life coach or artist – OR BOTH!!! But that excitement is punctuated with moments of panic and depression – so, ya know, one day at a time.

2018 summary. . . bought a house, got a good boo, lost my job. Weeeeee!!!!!!!! Oh! I forgot that an old friend and I joined forces to challenge each other in losing weight – and we did really well for a while. I lost 15 pounds and looked and felt SO GOOD. But then, not so much. So I’m back up like 9 pounds but I know I can get to where I was before, and she does too, so yeah, we’re gonna be two more of those “New Years weight loss” people. But we did a trial run this last year!

If these wrap up posts sound a little robotic it’s likely because I feel a little robotic at the keyboard. I haven’t had the drive to write, to publish my feelings, in a very long time (obvs!) but part of having a blog and wanting to get better at writing is JUST WRITING – even when you think it’s crap or you’re dragging your feet to do it. If you read all of this, thank you for sticking with me. I’m hoping this year will bring more dynamic posts with life coaching and mental health posts meant to help the reader as much as they help me. I can’t tell you how good it felt when I got texts from the women I mind mapped with saying that I had helped them tremendously and was genuinely good at it (they’re my guinea pigs so I told them to give me honest feedback on how I do, the worksheets and homework I give them, and their experience overall). I love love love enabling, encouraging, and empowering others to be their best, happiest self.

I hope y’all have a great New Years Eve!!!!! 2018 should be. . . . (you fill in the blank with what YOU want it to be!). . . .

Art Therapy

Here in the US we’re going through a bit of a crisis. Well, those of us who are more liberal minded and concern ourselves with causes like social justice seem to be in a state of crisis at least. I think as a country we became complacent with the status quo then for myself personally, I saw in Bernie Sanders a real opportunity to put social issues at the forefront of policy changes should he have been the Democratic candidate to go up against trump. But. . . due to a series of suspiciously unfortunate events he was elected to be our Democratic candidate or even an independent candidate and thus we have landed our country in a position to be mocked across the globe and with absolute reason.

My point in this introduction is that I want to explain how soul crushing this past month has been thanks to “45” (it’s what I’ll call the current president because his name is too triggery) being an uneducated and boisterous child with concern only for attention and money. The emboldened racists and misogynists who are gaining confidence in the acceptability of their beliefs now that they have a PRESIDENT who shares their views are becoming louder than those of us who believe in equality and justice for all. It’s terrifying. Almost paralyzing. Some days I want to shut down and the reason isn’t my chemical depression – it can be traced back to ONE MAN running for PRESIDENT OF A FREE COUNTRY. That sentence is so upsetting and frustrating and makes me feel powerless.

Thus, I have been painting a lot lately to supplement my weekly therapy. And by a lot I mean every other day. . . at LEAST. I have nowhere to put my paintings I’ve painted so many.

I cannot express in words how therapeutic I find smooshing a bunch of bright, pretty paint around a fresh white canvas. I suppose it’s a release similar to what people who are obsessed with running feel? I’m not sure, I loathe running. I sit in my little apartment’s living room with some movie on in the background (no cable or internet so it’s just the DVDs I own), in a crappy lawn chair (I never bought a couch or moved in my real chair – never wanted to haul it upstairs), surrounded by my rainbow explosion of paint tubes and paint 1-5 canvases in one night. All of my angst is gone for those 1-6 hours. All of it. No facebook news feed, no racism, no hate, none of my rights being taken away, just me and my creativity.

Now, I know this is not a long term solution and I by no means see it as such. This has been my escape for the month of February. I told myself I could have the month of February to ignore everything and focus on myself. I am no good to my community if I’m a mess. Now that it’s March, I’m already in full swing activist mode – more on that later. For now, here’s a sampling of my paintings! Just keep in mind, these are THERAPEUTIC – not artistic – so be gentle on the judging!

 

Random grouping that gives you an idea of my style
Rainbow birch bark series
Trying to not use the entire canvas
One of my favorites!
Another favorite – I like lots of bright colors
Rainbows!