Animals > Humans any day

This weekend I have the pleasure of house sitting for a coworker who has also become a very good friend. She has two large dogs and a cat and I am in my glory. I have always loved animals so much, especially dogs and I feel so at ease in this home because I am surrounded by unconditional love from these beautiful creatures. Last night I was having a really rough moment and I burst into tears and immediately the two dogs came up to me on the couch and smothered me in kisses, how can one not smile when you have a German Shepherd and Husky kissing your tears away.  This morning I woke up decently early after being up every four hours to let the pups outside and I feel so relaxed, I truly feel that being around animals is making the loneliness of this weekend disappear. I may be 400km away from my family and most of my friends, but for the first time in a long time I don’t feel isolated. I am able to reflect on the difficulties I faced the past few months with my mental health and finally feel like I have overcome the storm and am free to live my life as it should be.

This past fall and into the beginning of the winter I not only dealt with crippling anxiety, but also some of the lowest moments I have had in years. Not only that, the lows and anxiety were laced with hypo-mania, negative energy I will call it, giving me more opportunities to worry and be depressed. I must say that it was somewhat self-inflicted by the fact that I went back to school with a full online course load of 2 classes, while working full time in my career; attempting to learn guitar, by beginning lessons in September, signing up for a volunteer trip with the U of L to Malawi, and bringing a new puppy into my life and the life of my boyfriend! It was too much at once, and that sentence is a run-on because the whole pile of obligations was too much to fit into one thought! I can laugh at myself now for attempting to juggling so many things at once, but honestly, one day I’m going to over-do it so much that I may end up in the hospital again. In fact I was showing so many acute symptoms over these past few months, that had I been in Edmonton I most likely would have been admitted. Instead, I attempted to work through all my grief, but managed to miss a day here and there because I wasn’t coping. I will not beat myself up about this anymore, however.

If I have learned anything in the past decade and a half of taking psych meds and dealing with the challenges of living with a mental illness, it is that this is what I have been given to deal with. It is not a blessing or a curse although it may feel like one much of the time. I am a strong woman, I have overcome so many challenges and adversity due to my illness and nothing can stop me, no matter how hard my mind tries to fight me on that one. I am successful, and I am continuing to reach my career goals by completing my degree, but it is not a race, if I graduate at 30 or 32, in the grand scheme of things it won’t matter, because the end result will be the same. I will be a certified Recreation Therapist, and I will have reached my end goal. I have beaten myself up over not having my degree yet for too long, I started a degree that would have left me in a career that wasn’t right for me, and along the way I learned so much about myself. I went to college and felt like I didn’t fit in, but I excelled academically because of my prior education. Time was not wasted at the U of A, those years gave me the academic skills needed to excel in my college classes. My life has been a journey of self-discovery from a very young age, because of what I have gone through with my illness, but I see it now as a blessing in disguise. If I can make it through suicide attempts, running away from home, anxiety so crippling I was afraid to make a purchase in a store, among many other battles, there is truly nothing standing in my way in life.

This blog post turned into quite the rant about my mental health, but I feel that at this point writing about my struggle, and sharing it with the world is incredibly therapeutic. I hope that those who read this can gather that if you are ever feeling down, you are not alone, and as cruel as a place this world can be on most days, we are all in this together. This is something I hope to remember the next time I am feeling down. Reaching out is a very difficult thing to do, but for me it saved my life in the past few months, and I am grateful for all the support I had. I won’t name names, but I hope that one day I can help someone just as those who helped me this last time around.

It’s Been a While

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted, and as much as I wanted to make this blog a priority, I had to let something go temporarily. My schedule is still not exactly the most flexible for leisure writing and this has a lot to do with the fact that:

a) I’ve been super busy with school, work, and life in general

b) I’ve been bust trying to cope with some challenges with my mental health

c) There is a new puppy in my life and my boyfriend and I are very busy with training and care. I will elaborate a bit more on the living situation at a later time, but unfortunately, Icarus, our pug is unable to live with me, so the majority of his care has been provided by my boyfriend and his dad, who was gracious enough to let him live there.

I won’t go on about how juggling a full-time job and finishing my degree has proven to be harder work than I imagined, because I am slowly getting back into a good routine and figure I’ll spare the boring details.

What I’d like this post to really focus on is how happy I am that worst of my most recent mental-health setback is now over.

I have been so focused on being an overachiever, that I realized that I was just adding more barriers to achieving my goals, by not prioritizing my own health and leisure time. Right before we got the puppy I banked a bunch of hours at work in order to get a day off and consequently worked 11 days in a row. The weekend was only a few hours total, but I also pulled an all-nighter in the middle of that and was not doing well at all after the fact. My memory was severely affected and that was one of the hardest parts of it all. Having to write two assignments, a quiz and midterm all at the same time with a memory impairment was very frustrating. I felt like I needed help, but like my usual self, I didn’t really reach out too much. I ended up dumping a lot on my boyfriend, his mom and my supervisor at work, until I finally could see my doctor. After some med adjustments which are always a nightmare during the lovely transition phase, I felt so drowsy the first few days, then super low, and anxious. I was all over the map, it was so difficult because I felt like I couldn’t reach out to anyone. One night I talked to my boyfriend’s mom until late into the night and when I finally let her go to bed, I texted a good friend who did so well at talking me off the ledge so to speak, it was such a relief. It was then that I realized, something that every time I get sick I seem to learn again; that I have such great support around me. I really just have to learn to ask for help, because my friends and family would do anything to make sure I continue to thrive, just as I hope they know I would do the same for them, if they needed the same type of support.

One thing that I also learned was that I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for, I see so much on social media platforms about people who complain about things that I almost wish were my problems. I couldn’t imagine worrying about something like not knowing how to save for a fancy new cell phone or something of the like. It almost makes me grateful to have gone through some of things I have, because even when I want to end it all, once I make it through it, I really begin to feel gratitude for everything I have and everything I have been able to achieve; despite some real neurological challenges in my life. It may be easy sometimes to think, why me? However, at this point in my life, I have so much acceptance of my illness, I really am just grateful that I don’t have to deal with something far worse. There are people in this world who are clinging to life, as I type this, and to think that just last weekend, I fantasized a world without me in it.

I know that for some people reading this, it may be difficult to believe or even accept the last thing I just wrote, but for me it’s reality. I have felt that low time and time again, and I know that maybe next time I won’t be so lucky, or even wise enough to contact a friend before I try something; but what I want to focus on now, is the fact that I am here today despite how low I felt last Sunday, and many days and nights in my past.

I want to finish this off by simply thanking whoever has read this post, even if you skimmed through it, because it has been a dream of mine so long to be a published writer, and I feel that this platform is a very good start to get one step closer to my goals.

Until next time,

Maria

National Boyfriend Day  (Je t’aime Christopher)

Today is national boyfriend day and I’m going to be super cheesy and write all about my boyfriend, but in French.

Je l’ai rencontré il y plus que 3 ans, cette nuit j’étais toute seul dans le bistrot and je buvais Miller Genuine Draft. Il est benu asseoir à côté de moi et il a demandé s’il pouvais parler. Je l’ai donné le ok puis on a parlé pour plusieurs heurs. Il voulait m’embrasser mais je ne le savais pas, puis j’avais un chum. En décembre j’ai déménagé ici à High Prairie où il a vécu toute sa vie. En Janvier on a commencé à repaler et le 20e jour du mois on a passé la nuit ensemble parler, embrasser et regarder Netflix. Il y presque 9 mois qu’on est ensemble et à la fin du mois on va adopter un chiot ensemble. Peut-être l’année prochaine on va acheter une maison. Le futur semble très excitant j’espère qu’on va rester ensemble pour plusieurs années…

Well my French is a little rusty but I did it. For those who can’t understand this the gist is that I’m very happy in my relationship and we are adopting a dog together later this month. We went to pick it out last weekend and it will be coming home in 3 and a half weeks. Unfortunately it has to live with him, but if we move in together next year it won’t be a problem.

Productivity At it’s Finest

Today was a good day, I’m going to start of by saying that. Once again I was in a course all day at work so I got to leave a bit early and had a nice long break at lunch. On my break I did some of my reading for school to prepare me for my forum post and quiz that I completed this evening. I cooked a healthy supper, a delicious fish burrito, drank a bunch of water to get me hydrated, got changed and headed out for a jog. My first jog outside probably in 3 years. I’ve always been more of a treadmill gal, but today I decided to opt out of the hamster wheel and enjoy the sun, especially since they’re calling for snow on Monday! I struggled, I’m not going to lie, the treadmill I seem to be better at keeping a better pace, and really pushing myself to go fast. Today, I did an interval training Fitstar workout and when I was supposed to run I jogged, fairly fast for a jog though, but when I was supposed jog, I walked. I’ve always been a fast walker so it was no issue but to really get my heart rate and breathing back to where it needed to be I had to walk. Although for once my fitbit finally registered my cardio fitness score, because it requires the GPS to get the most accurate reading and my score was 39, that was on my first outdoor jog since I’ve had my fitibit. Way, way better than the 19-23 it was giving me before. To give you an idea for those who are unfamiliar with the system, a professional athlete would typically fall into the excellent range of over 50. My score is considered average for my age but I am very close to being considered good and remember, I know I’m out of shape and have weight to lose. I have an idea of what I want my body to look like again and where I want to be physically. I need to work on my stamina, my core strength, strengthening my lower body for sure, because I was definitely getting shin splints during part of my run.

Well… that’s enough for tonight I’ve taken my medication and it’s definitely kicking in! I need to start going to bed earlier. Since I started school I’ve been up late almost every night.

 

 

 

Stolen from my Tumblr, Original Poem by Yours Truly

I searched the archives of my tumblr to find this piece, the poem that I have recited live, the poem that one of my paediatric psychiatrists believe could have been featured in Schizophrenia today; the poem I hope one day won’t only be online but will be published in a mish-mash of my work over the years.

This is a poem I wrote in the 11th grade describing the events of previous months. I took about half of a semester of of school in high school to recover from a very deep bout of depression, that was laced with the wonderful auditory hallucinations that not only haunted me, but caused quite the argument with my psychiatrist at the time, which led to a second opinion and a diagnosis I could deal with: depression with psychotic features, NOT schizophrenia. It is in my opinion the best piece of poetry I have ever written and will most likely always be, for the emotion it illustrates was so raw and so painful that I don’t think I could ever write with such passion again.

Where Am I?

One day I woke up alive, yet dead

Visible on the outside, fine, but broken within

As I spoke, people failed to see the hidden torment

At the highest does of antidepressants, I drowned in my tears

Sorrow controlled me like a dictator

Few noticed the mutation, and those who did denied it

Left class in tears, grades sank deeper than the Titanic

One day I hit the floor, willpower to get up vanished

Where was I? What happened to my smile?

My mouth was as dry as a desert

The only fluid contained was blood

Even my tears were running low

Spirit was damaged; life hated and death envied

Tried every tonic, but my mood wouldn’t improve

Wasn’t in school; couldn’t see my friends

I found a cruet of pills, took about half the bottle and woke up in hell

By the sound of sick patients and drug addicts, and the look on my mom’s face I knew I was in the ER

The fluorescent lighting blinded me, the stench of the hospital all too familiar, and sleep overtook me

Became hypothermic; nurses couldn’t get any blood

My wish for death had almost come true

Why did my mom protect me?

Why was I here?

I allowed myself to become consumed by my infirmity

When I was in agony, I distracted myself by inflicting pain somewhere else

To see blood was my wish

Dug a whole in my thumb, tore away at the skin, but nothing would come

Sprayed perfume on my wound, knowing it would irritate it

It hurt for all of a second and then it surpassed

Wrote about my melancholy, anger and frustration

Was a prisoner, forced to follow a five-year-old’s schedule

Drank my apple juice, took naps, had no choices

After a few shocks to the brain, learned that there was hope

I woke up and found myself once again

Where I had been, I vowed to never rebound

I may not smile as often as someone next to me

I may take pills to keep me content, yet I am here, alive

Why I cry, I feel pain, but when it’s over…

I know where I am

It’s Not Something I Talk About to Many People

I have been living with an invisible illness for most of my life, yet it’s still something I am reluctant to share with others.

Why?

Well, there are so many reasons it’s hard to even begin to list them off, but the fact is people don’t want to hear about you problems, they’re too busy dealing with their own. To add to this lots of people will try and tell you that the problem you have is something made up in your mind, or something you can just brush off. Others will quit talking to you all together when you tell them what’s wrong.

So here is my “problem” which I will no longer be referring to as so because I don’t believe it to be one.

I have bipolar disorder, bipolar affective disorder to be technical. Bipolar I, the highs, the lows, the in-betweens, I become crippled with depression, anxiety, insomnia and mania. (Although the latter seems to be more fun and exciting from the outside and even sometimes from the inside)

I will continue with this topic later this evening, because right now I have to finish my lunch and get ready to go back to work Because yes you can hold a job with a mental illness, in fact you can be a very high functioning member or society, despite what the media may try and portray. No I’m not crazy, although psychosis is no stranger to me.

Yes I have heard voices! No I do not have multiple personalities, no I do not have schizophrenia. Yes I have attempted suicide, more than once in fact, but that doesn’t mean I’m a danger to myself or others. Although that doesn’t mean I may not get that low one day again. I am living my life and surviving each day. Sometimes I cry for hours on end, some days I laugh myself to tears, other days I don’t feel much at all.

But for me, this is all absolutely NORMAL.

Road Blocks

I have been working my new job for nine months and for nine months I have been really wanting to lose weight. I lost about five pounds which is nothing then gained it back. I am the heaviest I have ever been in my whole life give or take a few pounds. I am the same size that I was at 20lbs lighter but I am also three sizes bigger than what I want to be and what I normally am when I am in shape. For the last two weeks I have been very conscientious of what I have been eating which helped me lose three pounds the first week. I haven’t been so good about going to the gym, however. Today I went and realized I didn’t have my swipe card so I decided to do a workout at home instead. I worked out for 25 minutes doing Fitstar workouts and even reached my peak heart rate for two minutes, which I don’t always achieve on the treadmill. It was a good sweat session, but it wasn’t as long or as intense as I had planned. Tomorrow will be my first day at the gym in 3 weeks. I always feel so good after working out, it’s just dragging my butt there in the first place. Luckily I have great support all around me. My boyfriend loves me no matter what size I am, my friends and family all try and live healthy lifestyles I have an active job. If I keep at it I will have lost all the weight before my birthday, so here’s to hoping I can stick to it this time.

I’m on a journey to get fit again and to start feeling better about myself, one drop of sweat at a time.

Welcome

I have always been a writer at heart and since the days of Tumblr for me have come and gone I decided to go professional and get serious about my passion. This blog will be sometimes chaotic with anecdotes of my life, other times it will be well versed poetry; or simply rants about how lonely I get in this small town, and how I need to find a new place to live. Some place where I can stay up late and have friends over and not be threatened with the cops, have a dog, sit in my backyard and enjoy the sun. (Yesterday was an eventful and depressing day despite having my boyfriend over and a new friend who is also new to town.) Anyway, if you want something interesting to read or something to procrastinate from life’s obligations with this may be the right place to be.

Hope you pop by again,

Maria

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