2/23/17 – Daily Thoughts

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I skipped a day of journaling, just to allow myself to relax my mind a bit and to enjoy the nice weather that was outside. Plus with work, it was hard for me to actually fit in a good schedule in to put in an entry. I will say though that everything went well yesterday. My moods were level and I had no problems at all. At work, I am in a good mood, with me working with my manager who helped me out with my haircuts – which I am grateful for – whenever I needed the help. It is something that I appreciate working for the company that I work for. Not only am I going to grow into a job that I love, but with Great Clips, I have a supportive team who is more than willing to help me out whenever I need it. With me still learning, it is nice to have others take me under their wing and show me the skills that they have learned as stylists, things that I never thought that I would have learned elsewhere. Another great thing is that they make sure that I am with something who is a stronger cutter than I that way, if I have any questions, that person would be more than willing to help me out with my haircut.

There are times in which I feel as though I am bothering them whenever I am asking questions but I also need to remember that I am also there to learn as much as they are there to work and therefore, it is a dime a piece. Plus, each of them have been so helpful with everything that I needed help on, especially when I needed it. All of us are supportive of each other and it makes for a great environment that we all can work at. Plus, it helps to lower the amount of stress that we might have to deal with in the salon because as a hairstylist, you deal with a lot of stress in general. I am just happy to be finally feeling better after last week of total chaos.

As for today, I had my psychiatry appointment, which went well. Prozac was upped for me from 40mg to 60mg, so hopefully, that will help a bit with the depressive spells that I have been feeling. Other than that, my medicines have been left alone. Along with that, I finally will be able to see a therapist on March 13th, which is a blessing to me. I have been on the waitlist, waiting to go see one and thankfully, I have been bumped up, due to recent events that occurred. It is something that I am excited for, considering that I have been waiting to see someone for the longest time. Hopefully, this therapist will work out a lot better than the last. It makes me slightly nervous but I sincerely hope that it does. I am certain that everything will end up being fine in the end but I am still nervous.

Other than that, there wasn’t much that I did today. I went to the mall and picked up some new shoes for work. I also picked up some books on bipolar disorder to help me cope with it a bit more; it was suggested to me by someone I met. I started to read one of them and I am going to look over the other ones as well to see what they entitle me to do. I have to renewal my license for cosmetology as well as work a bit more on my watercolor painting. Other than that, I really don’t think that there is anything else that I need to do. I just wanted to keep everyone updated and let you all know that I am around and I am working hard in order to improve my mental help.

I am also looking for suggestions on good books to read on bipolar disorder as well. Also, if you have any good coping skills or anything that helped you improve your live, please post in the comments and let me know. I would love to hear from you. Thank you all and have a blessed day.

Racing Thoughts

Racing thoughts.. it is seriously a time in which I wish that I could seriously collect all of my thoughts into a bottle and hold onto them tightly. For me, everything is a blur at this time and it is hard to tell what I am actually thinking. I hate these moments of my illness, the moments that I deal with these thoughts that I really cannot control. I sometimes wish that I could gather my thoughts but no, that would not be possible at all. It could not be possible. These thoughts are apart of me now and there is nothing that I can really do in order to control them, except for continuing to take my medicine. But even then, it seems as though the thoughts just wish to make everything a blur to me.

I don’t know why this has to be apart of the bipolar disorder. I seriously wish it wasn’t for those who have never had to deal with racing thoughts are lucky. They never had to deal with the fact that it felt like they were a train ready to flip off of its tracks and crash to the ground where it didn’t belong. That is what it feels like to me. There are plenty of times where I cannot even gather my thoughts, times in which I try my best to control more than anything else. It is hard though, hard to control these thoughts that some people know nothing about. These thoughts make me cry at times, make me wish that I did not have to deal with them at all. They are horrible, the one thing that I wish I didn’t have to deal with and yet, they glare at me every day, threatening me to come out. Some days are worse than others while other days, I feel like there is nothing to them at all.

The medicine I am on helps to control them, helps to manage them but it doesn’t completely get rid of them. It just minimizes the racing of the thoughts and makes them go a lot slower than what they were before. Some days the medicine works well, other days it does not. It really depends on the day. When the medicine does not seem to be doing its job, I turn my attention to journaling, which seems to help out a lot. It helps to get my thoughts out on paper, to write down everything that I possibly can write without anyone really bothering me or bugging me about the issue at hand. Sometimes, I journal twice a day depending on how my thoughts are going while, for the most part, I only journal once a day, allowing everything to be released on paper, to allow all my thoughts to be spread about and thrown together with well fitted words. Journaling is my release in life, is the one way that I am able to find myself in a word where I feel so different from the people around me. It helps me to see straight when at times, I cannot see for myself. It is a blessing when I am finally able to fit in with the word around me, especially when I already feel absent from the world that I belong to.

As for these racing thoughts that I deal with, there are a variety of different things that I have thoughts about, depending on what I think about, for they are just normal thoughts just in hyper speed. Today I had a thought about a dream I had last night where I was told by my manager that I wasn’t bipolar – wouldn’t that be swell – and that I was alright. Unfortunately, I know that it isn’t the case for me and I still have Bipolar. As I stated above these thoughts usually come on daily and are usually slowed down with the help of medicine and – for me – journaling. That is one of the reasons why you see me attempting to journal every day. That is unless I fall off the face of this earth. I do tend to do that at times, which I have proven also.

Although this is something that I must learn to deal with, it is something that I will not allow to run my life. I am determined to life a fulfilling life, no matter how short or long it might end up being.

2/20/17 – Daily Thoughts

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So on the days that I really don’t have any topic to talk about, I am just going to be posting my thoughts. It is something that I figure will help me out with managing this disorder and well as helping others to see what I actually deal with on a daily basis, especially when it comes to the racing thoughts that I deal with. I figure why not take it to express myself and let others see the way that I think. It might probably help me.

I will admit, I am completely frustrated. My mind is a complete blur at the moment, filled with so many thoughts and images that it is so hard for me to actually sort through them all. I wish I could, I wish I could really understand what goes on within my brain but it is hard at times. Half the time, I barely even get a decent night’s sleep, especially if I don’t have my medicine to calm the thoughts that are ever present in my mind. It is a horrible nightly ritual that I must deal with. Take the medicine at 6:00pm and allow it to kick in before going to bed. The medicine does not take away all of the racing thought, only some of it. There are times where I am still restless, tossing and turning so therefore, I make sure that I am beat before going to bed. I used to be able to stay up late but now I have found myself going to bed around 7:00pm to 8:00pm at night. Sometimes it is 9:00pm but it is on rare occasions when I have to actually work late, such as today. Yet even then, I find myself getting tired easily and drained from the people I work with and the customers I serve, which brings me to another topic.

People easily drain my energy. I used to be one of those who was so energetic, that nothing seemed to have been able to slow me down. Now, it seems that interacting with people is the one thing that does slow me down, especially when it is a massive amount of people. I work as a hairstylist – which I sometimes question why I do – where I constantly interact with multiple people every day. It is draining. Their energy drains me to the point that by the end of my shift, I am void of any emotions or feelings left. I am empty of everything really. I am tired and completely worn out from the different personalities that are within the chair that I often do question why I do hair. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job however I do go exhausted with the multiple personalities that I deal with on a daily basis. I become worn out. Those who do not experience this are lucky, you do not know what it is like to have your own personality and energy taken away from you due to the amount of people you serve. I wish I didn’t know. Unfortunately, I am one of the ones that do.

Now since I jumped around a bit, to go hand in hand with the frustration, I tend to get rather angry very quickly. I may not show it as much as people are assumed – actually, most people assume that I am rather a pleasant person to be around – but I do get rather angry very quickly. The smallest things do bother me to the point that I will get angry over them and will hold a grudge over it for a couple of days until someone tells me to either get over it or until that person apologizes to me. It is rather hard to experience something like that, considering that I try my best in order to be fair in all situations that are put on hand but often times, I cannot be fair at all. There are sometimes that my mind tends to take over the situation and my anger prevails over everything else. This anger is so difficult to control and yet, I want to control it more than anything else that I wish that I can control. I wish I could control it. It is something that I wish that I could do. It is difficult though, especially with the thoughts that I have going through my mind. Yet, my most recent anger – and frustrations – just happens to me around my medicine. For me, my medicine is not working the way that it should be and therefore, it is frustrating me way more than what it should be. I am becoming angry because of it, getting annoyed at the people around me for no reason because of the fact that my medicine is not doing what it should. Along with that frustration, I am often crying a lot, allowing my frustrations to show in front of my mom. It is something that I find to be embarrassing but it helps a lot, especially when I really don’t know how to express myself. I feel at times as though I have completely lost myself within translation, lost myself within this disorder that I have been given. I wish I haven’t but in all honesty, I think I have lost myself. I am trying to find myself once again but I am beginning to question if that is at all possible. It is possible, I know it is but at the moment, I seem to have lost all hope in it all.

Out of everything that I have been feeling, the worse has to be the numbing depression. For those who have not experienced depression, let me tell you that it is not fun at all. Depression is a numbing feeling, taking every emotion that you had within you and leaving you empty. You feel as though you are worthless, as though you matter to no one within the world, even though you are actually loved by countless of people. You pull yourself away from those people, from those who love you, and find comfort in being alone. Not only that but your self esteem deteriorates. It complete diminishes to the point where there is hardly anything left to it but a small glimmer of hope that maybe, one day, you would be able to get out of this, that you would be able to fight this. Depression is not the illness of the weak, for anyone can feel depressed at anytime, and it is completely foolish for anyone to think such a thing. With my bipolar, my depression episodes tend to me constant, always glaring at me in the face and wanting me to fight my inner demons, even though I want to just stay in bed and cry. Yet, these are the days where I must get up and fight my demons and deal with them. These are the days which I fight my hardest without the help of everyone else. I struggle sometimes – boy, do I struggle – but sometimes, I think I am one of the bravest souls I know. I fight a battle that most know nothing about, a battle that most would only dream about. Depression isn’t a walk in the park, depression a serious illness that a lot of people suffer from, including myself.

Dealing with Bipolar Disorder, I deal with an everyday battle of my mental illness. It is not fun  and it can be such a tiring process that one much deal with, especially when dealing with it on a daily basis. There is still some things that I am trying to deal with when it comes to my mental illness however, I am slowly learning to manage it to the best of ny ability, especially when it comes to everything that I listed above. Soon I will get ahold of it but as of right now, I am taking things one step at a time.

Coping Skills: Watercolor Painting

When a person is stressed, coping skills is one of the best ways in order to help ease yourself out of the stress that you are feeling. There are many different ways that many people cope with stress, including deep breathing, going for a walk, taking a break, etc. Each coping skill works completely different for each person. One of the coping skills that I find rather helpful – other than the journaling that I am often doing – are watercolor paintings.

I don’t know why but I always had a fascination with watercolor painting ever since I was in High School. I will be honest, I hated to paint. Acrylics and oil paints were not my forte and I struggled with blending colors together. For me, being the perfectionist that I am, I could never make anything look as nice as what I wanted too. Everything ended up looking flat and plain. Those paints frustrated me and often made me want to throw in the towel rather quickly, as much as I tried to learn. I also did not like how finicky the paint was. Then you had oil pastels, which I loved completely. They blended like a dream and were vibrant with the colors that they provided. I loved working with them completely. Of course, there was a setback to the pastels as well. They were messy. There was a good chance that you would end up with fingerprints on your clothes or on the wall. Pastels could be a nightmare if not handled correctly though they were fun to work with.

It was during my time in High School which I was introduced to watercolor paints and the wonders that they could actually provide to someone and, let me be honest, they are wonderful. Watercolors blend like a dream and their colors are vibrant. Best thing about them is the fact that unlike paints and pastels, there is little to no mess. Even if you are not Vincent Van Gogh and are just wanting to learn how to paint, watercolors are a great way to learn.

When it comes to watercolors, I try my best to get my practice in everyday. I find it enjoyable and relaxing in order to watch all of the colors blend flawlessly together and to form shadows and highlights of things that I am painting. There is just something calming about watercolor painting that keeps me going with it that I keep up with my skills and make sure that everything is up to par. Not only that, but I like to make sure that I am learning and practicing new skills that I have not practiced before. Another reason why I like watercolor painting is that, unlike other painting, it is reasonable in price. You don’t have to pay that much for a good set of paints, some watercolor paper and some brushes. Watercolor painting is a hobby that can be quickly learned and enjoyed by anyone who wishes to learn it, which is why I often suggest it to people who want to learn something that is relaxing.

Now other than watercolors, I do hike, walk, and journal in order to keep my stress levels down. I also do deep breathing exercises to help me out with any stress that I might be dealing with on a daily basis. Out of all the coping skills that I have, I will have to admit that watercolor painting and hiking will have to be my favorite with watercolor painting holding a slight lead. I could spend hours just painting without anyone bothering me at all, just watching the colors mix together. For me, it it is far more relaxing than anything else out there.

Do you have a favorite coping skill or a suggestion of a coping skill I should try? Post below!

 

How I got Diagnosed with my Mental Illnesses

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Sometimes, it is important in order to share someone’s story with another, that way they can learn what to expect when it comes to their mental health diagnosis. Not every diagnosis is going to be the same, everyone is going to be different from the rest but a lot share similar stories. Many of us were afraid of what we were going to find out from the doctors who we were seeking medical help with, afraid that perhaps, we did have something wrong with our brains. There was a fear within us of what others were going to think of us, a fear of what they might say when they found out that we were ill. It is something that no one wants, to deal with the stigma that others throw at them. Perhaps that is what everyone fears. Well I am here to tell you that everyone who has been in your shoes has had that fear and it is okay to seek help. Seeking help is what you need to do in order to help yourself feel better. This is why I am sharing my story, to let others know that it is okay to seek help; that sometimes, there might be some potholes along the way but it is still okay. If you need help, then you need help.

It started in August 2014, when I was feeling severe periods of depression. I went into the doctors in order to talk to them about it. While there, I was give a high dose of prozac in order to help with my symptoms. Satisfied and believing that this would be work, I went home without complaint. Well, I lasted around three months. During those three months, I acted far more strangely compared to what I normally would. The medicine seemed to make me act as though I was on a sugar rush, making me talk really fast and get really hyper. It was a strange feeling for me, something that I really could not control at all. Along with this sudden shifts of moods came the sudden crashes that occurred with it. I would become depressed and moody, not wanting to do anything at all. I took no notice of it all all, not really thinking anything of my moods. That was until an event that happened in January 2014.

It wasn’t what I was expecting at all to be coming from me. I was checking out a client and I had another stylist who had come along. Although I was struggling with the computers a bit, I was more than determined to figure it out. Unfortunately, it didn’t help that I had her commanding me about in the background, trying to tell me what to do. I was getting angry and before I knew what I was saying, I told her to “Leave me the fuck alone.” I am certain she was completely surprised with everything that I had said, especially since I was generally a quiet figure who never said much at all. Afterwards, I was brought into the office and given a written warning and asked why I did it. And in all honesty, I told her I couldn’t even remember what I told her. I told her that everything happened so fact that it was such a blur for me. Probably one of the reasons why I was only given a written. The rest of my week was miserable and my anxiety seemed to increase dramatically. Everything bothered me, including the littlest things that the stylist said to me. I became cautious with everything that had happened around me that I began to worry about my own health, which is where the research began.

I was beginning to realize that what I was experiencing was not just depression but something else. Depression would not make you high and plummet ten times worse than what you were before. It was then in which I began to dig and do a little research, deciding to see what I could find. It was while I was searching that I came across Bipolar and interesting enough, the symptoms were similar to mine. A lot of what was described, including it acting up under antidepressants, was exactly what I was experiencing so therefore, I booked an appointment with a new doctor. It was now February, due to the fact I felt the last one never listened to me at all. Once meeting my doctor, she agreed that my symptoms were similar to that of bipolar and therefore, put me on medicine to help me manage it while setting up arrangements to see a psychiatrist.

Now, for some reason, it took me two years to get a psychiatrist but once I did, he confirmed that I had bipolar, as well as a possible personality disorder. He also concluded that I also have anxiety into the mix (oh goody!). He updated my medicine and now keeps an eye on me every month of so to make sure that everything is going well. Other than that, that is pretty much all I do for my appointments. They are pretty much an in and out basis just to make sure I am alright and that I am not emotionally distressed.

Now, everyone had a different experience whenever it comes to getting diagnosed. Some get diagnosed right away while others get multiple other diagnosis before they actually get the right one. Just don’t get discourage and everything will be alright. I promise.

Please, don’t comment about my skin..

t3sirvhThis is a picture of me. By looking at me, people would assume that there is nothing wrong with me, that my skin is perfectly flawless. If only people actually knew the truth of what I actual deal with. I wish that I could be the type of person to admit that, beyond the makeup that I wear are the endless amount of scars from the picking that I have done to myself over the past years. Perhaps I should explain myself a bit.

I have Dermatillomania, otherwise known as obsessive skin picking.

It was something that I learned was not enjoyable at all, especially with the standards of beauty of today society. Today, we are all supposed to have beautiful skin and hair and when you have dermatillomania, it doesn’t happen, especially when you cannot help but to pick at the scarbs as well as acne that is on my face. No, according to the beauty industry, we are all supposed to have these beautiful faces with no imperfections at all. Imagine how I feel when I hear that is the standard of beauty. It is something that I cannot say that I am proud of. I am not proud of my picking but again, I cannot control it. Not at all. Half of the time, I really do not even know that I am even picking my face.

This became a problem around my High School time, when stress was high and I needed a way in order to calm myself down. The way to do it was to pick at my face. It was an unhealthy way but for some reason, my mind thought about doing it and half the time, I absentmindedly did it. Throughout my time of skin picking, my peers would make fun of me, muttering comments about what I was doing and teasing me about it but I really couldn’t stop. I could not find a way to stop. It was not something that I could do. My mind just did not have any control in stopping. It made it rather difficult for me, making me question everything that I was doing. Not only was I teased for picking my face and causing more open wounds on my face, but I also was teased for my appearance as well. Life was the same after school, but this time, I had total strangers come up to me and comment about ways to clear up my acne. It was embarrassing, considering that they didn’t know what I was dealing with at the time. Even today, people seem to comment about my skin picking, especially whenever they seeing me picking at my skin. They seem not to understand Dermatillomania and what it really means. Well let me explain.

To put it nicely, it is hell. Half of the time, I don’t even know that I am picking at my fact because I am absentmindedly doing it. It is something that I cannot control, something that I really wish that I could control for it would easily prevent the stares and the comments from the other people who seem to enjoy making towards me. Not only has this cost me my face by causing countless of scars but it caused a lot of interior scars as well, making it difficult for me to actually deal with certain things. I used to be so carefree but now, I am cautious with my appearance, hating to get my picture taken without any ounce of makeup on my face. I need makeup on my face. My self esteem has also lowered because of it, making it difficult to actually accept compliments from people whenever they are given to me. Everything is just so much harder now thanks to the fact that this I deal with all thanks to my skin picking.

If you know anyone who suffers from Dermatillomania, please be kind to them. They deal with enough suffering deep inside from the comments of others around them. Try to be supportive and help them out, that way, they have someone to talk to whenever they need someone. You never know who a person might need when they least expect it.

Physical vs Mental Illness

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Above is a comic strip of what would happen if we treated physical illness the same way we treat mental illnesses. As we all know, or as most of us know, both mental and physical illness can be serious and yet, physical illnesses are often treated as more important than mental. Both are serious, both needed to be treated and yet one isn’t taken seriously. But why?

It is believed that mental illnesses are not taken seriously because of the fact that they are invisible illnesses and cannot be seen by the naked eye. Because of this, it makes it harder for a person to believe whether or not a person is ill or not. With a mental illness, it is not “all inside of their head”. A person is not faking their illness in order to gain some sort of attention from someone around them. No, they actually do have the illness, whether it be bipolar, depression, anxiety, etc. they have  something going on with their brains. It is these problems which are common misunderstood and make for an interesting topic. Now when a person is mentally ill and ends up in a hospital, you don’t see flowers and balloons sent in their directions, with well wishes and hopes of feeling better. No, the family tends to hide it from the rest of the world, not wanting them to know that this person, this one person in this household is flawed within their brain. It is a said truth that happens in many households and has been happening for many years. Years before, the mentally ill were locked up, hidden away from the rest of the world. They were classified as an embarrassment to the family. Perhaps, we still see it as that embarrassment factor.

Now lets compare that to when you break your arm and you get on a cast. When that happens, everyone rushes over just to sign it, making sure that they got their autograph on your cast. Sometimes, people send you flowers but there is empathy shown within your direction, people show that they care for you. It is something that most people do whenever someone breaks an arm. Same goes for the fact when a person is deathly ill, people show that same sort of compassion towards them, knowing that it is something that most people  deal with in their lifetime. It is something that everyone shows. Yet people who have mental illness never receive this sort of love, they are commonly ignores and pushed aside.

But what if we stopped to think about how we treated the mentally ill and started to become a bit more accepting towards the illness in general. What if we decided to allow our hearts to open up towards them and listen to everything that we could offer towards them. Maybe a good place to start is to offer a listening ear and not pass any judgement on them, knowing that they deal with enough judgement as is. Also, send them some kind words when needed for you never know when those dark thoughts might be creeping up within their minds and trying to control. Be a friend to them and chances are, you would have a good friend for life.

Just remember, your brain needs just as much care as the rest of your body does, if not more.