How is This Supposed to Work??

I have one more week until school begins. Luckily, I was able to get all of the accommodations for my disability. That makes me feel better about class. I am still skeptical about parking. So me of the areas near the school are sketchy. I think the anxiety about parking is worse than my anxiety about clinical at this time.

The kids are back with their dad for right now. I am going to try to complete some me prep work for this semester. We had a good time over their visit. I like having time with them. I get to see how they are during the day and what they really do all day. 

Today, I have my appointment with my psychiatrist. We do not see things the same way. I think I am more upset after the visit them before I go in. This person tries, they just do not seem to get it. Even when I say how I am doing I am not believed. There is no trust there!

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When Studying Makes it Worse! ##May Trigger##

My ultimate goal is to becom a Social Worker in a child welfare division. Right now, I am still trying to process my own traumas in therapy. To get through all of the things that happened to me.

I had a reading this week for one of my classes on how a certain targeted group is treated by a group of professionals. Of people who we should trust. It made me sick. To know what year it is and that people still have antiquated attitudes.

Class talks a lot about oppression. This just reminds me that there are certain companies that will not even hire me based on the fact that I have a mental illness. Then there are the interviews that I may get. I have to make sure to cover the scars from all of my self harm.  

If I ever do get hired, I will need to listen while people talk about their families, while I cannot talk to mine and they do not want to talk to me. Holidays are hard. Birthdays are hard. 

Having a mental illness is somewhat invisible. Sometimes that can be horrible. Times when people talk negatively about anyone who has a mental illness or says that they are not as bad as they seem. I am guilty of trying to hide my panic attacks and pretending to be ok when I am falling to piececs.

I have thought a lot about self harm lately. About how it would relieve some of the pressure and hopelessness for at least a few minutes. Then I think of my kids and my goals. As bad as I feel, I have to keep going and maybe one day, if I get out of the other side I can tell someone that it does get better. It is hell and fighting along the way. One can slip and fall down. It is definitely a rocky pass with obstructions. Yet, a long way down where they may not be able to see is a light at the end. It starts as a speck. That is where I am. I hope the light get bigger and brighter. I want to give others hope that abuse does not define them. That it does not have to keep them back. That their abusers are not the ones with the power any longer. 

My abusers are still there. They are still active. I am still going through my dark journey. Sometimes it is not pretty. I think I spent my entire therapy session last time just yelling that I felt that no one cared or could see me. So, things are a struggle. They are hard. Everyday brings something new. Negative or positive. There are so many pints where I want to just stop and say that is enough. No more!! I cannot say it always is better or that the days are always great.

Reality is that there are triggers everywhere. That I have to just breath to get through or leave the room for a few moments. That is my reality.

A Little Better

Maybe the change in meds has finally helped a little or the visits with the new member of my treatment team. It could be a little of both.

I am taking one day at a time again. Sometimes that is all that I can do to keep moving forward. Reading and journaling have been vices for me over the past few days.

My kids are always going to be a part of my life. At this point, they are able to choose how much they want to be a part of mine. My oldest is moving farther and farther away. Hopefully, he will come around, yet I am not sure that it will be soon.

The start of a new school year is getting closer as well as the start of dance. Both bring unique benefits and challenges. School will be a chance to work toward a possible career. That is if I can handle it. Dance is always a question of whether or not my body will cooperate. Only time will tell for both.

Watching the Olympics has been great! Seeing all of the athletes in their events. I also know someone who is there right now and is posting pictures on Facebook! The area looks beautiful! 

Tonight and tomorrow are quiet. Maybe I will go and use the bike at the gym for a little bit tomorrow. Monday is going to bring the beginning of a new week and more discussions with my treatment team about where I am at and if I can be safe.

Invisible

Having a mental illness is hard. Just to have the right diagnosis may take years. For the person with PTSD, they are misdiagnosed an average of 7 times before the correct diagnosis is made. That is a lot of doctor visits and even more medication.

To the outside world, mental illness is invisible with a few exceptions. There are beginning to be more positive images of mental illness, yet it is still all over the news and Internet when that one person out of millions makes a bad decision.

Having a mental illness is hard. Other than my therapist, there are few people who I can talk too. Most people feel that I am fine. I am not in the hospital, my weight is normal, and I can even get out of the house to run small errands. What they do not see us how much it takes to do anything. How much I have to push and convince myself to get a shower, get dressed, and get out the door. How I have turned around in the past and cancelled or just have said that the errand could wait.

Right now, I have a lot of stressors. It is causing me to want to binge. Internally, I am at war with myself. It is so easy to have access to all of the foods that I want. Somehow, I have to find the willpower to resist. I have been irritated and angry over the emotions that are coming up. 

Therapy is only one hour a week. All of the other hours it is up to me. Since school is out and dance is ending, it is hard to think about all of the time that I will have for my mind to wander. I have looked into activities. I at least need to do something. 

Still I feel like I should be fine because I look fine.

What if I Mess Up?

I have loved dance ever since I can remember. The smell of the studio and the leotards and tights. The barre exercises and combinations going across the floor. 

At almost 40, I decided to pursue a dream of getting a dance degree. This first semester has not been easy and has tested my emotional and physical strength more than once. The fibromyalgia and the wave of exhaustion it brings on have been a challenge.

I am being considered as an instructor for a rec council next year. Right now, I am assisting with their recital. It is so energizing to see the young dancers and the joy in their face as they move. That is what dance always was . A way to be free. While backstage with them last night, their excitement was palpable.

Can I teach? Can I choreograph? Will I do a good job? These are questions that I will never know the answer to unless I try. If I am offered a position, I think I may take it. It would be a way for me to share what I love with students. Not bad for a part-time job!! 

What Does Recovery Look Like?

Many times I am asked if I am recovered. At least for me, that is a loaded question. 

In therapy, I still have so much trauma processing to do. I need to be able to connect with my emotions, which on some days feels impossible. I also still have thoughts  of self harm. I am working on that in therapy. Then I think that working in therapy is progress from avoiding these discussions just months ago.

Then I think about the small accomplishments. Taking a shower and getting the mail in. Making myself something to eat. Getting out of the house and going to school. Speaking about my mental illness.

For me, recovery is the small steps. At one point, I did go days without taking a shower. I was not opening up in therapy. Recovery for me is starting to do those activities that I lost. Using coping skills is also a large part of why I can take these little steps.

I still have flashbacks and panic attacks. My PTSD symptoms did not magically go away. They are still there and each day I try to get through them and do a little more. 

Pushing, pushing , pushing

Sometimes I think that if I just push myself enough, I can get over whatever it is that I am struggling with. That thinking is not working with one of my classes. I just feel worse each day that I go. Everyday the class brings up additional traumatic memories.

At other times pushing myself works. Getting more involved with NAMI is one example. After the experience, I feel like I actually accomplished something.

Then there are the kids. My ex really believed that I would not fight for him taking visitation away. At the time, I pulled all of my resources to fight him to get back visitation. I am going to see my kids this year for the holidays.

I guess the lesson I have to take away is how much to push and how much it will affect me in the long run. Is it something that will make me stronger? Will it contribute to gong downhill and having to seek inpatient treatment? 

Right now,  have a decision to make. What I need to think about is what is best for me in the long run.