The Battle

I have fought mental illness for as long as I can remember.

Its like there are two parts of me.

There is the ill side that tells me all these terrible things, including: how nothing is safe, how horrible of a person I am, how I am not worth it, and that I will never be able to function like a “normal” person.

But, there is also the real me who knows my own mind is lying to me  It is always trying to regain dominace over my ill side. Depending on how bad it is, it can either be described as a confident presence or a drowning victim desperately gasping for air; but I am never fully free from my ill side.

And it is beyond frusterating to want to enjoy life but feel like something invisible is pulling me down.

Everyday I spend a lot of my energy fighting the lies I tell myself. It makes being productive difficult, and I become frusterated at the time it wastes. I feel as though I am standing still a lot of the time, with big dreams that always seem to be slipping away from me.




It is hard to describe what it feels like to feel nothing. Not sad really. Not happy. Not angry… not even frusterated. It is a calm sense of nothing-ness. No urge to do anything, and everything is a chore. I know it isn’t a great sign, and if my kids ever read this.. know it has nothing to do with you. I love you more than I can explain. It is just one of those days that hopefully won’t stick, but I know it is unlikely to get better anytime soon on its own. I know this isn’t right as my mind tends to be chemically imbalanced chronically, truthfully. Such a shame it robs me of time that I could be using for so many other things. Maybe tomorrow will be better.


I find myself struggling to explain how I think, for my mind likely works differently than yours and I often feel “loco” explaining.

I feel a sense of guilt, pretty much constantly. My guilt comes from two usual sources: feeling like I put someone out/hurt their feelings, and feeling as though I made the wrong decision and somehow ruinned something. Or if I don’t feel my usual guilt, suddenly I feel guilty about that too.

I mourn the loss of material objects as another person would mourn the death of someone they cared about. I am not vain in the sense that I need expensive things, for I value EVERYTHING. I am obsessively aware of how nothing is the same as anything else, as there is always variations in things.. even massed produced items. Everything is actually unique in a sense. I tend to look for the perfect in items, even if there is no perfect- so it bothers me that nothing is perfect. Partial sets of something bother me as I feel I NEED the whole set. As such, for example, breaking a bowl of my matching set puts me into high anxiety for I no longer have a complete set. I desire to complete the set, so then I begin to look at ebay or another online store to find replacements.. but then I am upset for my set came from my Grandma’s house so if I buy a new dish then it wouldnt be authentically Grandma’s set anymore. And then I am upset for I feel stuck in my guilt.. for breaking my deceased Grandma’s bowl as maybe that would have upset her. And I was bad for doing so, even though logically Grandma wouldnt have been THAT upset.. it doesnt matter for I now have one less of something that was hers. And then I mourn that bowl, as if it was a part of Grandma herself that shattered on the floor.

You see, to me every item holds a memory or a feeling that allows me to feel like I am keeping the past alive. I am constantly aware of the limits of my mind, as forgetting things feels absolutely terrible to someone who fears memory loss. You might suggest that keeping a journal or taking pictures/video would help me. The truth is I have difficulties with both those things as my need for perfection and my guilt of not doing it right (as someone might care later if I did it wrong), drive me bonkers. When I wrote stuff down, I worried about not getting ENOUGH detail. Similarly with photos as I fear missing a good shot as that moment will forever be gone. A typical entry for me in a journal would be “Nothing exciting happened today..” and then I’d go through my day, minute by minute until I’ve covered everything I could possibly remember for I am scared to miss something IMPORTANT.. 15 pages later id be done.. and then realize id miss something and have to draw an arrow to insert a paragraph or two in there. Id even be tempted to date it by at the day/month/year/hour/minute/second… for it is important to know the exact time I did it.. someone might care. Maybe me.. maybe you. Maybe someone.

Its better if I don’t record things. But then I feel guilty for my kids wouldnt have anything to remember me by or their childhood by.

If you felt uncomfortable and overwhelmed reading that, imagine how my mind feels living it everyday and all the time. I have OCD, and it will never go away.

Okay, now hold on a bit while I re-read what I wrote a couple dozen times to perfect it. And edit. And then re-edit. And give up.. knowing there is no such thing as perfect. I likely missed something still. Sorry. I truly am.

What mental illness feels like

My left hand in particular is wrong. It is heavy, each slight movement of the hand is slow and foriegn. My legs resist the impluse from my brain to move. My right arm lays still. Only my thumb is poking the keys on my phone as my only means of expression. If you spoke to me, I could not reply, it as through my mind is screaming but my vocal cords are severed. I don’t understand.. and my eyes are tearing up as I look upon the sleeping face of my child who is laying on my lap. I  don’t understand why this has to just hit me when I was doing okay. It started as this heavy weight on my chest last night. I thought it was because I didnt do the dishes, so I did the dishes. But it stayed with me. I believe my dreams were stressful- although I could not tell you what they were. Today I know it.. the feeling. It is depression weighing me down..  Suddenly and frustratingly… and it hit me. I desire to get up and vote as there is a polling station just down the street right now. A part of me is screaming into a big black vast of emptyness and saying “stop it you sick fucking twisted ill-ly timed soul sucking thing, you are RUINING MY LIFE!” I have class tonight and I need to go. I need to organize and prepare food to leave my baby but.. I cannot move. It is like I am screaming “hurry your ass up!” and  yet calmly saying “no.” at the same time. I care more than I can say and yet I care not at all. Fuck you, mental illness, fuck you.

Anxiety, how I DID NOT miss you.

After enjoying a blissful many months with my new baby, and actually thriving despite all the demands she brings…

I find myself haulted by a simple resume I am writing for someone for a measly forty dollars. Initially, it was great. But after spending four hours on it (trying to organize all the cuttered info given to me with no clue where things stop and start due to improper grammer), only to find I did indeed interpret info wrong. The simple request for a phone call to sort it all out for me, three times requested, seems to have brought out the anxiety angels.

You know.. the ones that usually sit on my shoulder.

There is the “go for it” anxiety angel that tells me I am almost done, I already did most of the work, and a phone call is nothing bad nor hard.

And then there is the “quit now” anxiety angel that tells me I cannot get it right, that I should feel guilty for it not being perfect, that the phone call would be awkward, and that 40 dollars is not worth this misery.

“Go for it” anxiety angel: But you need that forty dollars.

“Quit now” anxiety angel: No, you don’t. It is only 40 dollars.

“Go for it” anxiety angel: Come on.. almost there… you are almost done. It feels good to complete a task.

“Quit now” anxiety angel: Yeah… but the task felt finished last night and it felt good for a bit… then you worried it was no good… so you didnt get to sleep for hours.. and then in the morning you found out you did not do it correctly and now they want you to fix it up again and that could take you another few hours. By the time you are done it will prob be a 6hr project for a weird $6.66 dollars an hour. Might as well go flip some burgers. If you could, you know, manage to even MAKE it to a job.

Suddenly the “Go for it” anxiety angel looks pale and is oddly silent.

The Embarassing Addiction

It began with the act of chewing gum. My mother used to buy multiple Costco sized packages of gum to keep up with demand. I chewed gum constantly, once one piece was out- another was in. I was so good at it that I often fell asleep chewing gum, and woke up still chewing it. This went on for years.

At 15, I got a job where gum chewing was not allowed. I noticed some of my co-workers had lip chap/balm and somewhere in there I started buying lip chap while phasing out my gum usuage.

I kept buying lip chap, then blistix, then nivea, sometimes even an all natural type. I had different preferences at different times.

I carried lip chap with me through many jobs, college, home life. I became so good at it, I could open, apply, close the lid all with one hand AND in less than a few seconds. It became so automatic that I only became aware of my actions after repeated reapplying gained me strange looks from others.

One summer, I got a job at a certain fast food place and the pants did not have pockets; nor did the shirts. I was desperate to find a way to carry my lip chap. I bought a tiny cheap pocket knife that came with a belt holder, and used the holder for my lip chap while at work.

Whenever I run low I start to lick my lips more than usual and run through what is left very quickly. I often cannot think straight nor about anything else until I get more. It has caused many innconviences and a great deal of money at 1-3 dollars a tube. At the worst part of my addiction, I emptied two tubes a day. If I take the average of 2 dollars a tube, and use a conservative 1 a day, times 7 days a week, times four weeks in a month (28 days a month is innacurate but you get the point) that is $56 dollars of lip chap a month. If I times that by 12 months of  the year, that is $672 on lip chap. Now that may not seem much, but I turned 25 this year. That is right, I may have spent around $6,720 dollars on lip chap in 10 years. Granted, this is not very accurate due to sales, varriations in my addiction at different points, days of the month, leap year, etc.. you get the picture.

I am finally done. I do not want this anymore. I am currently sipping water everytime the urge to use has come up. Maybe I will learn to subsitute water sipping for lip chap, as I did gum all those years ago. Day 2. The advantage of water is it will help hydrate my lips, when my body reacts in shock to having no artificial barrier it has been provided for 10 years. I am doing well not licking my lips. It is difficult to find automatic tendiencies. But I am trying.

Wish me luck.

Oh, I never chew gum anymore. Makes my jaw sore now.

Parenting 101

Over the last many months with my new baby, and even somewhat through my pregnancy, I have been given so much parenting advice that my head has been overflowing with confusion.

One person says “do this”. And another says “never do that”. I’ve had some awesome advice, and even scary advice. I have had positive critics and negative ones, including a relative who disaproved of my unwillingness to stand on chairs while pregnant as quote “I shingled while pregnant with my third child… people fall all the time..”, no big deal basically. I think I am good with not putting the crock-pot on top of the cupboard until my husband got home, thanks.

The biggest debate among everyone has been the thumb vs. soother debate. We (my husband and I) understand the many advantages of both. The thumb is always attached and available, the baby can choose when it is needed, it is natural and not made of plastic. Downside: it can be tough to break in some kids and it can cause teeth damage. Soothers on the other hand can be helpful in preventing SIDs (due to not allowing baby to fall into a deep sleep?), and they can be taken away to break the habit. Downside: they get lost/need cleaning a lot, it is a piece of plastic that while said to be safe is still made of unnatural chemicals, they make marks on the face sometimes/redness and they mess up the baby’s ability to choose when they want to be soothed via sucking (parents often keep stuffing it back in their mouths when they spit them out). Plus, they look plan goofy to me.

We chose the thumb route as parents.

But people have a difficult time respecting this. We have had friends and relatives pop soother’s in our baby’s mouth even after we already told them we do not do soothers. Right infront of us. Gentle “okay that is enough” often is not enough to stop them until a “I am serious, stop” comes out of my mouth.

I am a non confrontational person, mostly as I find I have difficulty managing my anger. I feel as though when I am angry, if I speak, I will say something incredibly nasty. I normally go very silent, sometimes unable to find calm words for the moment.

I am working on being more assertive, for my baby. I am trying to remind myself that I am not in the wrong to parent my way. I may not have years of parenting experience, but I do have years of psychology training. I understand the concept of how to break thumb sucking in a child, and why some keep doing it long after the toddler years. One reason is, they have not found an alternative self-soothing coping strategy and must find one to break the habit (preferably something healthy). I successfully transitioned from thumb sucking to other coping techniques, my baby can too.

I have a plan. So please, stop sticking soothers in my baby’s mouth.