One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

First of all, I just want to thank you all for the love and support that I’ve received from many of you (family, friends, and the blogging community) during the last few weeks. I am grateful to you all, and greatly appreciate every single one of your warm and kind comments. They help a great deal.

If you’ve been following my vents these last few posts alone, then the fact that these last few weeks have not been good probably does not come as any surprise. I continue to try not to fall any lower than I am already, and I think I’m doing an ok job. I’ve been seeing my therapist more often. She’s wanted me to go in more because she said considering where I’m at right now in my mood level that it’s important. I look forward to seeing her when I do, but getting there has been tough lately. My anxiety while driving is through the roof, and it causes me to constantly worry that I’m going to do something wrong on the road. It’s a relief to make it to her office and back home. It’s helping to see her, though, as it allows me to cry and let go of the emotions that I try to suppress at home. I feel afraid at times to let them go at home due to the worry of them not stopping. Does anyone else ever feel that way?

I just feel like whenever I allow myself to truly cry what I’m feeling, I can’t stop and I end up even more depressed than before. I do experience the good kind of cries too, but that’s not what I feel like doing right now. I feel like crying those “can’t breathe” type of tears, that leave the body and mind aching and drained. Those are the ones that scare me. They are the ones that I release when I’m in a depression… the kind that don’t stop easily. And, when they finally do, they still feel like they are ready to flow again, at any time. So, lately, when I feel them coming, and they start to flow, I try my best to stop them. I don’t always win that confrontation, though.

However, when I’m with my therapist, I feel as if she’s my emotional moderator sort of speak. When I lose it, she helps to bring me back, by talking me through what I feel, and allowing me to work through it. I just wish therapy wasn’t so expensive. Normally, I only go once a week, because multiple sessions in a week is not at all easy for my parents. This fact, amongst many, makes me all the more grateful for their love and support. They are such wonderfully awesome people, and I’m blessed that the Lord gifted them to me for parents. I don’t know what I’d do without them. And, I don’t mean that in a financial way. I mean that in an emotional way. I know I can’t live without my parents. They both mean so much to me, and my mom is my best friend and world… she’s so much of my heart.

So, I’ve just been trying to fight the pull that depression is having on me right now. I don’t want it to win, and I’m trying to do all that I can to battle against it. Between extra therapy and sticking with my meds, I’m doing ok. I’ve also been keeping busy as best that I can, in order to feel productive. I’m laying down a lot and my sleep is still really bad right now, but I make it a point to force myself up and do what I need to do. I may not always be someone whom anyone wants to be around, as I have been having many not-so-pleasant moments. But, I am trying. Trying… I notice that I’ve been using that word a lot lately. I guess it’s due to not really knowing how else to handle everything. Therapy has helped to teach me coping skills that I didn’t have before, but those skills are still not any match for depression. What they do allow me, though, is the ability to “try”. And, maybe that’s all that I really need. Maybe, just knowing that I’m trying will allow me to have some hope that I can fight the endless pull, and maybe things will get better.

That can be a hard thing in which to believe when things feel like they’re constantly going wrong. I’ve only discussed the issue about my particular family member at length, but other issues have been going on too during these last few weeks, and that’s not helping. A lot of it has to do with being made to feel worthless in the eyes of some, and being taken advantaged of by them too. To make it clear, I’m not referring to anyone in my circle of loved ones who reads this blog. I want to make that very clear.

The people to whom I’m referring are family who have not been there for me through any of these last few years, yet are asking for favors now. These people do not know what is wrong with me, but they know I’ve been absent for a long time. And after three years since seeing them at my uncle’s funeral in early 2009, they aren’t even bothering to ask me how it’s going, or how I’ve been, or saying, “Long time, no see.” I don’t want them to ask me my all-time dreaded question, “What have you been up to?” But, I would appreciate at least some sort of acknowledgement that I mean something more to them, than just someone who will do them a favor. I haven’t gone out of my way to contact them via email or anything, either. But, I’m also not suddenly contacting them out of the blue for a favor.

I guess that’s part of the reason my other family member’s situation with the form caused so many more hurt feelings than maybe it would have otherwise. Alone, the situation was awful, but to add it on top of how others have been treating me too, it just makes it all worse.

A lack of proper sleep is not helping either. I’m either sleeping too little (insomnia) or too much (pure exhaustion), and it’s never at the proper ‘normal people’ hours. Every night for the last few weeks, it’s been the same thing and has only gotten worse as my moods have dropped. I either can’t sleep until around 4-5am due to just constant thoughts and worries going through my head. Or, I do fall asleep, only to wake up again with thoughts and worries that something bad is going to happen.

I worry about the house catching fire, and keep checking things to make sure all is ok. I’ll wake up and see one of our night-lights and I think it’s turning red, like it’s on fire. That makes me get up and check the house. I’m also thinking a lot about earthquakes. I keep imagining one occurring while I’m lying there, knocking the ceiling fan off the ceiling above me and chopping me to shreds. All through the night, I keep hearing my mom and dad calling me, when they never are doing so. Or, the sounds I hear are ones that make me think that someone is breaking in, but thankfully that’s never the case. But, then, there’s the thought of me having a stroke. I keep imagining what it would be like, and how I’d be all alone and in agony when it happened, as everyone would be fast asleep. I have no idea what a stroke feels like, but my dad had one years back, which left him blind in his right eye, and that scares me. He has since learned how to function well with it, and even drive with it. He can see shadows and his doctors and DMV say it’s ok from the tests he’s had. But, it still scares me.

I don’t know from where these constant nighttime thoughts are coming. I just know that they are the thoughts that often go through my mind at night when I’m experiencing horrible anxiety. My anxiety always goes up when I’m hypomanic or in a depression (no matter how mild or severe). So, it’s not surprising to me that my anxiety is as bad as it’s been lately.

I also realized something extremely disappointing today. Prior to when the recent issues with this family member started, I was getting better at popping my head into the kitchen to say hello when he would come by. I had been trying hard to make myself more comfortable around him and all of my family, as my severe social anxiety has made it so difficult. He would often say in his drunken calls to me that he felt like I was angry with him and that’s why I wouldn’t see him. He would cry as if he was hurt. He would say how he didn’t understand why I wouldn’t pick up my phone , and how I’d just avoid him. He knows about the bipolar and anxiety, yet still puts the guilt on me. Due to all of that, I had been feeling as if I really had been making him feel as he said. So, I had been trying hard to show him that it wasn’t the case. I had been doing quite well, too. I was starting to feel more at ease when this family member was here, and it was becoming easier to say hello to him. However, now after all of this has happened, the anxiety has returned. I am disappointed about that. Today, that family member came over again, but this time to make a phone call with a phone number my mom had. When she told me that he was here, I immediately felt that electricity strike me in the heart, and ricochet throughout my chest. I got so scared, and then I heard the door opening. I ran out of the room as quickly as possible and into the family room. I was trying to catch my breath, as my heart was racing and beating so hard.

This is so upsetting to me. My family member hadn’t been here since last week’s drama-filled climax with the form, so I hadn’t realized just how much of a toll that outcome took on my anxiety with him. It doesn’t surprise me, but it does disappoint me, because I had been getting better around him. I was making progress, and now he has pushed me back. That quite frankly pisses me off! I need him to be my ally, not someone who’s going to make things worse. I knew my anxiety was already awful due to all of this, but it’s discouraging to see it blatantly thrown in my face with today’s race out of the kitchen.

So, as a result of everything that has recently happened, I’ve wound up with being one step forward, but two steps back.

Maybe I’m just an idealist, but isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

 

This is one of my favorite songs. I try to listen to it often, ’cause it helps to remind me that He’s always watching over me.

 

13 thoughts on “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

  1. When my depression became so bad, I had to start taking the bus to my appointments because I was scared to drive because my thoughts went to places I was not comfortable with. I still don’t drive, use public transportation, or through my insurance company. I feel safer not driving, there are times I have no choice, but will walk, ride my bike or use transport.You are going through a lot, and i hope you can find solutions to the anxiety this is causing you. You did something that you thought would help you, but remember it’s not your fault, you need to take care of you, and that may mean avoiding this family member that brings you down, keep up the good work and be well,
    Boo

    • Thank you so much, Boo! Your comment is comforting and I greatly appreciate your support and encouragement. I’m sorry that you’ve dealt with this too and that your depression caused you to not want to drive. What you describe about using other means to get to your appointments sounds much less anxiety-producing for sure. Lately, I’ve often thought about asking for a ride from my dad when I need to get to my appointments, as my social anxiety keeps me from other options. But, I just never do ’cause I worry about bothering him. I think I need to just ask for one, though, when I feel the way I do, ’cause just like you I think it would help me feel safer. I know he won’t mind, but it’s just a matter of me getting past the worry of messing up his schedule.

      Thank you again, Boo. And, I appreciate you reading and sharing your experience with me.

      • I asked my dad if he would drive me to my appointments or to the store once in awhile if it wasn’t to inconvenient for him. He was happy I asked him. We live 3 hours apart now, but when we lived in the same town he even dropped by and asked if he could take somewhere. So it can’t hurt to ask. You never know the outcome until you bravely ask. The bus is working out very well for me, I actually have grown to enjoy my time riding the bus. I hope you find a solution that works out well for you.

  2. I struggle often with the same thing about driving home from therapy. I’ve learnt to go a different route now (that isn’t as busy) and I often just drive a bit down the road and stop for a while to try and get myself ok to drive. I have to admit it’s a fear I struggle with always in therapy. If I start to cry then how will I stop and what if I don’t stop, let alone how will I get home. It has never happened of course because my therapist does what is necessary to keep be safe, and for that I am extremely grateful to him. I’ve been seeing him for 7 years now (wow!) and I still battle with this. When will I ever learn just to trust him? I guess I’m a slow learner.

    My other thought is that it’s no wonder you’re not sleeping. Your mind is so busy. Have you ever tried meditation of any sort? I wonder if that would help quiet your mind before you sleep? Otherwise I think you and I could make a night of it. I manage to sleep when you don’t and vice a versa. Crazy! I hate nights so much.

    Sending love and hugs
    Cate

    • We would definitely be able to make a night of it. When I’m awake and doing something like writing, fantasy world, gaming, drawing, etc., then I actually love night time. It’s a great time for me to do stuff like that. But, then, when it’s time to lay down and go to sleep, I hate it. It becomes an awful time and I just wish it would hurry up and end already. To bad we can’t flip a switch and change our own light and dark skies.

      You pointed out something interesting to me regarding driving a different route for therapy. The streets I take are not overly crowded, but there are definitely much more calmer streets I could take. I just got into a routine, but maybe it’s time for me to change it up a bit more, at least on those higher anxiety days.

      Thank you so much for your support and caring, Cate. It means so much to know people understand and can even relate. I don’t wish any of this on anyone, but it does help to know people understand in that way.

  3. Get those tears out Summer, whether they’re the good kind or the really painful kind. They need to get out otherwise they turn on you. Crying is healing, you are releasing painful repressed emotions, you don’t want them sticking around, they’re toxic.

    Do you live with your parents still? If you do, I completely understand your reluctance to cry. My parents didn’t cope very well with it and I was worried about how it would make them feel. I would end up sobbing and wailing, the noise was pretty horrible, but I just needed to get it all out. If you’re scared, get a soft toy and cuddle it and put on something comforting on TV like a kids film or Friends.

    I must admit that, now it’s just me and my lovely boyfriend at home, I’m much quicker to get the tears out. If they get stuck in my throat or I feel I can’t get them out but I know they want to come, I watch an emotional film. I start off crying about the film, but then all my deep suppressed emotions come out of me.

    Don’t hold back Summer, its painful, but its worth it in the long run. Hanging onto the pain just makes things worse.

    Love & Hugs,

    Rachel
    xxx

    • Thank you, Rachel! I appreciate your comment and its kind and caring words. I do live with my parents still, and yes… it is harder to cry around them. I only cry around my mom, not my dad. He’s such a loving and wonderful dad, but he gets worried and I don’t like to do that to him. My mom gets worried too and I like to keep a lot from her for that reason. But, sometimes, I just lose it and need her love to comfort me. That often sends her into tears too, though. It’s so hard.

      I think you have a good idea about getting a stuffed animal or something to use as my cry toy. I used to have a favorite bear when I was very little, and couldn’t sleep without him. It was comforting. Maybe I need one again for those hard times. When you mentioned the sad movie too, my mind immediately thought of the beginning of Pixar’s “Up”. That is one of the saddest parts in any movie that I’ve ever seen. I think it just hits me on a personal level, and one that I never thought it would.

      I’m so glad that you have such a loving boyfriend who listens and provides such support for you. The fact that his love allows you to feel comfort and strength to let the tears out is a wonderful thing.

  4. My worst question is the same- “what have you been up to?” Or “what are you doing now?” Isn’t it awful?! What do you say?! Do they really want to know? I doubt it!!!

    Re the anxiety- I’ve had really bad anxiety like that before. Think it was a mixed episode. I was convinced I was going to have a heart attack at any time. My thoughts were really out of control and I kept Seeing things out of the corner of my eye. It was horrible, so I totally sympathise. Doctor prescribed Olanzapine (Zyprexa) but I hated taking it due to weight gain side effects. It did help though, so I’d only take it if I felt really bad.

    It’s not your fault that this family member is getting oversensitive to your wanting to avoid him, You do whatever you have to to protect your emotions and health. He’ll just have to deal with it. Even if you love him loads, don’t feel guilty about the anger. You’re only human so its completely natural. Sometimes it helps the other person the most to let them deal with their own shit, if you’ll excuse my French :).

    You take care of number one Summer, it’s not selfish, it’s loving yourself.

    xxx

    • Those type of questions are indeed so awful! I can’t stand them. There are so many questions people can ask, but those type make me feel even worse about myself than I already do. Like you said, how on earth are we supposed to answer that? I too know that they won’t want to hear the real reasons. And, in many cases, I don’t want those people to know the reasons. Only a handful of people know about this blog, and only a handful more know about my bipolar and anxiety. Although, one of my cousins tells me that they all suspect something, but they just don’t know what. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me, considering my long absence. But, those questions both put me in a spot, and also make me think more about what I’m *not* doing in my life. It’s a flashing reminder.

      How you describe your anxiety is so relatable. I thank you for sharing that. It’s scary to deal with that, especially on top of all the other anxiety symptoms that we feel. I have Ativan, but I try not to take it often too, ’cause it’s so addicting. I don’t need that problem on top of everything else. But, I think I need to use it more. If I use it a little more than I already do, then it would still be ok, but I just still feel worried about it. It’s funny and not at the same time, but I get anxiety about taking the anxiety medication. Talk about messed up.

      Thank you, Rachel! I appreciate your support and encouragement so much! I really need to work on my guilt. I have always felt it and I just wish I could get past that. I look at other people in my family who speak their mind and don’t care what others think. They don’t care if they hurt the other person’s feelings, if it means they are feeling ok. Like you said, it’s not selfish to do that when it protects yourself. Sadly, it’s a concept that I can grasp, but can’t seem to put into action. I’m going to keep trying, though. I have a wonderful therapist and she’s helped me to get stronger in many things. This is one that I’m going to have to work more on with her, though. I tend to avoid it a lot.

      Thanks again, Rachel!

  5. No problem, I don’t know if I really helped, I guess it just makes you realise there are people who understand and have gone through similar things (though not as bad judging by your past posts). You’re not alone. Keep going, one day at a time. You have such great insight and attitude I think you’ll be fine 🙂

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