People Care

“I want to die”

4 words I posted on Facebook that gained almost immediate attention from one of my coworkers and an old friend whom I’ve not seen in 5 years. It was touching.

In that moment when I posted it, I had meant it. I did want to die. I was overwhelmed and exhausted.

I had a Discrete Computational Structures assignment that I barely understood and therefore had barely done that is due on Wednesday. I also have 3 sections worth of Calculus homework to turn in. And on top of that a programming assignment that I hadn’t started yet. That was just a matter of school alone. On top of that, I was just so discouraged by the fact that I had gotten such terrible marks for my Calculus test – I was just so perplexed as to how I could get a 56. I thought I had a good grasp on limits.

I also didn’t think that my ex’s re-marriage was such a big deal to me – that is, until it happened and I was hit by the realization that I still hurt. Maybe not as much as I did before, but it’s still there.

So, in the heat of the moment, in my discouragement and despair, I posted that status on Facebook. Almost immediately, my phone rang. I was in class so I replied to the call with a message, “I’m in class, booboo”. I asked my coworker/friend if she needed something. She asked me if I needed anything or if I needed to talk. I told her that I was ok. That there’s nothing to talk about. I just have too much to do and too little time.

“Don’t push me away, Jules” – her message was insistent and clear.

“I’m not. At least I’m not doing it consciously. I guess I’m just pushing everyone away. I need to regroup somehow. I just don’t know how” – I’d responded.

“It’s ok. I understand you need your space. But when I see ‘I want to die’ on Facebook, the last thing I’m giving you is space. Push everyone away when you’re stronger. Not right now. You are wonderful and valuable, and your coworkers, your family, your friends, those who look to you for support, need you. You are needed and wanted. You’re always smiling. You have a natural smile, you don’t even have to work for it”

As I read her messages, tears welled in my eyes. I didn’t think I’d receive such sweet and kind words so instantly. I felt heard and almost immediately, that felt like enough. I was whining, and someone answered to the whines.

I know that I do have people who care about me. I know that – especially here on my blog, I know that there are those who would respond immediately to my posts. I also know that there are people in my life that I can rely on for comfort. Yet, my EQ hasn’t caught up with my IQ. Despite all this knowledge, the heart hasn’t learned it yet. The brain has, and the brain is frustrated with the heart.

Multiple people after the initial two responses I got, started posting supportive messages and it felt good to read them. Q, and PD, both sent me messages that I needed to hear – most notably, “Give yourself a break, take care of yourself”, which gave me something like an excuse to have ice cream today. I’m also going to turn in for bed early without doing any homework.

I am burnt out. I need to be honest with myself on that. I am so burnt out that I’m barely functioning. I am honestly a zombie; just dragging my feet around campus, trying to keep awake in classes, trying to stay afloat.

Physically, I’m also not rested enough. Dark circles have formed under my eyes, my hair is some days very difficult to tame (because I desperately need a haircut), and my skin just looks tired, and pale. My nose had been bleeding for the past 2 days. I’m amazed that I hadn’t fallen asleep driving yet, like I used to back when I lived 30 minutes away from campus.

I’m just suffering on all the different aspects of life. I know I need a break and I promise myself (and everyone else who cares to know) that I will be taking a break 10 days from now. I can’t wait. I am going to go out of town and hopefully if all works out, be better rested when I come back.

It’s definitely something I have been looking forward to for maybe a month and a half now. The last time I was going to go out of town, my plans fell short so I’m not trying to be too hopeful this time.

Anyway… I called the Crisis Line yesterday. I am thankful that I did because the lady that spoke to me was very kind and empathetic. She and I spoke for 40 minutes or so (I had to be put on hold twice for about 5-10 minutes each time). She helped me feel a little better. Just having someone listen to me was definitely what I needed – to feel that human connection, to hear that person’s voice… It was comforting. I was skeptical at first and didn’t want to give it a chance because I hated speaking on the phone. I didn’t think that anyone could say anything that I hadn’t heard before. It turned out that despite having heard some of the things that the Crisis Intervention Specialist said, it didn’t sound condescending or old. In fact, hearing it from someone else who’s a complete stranger, felt really good. It just reaffirms what others have said to me.

I don’t think I’d have done anything harmful to myself – after all, I don’t have any more knives with me, and I’d surrendered my rope to S as well. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to go to bed without feeling terribly restless though.

The 4 words that I’d posted on Facebook was dramatic and probably unnecessary but it was a helpful reminder that people care. That I need to stop the knee-jerk reaction of pushing people away.

Feeling Irritated for Always Being There

Whenever I find out that someone suffer from the same kind of mental illnesses that I do (anxiety, depression, ADHD), I automatically become inclined to talk to them more because I know how difficult it is to feel all alone and helpless. I would almost reflexively tell them that I’m there for them to talk if they ever need to. I do it, not only because of my protective nature, but also because I know that not many people care to talk to someone who is suffering from depression or anxiety or ADHD.

I have found few people to talk to other than S (which is why I spend so much time in his office and have been spending so much time in his office lately) so I want to offer that crying shoulder, and the comforting ear.

That said, I sometimes think that maybe I’m overexerting myself because depending on who I’m talking to, sometimes I end up feeling more distress myself because I’ve taken on the person’s burden on top of my own already-very-heavy one. I can’t seem to help it though – I always just would rather hurt myself than let others hurt.

Case in point, I have a friend who would message me whenever they’re down and despite all the encouragement, one doesn’t simply get out of being depressed – a fact that I know full well. Lately, I’ve been feeling stretched thin by my own struggles with the issues of abandonment, grief, confusion over trying to reconcile my faith with my identity, and overwhelming stress from school. So, every time I hear from my friend, I feel irritated.

I feel bad about it of course because I feel that this was my own doing – after all, I was the one who offered to be the empathetic friend who will always be there to listen and to help. Yet, I can’t help the exhaustion I feel. I don’t know if I am allowed to feel that irritation or not. In some cases in my life, my anger is justified and deserved, even. In some other cases, it’s not so clear – this being one of it.

I want to be supportive, helpful, and a comfort for all who need it from me. But I’m also exhausted. What do I do?

Crappy Week So Far

On Wednesday, I had a great session with S. I told him of my epiphany regarding how the anger and rage I often feel comes from the teenager side of me and that the adult side is broken into two – one is the rational, kind, and caring adult while the other is the nagging, critical, and spiteful adult. Often, the latter wins in most situations being that it not only represents “mother” but also is depression-fueled, making it much stronger than the rational, kind, and caring adult. I explained to S that the nice adult is tired because she constantly has to battle not only the teen but also the nagging and critical “mother”. She gets kicked down and beat by them daily.

S told me that he feels like on top of that, I seem to also have the child part as well. The one who is so fearful and constantly needs approval, attention, and protection. The part that I often deny and the part that “mother” always calls “useless”, “weak” and “whiny”. The child is the part that comes out every time I feel needy but the shame of feeling needy causes the “mother” to lash out and tell me that I am weak to need people’s validation and support. S made a good observation and I agreed with him about the fact that I do have the child side too. The one who desperately wants to be nurtured and cared for.

I told S that the angry teen is the one who has been destructive. The one who encourages me to cut, the one who wants to do harmful things and also the one who often comes up with suicidal thoughts. I also told him that I feel like therapy has been chipping away at the walls I’ve been putting up and I feel exhausted by all the things I am battling and all the unfamiliar feelings I’m experiencing. S surmised that therapy hasn’t been chipping away at the wall but rather has been bringing the hidden and unknown in my mind to the known and I’m terrified because I’ve been suppressing these sides of me for so long that I don’t know who they are despite the fact that they’re all me.

Anyway, at the end of the session (we spent almost the whole time talking about this – I would have to write a “Thoughts from Therapy” post when I can get some Internet – we’ve spent the last week moving to a new home and we won’t have WiFi until Monday… I’m actually typing this on my phone and draining mobile data), S said to me, “You’ve done good work, Jules. You’ve worked hard and I’m very encouraged to hear that you are beginning to get to know these hidden parts of you.” I also told him that I feel like I’m beginning to feel better. Like, there is finally a glimmer of light in the darkness that I’ve been in. He seemed quite happy to hear that and I felt warmth in my heart because I always like it when I hear praises from him.

I thought then that this would mean that my week would go well and I would continue to be happy and at peace. The next day, I woke up in a very foul mood. I started feeling the kind of anger and rage that I used to feel daily as a teen… My anger was unprovoked and it made Hubster really negative as well because he absorbed my negativity. I felt bad for being so angry but I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t stop it. The nice adult had stumbled and the teen had taken the chance to take over.

I’ve been angry and grumpy since Thursday. I tried my best to not be so with Hubster today so the two of us were actually fine today. I laughed, made jokes and we were lighthearted with each other. Not so when I got to work because despite the fact that I tried to be cheerful, customers seemed to think that they were entitled to treating me like dirt and to tip me 10% despite above 20% service. I was so angry that I thought that the teen would’ve effectively caused me to harm myself again. I was going to punch the wall so hard that I’d break my fist. I wanted to go to the office and scream. I wanted to cuss.

I also started to realize that someone I thought was a friend might not really turn out to be so. It made me think of all the toxic relationships I’ve ever had and I can’t help but feel like it must be me who is at fault. After all, why would almost every single friend I’ve ever made be such jerks towards me despite the fact that I go out of my way to do things for people I care about. I’ve been used and discarded so many times that I can’t even count them.

I wonder then, since I’m the only common denominator in all these relationships, then it must mean that it’s all my fault. Otherwise, why would it keep happening to me? What did I ever do in my life to deserve such shitty people and shitty treatment? Hubster thinks that it’s because I’m too nice to people so they take me for granted and act like jerks towards me because I never would defend myself. He might have a point there. I avoid conflict and am terrified of confrontations. Something related to shame, for sure…

Anyway, so I thought that I would have a good week but it seems like things are going downhill again despite the slight glimmer of light just a couple of days ago.

I’m now collecting more and more things that S and I are definitely going to have to deal with next Wednesday. I’m so distressed that I’ve been suicidal and negative all over again.

People don’t seem to realize that their words and attitudes affect someone who’s mentally ill in a dangerous way. The way people have treated me tonight and the things that they have said to me pushed me back into the darkness. I thought for sure that I was finally climbing out. I know some people might tell me to just snap out of it, get over it and to just ignore what people say. If only it was that easy. A mentally healthy person might be able to bounce back easily but certainly not someone who’s already been struggling with suicidal thoughts and negative thoughts on a daily basis already… My depression may sound like a cop out for many people and maybe in some ways, it is. Despite that, I can’t help how I feel and how I’m affected by people’s words and actions.

I’m ok now. I won’t do anything dangerous. I just needed to vent and to express how frustrated I am with people I thought were friends but then act completely the opposite.

Oh, tomorrow is my last day at this particular restaurant. I’m feeling a little emotional about it despite the fact that I really hate my job (it’s not the people I work with or the restaurant itself but rather the actual job of a server). I hope I don’t cry tomorrow. I very well could because I’m just nostalgic like that. I hope it won’t be a nightmare of a day either, like today was. I will definitely miss some of the people I work with. I’m moving to another town an hour away so realistically, I don’t think I’ll be seeing these people again – at least not very often.

We’ll how Sunday – Tuesday goes then. A week that I thought was going to be positive turned out to be pretty grim and explosive so far.

Why I’m Not Posting As Much

I know I promised to write a summary of what I’ve learned from my therapy session a few days ago but I really can’t get around to doing it. With all the studying I’ve been doing these past few days (can you believe it’s only been a week?) and all the other things I’ve been trying to fit into my life, it seems almost impossible to get to writing a long thoughtful post. I will try not to drop off the face of the Earth and hopefully soon I’ll be able to write a meaningful post.

For now, I just wanted to drop an update here so that people know that I’m still around – just trying to chug along. Things have been good and bad for me these past few days and after the few good days (I could actually tell you that I was happy – a foreign concept that I was very surprised by) but the bad days are beginning. I’ve been pretty down all day today and there has just been some circumstances in my life right now that I can’t really talk about which when added to my already moderate anxiety about school is threatening to tear me apart.

And course, when it rains, it pours. My psychologist, S, is away for the next two weeks and it’ll be another 17 days before I will see him again. He and I have set up some steps I could take or things I could do to help myself through the next 17 days but at the same time, I can’t help but feel like things seem to be worse whenever he’s not around – when he is around, some days, I go to therapy and have nothing to talk about and end up meandering around a topic that I really didn’t care to talk about because it really didn’t affect me all that much. Then when he has to be on leave or goes on a break, suddenly, everything important floods in to my life.

The only thing I think that’s really keeping me going is the fact that I am getting more social interaction than I used to – having friends and a loving husband helps tremendously – a fact that I never used to believe. I used to see myself as a lone wolf who is able to survive on my own but now that I have a pack to be with, I don’t ever want to be alone again. It took me 4 years to get a group of friends I can trust and love. Now that I have found this group I can be intimate with (we’ve only known each other about 3 months but we’re the best of friends – brought together by a common goal and similar family backgrounds and all of us suffering some type of mental disorder or atypical condition or other), I can’t imagine life without them. Although my husband has been a great source of strength and love, having these friends brings an entirely new dimension to my social interactions and I realize now how important a support group is.

That said, this still doesn’t stop me from feeling like I’m a burden to my new-found friends and a burden to my husband. I know Depression lies – I know that it tells me that I’m not worthy of love and that I’m a burden but at the same time, I can’t shake those thoughts yet.

I might have to go see a clinician tomorrow at a walk-in session at CAPS tomorrow just to get stuff off my chest and prepare myself for the rest of the week. Not being able to see S is really difficult and I do hate to admit my dependency on him but if I had to be really honest, I would admit that I need him.

Anyway, this was supposed to be a quick update post but obviously, I started to contemplate things a little bit. I hope everyone else is having a better time than I am – I hope that I will be able to find that happiness that I’ve had for a couple of days last week back. I haven’t felt as peaceful and calm as I did in those days for a while now.

Just What I Needed

It comes as no surprise that this week has been very difficult. I don’t think it’ll ease up until next Friday when my finals will be over.

However, that said, I did receive a very heart warming message from a friend whom I really count as one of my closest friends now and whom I also look up to as well.

She had messaged me and told me “I look up to you a lot! You’re mad inspiring”

It really meant a lot to me to hear that and to know that I’ve been able to inspire at least one other person in my life.

It was very uplifting and it really was something I needed.

What I Am Thankful For

Well, it’s that time of the year. The time where everyone (at least in Northern America) sits back and asks themselves, “What am I thankful for this year?”

I think now as I reflect, I have a lot to be thankful for – even if I have been spending the past 3 months being more depressed than I’ve ever been in my life.

Here are some of the things I’m thankful for:

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