Saturday, August 31, 2013

a new place in life

I guess I'm trying to determine what being "well" is like for me. What does it mean to move past the point of expecting to relapse into depression at any moment. To move past living on the edge of an emotional cliff. To move past being depressed.

I know a little of what it doesn't mean. It doesn't mean that I can't feel depressed or even be depressed at any given moment. It sure doesn't mean I don't continue to fight anxiety.

I think I know a little of what it does mean. It does mean that my life focus is... (drum roll or trumpets please) ... no longer consumed by desperately trying to secure emotional health or something closer to it.

It means that my gut desire to keep working full time while taking two classes might have actually worked - I've now changed my status at work to being willing to go back to full time, though, for now, we're sticking to the three quarter time we had planned.

It means that driving to the neighboring state to see my OCD-specialized counselor is becoming a nuisance. Can you believe it? I was so willing to make that trip for three years straight. But now? I want that one evening a week back. I want to be able to work on schoolwork or get with friends or (perhaps most likely) randomly shop or watch TV.

So... I just saw my counselor and told her I was ready to drop down to seeing her once a month. And in the back of my mind is the plan to follow my next visit with a two-month gap and then a three month gap. And my Psychiatrist? How about twice a year? And I'm fine with it. I know what I think. I know what I want. I'm okay with myself. I'm happy with life.

The anxiety still plays in, but it doesn't rock my whole world anymore, at least not for long. I guess it still upsets me pretty much every day, but I feel like I know how to handle it. I don't feel like I need my counselor to handle it. She taught me how. Now I just use the tools I'm ready to use when I'm ready. So I guess if I let her, she could still push me towards speeding up my exposures. But I don't like to be pushed. I like to do it when I'm ready.

So now, I don't feel like writing about my mental health journey as often, because I'm out in the sunshine on pretty stable ground. I'm trying to learn the new balance of Support Group attendance and moving on. Because sometimes support groups remind me of things I'd rather put behind me. I guess I'm finally "that person" that I disliked and couldn't understand who would actually try to put their mental illness experience behind them and act like it never happened.

I don't want to act like it never happened. Hey, the fight took three years of my life. I want to be a more understanding and less judgmental person. I want to support others when they slog through the mess of depression. I guess what I'm not sure how to do, though, is be there for them without slipping into the mess myself. In other words, I guess I'm still afraid I could relapse at any moment back into the mud pit of depression.

Oh, and in case someone is like I probably would have been a year or two or for sure three years ago, in case someone is afraid to blog, or to comment on my blog lest they "get me down," please don't worry about that. Because when I blog, I can choose what I read. And I can choose whether or not to read comments. And I know that blogging about mental illness and mental health means that sometimes I'll see and hear other people's stories when they are still lost in the black part of the journey. That is a "risk" I'll take. Or perhaps more of a privilege that I'll accept. And I'm so grateful for everyone who did that for me and who may end up doing it for me again.

I guess I almost feel lost because, at least when I was feeling a little bit terrible, I felt like I "belonged" at mental health support groups. And now? I'm one of those inconceivable people who actually finds their life relatively pleasant, who isn't trapped under the inexplicable fog of depression.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Doing well, well, as long as anxiety doesn't disqualify me

I feel like I've reached healthy, at least depression-wise. Not perfect, but healthy. Now the anxiety, that keeps visiting. But hey, I tell myself, I know how to deal with anxiety. Basically, give it some bad word people wouldn't think I'd ever give.

This morning, the anxiety just kept trying. It was like I'd find myself starting an anxiety rollercoaster about one issue, I'd figure it out, I'd step off, and a few moments later, the ground would start moving beneath me and I'd find that I was on another anxiety rollercoaster. So I'd step off... and find myself in another. The good thing was, I'd pretty much forget the last potential rollarcoaster pretty much the same moment I'd step off. And there were enough rollercoasters that I had lots of opportunities to practice stepping off.

There's a wedding coming up in my family. Really, really soon. And I volunteered to help with music. But last night, I started thinking, but I want my relative's wedding to be perfect, well, at least the music that I play to be perfect; I don't care so much about the rest being perfect. So I have to give up the idea of my playing perfectly, because, face it, music is rarely (if ever) played perfectly. No, music in real life has mistakes, it is just that most people don't notice the mistakes.

Anyway, I'm pretty distracted right now; I stumbled apon an art fair (I knew it existed, but I forgot it was today until I drove over here for something else), and I want to go. Get some sunshine and color and joy of the day. Just what my counselor would suggest, if she was here to suggest it. Just what the doctor would suggest, if he was thinking about my mental health issues that are doing so well. Just what I want, since I'm here and I actually know what I want.

Oh, and I'm trying to learn a song in a second language that is very lively and I might be playing at said wedding. It is distracting to listen to it and blog simultaneously.

P.S., I am entering 4 things in the fair this year, in two different chategories; thus my enter-something-in-the-fair-every-year tradition continues for the third year, and continues to expand.