A More Personal Update

January 22, 2015 § 2 Comments

There’s a certain paranoia that comes with being mentally ill, particularly when you’re like me and have been ill for most of your life. I’ve been under a lot of stress lately which has tired both my mind and body. When I was so depressed, I spent so much of my free time (what little I had of it) in bed, zoning out, napping, or disappearing into Netflix Land. I felt physically tired almost all the time.

Now, when I’m on three anti-depressants, I feel paranoid, thinking that the exhaustion I’ve been feeling lately is my body rejecting the medication or perhaps my depression is growing stronger than the meds. It makes you think “Oh god, am I *not* actually better? Am I supposed to feel better than this? What do normal people feel like if not this?”, questions that flooded my mind when I first began to see that I was depressed. How does a sick person distinguish between the exhaustion of healthy people under stress and the exhaustion that plagues the unmedicated depressed? I’ve been given permission by my shrink to double my dose of Wellbutrin, but I’m incredibly hesitant to change anything about my meds for fear that it’ll have a strong negative reaction that I don’t want to experience and simply don’t have time to deal with.

So I’m just riding it out. Living in paranoia, but afraid to make a change. Perhaps all is well. Healthy people get stressed too.

There’s another side effect of the recent stress I’ve been under that is likely more worrying. I’ve been aching to cut myself. My wrist physically aches right now and my brain says that cutting it is the only way to alleviate that. Believe me when I say I am in no way suicidal. I’ve got a life now. I’ve got a wonderful family, I’m in the best relationship of my life, my dogs are young and healthy, my future is open to all opportunities, I’m learning to cook with high success rates, and I’ve got plans for marriage and children. Not suicidal. In any way. But the urge to cut has been growing steadily as my stress levels are maxing out.

Something definitely has to give. I can’t keep working 7 days a week. I can’t keep working 50+ hours per week, at least not at the restaurant where I’m bored out of my mind 90% of the time. When we’re busy, I’m totally fine, but when there’s nothing to do or we’re waiting for people to leave so we can close shop and go home, I find my impatience bubbling like a volcano. I don’t get paid enough to waste my time like that. $9 an hour? I can’t even buy a movie ticket or a meal unless it’s fast food. I’m hoping since I applied to grad school by the earliest deadline that I’ll hear back soon. They said late-January to March, so cross your fingers for late January just so I can know if I’m staying here or leaving sooner than later.

I’m struggling a bit with Jason too. Don’t get me wrong — I’m unbelievably happy with him and love him dearly. But I’m having a hard time dealing with some things lately. He’s applying to grad school too and has some serious self-loathing about his past and even his potential. It drives me CRAZY because he’s an incredibly capable, intelligent, charismatic man who can do whatever he sets his mind to, but in his own perception of himself, he only sees a failure, a Lost Boy. He’s taking a depression test next week for his new shrink, so we might be a true depressive household. In my unprofessional opinion, I don’t think he’s chemically depressed. He has a solid appetite, great energy level, doesn’t have mood swings, etc. None of the signs that were so prevalent in my youth and early adulthood. But I do think he needs counseling to work through some very deep-seated issues of inadequacy that likely stem from his family start (teenage mother, tried multiple times to abort him, depressed for a long time after he was born, non-existent father, etc.) and his turbulent adolescence. High school and college were particularly trying times for him and he made a lot of bad choices, which he still beats himself up for with no mercy. Well, he beats himself up for some of them, not all but what’s done is done so I should let that go. Anyway, he sees his academic failures and shortcomings as something wrong with him, with his intelligence and capabilities. I’m really struggling with pulling him out of that, focusing on who he is and not what his grades are. But he’s convinced he can’t put together a good application for grad school because of his grades, his expulsion from school, his past mistakes.

I’m doing my best to help him with his application, I’ve even recruited my dad to help him with editing his personal statement. I’m working with him on the front end, trying to get him to relax enough to talk fluidly and comfortably about who he is and what he wants to do. Maybe I should get him drunk? I’m not sure. I had him write stream of consciousness responses to a few questions yesterday which I think was moderately productive, though most of his writing was filled with negativity and evidence that he’s convinced he is and will be a failure. It’s heartbreaking to me and something I’m not prepared to deal with. I don’t have those skills to coax him out of that negative realm, probably because I’ve lived there myself for so long.

It’s a learning process, I suppose. I’ve got to make a better effort not to get frustrated and yell at him when he dips into these depressive modes. I need to keep him focused on the task at hand, the personal statement, something tangible and doable and deadlined. I’m such and INTJ sometimes…

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