Daily Blogging?

I think I am going to take a break from daily blogging.

This site is new, it’s a baby, and I’m still not quite sure how I want it to work for me.

I am always striving for balance. I do know that daily blogging, while simple and quick, is clogging my time. I also don’t think the posts are the kind of posts I want on here? I’d rather have less posts, more thought out, interspersed with the times I can get on here and write through an episode.

I want more time to write my book. I also want less “obligations.” I know that building a website and a following takes commitment and dedication and it can be work. I don’t want this to be work. I would love to help people, to reach people, to share my experiences so others can open up, but not at the sacrifice of my own mental health. By that I mean, making the blog a daily priority takes away from other things that can better help me to survive day to day.

Not saying that I don’t want to continue the site, I do! I just think the format may be changing a bit. I also need a break while I deal with sickness… a cold that I have now, plus the underlying abdominal issues I’ve been having… and while I deal with work, which is still in controlled chaos as we transition owners.

I’ve been holding myself responsible for posting every day and posting even when I don’t have much to say and feeling guilty if I don’t, which is THE OPPOSITE of what I wanted this website to do. I’m trying to let go of the expectations I have for myself and my projects, and give myself more room to just be.

I promised myself that I would never disappear from this site like so many others I’ve seen, mental health illness bloggers who literally stop posting or drop their website without a trace. It’s scary. I’m not depressed right now, but I’m overwhelmed at all the things I want to do, and how much time I have to do them.

The good thing is, we are still in baby phase, so as I tailor the site to work the way I want it, and how it fits in my life, hopefully no one will notice 🙂 but I’m not leaving, if you wonder why I haven’t posted in awhile. I’m just… hanging out with friends, reading, writing, drawing, working, sleeping, living…

🔫🔫🔫 4/10

When I’m on my phone I can use the 🔫 as my title LOL.

FML. Work is insane. I have a cold. Everything I want to do has been pushed back so I can work and sleep. No exercise. No writing.

🔫🔫🔫😥😥😥

Zzz. Watching Harry Potter. I’m pooped and super grumpy.

I Caught a Cold?!

Thought I had heartburn on Friday night because my throat hurt… But now it seems I have A COLD. FUUUUUCK.

So, today, I’ve been in the house trying to rest. Boo.

It’s weird to feel better mentally after a day or two of an episode. Like, who even WAS that person? Did all that really happen?!

Yes. Yes it did.

Ok, shower time and early bed for this coughing girl.

Mindfulness & Depression

This post is a response to “Happiness is a Skill” by my friend Sam on his blog.

Mindfulness is in vogue lately. All the cool kids are doing it.

Is that really true? I have no idea. All I know is that mindfulness and meditation have started to seep into conversation in my social circles, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Before I start, let me point out that my meditation practice is shaky at best. For about the past two and a half years I have had an on again, off again relationship with meditation. I’ve used apps, kept track of daily habits, read books on it, tried different techniques, all with a tiny bit of progress, but never resulting in a firm practice.

Is happiness a skill? Well, I think that depends on how you define “happy.”1

I think training your brain to stop reacting with strong emotions is a skill. And learning that skill can lead to you being more happy, because things don’t impact you as much.

I have noticed a difference in my life since I started exploring meditation and mindfulness. Even without a solid practice, I notice that voice in my head more, and have worked on trying to quiet it. I have stopped using social media and my phone on purpose, to force me to be in the moment, to look around, to experience the present. I realized how much I plan out things in my head.2

Does this lead to me being happier? I’m more in the moment I think. At least a few times I have stopped myself from being pissed at someone, usually when I’m driving. I think “maybe that person is lost and I know how I feel when I’m driving when I’m lost.” But there are still times when I’m like FUCK YOU, YOU ALMOST CUT ME OFF.

I’d say, cultivating a practice of mindfulness and meditation can definitely make your life more content. Because you definitely feel better being that first person than the second one.

How does this relate to depression? In many ways. Mindfulness can allow you to step back and look at the events in your life more objectively. If you practice, it can allow you a 2 second pause before you react to something, and for me, a 2 second pause could be the thing that stops me from having an episode. Or, it makes it so I’m only a level 5 instead of a level 10. It can also counteract the mean voice in my head, just slightly. I have now noticed, sometimes, a quieter, weaker voice contradicting the loud, cruel one of my depression. Only sometimes, but still, it’s there.

The thing that makes me nervous about mindfulness is that, sometimes, I see it offered up as THE CURE TO ALL THE THINGS. Including depression.

Let’s be clear here: Major Depressive Disorder does not have a cure.

What do I mean by cure? I mean, there is currently nothing that will take away my depression completely. No magic pill, no vaccination, no special sauce to rub on my skull and BAM! I will never have a depressive episode again.

I have gotten much, much better with treatment. I understand my depression more, and my episodes are fewer and far between. But this is because I have treated the disease, not because it is cured.

Often, mindfulness is promised as a cure. No. Mindfulness is a wonderful way to treat depression, or any other mental health illness, but just because you are symptom-free does not mean you don’t have the disease.

Many times, people will think I’m being pessimistic when I say things like this. Well, I’m feeling great today as a I write this. I’m not being pessimistic, I’m being realistic. Mental health illness is misunderstood in many ways, by many people, even those who suffer. Sometimes, I have to defend my disease to people because they don’t think it’s a real thing.3 I have had people tell me that if I just thought better thoughts, I could stop taking my medication… but that’s a topic for a different post.

What I’m trying to say it, using mindfulness and meditation to train your brain can be extremely effective, and I think it’s a great way to help everyone, especially those with mental health illness, learn how to control their thoughts and reactions. But, I’m wary of people seeing it as a way to magically “fix” their mental health problems.

If you can become so practiced at mindfulness that you can wean off your medication, that is awesome and I do think it is an obtainable goal. But, when it comes to diseases of the brain, every person is different. There is also a LOT about the brain that we don’t know or understand. So, I think it’s important to have realistic expectations, while still remaining optimistic.

Mindfulness can lead to better contentment. Being content, arguably, means you’ll be happier. So, if you can, try mindfulness or meditation.

But, I’m still going to go to therapy.

 

Aftermath 1/10

And just like that, it’s the next day.

It wasn’t easy. Even telling Zach how I was feeling didn’t help, I spent most of the day sleeping and reading and hating myself.

Luckily, my episodes have become shorter and shorter, and the next day, I’m fairly good to go. Just have to clean up the mess that I made, literally, and try not to think about the things I thought yesterday, or the weird dreams I had, or all the time that got flushed away while I was incapacitated.

Eventually, this episode will fade and I should go back to “normal.” Then, hopefully, I can come back and learn something from it. But right now, I’m too close to it, to close to feeling guilty or ashamed, so I try not to think about it.

If I clean up, shower, and go to work, usually that will put enough life between me and my day yesterday to push me into feeling okay again.