anxiety

Waking Up

It’s like I’ve been sleeping. Not necessarily dreaming, but sleeping. Lost in a that void of darkness that is warm and comforting.

Ten years ago in June 2008 I tried to die by suicide. Ten years ago I wanted to disappear into the never-ending blackness and never return. Looking back, it is no surprise why I got to that point. I’ve talked about it before in previous  posts.

Looking back on my road to recovery I realize I’m not exactly where I want to be. Not yet. These last ten months of my husband being gone for work have stressed my mind to limits I didn’t want to reach again. While I may tout myself as being strong and unbreakable, I do crumble just as much as other people. There are things I know I need to implement to continue to have a healthy mind. I haven’t implemented them and I blame work, no time, stress, life. These are excuses and I recognize them for that.

As I address my recovery, I need to go back. I need to unload how I got to that point ten years ago.

I didn’t have an easy childhood. While it wasn’t as bad as it has been for many others in the world, it was bad enough for me. I’ve had thoughts of suicide since I was eleven years old. These thoughts didn’t progress to the how I would die by suicide until I was thirteen. Before that, I just wanted to disappear. I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. I wanted the constant pain I felt to just stop. When you’re a child,  you don’t understand what these thoughts mean. I am an adult now, so I understand. I know now.

I tried cutting my arms to see how much it would hurt with the pocket knife my father gave me when I was thirteen. I did it again with a box cutter when I was twenty-four. I have a tattoo over the scars now.

When I was fourteen, I started pulling out my hair. On my head, on my legs, my underarms. I would pluck that hair over and over. I had bald spots in my late teens on the back of my head and would wear my hair in a ponytail or under a bandanna to hide it. I don’t know if I did it because it allowed me to feel some sense of control over the life that I felt was rapidly spiraling out of control. I don’t know if I did it because it provided some sort of relief or if I enjoyed the slight sting that would accompany plucking out a hair, but I did it.

Even now, when I’m distracted and playing with my hair, I might pluck a hair or two. It’s not nearly as bad as it was before, but I have moments of almost-baldness in spots.

In my youth, and even now, I wear the mask. The mask of ‘everything’s fine’. There’s nothing wrong. I can handle this. I can do it. I don’t need help. I used to be really bad at asking for help. There are times when I won’t ask for help because the people I’ve asked have made it seem like an inconvenience to them. I’ve encountered this a lot while living in this town for the last five years. Some people are quick to offer, but when they are asked, it’s clear that they don’t want to. I don’t want people to help me because they feel obligated. So I don’t ask.

In two weeks I will leave this town. My family will once again be a complete unit living under one roof. I will have a new home to paint and decorate. I will have an office to set up as I prepare to work from home. I have so many things to look forward to.

I am only leaving behind two friends. I am finally okay with that.

The stress of everything that I’ve had to deal with on my own over the last ten months has finally hit a breaking point. I am writing this post from a coffee shop. I am on stress leave. There have been a host of things from work struggles to family struggles to depression lying to me that culminated in this leave. I am grateful that I have the means to take this leave.

The recent celebrity suicides have reminded me of my own darkness. They have reminded me that it’s been ten years since my attempt. It’s not like you ever really forget. It’s not the last time I had thoughts of suicide either. Just because I think about it doesn’t mean I’m going to do it. My supports have been lacking, but that is on me. I am using this week of stress leave to redefine what I need to be healthy so that I can put those needs into practice. I am cultivating a plan so that I can be the best me that I can.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Snow, Snow, Snow!

Here in Manitoba, Canada we laugh when Spring starts to appear. Like most places in Canada March seems to herald in a new season. Snow starts to melt, the sun shines and temperatures rise. Lots of people discard their parkas or other winter coats in favour of lighter Spring jackets and sweaters. There are even people who start wearing shorts! I know 10°C is warm, but come on!

But in Manitoba, we know better. We know this is just a ruse, a trick. It’s not actually Spring yet. We’ve gotten a dumping of snow in May for crying out loud! When I lived in Alberta, it was much the same. I haven’t lived in Saskatchewan before, but since it’s sandwiched between the two, I imagine it’s similar.

So it was no surprise when a fresh, crisp blanket of white greeted me this morning. Flakes were falling gently in the air. Ah, snow. It’s snowing again and we’re liable to get another 2-4cm today.

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My eldest son was less than impressed. He wanted the green grass and the puddles to come back. Driving to work this morning had us going through 2 intersections. Such is life here.

On a good note, do you all remember that money issue I’ve been bitching about for the last seven months? Of course you do! If there’s anything I do well, it’s complain.

Yesterday afternoon the bank called my husband to inform him that the cheque had been received. Within an hour, it was showing in our account. FINALLY! FINALLY! The money has been received. I no longer have to worry about buying groceries this weekend. I don’t have to worry about paying my mortgage. I don’t have to worry about being able to afford the new socks my kid so desperately needs.

I have been offered lots of support in terms of money to fill the gaps while we were waiting for this goddamn payout. Friends, family, friends that are basically family. While I appreciate it all, I have an extreme aversion to borrowing money. I do not like owing people money. I don’t like owing even a dollar to someone. Being indebted to someone makes me go into extreme anxiety-mode.

I’ve associated owing money to someone as basically giving that person rights  to your life. Like blood money. My rational brain thinks this thought-process is ridiculous. My irrational brain tends to be a bit louder and is like “whaaaaa? NO!”

Other good news is that we are now able to afford those tiny extras we’ve been waiting on. I can paint the office and purchase one of the last pieces of furniture. We paid off my student loan, I paid off the credit card, I repaid my in-laws (they bought us the desk for the office. I’ve been in agony ever since). My husband was able to order the new toy he wanted. Once the credit card recovers from its workout I’ll pay it off again and put the rest of  the money in savings like I planned.

Things are finally looking up. The last seven months have been hell and stress. Things have been tense and no one was happy. Now we can focus on being a family again. My husband and I can afford to go on a date. It is better now. Much better.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Learning to Say 'No'

There are some things I have a  hard time saying no to.

There have been people in my life that I have let come back even when I should have said no. I have volunteered for tasks that are far beyond my comfort zone and my abilities but I have not said no.

Part of it is because when I feel I’m in a situation where something I enjoy or want to believe in is in jeopardy, if I don’t say yes, this thing will disappear. I had been volunteering as the secretary for the Board of Directors I sit on but then our Chair announced she was moving. No one volunteered to take her place. I started feeling like there was pressure on me. Probably of my imagination, but it felt like if I didn’t volunteer to take the place, no one would and the organization would face huge difficulties. The organization I volunteer with relies heavily on the Board for direction, approval and regular day to day things. Now I feel overwhelmed and that I’m going to drown under this pressure. I have never been the chair of a board of directors before. I have no idea what I’m doing. This whole situation feels like a mess. I can’t rally people together for a cause. I can’t spur people to action. There is so much apathy on this board of directors I don’t know what’s going to happen next.

I wish I could just run away. Seriously. I just want to run away and hide under my blankets and sleep. Maybe it’s all a dream. Or a nightmare. I’m not sure.

All I  know is that this stress is seriously wreaking havoc on my writing mojo. The Mindful Musing I wrote this morning that will publish tomorrow isn’t one of my best.

Gah. Today feels like Monday.

This sucks.

Sucks

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

All The Feelings

I’ve kind of been on a self-help/self-therapy kick lately, haven’t I?

That’s probably because I’m so overwhelmed and so stressed I can’t even think about my book right now. I still write little bits here and there, but nothing new since my last posts about it. I’ve decided how it will end, which is good. Usually I can’t figure out how to end the story and it ends up a garbled mess. I’m hoping that this map that I’ve figured out will help.

Tonight I am going to be attending a group meeting. I haven’t done any sort of counselling or therapy for 10 years. I am in a new situation where a lot is going on and it’s gotten to a point where I hear those voices again.

You know the voices.

Anyone who has struggled with depression or anxiety knows the voices I’m talking about. My rational brain tends to ignore them, but that brain is getting weaker as the days go by and the stress piles up.

I’ve never been to one of these group meeting things before. I was thinking about it this morning while I was getting ready for work and I felt this wave of anxiety wash over me. It comes and goes in waves and I know it will be fine. I am hoping I will be brave enough to go. I have this wonderful habit of talking myself out of ANYTHING.

In other news, I think I may have found a Masters program I am interested in. The only catch is that it is offered by a University in NEWFOUNDLAND. I live in Manitoba. That is FAR from where I am.

But there’s not much I can do when the schools around me don’t offer what I want. It’s not like I haven’t looked. I don’t have a million  years or obscene amounts of time to prep with schooling to get into a program. For programs near me I’m looking at 5-8 years of school before I can do what I want. With this program, I think I might have to do 1 year of pre-requisites and then the actual program. Most of the pre-requisites are available online, but there are some that are only available in class. I contacted the recruitment department to see if the in-person classes are offered in the Spring/Summer session. I might be able to make it work! We shall see. The Masters program has some courses that are only offered face-to-face so I would have to see how that could work. It would be so nice to finally  have my Masters like I have wanted. It’s a public institution which is also helpful. I would be in school forever and for always if my budget would allow me.

On the other side, I feel so OLD doing more schooling. Realistically, I am not that old. But I still feel like I am. I’ll get over it though hahaha.

Here’s to brighter days ahead!

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It snowed today though 🙂

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Domestic Violence Prevention Month – Canada

November is Domestic Violence Prevention Month here in Canada.

As a survivor of domestic violence, I have written a brief snapshot of my history in the hopes that others may read it and draw strength from it.

You are not alone. You can survive.

Domestic Violence

It’s not an inclusive story by any means. Perhaps it’s more for self-therapy than for actually helping anyone. But it is my story.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 1 comment