Six months since I’ve written. What can I say about that time?
I finished my first semester of seminary school.
I was in Death Valley for three months.
I started my second semester of seminary school.
That about sums it up. Chronologically and factually.
What about emotionally? Oh, I’d say it has been a roller-coaster. More like a kid’s roller-coaster. You know, the kinds that just slightly has it’s ups and downs, nothing major. Still a roller-coaster though. Death Valley was a dark place emotionally. I felt lonely and separate from everything. Most of the time I kept my emotions in check. It was hard work. I’m lucky that I was able to mostly keep it together.
Now I’m going into this second semester of seminary. I’m feeling mostly good. It feels amazing to be back home. After my summer experience, it really feels like a huge blessing to be where I am right now. I have the stress of school. I have the stress because of my current weight. My body doesn’t feel well. My mental health is suffering as a result. I have to put in the hard work for my body. But at the same time I have to put in the hard work of school. It’s already a month into school, and I haven’t quite gotten into the rhythm of anything. I better step up fast.
My prayers are just that I can keep myself together emotionally and do what needs to be done. And there is a lot to be done!
Here’s a picture of tacos for no reason at all. Except that they were absolutely delicious, and I wish I was eating one right now.
Spent a whole week doing nothing towards my goals. And I’m ok with that. I’ve had family in town and I wanted to maximize my time with them. I also had to go to work, which limited my time with them. I had to go to sleep early to keep my sleep hygiene, and then I would have to wake up early. It didn’t always work out just fine. Although I will say positively that I did go to work and I did volunteer. This week is over. On to the future.
Starting Monday I will adjust my diet. I will go back to the gym. I will write more. I will do more planning. I will prepare more for school to start. I’m especially excited about going back to the gym. A whole week off was a bit too much for me. It affects my mental health tremendously. I feel much more even tempered when I’ve been active. Inactivity creates a lot of energy stored inside without an outlet. It ends up creating more anxiety and more irritability in me, which then makes me depressed which makes me less inclined to do the things I want to do. It’s a terrible cycle. Sooo… I need to keep exercising. When I don’t know what to do, or when I don’t feel like doing anything: EXERCISE! That’s my note to self.
Also I’m not beating myself up for not having done much this week. It happens. There will be times like this. As long as I pick myself back up, and keep going, we’re good. So here’s to continuing good health!
The thing about mental health is simply that it effects your mind. The chemicals in your brain have become unregulated making it difficult to think straight. With bipolar whether your thoughts are good or bad, it’s amplified. When your surroundings are good, you feel ecstatic beyond reason. You’re energetic, electric, and love being alive. You’re so optimistic you feel on top of the world. When something so slight makes you worry, it sends you into panic, unable to breath, heart racing, doom encircling you. And then you get sad, and the world crashes around you. You can’t get out of bed. You can’t take a shower. You can’t eat or sleep. You think and feel things that aren’t real. All the while shadows following you. Voices trying to get your attention.
I started getting better. I’ve been exercising. I’ve been getting sleep. I’ve been using my coping skills to get me through tough moments. Really, I’ve been doing well. I thought so anyway. Just when I think things are going great with my health, I forget a dose of medicines, and BAM. I’m back to being a mental mess. I really thought I was doing well, until I wasn’t. It wasn’t even just the missing dose of medicines. It’s been gradual. I’ve let my guard down to my illness.
I resolve to contain this. I won’t let myself spiral out of control. I can do this. The best thing that I can do right now is to grant myself grace.
Tri training has been going well. I’ve hit all my goals so far. The initial goal was to stick to the schedule as planned. And I have accomplished that. It feels pretty darn good. Next week will also be about hitting the same goal of sticking to the schedule. After these two weeks I can think about bumping up my level of effort within the extra workouts. My knees are already feeling tight, so I may not want to push them too hard. I wouldn’t want to have to quit because of an injury.
My mood lately is best described as irritable. I keep snapping at people in my family. I have a harder time keeping my mental balance. My patience is thin. I get irritated and annoyed too easily. The reason for this could be a few different things. One, it could be because of the extra exercise. It could be a symptom of a bipolar hypomania, or it could be a symptom of depression. I talked some things over with my counselor earlier this week. She added up some other symptoms I’ve been having. She came to the conclusion that it sounds like a depression coming on. So I have to fight that now.
How do I fight this depression? Exercise is supposed to help. I’m doing that. I’ve been making my appointment and activity commitments even when I don’t want to. I need to start eating and sleeping regularly. I have to keep writing. I have to change my thought patterns. Which would require me to read my book and work on some exercises.
Overall though I’m feeling pretty hopeful. That’s a good feeling. I’m still excited about tri training. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and something that I’ve always wanted to try to be good at. Also though, I want to get back to climbing. So I have no idea how I’m going to have time to go climbing on top of tri training and CrossFit. I wish that I had all the time in the world to go from one activity to the other and still do all of my extra curricular activities.
The last couple of days have been especially rough. I could not see any break of light. I was trapped in the black thicket of my mind. I asked my parents to take me to the hospital because I didn’t feel safe from myself. I couldn’t go to work. My mom had to drive me to work, and I still couldn’t go in. Again I said I needed to go to the hospital. I feel ashamed of that. I feel like I should have been able to get a hold of myself. But I couldn’t. Did I not have enough courage? Did I not have enough strength? Was I not trying hard enough? How I must have let them down. They must have lost respect for me. As a business, how can they trust me? I’m not reliable. If I can’t work, how can I do anything else? These thoughts are plaguing me. How can I express these feelings to my employer? Should I even disclose it? These questions go unanswered.
But. I’m doing better. We didn’t go to the hospital. I’ve been continuing to go to the gym. It’s so hard, but it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I’ve lounged in my pajamas for half the day, but haven’t succumbed to sleeping. Went out for coffee, went errand shopping. Laid down and read a book. Essentially I’ve been avoiding stress. Not sure if that’s good, or? I haven’t confronted my negative feelings. I can think about it now though. My parents’ love over the last few days shows me how much my parents so care for me. They’ve dropped everything to help me feel better. My mom made me breakfast. She took me out to lunch. She bought me some office supplies (which I secretly love). I’ve been bombarded with love.
I’m avoiding writing about how God fits into this picture. Anything I can think to say is so cliché. But it doesn’t make it any less true. I’m trying to come up with a better way to say this. God has been like clear mountain air. You’re hiking through the mountains, enjoying the scenery and all the beautiful trees, and peaks out in the distance. You’re breathing the air and it’s beautiful. On the trail you see some bear scat. And you get scared. It’s fresh. It stinks, it’s in the middle of the path. There’s a bear nearby. So you proceed with caution. Maybe you even see the bear. But all around you is still the mountain air. You can count on it. It has never left you. So you keep going. Soon enough the air is fresh again. The pine trees and the mountain laurels are perfume. You realize how satisfying the air is to your lungs. You breathe it in and feel full of joy. And you keep going on your journey trusting that the air will always be with you. He is the breath of life. A that’s just one piece of God.
All this week, and especially today, I’ve been dreading going to work tomorrow. But I just thought to myself moments ago, that it’s just another thing that I’m doing. It’s no big deal! And I like doing things. It’s nice to get out of the house and have something to do. I need responsibilities in my life. So this is good! I meet with a cohort to talk about Bible study material. I also meet with a group of ladies to discuss the story of Exodus and how it relates to us today. I have a group that meets weekly for fellowship and catch up in our lives. I go to the gym regularly. So, work! It’s just another thing that I’m doing. And I get paid for it. Pretty sweet deal.
Wow. I feel so much better thinking this way. Being positive is refreshing. I’ve been feeling sick all day today with a headache and a stomach ache. I took medicine but eventually it wore off. I took a second dose and it actually kicked in and kept the headache away. I went to hang out with my mom in the kitchen while she was cooking, and I got a phone call from a friend. We were going to meet for coffee but instead I invited her over to dinner with our family. We all had a wonderful time. Dinner was amazing. I was finally feeling better, and we got to have great conversation. I love impromptu nights like this!
Tonight I’m feeling pretty good. Against the odds from last night and this morning, the day and evening went rather well! Can’t wait till work tomorrow!
My coach at the gym asked me today if I was doing ok. I was moving rather slow. I told her that I was incredibly sleepy and that my medication had changed. She was supportive. Later I was still feeling lethargic and she said, “You made it here to the gym instead of still being in bed!” I was encouraged by that. And I felt like my morning was not all a waste.
After the workout I had a super supportive conversation with my sister-in-law about my recent frustration with this weight gain. Talking with her made me feel really good. Right after that I met with another coach from the gym to discuss nutrition. That was also great.
Most of the late morning early afternoon went well. Until sometime during the afternoon. I started to feel dizzy and light headed. It was like my blood pressure was fluctuating every time I moved my head. I was nauseated as well. We went to pick up my brother from the airport, and the symptoms never fully went away. In fact they got worse. I laid down in bed for an hour or so. It helped until I got up again and everything came back. In fact I’m still dealing with these symptoms. I’m hoping that a night’s sleep will shake it off. I’m almost afraid to move for fear of the dizziness. My head hurts too. Ugh, I feel sick.
I wonder if it’s all a prolonged panic attack for some reason.
I submitted my seminary school application today.