Silent act of kindness

Last night one of my best friends asked me about my blog and why I hadn’t written in a long time, also mentioning that she still goes and checks it. Honestly, I wasn’t initially sure why I stopped writing, but today I realized why. I also realized how deep her comment went.

Today was my first bad day in a long, long time. Having calmed down now, I can see a few logical reasons for the icky emotions, including a lack of certain medication (as in I forgot to take them), stress, and anxiety. However, the rough day allowed me to understand that I stopped writing as soon as things started looking up for me. After getting discharged from the hospital, starting a relaxing summer, and enjoying life my need to constantly look inward upon myself seized. This was unfortunate because this lack of personal awareness built up within me tumbled down today. Feelings of sadness, anger, disappointment, etc, etc rushed through me with no thorough understanding and it sucked.

I started reminiscing upon days, hours, minutes, moments that still haunt me.

Days, hours, minutes, moments that scare me so deeply I can often go weak or find myself in utter panic.

The days where my head was dictated by numbing emotions.

The hours where I did nothing but cry.

The minutes where I had to swat sinister thoughts like flies.

And the moments where I felt completely hopeless.

Through all this thinking, I was lifted by the simple comment of one of my best friends saying that she still checked my blog. Even in the best of times, she still checked to see if I was doing okay under my happy facade. A simple act of silent kindness brought to light. I don’t know how to thank her for that because it impacted me more than she will ever know. So, I hope she reads this and can understand how much her care and compassion means to me. And I hope that I can continue to write, even when things feel fine.

Advertisements

Where have I been?

Hello again!

It’s been a while since I have posted anything and I think you all deserve to know the reasoning.

Unfortunately, I have been back in the hospital. I went back on the first day of February and got a psychiatric assessment, the team decided on recommending the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) for me. This program involves me going to the hospital every weekday from 9am to 4pm but allowing me to spend the nights and weekends in my house with my family. Which is much better for me compared to inpatient because I don’t like being away from my family and friends for long. This program is kinda what I expected them to recommend because I knew I was getting bad again, but I was not as bad as I was last spring. So I started the program one of the days following.

Of course my mental health decided to completely fail me in a horrible time. I was right in the middle of competition season and school was picking up in speed and in difficulty. I was able to contact all of my teachers before leaving and they were all so understanding and told me to focus on myself and worry about school later. So school wasn’t a big issue for me during my time in the program. However, when I got out, my mind was filled to the brim with school anxiety. But we will get to that later. As for Belles (my dance team), we were in the middle of competition season, so pulling out all together wasn’t going to be ideal, so we decided it would be best for me to continue with practices and competitions and just leave a little early from morning practices to get to the program on time. These practices on top of the program made my days extremely exhausting, but allowed me to see my wonderful friends every morning, which I am so grateful for! I don’t think I could have gone through all of this without them.

The program started off great for me. I fell into a routine there and liked my peers, my tech, my therapist, and even my psychiatrist. After the first few days I was awestricken by the hope I felt. But then, to start it all off, my tech went on vacation for a week, leaving us with a different substitute every day. Then, right after I felt comfortable with her, my therapist left. And to top it all off, I started to hate my psychiatrist. He seemed like a miracle worker sent from heaven when I first met him. He explained to me all the great things that I would feel as soon as I started on this new, magical medicine! Well this new magical medicine gave me horrible panic attacks in the morning and deep, dark depression episodes at night. After realizing the pattern, I spoke with him and voiced my concerns which he rolled off as a common side effect, so onto the next one. This one was also extraordinary! It would make me feel like a completely different person, only it takes about three weeks to kick in. Well, this is unfortunate because this program only lasts between 7 and 10 weekdays. So following being on this medication, I would be asked if I started feeling it kick in or started seeing signs of it in my system. Nope, nothing, I felt the exact same- sad, tired, and extremely frustrated.

Eventually, I was discharged from the PHP program feeling almost worse than when I arrived. I was put into the IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program), which I attended every Tuesday and Thursday night and Saturday morning. It was 3 hours long and involved about 1 and half hours of process group and 1 and half hours of an education activity. In addition to the program, we set up an appointment with my psychiatrist. We saw her at the point where my medicine should have completely kicked in. I told her I felt no different, if not worse. She decided to put me on a another medicine and I immediately saw a difference. We have figured out  good balance of this new med and I am feeling more energetic and motivated, which is great! I have my last day of IOP this upcoming Tuesday. I found this program to be the most helpful for me.

So now, I am trying to get back into a routine. But I am happy I got the help I needed and am now doing much better!

 

 

Feeling fat

ISSUE NO. 1

I wouldn’t say that I am overweight, but I also wouldn’t say that I am skinny. Last spring (around the time I was in the hospital) I started putting on weight. Now, let me just say that this post is not me trying to find excuses for my body image. I can eat better and I can workout more. That’s on me. However, I will not deny the fact that I have a few things that can make my dream body quite difficult to achieve.

First of all, last spring (when I was in the hospital) I started on an antipsychotic only to learn later from my therapist that it is commonly found to cause an increase in appetite and cravings. However, I know that this is very different from person to person, but it’s hard to overlook it considering that I started to gain weight around the same time I started the drug.

Next, I was recently diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) which is notorious for weight gain due to high androgen levels and the way it makes it more difficult for the body to use insulin.

And lastly, because I was diagnosed with PCOS I was put on a hormone that I learned can also cause weight gain. This is also different from person to person.

All of the these facts I have learned from my doctors and my therapist. I am also completely aware that all three of these things may not be playing into my body weight, but like I said earlier I can’t overlook them.

Now, to get on with my point and end my pity party, I am just going to assume that I am not alone. I have seen and heard about the statistics on the large number of women with PCOS and all the people on antidepressants and antipsychotics. However, knowing you’re not alone can only help so much. It’s hard being a teenage girl with weight issues! I am on my schools dance team (we have 90 girls!!) and every other year we go on a cruise and this is one of those years. While I absolutely love going to the beach with my friends I am dreading it. DREADING it! Almost everyone on my team is probably under 130 pounds and still manages to complain about their weight. If only I could stand up and announce to everyone that there is a medical reasoning behind my weight, I would feel so much better. BUT I don’t want to play the excuse card because frankly, I can’t blame all my weight issues on my medical problems and medications. And that’s what’s hard to swallow.

Lately, I have been trying to workout at least 3 times a week (in addition to the 2 hours of dance every morning) and eat better. So far, there has been no change, but its only been about a month. But as I always say, patience is a virtue. All I can from this point on is to ignore the petty comments from skinny girls complaining about their weight, eat well, exercise lots, and be patient!

Getting “fixed”

POSITIVE

“I can’t just press pause, get fixed, and then start where I left off. And it’s unbelievably frustrating”

 

This is something I found written on a piece of ripped out journal paper. I must have written it on one of my bad nights last spring. This was one of the things that I found extremely hard. I wanted so badly to “get fixed” but my world was spinning so fast that I felt as though I couldn’t.

First of all, now I realize that I couldn’t be nor can I be “fixed”. Depression is like my little buddy, it will walk with me wherever I go, forever. I can only find ways to calm it and cope with it.

This point in my life was extremely difficult. The bad days were more common than the good. I was so tired and frustrated from the months of trying to become “happier”. But let me just say, coming out of your deepest depression is like trying to rock climb with no pegs, it’s possible, but extremely difficult and takes a lot of strength. In fact, being at the point that I am with my mental health is one of the hardest things I have ever achieved. While I’m only halfway to the point where I want to be, I believe that I have gotten past the most difficult part. The most difficult part is picking up the pieces of you that have been ripped away from you by the depression like energy, motivation, and inspiration.

So I guess this post is me being proud of where I am and me being ready to continue fighting. It is also me understanding the fact that I can’t be “fixed” for this is who I am. While my depression doesn’t define me, it is a part of me, a part of me that is eventually going to be under complete control.

2015

2015.jpg
Where do I start… 2015 has been quite a roller coaster. All the ups and downs have been both fun and nauseating. Mainly nauseating. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and go through what happened this year:
November 2014 (I know its not 2015, but it seems necessary)- major panic attack
          -Led us to go to the doctor to have them diagnose me with major depression and anxiety, again (diagnosed for the first time at 7)
          -Met my current therapist and psychiatrist, got prescribed some different meds
January, February, and March- even with the change in meds, still feeling down and anxious
April- Went to hospital, transferred to psychiatric ward
          -this was the turning point of this year, I was an inpatient for around 4 days and then an outpatient for 2 days
          -this time tested me beyond words
May, June, July- “Honeymoon Phase”
          -returning from the hospital meant I had complete support, my family surrounded me with endless love and courage, this would fade as the year went on
August, September, October, November- Junior Year
          -filled with a lot of work and even more stress
          -all of the stress caused me to begin throwing up from the anxiety
          -felt like I was losing support from my family
December- PCOS
          -diagnosed with PCOS
If you didn’t notice, everything I wrote about is negative. This is how I have felt about the year. However, I am going to force myself to think about the year as the following:
November 2014 – major panic attack
          -was finally re-diagnosed (felt as though something was wrong for the past few months)
          -received the help I needed
January, February, and March- even with the change in meds, still feeling down and anxious
           -realized that I needed help
April- 
           -realized how strong I am
May, June, July- “Honeymoon Phase”
           -saw the amount of support I can gain, when I need it
August, September, October, November- Junior Year
           -overcame another obstacle and recognized my hard work and achievements
          -Started blogging, realizing that is the best coping skill for me
December- PCOS
           -found a possible reason behind my depression
This year was very crazy but it is very important that I don’t dwell on the negatives, but rather embrace the positives that came of 2015. Happy New Year and have a wonderful 2016!

“Fix my Eyes”

Fix my Eyes

“find faith in the battle

stand tall and above it all”

Lyrics from the hit song “Fix my Eyes”

I love these lyrics because they really hit home. Right now in my life I am fighting a rough battle and I have found that looking to God and really devoting time to Him has been very therapeutic. I’m not really sure why, maybe its because he is secretly giving me guidance, or maybe I am finally seeing that He has a plan for me. But whatever He’s doing, it’s working. Ever since I started this blog and reached out to God, I have felt happier, more spontaneous, and more motivated.

The irony in JOY

JOY-2

Merry (late) Christmas!

So over my Christmas holiday I realized how much we correlate JOY with Christmas. I believe it comes from the JOY of being with your family, the JOY of receiving gifts, and of course, the JOY of the birth of Jesus. But then I started to think about what JOY meant to me. I have grown up surrounded by JOY jokes, puns, and sayings because my last name is JOY. However, it kinda always glazed past me until I started thinking about the deeper meaning.

I found it ironic that depression ran in my family, being that our last name is JOY. When people think of JOY they think of happiness and delight, the complete opposite of everything depression entails.

It wasn’t until this Christmas that I realized why my last name was JOY. I believe that my name is JOY because God wants me to notice JOY. He wants me to see, feel, and comprehend the JOY I experience. Having depression doesn’t mean that I don’t ever experience JOY. It may mean that it doesn’t come as often, but it still comes, even if I can’t understand it. With this new found appreciation for the ironic last name I have, I plan on taking time every day to think about the JOY I experienced that day. I will from now on notice my JOY.