A Positive Update

Hello, the internet.

I’ve definitely been neglecting this blog lately. Whoops. Cue the usual “I’ve been busy/ I’m low-key a piece of shit/etc” thing. Formalities, formalities, blah, formalities.

I was eager to get right into this post, but now I don’t know where to start. To be honest, I’m not writing this because anything especially update-worthy has happened recently. Although, now that I think about it, that’s true. But I am writing this evening because I finished my evening routines a little earlier than usual and I still have some time before the Seroquel knocks me out.

Typically, I am motivated to blog by misery. So I guess it’s a good thing that tonight I’m writing because of happenstance instead. Because I actually have some really great things to share.

Good Thing #1: I am a happy person.

Okay, I don’t know for sure what it means to be a happy person, because I’ve never been one, but I’m certainly not a sad person anymore. And it’s a really weird feeling, but it’s a good weird feeling. I’ve been fighting mental illness for so long that it has become my identity. I was the sad, cynical, sarcastic, beautifully-broken asshole. I’m still a sarcastic asshole, and I am acutely aware of the problems in the world, but I also have a sense of purpose to solve those problems and the hope that it can be done. I don’t know if it’s the daily meditating (yes, I’m that person), challenging my social anxiety, or making Dominique a smaller part of my life. But whatever the reason, I’m pretty pleased.

Good Thing #2: I am dating.

For a while, I got stuck in a pattern of ending my contact with someone as soon as there was any potential for anything. My therapist said I was scared of getting hurt again, which sounds better than me lacking any social capabilities, so I’ll take it. Eventually, I gave up on dating altogether. At one point, I was going to casually sleep with one of my guy friends just to feel some shitty, bootlegged version of love for ten minutes. But recently, I’ve really been trying to put myself out there and meet people. I went on a date recently, and the plan is for us to go out again. I don’t know for sure what I want at this point, but I’m having fun. So, there’s that.

Good Thing #3: I got a job today.

This is actually amazing, but I don’t think my excitement level accurately reflects it yet. Just getting a job is a miracle and a huge financial relief. But it involves limited contact with other people, and actually sounds really fun. I’ve had jobs that I have “liked” in the sense that I was able to experience moments of happiness while working at them. But I think I will ACTUALLY like this job. Like the people in TV shows that I never relate to. You like the thing you’re forced to do at a desk for half your waking hours? Okay…

But yeah, finding a job means my Summer is figured out, and now I just have to do the things for a few months.
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I actually feel so grateful for where my life is right now. For the first time in a long time, things are going well. Eight months ago, I was constantly suicidal, and now I’m here. I can function in school and can find employment. I go to social things and enjoy them. I spend my time talking to people who want happiness as much as I do. I’m doing all the things. I’m really doing them.

Now, I don’t mean to suggest that I have cured myself of all mental illness with the power of positive thinking. More accurately, I have greatly reduced my symptoms of mental illness to a level where I can function, by working very hard for a very long time. I’ve been eating well (and enough). I’ve been going to the gym. I’ve been meditating, despite not really loving it. I made the terrifying decision to move out of my old place. I am pushing myself to endure anxiety-provoking situations many times per week. And at some point, all these actions got me somewhere pretty cool.

It has taken me quite a while to write this, and by now the Seroquel HAS kicked in, so that’s all for tonight. Hopefully I’ll have more good updates soon.

Sarah

Feeling Positive

My desire to write is typically inversely correlated to my mood, turning my blog into a heap of depression. But right this second, I am feeling genuinely happy, and I want to write about it. This may be related to the fact that I should be studying, but regardless, here is happy Sarah.

I feel obligated to mention that objectively, my life hasn’t gotten much better. My roommate is out of the hospital, but our relationship is irreversibly damaged, and we have decided to live apart next year (aka May 1st). The Summer is a terrifying swirl of unknowns; I don’t know where I will live, where I will work, who I will hang out with, or whether I will enjoy my classes. So it’s an anxiety-provoking time, which conveniently follows a Wellbutrin increase (which is great for mood, not so much for anxiety). Blah blah negativity blah.

But today, right this moment, I feel happy. Maybe meditating for the past 6 days has caused me to achieve enlightenment, but I somehow doubt it.

Today is a snow day (because Canada), so I get to spend the day curled up in my apartment. If it didn’t lower my mood long-term, I would spend every day like this. Fortunately, I can enjoy this day indoors guilt-free with the certainty that I will resume my usual activities tomorrow.

I planned to go to the gym today, so I did something resembling a home workout with moderate kitten interference, because I want those gains. Then I showered and got right back into my cozy pajamas. Then I did my daily chores (feeding the cat, laying out tomorrow’s outfit, etc.) and meditated. The only thing left to accomplish today is studying for my midterm tomorrow, but I’m already feeling fairly confident about it.

So here I am, feeling clean and warm in my cozy pajamas, mindful and full of endorphins, hanging out with my cat and reading about commutative rings. Everything about this day brings me joy, which is something I haven’t felt in a while, so I want to appreciate it while it’s here.

I am facing very stressful situations later this week, and the uncertainties about the Summer will continue to cause anxiety, but right this second, I feel joy.

I don’t recognize myself and have strong urges to insert a bitter, cynical comment. But the things that make me cynical and bitter will still be around when this joy passes, so right now, I’m just going to enJOY it. I’m so funny.

Sarah

I (Actually Don’t) Miss Her

Today is the first day since my breakup that I do not miss my ex-girlfriend.

As I continue to gain distance from the relationship, I become more and more aware that it was riddled with problems. But today, I found some old screenshots from arguments we had (They were taken in the context of venting to my best friend). This made me remember how many stupid fights we had. How often I felt like my ex didn’t care about me. How often she complained about trivial issues when I was in the middle of a crisis.

Like I said, I have already accepted that my relationship had problems. But I didn’t realize until today how prevalent these problems were. My memories of the past year are coated in nostalgia that I’m finally realizing is undeserved. I was never happy with my ex.

During the past year, my anxiety worsened, and my depression improved but stubbornly lingered through months of consistent eating, multiple med changes, and countless therapy appointments. I thought all of this was my fault. I was crazy. I was broken. That’s why I was so unhappy all the time. My girlfriend was the epitome of selflessness for putting up with my flaws.

I now realize that these thoughts were incorrect. I have the capacity to be happy when I’m not in a stifling, anxiety-provoking relationship that causes me to hate myself and neglect my needs.

This post isn’t about bashing my ex. She handled the breakup in an incredibly shitty way, but our problems were not necessarily her fault. We were two unhealthy, incompatible people who tried to be happy together and it didn’t work. I’m bashing the dynamic more than the person I shared it with.

Anyways, this post has a negative vibe to it, but this is an incredibly positive development. I do not miss my ex today. I do not miss our relationship. I am excited to be free from that toxic situation. I am beginning to emerge from the deep pit of my depression and feel the sun on my skin. And I’ve never felt anything better.

Sarah

 

 

Reasons why my breakup was a positive thing

I met with my therapist today, and we spent the session discussing various negative thoughts and emotions I have been having with regards to my breakup. I mentioned that I have been increasingly considering it in a positive light, but that I often forget my reasons for thinking this way, and return to feelings of sadness and regret. She suggested that I write out the reasons why I am ultimately happy the breakup occurred, so that’s what this post is.

Behold, the various reasons why my breakup was a positive thing:

  1. My relationship had a lot of problems, many of which were not clear to me until recently, when I finally had enough distance from it to gain perspective. For example, my girlfriend and I had a hard time communicating, and this lead to many arguments. Additionally, I often felt like my girlfriend didn’t care about me. At the time, I attributed this to my own insecurities, but in retrospect, there are things I need in order to feel cared for in a relationship, and she was unable to provide those things. However, I was very comfortable in this relationship, and very uncomfortable with the prospect of being alone. I don’t think I would have left the relationship myself, meaning I wouldn’t have the opportunity to find something better. I have that now.
  2. I have learned a lot about myself during the past month-and-a-half. I have been through absolute hell, and am now beginning to emerge out the other side. I did not think I would be able to cope with this, but I was. Not only that, but I have been actively seeking out help and working tremendously hard in order to feel better. I see my doctor and counselor weekly, as well as my psychiatrist every 2-3 weeks. I have begun to exercise again, despite the lack of motivation that accompanies severe depression. I am currently fighting my lack of appetite (and the Anorexic thoughts that resurfaced when this lack of appetite lead to weight loss) to nourish my body and mind. I have attended counseling groups I wanted to skip, used DBT skills I thought were stupid, and done therapy “homework” I didn’t want to do. I have learned that I am much stronger than I thought, and that’s really cool.
  3. This breakup has forced me to better myself. I didn’t notice at the time, but I largely neglected my personal development when I was in a relationship. I didn’t challenge my social anxiety and meet new people, because most of my time was spent with my girlfriend. I didn’t put much effort into counselling, because I felt “fine” a lot of the time. I even neglected schoolwork to spend more time with my girlfriend. This year, everything is different. I am expanding my social circle, working hard to recover from ALL of my mental health concerns, and spending my time and effort keeping up in my classes and taking care of myself.
  4. I am currently facing my biggest fear: being alone. A lot of my mental health concerns stem from this fear. Loneliness is a huge trigger for my depression,my eating disorder was both a friend in itself and a way to make people care about me, and my social anxiety likely developed (at least partially) from a fear of driving people away. I should note that I am by no means completely alone. I have family members who love me (in their own ways), and who keep trying to spend time with me. I have an INCREDIBLE best friend/ roommate, who visits me in the hospital every time I end up there (despite the fact that hospitals trigger her PTSD), who goes to social events and the gym with me so I actually go, and who is always ready to listen in the rare event that I choose to actually talk about my feelings like a grownup. I have amazing healthcare providers, who miraculously fit me into their schedules every 1-2 weeks. And I have a number of more peripheral friends, who have certainly made a difference as well. Nevertheless, I feel much more alone than I did when I was in a relationship, and that has been hell, but I am surviving it. I think that in the future, I will be less dependent on my significant other, and will not be as afraid to leave a relationship that isn’t working.
  5. Everything is about me right now. I spend my time the way I want to spend it, consider post-graduation plans that fulfill my dreams, and run errands when I feel like running them. My ex certainly did not control these aspects of my life, but I felt like I needed to consider her in every decision, so I did. I no longer feel that obligation, and it is incredibly freeing. I could cut all my hair off tomorrow and not give a fuck about anybody’s opinion of it. I can try new things and make new experiences without fear of a significant other’s disapproval. I can figure out who I am, after having this process stifled for years by the church and by illnesses.

So yes, I have experienced a tremendous amount of pain recently. And more than once, I took actions that could have ended the life I am now excited to live. I still deal with sadness and depression on a daily basis. But I believe that this experience has been worth it, for the reasons I have listed. I’m glad that the worst is over and hope I don’t experience anything like this again for a little while, but I feel grateful for everything I have gained from this experience, and I would not take it back if I had the chance. If you had told me even two weeks ago that I would be saying these things, I wouldn’t believe it. But I am. And that is everything.