Self-Harm by Restricting Food

Self-harm is not limited to cutting, burning, biting, scratching, etc. your skin. In a recent post I saw on The Mighty (a great community for people with mental illness, disabilities and chronic health issues) about how self-harm goes beyond those things.

After reading that (which now I can’t find it anywhere so I can’t even link it for you guys), I realized how many of the things I was doing the author classified as self-harm. Two that I think off the top of my head were restricting food and not acclimating to temperature changes.

Food Restriction

This has been a struggle for me for a few years now. Especially when I’m anxious my stomach gets so tense that I feel like I can’t eat. When I’m like that I can only eat a very small amount of food or I will feel sick.

And even if my anxiety isn’t making my stomach tense but I’m still anxious, sometimes I just don’t want to eat despite my stomach growling. This is happening today. I am feeling anxious and depressed today so I don’t want to have anything to eat. I’m quite hungry but I don’t want to take a single bite.

Am I punishing myself? Sort of.

Is this a healthy thing? Not really.

Being Too Cold

I really didn’t realize that this was a form of self-harm. So what I mean is that if I’m cold, I won’t do anything about it as a sort of punishment to myself. I don’t usually do this as often with being hot because I hate being too hot.

In the winter my office is usually quite cold (the building was built in 1929 what can you do?) and I have a space heater to help but I don’t often use it. Instead I’ll just be cold. I’ll suffer through it just because I can.

This is a strange one to explain because I don’t entirely understand my reasoning for it.

Do you have any trouble with restricting food or letting yourself suffer by being too cold/hot?

I am experiencing PMDD right now which makes me feel every emotion all at the same time. So there’s a lot going on in my head right now so it’s very hard to get through this time of the month. Right now it feels like my swimming upstream in a river of peanut butter.

Soothing My Worries

Lately I have been having a lot of worries. Hahaha I know what a surprise for someone with anxiety! But I have specifically been having financial worries for around a year or so.

Right now they’re moving to the forefront of my mind because my boyfriend and I are looking to move in together in September. He is about to get a very nice raise because he was just promoted he will begin making some great money. I’m so proud of him!

I don’t make all that much, I’ll be honest. I am hoping for a raise this summer but that’s far away from now.

In my mind I thought that if I don’t make enough money I can’t contribute as much as him towards our livelihood. I have been worrying about not being able to pay my fair share of everything. We have always spoken about how we split things evenly but if he’s paying for more then that’s not fair.

It goes against everything in my being to have him carry the financial weight. I also don’t want to feel like a burden on him and that make him not want to live with me. I don’t want him to think I’m some sort of mooch either.

So I did something bold.

I told my boyfriend my worries!

He told me that everything is going to be fine and that he understands that I don’t make the same as he does. He doesn’t expect me to put forth the same amount because it might not be possible for me to do that.

He told me he isn’t worried about it. Him saying that made me feel loved. It made me feel like he really wants to live with me and knows that I will do my best to pay what I can to make our life together possible!

Sometimes voicing your worries can make them go away.

 

 

A Letter to My Struggling Self

I am very inspired by Hunting Happiness who did this post on the Bipolar Writer Blog. She called it “A Letter to Myself on the Days I Feel I’m About to Drown.” I love that title and her idea to write up a letter to encourage herself when she’s struggling with her mental illness.

So I want to do the same! Sometimes the most encouraging person is yourself when you are feeling depressed or anxious.

Dear Megan,

Are you alright? Whatever horrible thoughts you’ve been ruminating on, press pause for a moment to read what I have to tell you.

Remember what your therapist said? Not every thought your brain generates is a fact. Your brain loves to lie and trick you, it loves to kick you when you’re down. It sucks to say but you can’t always believe your mind.

Because I am you, I know the dark thoughts that are buzzing around in your mind. Thoughts you’ve been battling since you were little. Just because you’ve been hearing them forever doesn’t mean that they hold any amount of truth.

Worthless? You’re absolutely worthy of existing. Everybody hates you? Also not true. Think about how much your mom, brother, dad, boyfriend and grandmother care about you. They would be deeply upset if you weren’t here.

Your writing has impacted so many people, even those who you don’t know! You have been able to positively impact other people’s lives with your words. Nobody else could have written those stories like you.

Your experiences matter. Your perspective is needed.

I love you and so do all of the important people in your life!

Love,
Megan

P.S. Pet your cats, watch “My Roommate is a Cat” and stretch.

 

Telling Depression to Piss Off

This morning I was almost out the door for work when I got the empty pain of depression. It sits in my chest making me feel hollow inside.

As I got in my car and began to drive to the office the feeling was still very present. Nothing had happened this morning or last night to make me depressed but sometimes we don’t get to choose when we are depressed. Depression can engulf me anytime it feels like it.

Nagging thoughts kept pushing on my mind about how my boyfriend doesn’t love me and that I’m a worthless human. These thoughts were quiet but I wanted to confront them before they got louder.

I said aloud, “Hey depression, piss off!”

I rarely verbally confront my mental illness like this but I had been feeling good for the past 12 hours and I want to keep it going for longer.

I continued to tell my depression that what it was telling me isn’t true. I know that my boyfriend loves me even when my brain tells me it’s not true. I see his actions and I hear his words that contradict my depression and anxiety.

Instead of letting my depression kick me down to the ground, I am fighting back today.

So to help me keep fighting today, I’m going to do a little list of things that are going well and what I’m looking forward to.

Things going well:

1. My boyfriend and I are doing very well
2. I’ve been keeping up with doing my nails (having my nails painted makes me feel better about myself)
3. I’ve been feeling close with my mom lately

Looking forward to:

1. Therapy on Thursday
2. Getting my windshield replaced today (it has like a foot long crack in it for some reason)
3. Doing yoga after work

I hope that this inspired somebody on this Earth to stand up to their mental illness!

Anxiety Levels on High

Overthinking every little thing is one of the things my brain does best. The best thing my brain does is make sure that my body is functioning properly. For that I thank my brain!

Lately I have been over analyzing a lot. I’ll be sitting in my office at work then read into every little pause and word in a conversation I’m having with somebody.

My mind immediately goes to, “They’re not texting me back because they’re sick of me” or “They don’t want to talk to me because they think I’m annoying and stupid.” Those thoughts have been spinning so fast that my stomach hurts.

These thoughts have been constant. I keep thinking that I’m not good enough which is why nobody actually loves me. It’s all pretend because people feel bad for me.

I’m at the point where I want to curl up in my bed and sleep for the rest of the day.

When I’m super anxious or in a deep depressive episode my automatic reaction is to hide. My fight or flight response is saying to flee this anxiety by hiding.

In these moments I forget all of my coping mechanisms. Do you ever have that experience? I’ve learnt all of these ways to help but then I get into the thick of it and my anxiety coping skills are gone.

I hope that you’re getting through an anxious moments that you’re having with finesse.

A Lull of Positivity

As I’ve written about in my last post, I have been nervous about falling into a deep depression because of severe PMS.

So far I’m doing really well! I have been really careful will myself, like I’m cradling a porcelain doll. I am having a 3-day work week because I took off Friday and yesterday it was snowing and freezing rain all day.

Having a day off yesterday seriously reset me. I had a great balance of self care and getting shit done that I had been putting off for ages. I cleaned out my clothing, cleaned my shower and cleaned up under my bed which I hadn’t done in a very long time.

I am feeling like myself unlike how I was around this time last month. I’m really going to keep trying to enjoy this lull of positivity. To soak up as much of it as I can!

I wanted to give you guys an update in case you are struggling yourself right now.

Sometimes are worries never come to fruition, sometimes they never materialize into reality. Not every thought we have is true, they are not all accurate predictions because we with anxiety are clairvoyant.  I would say a good bit of us are not psychic even though we think we are.

If you’re having a difficult time, I really hope that this passes for you soon. You are strong, you are worthy, you are valued and you matter. You are alive for a reason, we are all glad that you exist.

Stay strong everyone!!

Worries Ahead

This is another post about PMDD and periods so if that doesn’t interest you, check out a different post of mine! There are some other good ones 🙂

Today begins the week before my period which can be just as miserable as actually having my period. Last month, I was living a nightmare with how bad my mental health was.

Last month I was constantly on the verge of tears, I couldn’t shower or get out of bed and I honestly felt that I was not worthy to be on this planet. It was such a difficult time that I am afraid of it happening again this week or next week.

Somebody left me a comment last month about how I should prepare for this time of the month. That I should create a plan to catch myself before I fall too deep into my own darkness. And if I collapse and hit the bottom, I can have soft pillows there to cushion my fall.

I’m already a highly sensitive person so I feel that I have to tread even lighter than normal when I’m PMSing or on my period. I’m going to care for myself as if I am a fragile butterfly.

So here’s my plan:

  1. Do not push myself beyond my limits: I have a fine line to walk when it comes to pushing myself beyond my limits. Sometimes I can handle taking on more while other times I crumble inside. My mental wellbeing needs to be a priority so I plan to gauge what I am up to from situation to situation.
  2. Exercise: Sometimes it takes a lot of energy to get me to exercise even though I actually enjoy exercising. I think I categorize it in my mind as a task and not as something fun. I almost always feel better afterwards so it’s worth doing!
  3. Eating actual food: Getting nutrients in my body instead of solely eating garbage is always a good idea.
  4. Take time to find reality: I will go into my head and got lost in there. I totally lose all sense of reality. Using a stress ball, smelling essential oils or taking a moment to breathe can sometimes bring me back to Earth.

Guys, let’s cross our fingers that I can survive this week and next week!

Mental Health & Feminine Health

If you don’t like to hear about periods then this is not the post for you. I have some other great ones you can check out, just keep scrolling!

As a cis woman, I’ve dealt with my period since I was in sixth grade. I remember calling my friend Stephanie telling her, “I got my period!!” because that’s what middle school girls do. Well that’s what they did in 2004 so I don’t know what they do now.

Since then I have struggled with all the miseries that come with it. Especially as an adult, PMS and mental illness mixed together make for such a roller coaster ride of an experience for me.

It’s like putting two horrible things together, like olives and mayo. Both vile in their own special way.

PMS amplifies my depression and anxiety to heights that often leave me laying in bed with tears streaming down my face. All of those hormones swimming around give my mental illness a megaphone where it shouts so much louder than it does when I’m not on my period or PMSing.

I’m getting my period next week so I have been extra sensitive about everything. I’ve had two days where I laid in bed for over three hours because my depression and anxiety was so bad. I tried to make myself feel better by watching an anime but that only made me cry more!

For years I have dreaded that special time of the month because of how much it messes with me. I’m not sure if I’m the only one out there who goes through a similar thing but if you know what it’s like please leave me a comment!

If you struggle with this too, I hope that you can be strong in this!

 

My Boss Made My Mental Health Worse

Working while having a mental illness can be incredibly difficult. I write and design for a non-profit organization which was a choice I made specifically for my mental health (and my bank account).

In my previous job at a local newspaper, I was one of a handle full of reporters covering a wide variety of news stories. My main beat when I left was religion, education, charity, police/fire and general news. Whenever there was a story that needed to be done about those topics, I was the one who was writing them.

I had always dreamed of being a reporter and I loved the actual work of it. I loved getting to meet so many people and tell their stories to the community. I loved seeing how my stories could make a difference in other people’s lives. There are a few stories that I hold close to my heart because of how deeply they meant to others.

I got a card in the mail once from the daughter of a woman that I had wrote about her mom. The mom had passed away and they had the story I wrote about her framed at her funeral. It brings tears to my eyes even now because of how that little story impacted their family and helped them to remember her in a special way.

It wasn’t the stress of doing a million stories at once or meeting deadlines. It was my freaking editor. I’ve never met anybody like this woman, she is absolutely crazy. I know that word can be upsetting for some but there is honestly no other way to describe her.

She has screamed at me, ripped my head off, chewed it up and spit it out onto the unvacuumed floor of the newsroom. I lived in constant fear of her. I worried that I was one story away from getting fired. Especially in the beginning, my stomach was in knots because I was so anxious about getting fired.

During many times when she made me cry, I would usually go into one of the single stall bathrooms or , if it was really bad, out to my car. I would usually be in there feeling like a total failure because of some mistake I made that my editor would intensify.

It was such a battle to love reporting but be terrified to walk into the newsroom.

So when I was asked to work at a local non-profit by my former boss, I jumped at the chance. Not only was I going to get paid more, I was going to be in a less stressful environment. I also believe strongly in the mission and the programs we have to help victims of violence and women and children experiencing homelessness.

Changing jobs really did help my mental health. I got my own office where I could cry in private, the stress was lower and I had a regular schedule instead of one that bounced around.

I still have depressive or anxious episodes that I have to ride out which happened today. I get very distracted when I have a thousand thoughts buzzing around in my brain. I can’t focus on whatever I’m supposed to do so I end up zoning out a bit.

In my next post, I’m going to give some suggestions about what I do to help when my mental health is making work nearly impossible.

How My Physical Health Impacts My Mental Health

If I’m not feeling good physically, I’m often not feeling good mentally either. There is some sort of correlation between the two, at least in my experience.

For about 3 weeks I have been really struggling with my asthma. I’ve had asthma since I was a kid but have never experienced what I’m going through right now.

I’m taking multiple medicines to help me breathe. Every 4 hours I have to use a nebulizer to relieve the tightness in my chest. Sure it is a nice way to take a break from my day to breathe into a smokey plastic cup but I’m mentally tired of it.

Because this is not my usual life, I’m growing frustrated with each passing day. It makes me feel hopeless, that I am going to have to live this way for the rest of my life.

My depression takes over and tells me that my worry is true. That I will have to take medicine this heavily for a long time.

I’m not sure what is causing my asthma issues because nothing has changed in my life. I’m living in the same house, working in the same office and I don’t surround myself with my usual triggers (smoke, highly fragranced shit).

I have cleaned everything and have kept up with it. I started cleaning my blankets on the weekends and mid-week to cut down on the cat dander from my long-haired fluffs. I even clean with a freaking mask on to prevent me from breathing in any dust particles or fumes from cleaning supplies (which I have changed to more natural options). Lysol makes me die.

I won’t find out what more I can do until the end of January when I see my asthma doctor. I feel hopeless that he won’t even know what to do. He will tell me that this is my life and I have to live my life in a certain way now.

Feeling this way makes me want to curl up in my bed and never leave.

I hope everyone else is having a fantastic New Year! May this year be one where we can all survive and thrive through our mental illnesses.

I love all of you who regularly read, like, comment or have subscribed. I seriously appreciate you all so so so much!