The Crippling Severity Of Mental Illness

I have always been very open about the mental illnesses I have dealt with for as long as I can remember. I’m not trying to plan a “pity party” or attract negative attention to myself. I’m just trying to find a way to decompress, even if it’s just temporary.

The tension in my chest feels like a bubble that you can’t pop. It sits in my chest, nestled right above my breasts in the centre. it’s below my neck. I am tense.

I can’t think very straight. Recently, I made a very abrupt, irrational decisions to approach a person from my past and said things I don’t mean. Just today I was working in a poor employment condition and I blamed it on myself. I quit the work I was doing because I started internalizing everything that was going on and felt that if I resigned, that was me taking the blame for what was going on and being responsible, even though what was happening was mostly beyond my control. I don’t feel very good. I also feel as though i’m lacking any intellectual value.

I wish I had the option of having an “away from keyboard” moment for my life. I just need the opportunity to disconnect and relax. I can’t seem to do that. The sound of a text message, the sick feeling I get when I anticipate a negative response through an email or even just how I feel when people are impolite towards me – it makes me physically ill. I’m talking about: blurred vision, profuse sweating, vision distortion, light sensitivity, a feeling of dizziness/wobbliness, nausea and headache. I used to cry a lot as a child. I had a reputation for it and looking back, it was my body’s coping and defense mechanism.

It emotionally hurts me when I try so hard to communicate and clarify things I am saying and the response I am met with is an eye roll. I already feel like just speaking and having to “think on the fly” is the worst way for me to get my thoughts out. Whether it’s in person or on the phone, my mind hits in to overdrive and I start flapping my lips. The thought process is skewed and the results are not always becoming.

I spend time at home, hanging out with my cats. I sleep a lot. I’m trying to do positive things that will make a difference, but the worry is always still there in the forefront of my mind. The obsessive tendencies I have, like checking/looking for things, thinking about misplaced items and other repetitive thoughts are worsening. The flashbacks of my traumatic youth interject themselves in things as simple as self-care routines, which is a detrimental setback. The fact I can’t take a bubble bath without these visions of being verbally abused is a really painful reminder that I still have so far to go. I am not hesitant to find a professional to help me through these things, I just don’t know where to start. It would be nice to have that chance without being reprimanded and grilled on all the things I discussed.

Even if I don’t have a visible wound, I am still badly hurting inside.

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Birch + Fog Review

I was provided me with a gift card to put towards the products of my choice and the opinions are my own.

Birch + Fog is a rising star in the online cannabis space. They provide the ease of shopping at home and having it delivered to your doorstep in a very quick fashion. They are Vancouver based and have a very luxe feel to their website and marketing strategies. There are lots of unique products I have never seen before.

With that being said, there are a few things they can work on. I’m not sure what legal grey area they operate in. I don’t believe they have any government licensing. At this point, their location of operation is untracable. The packaging is very vague and there is no certification on the products i’ve seen.

In terms of flower being sold, The Roll Model CBD Mango Haze says it’s 60% Sativa/40% indica and lab tested. It does not indicate what dispensary has grown the flower. I have purchased this same strain from the government and the percentages of CBD & THC are different and it indicates it’s a Sativa. Perhaps each individual grower comes out with different statistics on their products when they are tested? I’m not sure.

The customer service is very friendly, but they do need to work on their communication time. I found that the facebook discussions I had left something to be desired and the auto-reply becomes very redundant. Probably best to contact them directly.

I’m not saying it’s all bad but I wanted to write a realistic view of the experience I personally had. Some people want to support indie companies and NOT the Government and I completely understand. I wish we, as a whole, would embrace these small businesses so that they can grow, flourish, hire more people and continue to improve.

If you’re interested in purchasing from them and testing it out for yourself, the website is www.birchandfog.com and you can use my coupon code NAVIGATINGLIFE for $20 off your very first order!

It’s the most depressing time of the year!

It’s almost Christmas. I wish I could fast forward to December 26th. 

The bombardment of ads, trying to get me to buy presents gets increasingly harder to ignore. I’m constantly reminded of how the holidays are apparently not about consumerism and all about family time spent together. I feel as if so much of that is a lie. I have to do so much masking to feel okay. Inside, i’m stressed out, anxious and feeling like seasonal affective disorder includes Christmas.

We celebrated Chanukah. It wasn’t until my Mom met my late Stepdad that life changed and we suddenly had a tree in our house. That was weird for me.

The most festive thing I do is making my own holiday cards for family and friends. I do not buy gifts for various reasons. There’s still a sense of guilt and uneasiness when I receive a gift. I never feel like my card is substantial enough. 

Malls are something I avoid for all the right reasons. I especially wouldn’t step foot in one right now — although, my emails keep reminding me I should GET ON THE CONSUMERISM TRAIN AND SHOP, SHOP SHOP! Old Navy emailed me today and said “( ❗ ) THE ENTIRE STORE IS ON SALE ( ❗ )” Yeah. No. I’m good. 

I’m pleased i’ve been able to separate myself from the corporate/retail world. I think that provides me some relief. There’s a sense of freedom I gain in which I can deal with the holidays because i’m not selling anything to anyone and with that comes not having to succumb to the annoyingly repetitive nature of Christmas music. I’m not surprised that “psychopathology tends to increase around the holidays”.  

Christmas is 15 days away! I know i’ll have to sit through meals that will make me feel like I will want to isolate myself at home and sitting on the couch with my cats. I’m not trying to make excuses for myself because I know it’s good for personal growth to do things that make you uncomfortable, but honestly? Seeing big pieces of animal protein on the table with really odd, pungent smells and being the centre of conversation with nothing for me to eat is frustrating. I usually bring my own food but beyond that I never know what i’m supposed to do. Maybe sitting at the table awkwardly, listening to the sounds of cutlery, chewing and sparse, topical conversation is just what the holidays are and will always be. I try to get distracted and in my own head. Mentally, i’ve already left the table.

Next year can’t come soon enough.

Almost there.

Reliving my (painful) past

I want to preface this post by saying that these are things i’ve experienced and at the time of writing this, I do not have a PTSD diagnosis. I, in no way, want to make those with a proper diagnosis feel less than or devalued in any way.

Often times I find myself in these dizzying spells with negative thoughts running rampant. They flood my mind: terrible, painful memories that I wish would vanish.

Discovering deceased pets, multiple instances of being bullied which included: thumbtacks, sharp side up- They would be left on my chair with an audience that consisted of my entire class, watching and waiting to see if I would notice and sit on it, purposely having dodgeballs thrown at my face, having friends-of-friends find out personal details about me and they would attempt to humiliate and berate me based on it, being excluded from birthday parties, having the whole class turn against me while the teacher was out of the room – that’s just some of the bullying that occurred during my elementary school years. Can’t forget the workplace bullying with all kinds of instances that included customers yelling at me, management making me cry or not believing things I say (I am very honest) and being fired – which was one of the most humiliating things i’ve ever lived through, co-workers being nasty to me for reasons i’ll never know.

I also can’t forget all the things my Father did: the daily verbal abuse, screaming so loud that you could hear him down the block, chasing me to my bedroom and holding the door closed so I couldn’t leave, yelling at me for questioning things he said and having friends witness his emotionally destructive behaviour which was embarrassing and continued to pile the stress on top of me. 

This is just a small portion of the hundreds, maybe thousands of memories that flow through my mind.

Even though I had the support of my Sisters and my Mum, I still felt so alone and depressed. I didn’t think I would survive so I failed to look after myself. I think sadness was one of the first emotions I remember experiencing.

I want these painful memories to subside. Easier said than done. I can’t seem to shake off things that happened as far back as I can remember. 

People often say things like “Forgive and forget”, “don’t dwell on your past”, “move on” and “live in the present”. It’s NOT THAT EASY. Diminishing the valid feelings of those who often have to suffer in silence is not something that sits well with me. It’s hard enough to allow those feelings to come to the surface, let alone feel comfortable enough with anyone to actually allow the words of pain to flow out of ones mouth. It’s a PRIVILEGE to listen to such agony. I don’t think it’s okay to interject comments telling someone to forget, move on and live in the present. It makes things worse.

I have reached out to some people that have caused me pain and forever haunt me in my memories and I was unsuccessful. I also was left feeling as though what happened was my fault. I do my best to cope.

Forgiveness is so much harder than its made out to be and it has stages that are very similar to grief. I would say that one of my biggest faults or personality flaws would be the severity of my anxiety. Many thoughts continue to haunt me, not only during my waking hours but even during my sleep.

I’m talking about those nights where my mind and my heart feel like they are racing in unison.

Trying to fall asleep, I toss and turn. Sometimes, I wake up at 3am and lay there, trying so hard to go back and sleep peacefully when my mind is at war with it’s self. My body becomes warm, clammy and my night sweats are the worst. I try to find something to think about or something to do. If one of my cats happens to be awake I will gravitate towards them; their soft hair, their therapeutic purring – it helps me stay mindful, it’s calming, it puts me at ease.

Every day is a new chapter but my story starts with pain and my book is still being written. There’s still a chance for happiness.


Sippin’ hot drinks!

I have been enjoying a lot of hot chocolate and teas while frantically entering Christmas contests. It’s that time of year again and it happens to be one of my most enjoyable hobbies. Seriously. I do this…!

I did some more background work on film where I was dressed up all 80s and it was WILD. I didn’t realize my hair could get that big.

I also was featured on GEEK CLUB BOOKS and they’ve been so kind to post me on their social channels. I would love if you could read the article here: https://geekclubbooks.com/2018/11/impactful-blogs-navigating-life/

Lastly, I actually drew something that conveys my hyper-awareness & anxiety all at the very same time: 

I have been thinking of some articles i would like to write so i’m just kind of waiting for that BURST of creativity to hit me so I can get it done. I haven’t neglected my blog. I always fear people are going to think i’ve abandoned it. That’s just not the case.

Passing Judgment

Throughout my life, people have passed judgment on me based on the way I look, act or quite frankly who I am.

I think the way I present myself has a lot to do with my sensory sensitivities. For instance: I don’t “dress my age” and I prefer wearing comfortable clothing such as shirts that are a men’s size small, jeans, and slip on shoes. I rarely wear makeup and I usually just brush my hair and head out the door. It’s already so mentally trying to go out in to the world that the energy I would use to make myself presentable gets used up so fast. By that time, i’m already beyond drained and I start feeling physically ill.

 

Sometimes I dress very casually and sometimes I look fancy.


My intellectual capacity is clearly questioned because some people, whether it’s conscious or not, believe that the way someone looks has to do with the way they think.

I was treated very poorly at a restaurant and I can’t say for certain that it had anything to do with the way I looked, but I wouldn’t be surprised. It seemed like I was stereotyped as dumb and trashy because of my use of coupons and was spoken down to – which i’m still feeling anxious and upset about.

The English idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover” is a metaphorical phrase which means “you shouldn’t prejudge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone”. For example “That man may look very small and insignificant, but don’t judge a book by its cover – he’s a very powerful man in his circle”. —Wikipedia

We all deserve a little kindness and compassion, no matter what we look like.

sunset hands love woman

Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

 

Links of interest:

 

Too Bothered…

…By what happened at a local restaurant on Friday.

My SSRI Story

SSRI stands for Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Simply put: Antidepressants.

joshua-coleman-623113-unsplash.jpgJOSHUA COLEMAN

The last week or two of September were exceptionally cruel to me and even still the withdrawal symptoms linger. I have been strongly against taking these pills ever since I was a child. My childhood Psychologist would constantly mention these as an option to help curb my mood disorders and I was always hesitant and frustrated. I would put up a fight till my eyes were read and tears were streaming down my face.

This was not something I wanted to do. I did not want to partake in taking pharmaceuticals to help me. I didn’t even like taking Tylenol for any generalized pain.

I felt like being alive was bad enough;

I might as well suffer.

Fast forward to now and I still feel like a shell of myself. I’m always worried about the actions of other people and how they create a lasting impression on me. If someone says something rude, I dwell on it. I ask myself repeatedly why they did that and I start to feel unwell about it. I negatively obsess.

My activism, coupled with the horrible emails I receive from companies, corporations and wealth management companies make my mood worsen. I try to focus on the bigger picture and the hopes of creating a positive impact through my own pain and the pain and misunderstanding associated with my peers in the #actuallyautistic community.

I just can’t deal with anything very well.

I have tried three types of pills: Escitalopram (Cipralex/Lexapro), Sertraline (Zoloft) & Venlafaxine (Effexor XR) with absolutely no positive experiences.

The Cipralex left me feeling very hollow, very distracted and very much like I was just dragging myself to do anything – although, out of the three I tried, it worked the best.

The Zoloft didn’t seem to do much at all.

The Effexor XR just made me feel really unwell and my mood was worsened so, I decided to just stop without tapering off. The withdrawal effects were worse than what I expected. Sweats, vomiting, car sickness, the worst nausea I have felt in what seems like forever and a “shaky brain” feeling. There was also a strong need for a whole lot of sleep.

I went to another appointment to my Psychiatrist and it didn’t go particularly well.  He is incredibly dismissive and has me in and out of his office in 5 minutes or less.

He asks me questions completely unrelated to my suffering:

“How are your parents?”, he asked.

“Well, I don’t REALLY talk to my Dad… so.. yeah. My Mom is fine though.. but why didn’t you just increase my dose of Cipralex?”

“Oh, If it wasn’t working at that dose then it’s unlikely it will work at a higher dose.” He then followed that statement up with another unrelated comment.

The sense of defeat and the dark cloud over me seemed to take on more rain at that instant.  It’s apparent, This person, this professional, this DOCTOR who is supposed to help me just wants me out of his office as fast as possible. I like to call them “Fast Food Doctors” because you’re in and you are out very quickly so the Doctor can see more patients and make more money in a shorter amount of time.

My depression and anxiety make my already intense light sensitivity and poor balance much worse. I often feel like I’m going to faint or fall over and my heart starts beating a mile a minute.

What now?

Well, I can’t even work. How am I supposed to get anything done when I just am running out of viable options? I can’t afford to get any kind of mental health assistance where I can talk to a psychologist. That’s not in the cards for me.

 

 

Disclaimer: Please don’t take my article for professional advice. If these medications worked for you then I wholeheartedly commend you on your successful wellness journey. These are my own personal experiences and do not necessarily reflect my readers mental health/wellness plan.

I am 30.

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My Birthday was a couple days ago and I felt as though a new decade in my life deserves a tribute.

 

This past year I have felt like a lot has changed. I’m not sure if it’s for the better or if it’s just me being a persistent piece of work. I don’t feel as though i’m any different than I was as a teenager. Perhaps less of a social circle, more angry and frustrated. Less energetic and definitely more anxious. Those are not the most positive attributes but I honestly believe that i’m trying to live my best life and create some social change.

This year, I was featured in a local newspaper earlier in September. I also have multiple speaking opportunities coming up and I have done nearly 50 collaborations with various brands and attractions. My traffic to my website has increased significantly from last year (1,454 visitors in 2017 and so far 5,243 this year, apparently that’s a 260 percent increase!) which, I firmly believe, is a true testament to my hard work and fierce diligence.

close up of hand over white background

Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

I am able to express myself through art, writing, videos, and podcasts. I always said I wanted to start a blog and I feel that I am finally in the right headspace to contribute my voice to a bigger cause. I have only been diagnosed as an Autistic individual since I was 28 years old and now that i’m 30, the clarity and self-awareness continues to grow.

The hurdles I faced as an infant, child, teenager and now adult are just things I need to live with and I am so lucky to have some incredible people on this journey with me.

Older and wiser voices can help you find the right path, if you are only willing to listen.
-Jimmy Buffett

 

Evolving, slowly.

I’ve been working on new patterns while we wait for our fabric tags for retrophiliac and co.

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I am very anxious and I have been really internalizing my stress. I’m trying not to, but my appetite is gone and my sleep patterns are all screwed up. I’m napping a lot and I haven’t gone outside as much as I should.

I’m going through a dramatic change. I have a job interview next week and I am crossing my fingers that I get it. It’s something i’ve done before and loved immensely. It’s also walking distance from where I am staying and right down the street from where my sister works.

Making friends or having a social life and getting involved in things that this city has to offer is something I would like to do a lot more of. I feel incredibly lucky to be back here, surrounded by family. I never felt like I spent enough time with them.

Please bear with me. I am growing as a person!

-Margaux