Happy Times (?)

So–this was a blog post from Thursday. That I forgot to post…I have that issue with mailing letters too. I write, address, and stamp them.  Then never mail them.  Awkward when I get mad they didn’t write me back, and find the letter a few weeks later! Now…onto the blog….

I was reminded of a blog I wrote about a year this week. This weekend is a wedding for a wonderful cousin of mine!  It should be so exciting because all my family is going to be there–and I love spending time with my cousins–there’s supposed to be great music, dancing, and the couple is great together. However, all I felt was anxious from all the upcoming activity! And that made me a bit angry…..

Begin Blog:

As a general rule I don’t tend to feel sorry for myself for having a mental illness.  Part of that is most likely because it could be much worse, I could be schizophrenic or other more life impeding diseases.  The other part is likely due to the fact that I’m convinced it’s my fault or I deserve it (issues I’m working on in therapy!).  But I think another large part of it was being raised in a family of four kids with a dad who’s favorite quote (after “living the dream”) was “Life’s not fair pal”.

So as I struggle through particular events that are especially hard for me, such as confronting suicide, or go through difficult times in life such as exams, large changes, supporting friends; I tend to suck it up and realize that sure life is probably a bit more difficult in some ways for me.  Yes, I have to work harder to use my tools to control my stress level and maintain sanity, but I also realize that even if I did not have a mental illness, life would still suck at those times.

But it’s times when life should be fun, things should be exciting, I should be happy but I’m instead anxious and overwhelmed that I start to through a pity party for myself.  I’ve been experiencing a lot of that recently.  On the outside my life is pretty amazing right now.  I am engaged to marry the man of my dreams, my parents are supporting me in a beautiful fantasy wedding, I’m enjoying my classes, and most importantly—I have a job upon graduation.  Not something everyone in this economy can say.

Yet—I’m not getting to enjoy many of these things.  I barely remember shopping for rings with my fiancé—all I remember is the pounding headache and intense desire to run away from the numerous blinding lights.  Registering at Macy’s is overwhelmed by a panic attack and hiding in the changing room afraid of….I’m not sure what.  My Public Program Evaluation class, the first class in which I have not only done the required readings but the recommended ones as well, is spent practicing my breathing exercises because my entire body has tensed because the kid next to me reminds me of someone from an unpleasant time of my life.

I haven’t quite figured out what to do about this yet—but I’ve been experimenting with a  few things.

  1.  Figure out less stressful ways for me to enjoy activities.  For example, registering for things online was a lot more fun for me.  No crowds—could take breaks when needed—less overwhelming.
  2. Recoloring: This mostly applies to memories of events.  When I think of the events—and the  overwhelming anxious moments (like the panic attack at Macy’s), I try to stop: breathe and think of one thing that was enjoyable or peaceful about the event.  Hopefully, overtime I can retrain my brain to not go into panic mode whenever that event is remembered.

But really—its not something I have solved yet.  And that’s ok—but one thing is for sure.  It is unfair, it does suck, I did get the short end of the stick in many ways.  And that makes me angry, annoyed and frustrated.  These are the emotions that are going to keep me going to figuring out how to try things, and to prevent letting my illness win.

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