Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

I realise that I have put nothing of any substance onto this blog in well over three months.  Actually, let me rephrase, aside from my many posts about depression, I have not posted anything substantial.  And I usually don’t like that.  Trivial matters don’t make a good blog.  Not to say that my blog is any good; I think it’s rubbish.  But for those who do read this, it’s a burden to read something that is not actually interesting in any way.

Let me introduce you to a short summary of my year at university; it seems a good place to start.

I entered Truman State University back in August as a freshmen, completely clueless and maturing far too quickly.  I made no effort to make friends but allowed friends to find me.  In a matter of a month, I knew almost everyone in my dorm house and could call many of them friends.  Today, I count four of them amongst some of my closest friends.

I started studying psychology, which was enjoyable.  I can’t say the same for right now, but it’s because I’m getting my general education classes finished up and that includes the generals of psych.  Experimental designs and biological psychology do not interest me, but they will be gone in two months, and for that I’m grateful.  I also signed up for a studio art minor which I will be starting next semester.

During September, I started cutting down on meat in my diet and became a vegetarian by November.  I’ve been slowly losing weight and gaining muscle ever since and physically feel the best that I ever have, even with EDS catching at my feet and hands everyday, trying to trip me up.  My family has been surprisingly receptive to this.

My relationship with my family steadily grew worse from August to January, and I fought almost constantly with my mum.  A lot of the reasons behind this were about neither of us understanding each other and becoming very different people.  But none of those mattered as much as the fact that I was falling back into a depression.

After analysing my mental health over the past few years, here’s what I can say: I was depressed, possibly with dysthymia from the age of nine until twelve (which was caused by my parents’ divorce, moving across town, et cetera).  I ‘woke up’ from the depression in the middle of seventh grade and barely even knew where I was or what I was doing.  Imagine the fright of suddenly finding yourself in a classroom and realising that you were awake for the first time in four years.  I spent the next two years figuring out a whole lot about myself, dropping habits, picking up new ones.  A large part in getting back to the person I had been lied in making friends–the best of which I am still close to.  I did a lot of maturing in the next few years, and that’s still going on today.

But the thing is, my depression came back every now and then.  It was back for four months when I was fifteen, and it’s back again.  In the middle of December was where I first started to notice that something was going wrong.  By January, I was in completely chaos, and it only grew worse into February.  In the middle of last month, I started making some honest efforts to get well.  I started cutting back on junk food, which had become my diet since late December; I started dressing myself better; and I began to do anything in my power to think positively.  There have been set backs, but I’m getting well again and have been increasing in mood for almost a month now.  Be proud.

During the time that I was depressed, I stopped caring about class and friendships and all kinds of things.  I stopped reading for class, stopped studying until the last moment, and put myself behind.  Now, I’m playing a mad game of catch up over my spring break.  I fought with my mum and became annoyed at anything she did, or my room mate did, or other people would do.  But I’d only take it out on her, and for that I’m sorry.  I’d like you to know, though, that things have been getting better for us over the past month.  We haven’t fought a single time, and I’ve started to talk to her more often and think of it as less of a chore.  Maybe it’s part growing up and maybe it’s part feeling better, but I’m happy.  I love my mum dearly, and I don’t want to hurt her again.

But, luckily, I have gotten to see my best friends over the past two weeks.  I visited Laura down in Springfield, visited with Molly back home, and will visit yet another bestie in a few days at Rolla.  I’ve also gotten to see Erica, Daniel, and Brooke; and though I see Rebecca and Noah quite often, it’s still nice to spend time with them too.  It has really helped to see them.

On the Thursday and Friday before I left for spring break, I was feeling completely down.  It was one of those times where, even though you’ve been doing really well, you completely fall down and crumble to pieces.  For a generally unemotional person, there was a lot of crying–mostly over a falling out with a friend whom I had considered close.  I’d had to leave the living room with my friends just to go cry for ten minutes.  I found myself crying while walking from class.  I even found myself crying while studying.  Terrible two days.  But, on Friday, as I was finishing up a rather lengthy complaint to my diary, I heard a pounding at the door.  So fierce was the pounding, that I leaped from my loft bed in order to answer it, yelling, “Coming!” all the way.  When I opened the door, I was not surprised to see Rebecca (she’s the only one who will pound down my door).  But I was surprised that she, Cat, and Ramina were there simply to say goodbye to me because they were leaving at 13.00 for home while Noah and I were leaving at 16.00.  I told her that it brightened my mood considerably that she had stopped by.  And maybe that’s the point of friends; that, when you’re feeling your lowest, they are there to show you the sun again.

Speaking of the sun, it’s out.  And it’s beautiful.  I can’t tell you how much that I have missed any weather that was not white and grey.  Seeing bright blue skies with temperatures reaching into the sixties and falling rain and the dead grass.  Well, it’s more than I can bare because it’s so beautiful.  When I realised that it was raining last night, I sneaked away from my room, rolled up my pants, and just stood there, letting the rain seep into my hair and sweater and roll down my face.  It was like being washed clean, and it would be impossible for me to describe how much I had missed it.  A fresh start was so necessary; thank God for it.

Here, I wanted to write something substantial for you, and I started talking about depression again, but maybe it was necessary.  Perhaps that’s what I needed to talk about to sum some things up before trying to move on and read psychology and go outside to enjoy this day.  I’m maturing, and quickly.  Welcome to the ride.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I’m a strong believer in the saying, “Fake confidence because eventually it will become reality.”  Last semester, I posted it on the door to my dorm for my house to see, and I still get occasional comments about it from people, especially a young woman in my house who took the phrase to heart.  Late at night, when we’ve finished watching films in the living room and we’re slowly leaving to go to bed, she’ll mention that she enjoys the encouraging phrases.  And I’ll mention that I enjoy them as well; it’s why I put them up.

Today, rather than posting my usual “Stay warm, kids!” or “Have a great week!”, I posted another encouraging dogma that I had forgotten about until recently.  On the door reads, “Sit and walk with good posture–you will feel more confident.”

Oh, how true this statement is.

Two days ago, I was reading through my Guide to Relaxation book that I brought back up to school from home for the yoga guide and stumbled upon a section on correct breathing and posture.  Suddenly, I could remember the little middle school me looking at the entry and taking to heart that I should have better posture.  I remembered sitting up as straight as I possibly could in my eighth grade history class for an entire day and doing the same that evening while on the computer and feeling so sure of myself.  I had great posture during that time, and I’ve occasionally wondered why I had forgotten about it.  So, when I read the posture entry, I set a new goal for myself (to go along with my million of other goals for the next three years).  I started sitting straighter while at the computer to start.  Then, I started sitting straighter in my classes today and standing to my full height before setting off to walk somewhere, making sure that I wasn’t slumping while I stepped around.  And, let me tell you, I feel more confident.  Sure, I’m dressed nicely and am feeling pretty good to start with, but others have noticed in just the span of a day.  People who have never spoken to me saw me today and said “hi” or asked how I was doing; and none of them seemed at all surprised when I said that I was doing quite well.  It was what they expected.

So, here’s my little goal for you: start working on your posture.  If the increase in confidence doesn’t draw your attention, remember that it increases breathing which in turn helps concentration (I’ve never concentrated so well in my experimental psych class as I did today), it strengthens core muscles (tight abs, yo), and it can help prevent back pain.  Those should be some great reasons to start sitting or standing or walking a little better, methinks.

– – –

I do have a lot of goals for myself, though.  None are all that strict, but they are life rules/goals.  They’re things I want to incorporate into my own life in order to live better, and they are not flitty things, either.  They’re very solid and long lasting, which also equates to taking longer to develop.  Like habits, they can take years to set, but once they are there, hopefully they’re there for life.

My first goals started about two years ago with finding myself, which I’ve done a pretty damned good job of.  I’ve found a lot of who I am and a lot of who I want to be which allows me to move on to the next step.

My next step was to start changing some physically.  For starters, I chopped off all of my hair and donated it a year and a half ago, which allowed me to really think about what I wanted.  Of course, it was obvious that I wanted my long hair back, but I was able to start new with growing it out.  I also found what my personal styles were and have been slowly changing what I where and how I dress in order to more readily reflect that.  I also worked a lot on health with becoming a vegetarian, though I’m by no means finished with my eating habits.  I’m still interested in filtering out a lot of the sugars, salts, fats, and non-real things that I eat.  And I’ve also aided health with more stretching and yoga, though it’s still a work in progress.  Really, all of those are works in progress.

My other big goals lie in personality and speech.  I’m often annoyed with myself and the way that I carry on talking forever when half of what I say is meaningless, so I’ve started to work on Meaningful Speech.  There was a section about it in my spirituality text book, and I was incredibly intrigued.  The entry speaks about becoming more aware of your thoughts and then translating that into words.  Or, you could look at it as becoming more aware of what you’re saying and seeing if your mind is even playing a part in this process.  For me, I often just say things to say things.  Like, I’ll make too many comments while watching a movie or just say phrases and jokes that we’d be just fine without hearing.  So, I’ve started working on that.  By no means have I shown any improvement, but I have been catching myself more often.  I spoke to my spirituality teacher about that today, and we agreed that it was a step in the right direction.  Who knows, maybe in a year or two, I’ll be saying things that are more short, precise, to the point, and meaningful.  We’ll see how that works.

– – –

As we all know, mental health intrigues the fuck out of me.  It’s why I’m a psychology major, after all, and I’ve found that I like applying my skills a little early.  So, I meandered onto Yahoo Answers today and started giving advice and counselling to those with mental issues, and I found myself enjoying the different pieces of advice that I could give.  It helped me realise that I’ve learned quite a bit and can already do some things to make a difference.  Sure, most of my posts said that I was a student and recommended going to a psychiatrist/counsellor/psychologist, but I was able to give a whole lot of recommendations and advice that astounded me.  A year ago, I couldn’t have told anyone nearly this much.  Now, things are a little different.  I can’t wait to see what it’s like in another year, or heavens-to-Betsy, in three years.

– – –

The next section has been deleted.  Sorry.

Read Full Post »

It’s when the most studying needs to be done that I get the most philosophical and want to absorb all information not associated with what I’m studying.  It’s why, instead of reading my sensation and perception chapters, I’ve been getting caught in a web of National Geographic, Lord of the Rings fanfiction (shoot me), and debates about cutting films short for American audiences (whaddup, Kingdom of Heaven?).  My mind wanders… a lot.  And thinking is my favourite activity.  It’s not actually beneficial.  Dear God, how am I ever going to keep up in university at this rate?

I’ve been measuring my mood a lot during the past week, and things are looking up.  Up in an odd way, but up all the same.  It’s kind of like the days are passing too quickly yet each hour takes an infinity to pass, but you somewhat enjoy it all the while.  And, should I have not procrastinated so much with studying for my psych exam tomorrow, I would be feeling pretty damn good right now.  But, I’ll settle for this good and stress.  The stress tells me that I need to keep up better next time.  And, with feeling more up than I have in the past two months, I’m thinking I can turn that into a reality.

See, with this depression of sorts, it really distracted me from my course work.  I stopped reading, I stopped studying, and I slid by with a B in all exams during that time.  But, after a few weeks of this behaviour, it’s gotten to the point where I can’t slide by as easily.  It will take a lot of work to get caught back up to where I should be in both of my psych classes and my German class.  Luckily, I’m okay in spirituality and physics.

My psych classes this semester haven’t been holding my attention at all.  In fact, I’d be willing to say that they’re amongst my least favourite of courses so far.  I love psychology, really, but I’m taking two very uninteresting classes.  One is more biological and the other experimental–both of which do not interest me when it comes to psychology.  I’m much more interested in learning about why people do things and learning about the counselling aspects.  After all, I want to be a counsellor, so this kind of makes sense.  Luckily, though, these are the two psych classes that I am least interested in, so getting them out of the way during my freshmen year will open up a lot more space for the next three years for classes that I actually do care.  Whaddup, Romantic Relationships and Child Development?  Those are amongst the classes that I am feasting for, slowly waiting for, anticipating.  Throw in some classes on human personality, and I’m set for life.

I’ve given a little thought lately about what I’ll do with counselling.  Marital and family counselling was my plan, and still is, though I’m also looking at premarital.  From talking to my friends, premarital counselling often exists in church settings, but I don’t think that it’s used enough for other couples who are not interested in the church.  Really, it should be mandatory for people getting married to go through some counselling and work through some differences before they’re married.  I think that it would help keep a lot of relationships together, so I’ve been thinking about adding that in the mix of things that I want to do.  Sounds like a fun plan.  I can’t wait to be a counsellor.

There are a lot of things that I can’t wait for.  Getting this damned exam over with, starting my studio art minor, summer break and sitting by the Missouri with a good book.  I can’t wait for my big city dreams and crappy apartment.  I can’t wait to adopt a kitten and name it something special from a book or something in Arabic (I found the word for ‘morning’ today, and I love it: Sabah).  I even can’t wait to open up my own little office beneath my apartment on some cozy lane.  Yes, they’re all dreams.  And dreams don’t always just come true (I’ve learned that from experience), but they are dreams none the less, and they keep me motivated.

I like dreams.  It’s why I live in a dream world about half of the time I’m awake.  It’s the swish of thoughts and music and plans for the future.  It’s soaking up all this beauty around me and dreaming of how to keep it with me for always.  It’s why I paint and sing songs that I make up.  It’s why I drive for hours past farms and keep myself mystified the entire way, enjoying every dead stalk that I see buried in the snow.  Dreams are feasts and lavish curtains and silk bedding and Indian sundresses.  Dreams are the pictures in your mind that turn into movies after reading books.  Dreams are a source of our being when the physical isn’t enough.  They are power.

Dreams are also giant Ents curb stomping cars outside of your window and having your bed shake so much that your room mate turns into Hulk and saves you, only for you to turn into Alice in Wonderland.  But those are the dreams of night, and Lord knows that mine are too crazy for you all.

Read Full Post »

When I was six, I remember sitting on the bus next to my then best-friend, Simran, and asking her how we knew what was going on in other people’s minds.  She seemed confused by the question (as any first grader should have been), so I gave her an example.  If you said something true, but your mum told you that you had lied when you had not, how could she prove that you had or had not lied?  If she could not get into your head, what made her claim valid?  I’m sure Simran still did not understand me, so we probably started talking about Spice Girls instead (whaddup, 1997?).  But, even then, I was mystified with the mind and how little we know about it.  It’s why I’d grow so angry when someone said that I had lied when I hadn’t.  One time, I screamed at my mum, “You aren’t in my mind!  You don’t know!”  I was seven.  And it never really occurred to me until recently that children that young shouldn’t be contemplating such strong philosophical and psychological questions.

Sometimes, I think I’m still too young to ponder at the things I do.

– – –

This morning, I woke up before the sun–something I haven’t done in a little while.  As I sat at my desk, reading psychology, I was able to watch the sun rise.  At first, it was a splotch of yellow light on the horizon, breaking the deep darkness that had settled over Kirksville.  Then, stripes of purple and then of pink appeared, with the yellow splotch now a strong, orangey base.  Soon, the entire sky was enveloped in a wash of pink and purple, covering the clouds and glittering off of the eight or so inches of snow.  Beautiful.  It made me happy that I hadn’t slept too much past my snooze alarm.

I had so many weird dreams last night, but I can only access bits and pieces.  Something about a great, glass tower with a mighty telescope on top.  Something about a popular rapper that I made fun of and had no respect for.  Something about a large, green spider that I killed so cautiously with a fly swatter and then buried into the carpet as though it were dirt.  There were so many people, and so much conflict, and I’m still reeling from the impact of what it all means.  Sometimes, my dreams really are tumbles of nothing, and other times they mean cryptic little things about the way I’m feeling.  Something in my mind tells me that this was just a jumble.  A stress jumble.

Last evening, my house was together and sharing a dream dictionary.  Turns out unicorns mean something bad to our Mr Freud.  I think it’s all full of shit.  I don’t buy into a dream interpreter or any other interpreter for that matter who tries to figure me out when not knowing a damned thing about what actually goes on in my mind.  It’s why I like to interpret my own dreams.  It’s why, as much as I love MBTI, I know that it has faults and that everyone is different, even if typed the same.  It’s why I put no store in all of those quizzes that ask “Which Character from [insert show here] Are You?”.  I don’t buy into anything that doesn’t actually know me because, as one of my friends told me, I’m a very cautious person.  Yes.  Yes, I am.

– – –

This past weekend wasn’t the best for me.  I’m still dealing with not knowing the interview results (though I’ll probably know before I can post this blog and will most likely tell you at the end), and I’ve come to realise that I may be depressed.  And not in the sense of the word that I’m just feeling down, but in the actual sense; the sense that means that I’m clinically depressed and should probably be getting some  help for this.  So, I planned out my week and found some free time on Thursday.  Once this slot of free time comes up today, I’m fairly certain that I will march myself over to the university counselling services and sit down with someone.  I don’t really care what happens, but I feel that it’s a big step that I need to take in order to get better.

I ended up looking through my diary to see when I really started getting depressed constantly, and my date landed on 10 December, with trails of unhappiness sinking in at the beginning of November.  I was surprised to see that I was so unhappy in nearly every entry, and it was a little bit frightening to realise that, without that way to keep track of my life, I may not have really realised why I was so upset.  I would have kept blaming it on the nerves of not knowing my SA results, rather than digging to the deeper problem and realising that something was seriously wrong.

So, when I go to UCS today, I’ll tell you how it goes.  I’ll tell you if it helps, and what will be done.  If there’s nothing to say, I won’t say it.  But if there is, expect more on the issue.

– – –

The results for SA were supposed to be email out any time after 23.00 on Wednesday night.  It’s now 7.20 on Thursday morning, and I’m growing more and more excited and nervous.  Last night, as I drifted to sleep, I told myself that it was nothing different from a cast list back in high school.  Stan would promise it to be up on Monday, and you’d end up waiting until Thursday afternoon to see any results.  All the while, your stomach would churn, and you’d feel ridiculously nervous about the entire ordeal.  If you multiplied that reaction by ten, you’d get how I was feeling.  When I think about that email coming through to tell me, well, my chest and stomach and heart tighten until it’s physically painful.  So painful that it causes headaches and puts me to bed, keeping me from studying for a psychology test.  These are serious nerves; I can’t wait until it’s all just over.  Then, I can work on accepting my year to come as it will truly be.

– – –

In Time Updates:

7.35: I’ve probably pressed the refresh button over thirty times since 23.00 last night.  Every five minutes, and I’m checking that email again.  And every five minutes, I’m once again left with no information.

7.42: Still nothing.  I’m reduced to scrounging Facebook and reading psychology texts.

7.51: Time to give up for a while and read even more psych.  Today’s exam is going to kill me.  I’m really sorry if you’re still reading this.

8.03: Again, really sorry if you’re still reading this; nothing has happened.

8.40: And still nothing.  I might as well start studying for my physics lab.

9.00: And still nothing, again.  I might as well just post all of this up and make a second post with the results when they come.  Sorry for making you read this; then again, it was your own doing.

Read Full Post »

I have a goal for you:  The next time you want to put yourself down, don’t.  The next time you wear something a little different and worry about what others will think when you walk down the sidewalk, don’t.  The next time you beat yourself up over an infraction that no one else even noticed, don’t.

Don’t apologise for who you are.  Don’t apologise for being different.  Don’t apologise for mistakes.

The key to living happily in your own body is to forgive yourself.  You made a bad first impression in class?  Forgive yourself.  You said something stupid to a stranger thinking it was someone else?  Forgive yourself.  You wore an outfit that was a little too in fashion and saw someone staring?  Forgive yourself.

If you force yourself to forgive for mistakes and don’t apologise to others for who you are, you will find that things move much more easily.  After all, it’s your life, and I would hope that you’d live it as you please.

Read Full Post »

There’s a saying somewhere that says, “Hind sight is always 20-20”, and I’m sure we’ve all taken it as meaning that everything makes sense once you look back on it.  But, I’ve come to disagree over the past semester.  Just how it’s said that there are some things that you can’t learn from text books, my opinion differs.  For a matter of fact, hind sight can’t tell you everything you wanted to know, but you can most certainly get help in figuring out these things from a text book.

It’s just that said event must be analysed in order to be understood, and this text book must be for psychology.

Yes, get ready for another psychological analysis.  It will be lengthy, but you can skip the bits about my life history.  They have details that I will recall later, but some of it has been talked about before.

(more…)

Read Full Post »