Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy new year!

Happy New Year! May this year bring you happiness, good health, and prosperity.

I got away from writing in my blog every day in 2012. I'm not exactly sure why or how that happened; a lot of the time I was withdrawing into myself and didn't feel like writing. Even if I did feel like writing, I didn't think I had all that much to say. Looking back over the preceding years, I prefer reading my daily posts over my once-in-a-while posts as there's more continuity and I have a better sense of how things were going for me.

Over the last year and a half I've really been struggling to stay grounded and halfway normal. The depression I've lived with for most of my life got a lot worse and during the summer of 2011 when I started to hear a voice in my head telling to kill myself, I knew it was time to get help. My psychologist has been extremely helpful in uncovering the reasons behind some of my thinking and figuring out ways to deal with stuff.

For example, it turns out that the voices in my head were developed during my childhood when they served a protective function for me. It also turns out that I spent parts of my childhood not exactly there and that I dissociated whenever things were too much for me. When I first realized that I'd coped in these ways I was a little taken aback because those coping methods are considered mental illnesses in some circles. The idea that I wasn't just struggling with depression but a larger mental illness scared and humbled me.

One other issue we've discovered is that I also had some rage issues towards children: when I saw babies or toddlers on tv or in person, especially if they were happy or laughing, I'd feel overwhelmingly angry towards them. I also felt that anger when children were having a temper tantrum or were behaving badly. It turns out that because my childhood wasn't great and was lacking in childlike joys, I was jealous of happy children... and I wanted the unhappy children to be quiet.

By identifying where these issues have had their roots and establishing ways of dealing with them, I've been able to work through a lot. Some of the ways that I've been working through stuff is by identifying what I'm actually feeling - not what I think I'm feeling, but my actual feelings - and naming it, as well as journaling and doing things that I find soothing, like spending time in the garden or whatever. I haven't been comfortable sharing all of this stuff because until I could process all of it. It's also hard to talk about the fact that I've got some mental illnesses going on because it's kind of scary and there's such a stigma against it.

I tell you, dealing with the mess that was my childhood and my more recent mental illness and then learning new ways of dealing with everything takes a lot of energy. I've spent hardly any time doing anything - let alone anything creative - because I've been so focused on making things better for me. I feel like I've turned a bit of a corner now, however. Even though I still have a ways to go and I'm not all the way better, I feel like I've passed through the worst and come out the other side, ready to be the me I've worked so hard to develop.

This is going to be a great year for me, I think.

2 comments:

Greg said...

Happy new year to you, too!

none of your beeswax said...

glad to read you are coming to terms with a lot of that stuff, and allowing it all to surface in healthy ways.i like that you are naming your feelings and such.



love,
vicki