May 30, 2020

What Lies Behind A Meltdown?

For those of you who don’t know, this last week I shut down this website. Already, in less than a month I had a meltdown over it. So naturally, I figured a way to make a difficult situation useful, would be to take advantage of the story and give you all insight into what it is like behind the scenes for me (just one person out of the literal millions dealing with mental illness), when I go through one of my many mental health related meltdowns. Also this one in particular will share how I was able to find my way back.

I completely lost it after I posted the very personal, “A Note in Anger: Full Circle” entry. I started to think of all of these people that I can see viewing my blog, all these people who view my entries but haven’t “shown any support” and I started to get stuck in the paranoid thoughts about this. You see, I have these everyone is out to get me type of racing thoughts that become so loud at times I cannot see things any other way. My mind just flooded with these intrusive thoughts, among many others not noted here…

“People are not genuine. They are reading only to be nosy. Only to talk about you and laugh at your pain behind your back. People think what you’re doing is stupid and the people who are closer to you even feel embarrassed that you won’t just quit this attention seeking behavior all together. People will just use what you say against you. They will attempt to gaslight you now because you have openly given them an outlet to pass blame onto. Now your emotions don’t count because they’re just in your head.”

I panicked. I unpublished my Trauma Diary Facebook account, I completely cleared my Instagram following, I got on and deleted my email subscription list and I even deleted the actual emails I created, and finally I made every single post on the blog private and removed any statuses I shared on my personal Facebook right before announcing publicly on there that I was now done with sharing the blog, and that was that.

I didn’t stop there though. I stayed on my personal Facebook and I cleared out my friends list again for like, the fourth time in the last year. I was deleting any and everybody I felt like deleting, for any reason. I’ve never had a huge friends list anyways because I have never been the one to share my personal life with many people, let alone people I don’t know. But nevertheless, I still managed to delete another thirty or so people with this sweep. I went to all of my Facebook groups that I had previously joined and I left every single group. Even the mental health support ones, honestly whatever they were, I left every single one. I then went to any pages I had liked over my ten whole years on Facebook and I proceeded to unlike every page, with the small exception of a couple solid meme pages and a local business I support.

When I was done doing all of this, it still wasn’t enough… I wanted to “delete” everything. I wanted to start over. I didn’t want any of these people or anything outside of my family. I didn’t want to feel this way. I didn’t want to be unsupported or ignored, misunderstood, judged, or talked about. I didn’t even want to process a lot of these difficult emotions myself because they are so painfully hard, but in this moment it felt even worse to be trying to do this in front of everyone.

My anxiety and personality disorders and their symptoms have always taken precedent over my major depressive disorder. One of my psychological evaluations actually quotes “Lindsey is severely clinically depressed, but it likely does not even reach her conscious due to the paramount severity of her multiple coexisting disorders.” I tell you this because as I sat for a couple days with that impulsive decision to close the blog, I endured a hell of a time. And actually for months now at this point, I have had these days where I uncontrollably sob for sometimes hours on end, on and off. I am waking up every other day with my eyes puffed shut. My emotion just completely engulfs me and I cannot bare the deep agonizing sadness, and no coping tools I have previously learned have been potent enough to pull me out of these moments. I understand now that these very experiences are due to my underlying clinical depression that I have always had, but is just only recently forcing itself to be openly heard, which has just made my mental health struggle that much more difficult. 

In sitting in all of this, processing through all of this debilitating emotion, I thought about how upset I was at myself for allowing all of this to stop me from writing and sharing these entries with the world. Doing this was something that I had found an overwhelming amount of gratification in. Yes it is terrifying, but I knew that it would be when I started this blog. I couldn’t believe I had so quickly abandoned the decision that the exhilaration I felt not only processing through my own emotions in such an effective way, but also being a voice for those who were looking for knowledge, acceptance, or comfort – was going to be well worth any risk that came along with me putting myself out there in such a vulnerable way. What the hell was I doing?

When I am looking for answers, I usually grab my “Courage to Change” book, and flip to a random page. (Side note: If you don’t know what that is, it is an Al-Anon book which contains little one page messages for those who have been affected by an alcoholic, but the messages also can be easily related to everyday life, regardless of alcoholism.) So anyways, after feeling really upset and unsure of if I had made the right decision or not, I opened my book at random and I shit you not, this is what I flipped to… (Oh and this isn’t some “yeah okay, sure you did” kind of thing here just fyi.)

I will quote the entire message below:

When I finally found the courage to speak at an Al-Anon meeting, my sharing was limited to problems I had already solved. I concealed my real feelings by telling funny stories about myself and the alcoholic, because I didn’t trust anyone enough to let them see my struggle and my pain. I had a hard enough time facing it by myself. But I didn’t seem to be getting better. Only when I was able to stop playing the clown and admit my shortcomings did I begin to enjoy the spiritual growth promised in the twelve steps.

The paradox of self-honesty is that I need the help of others to achieve it. I need their support to explore my feelings and motives, and to see that others have benefited from taking this great risk. 

Today’s reminder

In an alcoholic environment, I had good reasons to hide my feelings, making light of serious situations, overworking, overplaying, managing to focus on everything but myself. Today I have other options. I can begin to listen to what my heart has been trying to tell me, and I can look for someone trustworthy with whom I can share it.

“It may feel like an enormous risk, but talking honestly about the situation is the key to healing.”

… In All Our Affairs

I can’t make this shit up. After everything I had been feeling, all of the doubt I had, the general uncertainty of my choices in healing… This is what fell right into my lap. You can’t tell me that some form of higher power doesn’t exist.

I could almost feel a sensation of the doubt physically leaving my body and I almost immediately felt my courage come back to me. So needless to say as you’re obviously here reading this, I announced the re-opening of my blog. Only days after my fucking melt down. I had to go and recreate emails, add people back who I had cleared from my following and my email alerts list, and I publicly admitted my struggle and my truth on my social media platforms. It is okay though because as long as I can always bring myself back to this message anytime I need to, I will be okay. I have spent my entire life nearly alone in my struggles and because of that, I understand why I have been so closed off for so long. But my life now is so different and I do have other options. And although that Al-Anon message I shared with you probably didn’t have sharing your deepest emotions with the whole world in mind, I am no longer choosing to conceal my real feelings from anyone anymore.

I choose to work towards freeing myself from the pain of my story, and I am along for this ride even though it may be a long and bumpy process. Whoever chooses to come alongside me, I wish for you to know that I could never express my gratitude for you enough. And for those who are only here to read for judgment purposes, for “tea” or ammo, or just out of plain nosiness, I allow you to be here. I allow you to think and say anything of me, with any motive you have your mind set on. Understand that by me choosing to publicize my story, I hold my power and I am simply allowing you to hold whatever opinion you may feel inclined to carry.

Oh and also, for those of you who made it this far… I am no longer holding the blog to a dedicated schedule, this is to make it as relaxed as possible for me. I will be posting when and however I feel like it. If you sign up for the email subscription list, you will get an email alerting you anytime a new entry has been posted, and that’s it!

OKAY BYE! 🙂

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