Why I Need a Me Time

I work a lot. There are days when I work for 10 days straight, day off, then another 7 days of work. During those times, I’m expected to be fast, alert, and sociable. I work at a fast-paced place which means that I cannot give in to my anxiety and depressive thoughts. However, when my day off come, when I’m alone in my apartment, I feel everything fall down apart and that’s when I feel all my curbed emotions come out. The bad thoughts come out and then the tears then the sadness then the emptiness. If someone asks me what emptiness feels like, it’s literally like nothing is left within you and you have no emotion. There are days when I feel numb and those are the days that I need my Me Time. 

My Me Time are my days where I want to be left alone. I don’t answer texts nor calls. I don’t want to socialize with anyone. It’s those days that I would want to be with my thoughts and by myself. I mostly stay at home, watch movies and clean the whole place. If I must go out for groceries or something, I have my headphones on and less friendly than usual. These are also the days where I tend to buy alcohol and treat myself. 

A lot of people doesn’t understand this though. Some people would get upset if I say no to them when they invite me out. They would ask if I have plans and I would say, “Yes, sleep”. They would judge me as being KJ to their plans but this is me taking care of my sanity. I am an introvert. Although I am sociable and talks lot, at the end of the day, I enjoy being by myself and the quiet time. 

My Me Times will always be a part of me and no one can disturb that.

Advertisements

Seeking Help: One of the Bravest Things I’ve Done

I remember that one morning, I woke up uneasy. I sat on my bed and bad, suicidal thoughts clouded my mind. My heart felt heavy and my head was messing with me. I remember being emotional and irrational. The thought of jumping off a bridge or driving my car through a cliff kept on replaying in my head, over and over again. I was a mess. I was crying, I was in pain. I remember deciding not to to get out of the my room on that day because I was scared of actually harming myself. The sight of the scissors made my skin crawl as I imagined it piercing through my skin. I winced at the thought but it did give me comfort. Thoughts of hurting myself always gives me comfort as well as uneasiness.

I couldn’t take it anymore. The emotions were taking over and I knew that I had to help myself before I lose myself. I searched the suicide hotline and called them. It rang and I had the strongest urge to cut the call off but I knew that I had to push through. A lady answered, she said she was a registered nurse and she could help me for the time being. I was crying but she was calm. She talked me through and helped me find the nearest help center. She asked me if I feel safe from myself, I said “Yes” even though I wasn’t too sure myself. She directed me to the center and a few hours later, I was calm enough to drive and started my baby steps towards a better mental health.

I remember sitting on that chair with the lady across me. She was asking me questions, questions a counselor from two years ago have asked me too. In my head, I thought she would be the same as that counselor, with fake empathy and note-taking BS. I hated that counselor. I only had one session with her and never came back because I felt too embarrassed pouring out myself to a stranger which obviously showed me fake empathy. But this new lady is different. One of the first things she told me was, “You are very brave in coming here“. Brave is one word that I would describe myself when it comes to tackling many life challenges but I never thought that asking for help is considered a brave move. But this lady just called me brave because I finally sought help to better my mental health.

I was eventually placed as urgent in the list for day therapy sessions. I got a single-session therapy with this male therapist (probably a psychologist?) who told me that I didn’t have depression, but I already know that. What I didn’t know was that I had Childhood Trauma. No one has beaten me to a pulp nor sexually harassed me. But the way I was brought up definitely affected how my brain works. It affected my personality, my emotions and how I breath. I didn’t know that I breath differently from a normal person. Apparently, regular people breath mainly using their stomach. I, on the other had, breath mainly using my chest. When this therapist asked me try and breath using my stomach, I had a hard time doing it and I still have trouble doing it right now. He said that my way of breathing shows that I’m always on the end, that my brain is rarely relaxed which explains why my anxiety is always at the background. Also, he showed me a diagram relating to childhood trauma. It wasn’t just anxiety or depression, it’s a combination of different things but never the whole thing. I didn’t have depression just because I still have appetite with food and pleasure. However, I still showed the other signs and symptoms for it. In short, he said that I have GAD, a bit of depression, a bit of OCD and a bit of some more other things that I wish I remember because I was an idiot and didn’t just took a photo of it.

I have finally started my therapy sessions. These are free so it definitely helps me a lot. I’m looking forward in finding more about myself and actually experience emotions that I have probably deprived myself in a long time. I’m also considering taking some medicines so I’m just gonna have to wait until I meet with my family doctor.

Seeking help for your mental health is not a bad idea. It’s gotta be one of the best things you can do for yourself. You get to stop asking “What is wrong with me?” to start asking “How can I help myself?”. It can be scary at first, but it can definitely help you in the long run.

 

Dear Parents: If You’re Child Says They Have Mental Health Issues, Please Believe Them

If they tell you they have depression, please don’t ask what kind of big problem they have and that you have  bigger problems. They’ll gonna need you when they’re at their lowest and it’s difficult to rise up. Understand them if they don’t want to go to school because their brain is forcing the body to just lie there and think of unpleasant things. On the days that they are happy and lively, please don’t say they don’t have depression because they’re happy again. This is the time when you have to watch out for them more, because they have the energy again. When they’re at their lowest point, they don’t have much energy to move but the thoughts of suicide can be running through their minds. When they slowly get out of that state and get their energy back, they still have those suicidal thoughts and now have the energy to go through killing themselves.

If they say they have anxiety (no more how minor it is), please don’t ask them what they’re so scared of. Most of the time, anxious people doesn’t know why they’re nervous. They could just be simply standing in line but that stupid gut feeling would just start creeping up on them and their hearts would start racing and some bad thoughts would start going through their minds. Some people have minor anxiety, where they don’t experience all that time, but it’s disconcerting nonetheless. It can throw the person off guard and make that person fidgety and uncomfortable. Some people have really bad anxiety, where they experience it every day. Every day they have to find something to alleviate the anxiousness that they’re feeling. Sometimes, the anxious feeling is too much for the person that they would have a panic attack where you’re emotions take over and you feel like you can’t breath and when it’s over, the energy is gone but the emotions are still there, just waiting to tip over again.

If they say they have OCD, please don’t tell them that they don’t have it because their room is messy. Having OCD doesn’t just mean making sure the lines are straight or that the room has to be sparkling clean. It means being obsessive about something and have some compulsions on doing something. A person can have obsessive thoughts about the door being open and robbers coming in at night even though they checked it 10 times already that it keeps them awake the whole time. They can compulsive actions that they have to do or else it’s gonna make them very uncomfortable and uneasy the whole time. Some people can have obsessive thoughts about killing themselves and be compelled to push that scissor on their skin.

When they tell you they have some mental health problems, please just hug them and tell them you’re there for them. Please make sure that you can be their pillar, a person they can rely on. Please be the person that will hold together when they feel like falling apart because their mental health is already too much to handle.

It’s okay to be skeptical at first. You raised this kid, maybe gave them love and everything they need. But you don’t know that many things that have occurred in their childhood could have affected their mental health. Work with them, understand them and make sure they keep themselves safe.

Today, I Had the Worst Anxiety Attack

Today was such a stressful day for me. I woke up uneasy. I woke up early, reviewed for my midterm then finalized my powerpoint for my report. As soon as I woke up, there was already the silent buzz of butterflies in my stomach. I knew that I was just a bit nervous for my report. I read and reread my scientific journal. I double checked my powerpoint, making sure that I have all the important points in there. I practiced my presentation a lot of time, even the ‘punchlines’ that I would add and some ‘adlibs’ that I was planning to say. I was all set.

I prepared to go to school. I knew that I would already skip my first class because it was just a lecture and I needed all the time in the world to prepare for my presentation and midterm. Suddenly, the buzzing in my stomach became more intense and I tried my hardest to ignore it. I started my car and started gathering my school stuff so I can leave. I bade my mom goodbye then went to my car when I realized that it wasn’t running anymore. My car typically stop running if I don’t use it after over 10 minutes so I thought it was just done running. But my windshield was not defrosted and the inside of the car was too cold. I knew at that moment that I was screwed and needed someone to jump my car. My stomach turned into a knot and I had to stop myself from crying because I didn’t want my mom to see me break down. Neither of us knew how to boost a car so I had to call a taxi to help me boost my car.

I sat in the living room while waiting for the taxi. I watched Running Man videos to distract myself but I noise of the heater bothered me and my head was aching. The butterflies in my stomach was having party. It was past 11:30 already and I knew that I’m screwed, I missed my midterm. I texted my friend an hour before that I’m dropping Socio as a ‘prank’ but I guess that’s what I’ll have to do because I just missed 30% of my grade. I texted my Genetics teacher that I’ll be late for class and will have to miss the quiz (although she’ll let me do it another time). The taxi arrived but we weren’t able to boost my car so I had to take the same taxi to school.

I arrived in school, late and anxiety-driven. Teacher said that it was my time to present so I went up. At this point, I was still able to hold onto the intense feeling building up within me when on my first slide, I felt disoriented and everything became louder and brighter. I had take a deep breath and hoped that everyone in the class thought that I was just being overly nervous. I had to rush through my report, stumble over my words and not say whatever additional details I would have wanted to add and say. As soon as I was done, I ran out of the classroom and went to the women’s washroom. I stayed in the cubicle for over 30 minutes. The whole time was a battle between trying to stay calm and letting my emotions burst out. I would calm down then a random thought would pop out of my head and I would cry again. I had two girls ask me if I was okay and I told them I was. I mean, I was … I guess. I eventually calmed down and went back to the classroom to grab my things. I knew that my eyes were puffy although less red. It was obvious that I was crying but I didn’t give a shit at that point. I was still emotionally vulnerable and if I care enough about what they think, I could easily have another meltdown in the corridor.

This whole day was my most feared day ever since I was told that I am an anxious person. This is the reason why I have to plan everything that I do and condition myself. I did not plan, I did not condition myself. This was a scary feeling, a scary memory. Today may be bad, but tomorrow is another day. It’s gonna be a good day, it has to be.

What It’s Like Living with Anxiety

I’ve lived with anxiety for years now and I didn’t even know about it. I though that it’s normal for a person to feel scared for no reason once in a while. I thought that it was just part of survival, to be on the edge all the time. However, in 2014, I went to the doctor because I had trouble breathing and had really bad headache. He assessed me, asked if I was stress and ask me some questions about my health. He looked at me and said, “You appear to have mild anxiety. I would suggest that you talk to the counselor that we have”. I went to that counselor and talked to her. I remember crying and pouring out my heart to her and it made me feel better. However, I felt pity on myself after that session because I pretty much became vulnerable to stranger who doesn’t care about me nor truly empathize with what I was going through. That was my first and last time with a counselor.

Over the years, I read more about anxiety and that’s when I realized that it’s more than just being nervous. It’s something that I have to live with everyday and just attacks me at random moments. It’s more than just being nervous or stressed out for an exam. It’s about sitting in class then suddenly feeling nervous for no unknown reason. It’s about trying hard not to breakdown in public because I just heard a loud noise. It’s about not crying at work because I had to deal with a lot of mean customers than normal. It’s about having an anxiety attack while driving to work because I was not sure if I turned off the stove just because I didn’t triple check everything before I left. It’s about having to tell work that I’m gonna late because my car wouldn’t start instead of I was having an anxiety attack because most people doesn’t understand how bad an anxiety attack is. It’s about getting shitty grades because the stress gets to me and my anxiety levels is so up there that I can’t focus on anything and the only way to evade the scary feeling is to sleep.

There are a lot of things that I want to do: skyjumping, cliff diving, skiing. However, just thinking about these already send my heart racing. I have to take a lot of baby steps in order for me to stay calm and avoid getting those dreaded attacks. I have to keep on telling myself that I am okay and there’s no reason to cry. I had to learn how to keep living normally while the feeling of dread is always there. I have to strategically plan everything that will stress me out or elevate my anxiety levels just to avoid getting anxiety attacks (mostly doesn’t work but it’s worth the shot). I still have my McDonald’s Crew Trainer workbook with me, something that I finished doing two weeks ago. I’ve been putting off submitting it because I was scared that on the day I would get verified, I would breakdown. This is one of the many things that I have to hold back in order to keep myself together.

The thing about anxiety is that it’s not something that comes up one day and scared me shitless. It was something that I have always experienced ever since I was younger. I looked back to the many times that I have felt nervous for no reason and those times that I just cried because of the build up stress and emotions. At that time, I thought I was just being silly and a cry baby.

Day by day, I’m moving forward. My stress levels right now are up there, so is my anxiety level. The littlest, stupidest shit can set me off. I almost had a breakdown at work today, but I held it in until I went home. The thing that almost set me off was a customer shouting at his son, not me. But guess what? I’m functioning. I think I’m doing a great job in pretending to live normally.