I’m Still Here/Birth Control Drama

(Warning: Talk of feminine appts in this post, so men may not want to read)

I’m so sorry I haven’t been around as much lately. Things have just been a big crazy as I’ve been adjusting to a summer schedule with my younger brother being home. I worked Vacation Bible School in the mornings at my church last week. I’ve had a few dr appts over the past week or so and had to make plans for more.

But, on a more positive note, I’m finally feeling like I have my medication under control. So I don’t have to go back to my psychiatrist until early September.

My primary care thinks my birth control is causing issues with blood pressure. So she’s told me that I need to stop taking the pill and find something without estrogen. So I made an appt with my ob/gyn – I needed to go in for my annual exam anyway – and discussed what my options were. I could’ve gone with an IUD, the implant, or a shot. My ob/gyn said she doesn’t really like to do the shot because if there are side effects there’s no way to undo it. We didn’t really talk much about the implant, all she did was mention it and how long it lasts – like 3 years. Then she brought up the IUD. There’s two different kinds – copper and hormonal. The copper lasts up to 10 years. The hormonal lasts up to 5 years. Because of the blood pressure thing, we decided that we’ll try to copper IUD first and see how it goes. The only think I don’t like about it is that it can possibly make my period even heavier than it already is. I’m gonna be a VERY unhappy camper if that happens. I’ll be going back and asking if the hormonal IUD is a possibility for me. There are two problems with going with the IUD: 1) they don’t carry them in the office and therefore have to be ordered and 2) they have to be inserted when you’re on your period.

I filled out the paperwork to order the copper IUD. I was told that it has to go through my insurance to make sure it’s covered and then it has to be shipped to the office. Well, my period is supposed to start this coming Saturday. There’s no way that it’ll be here by then. I’ll be lucky to hear whether or not it’s covered by then. So my next period is in August, due to start the day I leave for a week out of state at the beach.

I talked to my mom about that and she suggested trying to mess with my birth control pills and seeing if I can make my period earlier so that the IUD could possibly be put in before we leave. I think it’s definitely possible because I know how long it takes for my period to start after I start the placebo pills.

Changing subjects but still talking about the ob/gyn. During the annual exam, she also discovered a cyst in my left breast and told me I need to get an ultrasound of it. It’s probably nothing to worry about. But it’s still kinda scary. I mean, she said based on my age a cyst would make the most sense, but it’s still procedure and precaution to get it further examined.

This morning I had the ultrasound and everything turned out to be fine. Nothing to worry about. What a relief…

Back to the birth control issue drama. A little while after I got home, I got a call from the company my ob/gyn office sent the ParaGuard (copper IUD) order to. My insurance pharmacy benefits won’t cover it, so we’d have to pay out of pocket – and that would be like $xxx or more, just way to freaking expensive.

So I called my insurance company, and wound up spending like 45 minutes on the phone with them. But things worked out. The woman I spoke with made calls to other ob/gyn offices asking all the questions for me. She helped me set up appointments with a couple other offices. I wound up with a consultation this Friday at an office that’s about 8 miles form my house. They carry the ParaGuard in office and they’ll bill my insurance. So now hopefully I won’t have to wait till August or September to get off the pill and have the IUD inserted.

Self-Harm

Self-harm. It’s a topic that’s not talked about, despite how common it is. I have friends who have self-harmed in the past, and I also have friends who are struggling with it now. The fact that they’ve done this doesn’t mean that they’re any less important or strong. There are all sorts of reasons that people turn to self-harm, and no reason should be pushed aside as “stupid” or be made to seem less valid than another. I am among the many who used to self-harm. I’m not exactly proud of that, but I’m also not completely ashamed of it either. I’m coming up on two and a half years clean soon. But recently I’ve been struggling with thoughts of self-harm. I haven’t acted on them yet. And I hope that I won’t. But if I do find myself coming close to engaging in self-harm behavior, I have people that I can talk to. People who aren’t going to judge me for thinking about that. And that’s important. When you want to hurt yourself, and they get upset with you for whatever reason, that can often push you even closer to self-harm, if not completely over the edge. Like I said before, there are multiple reasons that people self-harm:

  • distract themselves, alter the focus of their attention, or regain control over their minds when experiencing pressing, unavoidable and overwhelming feelings or thoughts
  • release tension associated with strong emotions or overwhelming thoughts
  • feel something physical when they are otherwise dissociated and numb
  • express themselves or communicate and/or document strong emotions they are feeling and cannot otherwise articulate
  • punish themselves
  • experience a temporary but intense feeling of euphoria that occurs in the immediate aftermath of self-harm

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Notice that suicide is not on the list. That’s because suicide is usually not the goal. And another thing to remember is that most times, the self-harm is not for attention. That’s why those who do typically wear long sleeves or other things to hide the h=injury they inflicted upon themselves. I know I did. I didn’t want everyone to know what I was doing to myself; it was absolutely not for attention by any means. It was a way to distract myself from the drama going on in my life. It was a way to feel like I was in control of something as well. For several years, I continued to cope with everything by engaging in self-harm. Then in a conversation with a friend, I discovered alternative ways to cope, healthier ways, safer ways.

  • exercise
  • draw on yourself with red marker, then take a shower and wash away your pain
  • cuddle with a stuffed toy and cry
  • paint your nails a new color
  • write a letter to someone but never send it
  • have a pillow fight with a wall
  • color your hair
  • work on a website or start a new one
  • buy a henna tattoo kit
  • pop bubble wrap
  • drink a cup of herbal tea
  • go to a friend’s house and open up
  • re-arrange a room
  • go to a public place and people watch
  • take up kick-boxing

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One of my favorite alternatives was drawing on myself with red marker. There was something I could see afterward, but no harm had been done. As time progressed, I found other ways to cope. I would play music really loud through my headphones. I tried escaping reality by finding a book to read. I put all my attention into something I was watching on Netflix. Then there were times that I would pull out a coloring book and colored pencils and focus on one pictures so that it would be “perfect” when I was finished with it. Sometimes I would reach out and text a friend, pretty much indirectly asking them to talk me out of it.

It’s been a couple years since the last time I self-harmed, but I still struggle with it today.

Is It the Worst Thing You Can Be Called?

This is a beautiful post written by a good friend of mine. These are thoughts I had but was never able to find the words to express.

Borderline Blondie

A lot of times I will see someone reply to someone’s opinion or comment saying “you must be mentally ill”.

I’m sorry, but is calling someone “mentally ill” the most offensive thing to be called now? Is mental illness the pinnacle of the worst traits anyone could have? Is it supposed to be the be all, end all to insults?

Hell, no. And it’s extremely offensive that people decided that insulting each other by calling each other “mentally ill” is appropriate and funny. It isn’t. It’s rude and demeaning to people like me. Yes, I have a mental illness. No, that does not make me less of a person, ignorant, stupid, ugly, or anything else. It simply means my brain is sick and needs some help. That’s it.

I mean, would you insult someone by saying “oh, you must have the flu” or “you must be diabetic”? No, of course…

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What is Depression?

I am not depressed.
I can still smile at pretty thing.
And laugh when jokes are funny.
I can still talk to people.
And enjoy nice days.

But when I go inside.
When I am alone,
There is something broken.
And I fall into a sadness so sweet
That it engulfs me.
I look in the mirror.
And I don’t like what I see.
And the tears always fall
When I’m falling asleep.
And I miss something
That doesn’t exist.

I am not depressed.
I’ve just been sad for a while.
But I can still find the light.
I can still smile.

Sometimes this seems like an incredibly painfully accurate description of me, despite the fact that I am depressed.

I may not always look like it, but I am. But really, what does depressed look like? Is it all black clothes? Messy unwashed hair? Wrinkled clothes? No makeup? There is no “look” of depression.

It’s hard to peg someone. In high school, I never would’ve guessed that one of my best friends was on anti-depressants – but she was, for a year. I don’t know if she ever went back on them, but she’s doing just fine now. I mean, I thought she was going fine when she was on them.

Sure, there are times you can look at me and know something’s wrong. But who isn’t like that? Maybe I’m lost in thought. Maybe I’m planning something. Maybe I’ve got a headache. Maybe I feel sick. There’s no telling what’s going on.

Honestly, every day is a battle. A battle to stay on top of my school work. A battle to get dressed. A battle to function like a “normal” person. A battle to pretend I’m on. A battle to hide it from everyone. A battle that I don’t really want to fight most times.

I know that probably sounds terrible. I’m a Stigma Fighter with Sarah, but that doesn’t mean that I’m always gonna be able to pull myself up by my bootstraps and push forward. Sometimes it feels like I’m sitting at the bottom of a hole and reaching up to the hands that are reaching down to me, and there’s too much space between us even if I stand up and jump.

20 Things to Start Doing

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1. Drink lots of water and green tea
2. Eat a big breakfast, average lunch, & a tiny dinner
3. Eat fruit & vegetables & natural food
4. Go for a walk/swim/bike ride
5. Read a book
6. Go to bed earlier
7. Stop thinking negative thoughts about yourself
8. Don’t dwell on the past … turn it into art
9. Enjoy little things in life
10. Do not judge or compare yourself to others
11. Begin yoga or meditation
12. Do not put things off
13. Avoid processed food
14. Stretch daily to increase flexibility
15. Listen to peaceful music
16. Live in a tidy space
17. Wear clothes that make you happy
18. Throw away things you don’t need
19. Remember that “all the effort you are making now will pay off in the end”
20. Go outside more

Hand Bells

I cannot tell you how drastic the difference is between the first time and this time playing bells… But of course I shall try.

First rehearsal I went to I had to find my notes on the staff and couldn’t do it, my brain just fell apart and I cried. It was so incredibly frustrating for me because I knew my mom wanted me to play with her but I couldn’t do it.

When I got roped into it this time, this were a little (read: vastly) different. They told me to highlight my notes and not be afraid to make mistakes. Because in handbells, where only a couple of us were music majors in college, we are far from professionals. We do what we have to do to get through rehearsals with some laughter. And trust me, there’s usually plenty of laughing. Comments from the directors. Comments between the directors (btw, they’re married). Comments to the directors. Comments from one table to another. It’s a riot when we get started.

But I can honestly say that this time is tremendously more fun than the first time. And I think everyone is glad for that. I got a little Christmas card from the directors saying they appreciate that I’m ringing with them, and are really glad I gave them a second chance. (I had continuously told people I didn’t want to even try again after what happened the first time, but look where I am now lol.)