Showering

So, as most of you with mental health issues know, self care, including hygiene, can become an issue.

I’ve been having troubles getting myself to shower lately. I’ve been kind of down on myself about it.

The last time I showered was just over a week ago. I ordered myself a shower speaker so I can listen to music in the shower to encourage myself to do so. It hasn’t arrived yet.

Today, a friend of mine and I chatted after church. A few minutes after I walked away to the other side of the social hall, she came up to me and asked me to come outside with her so she could talk to me.

When we got outside, she whispered into my ear, “You need to go home and shower.” My heart sunk. She could tell it had been a while. It is obvious and everyone can probably tell. I look horrendous. <—those were all thoughts going through my head after she said that. She said, “a good friend tells you things like that.” I thanked her for “being a good friend” and then left because I was so filled with anxiety and shame.

Part of me feels like, yes, good friends point embarassing things out to each other so that they are healthy and happy and such. But the other part of me feels like, how is it any of her business if I shower or not? Like, clearly something is really going on with me, otherwise why would I choose to have such intensely greasy hair out in public.

I had been so happy going to church. I hadn’t seen everyone in a while because I hadn’t been to a service because of my illnesses and not having gas money. Then I finally make it down there and this happens. Fortunately, I have therapy tomorrow so I can process this further. I’m so upset.

And even after she said that to me, it still barely makes me want to shower. It almost makes me want to shower even less than I did before.

How it all began… My PTSD story.

April 2014, a Tuesday night, I was the most suicidal I have been in years. To be honest, the thoughts of suicide had briefly fluttered through my head every day for many years, but never to the point that I wanted to act on it. It became the automatic thought attached to bad things, with more rational responses following and drowning it out. It was so incredibly impulsive that night though. I was so afraid that I was a burden to my best friend (roommate), her cat, and others because of my mental illness. I had been having terrible anxiety and anxiety attacks since that Saturday night, the night after having flashbacks of things of my parents from my childhood. Not all violence, most of it emotional abuse and putting into words the confusion of when my mom would say nice things to me, but I knew they were lies, even at 2 years old. I realized that things must have happened even before I had conscious memories that made me terrified of my dad and scared of my mom. I think I have had anxiety since I was at least 2 years old because of those memories.

I had a battle with myself Monday morning to get out the door. I just couldn’t do it. I was all ready to go, but I spent twenty minutes trying to not break down with the absolute dread and fear I felt. I felt like I was dying from Sunday night through Thursday night of that week. I put in for a sub online Monday, but it was too late for it to take it and I would have to call the school. My fear of the phone won and I went in, but was on the verge of breaking down all day, so I took Tuesday off.

Tuesday evening, my roommate’s cat was sitting on my lap after a plethora of flashbacks accompanied by anxiety attacks (screaming, twitching, having a hard time breathing, feeling like I was going to die, etc.). I was watching TV. Their discussion on orange juice (my dad drank orange juice every day) triggered me and I screamed, twitched, and scared the cat on my lap. He was sniffing around, trying to figure out what was wrong. He really seemed scared.

Earlier that day, when I was freaking out, he looked at me with more of a concerned, “What is going on?” than he ever has before. In my irrational state, I became afraid that the cat would never want to sit on my lap again or that it would be awhile because I scared him, especially if I kept it up. I thought of how I had burdened him, and I wanted to die, impulsive. I thought of how I was going to do it, and then I remembered what I said to myself the day before when I allowed myself to punch pillows and throw them around the room, “If you feel suicidal, even for a brief moment, you need to call someone.”

With that thought in my mind, I messaged a friend of mine who I worked with at an elementary school. She always replies almost right away. I prayed that she would reply as she normally does, and she did. I didn’t tell her how I was feeling. I told her everything else about the day except that I was suicidal in those moments of talking to her. I felt better with each message from her. I asked her to keep talking to me until my roommate got home. She did. She saved my life. I saved my life by reaching out to her.

A few days later, a friend was trying to get me to even just go out for ice cream and I couldn’t. I expected her to show up at the house. Ten minutes after thinking that, two of my other friends showed up.

They were talking to me about going to the hospital, which I had been thinking anyway still, and when my roommate came home, she joined the conversation. My roommate left the deciding up to me, which I appreciated. I decided I really did need to go to the hospital. We went to the one in town and then I was transported to a mental health hospital about an hour from where I live. I was there until the following Wednesday.

While I was in the hospital, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They doubled my prescription for Zoloft, which I feel is really helping, and prescribed anxiety meds to take when I’m feeling anxious. If I take it soon enough, it really helps. If I don’t take it until I’m super anxious, it only takes the edge off, but that’s better than nothing. Basically, the medicine allows me to get to a place where I can start to bring myself back down, usually, if I take it in time. That’s good for flashbacks. I’m also taking more sleeping meds to help with the nightmares and night terrors.

I still struggle every day with my illnesses, but I will not stop fighting. There are days when I want to give in to the thoughts that tell me I am a burden and would be better off dead, but with a flicker of strength, and with the help of my friends, cousin, and therapist, I persevere. My very first counselor gave me a rock with one word on it she thought described me perfectly: resilient. I plan on continuing to live up to that word.

Self Care: Clothes Shopping Edition

I had a little extra money, so I decided it was time to buy some new clothes. It has been at least three years since I have bought any nice shirts for myself and I was looking for something to do this morning (that wasn’t falling back to sleep and being depressed), so I went to Target and got these!

I was trying to think, “Would Julia [Wicker, from The Magicians] wear this?”, but also trying to keep it my own personal style. I ended up with these! I am so excited to wear them!

I have quite a few shirts that are really warn/starting to fall apart because I’ve worn them so much. Some of my clothes I have had since HIGH SCHOOL. I am 28! I mean, some are sentimental pieces (like orchestra shirts), but some also clearly need to be replaced (like my turquoise shirt with silver beads on it). Hopefully this will encourage me to start getting rid of those clothes.

Now, I know, pretty soon I’ll be complaining again that I have no money, but everyone deserve a shopping spree sometimes, especially when it has been THREE YEARS!

Some of the pics are of the same shirts. I was having a hard time getting decent pics of them/ I didn’t feel like putting a lot of effort into the pictures. lol.

I am so happy with myself for not trying to sleep the day away and actually doing something nice for myself! YAY! 😀

Welcome!

Tumblr looks like it may be going downhill, and I have been meaning to have an alternate place for my posts, so here I am! Welcome to followers old and new, to my life battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. I hope this blog shows others they are not alone and maybe even helps others in their own mental health journeys.

Peace and love,

GirlwithPTSD