Mental Health Matters

Why I Identify with The Hulk Over Wonder Woman…

Or any other super hero or mutant for that matter. I wish I could say that Wonder Woman is who I identify with, or even better, Jean Grey. But no, it is not meant to be. I am The Hulk. I don’t turn green and ginormous, but when I feel anger, jealousy, inadequacy, self-doubt when I compare myself to other women whom I feel are more successful, prettier, a “better catch,” smarter…the list goes on, I physically begin to feel shaky and quaky, and I have the thought that I could crush a cement block without any effort. I have yet to try that though…

Friday I was home with just the cats, having a girls night in since my husband was about 2 hours away at an overnight retreat for the Board on which he was recently selected. I am so proud of him and I hope I support him in a way that he feels loved and special and admired. His intelligence and the way his mind works amazes me and he is so organized. While my mind is scattered and disorganized, Van’s is quick and smart and he is able to think on his feet and give a presentation at a moment’s notice. It’s truly amazing.

Back to Friday. I began to obsess over who my husband was with which led to comparing myself with these lovely, professional ladies. Because of my mental illnesses I work part-time and I get very down on myself about that. I think of the women at the retreat and they seem so much more successful than I. They work full-time, they work in my husband’s industry, and they have a lot to talk about and many things in common. And they are all so lovely. I then begin to feel like 10-year old Brooke who was tall and gangly, wishing she were 5’0 to 5’5, cute like a little chipmunk. Yes, I always thought the cute popular girls in school looked like cute little chipmunks. Cute little noses, pretty eyes,  smaller faces, and of course they were about 5 inches shorter. I felt like a total weirdo, 5’8′ at age 10, messed up teeth and just a mess.

So I feel 10 years old again and I’m comparing away when suddenly I just feel a wave of anger wash over me. I start to shake and I’m not sure whether to break something or cry. I honestly felt like The Hulk. No words were available, just growly sounds. I posted something on facebook about it and a few people laughed, which is fine – it makes me happy to make people laugh, but the anger I feel thanks to my insecurities is amplified by my mental illnesses.

I hate feeling the anger. I hate feeling mad at Van when he has done nothing wrong. I hate myself at these moments and it is so hard to come down from these fits of rage. Luckily the most I have done when feeling this way is mouth off a bit to someone, but it could be much worse.

I see my therapist on Thursday and I am so happy! I need to talk to her about this and figure out ways to cope. My cats help, and so does talking to my mom. Watching favorite tv shows helps as does playing with my makeup and reorganizing it is soothing. One I come down completely from the ugly high, books are another safe place.

So sorry for such a long blog. A lot on my mind I thought I would share. Does anyone else deal with anger/irritability irritability problems, or feelings of comparison?

The illnesses I am talking about that amplify negative emotions would be my PTSD and the other one is complicated. We (my mental health team and me) haven’t figured out my main diagnosis. We’ve decided it could be Bipolar I Disorder with Psychotic Features -or- Schizoaffective Disorder. Who knows and is it important? Same meds, same treatment, but I am one of those people who likes to have a clear definition of what is happening in my brain.

If you made it this far, thank you. I hope you have a brilliant Monday.

Cheers,

Brooke

 Anxiety and Overthinking: The Truth

My full-time job title is that of over-thinker. I could write books, teach PhD-level courses, conduct a year long speaking tour. That’s how good I am.

I haven’t been feeling well so that makes my anxiety worse and over course, amps up the overthinking. I take things “too personally,” that’s what I’ve been told. Hearing that makes me feel silly and too sensitive, like no one has time to listen, or wants to listen, to my ridiculousness. I don’t mean to be annoying, I truly don’t, it’s just that my brain is sick and sometimes I don’t know how to make it feel better.

This blog is devoted to beauty, books, and cats, but mental health is something very dear to my heart and if I did not include it in my musings, I would not be staying true to myself.

When I visit groups to talk about mental illnesses and mental health I always share a few of my mental health diagnoses to help normalize mental illness, to make it more personal. I have been so fortunate to have received warm, encouraging, grateful receptions and feedback regarding my transparency. And while I am happy to share and feel like I am making a difference, when I start to feel ill and when I need to rely on others and share with them (I mean mainly my mom and my husband) I feel guilty and I realize all I do is impose on the lives of others. I wish I could be strong and confident every day because I hate the doubt that creeps into my head, the mean things my brain says to me, and the small and seemingly insignificant things that lead to overthinking. My specialty.

I am worrying about a medication refill, my first blog tour (I am so excited it, but for some reason I am convinced I am going to screw the whole thing up somehow), work, relationships…so many things. I make assumptions based on things like someone’s tone of voice, a reaction to something I said…I may be coming across as very selfish or self obsessed, but this all stems from an expectation of perfectionism from myself, for myself, and something I have touched on before which is OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder). I don’t have full blown OCPD, but it is present enough to make life extremely difficult at times.

So I’m trying to be rational, but I quit. For right now. I get to spend time with my mom later this afternoon and I think seeing her will help immensely. She is a wonderful lady who has a very calming influence on me.🙂

I hope this doesn’t sound whiny, and I tried to be brief, but this is where I am right now. As much as I’d like to be all kittens and sparkles, I am more like…what’s something really gross…ah! I am more eels and a rainbow in varying shades of mud.

Thank you for reading and “listening” to me. I appreciate you – I truly mean that!

Cheers,
Brooke

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Resources

Some helpful sites that I have found to be articulate, compassionate, and dedicated to stomping out stigma.

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

bp Magazine (Bipolar)

I plan on reviewing and sharing my favorite nonfiction, fiction, and memoirs based on mental illness. There are some truly outstanding reads out there.

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