Apparently it is Wednesday!?

Hello my friends!

I hope your week is treating you well :). I have been in a bit of a funk and hiding away,sorry all.  Empathy takes over my soul in larger forms at times and it has been one of those times.

My current mood

There is just so much negativity &/or violence in this world. Every news alert that pops up on my ever connected phone, just depresses me at this point. Can America get its shit together – please? Of course it is all over, across the seas too and my heart goes out to them as well. So… how about this… WORLD CAN WE GET OUR SHIT TOGETHER!?

I guess a lot has been buzzing through my mind. I have been thinking of how the future of the US will turn out… I am mildly concerned. There was struggle before but now…ugh. 

It just makes my head spin. I had a list of my thoughts and feelings on some matters, but I erased them. When I drop that post, I want it to be in a clear state of mind :).

Anyway! So, outside of some “blahs” of mine, there has been some good and I need to focus on that. So here is a list of happier things from the past week+!

  • I bought a couple hibiscus trees for my garden and I love them. The colors are just so beautiful and bring me joy when I am out in my yard with the pups or laying in my hammock 🌺.
  • PRIDE weekend just finished up, there was a lot of love in Columbus which is a beautiful thing.
  • I trimmed up Barley my middle fur-child as he had RAGING fluff pantaloons (much worse the Syd). However, apparently someone is shy and kept sitting down when I tried to shave up his legs and bum. Which as you could imagine, left him with uneven fluff cheeks. That is right….eventually I accepted the defeat and just let it go. A woman can only fight their pupper so long, in the heat, face to dog butt – trying to even out cheeks. Pretty image eh!? Haha so there is that…ahem.  #bestdogmomaward goes to me
  • My blog reached 1337 likes – which is super exciting! Since I have been kind of slacking, I was happy to receive any award at this point. Slow progression is still something to be proud of! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH! 😭
  • I successfully dodged the Foul Fowl (turkey) again and came out alive when I visited my father. Additional note… he now has a baby turkey too, so I really don’t know what I will do when that one grows up. Sorry Dad…I JUST CAN’T.
  • Summer is officially here!😎☀️
  • I started up a vitamin regiment and have been sticking to it. This may seem small and silly for most, but it is huge for me. I am terrible at taking pills besides my antidepressants and birth control. However, I am trying to take better care of myself.

I think that is about it for me. I will be posting my weekly photo challenge later as well!

How are you all doing!? Thank you for always supporting me and sending love my way! ❤

xoxo,

Addiction & Mental Illness

Hello friends!

To continue with the theme of Mental Health Awareness, I wanted to branch a little further and address addiction and substance abuse as well – as it is not uncommon for some to suffer from both, otherwise known as co-occurring disorders.

**Please remember, I am not a physician – just a gal sharing her experiences and providing resources**

It seems like over the past couple years, I have heard more about heroin overdoses than I ever have. It is scary, I have personally known friends who struggle with addiction and it greatly impacts their lives…their families and children. It saddens me greatly to hear about someone I know who cannot seem to stay in treatment despite what they have been blessed with or the support system around them. I am not sure if stigma has something to do with this, or what. My struggle with substances have never been that level of destruction, so if you have any insight on this and why it can be a struggle for the addict, I would love to hear your thoughts or stories!

“Millions of Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, and millions also suffer from substance use disorders. The illnesses can develop independently from one another, or one can cause the other.

Although people with anxiety disorders don’t always develop substance use disorders, or vice versa, research shows strong associations between the two. An estimated 18 percent of all people with substance use disorders have an anxiety disorder.”

– DrugRehab.com

In my own personal experience, the few addicts that I know, do have issues with coping and this is their release. The quick fix if you will, that we have all heard about over the years. We must help encourage change! If you or someone you know is struggling – try to make that first step in assisting them or yourself. There are many helpful resources out there both locally and beyond. For further information or help finding treatment near you, family or friends – please check out the below links:

 

Continue to be strong my friends, not only for you but your loved ones as well!! ❤

xoxo,

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Mental Health Awareness Month!

Hello friends & happy Wednesday! ❤

As most of you probably know, May is Mental Health Awareness month! YAY! This is super huge for me since I have been struggling for many years.

The last year and a half was a big slump for me in regards to recovery in adulthood. My fellow mental health warriors, you may experience this too – but it comes in waves. Some days/months/year(s) go by with little to no symptoms and other times it feels like a brick hit you in the face (or treats to a puppers face) and you feel ALL THE THINGS!

So, in honor of this beautiful month – I wanted to share a summary of my history with mental illness and what I am doing this year to honor it – since I am a bit stronger than last year!


The History: My “relationship” with mental illness probably started when I was in my later years of middle school. I do not remember the exact age anymore as it’s all a little blurry at this point in my life. I do recall the feeling of overwhelming sadness, numbness, anxiety and losing my will to live. Which, is scary thought to have that young.

I remember looking for ways to “feel” again. At that point, it had consumed me and had been for a while. I danced sharp objects along my skin, the burning, the color and feeling was the only feeling that came alive. Glowing red metal rods laid across my skin and pills by masses to try to get away from it all. I also remember driving and being tempted to just close my eyes.

My life, even in my younger years came with its complications. I had mentioned some of it in my “How the hell did I end up this way” post. There is always more to every story but I like to keep things going, I did and will hit all the highlights?? <– I need to find a better word here!

Depression is an evil bitch

Fast forward through the long dark days…There came a time when I snapped to and realized I had to get help. At the rate I was going, I think my story would have ended quickly. So, for whatever reason – inner strength took over my darkness for long enough to gain to courage to speak to my mother. Which…why I chose her to open up to at this moment, I will never know but I did. This was the woman who scrutinized my appearance regularly and informed me that I looked fat several times through out my life. You see, she has always been petite and we have been close in weight for as long as I can remember, so god forbid if I started to look like I as growing out of that mold.

Anyway, informing my mother that I no longer wanted to live and that I needed to go to the doctor was one of the hardest things that I had to do. She seemed to care and then handled it poorly afterward. I remember bits and pieces of going to my doctor, completing tests and having that hard discussion with her. I was put on antidepressants and agreed to counseling. I have never felt so lost and scared in my life.

Counseling was strange for me. I did not care for my therapist or her dated orange and brown decor through out her office. I think part of it was because my mother was in the room with me majority of the time, which she took over the conversations and reminded the woman that I was “fine.” She just did not get it.

She further proved that she did not get it by providing a less than supportive relationship. Which, is still true to this day. Versus actually talking to me, it was like I was living with a prison guard with strip searches to see make sure there were no fresh wounds. Which I can understand, but I feel there are better ways to go about it  – rather than throwing demands around and talking down to your child during these searches. She just looked at me as if she hated me, or perhaps she felt that she had failed on some level and it bothered it and came pouring out of her eyes. She already had a troubled child, so I don’t think she had room for me to struggle too… I suppose I can sympathize with that now?

Further more, my new medication made me feel nauseous – as many others you have taken these kind of meds, they can be rough until your body gets used to them. So now, since I could not eat without wanting to vomit, my mother viewed it as now an “eating disorder.” She would force me to clean my plate even if I told her if I ate one more bite, I will probably get sick. Which happened numerous times because when you have a level of anxiety – you already feel that way. Throw in some anti-depressants and you know what? You just don’t have the best appetite and that is okay, you are adjusting. When I did get sick, she would yell and say see – I told you. “I knew you were throwing up after eating!” No, actually I did not have an eating disorder at the time…but thanks Mom. That did happen, just in my adult years.

I managed to stick to my therapy and medication and I did start to feel better. More alive and a bit more happier.  It took some time and some dosage adjustments but I got to a point of no longer wanting to harm myself and wanting to be able to walk this fine earth as a young person should. I am not sure exactly how long it took as I am getting old these days 😉 but the important part was I made it. It was not easy, reflecting on this point in my life – I believe there were a lot of factors that played into this outside of genes (they were stacked against me too). I am also sure that it took a significant amount of time of general sadness to get to my breaking point as well.

Anxiety and insomnia still was an issue from time to time. It really kicked up again around 18 – probably with adulthood, college and who knows what else. Luckily my college therapist was helpful in providing techniques to help me cope with panic attacks. I started back on my meds and tried to really focus on self care at this time. To be honest though, I have been dealing with anxiety ever since…in those waves that I was speaking of :).

Self image became an issue in my early adult years. I have always been told that I was “small, tiny, petite, anorexic, bulimic, had nothing to worry about and weird/tomboy.” I still remember this time in class when a man asked me if I ever ate without throwing it back up…. thanks fella. Reallly nice.

However, it did become an issue eventually. I was in a bad relationship with someone who made me feel less than. To put it simply, he was physically and verbally abusive and beat my confidence and self worth down. It resulted in me weighing roughly 75-80 lbs in my adulthood. Granted even when I was younger…I believe now, I can call it social anxiety?? But I had a fear of eating in front of people. The cafeteria in school was my nemesis. All the kids. All the food. Perhaps there is some sort of eating disorder theory in there as well??? Lord who knows – I am a mess haha.

When I finally got out of that bad situation, which took time. Planning an exit from someone like this must be done carefully. He obviously did not handle it well and probably would have reacted poorly regardless. Unfortunately, he did end up stalking me, he would show up at the local mall where I would be shopping, or restaurants where I was having dinner with friends and even showed up at my house. Trying to get over that fear while trying to repair myself again – whew. This time, it also meant physically and mentally. Again, I over came and now happily weigh in with triple digits on the scale and have been steadily since 2012-2013ish. While body image is something that I still struggle with after my many surgeries, the important thing to remember is it is progress. I am better than what I was before and that is key.

Mid 2015 is when my anxiety took on a form that I had never encountered before. I had gone through several ups and downs in life regarding my mental health and outside of it but this was different. It was something that I literally could not handle. Feeling anxious and insomnia again was not a stranger to me. I live a life that tailors to these needs – most would probably deem boring but it is my life and I have accepted this.

This was the first time in my life that I would need to check in somewhere for observation. I. LOST. IT. Best part? My breaking point occurred at work. I had to get out immediately, after reaching out to my employee assistance program – I informed my boss in little words as possible that I had to go without worrying her….. but one more issue… I take the bus (which was very hard for me at first too btw)…so I had to step up and take an uber to my car. One, I don’t like not being in control of the vehicle that I am in. If I trust you to drive me – congrats! Second, I don’t do taxis or ubers….the amount of germs, smells and general feeling of out of control does not vibe with me.. third, it was a 35 dollar trip easily. However, it had to be done.

This is where the medical field failed me and I have heard similar stories and it is so heartbreaking to me. I did not feel in control, I could not breathe, I could not function, I literally did not know what happening but all I can say is, I did not feel myself. I was not me, I felt literally insane or that I had “snapped.” I attempted to get into our local psych center…for anything consult, treatment, or whatever. However, they were at capacity and since I was not “that bad” I had to find elsewhere. This was the story for the next 3 calls that I tried. There is nothing worse than feeling helpless, trying to find someone to care when you do not even know how you are going to get home or what may happen to you. I was finally able to get into a physician…. 2 weeks later. How was I able to get manage this? Sadly, this is so common and for some people that 2 week wait has cost their life – no joke. Fortunately, my psychotic break was more controllable? (somehow I managed this…I will never know how) versus severe depression/suicidal. Luckily my boss was understanding enough during this time, my then fiance was….I don’t even know but he was there (at the time). I was able to hang on until my appointment where we had a full work up, got a referral in for a specialist, adjusted my medication and added in more…it was overwhelming but I hung in there the best that I could. I began intense therapy, maintained my strict medication regiment, tried my hand at self care and then my now ex (Fuckboy), abandoned me in December 2015. I guess I should be thankful that I was already medicated at that point. Perhaps he could not face being married to someone with severe anxiety, who knows. The key was, I was trying to take care of myself while planning a wedding with little help. Honestly, I thought I was doing well. I had the “supportive” partner who had been my best friend for years and we had helped another through it all – before and after we were together. Life was on the up and up….until he decided otherwise. Since I was medicated, when he left I always asked people (friends, family & associates) if they saw it coming. The answer was always no – whew so I was NOT crazy :). We even had Friendsgiving where Fuckboy stated he was thankful for me and put on this great speech where he pulled a fast one and even pulled it by my good friend Sunshine- who does not miss a damn thing! Anyway, after I had to handle that mess – I took some serious time off. I had to, granted I am still struggling to this day with building PTO…. it was worth it.

My anxiety/episode recovery has been hard since I did not see that life changing event coming during it. Learning to trust people again, regaining my self worth and learning to live independently has been really fucking hard. However, I have kept up with therapy. I know that leaving someone without reason, leaving all their shit  behind for you to handle, not telling their own family what they did and not forwarding their mail is THEIR problem and not mine. Abandonment is never okay and that is something that I have had to accept and the fact that I will never really know the reason why this happened.

My medication has increased over the past year, I still struggle with insomnia and anxiety but I am stronger than I was a year ago – mentally and physically. I am able to stand on both feet and take on the world the best that I can. Some days are still hard… There are times that I cannot get out of bed for several days, at times my anxiety is so bad that I cannot leave the house and it does impact my day-to-day.

Most do not realize all that is going on behind the scenes in recovery and that is fine – because this is my journey and if they don’t notice – I must be keeping it together…..(right!?) hahaha. I am happy to report that I got through that very dark period aka – all of 2016 without thoughts of suicide and while I have lost some weight, I am still healthy. This has been my healthiest recovery to date and I am quite proud.

I may still be a mess but hey – I have a good heart dammit and worthy of love! Now let’s transition into what I am doing this year since I feel stable, happy and productive during Mental Health Awareness month!

1in5 MH Banner


Present day! May 2017: Since I am someone who has clearly struggled with some shit – it has become my mission to give back to the mental health community in anyway that I can. I have done this by sharing my story with friends, family, here, through sites, beating down the stigma in anyway that I can, looking to become an advocate for local mental health chapters, donations, spreading the word, educating others, remembering to be kind – you never know what people may be fighting inside and by participating and supporting Kenzie Brenna during her self-love boot camp on Instagram- which encourages others with mental health disorders to share their stories through social media (there is a focus on body image but it is helpful for everyone), ensuring others that they are not alone!

You can learn more on the link provided or check her out on Instagram, along with her supporters @omgkenzieee and searching #selflovebootcamp. There is a new topic each day and so many people are opening themselves up to vulnerability – it is beautiful. I am going to push myself to participate every day, but some topics are harder than others as you can see in the calendar below. However, if this will help push me to become a more whole person – why not? Although, I do struggle with vulnerability…my therapist can attest to this :).

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FINALLY! If you made it through that entire post – you get a cookie! I know it was long so thank you for listening to my story, ignoring any typos that came out during the flow! Yoda best!

I want to ask all of you to do something for Mental Health Awareness this month too! It is so important to keep bringing awareness! Sometimes individuals cannot make that 2 week waiting period to see a physician – we need to do something about this! So my friends/warriors, wear some green this month or ribbon! Participate in a challenge or walk, start a conversation, be there for a friend, spread some facts on social media, advocate and help influence positive policy reform, volunteer, share YOUR story if you have one and remember to take care of yourself and others!

Love you all xoxo,

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Follow me! IG: @DiaryoftheMadKatter  P: DiaryMadKatter

How the hell did I end up this way

When I take the time to really reflect on my life and I mean really go deep in the past, I wonder simply, how the hell did I end up this way?

You see, most describe me as: sweet, too nice, dependable and very loving. I know that sounds a bit self centered but, I am just going off what I am told!

My family has and never will be a loving family.

Dinners at the table, were never a regular thing, in fact they were a rarity. Words of encouragement never really came, love and affection really was not a regular thing in both, my mother and father’s houses. In fact, it stems further back…my grandparents are not the affectionate kind either.

I have gone months without speaking to my parents and even longer for others. While some may find this a bit shocking, it’s not uncommon for us. I guess we never really made each other a priority and that is just how it has always been.

The family on my dad’s side … is the definition of aloof? ← Not sure if this is the exact word I am looking for… I am also convinced they mostly speak in mumbles, grumbles and the occasional rage outburst. Now, don’t get me wrong – there are times when I do have a somewhat normal conversation with them but let me tell you, it’s a shocker when it does happen. Aka: my entire ride back home is analyzing wtf just happened haha. The same goes for my brothers and well.. Honestly my mother and her family too. As you could imagine, holidays or family gatherings are super uncomfortable haha.

My single mother of 3, showed her love by explaining the importance of a credit score before I could drive. I mean, valuable information that ultimately did help me but we did not really talk about what I picture most mothers do or see in movies (damn you media)! There was never long phone conversations, movie nights, or bonding really. Whenever I have tried to open up to her and seek her guidance about things in life, she ignored me, literally. She still does this, she will focus on something else and never actually listen to me or she will find a way to turn it around and talk about herself. For example, the day my ex-fiance left me….6 years together, wedding plans and deposits paid and done for….just up and left and I was a disaster. My life completely turned upside down because I put a lot of effort and love in those years, his family became mine and I was closer with them than my own family….just gone. She swung by the house my ex and I just purchased and said “Well your best friend is here, you are crying and he is not here. Something must have happened.” As I try to choke out the words of what occurred…her response from across the room, scrolling or typing away on her cellphone (typical) simply was “well, sometimes people just don’t work out. Now, let me tell you about my shitty day at work and how my manager pissed me off.” That was it. No comfort as I was shattered, no words of love or encouragement or a hug. I never spoke to her about it again. It has come up here and there while I had to clean up the mess that he left but that is just how she is. I have many stories that follow that same responses or worse. The time I came to her about my deperssion when I was younger was also a horrible experience…she just does not get it and never will.

My mother did buy me things and I think that is just how she shows love? A random new leather purse, jewelry and things of that nature – while nice I guess, it is just not how I show love. She is not a terrible person, she is just who she is and as I mentioned, it seems that this stems further back in her family line. A cool demeanor, curt responses, criticism and little support is just who she is, I have accepted it long ago.

My father, while an angry fella, I love him and I lived with him for a little while when I was younger after my parents divorced. Those times were lovely, we would do things together like go camping, dirt bike riding, cook together and he also taught me how to shoot… which was nice – Daddy’s girl. He also took me to see Spice World and to a Spice Girls concert, I guess that was pretty cool and very “Dad” of him HAHA. However, when he found a younger woman who had a child, us kids kinda took the back seat in his life and they became priority. Whatever she or her child wanted, they got. He stopped doing things with my brothers and I. At times it was more apparent than others, but we slowly kind of faded to the background and it is still that way to this day. I have also learned to accept this, it took me a while though. I did not understand how a father could push his own children away and essentially place these others on a pedestal. Again, this is just who he is. He needs her in his life and will do anything to keep that going even though she leaves him often and comes crawling back over and over. I can just be there and support him when called upon.

My siblings, I have one full blooded brother and one half. I am closest with my half brother, we text and do things more often than the rest and I guess it has always been that way looking back on it. He has kind of been the normalish one of us and I am proud of him. He stuck to himself a lot, studied hard in college and made his way. He is a fellow nerd and so he usually is my Marvel movie buddy or xbox party member hahaha. My full brother was the troublemaker, most families have one I guess haha. I have been the support for him for as long as I can remember. I remember sleeping by the door when he ran away, hoping he would come back home. Or hoping he did not overdose and needed his stomach pumped again…. Mind you I was only like 10 when these things started happening. Pretty serious things for a young gal to try to understand and navigate the feelings associated with it. This came in waves and when I entered high school, he was sentenced to prison. I have seen enough prisons, both minimum and maximum to last me a lifetime. Putting together care packages and supporting him the best I could was all I could do. We would visit when we can but it was mentally and emotionally draining for me. I would do nothing but sleep the rest of the day. This was our interactions for several years, paid calls, exhausting trips and trying to encourage him to get back on the right path – which he did! Mind you, in his case while it sounds like he is terrible, he got hung up in a bad crowd and everything caught up with him. He is a good person, I think a stigma comes with that as well – he has always been good to me, in the best way he could. If he listened to anyone, it was me – my parents reminded me of this when I needed to remind him to get his head out of his ass :).

Eventually, he did. I think our growing up had a lot to do with how he spiraled out of control. He did not take well to my father pushing us aside and in terms of coping skills….not so much. I am proud to say that he did his time, which was way too long. He came out a better person, he has been on the straight and narrow ever since. Now married and living with his wife and her 2 kids. He really has amazed me.

So, as you can see – I never really had too close of a family. We lacked a lot of the qualities that families should have… if that is even a thing now? I look at my parents, whether it is their robotic ways, misguided priorities and just still wonder after all this shit and my genes…how did I end up this way?

How am I the opposite of most of them? A real black sheep of the family if you will. You would think that with the things that I have experienced, I would have turned cold because that is what I am used to and probably would have been easier than dealing with all of these feelings since I was young. To loop around to the beginning of my story, I am often told that “I care too much” or I am “too nice.” That I also let people take advantage of me, but perhaps it’s because I am used to seeing so much negative growing up, I try to find the positive in everything, I give second chances and love others too hard at times. I live by the phrases, you never know what others are going through so it’s best to be kind, even if they are not to you and to also be careful what you say, especially in anger because once it’s out, you cannot take it back.

While I take my 3 pills at night to help my anxiety and depression that has plagued me since I was 16, pop vitamin D when it’s raining for days because I just “cannot deal” with it, continue therapy on a biweekly schedule, suffer from some trust issues, live with the double edged sword of – slow to anger, sleep for days and withdraw at times… I guess I turned out okay? I am glad that I am not a cold person…especially when life has given me every reason to be.

If you made it here, congrats! Thank you for listening to my ramblings/thoughts about family and life. This has been sitting in my drafts for about a week. I have tweaked it a bit and really sat on whether I wanted to post this. It is very open, raw and quite gloomy haha. I am not sure if you will be able to take anything from this, but it was therapeutic for me. So thank you for your support.

Also remember that you are loved, worthy and special humans, I hope you a great day!

Xoxo,

Kat