Welcome to A Life WIth Mental Illness

This is a record of living with mental illness and its effects on all aspects of my life.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sirius Self

I'm being crushed down into my sirius self, pounded by steel waves. Decades of guilt and fear and shame and self-hate overwhelm me. And I dive into these emotions as my first therapist suggested. Dive in, be overwhelmed, come up for air and dive again and again. I have no eyes or ears or mouth. I struggle to gain my footing, to overcome the waves, but I cannot. I lose. There is no resting place, only death. My constant companion now. No arms, only leg and feet. I cripple myself with self-loathing. Dying seems better after this.

Friday, February 13, 2015


Just finished reading "Resilience" by Jessie Close. Really good and helpful. She went through a long, difficult period and has made an amazing turnaround for herself and her family. I definitely related to her own struggle and that of her son, who is diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder (which is one of my diagnoses). It made me think again how I want to find a therapist who is knowledgeable about my diagnoses so I can have a conversation about how best to handle my symptoms. I didn't find CBT all that helpful. I'm a meds guy. I really rely on my psychiatrist and his diagnostic and prescriptive skills. Anyway, the book is great and I recommend it for anyone living with mental illness, either a consumer or a family member/friend. It would be good for therapists and psychiatrists too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Waking Up Thinking About Death

For the past couple of weeks or so my first recognizable thought when I wake up is about death. It is either about someone already dead or about someone I care about dying unexpectedly. Mornings are already difficult for me and these death thoughts add another load to my depression pile. I tried listening to music as a way of distracting myself from these thoughts, but it didn't work. Prayer helps sometimes. It circumvents the death loop. When prayer doesn't work I write in my journal, putting down all of my death-related thoughts and feelings. Then I move - just move, do anything. Change where and how and why I do anything. This really is just a way to run from the thoughts and eventually they diminish. I'm not waking and asking if today is the day I will kill myself, which has haunted me several times in the past. It's just death. The end.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Last week I experienced a few days of mania and enjoyed dissociating from my body and flying everywhere. Soaring over rivers, through valleys, above the ocean - it was wonderful. Reminded me of when I would do this as a child. Such freedom. I wasn't completely manic, but my mood was definitely elevated. Now, just a couple of days later, I'm back to the regular up-and-down of daily anxiety and depression. Regret, shame, embarrassment. Keep moving.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


My depression is passing. I feel better in the morning and don't carry as much dread around during the day. My doctor increased one of my anti-depressants and that seemed to do the trick. I was down for almost 10 months this year, feeling relief only once or twice. This time I feel more confident that I'm doing better and that this will settle in for awhile. I really don't ask for much, just the feelings of being so-so or okay. Fine would be a breakthrough that I can only wish for. I've learned a lot during these past few years about how to let my emotions come and go, not to clutch them and worry incessantly. I'd like to pass this knowledge on because I think it's very useful. It wasn't easy to achieve, however, spending a lot of time feeling bad and then remembering to use different techniques to become alright. And it all changes so often and so much each day. I need to set a floor and a ceiling for my mood swings. I must work on regulating my moods and continue with the self-talk that has become so important recently. I still think about death quite a bit each day, but I'm not beating myself up about this. It's so common that it feels automatic. A habit, yes, probably. Usually I am in an even mood when I think about death, although there are times when I cry and feel grief about the coming losses. Just take life one moment at a time. Grateful.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Sad today. Not sure what caused it, but I feel dragged down into depression. I was doing okay for a couple of weeks and then this hit me this morning. I wish I knew what causes this emotional free-fall so I could take steps to reduce its effects. I've been in this condition so many times that I have an almost automatic response to make myself feel better. This gives me some hope - not a lot, but some. Time. It will take time and I need to give myself the gift of time to heal. Prayer and meditation help a lot so I need to put these into practice and care for myself.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Inner Confidence

I read the words "inner confidence" in a book and was struck by how much I want to experience this for myself. It seems it was something I once had as a child, but I don't have it now. Inner turmoil is more descriptive about what I feel physically and mentally. Inner confidence means trust - in myself, God, friends, family, coworkers, strangers, etc. Trust is very difficult for me. I don't know what I'm supposed to do to have it, to manifest it. What would trust feel like? Inner confidence would need to defeat my inner pit of shame and blame, of self-hate and disgust. I want to know how to make that happen.