unico_love: (mermaid moon)
I had a dream last night about guns, the Tea Party, and a war. However, it wasn't an apocalyptic war or anything, which is part of why it took awhile for me to remember it had just been a dream. I hate politics, so I don't know why I'm dreaming about them.

Also, I felt irritable waking up. I hate feeling irritable or angry more than any emotion. They tend to make me feel like a bad person -- especially when I express them. I imagine most people feel irritable far more often than they feel angry, but that is not true for me. In fact, I have a high frustration tolerance for people (other situations, not so much). When I burst into anger it may seem most logical that I'd been irritable for awhile, piling up irritations until I couldn't take it and exploded in anger. That isn't how it works for me. I get angry all of a sudden, usually from one specific incident. But when I reflect on the past I can see other things, which for a long time I just remained "curious" about, seem to match my reason for being angry and that leads me to think my anger is justified. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. Fortunately my irritation seems to be leaving me...
unico_love: (yellow girl with rose)
I just watched the church sermon I missed on Buddhism. A lot of emphasis was given to the fact that we are all, at core, united and exist as one. I do believe we each have a divine spark and connect to one another, but I also believe that a certain individuality is maintained before/after death. I really liked one thing the reverend (I feel so dumb... Are they reverends at a UU Church?) said, which was that when we have foul thoughts and behave unkindly to one aspect of the unity (any individual) we are, in fact, hurting ourselves and all the rest of existence. Despite some of my recent anger, I have been feeling positive about most people. There's no one I hate or even actively dislike. There are, however, people I don't want back in my life. I think I'm pretty caught up on my apologies and taking responsibility for my wrongdoings to other people. I want to do more, though. I would love to volunteer again. Maybe sometimes Michael and I can volunteer at the church. If it's feasible I'd like to teach English to refugees again. That was an amazing experience. I had never been treated with such profound respect. It's incredible how people can go through torture and horrific experiences, losing almost everything and everyone, but still be so full of grace and love and kindness. I like tutoring Americans, too, but I always preferred working with ESL students.

I'm in a good mood now:-) Unfortunately our bicycle tires need pumping, so we couldn't bike ride today, despite the good weather. We went for a short walk but went back before the park because I'd found chocolate all over my sweater and it was making me anxious and I had to get home to clean it:( I'm reading a bit, but I have a lot more to read tonight. I'm going to try to focus on that now and then do my usual nightly routine.

Easter

Apr. 24th, 2011 10:10 pm
unico_love: (childlike empress)
Today went well, overall. I had trouble waking up and getting up this morning, which made me nauseated. I wore a nice pink dress today that I assumed was too small for me since I used to wear it when I was underweight, but it still fits. Michael and I exchanged Easter baskets (we gave each other much candy and I gave him a book, which made him decide to buy me a book). Then we went to church and were almost late. It was a really nice service about caring for the earth and caring for other people. Two Michael Jackson songs were done and there were children's drawings of love and earth from the projector. The children's choir sang. There was an excerpt from The Velvetine Rabbit (which we are also using in our commitment ceremony). I returned the book I borrowed and borrowed a dvd of the service I missed in March on Transcendentalism and Buddhism.

Then we ate lunch at my mother's house. She cooked a lot. Michael and Tommy (my brother) played a Mario Bros. game in the living room. I didn't try playing because the newer Mario games are too hard for me:( Then later this evening Michael and I watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. It just ended.

I did have a bit of an anger problem/panic attack at Walmart, but took a Klonopin to control it. Maybe I should have waited longer before taking medication, but I didn't feel like I could restrain myself from lashing out. I'm calm now and will probably go to sleep soon.
unico_love: (Amalthea)
Ah! Stress! My nightly anxiety, I guess. I did some yoga and meditation, but I still felt pretty irritable and critical and negative. I also had a headache by then. I usually try to wait for headaches to go away on their own, but since I'm already in a bad mood I decided to take Ibuprofen to see if clearing up my headache will help improve my mood. I'm trying to focus on the positive qualities of people I know and the reasons behind their more negative qualities. I'm very flawed and still want to be loved, so I should love others who are equally flawed. People don't need to be perfect to be loved. Michael is feeling a bit depressed now, too. I think we are going to watch the beginning of XXXHolic now, which will hopefully improve both of our moods.
unico_love: (Unico)
Happiness is when you feel comfortable, at ease, full of positive energy, feel love towards other people and the world as a whole, you are enjoying yourself, and bad memories/worries aren't bothering you. To me, happiness is intricately tied to love.

365 Day Meme )
unico_love: (crystal ball)
There is something I have learned in Dialectical Behavior Therapy that is probably obvious to most other people, but it was a big revelation for me: We are not our emotions. We experience emotions, but we don't have to act on them -- we can even act opposite of them. We are not defined by our emotions and we are more than our emotions. I have always felt like my emotions were the best reflection of me and when I experienced negative emotions, other than perhaps compassionate sadness, I was a bad person. Likewise, we are not our thoughts. Our thoughts happen and have meaning, but they don't define us any more than our emotions do. Thoughts can change at any time. Like emotions, they pass. Our true self is more solid than our emotions or thoughts. We are something deeper than those things. When I feel despair I feel hopeless. I think that is the "real" me and allow it to define my life. My sense of self constantly changed depending on how my emotions changed. In some ways I have a well-defined sense of self, but in other ways I allow myself to be overwhelmed and control.ed by my emotions and, to a lesser extent, my thoughts. It's easier to like myself when I don't feel like my negative emotions or thoughts are the truest depiction of me. It's also easier for me to see I am still being honest and true to myself when deciding not to express or act on certain emotions. It also helps my relationships.
unico_love: (childlike empress)
I was very happy in my early childhood until I started Kindergarten (age 5-6). Though I was still quite happy then -- just not in school. I didn't really have anxiety and loved my parents, even if they were sometimes abusive. I spent a lot of time drawing and watching cartoons. I played outside and was very attached to the neighborhood children, whom I still miss. Even in elementary school I would look back on my past and thought of age 4 as the happiest time in my life.

I was also very happy (though hypomanic from the start of my bipolar) when I was 18 and started college. My first semester of college was wonderful. I finally could have friends, my father wasn't around to be afraid of or cause problems, I enjoyed the classes, I felt less ugly (I had a makeover of sorts), I had fun meeting the new people and forming friendships. I loved our dorm and watching anime. I liked the cafeteria food (as did Amber, but apparently we were almost the only ones!). My professors treated me as if I were really smart, which was an ego booster. The classes were too easy, but that didn't bother me I too much at first. It bothered me more when I started having an existential crisis in my second semester. As my mother said, on the phone with me, even if we were in poverty I would have had a positive outlook and been happy. I feel like that optimism is more my "true" self than these crippling anxiety problems I deal with now.

365 Day Meme )
unico_love: (Cat mask)
Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder made me start thinking about ways to improve my mental health. I never really considered how other symptoms like irritation or being quick to anger can be related to bipolar, even if you aren't currently in a serious mood episode. Also PTSD and OCD are very commonly comorbid with Bipolar and what I read recently is that nearly everyone with bipolar has anxiety problems. This kind of makes sense to me because all of my mental health issues started about the same time. I'd already gotten severe overload problems and meltdowns due to autism, but when I was put in a calmer environment I was fine. And I did get some sadness/anxiety at night, but nothing severe. My first bipolar episode was hypomania with started college and it lasted my first semester. I felt like my brain "switched" over winter break. Then I came back mildly anxious and mildly depressed, but then I ended up being stalked and fell into a severe depression (my first ever). Then a few months later it gradually turned into a bad, long mixed episode which is what I was in for my first psychometric testing.

I have already made goals of ways to improve my life, but here are some changes I'm going to try making specifically for my mental health:

1. Drink 3 bottles of water a day
2. Take my multivitamin and also vitamins of Omega-3 fatty acids
3. Eat (dark) chocolate occasionally (apparently it helps some people)
4. Try to eat a fruit a day
5. Eat peanut butter and yogurt for protein
6. Eat raw vegetables
7. Try to eat the amount of calories my psychiatrist (Eating Disorder specialist) thinks I should eat
8. Stretch daily and maybe try to do yoga (turning off outside stimuli and focusing on breathing)
9. Try to do meditation exercises at least when upset (preferably a daily thing, like stretching)
10. Try to do more strenuous exercise 3x a week (ballet exercises, stomach crunches, and push ups?)
11. Journal out all my problems, obsessions, and worries
12. Take Zyprexa daily and Klonopin as needed, as well as my medications for physical issues
13. Unless it's a special occasion, go to sleep by midnight
14. Have people who know me well watch for any signs that I'm beginning to enter a mood episode so I can do something about it
15. When behaving in unsafe or negative ways, have people close to me point them out and explain why they are problematic
16. Have people try not to argue with me rationally when I'm in a mood episode, but help me find ways to stop the mood episode and cope
17. Email one of my psychologists if I need to talk about something due to mental health problems
18. Page my psychiatrist if I am having problems and need a medication change/increase/decrease
19. Talk to a friend when I'm feeling depressed or lonely
20. Wait out angry feelings before doing anything drastic (write about my feelings and tell someone what I'm feeling and why, maybe having them point out why it would be a mistake to act on my feelings)
21. Do soothing activities when my mood is becoming problematic (art, reading comforting books, writing poems)
unico_love: (Unico)
I went from being in a terribly depressed mood the past three nights into an incredibly good mood tonight! I feel guilty for spending so much money this month on things I didn't need and I really want to save a little bit of money, but Christmas adventures seem more important! I want to go to a German Christmas festival in Chicago and look at all the crafts and other assorted goods. If I see something I really like and it's not too expensive Michael will buy it as an early birthday gift<3 My birthday is January 13, though I was due Christmas Eve (December 24). I also want to eat all the German foods listed by the vendors! I'm usually not an adventurous person when it comes to food, but I want to try the different desserts and meat-filled buns. Not the cheese or vegetable-filled buns, though. I also wish I could try the German hamburgers and potato pancakes. And I have a big craving for bratwurst now. I'm hoping this week I can get my mother to take me to the grocery store so I can get bratwurst and buns to put them on. That way I won't be tempted at the Christmas festival to get something I already know I like and can get at other times. Same with cheese strudel (if it is what I think it is, it is something cheese-like that I do consume). We might be able to go to this Christmas festival earlier in the day and then go to Lincoln Park Zoo at night for their lights festival (like the Brookfield Zoo thing I just went to). I will have to withdraw more money, but it would be worth it. At least I am 100% done with Christmas presents and just have to wrap some.

Also Michael was going to buy me the anime Romeo x Juliet for my birthday, but I can watch it on hulu.com and will only choose that over other things if I really, really like the series and feel I will rewatch it many times. I usually dread my birthday, but tonight I feel excited about it. Zyprexa must make me rapid cycle or something, because I am feeling insanely good right now. Though usually on Zyprexa my mood is stable (it's not like my mood is going up and down so much on a regular basis).
unico_love: (Unico)
I had a dream last night that I think should have been more upsetting than it was. Though I do worry a little that parts of it will hit me later. Instead, it made me feel more calm, more okay, and like some of my current (bad) obsessions were unnecessary. I feel no ill will toward anyone. I love everyone I know right now. I forgive everyone. I feel very fortunate. My anxiety is not bothering me. Amber emailed me last night that she was very sorry she didn't make it online yesterday to talk to me by microphone. She talked about all she'd done in the day (she was very busy). I felt good about this and didn't take it hard when she didn't show up yesterday. I'm hoping to be more productive today than I was yesterday. I'm going to try to finish reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets first.
unico_love: (childlike empress)
Well my mood is good right now, probably due to the Ritalin. Hopefully my mood will stay this way, though, and I will have a good night tonight. I'm going to try to finish the book I'm reading so it can be returned to the library tomorrow. Michael and I will probably watch The Lost Boys tonight in honor of Halloween. I went out to the mall and various stores with Michael, and I did mention at one point feeling a bit sick, but my anxiety was under control. I hardly take Klonopin at all now because Ritalin helps so much. Sometimes, like last night, slight depression seeps in, but Klonopin wouldn't help with things like that. I don't know yet when I will go home since I caved in and bought Miralax. There's nothing else I really "need." I talked to April on the phone today, which was nice:-)
unico_love: (childlike empress)
Today I woke up feeling okay, though I woke up a bit late and my cat Joey knocked one of my earrings off my nightstand and I can't find it:P I went over to April's apartment, but she was still sleeping and I went back home. I struggled to read more of my book (I'm still struggling to read it -- I will read a little more then read some Sailor Moon). I enjoyed my afternoon mostly talking to Maria online. I did wake up to two good surprises on Facebook:-) A message back from my first Catholic school friend to friend me on Facebook. Her oldest son is autistic. Amber also messaged me to apologize for not contacting me the past few days and that she's been sick for stress, which isn't good, but I'm pleased she has been thinking of me. I explained my recent panic attack over obsessions over our relationship and it didn't seem to bother her. I know she's had similar experiences. I became more anxious and depressed as night fell. I was worried about going out with April and Phil, as April mentioned they would come by my house. I didn't want to leave the house for fear of a panic attack. Ritalin really helps my anxiety... I hate when it wears off. Fortunately April and Phil just wanted to hang around my house so we talked while Little House on the Prairie played in the background. Now I'm watching Ever After with Drew Barrymore. I love her clothes! And I miss my long hair. I love this movie and just added it to my amazon.com wishlist. I'm hoping to cheer myself up and keep my anxiety under control. I'll read one more short story and then read Sailor Moon, which often helps me.
unico_love: (Unico)
Michael is leaving tomorrow instead of Thursday because he needs to do things at home. I hate unexpected changes and being alone, so this is slightly difficult for me. Also my moods have been very erratic. I don't know if this is breakthrough bipolar symptoms or not. I'm not having any current interpersonal problems and I think even if Amber said she could visit next week I'd feel the same -- irritable, anxious, blah-ish feeling. A big reason I don't think this is a depression is because every depression I've had in the past has been completely incapacitating and I was very suicidal. Also I do feel happy and content sometimes (especially at night; I feel pretty good right now). When I'm depressed it's very chronic. I'm going to try and keep myself busy and see if that helps.

Here is what I plan to do for the next week (or longer):
1. Draw/sketch people
2. Write poems and journal
3. Yoga and possibly bike riding
4. Watch Ai Yori Aoshi Enisha (anime)
5. Watch Glee (new Fox episode Tuesday) and Who's the Boss? (Hallmark Channel) and Merlin, season 2 (netflix)
6. Read Sailor Moon manga (Super S and Stars)
7. Read the astrology book I checked out from the library and compare to my natal chart (I used to be really into astrology)
8. Do tarot card readings
9. Play Dragon Quest IV and Mario Kart on my Nintendo DS
10. Read my Scandinavian Folktales book
11. Read Singing Innocence and Experience by Sonya Taffe
12. Visit April this week
13. Read A Course in Happiness by Mardi Horowitz
unico_love: (childlike empress)
I'm feeling pretty happy at the moment. I got an email back from my friend in Spain today and yesterday even though it had been taking her longer to respond. Hearing from my friends always makes me feel better. I have lots of books to read, a painting to work on, and more anime to watch. Xena isn't really upsetting me anymore and I'm just enjoying it. I do find it interesting, though, that the actor who played Ares (and who died shortly after Xena ended) has an autistic son. I'm hoping Michael mows the lawn a little later today. I really want to order some Xena comics, but I want to wait until I see how much money I have left after my eye appointment tomorrow. I need more contacts. I miss them. I don't like myself in glasses. Soon I will upload pictures from the trip to the theater Michael and I took on Saturday.
unico_love: (Unico)
I'm feeling in a little cheerier mood right now. I don't really know why. My nose is still runny and my eyelids are puffy and red so I still feel gross. I'm going to try reading in a minute. I lost my place in my book so I have to go search for where I was. Right now I'm not really having obsessive thoughts besides the nostalgia, and it feels like a more positive nostalgia right now. I'm going to try hard to focus on the present and enjoying the present. Last night I was actually able to sleep without pain or feeling like I was going to vomit. I'm going to the bathroom again (though I did take Miralax again yesterday morning...) Hopefully all will stay improved now. I forgot to add to my gratitudes last night the "Get Well" card my friend Maria sent me. I have great friends... I'd like to make an appointment for an eye exam and more contacts, but I don't know how much it will cost and I likely have a bunch of medical bills that will come in. That probably won't be for a little while, though, so maybe I can even have that appointment later this month. I miss wearing contacts... I don't like myself in glasses. I'm glad my mother is returning today. Maybe one night while Michael is gone I will spend the night at my mother's house or my mother's boyfriend's house. It tends to soothe me and feels very relaxing. After Michael leaves I'm going to put on My Little Pony and Care Bears. I also need to watch a lot more of Gargoyles on youtube.
unico_love: (Cat mask)
From: http://www.tenthousandquestions.com/
Wrong, wrong, wrong
What is something about you that is often misunderstood or hard to grasp, or something that people mistakenly assume about you?

People often have a hard time understanding I can be really nice a lot of the time (and mean it completely) and at other times get scarily angry and sometimes verbally abusive. I wish I didn't have such a bad temper -- at least it doesn't always come out easily. I usually have more of an anger problem when my bipolar is not well controlled, though when I'm depressed I internalize a lot of my anger. I generally like people very easily and want to make them happy, which makes it easy to appear nice or friendly. Sometimes I seem shy and quiet, but I think relatively polite. My anger can come out at people I know or strangers whom I feel are being unjust or rude in some way. I can make frightening faces when I'm angry, but I think they're similar to the faces I make when terrified, so sometimes people get confused. Even when I don't raise my voice or make threats I've been told I can be "scary." Maybe part of the scariness is the contrast with my normal demeanor. I want to become a calmer and more laidback person. I hate feeling angry and I hate feeling out of control. I wish I had better control over my emotions, in general...
unico_love: (childlike empress)
Well I feel sick a bit with allergies and with a new infection. It's much better than the abdominal pain, so I can't complain that much. I hope I get better for real soon. I haven't been doing much, though I want to paint (hopefully I will start a new painting sometime in the next few days) and I'd like to write some penpal letters. I'm feeling really anxious about the idea of leaving the house so hopefully Michael will manage to pick up my painting from the Dupage Art League. It shouldn't be too hard to find... I don't feel depressed, though. I don't want to go out, but I would like to talk to friends. I'm reading a really good positive psychology book and it's giving me a lot to think about. I'm feeling favorable toward people and want to be happier again, like I was not too long ago. I'm going to work hard to keep my spirits up.
unico_love: (Delight)
Today I woke up fairly early, but slept much better last night. I went bike riding with my mother, but it was really hot out and I'm in bad shape so it was exhausting. I decided not to get ice cream (which my mother usually buys for me on our bike rides). I just felt too nauseated and hot. I've felt nauseated consistently for the past couple of months, but a low-level nausea. I didn't want to take more Zofran (my nausea medication) because I just took 2 pills yesterday. I also think my nausea problems might be at least partly psycho-somatic, like a friend brought up yesterday. Every time I think of eating I immediately think of vomiting the food.:( We stopped at a deli so I could cool off and my mother ate a sandwich. There was a cute chocolate Labrador puppy outside:) When we got back home I took another shower and turned up the air-conditioning.

My bipolar and OCD workbooks came in today and I've started working on them. My mother made my psychiatrist appointment for July 29. I will call him Monday, when he's back, and talk to him about everything. I can't be on Zyprexa with that insane appetite and sleeping 13 hours a day. Especially if I can't get my Ritalin to curb my appetite. My psychiatrist said I could take it twice a day and told me to wait to get a refill, but by the time I needed it he was gone for two weeks! So I switched to Geodon, which so far has controlled my bipolar quite well. The problem is my anxiety. I did still have some anxiety on Zyprexa and took Klonopin and Klonopin still is usually working. There was that horrible night two nights ago, but that hasn't been the norm. Also I just started taking Geodon a little over 2 weeks ago, so maybe it's not working to the maximum yet. I know people take Zyprexa as needed sometimes, so maybe I can have a prescription for emergencies when I start to get a bit crazy or my moods start getting bad again. It works instantly for me. And I can just rely on the Klonopin for my anxiety. I took one today when I was feeling a bit depressed, but I think it was really more anxiety, because I feel quite well now.

The power went out due to a storm and usually that makes me very anxious because I always have to be doing things to keep my mind busy and it's hard to even find flashlights to read with. This time I stayed calm, just played Tori Amos with my computer's battery power and worked on my OCD workbook with a flashlight. I still don't know if I will make an appointment with my psychologist or not. I may wait a little while to see if my obsessions and anxiety get under control. I felt kind of bad when Amber told me I seemed so stable on my other medication (Zyprexa) and it was too bad I had to go off it, since now I was feeling "blah" and obsessive. The truth kind of hurts:-/ Though I wouldn't say I'm feeling "blah"... At least my moods are pretty good. I just have to get my anxiety symptoms under control. It's too bad antidepressants don't work on me.
unico_love: (Unico)
Today I've been feeling really excited about Disney World. I can't wait to go and I'm making all these plans. I wonder if my bipolar isn't really under control yet, because I was really upset and anxious yesterday and I'm really excited today. I don't usually rapid (or ultra rapid) cycle, but I have done that whenever I go off Zyprexa (probably more just me getting used to being off that medication). It is quite hot today and it rained a lot, which I like. Michael and I just went out. I wasted money buying a (small) mocha from Caribou Coffee, but it was good and I really wanted it. Now I'm very full. I'm still excited about Disney World:D I even want to move to Florida with my mother (who wants to move to Florida), but Michael doesn't want to:-( I would love to get a season pass for Disney World, but you have to be a Florida resident. I'm trying to tell Michael how exciting it is, and how paying for the Polynesian Resort is worth it, but he doesn't think it will amaze him the way it does me because, unlike me, he hasn't been going since his infancy. Now we're going to watch X-Files. I wrote one letter today and I will write two more letters later today. I also have to print out pictures.
unico_love: (Delight)
I don't think I've made a post yet about the book The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want" by Sonja Lyubomirsky yet... If I did, I can't find it.

The findings of what the happiest people in their studies revealed that the happiest people tended to do this (pg. 22-23):
1. Devote nurturing time to their family and friends
2. Express gratitude
3. Quickly offer help
4. Optimism about their futures
5. Savor life's pleasures/live in the present moment
6. Regular exercise
7. Committed to lifelong goals and ambitions
8. Poise and strength in coping with problems/disappointments

Activities I Find Natural:
1. Acts of Kindness
2. Goals
3. Nurturing Relationships
4. Gratitude
5. Savoring Life's Joys
6. Practicing Religion and Spirituality

Activities I Find More Difficult:
1. Cultivating Optimism (I tend to be anxious)
2. Avoiding Overthinking and Social Comparison
3. Developing Strategies for Coping
4. Learning to Forgive
5. Doing More Activities That Truly Engage Me (Sometimes my anxiety or lack of attention get in the way)
6. Taking Care of my Body

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August 2013

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