I'm not okay. I can't 'mask' this. If I'm 'too blunt,' and 'too honest', and don't validate others, I get told, 'Why are you being so negative?' and 'You sound angry' (from mere typed words onto a screen).
I can't stand toxic positivity. Faking that everything is butterflies and rainbows when it's not. It's gaslighting. It's telling people to suppress their feelings. My psychologist already knows I'm am expert at that. Avoiding and shutting down intense emotions is part of my presentation of post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD (from trauma).
I don't want to detail everything that has gone down lately and why my mental and physical health is poorly. Yes, I'm not well and I'm struggling.
Just a quick version, I had surgery on my face (while conscious) for skin cancer. It was a very painful surgery as it involved my lip. Then, while recovering from that, my Dad died. Then there's been family conflict in the wake of Dad's death.
My stress levels were rated 10/10 from a health practitioner who works along side the doctor (as a new step to avoid going back into mental health services). My GP recorded that I have low mood and high stress. Also, I am getting liver disease from being compliant with my medications for bipolar disorder. Becoming like the liver of an alcoholic, even though I don't drink.
My coping mechanisms are overwhelmed. Life is been extra hard these past few months. In addition, I am trapped with my options because of the low income that goes with my disabilities. I haven't had the energy nor the funds to promote the memoir that I published just before Dad died. It took a lot of effort today to try to sort out the digital files from that project, ready to archive.
Ironically, those who evangelise to 'unmask' expect others to 'mask' and pretend things are okay when they're not. Also to go along and agree with everyone for validation. Same people who elevated some diagnoses as desirable and as identity and others as 'misdiagnoses.'
Using euphemisms and identifying as ripped off watered down versions of certain diagnoses doesn't undo serious mental illness and trauma.
What can I do?
I've been trying to go for a walk as self-care but that's hard as I'm in chronic pain. The weight gain mainly from side effects from being medication compliant for mental health struggles makes it harder to exercise. I'm gaining stress weight around my belly (some call it 'stress belly').
My doctor suggested I avoid sugary things (I eat chocolate when stressed). Trying to eat better nutrition is an ongoing battle with the nature of my disabilities.
I have been trying a reduction in the medications but it's trying to find some kind of acceptable balance between the effects of untreated illness with side effects of the meds (which ironically are causing other illnesses).
My meds help me to get some sleep, without enough of, I would be in crisis. So yes, my stress is high, I'm struggling to stay afloat but I'm not in crisis (I've been in crisis before - way worse).
As for the family relationship thing causing me unnecesary stress on top, the health practictioner person said that I need to conserve my energy and my health. What others do is not in my control and not my problem. This person has boundary issues, which is exhausting.
One of the things I can do is start a painting - a low key idea I had. I didn't feel creative yet I saw something for a community exhibition, to enter just one piece. I have an idea for something a bit different, something 'easy'. Painting helps to calm me.
The photo on my desk is of an antique hand plane (a Stanley Bailey No 5, I think from the 1930s). It was one of Dad's tools, still with woodshavings. Also, a rock I painted as a metaphorical self-portrait, with a gannet instead of myself by the cliffs. The rock is a paperweight for my lists (so I can unclutter my desk).
I think it will be a while before I get back to my book projects. I have one more novel left in me plus I want to publish a guide on writing and self-publishing your story (memoir, semiautobiogroaphical fiction) on a shoe-string budget.
Books take me a long time to complete and I put years of effort into them. The main theme currently is relationships with disabilities (including bipolar disorder, PTSD, autism spectrum).
Disclaimer: the author of this blog is not an expert by profession and her opinions should not be taken as expert advice.