mental illness, mindfulness, poetry, silence, spoken word

Only the Sound of the Wind

Silence

Finally

No people around

Peace to think 

Only the sounds

of the beautiful wind

It was probably making those noises before

Covered up by the all the noise

Everyone calling

Wanting something

Endless demands

Endless interruptions

There is a gentle peace in solitude

If only for an hour

Late in the night

Sometimes I think

Insomnia

is my way to have a few hours

of solitude 

and quiet

The incessant stream of hearing my name

Knowing that I will be interrupted

That the peace will be disturbed 

at any time

during the daylight hours

It wears on me

It makes my long for

The quiet of the night

Finally here

Alone

Solitude

Peace

Release

Reprieve

Silence

Except for the sounds

of the

Magical  Wind

anxiety, life, mental health, mental illness, Personal story, Short true story of alcoholic mothers

Privacy and Boundaries in My Life

When I was 17, I had to move in with my father and step mother suddenly, because my mother had a mental breakdown.

Because of the sudden factor of them having to take me in, they were not prepared for 2 more people in the small apartment (my Sister 4 Years younger than me and myself )

They had other children and all of the bedrooms were already doubled up. There really was no place to put us, but clearly we could not go back to my mother’s house.

She was not even allowing me to enter the house in order to get a change of clothes. All I had to wear is what was on my back.

Luckily I had my favorite stuffed animal with me and my much needed favorite comfort blanket. When my mother had thrown me out, in a crazy rage, the night before, I had taken those things with me, as I headed out the door into the dark streets.

So, my father rigged up bunk beds in the living room. For a small attempt at privacy, he took a large cabinet or bookshelf (I don’t remember ) and turned it so that it divided the living room in half.

My sister and I slept in the bunk beds on the far side of the dresser. My Dad and step mother watched the tv, which was sitting on the dresser, on their side of the makeshift wall.

My sister was in the bunk bed right above me. I was in the lower one. The tv was right behind my head, and the sound pounded into my head.

No metter how much I begged my father, he would not turn it down to a level that I could tolerate to sleep. Hebdid not want to inconvenience my step mother, I guess, who had already had to deal with her household being disrupted.

They could have gone to watch tv in their room at 10 pm, so I could get enough sleep, but it just did not happen that way.

So, between the tv, my sister’s snoring, anxiety over sleeping in someone’s living room with no privacy and no door close, anxiety over being thrown out of my house with no belongings etc…I could not sleep.

I had to lay there for hours, listening to my brain go around and around, wishing for peace. I have always been very introverted. The lack of my own room with a door that closed, was a terrible trauma to me.

I could not cry, over the sadness about my mother disowning me and throwing me out into the street …because there was no space or privacy in which to cry.

I could not talk on the phone to my friends with any privacy. The only phone that I could use was in the kitchen. There was no way of grieving or attaining any comfort about the trauma of the situation.

I had no clothes, none of my guitars, no books, none of my personal belongings for 2 weeks, at which time my father managed to get into the house to fill up a few boxes with my things.

Of all the simultaneous trauma, the worst thing for me was the lack of privacy. I craved being able to sit alone, behind a locked door, to be allowed to feel what I felt, cry if I wanted to, write songs and poetry about my feelings and to show whatever emotions I wanted to on my face.

My father always forced me to be strong and not to show any strong sadness or anything. It was similar to how guys are taught not to show weakness and emotion or they are told to “suck it up”…”it isnt that bad, don’t be a big baby”

It did not take long before I realized that I could hide out in the bathroom and just come out if someone knocked. I took my guitar in there, sat on top of the closed toilet seat, placed my sheet of music on the edge of the tub, and practiced my guitar in there for hours.

I became very good at the guitar that year. It is probably the most I progressed from one level to another, in that short period of time, as I ever did since.

My high school guitar teacher would praise my progress and I sucked up the complements , encouragement and support like a sponge. It was my only source of anyone telling me I could do anything right.

The guitar room and the music area at the high school was my sanctuary. I went there before school, and during the study hall periods, in addition to guitar class, band ( I played the flute in marching band and the bass guitar in jazz band) and piano class.

I quickly advanced past the other students in piano class, so the teacher allowed me to use one of the practice rooms, to work on my own…all alone! I was in heaven.

I had an entire private room all to myself for 45 minutes 3 times per week.

So, I have always been sensitive about having time to myself and privacy. I am triggered by any living situations that make me flashback to that situation when I was 17 , which went on for many months until my father was finally able to rent us a bigger house.

Every single time I have had to live here with my ex husband’s parents, they have done nothing but cross my boundaries and invade my space. Nothing is sacred and everything and every space belongs to them, including bedroom drawers, medicine cabinets, my trash, and insistence in opening and going through all of my boxes, when I moved in. This was even after asking repeatedly to for ny ex mother in law to please leave the boxes alone, until I was ready to open them . And to let me open certain personal boxes myself and be able to deal with personal items myself.

I had just had to leave an abusive situation with an abusive partner and I was not ready to open certain boxes because there were too many traumatic memories and triggers, in the boxes.

But there she was, digging through the boxes, and putting stuff all over my apt, in prominent places where I did not want it to be. Putting everything in the wrong place, so that it was making more work for me.

I could not throw out items that were triggering to me, because she would scold and reprimand me for being wasteful and ungrateful to have things.

I had throw things out when she was not looking and bury them under other trash so that she would not take them back out and put them on my shelf.

Living with them, is like tormentb to a highly introverted person that likes to keep my personal belongings and business to myself.

On top of that, there are 13 people living in this house, soon to be 14 when the new baby comes.

I had a guessing game a while ago. I asked people to guess, in the comments section of one of my posts to see who could guess how many people lived in my house.

One insightful blogger guessed 14. If she is reading this now, I had a lot of fun with our messages that went back and forth that day…

Anyway, at first I thought this blogger had done really well to come within 1 number of properly guessing the number of people in the house.

Then I remembered that my ex sister in law is pregnant, so if you count the baby in her tummy as a person living in the house, then she had guessed dead on at 14! Very cool!

She and I had some fun messaging back and forth that day. It would not surprise me if she pops up to comment on this post:)

So, what is the moral to this story or the point to this post? …….Aaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!##!!!

TOO many people on top of me. I wish I had money to rent a room or a small apt that I could go to during the day to work out of.

Blessings,
Annie

life, mental health, mental illness

Introverted people and Social Anxiety and Depression

Introverted people that have severe anxiety and social anxiety are at risk for depression. The reason for this is that we cannot get the time to ourselves that we need.

We need time to reflect and be quiet and thoughtful. We need to cry by ourselves sometimes. We need to have time away from other people, especially groups of people and individuals who are triggering to our anxiety.

People often think they are being helpful when they try to drag us to social things and force us to be interactive. We are perfectly capable of one on one interaction. Introverted people are not necessarily shy. We are not antisocial. We can go up to new people and introduce ourselves just fine.

I personally like one on one interaction with certain types of people. But being in a crowd of a room full of people , is very uncomfortable to me. Even going to a restaurant with the family, is too much social anxiety for me.

I am happy to go shopping with one of my daughters. I love talking to people on wordpress because it is a one on one interaction.

Introverted people like to choose who they interact with and not have people forced upon us. I do not like when someone brings someone up to me at a random time, and forces me to interact with them , on the spur of the moment. I like to have a warning first, i order to have some time for mental preparation.

I hate when friends or neighbor just show up at my house, knock on the door and want to me to answer the door. I like my meetings with everyone to be scheduled or planned somehow.

If I am in a group interaction, like Christmas family stuff, I have to take breaks and go to a room alone. I tried this tactic this year on christmas and it worked very well. Every hour or so, I left the main area and went to a quiet room. I checked my wordpress for comment and interacted with people on here for 10  minutes, I sat quietly for another 5 minutes. The I was ok and could go back into the main room and interact for a little while.

Introverted people like to have conversations that are meaningful. We do not enjoy small talk about the weather or annoying gossip about other people. To me, those shallow interactions feel like they are wasting my time. I would rather be alone than have to act like I am cheerful and play the social game, which is stressful. Partially it is stressful to me because it is so mind numbingly boring to me.

Shallow group interactions are also anxiety triggering to me , because I cannot navigate all of the interactions going on in the room. I feel a tremendous sensory overload with a lot of conversations going on and I have to pick one to join . I do not always say the right things and I come off differently than I intend to.

I do not understand or really care about, the social dynamics of a group like that. It is just too much and I want to leave.

Depression sets in when people do not allow you to get a break. Depression sets in when you are forced into too much social interaction and do not have a “time out” to regroup your brain.

I am very good with my old people that are my patients. When I interact with them one on one, I can make meaningful connections with them. They are always happy to see me, when I come to work.

The family members of the patients love to see me come to work. They often will request that I be the one to take care of their Mom or dad , for the evening. The family members will go to the nurses desk and request to have their aid changed to be me.

However, I get scolded by my supervisors because I do not always do what the other workers are doing. I think for myself and do my job very well, But the lack of being able to tolerate group interaction is beginning to put my job in danger.

I do not always understand the social protocol. I just like to interact with everyone as if we are all brothers an sisters that love each other. I like to talk to people and communicate about feelings and thoughts.

This is not always within the Social norm or the conformity system.

Introverted people that have post traumatic stress have trouble not breaking down and crying in the middle of social overload. We have to take a time out. We have no control in those events and situations about triggers. There is often music playing that is a flashback trigger to me. Everyone is having fun singing the songs, but I want to melt away into the floor and not have to listen to it.

You can’t always sit in a nice quiet part of the room. because people think they are helping you by drawing you out. They think you are either antisocial and rude, or they think you are shy and need help to get involved. Neither of which is true at all.

I just want to be in the quiet corner. I am happier there. I am not necessarily lonely or craving people to be around me. I like to be in my bedroom. by myself. My boyfriend can call and I can talk to him, but still be in the peace and quiet of my room. It is a place for me to organize my thoughts and my brain patterns.

I get depressed when I have to continuously interact with people over a period of days. I have to interact at work, so when I come home, I have used up my social tolerance . It is extremely stressful for people to be waiting to talk to me at my house. (I do not mean my kids)

When I get home at midnight, I am done interacting for the day. Also on my day off, I need time to myself.

When people keep invading me and do not respect my introverted needs, I begin to go into severe anxiety and depression

So if you are like me, please set boundaries and insist that people respect them. The people I live with are bad with any kind of boundaries. They do not understand them, So lately I have given up trying to explain it to them. I just say NO to things and let them be upset or think I am rude.

It is not my fault or my problem  that they think I am rude for saying NO to certain kinds of activities. I cannot maintain my mental stability at all, if I have to be forced by the extroverts to be cheerful and socialble.

Namaste,

Annie

abnormal psychology, mental health, mental illness

Thinking about Privacy for my Mental Health

When we are suffering from depression, our sleep surroundings are critical. My sleep area is a nightmare. Everything about it is triggering to me.

I have to find a way t change it around. Maybe i can get help from my niece or my brother in law. I have to move heavy things out of my room , in order to reset everything.

It is bad enough that I have no mattress and I have to sleep on a walmart $20 air mattress. But the air bed is net to big windows that cold wind blows through. I tried to tape plastic over them but it blew apart. i have to tape it more.

There is so much light that come through and it bothers me in the morning. There is very loud street noise that makes me feel like I have no privacy. I have no privacy from the house at the one end and the other side is the street noise.

If my closet were reasonable size, I honestly would drag pillows and my computer and sleep in the closet, just to have privacy and quiet space. I guess I am the opposite of claustrophobic. I want  a small quiet corner space.

So my air bed is in the middle of this weird part of the room, near the window. There is no head board to sit up against to type. There is nothing on either side of the bed, so I feel like I am in the air. There is very little room to stretch out because it is a narrow air mattress.

I have clutter on both sides and all around. I want to throw everything out of the window. It is hard to get rid of stuff because I have to carry it down 2 huge flights of stairs. I have pain going down the stairs even with just myself, without carrying  heavy stuff.

I need to clear a space on the other side of the room, away from the window. I want to put some kind of curtain around the bed. I may have to nail sheets to the ceiling.

I know the kids have to come in and out to talk to me but it bothers me that the door opens and I feel exposed to the hallway out there. If I had sheets up between the bed and the door, I would feel less invaded every time the door opens.

My teenager and preteenager could come around to where the curtain is open and talk to me. I could see them. but it would just cut off that feeling of being open to the house. There are many people who live in this house. I feel constantly invaded. I can’t even cry because someone would hear me.

I sometimes sit in my car to cry before I come into the house.

I need the space closed in and not all open like this. I think the way the room is set up has been contributing to my mental decline over the last few months.

I never had a choice about how the room and the apt was set up. My ex father in law just had people throw things up here. I tried to ask him to wait until I was here. To let me be here to show them where to put things.

But would not let me be here. They just threw things anywhere they felt like. I had spent a lot of care to label the boxes, the computers, etc with the name of the room it should go in. They completely ignored the labels.

There were boxes everywhere, all in the wrong rooms. The furniture was put in the wrong rooms.

The whole apartment was set up horrible. Everything was too heavy for me to fix.

So I just tried to live with it but I have to fix my room somehow. My brain is getting worse from the space being so uncomfortable to me. It feels unsafe and threatening,  I can’t rest my mind. I can’t rest my body.

I left the abusive guy and came here in hopes of refuge. But these people are not compassionate and are very controlling. They always do things their way. They were trying to force me to unpack the boxes with them and they wanted to decide where to put my things.

I was not even ready to go through all the stuff yet because some of the things are triggers to trauma. But they just grabbed things out of the boces and started putting them on shelves.

They were putting books away on shelves that were in the wrong rooms. I told them the furniture needed to be put in the right rooms , before I could put things away. They just kept opening boxes, making more mess, making it harder for me to fix things the way it would be tolerable for me.

Everything was set up the way they wanted. Too much stuff everywhere, I wanted to throw things out, but they kept taking things out of the trash.

I gave up and have been sleeping in this crowded, messy, open to the house space. Noisy, cold, loud street noise, people yell up the stairs for me to talk to them. I can’t be alone. I can’t get comfortable.

I want to go into the closet but it is too small and stupid of a closet.

If I do not fix this room and make a closed in corner to be in , I am going to continue to mentally deteriorate.

addictive personality, anxiety, depression, domestic abuse, domestic violence, emotional trauma, mental disorders, mental illness, obsessive compulsive disorder, ocd

Equal Rights for Anxiety Disabilites

It is amazing how anxiety can infiltrate your day to day life. I did not used to be aware why I was feeling the way I was feeling. I just felt invaded by everything. I was not aware that certain things were triggering anxiety, OCD and post traumatic stress.

The bunny cage needs to be changed. I feel tremendous anxiety in the house now. All I have to do is change it but I don’t have the bunny litter. I am getting ready to go get that now.

But the feeling of anxiety and the path it follows is horrible. It is just a smell and it id very easily fixed. But that is not where the anxiety is coming from. It is not my sweet, cuddly bunny or the smell at all.

It is what that smell is triggering in my poor brain. Triggering is so severely that I find myself walking back and forth and back and forth. I am straightening things. Putting things from one place to another and then changing my mind and putting them back again. I am looking at the pile of clothes on the floor and wanting to cry rather than put them away.

I feel the house will get dirtier and messier against my will. There will be nothing I can do to stop it. It feels like the house and the mess are enemies and it will grow and get worse even as i am out of the house with no one here

The thoughts are  irrational and I know that. I keep trying to figure out what is wrong so I can make it stop.

The problem is that this type of anxiety does not have so much to do with what is right here in front of me. I can straighten the mess and clean the bunny cage. But I will still feel this trauma when I am done.

I will feel that it will just keep being messy, dirty and smelly, no  matter how many hours I spend cleaning, which is so hard because I have chronic pain from herniated discs, arthritis and scoliosis.

The process of cleaning is painful because of my spine injuries. I feel like the house knows this and it creating the mess so I will have to bend and reach and hurt. I feel like the house knows that I will give up and just leave it and then the mess will eat me alive or cause social services to put me in a mental ward.

But all of this is irrational and I am aware of the irrational thinking. I am a very educated , professional person. I am perfectly intelligent and I know the house won’t bury me in my sleep.

But the smell and the mess are triggering a severe buried memory of a horrible traumatic situation I lived in long ago. So traumatic that I can’t remember pieces of it. There are blacked out spaces of time in my brain. I do not have any desire to open them up either.

I think if your mind blacks things out, that is its way of protecting you. Your brain knows you would not survive remembering those things, considering how severe the anxiety is with the things that you do remember.

So recognizing the fact that my current anxiety is being caused by past abuse, is helpful. I am not crazy or too picky about how the house smells.

The fact that my tolerance for smells like that is more intolerable to me that to other people is just a symptom of post traumatic stress.

We have to be tolerant of ourselves. We have to be forgiving and kind to ourselves about these attacks. Especially because other people are less than patient with us about it. If we tell someone we have to clean up this thing right now, they don’t understand why it has to be right now.

They may want us to do something else now and clean the mess later. They think  we are being uncooperative with them that we have to do things “our way.”

The truth is that we are NOT really demanding to do things our way. We are not trying to be difficult or ruin the other person’s schedule. Sometimes we HAVE to do something right now. If it does not get rectified right now then the anxiety will continue to increase to an unbearable level.

If we go with them to do what they want without taking care of reducing our anxiety first then we will not feel good at all while we are with them. We will get more and more traumatized by the things going though our mind.

Somehow it has to get to a point where people will be understanding of severe anxiety disorders and tolerate letting you perform your rituals that help reduce the levels. They should tolerate and understand if going out to a social activity is simply intolerable to us on a particular day.

We are expected to be tolerant of all kinds of differences in people. We are even ordered by law to not discriminate against people for color, sex, or disabilities. But mental illness like anxiety, depression, and OCD are not tolerated or sympathized with.

We have to make allowances for others that require unique understanding or adaptations. There are handicapped access ramps, translators an interpreters etc.

Where is our handicap ramp that will allow us to be 10 minutes late for work because we were having a severe panic attack? Where is our interpreter to translate what we are going through to someone who does not understand our language? An interpreter for what is going on in our brains and how it affect us in a physical way?

Who will advocate for us with our invisible disability?

anxiety, comedy, family, funny blog, humorous poetry, insomnia, inspirational, INTROVERT, INTROVERTED, joke, MARRIAGE, top 10 list funny

Annie’s Top 10 List – Things an Introvert Does Not Want to Hear

10. The whole gang is going out tonight. You should join us !

9. You really need to put down that book and do something fun.

8. Honey, my mother just called and said she’s coming to visit for a whole week.

7. Honey, Mom just called back. She can’t come on Tuesday but she’s taking you to her Red Hat Club instead.

6. We are going to throw you and Bob a big party for your anniversary.

5. OK , I understand. We’ll just have a small family get together instead.

4. Surprise !!!

3. “Family, friends and loved ones. As you know, Annie and I have been dating for six months and I wanted you all to be here when..”  (  “Annie? Annie? She was here a minute ago ” )

2.  The new girl always takes the whole office out for drinks!

1. Are your parents coming in the delivery room too, or just mine?