lizzieh

@lizzieh
Community Voices

My food choice reflects my mood.

<p>My food choice reflects my mood.</p>
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How Feeling Like Time Is Slipping Away Affects My Depression and Fear of Death

There’s a speech in William Shakespeare’s comedy, “As You Like It,” known as the “Seven Ages of Man” speech. You may know it better, though, by its famous opening lines: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…” Spoken by the cynical, melancholy Jaques, who prefers to wryly comment on the unfolding plot rather than taking a central role, the soliloquy moves through the seven stages of a man’s life from birth to death, infancy to old age. Even long before I became marred in the grief of my father’s death, my depression latched onto the ending, to the dotage (the second childishness) and death (the mere oblivion): “… Last scene of all,That ends this strange eventful history,Is second childishness and mere oblivion,Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.” You see, as time has marched on and the years have flashed by, the ticking of the clock has become a central figure in my depression. In my teens and 20s, that ticking clock felt like a shadow. I was young, sure, but my hidden and avoided fear at a lump on my jaw made me somewhat convinced I was going to die young. When I was finally able to smash that fear — the lump turned out to be nothing — I was already in my late 20s, and my fear of death looming ever closer. But nothing quite seems to drain time from one’s life like depression. There is a phenomenon whereby time appears to pass faster as we get older. I can personally attest to this. Up until my 20s — arguably, up until my father’s death just before my 24 th birthday — time appeared to crawl. Years spanned forever. Now, and particularly as my 20s became my 30s, those years have begun to quicken. I met my fiancé eight years ago; it feels like just a few. Just today, we discussed how I proposed two years ago; for her, it was only a year. I look at the calendar and, truly, I don’t know how it’s 2022. I don’t know how time has gone by so fast, and I don’t know how I’m in my mid-30s. And so these two factors intertwine to form what I think is the nexus of my depression, at least right now. Everything returns to these concepts — that as I get older, time appears to be moving faster, and my fear of death and old age, of second childishness and mere oblivion, waits for me at the end of a long road that isn’t that long at all. I look at my life and wonder what I have achieved. I had grand plans to publish my first work of fiction in my 20s. As that time disappeared and grief derailed it all, my 20s became “by the time I’m 30.” The train had already run off the track, though, and depression kept me from writing. I can’t publish what I haven’t written, right? Now, I’m 35. I’m at the same stage I was at when I was 30, albeit older, perhaps a little wiser, more ready to take the bull by its horns and coax it into submission. I’m moving more purposefully toward a point where I will be published and yet, that fear still looms in the distance. I don’t know how to reconcile with that fear. I don’t know how to move through life when I’m afraid I’ll blink and miss it and before I know it, it’s ending. I don’t know how to spend my days working intentionally on reaching the place I want to be. And, as much as I hate this, I don’t know how to stop comparing my place in life to that of others. It’s said that comparison is the thief of joy; I look at the ones I love who have accomplished so much, and I’m so proud of them, but a small part of me is bitter. The bitterness is never aimed at them; it’s aimed at the non-anthropomorphic universe for bringing me this lot in life. It’s aimed at myself for not being “good enough” to achieve my goals, especially if they are younger than me and achieving things I wanted but couldn’t achieve. Comparison flays the joy out of everything else. So, I try to focus on my progress alone. I try to remember to use time intentionally and try hard not to look at the looming shadow. Depression, anxiety, trauma — they are responsible for bringing me to this place. They have molded me into a person who understands the darkness and still looks for the light. I’m wiser, now, in my knowledge of what ails me. I have the tools to deal with it. In 2019, as a way to try and face my fear, I purchased a stunning watch from the London-based Camden Watch Company. Seen via my Instagram below, the “No. 253 Memento Mori” features skulls throughout and two Latin phrases: “memento mori” (“remember you must die”) — often seen on funerary art and headstones in antiquity — and “tempus fugit” (“time flies”). It also features a white second hand as part of the watch’s face to remind wearers to make every second count. Despite my fear of death, I’ve always loved Gothic art. The watch has become one of my favorites; it reminds me how to live. All of this is simply to say… if you’re like me, then I want you to know that I understand that feeling. I wish I could hold you and tell you that it’s going to be OK. I hope, though, that you can try to live intentionally, mindfully, filling the days you’re alive with the people you love and the activities that make you feel good. No matter your belief system, what matters is the here and now, not what’s yet to come. So plant your feet. As Philip Pullman said in “The Amber Spyglass”: “We shouldn’t live as if [Heaven] mattered more than this life in this world, because where we are is always the most important place.” Follow Alexander’s journey via his website, alexanderwinterlockwood.com.

Community Voices

My Birthday wish.

<p>My Birthday wish.</p>
232 people are talking about this
Community Voices

My Birthday wish.

<p>My Birthday wish.</p>
232 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Only beautiful positive vibes for you.

<p>Only beautiful positive vibes for you.</p>
16 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Narrative Therapy? #Trauma #CPTSD

In therapy this morning, we were discussing my inner critic. Several therapist have commented on how abusive it is, but none had managed to help me tame it so far.

Today, my new therapist asked me to create a name and personality for it, with the goal to turn my critical thoughts into something else's thoughts so they can be externalized and not mine. Has anyone else done this? How did it go, if you did? I have a pretty good imagination, so creating the character should be a fun exercise. But assigning those thoughts to the new character could definitely be a challenge.

2 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Mr. Bean

<p>Mr. Bean</p>
47 people are talking about this
Community Voices
Community Voices

Put down your phone and…

<p>Put down your phone and…</p>
20 people are talking about this

Making Your Birthday a 'Self-Care Day' to Manage Mental Illness

I’ve always loved my birthday. When I was growing up, my family always made the day special — letting the “birthday person” pick the day’s meals and activities and preparing any type of cake they wanted. I have so many fond memories of spending my summer birthday at the beach, going bowling and getting frozen yogurt after, or eating dinner at my favorite restaurant and sharing a giant ice cream sundae with my entire family. And thanks to my family’s propensity to photograph every moment of the day, as soon as I was old enough, I implemented a birthday routine: wake up early, do my hair and makeup, and slip on one of my favorite outfits before my family awoke. For years, my birthday was pure, unadulterated fun and happiness. And then I became an adult. My birthday was still a good time, but insecurity, mental illness, and unfortunate timing began to make the once-joyful day accumulate layer upon layer of difficult memories. The day I turned 21, a complete stranger approached my friends and I and started scrutinizing my appearance — from my weight to my teeth to my makeup. I ignored her and ultimately enjoyed the rest of the day, but her words stayed with me for a long time after. When I turned 22, I went swimming on my birthday — and I ended up seriously struggling with my body image. That night, I had a panic attack from going out in public, and it took me quite a while to de-escalate my mounting anxiety. On my 24th birthday, plans for a romantic dinner turned into an unexpected night of friction, and I ultimately broke off my relationship. Although I was the one who initiated the breakup, the fight that preceded it and the anger my then-partner showed still haunt me. Last year, on the morning of my 26th birthday, everything began to feel like “too much,” and I commemorated my birthday with yet another panic attack. The day was ultimately full of fun and laughter, but it took some time for me to get into a celebratory mood. My 20s have been a stark reminder that my birthday is not a vacation from my mental illnesses. As much as I wish I could have one day — especially the anniversary of the most defining day of my life — free from symptoms of my illnesses and potentially traumatizing events, I know that I should never take a day off from managing my health.  In that spirit, I’ve come to believe that practicing self-care on my birthday isn’t just a fun way to celebrate — it’s also a necessity. I make birthday plans with my illnesses in mind, and instead of relying on my everyday self-care tactics, I try to up the ante. Whether I choose to celebrate with a manicure, soak in a warm birthday bubble bath, or go out for a special treat that strengthens my eating disorder recovery, I am always intentional about the activities I plan for my birthday. I also choose to wear whatever makes me feel the most confident — even if that means slipping on a floor-length gold dress for a quick photo shoot or wearing a party dress and a birthday sash to my favorite restaurant. Transforming my birthday into the ultimate “self-care day” helps me focus on how happy I am to be alive instead of dredging up years’ worth of ghosts of birthdays past. The way I choose to celebrate my birthdays may seem flashy, obnoxious, and more than a little bit extra, but I intentionally prioritize fun, fulfilling self-care so that I can accommodate for any challenges my mental illnesses may bring and have a good time regardless. As someone who has constantly questioned whether she’ll be able to make it to her next birthday, I want each birthday to be a day of celebration on my own terms — a day to prioritize my mind’s needs in an enjoyable, meaningful way.