Just Your Friendly Neighborhood Reminder that Gender is a Construct

Do you feel like binding your breasts today? Cuz I do.

What about painting your toenails? Me, too!

This is just a friendly PSA that gender is fluid, and just because society tells you that men have to dress like men and women have to dress like women, you don’t have to abide by that.

Wear heels, or boxers, or chest binders (please be safe), or makeup, no matter your gender identity! Wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident.

I need to hear this every so often, and I believe you should, too.

Love always,

K

Introducing #DBTDay

Hello everyone!

I’ve fallen off the wagon of my #MentalHealthMonday posts, so I decided to revamp that, and add something new!

Once a week, I will explore a DBT skill on the blog! For those who don’t know, DBT stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and is used by many treatment centers and therapists across the country. It is a cognitive behavior therapy developed by the extraordinary Marsha Linehan, Ph.D.. As its name suggests, DBT is focused on dialectics; balancing opposites, and using “both-and” ways of thinking rather than “either-or.”

There are four sections of DBT: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. Each section offers unique skills to help you stay in the present moment, tolerate stressful situations (without making things any worse), manage intense emotions, and communicate effectively in relationships.

In an effort to raise awareness about DBT, and increase my own personal use of the skills, I will strive to post about one skill per week. If anyone has heard of DBT and would like to request a particular skill, or if you are interested in any of the four models mentioned above, just send me an email from my Contact page.

I can’t wait to refresh my memory of DBT; these are skills that saved my life. I hope they will have some effect on you, too.

Bouncing Back

Well, I’m back at day one after my relapse and feeling good! I know now that I don’t want to relapse again, and I’m going to work harder than ever to achieve success in recovery from self-harm.

I start my new job in less than a week, and I have just started a Perfectionism Group on Facebook to continue working on challenging my perfectionism! Lately, I have been taking a lot of photos, and there are a lot that I find imperfect in some way, only to be told that folks actually love the photos.

That being said, I am going to throw a photo on this post, as well as link you to my 500px profile, and my Perfectionism Group on Facebook! Feel free to peruse/join either or both!

Happy Tuesday!

-K

 

500px: https://500px.com/kelsgillyphotography

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1839577182756698/

relapse

trigger warning: self-harm

 

it’s hard to admit, but i’ve relapsed in self-harm.

Sasha found a weak spot and she took hold of me. I didn’t want to admit that she’s been running the show lately, but she has. And when I was all alone, she found me in the darkness and whispered dirty lies in my ear. She tricked me into giving up 10 weeks of no self-harm. Now I am back at square one; hour one with no self-harm.

I know I shouldn’t have let her in. I have ways of shutting her up. But she was so loud and alluring, I didn’t want to use my skills. I didn’t have a frozen orange to squeeze, and the rubber bands seemed too far away. I didn’t care about doing something else. So I gave in to her.

I have been really proud of how far I made it without self-injury. Even when I went to the hospital I managed to stay clean. A good friend of mine reminded me that what I did is now in the past, I shouldn’t dwell on it. But I should remember this feeling, of guilt, embarrassment, and shame the next time I want to hurt myself. Because it’s not worth it. No matter what Sasha tells me.

 

To find out more about who Sasha is, click here.

10 Weeks is a Lot of Weeks

Today marks 10 weeks free of self-harm! I can’t believe I made it this far; some days it seems impossible, but I keep pressing on.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the ER and was admitted into a psychiatric hospital for the next few days. While it wasn’t super helpful, it reminded me of the tools I have, and reminded me what I had to live for. Also, I managed not to relapse in self-harm, which was a huge win for me.

It also gave me insight into the field I’m now pursuing, and made me realize that a hospital is where I want to be working. Not only that, but getting a job in this field is great incentive for me not to self-harm. I don’t want to be hypocritical by helping others who are struggling with self-harm if I’m secretly doing it, too.

That’s not to say that I don’t still struggle. On my darkest days, when depression rears its ugly head, I wish I had something to relieve the nothingness that seems to fill me to the brim. But I don’t want to ruin my streak. After all, 10 weeks is a lot of weeks.

Breaking News! (don’t worry, it’s good!)

It is with insurmountable joy and gratitude that I’m announcing I have just accepted a position at the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute as a Psychiatric Technician. This job is a dream come true, and I’m hoping it will lead me to more work in the mental health field. I’ve been exploring careers in the mental health field off and on since I was bullied in middle school and developed a relationship with my school counselor. I used to want to grow up to be just like her, and I’m so thrilled to finally be making some moves in that direction. I am equally as thrilled that the job is located here in Nashville, so I can still be with my family!

I want to thank the mental health professionals who have taught me and inspired me; it is because of you that I aspire to work in this field. Thank you so much for everything you do.

 

 

Seasonal Depression…or is it?

I don’t remember the last time I felt like myself.

Great way to start off a blog post, right? Well, it’s true. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about seasonal depression; I thought it was something I’d face upon returning to a city that actually experiences changing seasons. And, while I have been struggling with depression, it certainly isn’t seasonal.

My previous therapist said to look at depressive episodes like I would a cold. They last for a period of time, usually a couple weeks, and then they end and I go back to my regularly scheduled life. Well, I don’t remember the last time I felt particularly motivated to do anything. It took me landing in the hospital to realize how little I was taking care of myself.

Of course, some of that was due to the fact that I wasn’t taking my medication as prescribed (meds are no joke, friends, don’t mess around with them) and therefore was messing with the chemistry of my brain.

Every day I struggle to get out of bed, and every day I have to fight myself to get through the day, at one point or another. I was reading the graphic memoir “Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me” about a young woman dealing with her diagnosis of bipolar disorder, when I realized I was actually jealous of the author. Because with her, at least she experienced episodes of mania, where she was productive. Granted, I don’t really wish I had bipolar disorder, but the days when I start crying on a hike I forced myself to go on, or when I wish I could stay in bed all day, I miss feeling “normal.” I don’t even remember what “normal” is nowadays. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have trouble showering every day, or when I didn’t have any issues taking medication. Now even taking Advil feels like I’m climbing Mount Everest. I wish my depression was seasonal. Because then I could at least foresee an end to all of this.

That’s not to say that I haven’t had any wins lately. I’m fast approaching 10 weeks with no self harm, and I’m using skills every day that I’ve learned in various treatment centers to push past the depression and continue to fight for my happiness and my life. I’m proud of myself. I even think soon I will reward myself with the semicolon tattoo, because I’m still here; my story is not over.

Nothing/Everything

Nothing is interesting.

Nothing is special.

Nothing is amazing.

Everything is boring.

Everything is difficult.

Everything is average.

 

What it’s like to have depression.

I’m sorry, I really wish I could care, but I just don’t. I’m trying so hard. I wish taking a pill every morning didn’t seem like the hardest fucking thing I’ve ever had to overcome. I wish I didn’t cry thinking about my future because I don’t see one for me anymore. I wish I was motivated to pursue passions, and I wish that I didn’t think the result of my actions- when they do eventually happen- weren’t complete garbage.

Having depression sucks. And I’m getting really tired of it. I miss caring about things.

 

 

7 Weeks Clean

Big win today! I am officially seven weeks free of self-harm! This is a major win for me, and lately I have not been celebrating any of my wins, so I’m going to take the time to celebrate this one.

Some other wins I’ve made since being home:

  • Got a job within a few days of being back home
  • Made a friend here in Nashville (Duuuuukes!)
  • Went out and shot some photos at a local park
  • Used my tools to overcome high urges
  • Supplemented meals as needed

 

If anyone has ideas of ways to celebrate, comment below!