mindfulness Archive

Brush Fire

Trigger warning: Description of panic attacks and severe anxiety

I had four back to back panic attacks the most severe I walked four blocks past my office stopped wasn’t lost, but said to myself what am I doing here, and started to boil in side as I made my way back towards my office. As I got closer, block by block the boiling of emotion like a volcano started to erupt and it did. It was severe, so severe I couldn’t see the medication I carry in my bag as my mind had left me, my mind had left me, rare.

Damage

I want to put my best foot forward, but I only have two feet with the same mind. Can’t move forward, can’t go back, can’t stop what’s going to happen and cannot change what already has happened. And my past actions have made huge holes in my life, and my thoughts and emotions have minds of their own and take control, leaving me with a vague feeling that something happened, I did or said something and I cannot put my finger on the insanity that is driving my life.

End of an Era

Tomorrow is my seven-year anniversary of sobriety. Well by the time it’s posted it’ll be ‘today’ or ‘yesterday’. But y’know what I mean. It’s weird. Seven years. It’s a long time, and then it’s also not. It also goes very fast when life passes by and one is not mindful or living in the present. I can honestly say that most of my recovery has been one big, long panic. Will I get loaded? Will I find a job? How am I going to pay the rent?

DBT Skills: Interpersonal Effectiveness

I have to admit that social interaction and communication are not my strongest points. This is a relatively new development for me, or so I thought. I used to think I was great at using my voice, at standing up for myself, at being in social situations. Today there are a number of barriers that prevent me from being effective in interpersonal communication. One of them is mental and emotional health issues. It’s really hard for me to connect with others when I don’t feel so great myself. Another is acute hearing loss, in both ears, coupled with tinnitus. And finally – and probably the most overwhelming for me, especially when it comes to asking for what I need and speaking up for myself, or saying no when being asked for something – I was raised in an environment that didn’t really encourage me to use my voice under any circumstances. In fact, it was preferred if I was invisible, or at least that’s how I translated it.

My Partner With Borderline Personality Disorder (Hanners)

It is my pleasure to introduce the newest series, “My Partner With…” to QueerMentalHealth.org. Relationships can be a challenge for anyone, though they can be especially difficult when they are impacted by mental health issues. It is my hope that we can help others understand how to approach a partner’s mental health concerns. I’m starting this series off by talking about the issues that come up for myself and my partner, who has Borderline Personality Disorder.

If you were to get all your information about Borderline Personality Disorder by going to online support groups for partners of people with this condition, you would learn the following:

  • Borderlines are always abusive
  • Borderlines are always in denial
  • Borderlines never take responsibility for their actions
  • Borderlines will love you one minute, and hate you the next
  • Relationships with borderlines are notoriously unstable

New Experiences

A few months ago, I saw someone who was not there. I woke up in the middle of the night and saw a woman with long hair and a long dress leaning over the bed. She was not frightening or threatening in any way. I gradually realized that I was seeing her features more clearly than I should be able to, given how dark the room was. Then she faded away. I am as certain that I was awake then as I am ever certain that I am awake.

DBT Skills: Distress Tolerance

I’m in a DBT group right now. It’s comprised of four modules, and I just finished my second, which is distress tolerance. Of all the things I could possibly say about it, the most accurate would be that it’s a lot of work. Think of it this way: it’s a lot of practicing things that are aimed at reducing distress, regardless of what mood or state of mind one might be in. Thankfully my emotions are still pretty distressing on a regular basis, so I was able to more or less have something to compare the results to.

DBT Skills: Chain Analysis

Who doesn’t want freedom from rapidly spiraling and/or out-of-control cognitive and emotional cycles? I know I do. A couple of months ago, after a particularly grueling weekend during which my emotional and cognitive processes completely derailed, leaving me feeling like an empty trainwreck, I spoke with one of my counselors and he suggested we do […]

Emily Carr, I Love You

I would like to welcome the newest member of our writing team, Winter Hammell. Her first post with QMH.org is an elegant story about pouring her feelings about mental illness into a single portrait.

i drew the #6 sable brush across the canvas with the steady hand of a cartographer, laying down a bold stroke of phthalo blue lightened with a tip of titanium white.

Holding the palette on my left thumb, clutching three brushes between my fingers, and one clenched in my teeth, i could taste the rich, luxurious oils. Drunk on the exotic perfume of linseed oil and rectified turpentine, i stroked and dabbed the canvas of gesso-primed Italian linen.